Tunisia: Incubator for Tunisian Diaspora to Be Launched Next Week

Tunis/Tunisia — An incubator for the Tunisian Diaspora will be launched next week. It is a permanent structure whose mission is to support in a transnational way Tunisians abroad, whose number stands at 1.2 million persons (professionals and non-professionals), explained Head of the Diaspora mobilisation project at GIZ Oula Tarssim.

"Among six incubation and support structures, already pre-selected, one will be selected by a jury composed of the public and private sectors as well as GIZ for a two-year term," Tarssim specified on Saturday in Tunis during the Professional Diaspora Forum.

"The initiative of the GIZ worth €4,6 million (15,08 MD), is part of the "Progress Migration Tunisia" Project funded by the European Union by means of €12 million (39.36 MD) with a view to exploit the potentialities and opportunities offered by the Diaspora to mobilise investments in Tunisia."

"GIZ plans, through this project, to create a federation of Tunisians living abroad, to establish strategic partnerships in Europe and to set up, for this purpose, a digital platform," added the official.

Taking the floor, Industry and Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises Minister Slim Feriani said that Tunisians, in particular professionals abroad, have a great role to play in the economic transition and consolidation of Tunisia's position on the international market and thus the creation of win-win partnerships.

"The Diaspora is a key and effective tool for networking, innovation, technology transfer, mobilisation of funds and the promotion of industries," he indicated, explaining that the goal in the industry field is to create a new generation of SMEs, develop car industry, aeronautics, textile-clothing and agro-food industries.

He added that a strategy is being devised to involve the Diaspora by limiting the challenges facing them (bureaucracy, cumbersome administrative procedures, etc.) and drawing on successful experiences, such as the Irish experience.

In this regard, Feriani recalled the bill on crowd-funding which will be examined shortly by a Cabinet Meeting, saying that "this alternative means of financing will facilitate the contribution of the Diaspora to investment in Tunisia."

For his part, President of the Tunisian Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (APTBEF) Ahmed El Karam pointed out the need to make the most of the Tunisian Diaspora's willingness to invest in Tunisia by preparing them the ground and by supporting them through reception structures, especially banks "which know the strengths and weakness of the Tunisian economy."

The goal, he specified, is to reinvigorate the Tunisian economy, which needs strong growth and structural adjustments.

According to El Karam, to do this, it is necessary to set up a comprehensive and updated database to identify the Tunisian Diaspora, to design valid project ideas that comply with international standards and accepted by decision-makers of the Diaspora.

The forum on the Tunisian Diaspora is part of the project "Innovation, Regional Economic Development and Employment (IDEE)" implemented by GIZ jointly with the Ministry of Industry, worth over €19 million ( 62.32 MD).

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