Tunis/Tunisia — Innovation and new communication technologies (ICTs) offer the greatest potential to boost Tunisia's economic growth in 2021, As pointed out in a new report of the Oxford Business Group (OBG) produced in partnership with the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA-Tunisia). The 29-page report entitled Tunisia Covid-19 Response Report provides an in-depth analysis of the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic through key data, infographics and results from a survey conducted with Tunisia's business community.
The report provides a timeline of events, a breakdown of main government actions and a clear account of efforts mobilised by the country's private sector as well as civil society to bring about innovative solutions in the wake of Covid-19. The impact of the crisis on business practices, such as remote work, as well as business performance are also analysed in the report.
The OBG and FIPA-Tunisia report on the achievements of local startups and civil society, including the creation of robots, the design of telemedicine solutions, and the use of cutting-edge technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting machines, which helped the country overcome a number of obstacles during the pandemic.
The exclusive survey conducted by the OBG in June 2020, with about 50 participants from the Tunisian business community, the majority of participants had identified ICT and innovation as the sector with the greatest potential to drive the country's economic growth in 2021.
The survey also reveals the impact of the crisis on administrative procedures with more than half of the participants (54%) expecting a likely or very likely improvement in efficiency in public administration, driven in part by initiatives such as the launch of the unique citizen identifier in May.
The survey also focused on the expected medium- to long-term development, business models and the place of telework and social and environmental responsibility in business conduct.
The report also highlights the Tunisian textile sector, studying the way in which manufacturers - most of which were working at reduced capacity at the height of the crisis - have converted to produce protective masks to meet national and international health needs.
"The decision to invest in education and training as part of a wider strategy to diversify the economy has paid off in recent months in Tunisia, and looks promising for the future as well," said OBG CEO Andrew Jeffreys at the launch of the report.
"The country now has a skilled and educated workforce, which facilitates the expansion of high value-added segments within the industrial sector, such as the pharmaceutical and electronics industries," he explained. "Brilliant in their agility and productivity, companies in these sectors are not only popular with investors, but have also played a central role in the response to the crisis, enabling Tunisia to quickly put in place an effective strategy to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to FIPA-Tunisia Director General Abdelbasset Ghanmi, efforts to improve the business environment in the country could also help Tunisia consolidate its position in the global economy.
"While Tunisia faces structural social and economic challenges that need to be addressed, the country remains attractive to investors, with a young and skilled workforce and a strategic location," he stated.
"The country now has all the cards in hand to make the most of the emerging value chain offshoring and to attract a new wave of foreign investment."