Tunisia has been going through a momentous social, political and economic transition since the beginning of the protests in late 2010/early 2011 and the subsequent overthrowing of the former President Ben Ali. Of the many challenges that Tunisia has to cope with, it was surely the staggering unemployment figures (particularly among young graduates), along with inequality, corruption and the inadequate economic development perceived by large segments of the population, that triggered the popular unrest nearly five years ago. The Jasmine Revolution unleashed not only a profound change in Tunisia, but ignited other similar protests across the region.

A new constitution was passed and parliamentary and presidential elections were held in 2014. These and other incentives to passing reforms became vital steps on the way for Tunisia to realize its full potential; and the driving forces of this revolution remain relevant today.

Entrepreneurship is not the one miracle ingredient that will help Tunisia overcome the many challenges but it is certainly a key component that should not be underestimated. But for an entrepreneurship ecosystem to flourish, an adequate supporting environment for startups needs to be in place – and this framework is starting to develop in Tunisia. A growing number of incubators, accelerators, networks and investors as well as conferences and programmes for young entrepreneurs have been established This is good news for Tunisia, because a connected ecosystem and a thriving entrepreneurial community with the right support, infrastructure and resources will have a strongly positive impact on economy and society. Popular attitudes in Tunisia are already turning in favour of, entrepreneurship as a crucial factor in the development of the country.

Tunisia has a lot of potential, but there is the need to open up, get rid of the heavy cost of bureaucracy, lift the limited competition on a national level and pave the way for a more competitive economy to attract foreign investment. It might be a long way, but these are hurdles that can be overcome and enpact is proud to be part of Tunisia’s entrepreneurial adventure.

Facts about Tunisia:

  • Population: 11 Million
  • GDP growth 2014: 2,6 %
  • Doing Business 2015 rank: 60th
  • Unemployment: 15%
  • Youth unemployment: 30%
  • Nascent Entrepreneurship Rate 2012: 2.4%

Sources: INS Tunisie; World Bank; Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM); OPIC; WAMDA Research Lab.