AfDB Wants Souk At-Tanmia Pilot Project to be an Example of Successful Economic Integration and Inclusive Growth

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Reducing unemployment and inequalities in Tunisia’s underprivileged areas is the goal of the African Development Bank’s Souk At-Tanmia project. On 26 September 300 candidates among youths willing to set up their own business were pre-selected as part of the pilot initiative for economic development led by the AfDB and 18 partners.

The Bank is combining advocacy with action. Its agenda for growth and inclusion aims to address the fact that the benefits of strong growth this decade are not shared by all. In this regard, "promoting inclusive growth is now an emergency," says AfDB chief economist, Mthuli Ncube.

However, he says, "for Africa, the ingredients are well known: boosting agricultural production, providing assistance to small businesses, ensuring a better quality of education, promoting private sector development, improving the investment climate and reducing gender disparities and regional inequalities."

The Souk At-Tanmia initiative echoes the dynamics of inclusion the AfDB is looking to promote. It gives priority to the youth (more than 67% are between 18 and 34 years old), the unemployed 34% of which 32% are women. Disadvantaged areas were also privileged in the screening process (70%) with significant participation from the agricultural, manufacturing and ICT sectors.

The 300 shortlisted candidates will benefit from a "Business Entrepreneurship" training in October, free of charge, to enable the candidates to submit a more detailed proposal in the second round, as well as acquire basic managerial skills to successfully implement their projects.

The next step in the highly competitive selection process will be held in December. It will identify the best 70-100 projects for funding through grants ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 dinars. Selected candidates will be provided support by partners throughout 2013 by expert partners in various sectors. These partnerships are what led to the creation of Souk At-Tamnia in a unique approach bringing together the public and private sectors, civil society and academia selected based on their comparative advantages. If successful, the Souk At-Tanmia initiative could be replicated in many other countries.

It should be noted that in the context of broadening partnerships, the 4th Ministerial Conference on Economic Cooperation between Korea and Africa (KOAFEC) from 15 to 18 October 2012 in Seoul, will focus on "inclusive growth and green growth." More than 30 African countries, private and public sectors of Korea, as well as academics will participate.

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