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Tunisia: Rethinking the industrial policy for a balanced territorial development

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In its latest economic note, the African Development Bank (AfDB)‘s Department for North Africa assessed the impact of new developments in Tunisia’s industrial policy to see how this would bring a more balanced progress nationwide.

The analysis confirms that the more developed coastal governorates host a wide variety of economic activities. Conversely the less developed inner and southern governorates present the least diversified industrial structure.

The report also identifies two industrial hubs which could serve to lay the foundations for new growth: an industrial hub consisting primarily of Sousse and Nabeul with a higher market value and an industrial hub comprising Kasserine and Gafsa with a lower economic value.

It was also pointed out that on one hand the coastal governorates and Zaghouan meet the conditions to start engaging in a process of structural transformation as they foster activities that generate a higher added value. In diversifying the economy, these regions have nurtured a skilled, experienced and diverse workforce.

On the other hand, building on the resources available and taking advantage of synergies between coastal governorates and their neighbors should stimulate a partial migration of intensive activities workforce to disadvantaged regions. Accordingly, they should go through a first stage of mastering the existing specialization, followed by a second stage of diversification.

This dual approach would ultimately rebalance the territorial development of Tunisia, through economic integration across regions and job creation over a larger part of the territory.

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