Promoting training and employment for young people in Tunisia (Maghreb)

Programme description

Title: Open regional fund for promoting training and employment for young people in Tunisia (Maghreb)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Tunisia
Overall term: 2012 to 2017

Tunisia. Young trainees at the Sartex textile company. © GIZ


A lack of prospects for young Tunisians is recognised as one of the main causes of social tension and political unrest. The country’s unemployment rate stood at 15.9 per cent in mid-2013 and almost a fifth of all women and a third of university graduates are without work.


The number of self-employed and employed workers has increased in the sectors and regions supported by the project.


On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is initiating, financing, promoting and implementing a number of cooperation approaches designed to increase employment through an Open Regional Fund. The Fund’s activities are steered by a team whose members represent the key stakeholders in the labour market – the private sector, civil society and the state. This team employs transparent processes to select projects that create employment prospects for young Tunisians. The projects are implemented in close collaboration with the private sector and civil society.

Apart from creating job opportunities for young Tunisians, all these projects simultaneously develop concepts that improve the structure of the labour market. An advisory committee ensures vertical and horizontal upscaling. Wherever possible, pilot projects are multiplied so that additional young people can benefit from the Fund's approaches – in the medium term without German support. With a view to improving employment conditions in the long term, concerted efforts are also being made to draw on the lessons learned in the projects when shaping the legal framework.

Four approaches form the basis of the Fund’s activities:

  1. Improving in-company training, and as a result better fulfilling the needs of the private sector
  2. Professionalising job placement and human resources management, thereby creating a better match between business needs and the skills of those seeking employment
  3. Supporting business start-ups and boosting entrepreneurship
  4. Increasing the attractiveness of crafts and trades with high employment potential.

At present 21 projects are in progress, including:

  • A vocational guidance, placement and retraining centre for young jobseekers (CORP)
  • Promotion of traditional weaving in Gafsa, southern Tunisia
  • Boosting entrepreneurship through franchising
  • Creating jobs with olive wood
  • Recycling: fast-track jobs
  • New furniture from Monastir
  • Start-up centre: young entrepreneurs creating jobs
  • Smart & green city – driving force for employment
  • Economic growth by conserving and using biodiversity
  • Social enterprises: a secure income for young craftswomen
  • Mobile training in the construction industry
  • Setting up a training centre within the Knauf company in Meknessy and promoting occupational profiles for trades.

Nine projects have been successfully completed, for example

  • Promoting employment in agriculture in the Sidi Bouzid region
  • Training and integrating unskilled young people into the workforce in the structurally weak municipality of Ettadhamen
  • Sartex textile academy
  • Excellent service as a guarantee of employment in the tourism sector.


More than 1,600 young Tunisians have participated in in-firm vocational training within the Fund’s projects. Of these individuals, 80 per cent subsequently found jobs.

More businesses are becoming actively involved in the training and continuing professional development of young Tunisians. As a result, the training measures are geared more closely to actual needs. Companies are better able to fill job vacancies.

In tandem with state-run job placement services, two innovative centres have been opened that specialise in vocational guidance, supporting HR departments and providing training in soft skills. One centre also offers vocational retraining to equip jobseekers for work for which they would otherwise not be able to gain qualifications in Tunisia.

More than 40 business start-ups have emerged from the Fund’s projects, creating over 60 jobs in all.