Initiative for regional development
Title: Initiative for regional development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministère de Développement, de l’Investissement et de la Coopération Internationale (MDICI)
Overall duration: 2015 to 2021
Tunisia is affected by huge regional development disparities. Having been managed for decades by central government, regional development policies have left the regions of the country’s interior severely disadvantaged. Former development plans neglected the needs of the population and made insufficient use of the potentials of the governorates, and measures were often implemented slowly. Despite the stated aim of the new constitution to pursue decentralisation, the regions still have few opportunities to participate in decision-making processes or to shape their own development.
After the revolution of 2010 and 2011, a new cross-sectoral approach to regional development planning was mapped out initially in four governorates with support from GIZ. Discussions were held between state, civil society and private sector actors. In a participatory process, they assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the different regions, developed common visions for development, and identified potential projects through which to fulfil the visions. Since 2015 this method has been applied throughout the country to help create the Tunisian government’s new 2016-20 Five-Year Development Plan. These development projects are in part highly ambitious, yet the regional stakeholders lack the necessary funding, the organisational and technical skills, and the necessary management experience to implement the new plans properly. Nor do they possess the appropriate skills for getting the local communities, civil society associations and private sector involved in the development process. As a result, the new participatory approaches to integrated regional development are not yet established within the governorates.
New participatory approaches to regional development have been established in eight governorates.
The initiative focuses on the eight governorates of Béja, Jendouba, Médenine, Kairouan, Kasserine, Kef, Sidi Bouzid and Siliana. GIZ is supporting the transparent and participatory implementation of 50 to 60 projects that are based on the new development plans. In this way, the initiative is helping to establish the new participatory approach to regional development while supporting its practical implementation. It is active in two areas:
- Support for regional steering and selection bodies in the selection, management and monitoring of the projects
- Support for public administration, private sector and civil society organisations in the design and implementation of projects.
In the 8 governorates, the initiative promotes political participation and democratic development from the bottom up. It reinforces the trust of the local population in the state and public administration. In the long term, this reduces the existing potential for conflict. At the same time, implementing effective development projects helps to stabilise the economic situation in the 8 governorates and directly improves the living conditions of the population.
The lead executing agency of the project is the Tunisian Ministry of Development, Investment and International Cooperation (Ministère de Développement, de l’Investissement et de la Coopération Internationale; MDICI) with its main division Regional Development. The implementation partners at regional level are MDICI’s regional development directorates as well as its supraregional North West (ODNO) and Centre West (ODCO) development offices.
The project is part of a special initiative designed to stabilise and promote development in North Africa and the Middle East run by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Through the projects that make up this special initiative, BMZ is helping to open up economic and social prospects for people in the region. Within this context, an additional sum of more than EUR 300 million has been earmarked for projects carried out by GIZ and other implementing organisations in the period from 2014 to 2021. The thematic focus is on youth and employment promotion, economic stabilisation, democracy and stabilising neighbouring countries in crisis situations.
The projects presented in the development plans cover all areas of life for the people in the regions involved, including development of infrastructure, such as roads and educational establishments, promotion of agriculture and industry, and improvements in the health system.
Initial implementation of health and education projects has begun in cooperation with the responsible regional development directorates. The next step will be to involve further sectors. The planned projects include the construction and renovation of 16 local health centres, a mammography centre and a rehabilitation facility for the physically impaired. In addition, medical equipment such as electrocardiographs and dentists’ chairs, as well as an ambulance, will be procured. 17 primary schools in rural areas will be refurbished. Their sanitation facilities will be modernised, classrooms maintained and sports grounds and school yards redesigned. Of the 17 primary schools, 8 will be equipped with new canteens. In addition, 50 canteens have been fitted with new refrigerators to ensure high food quality even in hot weather, which has improved the quality of the meals provided to children. 9 of the implemented regional development projects focus on supporting women in particular.