Innovation, employment and regional economic development

Project description

Project title: Innovation, employment and regional economic development (IDEE)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Tunisia
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Industrie, des Mines et de l’Energie
Overall term: 2015 to 2017



Tunisia’s development model in recent decades has relied on export-driven industrialisation, based on low labour costs, investment incentives and proximity to the European market. Supplier and manufacturing industries were developed predominantly in the coastal regions. This has led to an economic and social division, splitting the country into dynamic coastal regions on the one hand, and neglected inland regions with a poorly diversified economic structure on the other. At the same time, modernisation processes in the export industries have been neglected. Value creation in virtually all sectors is minimal. Prospects are poor in rural regions, where high unemployment has resulted in outward migration.

Creating employment, particularly jobs for young people, and redressing economic and social imbalances between the regions are priorities of the Tunisian Government. To this end, it is seeking to stimulate labour-intensive sectors and boost economic development in the regions; establish a more enabling environment; improve the employability of young people and make the labour market more efficient.

The Jasmine Economic and Social Plan, a strategy developed to cover the period from 2012 to 2016, provides an overarching if only short to medium-term framework for these endeavours. The goals, which are also being pursued using other strategies, include all-inclusive growth; changes to the economic structure by stepping up the promotion of research and technology; greater integration into the global economy (including a more intensive South-South exchange); improvement of the education system and the creation of more conducive overall conditions.


The conditions for employment-intensive growth in selected regions, value chains and sectors are improved.



GIZ works with the Tunisian partner ministry to tackle obstacles to development, with the aim of developing existing potential in the interior regions and modernising businesses in the country’s industrial and service centres. The project aims in particular to facilitate mobility and exchange between the regions. It hopes to achieve this by helping to improve the employability of university graduates on the one hand, and by strengthening companies’ planning, development and management capacities in the field of human resources, marketing and technological transfer on the other.

GIZ adopts a multi-level approach, combining activities to improve overall conditions with the strengthening of relevant support institutions, including those at regional level. The project provides advisory services on introducing modern management methods to pilot companies and enterprises in selected value chains. These currently include olive oil, shoes and leather goods, marble, date and palm products, and gypsum. Intermediaries such as associations and management consultants are also integrated into this process.

The project works in four areas of activity:

  • provision of advisory services on policy and strategy to improve the economic conditions at national and regional level;
  • promotion of selected value chains based on their economic potential in the inland regions of the country;
  • introduction of new management methods and product and process innovations in selected sectors;
  • careers guidance at universities. The measures are designed to improve conditions for employment-intensive growth in the selected regions and sectors.

The measures are designed to improve conditions for employment-intensive growth in the selected regions and sectors.