Competitive enterprises and value chains for more jobs and higher income

Project description

Project title: Innovation, employment and regional economic development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Tunisia
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Industrie, Ministry of Industry
Overall term: 2015 to 2021

giz-Buff-Tunesien-8: Improving the value chain for dates makes businesses more competitive. Photo: GIZ / Berno Buff


Since the revolution in 2011, economic development has declined in Tunisia. Unemployment is high at over 15 per cent, rising to over 30 per cent in parts of the structurally weak regions in the country’s interior. Only around a quarter of all women of working age have a job; around half of all women graduates are also unemployed.

Added value is low in many industries and enterprises in the interior of the country often lack access to the market. People with responsibility in politics and institutions lack the skills and structures for effective regional economic promotion and developing competitive value chains. Enterprises are not exploiting the benefits of modern management methods and digital technologies. They also note that university graduates lack the necessary soft skills and have no understanding of the world of work.

Young people in particular do not see any prospects, which leads to emigration and social unrest.


The economic performance of enterprises in selected sectors is improved.

IDEE_RH_059 – Kopie: Training in modern processing techniques enhances product quality. Photo: GIZ


The programme team works with enterprises in the interior of the country to develop value chains for dates, olive oil, marble and gypsum, among other products. Customised training in marketing and modern processing techniques makes the enterprises and industry technology centres more competitive. The project advises providers of business services in the fields of human resources management and marketing on ways of developing and providing needs-oriented services with staggered prices. A future priority will also be on establishing training services for IT enterprises and experts, and intensifying cooperation between Tunisian and foreign IT companies.

Coaching services are emerging at business incubator centres to make business start-ups more successful. In future, the aim is to persuade around one million Tunisians living abroad to play a greater role in the economic development of their country of origin, by supporting business start-ups and know-how transfer.

A vocational orientation at universities will prepare young graduates for the requirements of the private sector. In future, universities and research institutes are also to develop and offer services with project assistance which prepare young people better for professional practice. They will facilitate technology transfer for enterprises.


Around 400 enterprises in the north-east regions and in the centre and south of the country are involved in the further processing and marketing of dates, olive oil, marble and gypsum. A first association of five companies has been formed to jointly market dates and date products. Product quality has risen, and the enterprises have developed new markets.

160 enterprises have received consultancy services on human resources management, marketing, process and product innovation. This has made them more competitive, and 40 new jobs have been created.

To notify students of job opportunities and make them aware of the necessary soft skills, around 20 consultants are being trained in professional orientation.

Currently, 154 enterprises are benefiting from consulting services providers trained through the project. This figure is set to rise to at least 840 by the end of the project, 252 of which are managed by women. They will increase sales and profitability, develop new markets and introduce innovations. The employees benefit from higher incomes and better working conditions. And these enterprises will be able to create new jobs.

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