ICT in Tunisia: A Strategic Lever for Building a Knowledge-Based Economy
TAWFIK JELASSI, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, France
We have dedicated a privileged position, in our program for the future, to the building of the society of knowledge and technological innovation, based on our conviction that no progress or development can be achieved without mastering, adapting and benefiting from modern technologies, in a way that consolidates the foundations of the new economy and expands the prospects of employment and integration in professional life.
—Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia, (excerpt from his swearing-in speech before Parliament, November 12, 2009)
Information and communication technologies (ICT) can be used as a strategic lever for socioeconomic development and as a competitive tool in an increasingly global and deregulated market. In Tunisia, the government has positioned these technologies at the heart of the national development plan.They are considered an enabler for economic diversification and for the creation of new, value-added activities in all sectors. Tunisia has been among the first African countries to implement an ICT-based national strategy aimed at: 1. modernizing the telecommunications infrastructure throughout the country; 2. formulating a regulatory framework for the digital economy that supports the private sector and fosters corporate competitiveness; 3. developing human resources through the restructuring of education, training, and research institutions; and 4. enhancing international cooperation and partnerships in the ICT field. Since 2002, the telecommunications sector in Tunisia has been deregulated, a national telecommunications agency created, and an electronic signature and electronic document exchange adopted.The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), started by the United Nations in 1998 on Tunisia’s proposal and hosted by the country in its second phase in 2005, boosted... [continues]
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