A study entitled “Scenarios for the end of 2020 and rescue and exit strategy: the digital and digital vector” recently drawn up by the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies (ITES), defined the action plan needed to enable the digital sector to express its full potential in the short term.
This plan revolves around two strategic objectives, consisting of ensuring decent life for Tunisians during the COVID period and developing the digital industry.
To achieve this objective, a series of strategic orientations have been adopted. The aim is to take advantage of the crisis to prepare for the future, by allowing the normal functioning of educational structures that can provide the conditions for distancing and by resorting blended learning in educational structures.
It also aimed to strengthen the skills of on-line training, by promoting distance education in Tunisian universities, by transforming the Tunisian Virtual University into a centre of competence for the benefit of other universities and by providing online support and examinations.
The other strategic orientation consists in improving the infrastructure of educational establishments, by ensuring the telecom coverage of all schools and health structures and by rehabilitating schools.
Still within the framework of this first objective, the ITES study recommends setting up a digital solution for managing queues and tele-appointments in high-demand organisations such as CNAM services, large municipalities, the post office, etc., accelerating the implementation of telemedicine, telemonitoring and electronic and mobile payments and developing them on a large scale, and implementing a mechanism for coordinating activities with civil society.
Besides, the study suggests diversifying markets and developing FDI by promoting the Tunisian site, using economic diplomacy and developing the concept of co-location to attract FDI and strengthen the local fabric of digital companies.
They also recommend strengthening the local business fabric by creating TUDIPA (Tunisia Digital Promotion Agency) and speeding up the publication of the law on the protection of personal data.
Furthermore, ITES considers it necessary to reinforce the availability of digital skills by increasing the training capacities of the digital sectors, by retraining unemployed graduates through the reinforcement of their digital skills, by generalising digital education to all sectors and by developing soft-skills.
To boost the digital industry and innovation, this study also stresses the need to generalise the measures of the Startup Act to all companies in the digital sector, to adapt public procurement procedures and the use of PPP (public-private partnership), digital services, to reserve more public contracts for SMEs and to effectively implement the Tunisian “Small Business Act”. This study also recommends the introduction of a specific tax system for business angels to encourage them to invest and to promulgate a specific law on innovation, R&D and higher education.
This study is part of a more global study conducted by ITES, entitled: “Tunisia facing COVID-19 by 2025: Foundations of a strategy reconciling the urgency of the short term and the imperatives of the medium-term” in its second phase: to ensure the rescue and prepare the restarting of the national economy. The use of digital technology within the administration will be the subject of another study.