After a short-lived economic rebound in 2012, Tunisia’s increasing political and social instability, as well as the difficult external environment that characterized most of 2013-2014, led to a slowdown of economic growth in recent years. Unemployment was at 15.3 percent in 2015 from 16.7 percent in 2011, but still well above the pre-revolution level of 13 percent. The jobs that have been created in Tunisia have been mainly in low productivity sectors and employ low skilled workers. Slightly less than half of the working age population participates in the labor market. This can be explained by the low labor force participation rate of women and youth.
Building more inclusive value chains is an effective way of bringing more women and youth into the labor market. Value chain analysis studies the processes firms use to deliver goods and services to the market. The Let’s Work Tunisia program aims to identify the constraints in value chains that affect job creation and productivity in lagging regions. As part of the program, a series of workshops on value chain development and analysis have been held for government counterparts. The trainings will shape World Bank Group lending projects intended to grow private sector job creation in Tunisia and prepare civil servants involved in carrying out the projects. The workshops have a strong focus on market segments that help create more jobs and provide a high return of investment for firms. The analysis enables participants to learn about the business relationships that connect the chain, methods for raising efficiency in the chain, and ways for firms to expand their businesses. Four workshops were completed between April and July 2016, and the last and fifth session of the program will be held in September 2016.
Work shop participants learn key concepts from international case studies and apply these concepts to local value chains in group settings. Teams present their findings to each other and engage in discussions to maximize mutual learning. The program brings together staff from seven public administrations working on private sector and regional development and aims to enhance partnership between the agencies.
Tunisia is one of seven Let’s Work Pillar 1 country pilots. Pillar 1 aims is to address the jobs challenge by developing innovative and cross-sectoral private-sector led pilots that can be scaled up to the national level, if successful.