STI Africa: Tunisia.

Posted on Sep 20, 2015 by Jelel.Ezzine  | Comments (0)

 Tags: Tunisie, Africa, STI

Summary :

Post-revolution Tunisia has a unique and historic opportunity to leverage its competitive advantages and swiftly catch up with the developed world. A long-term vision stipulates that Tunisia secures its place on the world stage as a society where innovation-led sustainable growth, creative and skilled entrepreneurial human capital



Post-revolution Tunisia has a unique and historic opportunity to leverage its competitive advantages and swiftly catch up with the developed world. A long-term vision stipulates that Tunisia secures its place on the world stage as a society where innovation-led sustainable growth, creative and skilled entrepreneurial human capital, and a democratic political system pave the way towards competitiveness and sustainable growth, alongside the betterment of local and global well being. However, it is far from enough to have a vision, a strong willpower to pursue it and even a unique window of opportunity to launch it, if the minimal socio-political, institutional and material prerequisites are not available! 

Tunisia is a country with scarce natural resources, limited STI policy making and RD management experiences, and almost nonexistent and at best inoperative if not degrading post revolution STI coordinating and monitoring institutions. This will need to be swiftly rectified if Tunisia is to fulfill its potential. 

Education, scientific research and innovation sectors had always a place in Tunisia’s development strategies. According to the World Bank, Tunisia’s spending on education in 2012 was 6.2% of GDP. This is higher than Algeria (4.3% in 2008) and Morocco (5.4% in 2009). Moreover, in 2012, 35.2% of the corresponding population benefited from tertiary education, compared to 31.5% in Algeria and 16.2% in Morocco in 2011.

 

The country’s RD expenditures saw a steady increase during the last decade. They more than doubled, from 0.5% of GDP in 2000 to 1.1% of GDP in 2009. This performance remains unmatched in the North African region; with Algeria’s corresponding number was 0.1% of GDP in 2005, and Morocco’s 0.7% of GDP in 2010.

Tunisia’s number of researchers per million people, almost tripled during the last two decades, from about 700 in 1998, to 1837 in 2008. This performance remains notable in the region when compared to 165 for Algeria in 2005 and 864 for Morocco in 2011. 

The country also managed to beat its neighbors in terms of scientific and technical journal articles published, reaching 1016 publications in 2011, up from 91 articles in 1993. Comparatively, Algeria and Morocco published 599 and 386 articles, respectively, in 2011.

 

However, Tunisia’s exponential growth in RD expenditure, researchers per million inhabitants and journal articles in recent decades is offset by the modest contribution of RD to the Tunisian economy. For instance, Tunisia Economic and Social Challenges Beyond the Revolution report by the African Development Bank, reported that only 17 international patents were granted by the United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) to Tunisia between 2001 and 2010, compared with 22 for Morocco.

 

 

Tunisia also records a low high-technology export performance, exporting only 5.6% of total manufactured exports, in 2011, while Morocco achieved a 6.4% and Algeria a 0.1% in 2012. These results reveal a breakdown in the Tunisian national innovation system. 

Despite the noticeable evolution of the number of researchers, engineers and scientists and scientific and technical publications, Tunisia’s innovation remains far below expectations. In my view the country’s key shortcomings, regardless of the corruption and lack of freedom which certainly contributed to the current state of affairs, remain a blatant absence of a collective vision and related strategies and programs, along with a lack of appropriate incentives and absence of coordination, leading to almost absent innovation activity. However, the current time of crisis, and thus of possible renewal, is an opportunity for the country, its people and leaders to find a pathway for deep socio-economic transformation towards equitable sustainable development and well being. 

To wit, there are a few recommendations that the government should consider and deal with in the near future. Among other things, 

    1. universities need more autonomy and should be encouraged to focus on their areas of strengths and play their role of local engines of development. They also need to be allowed to diversify their funding, by seeking competitive grants from a variety of sources.
    2. The country also needs to adopt a long-term industrial policy capable of consolidating the competitive sectors, while launching a dozen of new high value-added industrial niches. To secure and accelerate the development of these new industrial sectors, the government must also initiate national innovation procurement programs and champion large national STI projects. The latter will also enhance capacity, encourage collaboration and boost the much needed learning by doing.
    3. Last but not least, the government should create a vice prime-minister position in charge of STI to coordinate the complex National Innovation System and ensure that it is aligned with the remaining sectors and their different other policies and initiatives.

 

Invigorated with this vision and the needed viable strategies and action plans to attain it, the Tunisian people will be able to regain hope, trust their leaders and work hard while looking forward to better future for themselves and their children.

Fore more details please visit: http://novacogitatio.blogspot.com/2013/04/st-tunisias-lifeboat.html

 

Share this blog on :

 Comments (0)


 Add a Comment




Add a new comment:


 Latest Posts