World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2009–2010 ranks Tunisia as the best performer in Africa in terms of using ICT effectively in the general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT and ability to use and benefit from ICT.
ICT is used in Tunisia to improve competitiveness and for socioeconomic development. Tunisia has effectively mainstreamed ICT into the heart of its national development plan to build a knowledge-based economy.
Tunisia is one of the first African countries to design and implement a national ICT strategy providing support for private sector development and participation as well as the establishment of a regulatory framework for ICT and ICT enabled activities. The Ministry of Communication Technologies is responsible for information technology regulation and strategy in Tunisia.
Only in November 2009 Mr. Mohamed Ghannouchi, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Tunisia stated that, “In order to upgrade and consolidate the immaterial economy and to enhance Tunisia’s digital standing, a national agency for the promotion of investment in the digital economy will be established. Its purposes will be to supervise project sponsors and enterprises, to provide technological spaces and modern communication networks, and to assist with the implementation of digital projects ”.
The government helped in creating a national digital culture through the provision of ICT access for all – there was no divide in terms of access to ICT.
Furthermore legal and regulatory frameworks put in place helped to establish a climate of trust in the ICT environment. This facilitated the sustainable development of e-payment, e-commerce and online and ICT enabled commercial transactions. Tunisia has used ICT to diversify its economy and create value-added activities in all sectors. Public-Private Partnerships in Tunisia led to the development of ICT-enabled value-added services.
Tunisia is also one of the first on the African continent to formulate a national cybersecurity strategy aimed at facilitating electronic commerce and online services as well as ensuring the security of information and ICT assets. In addition to passing information protection legislation Tunisia established the National Agency for Computer Security (ANSI) and the Tunisian Computer Emergency Response Team (TunCERT).
Legal and information security frameworks have been critical in attracting FDI and allowed Tunisia to become a major outsourcing destination in the region.
Tunisia has been enable to attract significant investment through the US$3 billion Tunis Telecom City (TTC) mega-project, a planned network of telecom cities, designed to provide infrastructural, research and development, educational and support to telecom and IT sector needs in Tunisia and grow Tunisian expertise in ICT. TTC will include clusters such as: An International University of Telecom; Telecom Venture Capital; An International Telecoms Exchange; Business Process Outsourcing Complex, etc.
Incentives used to promote partnership and investment in ICT include: Tax reduction by 50% for investments in the ICTs sector, Tax reduction for companies that reinvest 35% of their own net profits subject to the corporate tax; Exemption from the income tax for wholly export-oriented enterprises during 10 years;
In line with its digital culture approach, Tunisia grew and developed its knowledge economy through the emphasis it placed on education and human capital development in meeting the needs of the market. Quality human capital was made a priority in order to have citizens with equipped with skills and knowledge to tap into the benefits of the information age and drive the knowledge-based economy.
Related measures to facilitate ICT education and human capital development included the setting up technology parks all over Tunisia. These parks helped in providing opportunities for startups, business incubators, scientific research and science and technology training and education programs.