Investing in ICT in Tunisia by pengxiang


									Investing in ICT in Tunisia
Why Tunisia?                                                           4

     A modern and liberal economy, open to the World                   4
     A well thought-out ICT strategy                                   6
     A regional ICT hub                                                7

Expansion of the ICT sector                                            10
     Tunisian software firms continual expansion and achievements      10
     A dynamic sector                                                  11
     Constant investments                                              11
     A sector open to foreign markets                                  12
     State-of-the-art technologies and skills                          12

Qualified human resources                                              14
     A higher quality of education                                     14
     A young and qualified population                                  14
     Knowledge society                                                 15

A modern and reliable infrastructure                                   18

     Telecommunication infrastructure                                  18
     Technological parks, cyber parks and real estate infrastructure   19

Investment: an emerging sector                                         24

     Support to ICT start ups                                          24
     Software firms’ support                                           24
     Investment advantages                                             25
     Direct Foreign Investments                                        25
     Legislative environment for ICT                                   26

An open country where you can enjoy life                               28

A strategy for strengthening Tunisia’s advantages                      32

Contact                                                                34
We have accorded a special place, 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 eco-
nomy and expands the prospects of employment and integration in professional life.

In line with this orientation, we give instructions for launching, as a first phase, the
establishment of a technological space, over an area of 200,000 sq. meters, in accor-
dance with the most advanced international standards in terms of equipments and basic
facilities. This will consolidate the capacity to attract internationally renowned institu-
tions operating in fields with high knowledge content.

We also give instructions for preparing a program to promote training and the certifi-
cation of qualifications, as part of partnership with the largest specialized interna-
tional institutions and the certified training centres. This program will cover, in a first
phase, ten thousand young people who will obtain certification in the fields of software
development, project leadership, network management, and computer security.

To enhance the pace of investment in the sectors with high technological content, we
give instructions for establishing a coherent strategic plan, with the participation of
national competences at home and abroad, and in cooperation with specialized inter-
national institutions, to promote our country into a regional hub for promising activities
with high employability for university graduates.

                                                                Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
                                                         President of the Tunisian Republic
                                                    swearing in address, 12 November 2009
    Investing in ICT in Tunisia

           « President Ben Ali explained to me clearly the strategy adopted by Tunisia
           in the field of ICT, a vanguard strategy that captivated me. Microsoft should
           give full support to this project putting at its disposal all its know-how in both
           technological and pedagogical areas” [...].”Tunisia’s wealth rests on the brains
           and skills of its people »

                                                                   Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft.

              Why Tunisia ?

     Tunisia’s many advantages attract the most important multinational companies in the ICT sector.
     Some examples include Microsoft, SAGEM, Orascom, TeCom-DIG, France Telecom, Cisco Systems,
     HP, ALTRAN, ADP, Alcatel Lucent, HR Access, Huawei Technologies, Siemens, STMicroelectronics and
     In view of these advantages, international firms have been attracted to set up production develop-
     ment sites, regional centers and regional technical support centers. Foreign investors are attracted
     by Tunisia’s many advantages in terms of its well defined strategy, the quality of its human resources,
     and its geographical position,
     Thus, Tunisia has gradually confirmed its place as a regional ICT hub and a favorable site for the
     growth of ICT firms, both locally and globally.

     A modern and liberal economy, open to the World
     Tunisia was ranked 40th in the world in terms of total competitiveness and growth

     The growing importance of its liberal economy makes Tunisia, ranked by the 2009-2010 report of the

     World Economic Forum, ( 40th, in terms of total competitiveness and growth,

     thus preceding several industrialized countries. Tunisia is also ranked first in Africa, preceding South

     Africa, Mauritius, Egypt and Morocco.

     This ranking is established on the basis of 12 qualitative and quantitative criteria: institutional en-

     vironment (legal and administrative context), macro-economic stability, infrastructure, health and

     primary school education, innovation, market efficiency (financial, labor and goods), technological

     capacity, size of the market, complexity of business and higher education and training.

     Tunisia is ranked 7th in the world in terms of the quality of scientific higher education; 9th in terms

                                                                                 Why Tunisia ?

of availability of scientists and engineers; and 5th with regard to good management of public

expenditure. Thanks to its economic success, Tunisia earned the following investment gradings: BBB

(Standard & Poor), Baa2 (Moody), BBB+ (Fitch-IBCA) and A- ( R&I).

                             Rank                    Country                   Score
                               2                       USA                     5,59
                               7                   Germany                     5,37
                              16                     France                     5,13
                              40                     Tunisia                   4,50
                              43                    Portugal                   4,40
                              45                 South Africa                  4,34
                              46                     Poland                    4,33
                              47                    Slovakia                    4,31
                              48                       Italy                    4,31
                              58                   Hungary                     4,22
                              64                   Romania                      4,11
                              70                      Egypt                    4,04
                              73                    Morocco                    4,03
                                         Source : Davos World Economic Forum

                              Table 1 : Report on global competitiveness 2009-2010

Openness of investment and income transfer
In Tunisia, investment is open to nationals and foreigners in the majority of industry sectors. A foreign
investor can hold up to 100% of the capital of the project without authorization in most sectors.
Foreign investors profit from a guarantee of transfer of the invested capital income: dividends,
attendance fees etc.

Business opportunities
Tunisia has many business opportunities in its national market as well as with countries from Africa,
the Middle East and Europe.
Many opportunities exist within the framework of privatization of public markets and licenses make
it possible for various well known ICT companies to settle in Tunisia: TeCom-DIG, France Telecom,
Orascom, Siemens and Alcatel Lucent.
Moreover, since the beginning of 2007, a law was promulgated encouraging administrations, state

    Investing in ICT in Tunisia
     enterprises as well as local communities to outsource their data processing to the private sector.
     It is within this framework that SITA, a world leader in ICT solutions for aeronautics, created a joint
     venture with Tunisair.

     A well defined ICT strategy

     Conscious of the importance of the role which can be played by the ICT sector in economic and social
     development, Tunisia was one of the first countries in Africa and the Middle East to define and set up
     an ICT strategy.
     The ambitious ICT strategy involved:
     	        •	Development	of	human	resources
     	        •	Reform	of	the	regulatory	and	institutional	environments
     	        •The	improvement	of	infrastructure	in	terms	of	networks,	equipment	and	services
     	        •	ICT	use	
     	        •	Business	growth

     The ICT sector: A major axis of Tunisian strategy
     The main focus of Tunisian ICT strategy encompasses information technology (IT), and more par-
     ticularly, software industry technologies, services and multimedia. Indeed, the 11th Economic and
     Development Plan (2007-2011), has envisaged for ICT, an annual growth of 17% and a 13.5% contribution
     to the GDP at the end of 2011. In 2008, the participation of the ICT sector in the GDP was 10%.
     Considering the importance of the information society, Tunisia proposed in 1998, during the
     Plenipotentiary Conference (Minneapolis, 1998) on the role of the ITU, the implementation of a World
     Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

         World summit on information society: a bright success

         In Tunis, consensus and commitment to ensure equitable access to information was achieved.
         (Extracts from the ITU press release)

         The second phase of the WSIS was held in Tunis on November 16th - 18th 2005. Indeed, and as it was recalled
         by Mr Utsumi, General Secretary of the ITU in his closing speech - “It is fitting that this stage of our journey ends
         here in Tunis, the capital of the country that launched this process seven years earlier at the Plenipotentiary
         Conference of the ITU in Minneapolis.”
         Described as a significant success by the delegations of 174 states and the participants of more than 800 enti-
         ties that included organizations of the United Nations, private sector companies, and civil society organizations,
         the Summit dealt with the issue of the “digital divide” and on the potential of communication and information
         technologies (ICT) to promote economic and social development.

                                                                             Why Tunisia ?

A regional hub

Tunisia, a regional ICT hub
In addition to its privileged geographical position,
in the middle of the Mediterranean and half way
between Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle-
East, Tunisia has trade agreements relating to the
introduction of free exchange zones and preferential
The strength of its economy and the renowned qua-
lity of its products and services in many markets ma-
kes Tunisia a privileged location for companies that
intend to set up and build their ICT activities and an
advanced base for their firms.

Tunisia at the crossroads of Europe, the Mid-
dle East and Africa

A privileged partner of Europe
Tunisia is a privileged partner of the European Union.
It is centrally located in the Mediterranean and there-
fore has close social and cultural ties and economic
co-operation agreements with Europe.
Tunisia is the first country on the southern bank of
the Mediterranean to have ratified the partnership
agreement and the free trade agreement with the
European Union in 1995. Implemented in 1996, this
                                                                   Source : National Institute of Statistics / Tunisia
agreement established a free exchange zone.
                                                          Figure 1 : Tunisian exports to the European Union market

    Investing in ICT in Tunisia

     Euro-Mediterranean zone
     Tunisian exports to the European Union market have witnessed constant growth. Overall exports grew
     from 51% in 1976 to 80% in 2008.

     Arab countries’ markets
     Tunisia is bound by preferential agreements with the Maghreb and Arab countries. The implemen-
     tation of the regional agreement established in 1998, instituting the Arab free exchange zone, is
     largely advanced.
     The bilateral agreements instituting a free exchange zone with Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Iraq and
     Libya govern exchanges with these countries. Other free trade agreements are being negotiated with
     various countries in the region.

                                        Source : National Institute of Statistics / Tunisia

                                   Figure 2 : Tunisian exports to Arab countries

     African countries markets
     Tunisia has preferential trade agreements with several African Countries. (
     Consulting and ICT companies are acting in several African Countries, in North Africa
     and Sub - saharian Africa. Tunisian products and services are very well appreciated there.
     The range of services provided by Tunisian companies in Africa is varying from feasibility studies, to
     project design, achievement, and implementation, etc

                                                                              Why Tunisia ?

Other markets: A preferential situation with the world powers
Tunisia benefits from tariff reductions with Japan, Canada, the United States, Switzerland and Australia
that are authorized within the framework of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for various

   STMicroelectronics :

   A multinational company subject to Dutch law, STMicroelectronics was created in 1987 through the

   merger of the Italian company SGS and the French company Thomson Semiconductors. STMicroelec-

   tronics is one of the leading global players in development and production of semi conductors.

   With 16 R&D units and 39 design and application centers employing more than 45,000 people,

   STMicroelectronics has achieved a turnover of 2.3 billion euros in 2008, representing 4% of the

   market share worldwide. STMicroelectronics is a leader in the market segments in which it operates

   and in particular circuits for MPEG video encoders/decoders, mobile phones circuits and automation

   circuits. It has over 1,500 customers which include: NOKIA, SONY, HP, SAMSUNG, BOSCH, SIEMENS

   and SAGEM.

   STMicroelectronics started operations in Tunisia in 2001 through the R&D center specializing in

   microcontrollers, digital TV and digital decoders. Because of the quality and availability of human

   resources, the Tunisian operation of STMicroelectronics has rapidly increased from 8 to

   250 engineers and has specialized in high quality products with very short notice. This site was also

   certified ISO TS in 2004.

   The company’s Tunisian operation has always kept its key advantages: availability of highly skilled

   human resources, highly competitive cost, geographical and cultural proximity, infrastructure,

   transparency, political, economic and social stability, fiscal benefits etc.

   «The proximity of Europe, language, qualified engineers and a very good system of incentives encou-

   raging the recruitment of young graduates are strengths in the development of STMicroelectronics


                                  Hichem Ben Hamida, General Manager, STMicroelectronics, Tunisia

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia

        «There are high level companies in Tunisia capable of developing very high performance compu-
        ter systems. It has not been necessary to train staff. We simply combine our various skills. Certain
        activities are handled through co-contracting, for example, development of high level computer
        applications. »

                                                                                  Marc Rossi, President Director General, Cyberg Systems

         Expansion of the ICT sector

      Continuous expansion and achievements of Tunisian software firms

      ICT and more particularly the software industry, services and multimedia stand out as the
      main focus of Tunisia’s ICT development strategy.
      The sales turnover of Tunisian software firms recorded an average growth of 16% during the
      last 5 years.
      Export turnover has been constantly increasing, rising from 20% in 2001 to more than 40%
      in 2008.



                                                     6 00
                          Turnover ( MDT)
                          Chiffre d'affaires (MDT)

                                                                                                                CA Export
                                                                                                                CA local


                                                            2002   2003   2004   2005     2006   2007   2008
                                                                           Source :

                                                      Figure 3 :

                                         Expansion of the ICT sector

A dynamic sector

The ICT sector is dynamic and a priority sector in Tunisia with one of the highest growth
rates (17.5% in 2007-2011). It shows a remarkable expansion with its contribution to the GDP
recording a constant high growth rate of 8% in 2006 compared with just 2.5% in 2002. This
contribution reached 10% in 2008 and will reach 13.5% in 2011.

                                       Figure 4 : ICT share in GDP

Constant investments

The ICT sector saw a sustained high growth in investment during the last two decades
and profits derived from investments of about 6.3 billion dinars during the period 2007-2011
compared with 430 million dinars during the period 1992-1996. This strong growth is primarily
due to the reinforcement of infrastructure, in particular that of telecommunications.
Private sector involvement increased from 5% in 1992-96 to 40% in 2002-06.

                             Figure 5 : ICT investissments (Millions of Dinars)

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia

      A sector open to foreign markets
      Tunisian ICT companies are open to the international market through export or subsidiary
      companies or representatives.

                           County clients of Tunisian ICT products and services
                           Countries where Tunisian ICT companies have offices

      State-of-the-art technologies and skills

      Tunisian software firms are highly-skilled in terms of technological know-how and competencies

      Main fields of competence of software firms

      Tunisian software firms operate in various fields:
      	      •	Strategic	planning	in	communication	and	information	systems	
      	      •	Counseling	in	information	systems	and	ICT:	diagnosis,	modeling,
            and re-engineering studies
      	      •	Engineering	and	software	development
      	      •	Communication	networks	engineering
      	      •	Embedded	systems	integration	
      	      •	Integration	of	communication	or	information	systems	(ERP,	CRM,	BI,	Global
             Banking, solutions E-Business/e-Trade, Wide Area Networks of companies etc)
      	      •	Multimedia	services	engineering	
      	      •	Data	management
      	      •	Data	base	management	or	distant	services	application

                                                 Expansion of the ICT sector

Main operating sectors of software firms

	       •		Public	sector:	budgetary	control,	staff	management,	tax,	customs,	health	services,		
        social security, rental tax, electricity, water
	       •	Telecoms	sector:	telecom	operators,	telecom	services
	       •	Companies:	human	resource	management,	ERP,	CAM,	GMAO,	commercial	management,										
        financial management, business-intelligence
	       •	Financial	sector:	banking,	insurance
	       •	Horizontal	sectors:	e-trade,	e-government,	e-learning

                                                     ICT private sector
               • 600 software firms
               • 300 IT system integrators
               • 400 distributors and retailers
               • 11 internet service providers
               • Several development centres assisting multinational companies
               • Several thousands employed :
                        •		10	000	in	software	firms
               				     •		17	000	in	call	centers	
               				     •		2000	in	equipment	distribution
               				     •		5000	in	installation		
               				     •		7000	telecommunication	operators
               • de 7 000 à 8 000 jobs created every year


    Wednesday, April 30 2008

    Altran Technologies and the Tunisian company Telnet, announced the creation of a joint

    venture «in the field of activities covering the delivery of engineering services”. Telnet has over

    300 employees and reported sales of USD 11 Million in 2007.

    This joint venture will be based in Tunis and will have an operational entity in Sfax. Partnering with

    Telnet, ALTRAN joins the expertise of an engineering company already certified CMMI level 5. The

    new entity «will also aim to develop the business of engineering services in Tunisia and neighboring

    countries.» It is expected to employ approximately 300 people by 2010.”

                               Source :

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia

           “ In Tunisia we have met people of good quality and a high level of education who are both
           responsive and competent ”
                                                                               Patrick Sevian, Sagem

           “ Tunisia is characterized by highly educated human resources, an educational environ-
           ment which supports the knowledge economy, a first class real estate and technological
           infrastructure as well as by political and economic stability necessary for multinational
           companies’ implementation ”
                                                        Sami Smaoui, Managing director, HP Tunisia

             Qualified human resources

      A higher quality of education
      Tunisia has made sustained efforts to improve its competencies and devotes nearly 7% of the
      state budget to education.

      Education statistics
      •	       192	higher	education	institutions	and	a	virtual	university
      •	       The number of students increased 8 times with 370,000 students at the end
               of 2008, including 59% who were female.
      •	       13,000 students in high standing Western universities
      •	       Computerization and internet connectivity of all higher education institutions
      •	       More than 50,000 students enrolled in ICT training – representing approximately
               14% of the student population
      •	       More than 9500 ICT graduates per annum
      •	       More than 200 ICT training specializations within more than 50 public
               and private higher education institutions

      ICT based continuing education

      The availability and the qualifications of Tunisian personnel are without doubt one of the
      most important criteria for investors. Local and foreign companies value the competencies,
      the training capacities, the qualifications and the flexibility of Tunisian youth.

                                                 Qualified human resources

                             Figure 5 : Number of students attending ICT courses in Tunisia

A young and qualified population profiting from a continuous effort
to ensure access to knowledge

The State guarantees the right to education for all children. In 2008, the education and higher
education budget reached 7% of GDP.
The research budget is 1.25% of GDP.
The education system is compulsory and free until the age of 16:
	       •	Basic	education	lasts	nine	years.	
	       •	The	rate	of	schooling	is	more	than	99%	for	6	year	old	children.	
	       •	One	student	out	of	four	follows	training	in	general	education	or	a	professional	training.

    “In the field of human resources, Tunisia has without any doubt the best graduates in the
    technical field of the area”
                                                                                        Source : World Bank, 2002

Knowledge society

Importance of knowledge in the Tunisian economy
Tunisia regards the mastery of knowledge and technology as a crucial factor in eco-
nomic and social development. Consequently, the country is constantly consolidating
investment in knowledge and securing the adjustment of the education system and
training, to guarantee the competencies required by the workplace. It also aims at
reinforcing the spirit of initiative, creativity and innovation

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia
      An outstanding specialization
      A progressive and swift consolidation of scientific curricula and teaching material content in
      short and long term training courses of the higher education and vocational training institu-
      tions was carried out.
      This was based on:
      	      •	Cut-backs	in	training	costs
      	      •	Intensive	use	of	modern	communication	networks	and	the	possibilities	they	offer
      	      •	Promotion	of	scientific	research
      	      •	Languages:	Arabic,	French,	English,	German,	Italian,	Spanish

      Certification of companies and competencies
      Conscious of the importance of certification of companies and competencies in order
      to guarantee a high quality of services and products and constant improvement, Tunisia
      engaged early in a program of ISO certification.
      Special programs of work certifications were also set up. This entailed a number of
      certified companies such as CMMI, ITIL and CISA. Thus, Tunisia has the first CMMI level
      5 certified company in Africa.

                                                          Quality of higher        Availability of scientists
                                                        education research           and engineers in
                                                           institutions               the workplace

                           Germany                              5,8                         4,9
                           France                               5,4                         5,6
                           Hungary                              5,0                         4,5
                           Czech Republic                       4,9                         5,4
                           Tunisia                              4,3                         5,5
                           Spain                                4,1                         4, 6
                           Turkey                               4,1                         4,3
                           Poland                               4,1                         4,1
                           Romania                              3,6                         4,3
                           Italy                                3,4                         4,5
                               Source : Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009, World Economic Forum

                                     Table 2 : Science and technology indicators

                                              Qualified human resources

An ambitious program of certification of competencies was also carried out. It aimed at
enabling the certification of 70,000 graduates in ICT (CISCO, Microsoft, ITIL, LTI, Oracle,...).
In order to encourage the companies to embark on processes of certification, incentives
were set up providing 50 to 70% of the certification costs.


    Set up in October 2003, HR Access was the result of 35 years of experience in the field of human

    resources. HR Access acts with enterprises from all sectors to help them improve their HR services

    - optimizing their costs and developing their strategic human resources approach.

    From the time it joined Devonshire Investors (Fidelity Investment Group) in 2003, HR Access has

    developed strongly in the international scene, with a presence in 11 countries (Germany, Belgium,

    Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Morocco, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Tunisia) and

    a portfolio of almost 600 clients in over 54 countries. A total of over 10 million staff and pensioners

    are handled every day. Among the users of HR Access are such prestigious African enterprises

    as Poulina, BIAT, SNDP and SNCFT in Tunisia, Lafarge and CIH in Morocco and Algérie Télécom in


    The Tunisian subsidiary, which is the head office of HR Access MEA, was set up in 2006. HR Access

    Tunisia has introduced a sustained recruitment policy and about 200 people (executives) have

    been recruited in 2 years.

    In mid-2009, HR Access worldwide had over 900 employees (about 300 of these in Tunisia)

    and 2000 certified consultants.

    Illustrative of the trust that exists in the Tunisian engineers and training institutions, HR Access

    has set up partnerships with major Tunisian institutes like INSAT.

    Faced with new redeployments required by globalization, HR Access has strengthened the position

    of its Tunisian site through the decisive advantages it offers: qualified, committed and motivated

    human resources, tax incentives, competitive costs, economic and political stability and geogra-

    phical and cultural closeness to Europe. Its growing numbers are indisputable proof of this.

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia

        “The services sector in Tunisia offers an excellent opportunity for a company of our size: skilled staff at
        competitive costs, good means of communication and ideal working conditions. Our experience in Tunisia has
        been very positive.”
                                                             Rene Buschler, Chairman and Managing Director, Siemens Tunisia

             A modern and reliable infrastructure

      Telecommunication infrastructure

      A unique infrastructure in Africa
      Tunisia has for a long time attached a great importance to its telecommunication infrastructure
      which constitutes one of the most modern in the Mediterranean basin and Africa. As a result
      its telecommunication network which covers its entire territory, has multifunction high band
      switches which provide telephone transfer, internet and multimedia.
      Tunisia is also the only country in North Africa to be connected to all its neighboring countries
      and to have optical fibre submarine connections to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and America.

      Tunisia is ranked first in Africa in terms of telephone density and number of PCs per capita and
      it is rated first in North Africa with regard to the access to ICT index, according to a World Bank
      study. This has also been confirmed by the Global Information Technology Report.

                                    Rank                          Country                          Score
                                       21                         France                              5,11
                                       35                         Tunisia                            4,33
                                       50                           India                            4,06
                                       56                         Greece                             3,94
                                       61                       Romania                              3,86
                                       57                          China                             3,90
                                      63                           Egypt                             3,74
                                       74                        Morocco                             3,67
                               Source : 2007-2008 Global Information Technology Report Davos World Economic Forum

                                      Tableau 3 : Networked Readiness Index ranking

                 A modern and reliable infrastructure

An exemplary telecoms infrastructure
In term of telecoms infrastructure, Tunisia has:
       •		An	internet	network	covering	the	entire	country,	accessible	through	11	internet
       service providers (6 public and 5 private).
       •	Access to international bandwidth of 27.5 Gbytes/s.
       •		A	network	of	data	transmission	using	various	technologies:	LS,	ADSL,
       Frame Relay, VSAT…

A secured international interconnection
Tunisia has always looked after developing and securing its international connection.
Thus, between September 2008 and November 2009, international bandwidth has been
multiplied by 5.5, growing from 5 Gbps to 27.5 Gbps. Those interconnections has also been
secured by diversifying submarine cables (SEA-ME-WE4 and KELTRA 2), by diversifying
landing points (Bizerte and Kelibia in Tunisia, and Marseille, Mazara and Palermo in Europe),
and also by installing an own submarine cable, Hannibal, with a capacity of 10 Gbps
expandable to 3200 Gbps.


                           Figure 6 : Tunisia International Network links

Technological parks, cyber parks and real estate infrastructure

Technological parks

To support the development of companies and the launch of businesses with strong added
value in terms of innovation, Tunisia established an ambitious program for the development of
10 technological parks. This program currently comprises three parks specializing in ICT:
	      •	Data	processing	and	multimedia	in	Sfax;	
	      •	Data	processing	and	electronics	in	Sousse;	and	

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia
      	      •	Communication	technologies	in	Tunis,	in	addition	to	an	ICT	component	in	all	the	other	
             parks (bio-informatics).

      This environment has fostered synergies between industry, research and educational universities.
      The technological parks have also promoted the emergence and development of innovative
      foreign and Tunisian companies.

                                             Elgazala Technopole

      The first technological park dedicated to ICT in Tunisia and North Africa, was Elgazala
      Technopole, which began its activities at the end of the Nineties. It accommodates over 90
      companies employing 1650 people including 98% who are graduates. It also exports 75% of
      site production. Elgazala Technopole hosts some of the most prestigious multinationals such
      as Alcatel, Ericsson, Huwai Technologies, STMicroelectronics, Stone Soft and Kromberg Shubert.

      In order to meet an unceasing demand, two additional sites will be annexed to Elgazala
      Technopole: Ennahli on 36 hectares and Manouba on 54 hectares. The first section of 100,000 m ²
      of offices will be available at the beginning of 2010.

      Poles of competitiveness
      Eight sectoral poles of national competence or regional competitiveness have been implemented
      to widen the sphere of activity of the technological parks and to reinforce the potential of
      sectoral innovation, clustering, the development of technological partnerships and for the
      support of company creation.

      Cyber parks
      A network of cyber parks dedicated to on-line services covers the entire republic. At they end of 2009,
      this network consisted of fourteen cyber parks and more are planned.

                     A modern and reliable infrastructure

An intelligent real infrastructure
The technological parks and cyber parks are equipped with a modern ICT infrastructure as well
as first class buildings.
Apart from the technology parks and cyber parks, Tunisia also has an important modern
housing stock comprised of smart modern buildings at very competitive prices and able to
accommodate activities relating to ICT activities and services (e.g. call centers, BPO).


                                                                           Grand Tunis
                                  Zaghouan         Nabeul
                                                   Hammam Sousse             Borj Cedria
                  Le Kef                            Sousse                   Gammarth
                                Siliana               Monastir               Manouba
                                                       Ksar Hellal           Sidi Thabet
                                   Kairouan                                  Tunis ville
                           Sidi Bouzid

         Tozeur                                        Djerba

                                                                                           Existant   En projet
                                                                     Parc Technologique

                      Figure 7 : Technoparks, Cyberparks and Incubators in Tunisia

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia


       Founded in 1984 in San Francisco, Cisco Systems Inc. invented the first multi-protocol router to

       interconnect networks using different communication protocols. Over the years, Cisco Systems

       Inc.. has become a world leader with 57% market share in routers, 67% in security systems, 74% in

       switching, 60% in the Wireless. Employing 65 000 people in over 75 countries and represented in

       over 167 countries, Cisco Systems Inc. makes a turnover of U.S.$ 40 billion of which 14% is reinvested

       in R & D. This strong investment allowed it to have more than 2,000 patents to its credit.

       In early 2000, and aiming to be represented in Africa, CISCO System Inc. shortlisted nine countries

       from which Tunisia was chosen for the setting up of a representative office. The Tunisian office

       currently employs 12 Tunisian engineers of very high skills, and has made over the last three years, a

       sustained increase in sales of 50% per year.

       CISCO’s intervention in Tunisia is not direct but occurs through partners’ chanel. Thus, the sale and

       installation of equipment is performed by ten integrators, while training and certification are carried

       out by two other specialized partners.

       As part of the contribution to ecosystem development, and in the framework of the “Cisco Network

       Academy” Program, Cisco has established agreements with the most prestigious schools of compu-

       ting and telecommunications in Tunisia (INSAT, SUP’COM, ENSI , ...) to train and certify each year a

       number of students.

       Convinced of the importance of investing in the Tunisian market, a stock valued at U.S.D 4 million

       was made available in Tunisia and for the exclusive requirements of client support and maintenance.

       This stock covering the entire range of CISCO products marketed in Tunisia will allow, if need be,

       standard replacement and to limit shutdowns to just a few hours.

                A modern and reliable infrastructure

Following its establishment in Tunisia, and convinced of the existence of qualified human resources,

Cisco has decided to set up a competence center that will, at first, meet the needs of North Africa,

and then expand to the whole African continent.

«Tunisia is a country of the rule of law, politically stable, where there is no corruption, and is

characterized by geographical and cultural proximity, with a clear market visibility. It has made of

technology a niche market, which earned it to be ranked first in Africa in terms of competitiveness

by Davos Report. That’s why Cisco has invested, continues to invest and will invest more in the future

in Tunisia.”

                                                      Adel Dahmani, General Manager, Cisco Tunisia

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia

           “Proximity to Europe, language skills, quality of engineers and a very good system of incentives encouraging the
           recruitment of graduates are the main strengths of the development of STMicroelectronics Tunisia”

                                                       Hichem Ben Hamida, General Manager, STMicroelectronics, Tunisia

               Investment : an emerging sector

      Tunisia showed a significant interest in the development of ICT with concrete support to
      the development of the private sector, the environment, infrastructure and the legislative
      framework. Indeed, a set of incentives was set up and promoted Tunisia as a favorable site for
      the development of ICT.

      Support for setting up ICT companies

                •	RITI:	funds	capital	risks	with	public	participation	for	the	promotion
                 of entrepreneurial activities in ICT
      	         •	Private	capital	risk	funds	for	ICT:	Investment	companies	with	Capital
                 Risks (SICAR)
      	         •	Bank	financing	of	SMEs	(BFPME)
      	         •	Guarantee	funds	(SOTUGAR)
      	         •	A	10-year	national	plan	for	technological	parks	
      	         •	Network	of	25	business	incubators:	an	incubator	for	every	technological
                 higher education educational institution

      	         •	A	14	cyber	park	network	

      Software firms’ support
                •	Legislation	specific	to	stock	options	in	favor	of	ICT	companies
      		        •	Exemption	of	VAT	on	ICT	training	carried	out	by	specialized	companies
      	         •	Government	subsidisation	of	70%	of	the	costs	of	certification	of	companies
                 and competencies.
      	         •	Removal	of	the	ceiling	for	travelling	expenses	abroad	which	are	deductible
                 from the wage bill subject to compliance with national insurance contributions

                        Investment : an emerging sector

Investment advantages

    •	Tax	reduction	of	50%	for	investors	in	the	ICT	sector	
	   •	Exemption	of	income	tax	for	10	years	in	the	case	of	companies	that	fully	export
    heir products and services
	   •	Exemption	of		income	tax	in	proportion	to	export	turnover	for	companies	that
     partially export
	   •	State	subsidization	of	company	contributions	to	national	insurance	for	graduates
    employed by companies for the first 5 years of their employment
	   •	Investment	bonuses	that	can	reach	up	to	6%	of	the	amount	of	the	investment	made	
    by young entrepreneurs
	   •	Eligibility	for	upgrading:	a	subsidy	of	10	to	20%	for	equipment	investments	
    and 70% for other investments
	   •	Export	promotion:	subsidies	for	foreign	market	prospecting	(15	to	50%)	(FAMEX,	
    Foprodex, Guarantee funds for exports before shipment)

Direct Foreign Investments

    •	Freedom	of	investment	in	manufacturing	industries	and	related	services	(including	
    ICT and fully exporting activities) and the possibility for foreign investors to
    possess 100% of the capital.
	   •	Freedom	of	transfer	of	capital	incomes	(benefits,	remunerations	of	share	holders,
    dividen ds, percentages and attendance fees , interest accrued from loans
    and short-term bonds subscribed by non-residents attached to resident institutions)
	   •	Possibility	for		foreign	employees	to	subscribe	to	social	security	in	their	country
     of origin
	   •	Possibility	for	foreign	employees	to	freely	transfer	50%	of	their	net	salary	

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia

      Legislative environment for ICT
      Tunisia was one of the first Mediterranean countries to have set up specific ICT sector legisla-
      tion. Interestingly, Tunisian legislation on e-commerce and electronic exchanges goes back to
      July 2000, ahead of the promulgation of such legislation in the majority of European countries.
      As a result, Tunisia was ranked thirtieth globally by the World Economic Forum in the category
      “ Existence of laws related to the use of information technologies ” ahead of some Northern

                                   Rank                       Country                          Score
                                    16                        France                             5,4
                                    29                       Belgium                             4,9
                                    30                        Tunisia                            4,9
                                    39                 Czech Republic                            4,6
                                    52                          Italy                            4,2
                                    55                        Turkey                             4,0
                                    73                      Romania                              3,7
                                    87                        Poland                             3,4
                                    97                       Morocco                             3,1
                                     Report on Total Competitiveness 2009-2010, World Economic Forum

                                           Table 4 : Existence of laws related to the
                                              use of information technologies

      A set of laws specific to the ICT sector:
      	      •	e-commerce	and	electronic	exchanges	(2000)	
      	      •	Electronic	certification	and	recognition	of	electronic	signatures
      	      •	Computer	security
             •	Digital economy
             •	Incentives of public agencies for IT outsourcing
             •	Personal data protection

      A Telecommunications Code:
             •	Organization	of	the	ICT	sector	and	liberalization	of	initiatives
             •	Gradual liberalization of telecommunication services
             •	Reinforcement of competition and private initiatives

                            Investment : an emerging sector


With its 118 billion USD in sales and 3.5 billion earmarked for R&D, Hewlett-Packard Company has

ranked 9th in Fortune 500 (2009) for all its industrial activity sectors. Better known in the field of

computer hardware, HP strengthened its position in the field of IT services through the acquisition

in 2007of the Electronic Data Systems Corporation.

Present in Tunisia since 2007 through its subsidiary HP Maghreb and convinced of the competi-

tiveness of Tunisia in the global market, HP has taken the strategic decision to establish its fifth

global assistance center in Tunisia after Costa Rica, China, India and Bulgaria.

The HP global support center, providing all types of technical support for all HP products and

services, employs 800 people, mostly highly skilled engineers. In fact, ‘the goal of this global

assistance center is to provide immediate support and answers to questions and queries by

recipients of HP service using local Tunisian skills and expertise instead of recording requests to

be attended to subsequently.’

Having screened several countries, the choice of Tunisia has been based on relevant criteria

including political, economic and social stability, security, culture, public policy in the field of

technology as well as the availability of qualified and cost effective human resources, its geogra-

phical position, real estate infrastructure and a world-class telecommunications infrastructure.

«The few criteria which were not advantageous for Tunisia at the time of this assessment were

quickly dealt with through strong collaboration with government officials and especially the

Ministry of Communication Technologies.” Indeed, «Tunisia has a clear and ambitious strategy

along with a reliable implementation program which was capable of removing the few obstacles

we have identified during our evaluation such as international broadband, SLAs and the authoriza-

tions required for certain tools. This has been particularly facilitated by availability, ability to listen,

and the interest shown by several government ministers who have a business-focused vision.»

                                                          Sami Smaoui, Director General, HP Maghreb

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia

        “ Personally, I do not regret having left California as this small Mediterranean country [Tunisia] offers all the
        conveniences of a modern life in an atmosphere which is characterized by the warm hospitality of the people of
                                                                                Thomas Wendt, Managing Director, Eurocast

             A country where you can enjoy life

      In addition to being a privileged location for investments and the development of ICT busines-
      ses, Tunisia has very a good quality of life

      An attractive quality of life

      Tunisia was classified at the top of the countries of North Africa and the Middle East zone
      where it “is pleasant to live” by the Irish company “International Living- room”, an observer of
      quality of life in the world.
      With this classification, Tunisia precedes Morocco, Lebanon and Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt and
      Syria. The ranking is established according to an index based on qualitative indicators such
      as: economy, cost of living, environment, culture, leisure, freedom, health, infrastructure,
      risk and safety, and climate.

                                             Conutry                          Score
                                             Tunisia                           56
                                             Morocco                           55
                                             Lebanon                           54
                                              Jordan                           54
                                             Bahrain                           51
                                              Egypt                            50
                                               Syria                           50
                                                       International living

                                              Table 5 : Quality of Life Index

                      A country where you can enjoy life

A tourist country

Tunisia is also a tourist destination of choice with its 1300 km of coasts - the landscapes
varying from the forests of the north to the desert and the oasis in the south and its golf
courses. Tunisia has historical monuments testifying to an ancient civilization and a significant
history during which it gave its name to the African continent (Ifriquya).

A moderate Mediterranean climate

Tunisia enjoys a moderate Mediterranean climate. The weather is sunny and the temperatures are
very pleasant throughout the year.

Political stability

Tunisia is also recognized in the region for its political and social stability. The stability of the
State and institutions has allowed continuous social progress in the country. The proportion
of the population living under the poverty line is currently less than 4%.
Its Human Development Indicator (HDI) sits at 0.766 according to the last report published by
the UNDP, thus confirming the success of the economic model of Tunisia in the Maghreb.

A cultural dynamism

Tunisian soil contains many treasures of the past and presents a journey through time. The
beauty and the features of the sites are preserved and some historical sites are classed as
World Heritage Sites.

Tunisia holds many international festivals: Carthage, Hammamet, Douz, Tabarka (jazz music),
El Jem (symphonic music), as well as cinematographic and theatre days which play a big role
in the promotion of Arab and African art.

The cinema industry created the first studios of the Maghreb. Several prestigious films
were shot in Tunisia, namely films by European directors such as Chabrol, Zefirelli, Polanski,

Comencini and also American productions, such as Star Wars, The English Patient...

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia

      The role of women

      Since its independence in 1956, Tunisia has initiated a deep economic and social development
      program promoting access to knowledge and health.
      In 1956, Tunisia promulgated the Personal Status Code amended in 1993 that abolished
      polygamy to ensure compliance with the equality of the sexes on the political, economic and
      social level. Women represent nearly a quarter of the labor population and more than 50% of
      the student population.

      An important middle-class

      Tunisia is also characterized by the existence of an important middle-class representing nearly
      80% of the population. The rate of electricity connection is 99.2% and the rate of access to
      drinking water is 96.5%. It is also important to note that 79% of households are owners of
      their properties.

      A high level international education

      Tunisia has a high quality education system recognized at the international level. There are
      also accredited primary and secondary French and American educational institutions.


        ARDIA is an international Group specializing in electronic equipment with high added value

        and growth markets for the Automotive and Telecommunications, ACTIA® Group is present in

        15 countries worldwide and employs over 2,300 employees including 430 in R&D. Its turnover is

        212 million euros 50% of which abroad.

        The Automotive division, which represents 80% of ACTIA Group’s turnover, is a major player in the

        design, production and diagnosis of embedded systems in small and medium series for all classes

        of vehicles.

                      A country where you can enjoy life

In search of better competitiveness, and higher production costs and with a view to ensuring the

development of its activity, ACTIA ® Group established itself in Tunisia in 1976, by setting up an

assembly unit of electronic cards which employs today more than 600 persons and produces over

3 million cards per year. Enjoying a certified quality environment, CIPI-ACTIA meets very highest

standards of car production: ISO 9001, ISO TS 16949 and ISO 14001.

Given the success of CIPI - ACTIA and won over by the quality of Human Resources, the Group

created in 2005 ARDIA, an R&D Center specializing in the development of diagnosis systems

(Multidi@g), as well as in embedded systems such as electric and electronic distribution systems

for buses, trucks and special vehicles (construction and agricultural equipment).

The Centre, located in the El-ghazala Technopark, has currently 60 engineers and achieves a

turnover of over €3 million with clients that are both prestigious and demanding in terms of

quality and reliability: PSA, Nissan Diesel, Mercedes, Fiat, Volvo,…

ARDIA has introduced a range of partnerships, including with elite schools (SUP’COM, ENIT, ...),

related to training courses and project graduation, thus testifying to the Group’s confidence in

Tunisian engineers.

Despite existing locations throughout the world, in Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic) and

Asia (India), ARDIA executives point to the many advantages offered by the Tunisia site, such as

economic and political stability, quality and productivity of human resources, logistics costs, as

well as geographical, linguistic and cultural proximity. The growth of its turnover as well as its en-

gineers’ efficiency and quality confirm ARDIA in its choice to continue and expand its experience

in Tunisia.

«The compromise between geographical, linguistic, cultural and educational proximity allows a

better understanding and thereby a productivity maximization.”

                                                             Cyril Rochard, General Manager, ARDIA

     Investing in ICT in Tunisia
              A strategy for strengthening Tunisia’s advantages

      The vanguard ICT strategy and highly skilled human resources allowed Tunisia to position as
      a regional technological pole appreciated by multinationals to setup regional bureaus, ope-
      rations, support centres, etc. Tunisia also became a privileged location for outsourcing and
      This strategy is vanguard, clear and inclusive taking into consideration all the ICT potentials to
      the advantage of economy, wellbeing and social development.

      This was reconfirmed by the recent commitments taken during the election campaign
      2009-2014 in favour of the ICT sector development, the investment increase, and the
      employment. Thus, ICT are part of 13 over the 24 thematic and sector based chapters
      with 39 programs and actions related to the infrastructure and the ICT use (health,
      culture, employment, economy, industry, etc):

      •	Increasing	international	bandwidth	from	17,5	Gbps	to	100	Gbps	by	2014
      •	Operating	mobile	telephone	networks	from	the	third	generation	and	the	new
       technological generations.
      •	Involving	civil	society	in	building	the	knowledge	society	and	adopting	modern	technologies
      •	Establishing	the	Digital	Terrestrial	Television	Covering	all	the	regions	of	the	country	in	2014	
      •	Setting	up	a	national	agency	for	the	promotion	of	investment	in	digital	economy
      •	Allocating	0.5%	of	the	turnover	of	telecommunication	operators	and	the	companies	working	in	this	
      sector to research and innovation, compared to 0.15% currently.
      •	Promoting	the	healthcare	computer	system
      •	Upgrading	health	vigilance	mechanisms	and	establishing	the	necessary	capacities	against	
      new diseases and epidemics.

      During this campaign, commitments have been also taken to strengthen Tunisian
      Competiveness, and business and Living environments:
      - Un niveau de vie élevé et une qualité de vie meilleure
      - Vers une économie à contenu technologique élevé, amie de l’environnement, économe en
      énergie et innovante
      •	A	higher	standard	of	living	and	a	better	quality	of	life
      •	Towards	an	environment-friendly,	energy-saving	and	innovative	economy	with	high	technolo-
      gical content.

                                       A strategy for strengthening
                                              Tunisia’s advantages
•		A	pole	for	banking	services	and	a	regional	financial	center
•	An	efficient	financial	policy	and	a	fair	taxation	system
•	Higher	education	to	build	the	society	of	intelligence	and	knowledge
•	Scientific	and	technological	research	:	A	support	base	for	the	new	economy
•	A	modern	public	service	serving	citizens	and	development


   This Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) is the fruit of strategic partnership between Microsoft and

   the Tunisian government. It is a collaboration dedicated to supporting the growth of the software

   sector by stimulating innovation and the development of intellectual capital.

   Located in Elgazala Technopark since 2007, the MIC helps with the launch of young software

   companies providing operational, financial and technological support. The center provides assistance

   to pilot projects through an adapted testing environment suitable for the testing of solutions and

   innovative prototypes.The MIC Tunisia also aims to develop vertical clusters specialized in e-health,

   e-government and mobility.

   The choice of Tunisia for the setting up of the first MIC in North Africa has been guided by the un-

   deniable advantages Tunisia enjoys with a pool of innovative projects, a clear government objective

   to encourage the development of local software economies, a willingness to develop a knowledge

   society based on the quality of its human resources (engineers), a welcoming infrastructure and

   operational startups.

   Despite only being in existence for two years, MIC Tunisia is a success. The center has ranked first

   globally as the most successful MIC - reflected in the dynamism and responsiveness of startups in

   accessing new technologies and business opportunities in the country.

   Tunisia also ranked first country in the MEA (Middle East and Africa) region, and 25th globally

   as the world’s most active in implementing the BizSpark program, a global program to support

   and accelerate the development of young companies.

   «Thanks to a clear vision, well-defined goals and exemplary adaptation to global and international

   requirements, Tunisia has succeeded in adhering to this global program.»

                                                                 Salwa Smaoui, CEO, Microsoft Tunisia


            Ministry of Communication Technologies
           3 BIS, rue d’Angleterre - 1000 Tunis -Tunisia
               Tel : +216 71 35 90 00 / 71 32 49 48
                Fax : +216 71 32 81 14 / 71 32 8236
             email :

                 API, Industry Promotion Agency
               63, Rue de Syrie – 1002 Tunis -Tunisia
                        Tel : +216 71 79 21 44
                       Fax : +216 71 78 24 82
                      email :

               CEPEX, Export Promotion Centre
                    Maison de l’exportateur
             Zone urbaine Nord 1004 Tunis – Tunisia
                     Tel : +216 71 23 42 00
                     Fax: +216 71 23 73 25
                 email :

          FIPA, Foreign Promotion Investment Agency
           Centre Urbain de Tunis- 1004 Tunis- Tunisia
                       Tel : +216 71 70 31 40
                      Fax : +216 71 70 26 00
                 email :

                                             Investor's guide

            UTICA, Tunisian Union for Industry,
                 Commerce and Handicrafts
Cité administrative, Lot 7, Cité El khadhra, 1003 Tunis, Tunisia
                    Tel : + 216 71 14 20 00
                     Fax: + 216 71 14 21 00
                  email :

                   Tunisian ICT Federation
Cité administrative, Lot 7, Cité El khadhra, 1003 Tunis, Tunisia
                    Tel : + 216 71 14 20 00
                     Fax: + 216 71 14 21 00
              email :

          Infotica, National Syndicate Chamber of
                 Services and IT engineering
Av. Charles Nicoles. Imm. Intilak appt. N°25. Cité Mahrajene-
         BP 229 - 1082 Tunis - El Menzah 1 - Tunisia
                    Tel.: +216 71 28 68 29
                    Fax : +216 71 28 39 56
                Email :
                 Web :


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