Tunisia - Driving growth and social regeneration
Total is one of the partners of the African development bank's "SOUK AT-TANMIA*" project. The project supports entrepreneurial initiatives towards the construction of a new Tunisia. Sonia Barbaria is in charge of communications for the initiative.
In the aftermath of the Tunisian revolution, the African Development Bank decided to encourage and promote entrepreneurship by funding projects that had the potential to create jobs and reduce regional disparities. ADB issued a unique call for support from both civil society and the public and private sectors to contribute making this initiative a success. Total responded instantly to this call with both human and financial resources.
Long-term support to achieve inclusive growth
This pilot project, known as “Souk At-Tanmia” (the market for development), was launched in July 2012. We ran a national tender process and received 2,000 bids. Some 300 projects were pre-selected by a committee representing all our partners. The people behind the projects received training from the British Council to boost their entrepreneurial skills and fine-tune their projects.
A final list of 71 projects was chosen in January 2013, with the potential to create 1,000 jobs in the country. The winning projects were assigned grants of up to 30,000 dinars (approx. €15,000). As well as receiving financial support, the entrepreneurs are sponsored by one of our partners, helping them to bring their project to fruition. Most of the projects that Total supports are in the renewable energies sector, with the Group making a major contribution to skills transfer.
By supporting a new generation of talented entrepreneurs, we have created a dynamic environment that we hope to replicate in other countries in Africa.
Women take center stage
As well as focusing on projects developed by young people, the unemployed and those from disadvantaged regions, “Souk At-Tanmia” is also notable for its commitment to women, in recognition of their critical role in the construction of a new, post-revolutionary Tunisia. Almost one third of the chosen projects were developed by women, and women are also well represented in the initiative’s management team. I’m just one example of this fact.
* For more information, visit: www.soukattanmia.org