A ranking system maintained online by The World Bank showing how various countries measure up in terms of accommodating enterprise gives Tunisia a score of 77 in 2017, down 2 points from a 2016 ranking of 75.
A “Doing Business -- Measuring Business Regulations” World Bank report shows Tunisia's ranking declined in terms of the ease of getting construction permits, acquiring electricity, registering a property, paying taxes and protecting minority investors. On the other hand, the ranking rose 26 points in the area of “getting credit.”
The report also looks at depositing capital, doing new business paperwork, and conducting other types of tasks related to entrepreneurship.
On the ground, some experts say different forces are shaping Tunisian business in different ways.
“Private ventures, startups and entrepreneurs have been flourishing in Tunisia over the last few years,” Mohamed Jaidane told Maghreb News Wire on Oct. 17. Jaidane is a founder of the Sciencia company, a Tunis-based company offering educational kits and teaching materials to a diverse clientele.
“The tough unemployment context, as well as new challenging changes, are producing a very interesting set of ventures and people creating new markets, new opportunities and innovating in all domains,” Jaidane said.
He also suggested government regulations aren’t helping.
“While bureaucracy, inadequate regulations and tax strategies are burdening the ecosystem, ventures continue to arise thanks to several private or nonprofit organizations that are boosting the environment to promote, support and sustain entrepreneurial spirit,” Jaidane said. “These efforts from these organizations are compensating for the lack of governmental support, which is generally focusing on a very limited panel of companies and sectors, mainly IT and heavy or highly competitive industries, while a lot of sectors are booming and creating amazing opportunities in STEM, in agriculture, in agronomy, in tourism, in education and training and other sectors that are vital for sustainable development of the country and the region.”
However, Jaidane remains hopeful that the national government will improve its support for local business.
“Positive signs are (emerging) … to support and sustain entrepreneurship and innovation, and we hope that these signs will translate into action and regulations to ease the context and facilitate the development of entrepreneurial spirit and ventures,”Jaidane said.
In general, he said, the region has a lot of potential.
“The African region will be the locomotive of the change in the near future, driving the needs and providing innovative solutions within the constrained context it's facing,” Jaidane said. “Tunisia is and will be a key role in the region as it acts as a bridge between Africa, MENA and Europe, and the actual dynamic of positive changes driven by the private sector and entrepreneurs will make it a hub to support the driving of the locomotive."