Tunisia

“E-government, NGO and SME are on the move”

How would you define e-content in Tunisia?
E-content includes software applications and multimedia products that effectively and creatively work with quality contents, integrate with the best use of ICT, consider national specificities and focus on people.

“WSIS is a Tunisian initiative. It was recommended by President Ben Ali to UN General Assembly in 1998 in order to bridge the digital divide and better use of ICT for development


What’s the status of e-content in Tunisia?
E-content is a strategic issue in Tunisia. E-Tunisia strategy stands on 4 pillars: infrastructure, education, an enabled environment and e-contents. It is expected that the e-content industry should contribute up to 3% of the GDB by 2006.

Tunisia is also committed for better use of ICT worldwide. WSIS is a Tunisian initiative. It was recommended by President Ben Ali to UN General Assembly in 1998 in order to bridge the digital divide and better use of ICT for development.

Which area of e-content (e-health, e-biz, e-culture, e-government, e-entertainment, e-learning, e-science, and e-inclusion) is best developed in Tunisia?
E-content industry in Tunisia concerns all areas. The best e-contents were developed in e-business (banking, transport, telecom, commerce, e-payment, human resources, ERP, tourism, handy raft, information portals,…), e-government (municipality, social security, tax, customs, education, investment, information portals,…), e-culture (cities web sites), e-health (hospital management, e-RDV, medical information), e-entertainment (games, travel portals), e-inclusion (gender, kids, handicapped and NGO portals), e-learning (eDuNet the primary & secondary school portal, UVT portal, specific learning contents).

Which sector (business, private sector, government or civil society) in Tunisia is advance in developing e-content?
Software applications and multimedia services are mainly developed by the private sector.

Since 1998, in order to encourage IT industry, public administrations and enterprises should subcontract all software development and other IT services via public tenders procedures.
Information is generally produced by service owners (public departments, banks, NGO, private companies, etc).

How would you describe the gradual progress of development of e-content in Tunisia?
Tunisian e-content industry started in the 80s. The public sector used to be the major player. Since 2002, e-content media is moving from classical software applications and printed press to web oriented applications, wed services, m-services and multimedia services. ICT sector contributes for 3.5% to GDP. By 2006, this contribution should reach 7.8%.

What major initiatives have influenced the development of e-content in Tunisia?

Enabling environment, capacity building and education are the main pillars of e-content development. During 2000-2005, many laws and regulation frameworks (e-payment, e-commerce, intellectual property protection, certification, security, telecommunication banking compensation, warranty found, etc) were issued and specialized agencies created.

Since 1998, ICT infrastructures are franchised and VAT was set to the minimum. Special incentives are provided for all investors on ICT and all related sectors. Subsidized family PC is accessible to low and medium wage citizens. Cyber coffees, kids ICT centres are everywhere. During 2000-2005, telecommunication development, new multimedia, Internet phenomena and PC accessibility did boost e-content industry. ICT education is generalized to all disciplines. 50% of the primary schools are connected to Internet, 100% of the secondary schools and all universities. 10% of the students are in ICT specialities. ICT industry should create 8000 jobs a year for new graduates.

What are the major bottlenecks in the path of e-content development in Tunisia?
Many efforts were made by the telecommunication and internet operators. They should continue in order to meet market needs and insure industry empowerment and better ICT use for development. Users and e-content producers are seeking for better bandwidth with reasonable costs in order to make the market dynamic, develop new services and improve local potentials.

Market size is also a big issue. Tunisia did sign a free trade agreement with Europe and many countries in order to extend her market and guarantee investment and job creation.
Tunisian educational, social and economical performances are exceptional and unique in the region (see Davos and UN agencies ranking).

In most countries, especially developing, e-content development is significantly dependent on ICT infrastructure and ICT facilities. But, in some, ICT has become pervasive and e-content development is primarily subjected to the initiatives of an individual/organization/government, etc. What is the situation in Tunisia?
ICT infrastructure was not the unique factor of e-content development. Tunisia e-content industry started in the 80th. Development strategies and education were relevant. Internet phenomena, new multimedia and telecom repositioning are affecting Content media, extending coverage and personalizing services. 45% of the Tunisian are connected to telecom services and 10% of them are Internet users. Credit cards, e-Payment and messaging used to be reserved to some categories, now they become common practices. E-government, NGO and SME are on the move, building or remaking their web sites.

How would you describe the ICT scenario in Tunisia in terms of infrastructure, penetration, and policies?

“Enabling environment, capacity building and education are the main pillars of e-content development”


Telecom infrastructure:
Telephony & Data transmission: Fully digital, various technologies (Frame Relay, ISDN, ADSL, VSAT)

Internet backbone: 10 nodes, 7000 Km of Fiber Optics.

Indicator 2004 2006 2009
International Internet Bandwidth (Mb/s) 223 465 2.5 Gb/s
Fixed phone Lines / 100 Inhabitants 12 20 24
Mobile phone / 100 Inhabitants 35.8 45 58
ICT Growth 22% 24% -


Accessability:

– 360 Community access centers
– A Community Access Center per village by 2009
– A Children Computer Center per Governorate (25)
– Low uniform Dial-up access cost: 0.014 US$/min
– Home Internet Access Package: 15 hours/month costing US$8 all inclusive (0.009 US$/min)
– Family PC program
– An e-mail address for each citizen by the end of 2009

Indicator 2004 2006 2009
Number of computers per 100 5 5.9 9.5
Percentage of households with PC 7% 10% 16%
Internet users (millions) 0.8 1.5 5
Number of ADSL Lines per 100 inh 0.07 0.8 2.2
Number of Email accounts (millions) 0.115 0.150 4
ISPs 12 - -


ICT Roadmap

– Telecom reform: 2001 amendment
– E-Commerce: Electronic Business & Interchange Act (Aug., 2000)
– National certification authority (ANCE)
– IT Security Act (Jan., 2004) & National IT Security Agency (ANSI)
– Personal Data Protection: Amendement of the Constitution (May, 2002),
Bill in Process
– Intellectual Property Rights: 1994 Law on IPR, under Revision

ICT private sector development

– Shared Telecom Revenues with e-content producers

Supporting agencies:
- Technoparks, Business Incubators
– Specialized advising offices:
– Task Force Unit (Ministry of Communication Technologies)
– Industry Promotion Agency (API)
– Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA)
– Public Private Partnership

Investment:
– FDI:
– Very attractive incentives
– Growth: 17.1%
– FDI in ICT: 100 M TND (2004), 10% of total FDI
– Private Investment / Public Investment
– Global: 60% / 40% by 2006
– In ICT: 47% / 53% by 2006

Which is the most preferred medium for e-content production in Tunisia?
Internet and mobile

How do you recognize and appreciate e-content producers and best practices in Tunisia?
Considering the size of the country, we have been doing fairly well in using ICT for creating digital content. In fact, World Summit Award came to us naturally as we wanted to have a recognition process for the best practices based on the content and creativity of the producer.

As a matter of fact, the WSA pre-selection process was made for the 1st time in Tunisia. The contest was organized by UTICA-WSIS Committee in conjunction with the Ministry of Communication Technologies and placed under the high patronage of his Excellence the President of Tunisia
The process started in May 2005. Campaign announcement started in May 2005. It was well covered by all local media (several portals, email and printed press). A local jury including academicians, ICT specialists and venture capitalists evaluated the bids on 3-6 July 2005.
Nomination gala was sponsored and hosted by BIAT Bank on July 11th, 2005. Local winners (nominated for WSA’2005) did receive trophies and checks. 63 candidates participated but their quality of nomination was so good that finally Tunis had got listed 3 among the final lists of WSA 2005.

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