Tunisia’s IT future uncertain


Tunisia’s information technology sector, especially telecommunications, has come under increased scrutiny in recent days. The most recent upheaval was the resignation of Technology Minister Afif Chelbi, amid continuing protests for change following President Ben Ali’s ouster in January.

“There are a lot of issues that we need to come to terms with in this country, especially the future of our mobile industry,” said Yussif Chaaban, a former Ministry of Technology official. He said that the turmoil facing the country is a major impediment for growing the mobile phone market and is scaring off potential investors.
“What we are seeing right now is a turn away from Tunisia because of the unrest. While the people have a right to demand a change and speak for their government, it is hurting the economy,” he added.

But he was positive on the future outlook of the country, saying that once the protests are over and the country gets back on its feet, “the future will be much better than the past.”

Patience, he said, “was key to understanding the role technology can play in rebuilding our country.”

Protesters engaged in a sit-in in the Tunisian capital have been repeatedly calling for the resignation of the interim government and the formation of a constituent assembly.

On Monday, some 2,000 demonstrators assembled in front of the El Menzah sports hall in Tunis to call for a resumption of work and denounce the latest anti-government sit-in and acts of violence.

By Jonathan Terry