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Chahed: we are preparing a comprehensive strategy to attract skilled Tunisian expatriates

Published the:  16/08/2017

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(TAP) – The President of the Government Youssef Chahed announced that the national unity government is developing a comprehensive strategy to attract skilled Tunisian expatriates and involve them in the country’s development and modernisation

"Tunisia today abounds with young people capable of winning a better place in the world system of intangible economy if they have the necessary resources," he said at the opening of a conference on skilled Tunisians abroad “Tunisia 2030 -Research and Innovation: Our path to new technologies and promising sectors".

He emphasised the responsibility of educational and academic institutions, research and training centres, administration and economic enterprises in creating an environment conducive to the development of individual and collective skills "so as to encourage them to create and innovate in all scientific and technical fields".

Minister of Social Affairs Mohamed Trabelsi, for his part, stressed that the report of the World Bank (WB) notes a significant increase in brain drain to northern countries in recent years.

Tunisia is also suffering from this phenomenon which has continued to grow significantly since 2013, he said.

 He also recalled that the Arab report on knowledge (2009) based on the brain drain indicator by the World Bank ranks Tunisia at the top of countries in this area just after Syria which leads.

"We are facing a major challenge and must adopt a new approach that will transform this hemorrhage into a new vessel for our economy and our wealth," he said.

He added: "the data collected on this phenomenon and its causes must be constantly updated, and we must re-examine the social and professional environment available to our skills in Tunisia: opportunities for research and innovation, opinion, preservation of rights, recognition, equal opportunities, fight against corruption and restoration of the rule of law and institutions ".

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Slim Khalbous listed the gaps and dysfunctions that hamper this field in Tunisia: dominant bureaucracy, very small research structures that are supposed to be competitive on a global scale, poor and insufficient funding and lack of socio-cultural and economic valorisation of research.

"The main challenge for our country is to create wealth, improve employability and boost growth through a momentum of innovation and creation," he said.

He underlined, in this regard, that his department will create new mechanisms for liaison with national structures and Tunisian skills abroad.

These include launching a digital network with all skilled expatriates, setting up a system that promotes exchanges and co-ordination between Tunisian university and research structures, on the one hand and companies and professional structures that host Tunisian skills abroad, on the other hand.

The Ministry is also trying to integrate the largest number of Tunisian skills abroad into the national programme of higher education reform and scientific research.

Foreign Minister Khemais Jhinaoui also spoke of the need to update the list of skilled Tunisians around the world in collaboration with the various ministries, embassies and consulates "so that they contribute to enhancing the image of Tunisia and promoting the Tunisian democratic transition experience".

In this regard, it proposed to set up a national body for the collection of information and ongoing communication with skilled Tunisians abroad to involve them in planned and ongoing programmes in Tunisia