Bridging digital divide and changing attitudes of economic players will accelerate digital transition (survey)

A survey on ‘the Digital Transition by 2050’ was presented, Tuesday, by the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies (ITES), at a conference in Dar Dhiafa in Carthage. It projects an acceleration of the digital transition through a change in the attitudes of economic players and bridging of digital divide that would allow the digital sector to take leadership in Tunisia’s international specialisation and make the country become a digital hub. Based on an achievable scenario entitled “Full and Successful Digital Transformation”, this survey forecasts a take-off of investments in digital infrastructure thanks to the joint efforts of the public and private experts as well as an improvement in the economic activity and public finances, leading to strong growth in Tunisia over a long period of time. To this effect, Tunisia will benefit from technological advances and a paradigm shift at the international level making infrastructure expenditure cheaper and more appropriate. Tunisia will also adopt 5G and 6G mobile telephony and communication standards. The optical fiber penetration rate will be considerably improved and high-speed connections will be increased. The percentage of total fiber optic broadband connections would be between 20% and 25% (currently, it stands at 2.47%). Likewise, untapped capacities of such companies such as the Tunisian Railway Company (French: SNCFT) will provide Tunisia with optical fiber for landlocked regions. This will take place following the re-launch of the Rail Tunisia programme which would allow the number of kilometers of rails in service to be doubled. In this scenario, an agreement is reached between ecosystem players to increase investment in infrastructure, allowing operators to benefit from economies of scale and improve connectivity with the rest of the neighbouring countries, and offer increasingly attractive and cost-effective services to citizens. The speed and quality of connectivity are improving in Tunisia. In relative terms, subscription and call prices drop sharply with improved services. Thanks to the infrastructure efforts, the equipment and usage gap has been completely eliminated. Fixed broadband penetration will be between 25 and 30 lines per 100 inhabitants (currently 12.66 lines per 100 inhabitants). Impact of digital transition on human capital and technological absorption capacity According to this survey carried out in partnership with the German foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), the return of strong growth and the improvement of public finances are pushing Tunisia to consolidate its programmes for the digitisation of education, culture, science and health. Investments in private and public human capital are taking off and those in the initial foundation of digital skills are considerably improving. Digital culture becomes a prerequisite for citizenship and the State provides minimum training for the entire population to enable e-inclusion. As the quality of education improves, the country becomes competitive at all levels of education (primary, secondary and higher). Specific programmes dedicated to teachers (improvement of their conditions and skills) are bearing fruit and the new generations of pupils have better school and university performance (according to international classifications). The material conditions of schools and educational institutions are also improving and technological investments are increasingly important. The education sector is renewing with a constructive dialogue and the overall state of education makes it possible to grasp the new aspirations of society. Improving skills and investing in education leads to a significant export of talent. Tunisia becomes a hub of circular migration and attracts more and more high-level profiles, improving the availability of talents and their variety. This context leads several companies to carry out significant direct investments in Tunisia.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP)

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