The economic marginalisation of the Sidi Bouzid youths reduces their ability to access the region’s economic opportunities and resources, according to a study conducted by the Association of Natural Resources and Development (ARND). This marginalisation is evident notably through the disparity between the fragile job offers and investment opportunities available in this governorate on the one hand, and the professional aspirations of young people on the other. The study also revealed that despite the improvement in the rate of schooling and access to higher education among young people in Sidi Bouzid compared to previous generations, the economic situation has not improved. Higher education has thus “not played its role as a social lift.” It has instead contributed to increasing youth unemployment and reproducing economic fragility in several forms. Bureaucratic systems have, in turn, contributed to restricting economic opportunities for young people, in addition to the prevalence of clientelism in administrative institutions in Sidi Bouzid, which has led to a growing reluctance among the youth to participate in political governance mechanisms. According to the study, the Sidi Bouzid youths consider that local officials do not pay attention to their concerns regarding employment, investment and the improvement of public services. For these young people, officials lack competence in the management of public affairs at the local level, which has prompted them to engage in protest actions, in order to exert pressure on bureaucratic systems, even through the use of violence, to get access to economic and social incentives. Young people also consider that public services, especially administrative and health services (provided by the authorities) as well as infrastructure, are insufficient due to the lack of use of new technologies in administrations, the concentration of many services in the capital and the spread of corruption, notably in recruitment and public procurement. The study also pointed to the phenomenon of territorial discrimination faced by young people in the capital or in the Sahel governorates when they go there to study or look for a job. This study, conducted as part of the “On Est Ensemble” (OEE) programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), centred on four main issues, namely, social and economic distribution, negative discrimination, civic participation and relations with public institutions, and exposure to violence. Five discussion circles and six café debates were organised as part of this study and 264 questionnaires were distributed.
Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP)