Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Silicon Tunisia

Sami Ben Romdhane calls for technology revolution at TEDx in Tunis

In 2001-2003 we used to spend a lot of time in Tunisia. At the time our company Total Quality Media was doing web design and development with ASP. We had hoped to start using sub-contractors in Tunisia and sell the work on in to the UK and France, but the corruption of the former government made this impossible.

Now that the former regime has fallen Tunisia makes sense as a potential new high tech outsourcing center. It is very close to Europe requiring only a few hours flight. It has a modern airport near Carthage and modern hotels. There is plenty of office space and except for very hot summers the weather is usually lovely.

Most importantly there is a highly skilled, highly educated population that speaks Arabic and French, along English and German in large numbers. The long standing tourist industry has left many people with contacts in the west and knowledge of western language and custom.

And one of the major problems of the previous regime was that it could provide education but not opportunity, there is a large supply of young people ready to work and able to take on high skilled IT jobs.

But before I would invest too heavily in Tunisia the nation will have to finish the transition to democratic institutions and reform its legal system. Police and government officials were little more than sites for collecting bribes. Before Google, Facebook, and Microsoft will feel comfortable with offices there they need to know they can sign
contracts reliably and have their own uncensored access to the Internet.

Tunisia is a destination also for it beauty and culture, Kairouan. Photo-Gail Orenstein web 3.0 Lab/Clima

But if these things are put in place Total Social Media will certainly be ready to start using sub-contractors form what will likely be one of the world's newe
st high tech hubs.

Tunis is not yet a center of Geo-tagged mobile tweeting like Egypt, Bahrain or even Saudi Arabia

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