More than three decades of our support has helped Tunisian researchers and policymakers increase their knowledge in fields such as agriculture, water management, and economic policy. 

Following difficulties in the region, our support shifted. Researchers now probe topics such as democratic reform, creating jobs for youth, and using social media to encourage government accountability and political participation.  

Stabilizing democracy and supporting new business

Within this climate, several IDRC-supported efforts are generating policy-relevant knowledge to help create stable democracy and equitable economic growth in Tunisia and across the region. 

Our support enabled researchers to examine crucial questions related to the wave of political and social change, known as the Arab Spring. Tunisian protests led to fair and democratic elections in September 2011, and inspired demands for reform across the Middle East and North Africa. 

The Tunisian government’s job creation efforts benefit from economic research supported by IDRC from 2006 to 2009. A regional study found that new manufacturing firms were more productive than older ones, leading researchers to conclude that policies to encourage start-ups could lower unemployment.

Agriculture in a semi-arid land

Our early focus on agriculture brought tangible benefits to citizens, including a group of herders in the country’s Neffatia region. Since sand dunes were encroaching on their lands, in 1988, we supported researchers’ work with residents to improve farming and herding conditions. 

They identified the best soils for olive production and discovered a shrub that protects rangelands from desertification. The solutions had an impact. When the research ended in 1993, participating herders had increased sheep and goat production by 16%.

In the 1990s, IDRC-supported research produced four improved varieties of barley. It also led to the adoption of remote sensing tools to manage and preserve water and soil and protect vegetation. 

Total IDRC Support

62 activities worth CA$11.4 million since 1975

World Bank / A.Hoel
A woman in training center for production of local handicrafts

Our support is helping

  • advance multi-party democratic systems in the region
  • analyze three state institutions to find ways to enhance legitimacy and accountability 
  • understand critical factors related to youth participation in politics
  • measure public perception of security sector reforms in Tunisia and other countries
  • encourage women’s participation in political decision-making, the judiciary, and the public sector 
  • promote policies to protect minorities like the Kurdish and Amazigh communities, who represent 50 million people in the region

Projects