16.12.13 - The Global Programme Migration and Development of the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (GPMD of SDC) launched recently the « Communauté Tunisienne Résidente en Suisse (CTRS) for Development » project aimed at promoting socioeconomic development in Tunisia through the capitalisation on the knowledge, and the social and financial resources of the CTRS.

As part of this, CODEV completed recently a pilot socio-demographic mapping study of the CTRS with the objective of providing a better understanding of its characteristics, competences and resources, as well as its motivation to contribute to Tunisia’s’ development. The research draws on qualitative interviews and a pilot on-line survey questionnaire.

High motivation to contribute to Tunisia's development
The study illustrates that Tunisians follow multiple paths before arriving in Switzerland and they build important social networks in the multiple locations they visit along the way and they accumulate social capital which benefits their migration experiences and professional careers.

These in turn influence their investment and entrepreneurial projects in Tunisia. The study shows that the CTRS is highly motivated to contribute to Tunisia’s development, and that they act through diverse channels of engagement such as: financial remittances and investment; transfer of social capital and knowledge; philanthropy and humanitarian aid; plans to return to Tunisia and political advocacy. The study uncovers both the barriers that hinder diasporas’ entrepreneurial activities in Tunisia and the enablers that facilitate them. On the one hand, we can see how Tunisian entrepreneurs rely on their professional experiences and competences acquired in Switzerland as well as on their family ties. On the other hand, a lack of trust in the public institutions in Tunisia and political instability are main constraining factors.

This preliminary evidence suggests important policy implications in terms of providing suitable structural conditions and policies to encourage diaspora investments. The study concludes that, if political and economic conditions in Tunisia remain unclear, the country will not be able to take advantage of migration for regional and national development.

For more information on the project, contact Dr. Gabriela Tejada