The unemployment rate in Tunisia is constantly increasing. 15 percent of the population is currently looking for a job. For college graduates the labour market is even worse.
Almost a third cannot find a job after their academic education, which makes 236.800 people in total in 2017. Mohamed Fatnassi is one of them. He is 27 years old and graduated from „ESSAT“ university in Tunis 2015. He holds a diploma in „software engineering“ and is looking for a job for 2 years.
Mohamed, you are looking for a job for 2 years. How did you try to find one?
I sent more than 100 applications to different companies. Not only in my hometown Gabes, but all over the country, in Tunis, Sousse or Sfax, everywhere. Most of them did not even reply. I was invited to 3 interviews, but none of them worked out.
So due to this situation, you have a lot of free time. How do you spend it?
I’m a member in an association which protects nature. We did a cleanness and awareness campaign. I’m also an active person in the red cross which is a volunteer work.
In your opinion what is the cause for this high unemployment rate?
First of all, there is the problem of nepotism: Employers rather give their jobs to their family members or friends than to anybody else. Apart from that, Tunisia has a very big young generation so consequently the number of university graduates is increasing whereas the job opportunities are not.
Besides that it is also a political problem: The state does not make enough efforts to create more jobs or make Tunisia attractive for foreign investments. Many companies rather go to Egypt or Marocco than to our country.
How does the unemployment affect the young people?
It is very difficult for us. We are doing any possible temporary job. We are working eight hours for 15 Dinars [publisher’s note: 6,80 Euro]. We do every work, construction, helping in shops, cleaning apartments. We studied very hard to achieve an academic diploma. Now we are always overqualified. This situation is really frustrating.You get depressed, some start to take drugs or to drink alcohol. Some become aggressive, hit other people after the football.
But you do not look like a violent person!
Well, I love my country so I have to be patient and try to find a solution for myself. Giving up is not an option.
The revolution in Tunisia only happened 6 years ago, so a lot of things in politics and economics are still changing and the Tunisian people should stay together in solidarity to create a better future.
What are possible solutions of the unemployment in Tunisia?
The politicians should create more opportunities to attract foreign companies and give more support to people who like to start their own business. I think about to open my own shop. I have a lot of ideas in my mind but I didn’t decide yet. Maybe it is better to look for a job in another country. I myself would go if I get the chance.
What is your hope for the future?
I hope to find a good job with my diploma. I wish from the politicians to focus more on the poor people and the neglected regions.
Interviewed by Katharina Hübsch, Germany, photo by Ingo Zahlheimer.
Awarded for the best wording in 2017 in the project „Teaching Political Tools to Young People“.
I like the introduction. The general situation is explained and specific facts are given which are new for me. In this way I get the impression that the interviewer is competent and that there will follow more news.
General statements like „We do every work.“ are deepened: „construction, helping in shops, cleaning apartments.“ The interviewer creates pictures and we can imagine us Mohamed cleaning an appartement. The interview is very specific. Instead of „we work a lot and don’t earn a lot “, there is written „We are working eight hours for 15 Dinars [publisher’s note: 6,80 Euro].“
After two years many jobless people feel helpless, sometimes desperated, depressed and sometimes they are full of contradictions. The interviewer expresses this between the lines: „I have a lot of ideas in my mind but I didn’t decide yet.“ or other jobless people are described: „Some become aggressive“, and again a picture: „hit other people after the football“. The biggest contradicton: „Giving up is no option“. People who say this are already thinking about „giving up“. I can feel this in the interview.
Comment by Claus Sixt