Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 20 - Page 50

COUNTRY FOCUS: TUNISIA “ THERE HAS ALSO BEEN A WAVE OF START-UPS THAT ARE DISCOVERING AI AND BLOCKCHAIN POSSIBILITIES, THROUGH DIFFERENT MEANS. industrial and commercial sectors. The Tunisian parliament has already approved an agreement with African Development Bank (AfDB) on a US$83 million loan to fund the project, while it also has the backing of telecommunications giant Huawei, who will help promote Digital Transformation, create employment opportunities and strengthen education and training for Tunisian ICT talent. “The plan is quite optimistic but can be done,” said Ghriss. “I do believe that the potential is massively present in Tunisia. We just need to arm ourselves with the right mindset and the willingness to change. I believe that the biggest challenge is to work on the change management especially if we're talking about change in the governmental processes. “I am very hopeful that change can be made, but we need the necessary mindset and the right amount of community involvement in the decision making. “What I love in the Tunisian ecosystem, is that we are a very curious and open people who are always thriving to know about the latest technologies. I admit that many companies, including the government, are still using outdated technologies because they're comfortable and you can easily find developers who master those technologies. “However, in the past few years, there has been a wave of developers learning by themselves and not relying on the education to form themselves. There has also been a wave of start-ups that are discovering AI and Blockchain possibilities, through different means. That's also what we, as developers and community leaders, try to do through initiatives like Facebook Developer Circle and at InstaDeep. “We believe that, as Tunisians and Africans, we have all the talent and intelligence needed to thrive in this field. We just need to be aware of our capabilities, and more importantly to explore them.” n From left: Mohammad Al Abdallah, Faten Ghriss, Aferdita Saracini Kelmendi and Alice Sayo during IREX›s 50th anniversary in Washington DC 50 INTELLIGENTCIO