Protesters were back out in force on the streets of Tunisia in December to mark the anniversary of the uprising that forced former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from office. Frustration at the lack of tangible improvements in the economic fortunes of the Tunisian people is rising two years on from the revolution. However, this is to be expected after decades of dictatorship and rampant state corruption.
It is essential that Tunisia’s interim leaders allow the demonstrations to go ahead without reprisal and that they are not distracted from the tasks in hand. Good progress is being made in building the new political apparatus and there is much to be positive about. Unlike in Egypt, power is not concentrated in the hands of one party; Islamist and secular interests are both represented in parliament and more importantly, civil society is being consulted in the process of drawing up the constitution.
The benefits of change were always going to take time to filter through society, but now that the economy is recovering, the prospects for the Tunisian people are brighter. The challenge now is to use this momentum to form partnerships with the private sector to develop sustainable job creation initiatives across the country. It is this that will make a difference in the lives of ordinary citizens.