Elance Blog

Tunisia Embarks on a New Beginning Using Elance

Katrin Hippler, Elance’s Marketing Program Coordinator in Europe, had the chance to visit Tunisia and present at the World Bank conference. Here is an account of Katrin’s experience.

Tell us about Tunisia and why you were there.
Located in North Africa, Tunisia is bordered by Algeria, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the biggest challenges Tunisia and its 10.5 million residents are facing after the Tunisian revolution include tackling the rise in unemployment, supporting job growth and improving career-related education. Unemployment is quite high, at 18% in Tunisia, and most of the unemployed are recent university graduates. Elance was invited to participate in a two-day conference initiated by the World Bank on the topic “Favoring employment through online service delivery,” held on May 25 and 26 in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.

Can you tell us a little more about the World Bank conference?
To support the Tunisians in their post-revolution period, the World Bank initiated a conference with presentations, panel discussions and workshops with relevant stakeholders, including national employment agencies, universities and schools, the Tunisian Central Bank, PayPal and Elance. The main objective of the conference was to identify alternative employment opportunities for the Tunisian working population by using new technologies. Participants of the conference joined different working groups to help define the framework of a pilot project targeting unemployed Tunisians and recent university graduates by providing support and additional training on tapping into online employment.

How did Elance participate in the event?
I presented on the topic “The Human Cloud — Changing the Way of Work,” I introduced the audience to the opportunities of online work and how online work platforms like Elance can help to remedy the problems of the traditional labor market in Tunisia as individuals get the chance to successfully provide their services online.

What was the overall feedback on your presentation?
Online work is completely new to most Tunisians so the conference participants were very eager to learn more about the topic even after I finished my presentation. It was great to experience the strong interest of the participants and their willingness to embrace the exciting opportunity of tapping into the Human Cloud in order to create employment in their country.

Any interesting takeaways you have from the event?
I realize we won’t be able to change the unemployment situation in Tunisia overnight since there are administrative barriers to overcome, but this initiative has given us the chance to introduce the new way of work to Tunisia. Undoubtedly, this will have a significant impact on individual’s lives in Tunisia and changing their life for the better. And it is satisfying to see that the country is eventually in the process of reconstruction and development towards democracy after these times of intense political upheaval.

Despite Tunisia’s struggles, it looks like a beautiful country to visit! What was your favorite part of your trip?
Yes, Tunisia is definitely worth a visit and I would like to thank our hosts at the World Bank and all participants of the conference who made Elance’s stay in Tunis a fantastic experience. Not only because of the strong will of the Tunisians to lead their country into a new beginning after the revolution and creating alternative employment opportunities for their nationals, but also because of the great hospitality of all people I met there. I had the opportunity to visit the Medina, Tunis’ old village for a few hours and the contrast of walking through the narrow streets filled with people and local handicrafts on the one side and standing on top of a terrace overlooking the vastness of the city with its rich culture on the other side is simply amazing. It will definitely not be my last visit to Tunisia – au revoir!



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