Tunisia, Libya join forces to create jobs
By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 08/03/12
Tunisia and Libya recently agreed to strengthen bilateral co-operation in the field of employment and vocational training.
A memorandum of understanding was signed last week by Tunisian Vocational Training and Employment Minister Abdelwahab Maâter and his Libyan counterpart, Mustafa Ali Rajabani, in which both parties committed to facilitating and simplifying procedures for the assignment and transfer of Tunisian workers to Libya.
During a joint February 29th press conference, Maâter said a committee of Tunisian experts would be set up and head for Libya in order to identify the country's labour needs.
The Tunisian minister said that the agreement will enter into force during the next few days, pointing out that it included measures to ensure Libya benefits from Tunisia's human resources in its reconstruction programmes. Both skilled and unskilled Tunisian labourers will be sent to Libya, according to Maâter.
With nearly 800,000 unemployed individuals, Tunisia is hoping the reconstruction of Libya will create desperately needed job opportunities.
The new bilateral agreement also links both countries' labour ministries electronically. A database will be compiled and updated periodically to include lists of Tunisian candidates based on sectors of activity and data related to the needs of the labour market in Libya.
But the pact goes beyond offering employment opportunities to Tunisians. Tunisia will provide vocational training to Libyans through centres in Tunisia in the various disciplines. Certificates awarded to the trainees will be recognised in both countries.
Libya is trying to help Tunisians – who embraced the Libyan people and stood by their side during the revolution – to overcome the major economic difficulties experienced by the country, especially youth unemployment.
Rajabani, the Libyan labour minister, stressed that Libya would give priority throughout the various stages of reconstruction to Tunisian workers. The Libyan official urged the government, people, and Tunisian businessmen to head immediately to Libya to identify opportunities and undertake their share of available work and jobs.
The minister asked Tunisian businessmen to provide investment insights for the advancement of the Libyan economy as soon as possible while downplaying allegations of insecurity.
"The fears expressed by some in relation to the instability of the security situation in Libya are totally baseless," he said.
Iheb Meftah, a reporter for Radio February, reiterated the same idea to Magharebia, noting that "most of the Libyan cities, especially in the east, are quiet and peaceful, except for some tension and unrest experienced from time to time by a few cities in the west, over which the interim government does not yet have full control, due to the presence of some militias there."
Commenting on the prospects of Tunisian-Libyan labour co-operation, Meftah said that the Tunisian workforce will have priority in Libya, owing to its good reputation, as well as the Tunisian support of Libyans rebels and the displaced during the revolution. He also noted the lack of a visa requirement for Tunisians entering Libya.
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