Jendouba-Elections: Acute socio-economic precariousness despite huge natural potential

The governorate of Jendouba, created on June 20, 1956, overlooks part of the Mediterranean Sea and shares an international border 136 km away with 3 border posts. It is a governorate with poor development indicators and a volume of investment that does not meet the aspirations of its inhabitants. Agriculture is the main activity in the region, with some outstanding tourist and environmental features (forests, reserves, sea, archaeological monuments, crafts, etc.), as well as coastlines stretching along the maritime strip. The governorate of Jendouba is home to around 405,000 inhabitants, or 3.5% of Tunisia's population, mostly living in the delegation of Jendouba. //The social situation With regard to poverty indicators, the number of needy families benefiting from free healthcare in the governorate of Jendouba stands at some 22,675, while 19,770 families receive subsidies and 49,000 people enjoy healthcare at reduced rates. //Infrastructure Infrastructure in the governorate of Jendouba is characterise d by its precariousness and its inability to adapt to change. The region's road network is threatened by landslides. Jendouba has a road network of over 692 km, 672 km of which are asphalted, and 165 km are local roads, 146 km of which are asphalted. The region also has 2,346 km of rural roads and 1,266 km of forestry routes, according to the Jendouba local regional equipment directorate. In the education field, there are 232 primary schools in the region, with an enrolment rate of around 94% for the 6-14 age group and an illiteracy rate of 33%, rising to around 40% in rural areas. The success rate in the baccalaureate exam stands at 51%, placing the region second last nationally, according to the Jendouba local education directorate. //A feverish development model Despite Jendouba's exploitable natural potential, the region is considered one of the poorest in terms of its development index, the precariousness of its economic fabric and the fragility of its social situation, with high rates of poverty, u nemployment (19.7%) and illiteracy. The region's development model is primarily based on the agricultural sector. Every year, the region produces some 1,800 quintals of grain, over 30,000 tonnes of potatoes, some 83,000 tonnes of tomatoes and 81,000 tonnes of various vegetables. Production also includes almost 10,000 tonnes of olives, 165,000 tonnes of milk and 17,000 tonnes of red meat, according to statistics from the Jendouba local authority of agricultural development. //Poorly managed water resources The governorate of Jendouba boasts around 180,000 hectares of arable land, including around 40,000 hectares of irrigated areas, 6 dams with a total capacity of over 352 million metres 3, and mobilisable water resources of over 662 million metres 3, 17 mountain dams with a capacity of over 9,500 thousand metres 3 and 40 mountain lakes with a capacity of 2,600 thousand metres 3. On the other hand, the region suffers from poor management of the volume of resources derived from rainfall, much of which is di scharged into the sea in Tunisia's rainiest areas (Tabarka and Ain Draham), where average rainfall is 1,500 mm per year. //Promising tourism The region is a booming tourist destination thanks to its environmental resources, thermal waters, snowy winters and archaeological monuments. The total number of arrivals for 2022 has reached 250,000 tourists, according to statistics from the Tabarka local Tourism Office. //Low investments The volume of investment in the governorate of Jendouba, according to a report published by the Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII) in Jendouba in 2021, amounts to some TND 260 million, while the number of industrial institutions in various sectors is 372, an indicator that shows the weakness of the region's industrial fabric compared with other areas, despite its huge potential. As such, development in the region is hampered by a number of unfinished projects, such as the Bou Salem motorway project on the Algerian border, the relaunch of the Mater-Tabarka railway line and the suspension of activities in a number of projects, including the steel plant in the Ghardimaou delegation, the Jendouba brickworks (confiscated) and the Tabarka ceramics plant. These are just some of the shortcomings that should be a priority for candidates in any election, including the local elections due on December 24. Source: EN - Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

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