Tunisia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

The law issued in 1993 and related to investment incentives defined the cultural industries that can benefit from state investment incentives as follows:

  • Film, theatre and audiovisual production and theater and television.
  • Projection of social and cultural films.
  • The restoration and promotion of cultural heritage sites.
  • Creation of museums.
  • Creating of libraries.
  • Fine arts.
  • Music and dance
  • Graphic arts
  • Design
  • Activities of photography, videos and film procession
  • The production of tapes and audiovisual products.
  • Creation of galleries for artworks exhibition.
  • Cultural centers.
  • Cultural exhibitions.
  • Archive by microfilm.
  • Book Publishing (since year 2004)
  • Theatrical production company (since 2003)

These services enjoy investment incentives as mentioned in the code for investment promotion including: access to grants from the funds for encouraging industrial decentralization, as it offers several financial incentives such as: investment grant, technical assistance and feasibility studies, and also tax incentives linked to several taxes and social security.

In cooperation with other ministries, the Ministry of Culture promotes the development of cultural industries by the following activities and projects: 

  • Identify appropriate ways to achieve compatibility between business objectives and quality of cultural production.
  • The abandonment of prior licensing and facilitating administrative procedures through the conditions document.
  • Assist private investment in the culture sector for export to foreign markets and enhance its capacity in distribution and marketing.
  • Activation of credit insurance mechanism established by the “credit insurance funds for cultural industries” within the banking system (project funded by OIF).

In addition, with the objective to promote the relationship with the private sector, the Investors’ Training Unit was created in 2010 (Decree771 of 20th April 2010 on the creation of investors’ training units) to train private investment in the culture sector and to develop new investment opportunities. Film and book publishing industries are considered as major fields of investment and production in the culture sector, despite their prevailing problems (distribution, state monopoly, funding issues…). International cooperation provides opportunities for additional financial support for cultural production through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, such as the Euromed Audiovisual Program (it financed the production of 26episodes of an animated film about Mediterranean history and legends).

Still the cultural industries field in Tunisia is not yet fully exploited and is missing great opportunities of development. In 2012, the African Development Bank funded a new study on a strategy to promote cultural industries in Tunisia and its outcomes may pave the way to their growth and the increase of their contribution to the country’s economy.

Chapter published: 05-05-2015