Local elections/Sousse: Major disparities between coastal areas and inland delegations

Created on June 21, 1956, Sousse governorate is located in central-eastern Tunisia, precisely in the third district which also includes the governorates of Kairouan, Monastir, Mahdia, Siliana and Kasserine, according to the fresh spacial division. The region stretches along 75 km of coastline.

The governorate of Sousse covers an area of 2669 km, or 1.7% of Tunisia’s total surface area, and is home to 753,670 people, data published on January 1, 2023 by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) show.

It is divided geographically into 16 delegations, namely Sousse-City, Sousse-Jawhara, Sousse-Sidi Abdelhamid, Sousse-Riadh, Hammam-Sousse, Akouda, Msaken, Enfidha, Bouficha, Kondar, Sidi El Heni, Zaouia-Kessiba-Thrayet, Sidi Bouali, Hergla, KalSa Kebira and KalSa Seghira, as well as 18 municipalities.

The governorate’s economic fabric is characterised by its diversity and is based mainly on the service sector providing employment for 53.7% of the working population, most of whom work in tourism (21% of the na
tional accommodation capacity), in addition to the manufacturing sector, notably textiles, clothing and the mechanical and electrical industries.

The governorate counts boasts 3 tourist areas (Sousse-Medina, Kantaoui and Hammem-Sousse). It also hosts a marina, an internationally-renowned golf course, an archaeological museum and a World Heritage-listed old town, as well as 120 hotels with an estimated 51,000 beds, providing some 20,400 jobs.

Based on the INS data for 2021, there are 483 industrial companies in Sousse, providing some 559,932 jobs, with an average of 10 or more workers per unit, including 294 totally exporting companies.

The region also includes a 50 ha-industrial area in Enfidha, a teleworking centre and 3 business incubators, in addition to a technology centre specialising in mechanics, electronics and IT.

The cultivated area in the governorate of Sousse is estimated at around 205,000 ha, including almost 159,000 ha of ploughed land, in addition to an olive grove covering around 77,000 ha
and comprising 4.2 million olive trees, which accounts for 17.5% of the national output.

Difficulties hindering development

Sousse suffers from a disparity in development between its seafront of Greater Sousse and the other delegations, notably those inland, in addition to the emergence of haphazard residential areas adjoining the centres.

According to a report drawn up by the local development authority in 2019, the economic situation in the governorate has been beset in recent years by cyclical difficulties in some of the region’s distinctive sectors, such as tourism and manufacturing.

Other alarming problems waiting to be tackled include failure to implement public development projects and delays in completion deadlines, such as the Enfidha deep-water port project, which has been stalled for no less than 12 years.

Local residents have high expectations

The local residents are looking to eliminate all forms of seawater pollution and the spread of unpleasant smells in the Hammam-Sousse- Kantaoui area,
due to the failure of the Hammam-Sousse sewage treatment plant to assimilate the large quantities of seawater. This situation makes it urgent to complete construction work at the Sousse-Hamdoun wastewater treatment plant and to modernise the South-Sousse plant.

Political and civil activists in this governorate also warned against the damage done to the region in recent years due to the positive discrimination principle included in the 2014 Constitution, embodied in the drop in the overall volume of public investments included in the 2016-2020 development plan (some TND 830 million).

This sharp drop in public investments was reported despite the fact that Sousse is the country’s third largest economic centre.

These same voices called for the principle of positive discrimination to be deployed not between governorates, but within the delegations of each governorate, in order to ensure that the measures taken do not lead to negative discrimination that could further widen development disparities and perpetuat
e inequalities between regions and delegations.

There are 16 delegations, 105 imadas, 112 constituencies and 183 polling stations in Sousse.

Source: EN – Agence Tunis Afrique Presse




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