Digitalisation and Firm Performance: Evidence from Tunisian SMEs

Rihab Bellakhal, Rim Ben Ayed Mouelhi
Existing studies suggest that the level of digitalisation amongst Tunisian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) is low. Tunisian SMEs lack the resources and capabilities needed to implement digital technologies. Furthermore, the literature argues that digitalisation offers unprecedented opportunities for SMEs, making digitalisation more than fundamental for their survival and growth. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the relationship between digitalisation and performance, in the context of Tunisian SMEs. Based on a firm-level dataset of 466 SMEs in Tunisia, the results indicate that digitalisation is positively related to   firms’ performance, allowing them to develop their activities, boost their sales, and to have a greater presence within foreign markets.  This positive relationship is linked with the firm’s engagement within a global digitalisation strategy, where it considers digitalisation as being an integral part of its business and activities. Thus, the paper gives several policy recommendations to support the digital transformation of SMEs in Tunisia.

Financial inclusion in the Middle East and North Africa and its Effect on Unemployment

Nooh Alshyab, Demeh Daradkah, Serena Sandri

The purpose of this study is to investigate empirically the relationship between financial inclusion and unemployment for a sample of countries within the MENA. An index for financial inclusion, using Sarma (2008), has been estimated for Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia during the period 2008-2018. The estimated index for financial inclusion reveals that, despite some progress, there is a need to foster financial inclusion in the region. Based on this index, the impact of financial inclusion on unemployment has been tested. The estimation of a random effect model testing the relationship between financial inclusion and unemployment shows a negative effect of financial inclusion on unemployment for the selected sample of countries.

Financial Inclusion: A New Multi-dimensional Index and Determinants – Evidence from the Union for the Mediterranean Countries

Rym Ayadi, Dorra Mezzez Hmaied, Rania Makni, Olfa Benouda Sioud, Soumaya Ben Khelifa

This paper proposes a new multi-dimensional financial inclusion index based on a two-stage Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and aggregating indicators of availability, access and use. The paper first assesses the cross-country variations in the index and analyses trends over time for a sample of countries members of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) from 2010-18. Second, it investigates factors that could explain the level of financial inclusion across countries.

Our financial inclusion index shows a downward trend for the full sample over the period under investigation, however when splitting the sample by income group, it appears that high and middle income countries did not register the same trend. When examining the determinants of financial inclusion for UfM countries, we find that macroeconomic, social and governance factors, as well as banking conditions, matter.

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