Guided by the North Stars - The Swedish Model of Regional Development as a Source of Inspiration for Tunisia

Friday, February 28, 2014
Articles of the week

If at first glance it seems that Sweden and Tunisia have little in common, especially when one talks about economic development, a second glance gives a surprising answer.

According to the African Development Bank’s most recent brief entitled “Guided by the North Stars” the Nordic countries in the 1930s had far more in common with North Africa of today in terms of socio-economic challenges. Back then, Sweden struggled with mass unemployment, few developed resources, uneven population distribution, a climate that is harsh during parts of the year and major socioeconomic impediments to inclusive and sustainable growth, all within the context of a global economic depression. Much of this sounds very familiar to Tunisian ears.

The brief points out that to overcome the challenges of the 1930s, Sweden worked to ensure that regions and municipalities developed together rather than in separate and unequal pockets. Underpinned by the principle of good governance, the Swedish approach decentralized state administrative and fiscal responsibilities and set out a well-defined social contract among society’s major stakeholders.

The AfDB brief suggests that the policies Sweden enacted during the past 80 years, and that have helped it to become one of the world’s most prosperous countries, could also inspire Tunisian and North African policy makers.

The report can be found here: