COOP Champions

Karim Toumi, ILO Country Office for Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania

COOP Champions features ILO colleagues from around the world working on cooperatives and other social and solidarity economy enterprises. It highlights their contributions, and shares highlights of their experiences, current work, and future aspirations.

Article | 02 April 2017
Mr Karim Toumi
Mr Karim Toumi holds Masters Degrees in Entrepreneurship, Environmental Communication and Demographic Research. He has 19 years of experience mainly in managing projects on employment policy, vocational training and local development. Over the past four years, he has managed a number of ILO initiatives that address decent work deficits and job creation through promoting cooperatives and other social and solidarity economy (SSE) enterprises in Tunisia. Karim is convinced that cooperatives and other SSE enterprises will make a contribution to tackling poverty, unemployment, effects of climate change, inequalities and insecurity in the world of work through their values and principles.

In collaboration with its constituents the ILO Office in Tunis has been exploring the potential and role of cooperatives and other SSE enterprises for sustainable development and job creation, with a particular focus on young women and men. This initiative resulted in the organization of the first national tripartite dialogue on SSE and the subsequent integration of SSE into national development policies through a chapter on SSE in the Government’s 2016-2020 five-year plan of economic and social development.

Currently, Karim manages the Promotion of Organizations and Mechanisms of Social and Solidarity Economy (PROMESS) project, which provides technical support to the government and social partners for structuring Tunisian SSE enterprises by creating a favourable ecosystem. More specifically, the project assists in establishing a conducive legal, regulatory and institutional framework and developing the capacities of SSE stakeholders at national and local levels.

In addition, the PROMESS project supports youth and women in four regions with high rates of unemployment and low economic growth. This is done through a wide range of SSE initiatives sponsored through a competitive bidding process and close collaboration with microfinance institutions.

Karim says there will be challenges to integrating SSE into people’s understanding and vision for a more inclusive society, but reaching out to youth through information sharing and capacity building will be an effective strategy. He hopes that PROMESS project will provide an example of a successful SSE-based model for economic and social development in Tunisia.