Skip to main content

'Idol'-type TV show stirs young Tunisian entrepreneurs

A reality show competition is inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs across the Middle East.

TUNIS — As early as 7:30 a.m., young Tunisians have already staked out the best tables at sidewalk cafes, which pop up about every 20 feet or so in the country’s bustling capital. Once there, many pass the time sipping small cups of coffee and smoking endless cigarettes, conversing with their peers or watching television. For young people in a country with a youth unemployment rate of 42.4%, other options are few.

“I have nothing to do, so I go to the café,” said Ashraf Tahouni, a young Tunisian living just outside the capital. Tahouni, who's trained in electronics, can only find occasional work through family members and friends. His situation is far from rare. As each day passes, many young Tunisians spend their time not in school or at work, but watching TV programs through the smoke from sheesha.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.