01 February 2013 10:29 am | | 6

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The launch Monday of a Tunisian-German government partnership focusing on renewable energy could help create jobs for young graduates, according to those involved in the initiative.

The vast solar resources in Tunisia’s southern Saharan region have long been considered a potential source of alternative energy, and the recent partnership between the two countries will guarantee the implementation of many pending renewable energy projects in Tunisia, said Yasmina Sassi, a renewable energy project manager at the German-Tunisian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK).

Clean energy can help boost employment, Sassi told Tunisia Live, particularly for regular laborers, construction workers and engineers.

Already, the German Agency for International Cooperation, known as GIZ, has partnered with the engineering schools of universities across the country to support training and capacity development in the renewables field.

The key areas of cooperation between Tunisia and Germany are power grid development, energy efficiency, energy research, renewable energy, and political support for the Desertec project, said a statement from AHK.

Desertec is a project supported by a foundation bearing the same name and the consortium Dii (Desertec industrial initiative), created in Germany as a limited liability company.

This project aims to create a global renewable energy plan in which sustainable power is captured in North Africa, where renewable sources of energy are more abundant, and transferred through underwater high-voltage transmission cables to Europe.

Desertec will strive to both produce renewable energy in Tunisia and to boost Europe’s sustainability efforts.

The energy partnership will be implemented by a high-level steering committee and thematic working groups involving government and industry representatives from both sides, according to the AHK statement.

Philipp Rösler, Germany’s federal minister of economics and technology, expressed his enthusiasm regarding the partnership in a press statement.

Tunisia is a promising partner “due to its favorable conditions for the … development of wind and solar energy and its ambitious targets for the expansion of renewable energy,” according to the statement.

It also claimed that cooperation would enable Tunisia to “benefit from the expertise of German technology companies” and that “the future energy partnership can bring significant benefits for climate-friendly energy supplies to both countries.”

Questions still remain over the effectiveness of the energy partnership, given that the Tunisian government has yet to establish a regulatory framework that would oversee investments in Tunisia’s fledgling renewables sector.

Bernard Yaros contributed reporting

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