Ridha Saidi was born on November 24th, 1962, in Menzel Bourguiba, a city in Bizerte. Saidi was nominated to serve as the Deputy Minister of Economy in charge of economic affairs in Tunisia’s new interim government.
Saidi received an engineering degree from the National School of Engineering in Tunis (ENIT), and also has a master’s degree in quality management and productivity. He is a former engineer at the Tunisian Company for Gas and Electricity (STEG).
During his youth, Saidi was well known for his Islamist activism in secondary school and university. He was the students’ representative in the Islamist Movement’s list from 1983 to 1986. He was also a founding member of the Tunisian General Student Union (UGET). In 1985, he joined the Islamist Tendency Movement (now Ennahda) until he became a member of the party’s executive bureau. Saidi is also a former boy scout and a staunch advocate of human rights.
Ridha Saidi was arrested on September 11th, 1991, in Jendouba, and taken to the Bouchoucha jail in Tunis where he was repetitively subject to torture. The torture he experienced while in prison resulted in many medical conditions, including chronic pain in his back and legs.
Saidi was first judged in the Court of Bizerte in 1992, when he was sentenced to three years in jail for joining a banned organization. Saidi was also judged in a military court in July 1992, where he was sentenced to life in prison. He then entered jail on October 4th, 1991. But after 16 years, and precisely in 2007, he was released.
Saidi is the author of several economics-focused academic works. In November 2009, he published an article titled The National Economy: Reality and Prospects.
In 2011, after the demise of Ben Ali’s regime, Saidi became a member of Ennahda’s executive bureau, and is in charge of strategic planning and studies.