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The Tunisian power system and the COVID-19 pandemic

Athir Nouicer and Asma Dhakouani, 13 May 2020

The Tunisian power system and the COVID-19 pandemic

This opinion piece on the “Tunisian power system and the COVID-19 pandemic” by Athir Nouicer and Asma Dhakouani is part of a series of articles covering the impacts of the pandemic on the energy and climate sectors. Read more here

It overviews how the Tunisian electricity sector has evolved in the past years, and how it is being impacted by the COVID19 crisis, both on the short term and medium to long term.

covid19 subsaharan africa EUIdeas

It is not surprising that the national centres for disease control in countries like Nigeria have, so far, competently handled the spread of the corona virus pandemic in their countries. It would be surprising if they had not, given the depth of their experience with containing the spread of diseases such as Lassa Fever and Ebola. 

What has been intriguing to witness, and is in need of further explanation, however, is why many citizens in African countries have obeyed sometimes very tough lockdown measures that at least on the surface seem to make much less sense in the African context than they do in a European one. 

covid19 egypt blog

Beyond the Chinese government’s campaign to downplay the severity of the pandemic in China, the lack of transparency in authoritarian regimes around the world has raised concerns that covering up the actual number of cases can counterproductively hinder efforts to effectively combat the pandemic. In the Middle East, this can be seen in Egypt, where the government has expelled and cracked down on journalists reporting on the pandemic while going so far as to criminalise the questioning of official numbers.


The coronavirus pandemic has now reached Libya. It threatens to further exacerbate the crisis in Tripoli and the western part of the country, which is already directly affected by the continuing war. The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) is faced with several challenges in its attempts to deal with the crisis: political divisions that hinder its actions; military developments and their humanitarian impacts; and also a rapid deterioration of the economic situation.

corona syria blog

For the Syrian regime, which now controls over 70 per cent of Syrian territory, the Covid-19 virus might represent one of the most significant social crises since the beginning of the war. As more and more of the population is under its domination, Damascus has been clutching at solutions to the increasing challenges with very limited financial resources.

Enlarging the context on COVID-19: Europe and Africa

Mehari Taddele Maru and Fabrizio Tassinari, 30 March 2020

Africa Europe covid article

As nations worldwide mobilise and direct their resources to fight COVID-19 within their own jurisdictions, Africa inevitably will take a low priority; but once testing is scaled up, infection rates are expected to surge and deaths may increase commensurately. For Europe to enlarge the context, it is essential that it keeps in clear sight Africa’s needs and the dire consequences of inaction.

Lybia Sirte MED blog

Since Sirte was seized by Haftar’s forces last January, the Interim Government appointed new local authorities to run the city instead of the elected local council. They now have to confront the new coronavirus pandemic in addition to the continuing war in the west of the city. Due to Sirte’s strategic location and its importance as a connecting hub between several Libyan cities and communities, the way local authorities will respond to the crisis might have a determining impact on the evolution of the crisis in the rest of the country.

Mehari taddele mehru article

 Covid-19 has now hit more than 40 African countries, with almost 2 000 confirmed cases as of March 23. So far, the coronavirus has been slow to spread across Africa, but there are several factors unique to the continent that could make it difficult to reduce the rate of infections — and make the pandemic more deadly for Africa than for other continents.

libya article

Virginie Collombier décrypte les enjeux de la chute de Syrte aux mains du maréchal Khalifa Haftar, lundi 6 janvier, en analysant notamment le ralliement des kadhafistes à ce dernier. Le patron de l’Armée nationale libyenne (ANL), activement soutenu par les Emirats arabes unis, l’Egypte et l’Arabie saoudite, mène depuis neuf mois l’assaut contre le gouvernement d’accord national (GAN) de Faïez Sarraj, basé à Tripoli et appuyé de son côté par la Turquie.

The EU-Africa nexus: promise and purpose

Mehari Taddele Maru and Fabrizio Tassinari, 11 December 2019

the EU Africa nexus

If the promise of a holistic partnership between the EU and Africa is to come to fruition, the EU’s priorities concerning the African continent and its fundamental mindset towards it, need radical change. Europe and Africa are naturally bound by geographical proximity, a shared – and often controversial – history, and growing economic and demographic complementarities. But it is these very ties that most often turn out to be a source of division rather than convergence.

Tunisia’s 2019 Elections: Beyond the Islamists vs. Secularists Cleavage

Ester Sigillò and Theo Blanc, 4 December 2019


The 2019 reconfiguration of political actors cannot be understood in terms of the traditional Islamists vs. secularists cleavage. Rather, the electoral results are rooted in the widespread discontent with the ‘governance by consensus’ model prevailing since 2011. 

Tunisia’s transition to democracy has not prevented a wave of violent extremism. Radical jihadist ideas and socioeconomic frustrations are still present in society and must be tackled.

Tunisia's Next Battle

Nedra Cherif, 22 October 2019

Blogpost October 2019 Nedra Cherif

With a new president backed by no partisan structure and a fragmented parliament, the Tunisian political class now faces the challenge to either build a solid ruling coalition or reach a compromise if it wants to avoid an institutional stalemate. While the elections have proved to be a difficult journey, the new battle for the government seems to turn out as complex and unpredictable as the electoral process itself.

Pastoralists: Seasoned to Uncertainity

Michele Nori, 12 September 2019

Research and Partnerships Pastoralists Image 01

Turn on the news, open a newspaper, and ‘crisis’ is the word used to characterise the situation in many domains, such as financial issues, migration, public health, the climate, or political economy. The paradigm of recent times whereby most societal variables were under control is over. Uncertainty increasingly characterises complex and interdependent systems, and is the new prevailing dimension of daily life.

Barriers to Free Movement in Africa: How to Remove Them

Mehari Taddele Maru, 1 August 2019

 Blogpost September 2019 Mehari Maru

While the African Union (AU) has developed ambitious plans for continental free trade it is becoming clear that free movement of people lags behind. This blog identifies six obstacles that impede progress on free movement for people in Africa and considers the prospects for future development.

Why Tunisia Needs a New Generation of Leaders

Nedra Cherif, 25 July 2019

Blogpost July 2019 Nedra Cherif

As Tunisia heads towards its second general election since the fall of the authoritarian regime, filling the generational gap that is pulling an aging ruling elite apart from an increasingly disenchanted youth is becoming crucial in helping to consolidate the country’s young democracy. The 2019 elections could therefore mark a turning point, were the Tunisian political class willing to tackle and address the growing concerns of a generation that is still waiting to reap the fruits of ‘its’ revolution.

Keynote Speech by Ambassador Ajay Bramdeo

May 2019

Keynote Speech by Ambassador Ajay Bramdeo, Permanent Representative of the African Union to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations, at the The Migration Policy Centre's Annual Conference,  May 2019.

For the International Day of United Nation Peacekeeping,  Dr. Mehari Taddele Maru, Schuman Fellow, joined an interview panel on Aljazeera to discuss the cost and impact of the UN peacekeepers in Africa.

Building South Sudan

Henry Goodwin, 27 March 2018

Blogpost EUI Times March 2018

'How do you build a country from scratch? That is not a question many people, especially in Europe, ever really think about. For the Henry Goodwin, it’s not just a question: it’s a job description.'

Henry Lochi was part of the first cohort of Young Policy leaders at the School of Transnational Governance. He used this opportunity to reflect on his home country South Sudan as an outsider. 



Page last updated on 19 May 2020

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