Oral history interview with Najla Harrouch, 2015
Najla Haarouch is the CEO of Arab International Bank of Tunisia (BIAT) Insurance. She was appointed Minister of Trade and Handicrafts by Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa in January 2014. Prior to this appointment, she worked for BIAT as head of the credit department (2006-2008) and director of budget and management control (1994-2006). From 1990 to 1994, she was general manager of Mehari Beach Djerba and Mehari Beach Tabarka. She began at BIAT in 1989 as analyst in charge of investment companies, after studying in France and in 1988 working for Banque Paribas in Paris.
Scope and Contents
Najla Harrouch, Minister of Trade and Handicrafts in the technocratic government, narrates her somewhat removed experiences of the Tunisian Revolution. She describes her recruitment to government and her reasons for accepting the offer. She outlines the main internal and external challenges that confronted her ministry, such as personnel issues and the complicated post-revolution economic situation in Tunisia. Although there were some accomplishments during the Mehdi Jomaa administration and free and fair elections took place at the end of its mandate, she remains skeptical of how much real progress was achieved. She acknowledges that this was perhaps inevitable, given the Jomaa government's brief tenure and the challenging nature of the political and economic environment. Yet she found the experience very personally enriching, due to her new colleagues and greater understanding of the country. She reflects on the specificities of the Tunisian situation, the roots of the revolution, and the current, highly ambivalent public perception of revolutionary change.
Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2015.