Economic Trends/Outlook in Tunisia

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Economic Overview

Over the past decade, Tunisia it had an average annual growth of around 5%. In 2009 and 2010, the country has suffered the effects of the economic crisis with a contraction of GDP and an anuual growth below 4%. Poor cereal harvests and reduction in oil production had been added to the negative impact of the slowdown in industrial activity export-oriented. 2011 forecasts were more optimistic (with an average annual growth of around 5%). However, even if the political revolution that erupted in early 2011 opens real opportunities for this country, it should take these forecasts downwards.

The country has nonetheless managed to keep its budget deficit at a reasonable level. Strategic choices have been made by the government, particularly economic liberalization and the gradual opening of the economy (accession to the WTO Agreement with the EU), macroeconomic stability (steady increase of national wealth, contained inflation), keeping public finances under control, prudent management of monetary and exchange rates and control of the current account deficit.

The growth drivers are the export and consumption. In purchasing power parity, Tunisia is close to the income levels of developed countries. One can also note much progress in terms of life expectancy of women's place in society, or health infrastructure and education. The official unemployment rate has stabilized (about 14%), but it is still highest among young people, especially young graduates, whose unemployment rate exceeds the average rate by 3 to 5 points.

Main Indicators 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
GDP (billions USD) 43.52 44.29e 46.62e 49.04e 52.52e
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 3.1 3.7e 1.3e 5.6e 5.6e
GDP per Capita (USD) 4,171e 4,200e 4,376e 4,555e 4,828e
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 42.9 40.4e 42.8e 42.8e 41.6e
Inflation Rate (%) 3.5 4.4e 4.0e 3.3e 3.1e
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 13.3 13.0e 14.7e 14.4e 14.0e
Current Account (billions USD) -1.35e -1.13e -1.31e -1.44e -
Current Account (in % of GDP) -3.4e -2.7e -3.0e -3.1e -

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database

Note: (e) Estimated Data


Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture is a key sector of Tunisian economy and an improvement in its production in the past years has allowed for the development of the sector (cultivation of olive trees, fruit trees and palm trees) and also has enabled to the country to reach a level of food sufficiency. Organic farming is also booming, Tunisia being the second more productive country in this respect. Agriculture accounts for around 11% of the GDP and employs around 25% of the workforce. This performance is the consequence of large-scale support and modernization efforts made within the framework of a development policy and of agricultural and rural activities regulation.

The non-manufacturing industries account for 17% of the GDP. The manufacturing industries, mainly textile and food, make up 20% of the GDP and are damaged mostly by the Asian competition. They are predominantly orientated towards export.

The local economy is largely orientated towards services, which account for 40% of the GDP, including the booming sectors of ICT (Information and communication technologies) and tourism.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) - - -
Value Added (in % of GDP) 7.8 30.0 62.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.5 4.1 2.7

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

For more detailed background on Industries in Tunisia, click here.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Mostly unfree
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2011 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the Country Risk Analysis Provided By Ducroire.


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