Business Environment in Tunisia
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.
|GDP (billions USD)||43.52||44.29||46.62||49.04e||52.52|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||3.1||3.7e||1.3e||5.6e||5.6e|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||4,171||4,200||4,376e||4,555||4,828e|
|Inflation Rate (%)||3.5||4.4||4.0||3.3e||3.1e|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)||13.3||13.0e||14.7||14.4||14.0|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-1.35e||-1.13e||-1.31e||-1.44e||-|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-3.4e||-2.7||-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.
|Tunisian Dinar (TND) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD||1.25||1.30||1.33||1.28||1.23|
Source: World Bank
Indicator of Economic Freedom
- Mostly unfree
- World Rank:
- Regional Rank:
Foreign Trade in Figures
The current account of Tunisia is structurally deficient. The balance of trade in services is positive, but it can't offset the deficit of the trade balance. In 2008 and 2009 Tunisia showed a trade balance deficit of 10% of the GDP because of the surge in oil prices. After a slight improvement during the year 2010, a deterioration of the current account was again expected for 2011. In this context, the impact of the political events of early 2011 shouldn't reverse this trend.
Tunisia is following through its policy to open up its economy and has signed an association agreement (summary in French) with the European Union, removing tariff and trade barriers on most goods. It also signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States, which will later become a free trade agreement. During the first half of 2010, the country experienced a dynamic resumption of foreign trade, especially an increase in exports of mechanical, electric and electronic goods. However, this growth also brought about a worsening of the trade balance, due to trade in agricultural products and energy.
Tunisia's main import and export partners are the European Union, Libya, Russia and China. France remains its first supplier, despite a decrease of two points (19.4% against 21.5% in 2009). Tunisia's main export goods are textile and leather, mechanical and electrical products, food products and energy products. The country imports raw and semi-finished materials, equipment goods, consumption goods (other than food) and financial and insurance services.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||15,007||19,099||24,638||19,096||22,218|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||11,694||15,165||19,320||14,445||16,427|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||2,338||2,674||3,226||2,812||2,857|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||4,162||4,769||5,831||5,241||5,192|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||8.2||6.1||8.3||6.7||-|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||4.8||8.5||3.5||-1.6||-|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||52.7||55.6||64.4||55.3||-|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||50.4||53.2||60.2||52.0||-|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||-2,513||-2,876||-4,010||-3,699||-|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||-673||-769||-1,366||-||-|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||103.1||108.8||124.6||107.3||-|
Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank
Main Partner Countries
(% of Exports)
|Other partnersClose extended list||30.0%|
(% of Imports)
|Other partnersClose extended list||45.3%|
Sources of General Economic Information
Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Crafts (UTICA)
Agency for Agricultural Investment Promotion
National Observatory of Agriculture
Tunisian industry investments
- Statistical Office
National Statistics Institute (INS)
- Central Bank
The Central Bank of Tunisia
- Stock Exchange
Tunis Stock Exchange
- Search Engines
Bab el Web
- Economic Portals
Tunisiaonline - news
- Executive Power
- Article 37 of the Constitution lays down that "the executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic assisted by a government led by a Prime Minister".The President of the Republic is the Head of State. He is elected for five years by universal, free, direct and secret suffrage, and by an absolute majority of the votes cast. The President of the Republic is the guarantor of national independence, the integrity of the country, the observance of the Constitution and the laws as well as the enforcement of treaties. He sees to the regular functioning of the constitutional public authorities and ensures the continuity of the State. He benefits from jurisdictional immunity during and after the end of his period of office. The President of the Republic is the Supreme Head of the Armed Forces. He accredits diplomatic representatives to foreign powers. The President of the Republic directs the general policy of the State, defines its fundamental options and informs the Chamber of Deputies. The President of the Republic appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, the other members of the government. The President of the Republic presides over the Council of Ministers. The President of the Republic appoints civil and military high-ranking civil servants on the government's recommendation.
- Legislative Power
- The people exercises the legislative power through a representative assembly, called, since 1981, "Chamber of Deputies" and the Chamber of Councillors, or by referendum. The Chamber of Deputies is composed of 189 deputies elected by universal, free, direct and secret suffrage for a five-year term.
Laws are initiated conjointly by the President of the Republic and the members of the Chamber of Deputies. The bills presented by the President of the Republic have priority.
- Main Political Parties
Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), the majority party.
the Progressive Democratic Party (RSP)
the Social Liberal Party (PSP)
the Unionist Democratic Union (UDU)
As for the MTI (Renaissance Party), its legalization visa has been refused.
- Current Political Leaders
- President: Foued M'BAZAA
Prime Minister: Beji Caid ESSEBSI
- Next Election Dates
- Presidential elections: Not known
Parliamentary: Not known
Indicator of Freedom of the Press
- World Rank:
- 11 places down compared to 2008
Indicator of Political Freedom
- Not Free
- Political Freedom:
- Civil Liberties:
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