Economics of Tunisia Blog #6

The economy of Tunisia is changing, and it needs to. Tunisia is experiencing what a majority of the Arab countries who went through some sort of transition are. A where do we go from here kind of phase. They have their new government, for the most part, but the problems they revolted against, have yet to to be fixed.

This article by the Economist Magazine lays out basic data, plus future forecasts fairly well. It briefly goes over the fact that turning around the Tunisian economy will take time, and two major barriers the new government faces is that of Libya still in unrest which makes it hard for foreign companies to want to come in to do business in Tunisia, or bring their ships to port there. Coupled with that, is that as long as Libya stays in turmoil, it can lead to more young people who are not working to extremism. The Economist has kept up with the economy and releases articles regularly about the country. Overall while it sees some issues that will be very hard for the country to overcome, it has seen some progress as well. In May they stated that there has been some positive growth in the country, but they also remain a bit hesitant on if that will continue through the year. They do go on to discuss the fact that the Dinar took a hit in its value and now the country is dealing with trying to curb inflation. Relating back to my other blog post about Tourism, another blurb about the economy talks of how tourists are coming back, but everything to lure them back is so discounted, that it is not helping the overall picture of the economy that much. It will eventually, it will just take more people going to the Tunisia, and having the hotel rates, etc not as heavily discounted. The IMF has also agreed to allow borrowing from Tunisia, even though their economic growth has been slow and now what they had hoped for.

This is a basic Wikipedia article on the Economy of Tunisia. While it does speak of some of the information The Economist stated, it goes into a bit more background and detail of the Tunisian economy as a whole. Tunisia has largely depended on its oil and phosphate exports, as most of the Arab world has in the past, which is noted can make their economy very volatile as gas prices continue to stay low. The country also exports some agriculture products such as olives, tomatoes, citrus, almonds, dates and grains. As we have spoken of before, tourism is also a large sector of the economy. One of the reasons the economy struggles is that it is does not have a lot of variation to it, and the sectors that make the country money are all independently volatile industries. The terror attacks damaged the tourism sector, agriculture is weather and crop dependent, and as already stated oil and phosphates as we have seen are throwing a lot of Arab countries for a loop due to their instability these days. Tunisia does have a stock market, but it is small and has been state controlled. The Bourse De Tunis (also known as BVMT) is the stock market. Last numbers indicated that there are about 50 companies listed on the exchange. The government has tried to encourage companies to list themselves, however they have seen some resistance in going public.


Overall this small country on the continent of Africa is facing a time of modernization and change in its economy. Tunisia has long has a long history of a strong economy, but also needs to keep modernizing in order to bring down its unemployment. Back in 2007 is had an unemployment rate of 7.00%, the peak unemployment number was 15.6 in July 2016, as of January 2017 it was at 15.3% while not a drastic change it slowly going back down. But as the Economist magazine pointed out, the longer it stays this high, the more likely young people are to be radicalized.

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