Tunisia Economy - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

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Economic overview

Tunisia's economy – structurally designed to favor vested interests – faced an array of challenges exposed by the 2008 global financial crisis that helped precipitate the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. After the revolution and a series of terrorist attacks, including on the country’s tourism sector, barriers to economic inclusion continued to add to slow economic growth and high unemployment.

Following an ill-fated experiment with socialist economic policies in the 1960s, Tunisia focused on bolstering exports, foreign investment, and tourism, all of which have become central to the country's economy. Key exports now include textiles and apparel, food products, petroleum products, chemicals, and phosphates, with about 80% of exports bound for Tunisia's main economic partner, the EU. Tunisia's strategy, coupled with investments in education and infrastructure, fueled decades of 4-5% annual GDP growth and improved living standards. Former President Zine el Abidine BEN ALI (1987-2011) continued these policies, but as his reign wore on cronyism and corruption stymied economic performance, unemployment rose, and the informal economy grew. Tunisia’s economy became less and less inclusive. These grievances contributed to the January 2011 overthrow of BEN ALI, further depressing Tunisia's economy as tourism and investment declined sharply.

Tunisia’s government remains under pressure to boost economic growth quickly to mitigate chronic socio-economic challenges, especially high levels of youth unemployment, which has persisted since the 2011 revolution. Successive terrorist attacks against the tourism sector and worker strikes in the phosphate sector, which combined account for nearly 15% of GDP, slowed growth from 2015 to 2017. Tunis is seeking increased foreign investment and working with the IMF through an Extended Fund Facility agreement to fix fiscal deficiencies.

Real GDP growth rate

2% (2017 est.)

1.1% (2016 est.)

1.2% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

6.7% (2019 est.)

7.2% (2018 est.)

5.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 194

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2020)

Moody's rating: B2 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: N/A (2013)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$125.783 billion (2019 est.)

$124.485 billion (2018 est.)

$121.254 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 84

GDP (official exchange rate)

$38.884 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$10,756 (2019 est.)

$10,764 (2018 est.)

$10,605 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 143

Gross national saving

8.6% of GDP (2019 est.)

8.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

8.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 177

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 10.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 26.2% (2017 est.)

services: 63.8% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 71.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 20.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 19.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 43.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -55.2% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 68.7 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 94.6 (2020)

Trading score: 74.6 (2020)

Enforcement score: 58.4 (2020)

Agricultural products

wheat, milk, tomatoes, barley, olives, watermelons, green chillies/peppers, potatoes, dates, green onions/shallots

Industries

petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate, iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages

Industrial production growth rate

0.5% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 166

Labor force

4.054 million (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 14.8%

industry: 33.2%

services: 51.7% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate

15.5% (2017 est.)

15.5% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 177

Population below poverty line

15.2% (2015 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

32.8 (2015 est.)

41.7 (1995 est.)

country comparison to the world: 134

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)

Budget

revenues: 9.876 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 12.21 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

24.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 120

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-5.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 180

Public debt

70.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$4.191 billion (2017 est.)

-$3.694 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 180

Exports

$13.82 billion (2017 est.)

$13.57 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Exports - partners

France 29%, Italy 17%, Germany 13% (2019)

Exports - commodities

insulated wiring, clothing and apparel, crude petroleum, olive oil, vehicle parts (2019)

Imports

$19.09 billion (2017 est.)

$18.37 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Imports - partners

France 17%, Italy 16%, Germany 8%, China 8%, Algeria 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, natural gas, low-voltage protection equipment, cars, insulated wiring (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$5.594 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$5.941 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Debt - external

$35.911 billion (2019 est.)

$33.79 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 79

Exchange rates

Tunisian dinars (TND) per US dollar -

2.71795 (2020 est.)

2.8518 (2019 est.)

2.95875 (2018 est.)

1.9617 (2014 est.)

1.6976 (2013 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Tunisia on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Tunisia 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Tunisia 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.