Hopes have been set high for the Tunisian economy in 2016 after reduced growth following the 2011 revolution further exacerbated structural problems. Wide-ranging government reforms led by a large-scale government stimulus package, with strong international support, are being pursued to streamline the economy and attract foreign investment in order to sustain a long-term development path and to maintain stability.
6 11 13 15 17 18 19 20 23 31 32 33 34 Tunisia in figures Good influence: Democratic reform has made the country a regional bright spot Viewpoint: President Béji Caïd Essebsi Success story: Political reform has been rewarded with international support Interview: Habib Essid, Head of Government Interview: Tobias Ellwood, MP and Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Cooperative approach: A foreign policy of appeasement is creating regional ties Interview: Suma Chakrabarti, President, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Looking up: Reforms aim to streamline the economy and boost foreign investment, with growth expected to pick up again in 2016 Set for change: Negotiations are under way to abolish import quotas, which could provide a boost to the local economy Interview: Slim Chaker, Minister of Finance Balancing the books: Fiscal policy emphasises reduction of public wage bill, subsidy cuts and tax reforms A new code: Government efforts seek to address red tape and reduce existing restrictions on investment The financial services sector, of which banking is the largest and most important component, is on a positive growth trajectory, with lending and leasing activity expanding in recent years. The banking sector accounted for 3.7% of the country’s GDP in 2014, and sector activity rose by 3.3% in real terms during the first nine months of 2015, compared to the same period a year earlier, after growing by 3.8% in 2014.
35 36 37 39 42 51 54 55 56 59 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 Interview: Yassine Brahim, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation Interview: Wided Bouchamaoui, President, Union Tunisienne de l’Industrie, du Commerce et de l’Artisanat Export opportunities: The government seeks to promote exports, while a new agreement with the EU could have a positive impact Viewpoint: Adnène Zghidi, Managing Partner, BDO Tunisia Positive moves: Measures to address tight liquidity and expected regulatory changes are set to bring the sector back to health Building blocks: A number of approaches aim at improving financial inclusion Lifelines: Addressing impediments to financing for small businesses Interview: Chedly Ayari, Governor, Central Bank of Tunisia Interview: Ahmed Rjiba, CEO, Banque de l’Habitat Restoring confidence: After riding out a period of uncertainty the markets are showing good prospects for growth Interview: Bilel Sahnoun, CEO, Tunis Stock Exchange Viewpoint: Fadhel Abdelkefi, General Manager, Tunisie Valeurs Spurring development: The authorities look into stimulating growth in Tunisia’s bond market Stocks and bonds: Share analysis and data Poulina Group Holding: Diversified Banque de l’Habitat: Banking SAH-Lilas: Industry SFBT: Food and beverages New initiatives are being rolled out to boost connectivity on Tunisia’s well-developed transport network. Alongside highway upgrades and capacity expansion at Radès port, an open skies agreement with the EU looks set to grow tourist arrivals. These projects promise to help improve transport efficiency and help Tunisia achieve its broader socioeconomic goals.
74 81 82 85 91 Room for growth: As premiums rise, new regulations look to bolster development in the sector Multiple benefits: Regulatory changes include moves to boost transparency, risk management and capital levels Interview: Lassâad Zarrouk, CEO, STAR Assurances Gearing up: Building on its reputation for stability, the country is in the midst of upgrading its infrastructure Revitalising roads: Road Transport Corridors Project scheduled to come on-line Tunisia has worked diligently in recent years to diversify its energy sector. While gas, largely imported from neighbouring Algeria, continues to dominate consumption, the government has been pursuing work in the renewables field. Renewables hold great potential, particularly solar power. The unrest in the years following the revolution has put many projects on hold, however this is beginning to change. In 2012 the government committed more resources to the Tunisian Solar Plan, which was inaugurated in 2009 and should see renewables provide 30% of all energy by 2030. Exploring options: A developed maritime infrastructure looks set to evolve Interview: Sami Battikh, CEO, Office of Merchant Marine and Ports Meeting demand: Rising consumption and falling production are prompting a push by the government and private sector to increase efficiencies and diversify the energy base All change: A new law promises wide-reaching effects for the industry Promoting renewables: The authorities take significant steps to diversify the country’s energy mix Bouncing back: After a slowdown in 2015, the local market is set to drive growth Interview: Radhi Meddeb, CEO, Comete Engineering Stable base: New housing programmes should see the real estate sector emerge from a period of uncertainty On the line: Reforms and investments are improving the sector Dialogue: Didier Charvet, CEO, Orange Tunisia, and Nizar Bouguila, Chairman and CEO, Tunisie Télécom Network upgrade: Major expansions and improvements are under way Open doors: The country is well placed to take advantage of opportunities Forging ahead: Uneven growth of industry subsectors remains a challenge Extending the olive branch: The agribusiness segment remains led by olive oil Interview: Romdhane Souid, CEO, Groupe Chimique Tunisien Interview: Amine Ben Ayed, CEO, Misfat 92 94 97 103 104 108 111 112 118 124 126 127 132 140 141 142 144 151 153 154 156 161 162 164 167 168 169 171 172 175 184 186 193 196 199 200 Reversing a trend: New initiatives and reforms are being formulated to help boost the number of visitors Striking a balance: After a turbulent few years, the sector is drawing on the lessons it has learned Interview: Radhouane Ben Salah, President, Tunisian Federation of Hoteliers Sky links: An open skies agreement with the EU will see the aviation industry grow in scope Fertile ground: Overall growth remains strong, with stability a high priority Interview: Abdelaziz Makhloufi, CEO, CHO Company Huile of fortune: Olive oil exports saw an unprecedented rise in 2015 Annual check-up: With a solid foundation, the sector is ready for an overhaul In good shape: The local pharmaceutical industry is looking to export more Interview: Saïd Aïdi, Minister of Health Covering new ground: The private sector is creating more opportunities for investors Interview: Chiheb Bouden, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Filling in the blanks: A focus on better preparing graduates for the workplace Need to know: The national tax system at a glance Viewpoint: Noureddine Hajji, Managing Partner, EY Tunisia Law of the land: A guide to the country’s updated legal code Viewpoint: Ghazi Meziou, Associate Lawyer, Meziou Knani & Khlif Home away from home: Hotels and their services Listings: Important numbers Facts for visitors: Useful tips for new arrivals Tunisia’s health care system has been the focus of heavy investment with an extensive network of public hospitals and health centres established nationwide. Meanwhile, Tunisia’s education system is focused on improving standards to help cut the rising unemployment rate of its young graduates. Agriculture performed strongly in 2015, driven by outstanding production and olive oil exports, which generated €917.2m in revenue. The sector, which accounts for around 10% of GDP, is not without its issues. However, ongoing negotiations to finalise a crucial free trade agreement with the EU should help to secure the reforms needed to stabilise the sector’s future.
Accounting for 7% of GDP and providing employment for more than 400,000 people, tourism is a major industry, with attractions ranging from historical sites to sandy beaches. However, the 2011 revolution led to a drop in visitors. By 2014 the overall volume had recovered from a low of 4.8m in 2011 to 6m, but was hit again by security incidents in 2015. Higher construction and food products export figures contributed to overall growth in manufactured products exports between 2014 and 2015. However, uneven growth across industrial subsectors exists, as traditional mainstays of the manufacturing industry, such as textiles and chemicals, continue to lag behind. Efforts are being made to increase production by 2021.
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