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Chapter | Banking from The Report: Tunisia 2019

In a context of significant macroeconomic challenges, Tunisia’s banking sector has demonstrated solid performance over 2017 and 2018. However, the banking sector will continue to grapple with a number of pressing challenges in the coming years, stemming in large part from weaknesses in the broader economy, which raises banks’ portfolio risk. Although the central bank is likely to continue to push for sector consolidation, in order to strengthen the sector’s players and boost overall stability, it is uncertain when a clear move towards consolidation will begin to take place. For the moment, having a large number of inadequately financed banks will continue to prevent the sector from making a more complete contribution to the economy. This chapter contains interviews with Mohamed Agrebi, General Manager, Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie; and Essma Ben Hamida, Co-Founder, Enda Tamweel.

Chapter | Tourism from The Report: Tunisia 2019

With heightened security measures raising tourist confidence and a weak dinar making holidays in Tunisia increasingly attractive, the tourism sector is seeing a renaissance. However, in order for this growth to be sustainable, investment is needed to modernise and improve supporting infrastructure. Furthermore, most historic or cultural sites require a significant influx of restoration funds and better general management in order to attract greater numbers of international tourists. Nevertheless, as Tunisia continues to build on its quickly diversifying tourist base, and with Europeans returning in droves to take advantage of the country’s sunshine and beaches, the outlook for the sector is bright. Government commitment is strong, and with better organisation and investment, the tourism sector has ample potential to become a significant driver of sustainable development in the region. This chapter contains an interview with Amel Hachani, General Manager, Tunisian National Tourism Office.

Chapter | ICT & Innovation from The Report: Tunisia 2019

With rising mobile usage rates and ongoing improvements to telecoms infrastructure, the expansion of digital services is opening up new opportunities for Tunisia’s economic growth. In order for the sector to transition from an underserved market to a central driver of socio-economic development, the government has a vital role to play. As the largest customer for e-services, the public sector is responsible for supporting the implementation of new technology on a local level as well as promoting foreign investment. Nonetheless, with promising mobile and internet penetration rates, and steady growth for the three major telecoms providers, the outlook for Tunisia’s ICT sector remains strong over the medium term. This chapter contains interviews with Anouar Maârouf, Minister of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy; Hichem Turki, General Director, Sousse Technology Park; and Anis Sahbani, Founder and CEO, Enova Robotics.

Chapter | Industry & Retail from The Report: Tunisia 2019

Traditionally dominated by textiles, the industrial sector is increasingly attracting investment in higher-value segments such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, automotive and aeronautics as a result of a skilled and competitively salaried workforce. Despite the sector’s strengths, however, progress stagnated following the 2011 revolution. In view of revitalising the broader economy, the 2019-20 economic recovery plan, seeks to boost the competitiveness of the country’s key industries. Tunisia’s retail market remains, however, underdeveloped relative to North African peers, in particular to Morocco and Egypt. This results in a number of significant opportunities that are available for both domestic and international operators, particularly in areas such as e-commerce, among others. Nonetheless, distribution networks continue to improve and expand, while the presence of global brands and franchises is on the rise. This chapter contains interviews with Hichem Elloumi, CEO, COFICAB; and Vice-President, Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; and Hosni Boufaden, President, Tunisian Federation of Textiles and Clothing.

Chapter | Insurance from The Report: Tunisia 2019

Although Tunisia’s insurance market has grown steadily in recent years, it continues to be characterised by low penetration. As such, measures that are expected to promote expansion of the sector are being put in place. A new insurance code will strengthen the financial position of insurers and likely encourage a greater degree of sector consolidation. Furthermore, several segments, including life insurance and takaful (Islamic insurance), continue to show growth potential. In line with this dynamic, Tunisian insurers are increasingly considering new product development and ways to take advantage of the country’s high IT usage, focusing on digital mechanisms that can improve the provision of services and be able to reach new customers. This chapter contains an interview with Habib Ben Hassine, President, Tunisian Federation of Insurance Companies.

Chapter | Capital Markets from The Report: Tunisia 2019

Although Tunisia’s financial market has maintained a pattern of significant growth in recent years, progress has taken place in the context of economic uncertainty and a need for structural reform. The stock market’s role in financing the economy is mod¬est when compared to that of the banking system, and the depreciation of the dinar has introduced a number of additional challenges. Despite its potential to be a reliable source of financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, Tunisia’s alternative market has so far fallen short of expectations. Efforts to attract new companies can be hindered by high returns on bank deposits, which discourages higher-risk investment alternatives like the stock exchange. However, as the economic recovery continues its upwards trend and various regulatory changes make their desired impact, the Tunis Stock Exchange is positioning itself to benefit over the medium term. This chapter contains interviews with Bilel Sahnoun, CEO, Tunis Stock Exchange; and Walid Saibi, General Manager, Tunisie Valeurs.