Tunisia is in the process of economic reform and liberalization after decades of heavy state direction and participation in the economy. Prudent economic and fiscal planning have resulted in moderate but sustained growth for over a decade. Tunisia's economic growth historically has depended on oil, phosphates, agri-food products, car parts manufacturing, and tourism. In the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report for 2015-2016, Tunisia ranks in 92nd place. Based on HDI latest report (for 2014), Tunisia ranks 96th globally and 5th in Africa.
The year 2015 was marked by terrorist attacks in Tunisia which are likely to affect economic growth, especially in tourism, one of the main sectors.
|Economy of Tunisia|
Compagnie des phosphates de Gafsa Headquarters
|Currency||Tunisian dinar (TND)|
|AU, WTO, COMESA, CEN-SAD, AMU|
|GDP|| $39.911 billion (nominal, 2018 est.)|
$144.244 billion (PPP, 2018 est.)
|GDP rank||93rd (nominal, 2018) 77th (PPP, 2018)|
|2.0% (2017) 2.5% (2018e)|
2.7% (2019f) 3.2% (2020f) 
GDP per capita
|$3,423 (nominal, 2018 est.) $12,371 (PPP, 2018 est.)|
GDP per capita rank
|121st (nominal, 2018) 97th (PPP, 2018)|
GDP by sector
|agriculture: 10.1% |
services: 63.8% (2017 est.)
|7.308% (2018 est.)|
Population below poverty line
|32.8 medium (2015)|
|0.735 high (2017) (95th)|
|4.054 million (2017 est.)|
Labour force by occupation
services: 51.7% (2014 est.)
|Unemployment||15.5% (2017 est.)|
|$275 monthly (2017)|
|petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate, iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages|
|Exports||$13.82 billion (2017 est.)|
|clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment|
Main export partners
| France 32.1% |
Germany 12.4% (2017)
|Imports||$19.09 billion (2017 est.)|
|textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs|
Main import partners
| Italy 15.8% |
Spain 4.5% (2017)
| $37.95 billion (31 December 2017 est.) |
Abroad: $285 million (31 December 2017 est.)
|-$4.191 billion (2017 est.)|
Gross external debt
|$30.19 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
|70.3% of GDP (2017 est.)|
|-5.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)|
|Revenues||9.876 billion (2017 est.)|
|Expenses||12.21 billion (2017 est.)|
|$5.594 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
GDP per capita soared by more than 380% in the seventies (1970–1980: USD 280–1,369). But this proved unsustainable and it collapsed to a cumulative 10% growth in the turbulent eighties (1980–1990: USD 1,369–1,507), rising again to almost 50% cumulative growth in the nineties (1990–2000: USD 1,507–2,245), signifying the impact of successful diversification.
Growing foreign debt and the foreign exchange crisis in the mid-1980s led the government to launch a structural adjustment program to liberalize prices, reduce tariffs, and reorient Tunisia toward a market economy in 1986. Tunisia's economic reform program was lauded as a model by international financial institutions. The government liberalized prices, reduced tariffs, lowered debt-service-to-exports and debt-to-GDP ratios, and extended the average maturity of its $10 billion foreign debt. Structural adjustment brought additional lending from the World Bank and other Western creditors. In 1990, Tunisia acceded to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In 1996 Tunisia entered into an "Association Agreement" with the European Union (EU) which removed tariff and other trade barriers on most goods by 2008. In conjunction with the Association Agreement, the EU is assisting the Tunisian government's Mise A Niveau (upgrading) program to enhance the productivity of Tunisian businesses and prepare for competition in the global marketplace.
The government totally or partially privatized around 160 state-owned enterprises after the privatization program was launched in 1987. Although the program is supported by the GATT, the government had to move carefully to avoid mass firings. Unemployment continued to plague Tunisia's economy and was aggravated by a rapidly growing work force. An estimated 55% of the population is under the age of 25. Officially, 15.2% of the Tunisian work force is unemployed.
In 2011, after the Arab Spring, the economy slumped but then recovered with 2.81% GDP growth in 2014. However, unemployment is still one of the major issues with 15.2% of the labor force unemployed as of the first quarter of 2014. Tunisia’s political transition gained new momentum in early 2014, with the resolution of a political deadlock, the adoption of a new Constitution and the appointment of a new government. The national dialogue platform, brokered by key civil society organizations, played a crucial role in gathering all major political parties. This consensus will allow for further reform in the economy and public sector.
In 2015, the Bardo National Museum attack led to the collapse of the third largest sector of Tunisia's economy, tourism. Tunisian tourist workers in Tunis have said that "tourism is dead, it is completely dead" expressing the severe drop in tourism after the attack.
The number of ragpickers is increasing due to the continuing high level of unemployment (15% of the working population), the loss of purchasing power of the most disadvantaged families, and the explosion of plastic waste due to new consumption habits. They do not benefit from any social protection - medical coverage, retirement... - granted to professions with a legal status and may be subject to the exploitation of the recycling industry
The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017. Inflation under 5 % is in green.
(in Bil. US$ PPP)
|GDP per capita
(in US$ PPP)
(in % of GDP)
|1980||13.6||2,127||7.4 %||10.1 %||n/a||n/a|
|1981||15.8||2,387||5.5 %||8.9 %||n/a||n/a|
|1982||16.6||2,463||−0.5 %||13.7 %||n/a||n/a|
|1983||18.0||2,618||4.7 %||9.0 %||n/a||n/a|
|1984||19.7||2,833||5.7 %||8.6 %||n/a||n/a|
|1985||21.5||2,991||5.7 %||7.6 %||n/a||n/a|
|1986||21.6||2,894||−1.5 %||6.2 %||n/a||n/a|
|1987||23.7||3,101||6.7 %||8.2 %||n/a||n/a|
|1988||24.5||3,158||0.1 %||7.2 %||n/a||n/a|
|1989||26.1||3,306||2.6 %||7.7 %||n/a||n/a|
|1990||29.0||3,560||7.1 %||6.5 %||16.2 %||n/a|
|1991||31.2||3,756||4.1 %||7.7 %||16.2 %||66.4 %|
|1992||34.5||4,065||8.0 %||5.5 %||16.2 %||65.2 %|
|1993||36.2||4,224||2.5 %||4.0 %||16.3 %||66.9 %|
|1994||38.3||4,362||3.6 %||5.4 %||16.3 %||67.0 %|
|1995||40.2||4,484||2.7 %||6.2 %||16.2 %||68.8 %|
|1996||43.7||4,808||6.9 %||3.7 %||16.1 %||70.1 %|
|1997||47.0||5,100||5.7 %||3.6 %||15.9 %||69.9 %|
|1998||49.9||5,342||5.0 %||3.1 %||16.1 %||61.0 %|
|1999||53.7||5,676||6.0 %||2.8 %||16.0 %||65.0 %|
|2000||57.3||5,993||4.3 %||2.8 %||15.7 %||65.9 %|
|2001||61.4||6,362||4.9 %||1.9 %||15.1 %||54.7 %|
|2002||63.4||6,503||1.7 %||1.9 %||15.3 %||54.2 %|
|2003||68.2||6,931||5.5 %||2.1 %||14.5 %||55.1 %|
|2004||74.3||7,476||6.0 %||2.5 %||14.2 %||54.1 %|
|2005||79.7||7,947||4.0 %||2.4 %||12.8 %||52.4 %|
|2006||86.8||8,570||5.7 %||3.2 %||12.5 %||47.8 %|
|2007||94.7||9,260||6.3 %||3.0 %||12.4 %||44.8 %|
|2008||100.8||9,763||4.5 %||4.3 %||12.4 %||42.0 %|
|2009||104.8||10,036||3.1 %||3.7 %||13.3 %||40.5 %|
|2010||108.8||10,315||2.6 %||3.3 %||13.0 %||39.2 %|
|2011||108.9||10,204||−1.9 %||3.5 %||18.9 %||43.1 %|
|2012||115.2||10,694||3.9 %||5.1 %||16.7 %||47.7 %|
|2013||120.0||11,020||2.4 %||5.8 %||15.3 %||46.8 %|
|2014||124.9||11,355||2.3 %||4.9 %||15.3 %||51.6 %|
|2015||127.6||11,487||1.1 %||4.9 %||15.4 %||54.8 %|
|2016||130.5||11,448||1.0 %||3.7 %||15.5 %||61.2 %|
|2017||135.4||11,755||1.9 %||5.3 %||15.3 %||71.3 %|
In 1992, Tunisia re-entered the private international capital market for the first time in 6 years, securing a $10-million line of credit for balance-of-payments support. In January 2003 Standard & Poor's affirmed its investment grade credit ratings for Tunisia. The World Economic Forum 2002-03 ranked Tunisia 34th in the Global Competitiveness Index Ratings (two places behind South Africa, the continent's leader). In April 2002, Tunisia's first US dollar-denominated sovereign bond issue since 1997 raised $458 million, with maturity in 2012.
The Bourse de Tunis is under the control of the state-run Financial Market Council and lists over 50 companies. The government offers substantial tax incentives to encourage companies to join the exchange, and expansion is occurring.
The Tunisian government adopted a unified investment code in 1993 to attract foreign capital. More than 1,600 export-oriented joint venture firms operate in Tunisia to take advantage of relatively low labor costs and preferential access to nearby European markets. Economic links are closest with European countries, which dominate Tunisia's trade. Tunisia's currency, the dinar, is not traded outside Tunisia. However, partial convertibility exists for bona fide commercial and investment transaction. Certain restrictions still limit operations carried out by Tunisian residents.
For 2007, foreign direct investment totaled TN Dinar 2 billion in 2007, or 5.18% of the total volume of investment in the country. This figure is up 35.7% from 2006 and includes 271 new foreign enterprises and the expansion of 222 others already based in the country.
The economic growth rate seen for 2007, at 6.3% is the highest achieved in a decade.
In November 29 and 30th, Tunisia held an investment conference with country chiefs from all around the world with pledges that have reached $30 billion to finance new public projects.
On April 20, 2012, U.S. Treasury Secretary and Tunisian Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi signed a declaration of intent to move forward on a U.S. loan guarantee for Tunisia. The U.S. Government would provide this loan guarantee to enable the Tunisian government to access significant market financing at affordable rates and favorable maturities with the backing of a U.S. guarantee of principal and interest (up to 100 percent).
The support would consist of the U.S. guarantee of Tunisian government-issued debt (or of bank loans made to the Government of Tunisia). This guarantee will significantly reduce the Tunisian government's borrowing costs at a time when market access has become more expensive for many emerging market countries. In the weeks ahead, both governments intend to make progress on a loan guarantee agreement that would allow Tunisia to move forward with a debt issuance.
The ceremony took place at the World Bank immediately following the meeting of Finance Ministers of the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition.
Banking in Tunisia is a service industry comprising 18 small domestic banks and three publicly controlled banks, which are the largest. The Tunisian banking sector has always been characterized as small and highly concentrated.Bourse de Tunis
The Bourse des Valeurs Mobilières de Tunis (BVMT) or Bourse de Tunis (Arabic: بورصة تونس) is a stock exchange based in Tunis, Tunisia. It was founded in 1969, and currently lists around 50 stocks.
The exchange is under the control of the state-run Financial Market Council. The government has provided tax breaks to increase the number of listings, but companies have been slow in going public.
The creation of the award was in February 1969. Although this creation is relatively old, the role of the stock market in financing Tunisia's economy has remained limited or insignificant due to the dominance of the state and banks . This results in significant levels of money creation and inflation.
This period is characterized by ease of access to bank loans and state aid, a very advantageous remuneration of deposits with banks that are regulated, protected and exempt income and a fairly heavy taxation of stock market investments.
The award will be increasingly seen as a registrar of transactions as a mirror of the economy having its place in the corporate finance. Moreover, the market capitalization represents just 1% of GDP at the end of 1986.
As part of the structural adjustment plan, a financial market reform started in 1988 with the aim of establishing a legal framework allowing the market to contribute to the financing of the economy. Deposits with banks are taxed, the rates of interest on deposits are falling as a result of lower inflation and savings in securities enjoys favorable taxation with the abolition of taxation on most -values and dividends. The tax on corporate profits also down 80% to 35%.
To meet international standards, reform is adopted with the promulgation of the Law of 14 November 1994 on the reorganization of financial market. This law creates the new public regulator: the Financial Market Council, which began operations on 15 November 1995. Following this major reform of the Tunis Stock Exchange that establishes the foundations of a financial market, potentially able to finance part of the economy, the situation continues to evolve fifty companies listed in March 2009, for a market capitalization of up to 8.7 billion dinars (against 3.1 billion in 2004) or 16% of GDP national2.Central Bank of Tunisia
The Central Bank of Tunisia (Arabic: البنك المركزي التونسي, French: Banque Centrale de Tunisie, BCT) is the central bank of Tunisia. The bank is located in Tunis and its current governor is Marouane Abassi, who replaced Chedly Ayari on 16 February 2018.Fifth Tunisia Plan
The Fifth Tunisia Plan was an economic development plan implemented by the government of Tunisia from 1977 to 1981.The government allocated 47% of its investment to capital-intensive projects.Fourth Tunisia Plan
The Fourth Tunisia Plan was an economic development plan and realignment of foreign policy implemented by the government of President Habib Bourguiba from 1973 to 1976.Bourguiba resolved lingering disputes with France and signed an association accord with the European Community (EC) in 1969 and a cooperation accord in 1976.Industries Mécaniques Maghrébines
The Industries Mécaniques Maghrébines S.A. (IMM) are a Tunisian car manufacturer headquartered in the city of Kairouan. The company was founded in 1982 and closed for the first time in 1988; the plant was reopened in 1991. Since then, the manufacturer has formed subsidiaries to distribute its vehicles in Carthage, Tunis and Oued Smar, Algeria.
The company is a joint-venture between the General Motors Company (20 per cent), Isuzu Motors Ltd. (10 per cent) and the locomotive builder General Motors du Tunisie S.A. (70 per cent). The latter provides the staff for the company.
In January 2008, it was announced that the Algerian subsidiary will be converted for the assembly of vehicles. The new IMM plant will assemble up to 25,000 units a year. In Kairouan, the IMM is manufacturing up to 4,000 units a year. The vehicles will be marketed alongside the two local markets in Gibraltar, Morocco, Mauritania and Libya. The IMM is responsible for the supply of the markets of the Maghreb region and the Arab Maghreb Union.
Special attention was given to the vehicles of the IMM in the 2011 Libyan civil war when Gaddafi's henchmen used them to attack their own cities to spread fear and terror.
Currently the IMM is the only Tunisian car manufacturer besides Wallyscar. However, in Algeria SOVAC (VW), Elsecom Motors (Ford) and the RPA (Renault) are serious competitors.List of banks in Tunisia
This is a list of commercial banks in Tunisia
Banque Al-Baraka (http://www.albarakabank.com.tn)
Arab Tunisian Bank (ATB)
Banque Franco Tunisienne (BFT)
Banque Nationale Agricole (BNA)
Banque de Tunisie (BT)
Amen Bank (AB)
Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie (BIAT)
Société Tunisienne de Banque (STB)
Union de Bancaire pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (UBCI)
Union Internationale de Banques (UIB)
Banque de l'Habitat (BH)
Banque Tunisienne de Solidarite (BTS)
Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) and its subsidiary: ABC Tunisie
Tunisian Qatari Bank (TQB)
Banque de Tunisie et des Emirats (BTE)
Banque Tuniso-Koweitienne (BTK)
Banque de Financement des Petites et Moyennes Enterprises (BFPME)
Banque Tuniso-Libyenne (BTL)
Stusid Bank (STUSID)
Banque Zitouna (ZITOUNA)List of regions of Tunisia by Human Development Index
This is a list of regions of Tunisia by Human Development Index as of 2018 with data for the year 2017.Mining industry of Tunisia
The mining industry of Tunisia focuses mainly on phosphate products such as fertilizer, industrial minerals (gypsum, clay, lime), iron ore, and salt. Mine ownership is limited to the Government of Tunisia, although operation by private entities is encouraged.Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (Tunisia)
The Ministry of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy of Tunisia (Arabic: وزير تكنولوجيات الاتصال و المعلومات) is a cabinet-level governmental agency in Tunisia in charge of organizing the sector, planning, control and supervision of activities directed at acquiring new technology and improving the communications sector in Tunisia.Ninth Tunisia Plan
The Ninth Tunisia Plan was an economic development plan implemented by the government of Tunisia from 1996 to 2001.President Ben Ali established the Ministry of International Cooperation and Investment in June 1992, appointing Mohammed Ghannouchi as Minister. The Tunisian government began negotiations with Belgium, culminating in a free-trade agreement in 1995. Tunisia began producing the Miskar natural gas field that same year in cooperation with Agip of Italy, British Gas plc, and Elf-Aquitane of France. In 1996, when the program began, 73% of Tunisia's foreign trade was with Europe, not Northern Africa.Rail transport in Tunisia
Rail Transport in Tunisia is provided by:
Tunisian Railways (SNCFT)
Société des transports de Tunis, manages commuter trains of the Tunis area including metro light rail and TGM in Tunis
Sahel Metro, company and electric train line Sousse-Monastir-Mahdia
Lézard rouge, a historical tourist trainSeventh Tunisia Plan
The Seventh Tunisia Plan was an economic development plan implemented by the government of Tunisia from 1986 to 1990.Sixth Tunisia Plan
The Sixth Tunisia Plan was an economic development plan implemented by the government of President Habib Bourguiba from 1982 to 1986.Critics derided the plan's failure to lower the unemployment rate, attributing the lack of available work to the global recession, excessive focus on capital investment programs, and the government's foreign debt.Third Tunisia Plan
The Third Tunisia Plan was an economic development plan implemented by the government of President Habib Bourguiba from 1969 to 1972.The plan marks the first time Tunisia invested more in industry, 31.7% of the government's budget, than in agriculture, 14.8%.Tunisian dinar
The dinar (Arabic: دينار, French: Dinar, ISO 4217 currency code: TND) is the currency of Tunisia. It is subdivided into 1000 milim or millimes (ملّيم). The abbreviation DT is often used in Tunisia, although writing "dinar" after the amount is also acceptable (TND is less colloquial, and tends to be used more in financial circles); the abbreviation TD is also mentioned in a few places, but is less frequently used, given the common use of the French language in Tunisia, and the French derivation of DT (i.e., Dinar tunisien).Tunisian duro
The Tunisian duro is the nickname of the small silver coin that is part of the Tunisian currency. The value of the coin is five millimes or 0.005 of a Tunisian dinar, and is the smallest denomination currently being minted (smaller 1 and 2 millime coins are no longer issued). These coins can be found on the ground since they don't have value.Tunisian franc
The franc (French, Arabic: فرنك) was the currency of Tunisia between 1891 and 1958. It was divided into 100 centimes (صنتيم) and was equivalent to the French franc.Wallyscar
Wallyscar is a Tunisian car manufacturer, founded in 2006 and based in Ben Arous. Production is 600 units per year. The company sells in Panama, France, Spain, Qatar and Morocco.
Wallyscar cooperate with the French automobile company Peugeot, using a PSA 1.4-litre petrol engine in their vehicles.
The company was founded by Zied Guiga. The company lays claims to importance to compliance with European standards, and focuses mainly on the idea of vehicles as recyclable and making noise. Corresponding parts suppliers are Citroën, Peugeot, VDO and UTAC. In the vehicle identification number, the Company uses the manufacturer code CL9.
The first model of the manufacturer Wallyscar, the Wallyscar Izis is, since 19 October 2008, in so-called CKD assembly assembled. The Izis is available per request without doors or two open-door mini SUV, in the style of the Italian Lawil S.p.A. and the Swiss Diavolino. Responsible for the design was the Tunisian design company HH Design . The vehicle was named after the Wallis and Futuna island in the Pacific Ocean .
The only available engine for the Izis is a gasoline engine, a PSA Peugeot Citroën TU3A. With inline four cylinders, a displacement of 1360 cc and two valves per cylinder power, this engine produces 55.2 kW. The turning radius is 9.2 meters. From the factory, the Izis is available in over 100 finishes, with the possibility for customers to choose between a range of different accessories such as various steering wheels, interior trim and built-in appliances. The model is available so far only in Tunisia, Morocco, France and Panama . The Euro NCAP awarded the Izis 2 stars.
In 2014, Wallyscar announced that Wallyscar IZIS is at the end of its production in preparation of the release of a new model - IRIS. Which is expected to be in the market at the end of the year 2014.
In March 2017, Wallyscar started commercializing a second car, which is Iris , with a price of 35,900 Tunisian dinar (nearly 12,600 euro).
States with limited