Tunisia flag Tunisia: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Tunisia was deeply impacted by the Jasmine Revolution of 2011 that ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and the country has never recovered economically. The situation was exacerbated by the health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the political crises that the country has been experiencing in recent years. According to IMF estimates, economic growth stood at 1.3% in 2023 (from 2.5% one year earlier), due to the significant decline in rain-fed wheat production caused by insufficient rainfall. In 2024, growth will continue to face limitations due to elevated sovereign risk affecting the business environment and investor confidence, along with high inflation. Additionally, the expanding crowding-out effect on the private sector from the government's substantial financing requirements will contribute to these constraints. For the year as a whole, the IMF forecasts growth at 1.9%, with an acceleration to 2.3% in 2025.

Tunisia received financial assistance from several international organizations, such as the African Development Bank, the IMF, and the European Union (which disbursed EUR 600 million in loans under the Macro-Financial Assistance emergency support programme). The country also reached a staff-level agreement on a 4-year USD 1.9 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme with the IMF. The 2023 budget has been amended by the government, resulting in a revised projected deficit of 6.8% of GDP (including grants), up from the initial target of 5%, following a 7.3% deficit in 2022. The increased deficit primarily stems from greater subsidies and transfers to state-owned enterprises and a higher debt cost compared to the initial budget. Over the forecast horizon, the deficit is expected to gradually decrease (4% this year and 3.2% in 2025 – IMF). Meanwhile, the debt-to-GDP ratio decreased to 77.8% (from 79.8% one year earlier) and is expected to increase marginally in 2024, to 77.1% as per the IMF forecast. However, the majority of the high external debt is public or public-guaranteed, which may cause doubts about the country’s ability to service its debt. Inflationary pressures increased significantly and should remain high in the short term (9.4% in 2023 and 9.8% in 2024 as per the IMF). Among the policies necessary to restore macroeconomic stability the IMF points to a conscientious reduction of the fiscal deficit through equitable taxation reform, strict control over the public sector wage bill, better-targeted subsidies, and deep reforms of state-owned enterprises.

Tunisia is afflicted by increasing economic disparities that favour its coastal regions, which account for more than 80% of urban areas and 90% of overall employment. The highest poverty rates are concentrated in rural areas, especially those in the northwest and southwest of the country (often exceeding 33%). Contrarily, the greater Tunis area shows the lowest values (Carnegie). According to the latest figures from the National Statistics Institute (INS), as of Q2/2023, the unemployment rate stood at 15.6%; nevertheless, youth unemployment – at 38.1% - was particularly high. By gender, the unemployment rate remains significantly higher for women (21.1%) than for men (13.2%).

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 46.3651.2753.4854.9257.04
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.51.31.92.32.6
GDP per Capita (USD) 3,8224,1914,3364,4184,555
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -7.3-5.9-4.0-3.2-2.5
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 79.877.877.174.371.9
Inflation Rate (%) n/a9.49.88.77.7
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 15.20.00.00.00.0
Current Account (billions USD) -3.98-2.96-2.91-2.95-2.79
Current Account (in % of GDP) -8.6-5.8-5.4-5.4-4.9

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Tunisian Dinar (TND) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 0.540.560.580.560.50

Source: World Bank, 2015

 

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Latest Update: April 2024