Tunisia | News & Updates

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Tunisian price hikes, unemployment protests leave one dead
by Reuters, Tuesday, 09 January 2018

One person was killed during clashes between security forces and protesters in a Tunisian town, government said, as demonstrations over rising prices and tax increases spread in the North African country.

A man was killed during a protest against government austerity measures in Tebourba, west of Tunis, the interior ministry said in a statement. He had chronic breathing problems and died due to suffocation from inhaling tear gas, it said.

The protest turned violent when security forces tried stopping some youths from burning down a government building, witnesses said. Five people were wounded and taken to hospital, state news agency TAP said.

Tunisia, widely seen in the West as the only democratic success among nations where “Arab Spring” revolts took place in 2011, is suffering increasing economic hardship.

Anger has been building since government said from January 1, it would increase the price of gas oil, some goods and taxes on cars, phone calls, the internet, hotel accommodation and other items, part of austerity measures agreed with its foreign lenders.

The 2018 budget also raises customs taxes on some products imported from abroad, including cosmetics, and some agricultural products.
The economy has been in crisis since the 2011 uprising unseated government and two major militant attacks in 2015 damaged tourism, which comprises eight percent of gross domestic product. Tunisia is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to speed up policy changes and help the economy recover.

Violent protests spread to at least 10 towns.

There was also a protest turning violent in the capital, residents said. Security forces dispersed small protests in Tunis late on Sunday.

On Monday, about 300 people took to the streets in Sidi Bouzid, cradle of the country’s Arab Spring revolution, carrying banners with slogans denouncing high prices.

A lack of tourists and new foreign investors pushed Tunisia’s trade deficit up by 23.5% year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2017 to a record $5.8 billion, official data showed at the end of December.

Concerns about the rising deficit hurt the dinar currency, sending it to 3.011 against the euro on Monday, breaking the psychologically important three dinar mark for the first time, traders said.

The currency is likely to weaken further, said Tunisian financial risk expert Mourad Hattab.

“The sharp decline of the dinar threatens to deepen the trade deficit and make debt service payments tighter, which will increase Tunisia’s financial difficulties,” he said.

Hattab said the dinar may fall to 3.3 against the euro in the coming months because of high demand for foreign currency and little expectation of intervention from the authorities.

Last year, former Finance Minister Lamia Zribi said the central bank would reduce interventions so that the dinar steadily declined in value, but it would prevent any dramatic slide.

The central bank denied plans to liberalise the currency but Hattab said Monday’s decline showed there was an “undeclared float” of the dinar.

A weaker currency could further drive up the cost of imported food after the annual inflation rate rose to 6.4% in December, its highest rate since July 2014, from 6.3% in November, data showed on Monday.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50342:tunisian-price-hikes-unemployment-protests-leave-one-dead&catid=52:Human Security&Itemid=114
 

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Arrests Grow as Tunisian Army Cracks Down on Protesters
January 12, 2018
by Lisa Schlein

37304D8F-403B-4974-ADD9-1B6A2B2AB623_w1023_r1_s.jpg

FILE - Tunisian security forces detain a protester on the outskirts of Tunis, Jan. 10, 2018.

GENEVA — The United Nations human rights office says it is concerned about the large number of arrests as Tunisian authorities crack down on protesters demonstrating against price and tax.

The protests, which began last weekend, reportedly are turning more violent, prompting a sharp rise in the number of arrests. Nearly 800 people have been arrested since Monday, about 200 between the ages of 15 and 20, according to U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville.

"We call on the authorities to ensure that people are not arrested in an arbitrary manner, and that all those detained are treated with full respect for their due process rights and either charged or promptly released," Colville said. "The authorities must ensure that those exercising their rights to peaceful expression and assembly are not prevented from doing so."

Colville says his office has no reports that those arrested are being ill-treated.

"But, it is something we look out for because there have been reports in the recent past in other situations of ill-treatment of people in detention," he added. "So, it is something we would look out for very closely. At this point, we have not had any specific reports."

Sunday is the anniversary of the 2011 revolution, which ushered in the so-called Arab Spring — a series of protest movements calling for reform in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Tunisian protesters say none of the objectives of the revolt have been achieved. As concern rises that events this weekend might get out of control, Colville says it is particularly important to ensure demonstrators are able to protest peacefully.


https://www.voanews.com/a/arrests-grow-tunisia-army-protesters/4205157.html
 

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Unemployment is a universal issue not only in Tunisia. I hope this ends peacefully and doesn't turn into violence. Any idea on the unemployment rate over there?
 

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Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution commemorations clash with anti-government protests
As crowds began to gather in the capital’s Bourguiba Avenue on a chilly Sunday morning, it was not the demonstration of national unity for which the government might have hoped

by Gareth Browne
January 14, 2018
Updated: January 15, 2018 07:34 AM


The Tunisian government billed Sunday as a day to mark the anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution, a day when Tunisians would come together in song, dance and laughter to mark seven years since the ousting of former president Zine Abedine Ben Ali.

But as crowds began to gather in the capital’s Bourguiba Avenue on a chilly Sunday morning, it was not the demonstration of national unity for which the government might have hoped. There were the breakdancing teenagers, and recitals of the national anthem, but down the avenue, as the speaker reverb faded, the bellowed chants could be heard.

“The people want the fall off the budget!” — an echo of “The people want the fall of the regime!” call that came to define the Jasmine Revolution of 2011 and indeed much of the Arab uprising.

Several groups had announced plans to demonstrate at the festival, not only against the controversial budget, the initial cause of countrywide protests, but in rejection of a number of reforms announced by the government in an effort to appease the disgruntled masses.

In response to widespread protests and increasing pressure, president Beji Caid Essebsi dispatched himself to the impoverished Tunis district of Ettadhamen. He had never set foot in the place before.

On Saturday, the minister of social affairs, Mohamed Trablesi, announced an aid package of 170 million dinars (Dh250.47m) and a number of reforms. "This will reach about 250,000 families," he declared. "It will help the poor and the middle class.”

The reforms, he said, included medical care for all Tunisians and social housing for the disadvantaged. Without giving further details, he said the reforms had already been planned "for months."

But in a country where many of the poorest are struggling even to put food on the table, the package, which averages out to around $27 per family was seen as little more than an empty gesture, and few were convinced. “They are trying to buy us off, and not even for a good price,” said Lina Al Soussi, 32, as she marched along Bourguiba Avenue.

Tareq Tookebry, 29, who runs a civil society organisation, took a similar view. “Why, only now, is the president pretending to be a saviour? We have turmoil, and suddenly he shows up to show people he is trying to fix everything. The president is no saviour; he is just thinking about the 2019 elections. They are saying nothing; it is not real reform.”

Amira Hamad, 25, an unemployed university graduate, was equally weary of the reforms. "They will do the minimum they can get away with, so now we will starve just four days a week, instead of five.” She added, "The change is about more than just a few dinars extra per week. The system is broken.”

The protests erupted last week in response to the introduction of a drastic new finance law, which saw subsidies cut for staple foods and taxes raised on other basics, such as mobile phone credit and petrol raised.

Small but vocal protests grew through Sunday afternoon, though rather than one unified call, they were a miscellany of different groups, all with differing demands. A group of young men stood on the steps outside the Théâtre Municipal de Tunis, chanting solidarity with Palestine. There was a procession by Manich m'samih, a group opposed to amnesty for former Ben Ali regime figures. They chanted, “Where, where, where is the list … we’ve been waiting seven years, we do not forgive” — referring to a list of businessmen and public officials known to have been involved in corruption which has never been published in full.

Mr Tookebry is suspicious of the country's current leadership. "The old regime is trying to re-establish itself in the new political climate. Many of the ministers are from Ben Ali’s regime. Too many symbols of the old regime are in government. The old regime has come back through the door as if nothing happened and now it is stronger.”

But it was not all anti-government chants, Ennahda supporters chuckled as a comedian took to the main stage and blasted those who claim to be broke, but had money to buy drugs and cake — a swipe at those involved in the past week’s riots and protests. Hundreds packed in front of the UGTT union headquarters for a speech in commemoration of 2011 by union head Nouredine Taboubi.

As the crowds thinned, a hard-core of young men remained, setting off flares, and banging drums. Clapping and screaming “Down with the budget!” at one point they charged towards riot police. But the police line stood strong. One man was dragged away, his face turning white, such is the fear of the police system here.

Sunday’s protests were far from the mass demonstrations many had hoped for, but the variety of grievances on show run deep, and even as the crowd disperses, those grievances remain. Sunday would not be the last day of protest in Tunisia, Ms Al Soussi promised.

"We don’t have to win today. Every day we have a new opportunity to win, we will keep coming back until we get what we deserve”.

Reflecting on the situation, Mr Tookebery said, “We, as Tunisian youth, are not responsible enough. It’s time to start relying on ourselves. Many of us are waiting for a saviour, but the government gives us nothing. We have to save ourselves.”

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/tunisia-s-jasmine-revolution-commemorations-clash-with-anti-government-protests-1.695362
 

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Austerity is not the right fix for Tunisia's circumstances
Damien McElroy examines the protests and unrest coursing through Tunisia seven years after the tumult of the Arab Spring

by Damien McElroy
January 13, 2018


In a gloomy dusk even the desire to cross Avenue Bourguiba in Tunis on the day after the Ben Ali regime fell was something of an act of faith.

A caretaker administration was gingerly attempting to oversee the transfer of power. There was an evening curfew and it was holding with few challenges.

Soldiers on the main tree-lined road were relaxed enough to allow a hardy few, our hands held high, to walk slowly over the central reservation for a pre-arranged dinner.

Everyone knew what was at stake for Tunisia when the country turfed out the man who had held power for two-and-a-half decades.

Less clear was what the country could gain from risking all for a new of type of politics.

Seven years on, there are new street protests rocking the nation. It is increasingly clear just how much the odds are stacked against Tunisia making a success of its democracy.

Far from capitalising on freedom, Tunisia is a beleaguered mid-income nation struggling to hold its few selling points.

With negligible international backing, the youthful population has never had the benefits of large-scale investments that would transform the economy.

Advantages since the 2011 Jasmine revolution should have set Tunisia apart from other Arab states that faced the same challenges.

A quirk of the proportional representation system denied the Muslim Brotherhood an opening to form a majority government. The MB-backed Al Nadha party and its leader Rachid Ghannouchi chose to set aside its religious agenda to prioritise civilian political ambitions.

Mr Ghannouchi has sought to make his political position into an international model. With the help of international image consultants, his party has wooed opinion-makers to promote its approach.

Within Tunisia, frequent changes in the composition of governments has thwarted a schism with the military.

Other elements of normality have also been maintained. Despite ISIL-inspired attacks, tourism has continued, albeit at a much lower level than before. Agriculture remains the rural bedrock and the Mediterranean economy still absorbs some exports.

Tunisians need only look across the border to Libya to see the consequences of a power vacuum. Or they can peer into Algeria to see the claustrophobic effect of too much control.

Internal politics are, however, bleak.

How to resolve the issues that have forced its citizens back to the streets?

Tunisia benefited from the modernist agenda of Habib Bourguiba in the years that followed independence.

While authoritarian, he prioritised education and was masterful enough to secure tolerance for his reforms within an Islamic context.

But there is a saying that a little bit of education is a dangerous thing.


Under Ben Ali there were plenty of institutes that responded to population growth by churning out more graduates. That set the seeds for Ben Ali’s downfall.

The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in the central town of Sidi Bouzid, on December 17, 2010 sparked the protests that saw the president flee seven years ago today. Bouazizi held a diploma from a technical college. It was worthless in the job market but created a debt trap that held back his family.

The slight that cost his livelihood triggered a violent personal reaction that reverberated far wider than he could have known.

This newspaper reported last month that there was a self-immolation every three days in Tunisia. Despair continues to contribute to a clear trend.

Any form of politics that provided livelihood improvements to address this problem would be transformational. Tunisia’s fix is austerity, which cannot realistically create significant economic gains while internal resources are so stretched and the state cannot spend its way to prosperity.

The situation amounts to an indictment of the international economic framework. It purports to provide a virtuous circle of growth and cross-border solidarity yet neglects a tranche of strategic nations.

Rules that govern foreign aid are prejudiced against large-scale spending in countries that are not desperately poor. These are just the places that could most benefit from market-focused international coordination.

Helping countries like Tunisia has an outsized strategic effect. It is demonstrably important that European states are able to bolster incomes on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. This is not just for security reasons. The migration pressures emanating from Africa are a vast challenge.

The OECD rules on development aid are heavily skewed against interventions in countries that fit Tunisia’s profile. This has consequences for how developed nations have engaged in its crisis.

It also has ramifications for international lenders and other multilateral bodies.

The result is that the impact of foreign actors can only be muted. Historical trends bear down on the struggling politicians. The country cannot fall back on moderating influences.

Tunisia has had a remarkable political transformation. It sets a dangerous example that it cannot deliver any of the benefits to its population.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/austerity-is-not-the-right-fix-for-tunisia-s-circumstances-1.694952
 

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Tunisia Raises Minimum Wages on Labor Day
Thursday, 2 May, 2019

People rally in Tunis during a nationwide strike against the government's refusal to raise wages,January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo

London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Tunisia's government announced on Wednesday raising the minimum wage for workers as well as pensions for hundreds of thousands of private-sector retirees by 6.5 percent.

The move, which coincided with Labor Day celebrations, aims to defuse discontent over economic hardships in the country.

This came two days after thousands of protesters took to the street in the central city of Sidi Bouzid against marginalisation and deteriorating economic conditions.

Meanwhile, hundreds also rallied in the northern city of Kef to demand jobs.

A government statement reported by Reuters, said Prime Minister Youssef Chahed had approved a rise in the monthly minimum wage for industrial and agricultural workers of 6.5 percent to 403 dinars ($133).

A 6.5 percent rise in pensions for 700,000 retirees in the private sector was also approved.

The International Monetary Fund has previously pushed Tunisia to freeze public-sector wages - the bill for which doubled to about 16 billion dinars ($5.5 billion) in 2018 from 7.6 billion in 2010 - to reduce them from about 15.5 percent of GDP now to 12.5 percent in 2020.

 

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Diplomatic Row Between Tunisia, UN over Arrest of Int’l Expert
Thursday, 02 May, 2019

Members of the New York City police department stand guard in front of the United Nations building in New York City, US September 17, 2017. Reuters

Tunis - Asharq Al-Awsat

Tunisia's arrest of an expert investigating possible violations of an arms embargo on Libya has sparked a diplomatic standoff between Tunis and the United Nations.

Moncef Kartas, a member of a UN panel of experts, has been held for five weeks on suspicion of spying -- charges that could carry the death sentence.


The UN insists Kartas, a Tunisian-German dual national, has diplomatic immunity and has demanded that authorities reveal the reasons for his detention on arrival in Tunis on March 26.

On Tuesday, his lawyers submitted an official request for his release.

They noted that a key pillar of the charges against him was that he had "a device giving access to public data on flights of civil and commercial aircraft," his lawyer Sarah Zaafrani said, according to Agence France Presse.

On Tuesday, a group of researchers published an open letter in several European newspapers, demanding his immediate release.

"The detention of Moncef Kartas on false grounds and in violation of his immunity raises serious questions about the rule of law in Tunisia," wrote the group of around a hundred academics and researchers.

They said that "not a single piece of evidence" had been released to justify his detention.

The prosecution said last month it had issued an arrest warrant over an inquiry into "the acquisition of security information related to the fight against terrorism and the dissemination of this information in violation of the law".

The interior ministry said it had seized documents containing information that could harm "national security", along with banned communications equipment.

The expert is likely to be held in prison throughout the investigation, which could last several months.

 

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Afek Tounes Seeks Coalition against Ennahda in Upcoming Tunisia Polls
06 May, 2019


Tunisians queue outside a polling station in La Marsa, Tunisia, during the 2014 parliamentary elections. (AP)

Tunis - Mongi Saidani

The liberal opposition Afek Tounes party called on Tunisian parties, that refuse to ally themselves with the Ennahda movement, to form a political coalition that could topple the Islamist movement and defeat it in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Afek Tounes stressed the need to sign a political agreement during this period to act as a moral commitment towards the people to rebuild confidence in the democratic process in Tunisia.

The party, led by former minister of development Yassine Brahim, said the agreement would be the first step towards a political alliance for the post-2019 period based on a joint government working document that details the precise programs and economic and social reforms that will be completed before any future cabinet is formed.

Afek Tounes came fifth in the 2014 parliamentary elections, winning only eight seats. It was part of the ruling coalition that was led by the Nidaa Tounes and Ennahda parties.

Moreover, Afek Tounes warned against using government platforms for partisan purposes, referring to how parties are encroaching on the government of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

Separately, Ennahda Vice President Ali al-Areed said that his movement has not yet taken a position from the announcement by former Ennahda member Hammadi Jabali to run for president.

Areed said the movement will consider supporting a candidate from Ennahda or from outside the movement after the nomination window closes.

On political alliances that are formed before the polls, most notably Afek Tounes’ call for a coalition to counter Ennahda, he said many “circumstantial” partisan and civil alliances that are established break up immediately after the vote.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) called on its supporters to run in the parliamentary elections. It also called for the formation of committees to monitor all stages of the elections and determine the list of participants.

UGTT President Noureddine Taboubi stressed that Tunisia will work to form a political and societal scene that differs from the current reality.

Tunisia will hold parliamentary elections on October 6 and presidential elections starting November 10.


 

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Tunisia: General Labor Union Prepares Thousands for Election Monitoring
8 May, 2019


A man raises his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station for the municipal election in Tunis, Tunisia, May 6, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)

Tunis - Mongi Saidani

Thousands of members of Tunisia’s General Labor Union (UGTT) are set to have a presence in polling stations to monitor this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections and the vote count.

UGTT’s Noureddine Taboubi urged unionists to head polling stations across Tunisia to ensure a transparent electoral process.

Taboubi also called on unionists to play the role of observers in polling stations.

Top UGTT officials have said the union will not have candidates in the parliamentary and presidential elections, but will support political parties, which adopt its social and economic programs.

The ruling coalition parties in Tunisia have accused the Union on more than one occasion of neglecting its role and resorting to political activities instead.

Their accusation came after UGTT expressed its support for social movements, called for general strikes to press wage demands and criticized the government's social and economic policies.

On the other hand, two political initiatives, representing Tunisia’ independent forces, announced a unified electoral list to ensure greater chances of winning the elections.

They plan to form a unified electoral strategy, and to contact leaders of a number of national initiatives that share the same political, economic, and social visions in an attempt to create an electoral front capable of competing with Tunisia’s largest parties, mainly Nidaa Tounes and the Islamist Ennahda Movement.

Meanwhile, “Nousharek” initiative formed a committee of rapprochement with other initiatives, including well-known political figures such as Hossam al-Hami, Qasim Aafia, Zuhair al-Bazi, Leila al-Daimi and Mohamed Bennour.

By unifying its efforts, this initiative seeks to score the same important electoral gains that independent electoral lists made in the municipal elections of May 6, 2018.

Coordinator of the Civil Initiatives Coalition Nousharek, Hossam al-Hami told Asharq Al-Awsat that the alliance’s National Authority decided to unify the forces to support independent voters.

Hami indicated that Nousharek took the decision to form unified coalition lists along with the independent civil initiatives, which share the same principles and objectives.

He pointed out that the initiative is working with all democratic forces to ensure transparent elections.



 

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Ben Ali's Letter Sparks Mixed Reactions Among Tunisians
Thursday, 16 May, 2019


Ousted Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. Reuters

Tunis - Mongi Saidani

Mounir Ben Salha, the lawyer of ousted Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, released a letter from Ben Ali vowing to return to Tunisia. This is the first direct written letter from him to the Tunisians since departing the country.

In his letter, he said that he is following up with the situation in the country like any other Tunisian, affirming that it is not the right time for Tunisians to outbid each other, saying they should protect the country instead and save it from the current economic situation.

The ousted president stressed his rejection to exploiting his figure in political investment.

Several parties wondered whether Ben Ali is returning due to health issues or for political motives. Some Tunisians rose doubts over the letter and affirmed that he didn’t write the letter and doesn’t even know its content.

Meanwhile, others said politicians’ statements on the possibility of Ben Ali’s return gave credibility to the news and made some Tunisians eager to the phase before 2011, especially amid the current social and economic crisis, the drop in purchasing power and the rise of prices.

Abdellatif Mekki, an official of Ennahda movement, said that Ben Ali is a fugitive from justice and must to surrender himself. He added that he can return once he gives back the looted funds from the foreign banks.

Burhan Besis, a politician known for defending the former regime, criticized Mekki’s statements saying that Ben Ali left a fund for the generations worth TND3,000 million that was dispersed by the ‘rational rule’ after the rebels took control.


 

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Tunisia PM Chahed elected as leader of new secular party
02 June 2019

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s secular Tahya Tounes party, founded this year, elected Prime Minister Youssef Chahed as its president on Sunday, confirming expectations of his leadership months before parliamentary and presidential elections.

The new party was formed in January after months of wrangling within ruling coalition party Nidaa Tounes, resulting in the resignation of dozens of leaders.
The fragile coalition, which also includes the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, is struggling to pass economic reforms demanded by foreign lenders.

Tahya Tounes party (Long Live Tunisia) includes ministers in the government of Chahed and dozens of lawmakers. The party said it is seeking a comfortable win in the next elections to pursue stalled economic reforms.

Elections are due by the end of this year, with Ennahda, Tunisia’s largest party, favoured to win, according to polls.
Chahed will continue as Prime minister until the next elections and will not resign, political sources said.

The North African country has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic success because protests toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 without triggering the kind of violent upheavals seen in Syria and Libya.

But nine cabinets since then have failed to resolve Tunisia’s economic problems, including high inflation and unemployment. Impatience is rising among lenders such as the International Monetary Fund, who have kept the country afloat.

Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Chris Reese

 

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Tunisia PM Chahed elected as leader of new secular party
02 June 2019

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s secular Tahya Tounes party, founded this year, elected Prime Minister Youssef Chahed as its president on Sunday, confirming expectations of his leadership months before parliamentary and presidential elections.

The new party was formed in January after months of wrangling within ruling coalition party Nidaa Tounes, resulting in the resignation of dozens of leaders.
The fragile coalition, which also includes the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, is struggling to pass economic reforms demanded by foreign lenders.

Tahya Tounes party (Long Live Tunisia) includes ministers in the government of Chahed and dozens of lawmakers. The party said it is seeking a comfortable win in the next elections to pursue stalled economic reforms.

Elections are due by the end of this year, with Ennahda, Tunisia’s largest party, favoured to win, according to polls.
Chahed will continue as Prime minister until the next elections and will not resign, political sources said.

The North African country has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic success because protests toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 without triggering the kind of violent upheavals seen in Syria and Libya.

But nine cabinets since then have failed to resolve Tunisia’s economic problems, including high inflation and unemployment. Impatience is rising among lenders such as the International Monetary Fund, who have kept the country afloat.

Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Chris Reese

 

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Tunisia: Foreign Investment Increases by 15.7%
9 June, 2019

A tourist looks at traditional souvenirs displayed for sale in Sidi Bou Said, an attractive tourist destination near Tunis, Tunsia (File Photo: Reuters)

Tunis- Al Mongi Al Saidani

Foreign Investment in Tunisia increased 15.7 percent during the first quarter of the current year for about $280 million, announced the country’s Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA-Tunisia).

Director of FIPA Abdelbasset Ghanmi said that foreign direct investment (FDI) increased by 16.3 percent during the same period, with direct investments amounting to over $280 million, compared to about $250 million during the same period last year.

These investments included various economic activities, with portfolio investments, meaning investing in the stock exchange, recording a significant decline, with 37.3 percent.

The decline was attributed to the impact of the Tunisian dinar exchange rate against the euro and the US dollar, noted Ghanmi.

He explained that when a foreign investor exchanges his money into euros or dollars, the proceeds are not very high which discourages them from investing in the financial portfolio.

A series of economic activities in the industrial sector such as textiles, leather, footwear, and mechanical, electrical, and chemical industries are among the pillars of the Tunisian economy in FDI.

By the end of the current year, Tunisia aims to attract about $1 million compared to the $950 thousand brought into the country over the past year.

In 2017, Tunisia adopted a new investment law encouraging investment in the financial portfolio through the elimination of prior licenses and several other measures that enabled foreign investors to turn to Tunisia.

In other news, the World Bank warned in a report of the risks and challenges threatening the Tunisian economy and families in 2019. It predicted that economic growth in 2019 will increase 3 percent and in 2020 will achieve about 4 percent on the medium term.

The Bank reviewed a set of economic forecasts and indicators relating to inflation, the value of the Tunisian dinar, poverty rate, and improvement of other economic and social indicators.

Growth is projected to pick up to an average of 3 percent in 2019-20 and to reach its potential of about 4 percent over the medium term, contingent on the completion of pressing reforms to improve the investment climate and ensure greater security and social stability, said the report.

Growth will be supported by expansions in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism, and the coming online of the Nawara gas field as of mid-2019.

The 2019 fiscal and current account deficits are projected to decline to 3.6 and 10 percent of GDP, respectively, reflecting policy tightening, an uptick in growth, and the reduction in energy import costs as gas production increases at the local level.

Fiscal and current account deficits are projected to drop below 3 percent and 8 percent of GDP, respectively, by 2021 as the government sustains its reform agenda.

Public debt will peak in 2019 at over 80 percent of GDP before starting to decline and dipping below the emerging market benchmark of 70 percent by 2023.

 

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Tunisia: Foreign Investment Increases by 15.7%
9 June, 2019

A tourist looks at traditional souvenirs displayed for sale in Sidi Bou Said, an attractive tourist destination near Tunis, Tunsia (File Photo: Reuters)

Tunis- Al Mongi Al Saidani

Foreign Investment in Tunisia increased 15.7 percent during the first quarter of the current year for about $280 million, announced the country’s Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA-Tunisia).

Director of FIPA Abdelbasset Ghanmi said that foreign direct investment (FDI) increased by 16.3 percent during the same period, with direct investments amounting to over $280 million, compared to about $250 million during the same period last year.

These investments included various economic activities, with portfolio investments, meaning investing in the stock exchange, recording a significant decline, with 37.3 percent.

The decline was attributed to the impact of the Tunisian dinar exchange rate against the euro and the US dollar, noted Ghanmi.

He explained that when a foreign investor exchanges his money into euros or dollars, the proceeds are not very high which discourages them from investing in the financial portfolio.

A series of economic activities in the industrial sector such as textiles, leather, footwear, and mechanical, electrical, and chemical industries are among the pillars of the Tunisian economy in FDI.

By the end of the current year, Tunisia aims to attract about $1 million compared to the $950 thousand brought into the country over the past year.

In 2017, Tunisia adopted a new investment law encouraging investment in the financial portfolio through the elimination of prior licenses and several other measures that enabled foreign investors to turn to Tunisia.

In other news, the World Bank warned in a report of the risks and challenges threatening the Tunisian economy and families in 2019. It predicted that economic growth in 2019 will increase 3 percent and in 2020 will achieve about 4 percent on the medium term.

The Bank reviewed a set of economic forecasts and indicators relating to inflation, the value of the Tunisian dinar, poverty rate, and improvement of other economic and social indicators.

Growth is projected to pick up to an average of 3 percent in 2019-20 and to reach its potential of about 4 percent over the medium term, contingent on the completion of pressing reforms to improve the investment climate and ensure greater security and social stability, said the report.

Growth will be supported by expansions in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism, and the coming online of the Nawara gas field as of mid-2019.

The 2019 fiscal and current account deficits are projected to decline to 3.6 and 10 percent of GDP, respectively, reflecting policy tightening, an uptick in growth, and the reduction in energy import costs as gas production increases at the local level.

Fiscal and current account deficits are projected to drop below 3 percent and 8 percent of GDP, respectively, by 2021 as the government sustains its reform agenda.

Public debt will peak in 2019 at over 80 percent of GDP before starting to decline and dipping below the emerging market benchmark of 70 percent by 2023.

 

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