International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses recent trends, constraints, and opportunities for the future of Tunisia's economy. Tunisia enjoyed solid GDP growth rates in the run-up to the revolution of 2011, driven by the manufacturing and service sectors. A stable macroeconomic environment and a gradual liberalization of trade and investment facilitated growth. Labor has been gradually overshadowed by capital accumulation as the main growth driver, while productivity has been lagging. The existing gap in factors of production can be filled by appropriate financial and banking policies to increase access to finance and boost physical capital accumulation, a sound business environment to attract investors and boost long-term productivity, and a reduction in macroeconomic risks.
This 2012 Article IV Consultation highlights that Tunisia experienced a severe recession in 2011 amid domestic and regional turmoil. Real GDP contracted by 1.8 percent, reflecting a sharp decline in tourism and foreign direct inflows. As a result of the economic downturn and the return of Tunisian workers from Libya, unemployment soared to 19 percent in 2011, with youth unemployment at 42 percent. Tunisia’s medium-term economic growth potential remains favorable, but unleashing it requires a comprehensive package of structural reforms to foster private investment.
Amer Bisat, Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Mr. Mahmoud El-Gamal, and Mr. Francesco P Mongelli
The paper considers investment and growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Notwithstanding cross-country differences, investment as a whole has been too low, too heavily tilted toward the public sector, too highly dependent on external influences, and less productive than in many other regions. Improving the region’s investment performance is critical if policymakers are to succeed in increasing the region’s economic growth rate. After discussing the relationship between investment and growth, the paper analyzes the investment responsiveness of various countries in the region and notes the policy priorities for strengthening the basis for rapid and sustained economic growth.