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Tunisia Economy

    Economy—overview: Tunisia has a diverse economy, with important agricultural, mining, energy, tourism, and manufacturing sectors. Governmental control of economic affairs while still heavy has gradually lessened over the past decade with increasing privatization, simplification of the tax structure, and a prudent approach to debt. Real growth averaged 4.0% in 1993-97 and reached 5.0% in 1998. Inflation has been moderate. Growth in tourism and increased trade have been key elements in this steady growth. Tunisia's association agreement with the European Union entered into force on 1 March 1998, the first such accord between the EU and Mediterranean countries to be activated. Under the agreement Tunisia will gradually remove barriers to trade with the EU over the next decade. Broader privatization, further liberalization of the investment code to increase foreign investment, and improvements in government efficiency are among the challenges for the future.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$49 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 5% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$5,200 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 14%
    industry: 28%
    services: 58% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 14.1% (1990 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.3%
    highest 10%: 30.7% (1990)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.3% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 3.3 million (1995 est.)
    note: shortage of skilled labor

    Labor force—by occupation: services 55%, industry 23%, agriculture 22% (1995 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 15.6% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $5.8 billion
    expenditures: $6.5 billion, including capital expenditures to $1.4 billion (1998 est.)

    Industries: petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, food, beverages

    Industrial production growth rate: 4.2% (1997 est.)

    Electricity—production: 7.535 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 99.54%
    hydro: 0.46%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 7.616 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 81 million kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: olives, dates, oranges, almonds, grain, sugar beets, grapes; poultry, beef, dairy products

    Exports: $5.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)

    Exports—commodities: hydrocarbons, textiles, agricultural products, phosphates and chemicals

    Exports—partners: EU 80%, North African countries 6%, Asia 4%, US 1% (1996)

    Imports: $7.9 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)

    Imports—commodities: industrial goods and equipment 57%, hydrocarbons 13%, food 12%, consumer goods

    Imports—partners: EU countries 80%, North African countries 5.5%, Asia 5.5%, US 5% (1996)

    Debt—external: $12.1 billion (1998 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $933.2 million (1995); note—ODA, $90 million (1998 est.)

    Currency: 1 Tunisian dinar (TD) = 1,000 millimes

    Exchange rates: Tunisian dinars (TD) per US$1—1.1027 (December 1998), 1.1393 (1998), 1.1059 (1997), 0.9734 (1996), 0.9458 (1995), 1.0116 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)