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Tunisia Economy Profile 2016

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Economy - overviewTunisia's diverse, market-oriented economy has long been cited as a success story in Africa and the Middle East, but it faces an array of challenges following the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. Following an ill-fated experiment with socialist economic policies in the 1960s, Tunisia embarked on a successful strategy focused on bolstering exports, foreign investment, and tourism, all of which have become central to the country's economy. Key exports now include textiles and apparel, food products, petroleum products, chemicals, and phosphates, with about 80% of exports bound for Tunisia's main economic partner, the EU.

Tunisia's liberal strategy, coupled with investments in education and infrastructure, fueled decades of 4-5% annual GDP growth and improving living standards. Former President Zine el Abidine BEN ALI (1987-2011) continued these policies, but as his reign wore on cronyism and corruption stymied economic performance, and unemployment rose among the country's growing ranks of university graduates. These grievances contributed to the January 2011 overthrow of BEN ALI, sending Tunisia's economy into a tailspin as tourism and investment declined sharply.

Since its establishment in late 2014, Tunisia’s new government has faced challenges reassuring businesses and investors, bringing budget and current account deficits under control, shoring up the country's financial system, lowering high unemployment, and reducing economic disparities between the more developed coastal region and the impoverished interior. In 2015, successive terrorist attacks against the tourism sector and worker strikes in the phosphate sector, which combined account for nearly 15% of GDP, slowed growth to less than 1% of GDP.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$127 billion (2015 est.)
$126 billion (2014 est.)
$123.2 billion (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$43.58 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate0.8% (2015 est.)
2.3% (2014 est.)
2.4% (2013 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$11,400 (2015 est.)
$11,500 (2014 est.)
$11,300 (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars
Gross national saving12.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
14% of GDP (2014 est.)
14.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 69.2%
government consumption: 19.3%
investment in fixed capital: 18.7%
investment in inventories: 1.7%
exports of goods and services: 40.9%
imports of goods and services: -49.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 9.9%
industry: 29%
services: 61.2% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line15.5% (2010 est.)
Labor force4.044 million (2015 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 14.8%
industry: 33.2%
services: 51.7% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate15.4% (2015 est.)
14.9% (2014 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 37.6%
male: 35.7%
female: 41.8% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index40 (2005 est.)
41.7 (1995 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $10.87 billion
expenditures: $12.78 billion (2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues24.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-4.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
Public debt52.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
50.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)4.9% (2015 est.)
4.9% (2014 est.)
Central bank discount rate5.75% (31 December 2010)
Commercial bank prime lending rate7.31% (31 December 2014 est.)
6.76% (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of narrow money$12.32 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$12.68 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of broad money$31.32 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$30.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$34.93 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$35.82 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$8.887 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$9.662 billion (31 December 2011)
$10.68 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Agriculture - productsolives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products
Industriespetroleum, mining (particularly phosphate, iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
Industrial production growth rate-0.8% (2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$3.875 billion (2015 est.)
-$4.341 billion (2014 est.)
Exports$14.74 billion (2015 est.)
$16.84 billion (2014 est.)
Exports - commoditiesclothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment
Exports - partnersFrance 28.5%, Italy 17.2%, Germany 10.9%, Libya 6.1%, Spain 4.2% (2015)
Imports$19.42 billion (2015 est.)
$23.4 billion (2014 est.)
Imports - commoditiestextiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports - partnersFrance 19.4%, Italy 16.4%, Algeria 8.2%, Germany 7.4%, China 6% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.225 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$7.395 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Debt - external$27.66 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$26.83 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$36.39 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$35.46 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$285 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$285 million (31 December 2014 est.)
Exchange ratesTunisian dinars (TND) per US dollar -
1.954 (2015 est.)
1.6976 (2014 est.)
1.6976 (2013 est.)
1.56 (2012 est.)
1.4078 (2011 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on October 8, 2016

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