Home

Tunisia vs. Algeria

Economy

TunisiaAlgeria
Economy - overview

Tunisia's economy – structurally designed to favor vested interests – faced an array of challenges exposed by the 2008 global financial crisis that helped precipitate the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. After the revolution and a series of terrorist attacks, including on the country’s tourism sector, barriers to economic inclusion continued to add to slow economic growth and high unemployment.

Following an ill-fated experiment with socialist economic policies in the 1960s, Tunisia 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 strategy, coupled with investments in education and infrastructure, fueled decades of 4-5% annual GDP growth and improved 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, unemployment rose, and the informal economy grew. Tunisia’s economy became less and less inclusive. These grievances contributed to the January 2011 overthrow of BEN ALI, further depressing Tunisia's economy as tourism and investment declined sharply.

Tunisia’s government remains under pressure to boost economic growth quickly to mitigate chronic socio-economic challenges, especially high levels of youth unemployment, which has persisted since the 2011 revolution. Successive terrorist attacks against the tourism sector and worker strikes in the phosphate sector, which combined account for nearly 15% of GDP, slowed growth from 2015 to 2017. Tunis is seeking increased foreign investment and working with the IMF through an Extended Fund Facility agreement to fix fiscal deficiencies.

Algeria's economy remains dominated by the state, a legacy of the country's socialist post-independence development model. In recent years the Algerian Government has halted the privatization of state-owned industries and imposed restrictions on imports and foreign involvement in its economy, pursuing an explicit import substitution policy.

Hydrocarbons have long been the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 30% of GDP, 60% of budget revenues, and nearly 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the 10th-largest reserves of natural gas in the world - including the 3rd-largest reserves of shale gas - and is the 6th-largest gas exporter. It ranks 16th in proven oil reserves. Hydrocarbon exports enabled Algeria to maintain macroeconomic stability, amass large foreign currency reserves, and maintain low external debt while global oil prices were high. With lower oil prices since 2014, Algeria’s foreign exchange reserves have declined by more than half and its oil stabilization fund has decreased from about $20 billion at the end of 2013 to about $7 billion in 2017, which is the statutory minimum.

Declining oil prices have also reduced the government’s ability to use state-driven growth to distribute rents and fund generous public subsidies, and the government has been under pressure to reduce spending. Over the past three years, the government has enacted incremental increases in some taxes, resulting in modest increases in prices for gasoline, cigarettes, alcohol, and certain imported goods, but it has refrained from reducing subsidies, particularly for education, healthcare, and housing programs.

Algiers has increased protectionist measures since 2015 to limit its import bill and encourage domestic production of non-oil and gas industries. Since 2015, the government has imposed additional restrictions on access to foreign exchange for imports, and import quotas for specific products, such as cars. In January 2018 the government imposed an indefinite suspension on the importation of roughly 850 products, subject to periodic review.

President BOUTEFLIKA announced in fall 2017 that Algeria intends to develop its non-conventional energy resources. Algeria has struggled to develop non-hydrocarbon industries because of heavy regulation and an emphasis on state-driven growth. Algeria has not increased non-hydrocarbon exports, and hydrocarbon exports have declined because of field depletion and increased domestic demand.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$137.7 billion (2017 est.)
$135 billion (2016 est.)
$133.5 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$630 billion (2017 est.)
$621.3 billion (2016 est.)
$602 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
2% (2017 est.)
1.1% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
1.4% (2017 est.)
3.2% (2016 est.)
3.7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$11,900 (2017 est.)
$11,800 (2016 est.)
$11,800 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$15,200 (2017 est.)
$15,200 (2016 est.)
$15,100 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 10.1% (2017 est.)
industry: 26.2% (2017 est.)
services: 63.8% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 13.3% (2017 est.)
industry: 39.3% (2017 est.)
services: 47.4% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
15.5% (2010 est.)
23% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 26.8% (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
5.3% (2017 est.)
3.7% (2016 est.)
5.6% (2017 est.)
6.4% (2016 est.)
Labor force
4.054 million (2017 est.)
11.82 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 14.8%
industry: 33.2%
services: 51.7% (2014 est.)
agriculture: 10.8%
industry: 30.9%
services: 58.4% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate
15.5% (2017 est.)
15.5% (2016 est.)
11.7% (2017 est.)
10.5% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
40 (2005 est.)
41.7 (1995 est.)
35.3 (1995)
Budget
revenues: 9.876 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 12.21 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 54.15 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 70.2 billion (2017 est.)
Industries
petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate, iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
petroleum, natural gas, light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, food processing
Industrial production growth rate
0.5% (2017 est.)
0.6% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products
wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle
Exports
$13.82 billion (2017 est.)
$13.57 billion (2016 est.)
$34.37 billion (2017 est.)
$29.06 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment
petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97% (2009 est.)
Exports - partners
France 32.1%, Italy 17.3%, Germany 12.4% (2017)
Italy 17.4%, Spain 13%, France 11.9%, US 9.4%, Brazil 6.2%, Netherlands 5.5% (2017)
Imports
$19.09 billion (2017 est.)
$18.37 billion (2016 est.)
$48.54 billion (2017 est.)
$49.43 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners
Italy 15.8%, France 15.1%, China 9.2%, Germany 8.1%, Turkey 4.8%, Algeria 4.7%, Spain 4.5% (2017)
China 18.2%, France 9.1%, Italy 8%, Germany 7%, Spain 6.9%, Turkey 4.4% (2017)
Debt - external
$30.19 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$28.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.26 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.088 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Tunisian dinars (TND) per US dollar -
2.48 (2017 est.)
2.148 (2016 est.)
2.148 (2015 est.)
1.9617 (2014 est.)
1.6976 (2013 est.)
Algerian dinars (DZD) per US dollar -
108.9 (2017 est.)
109.443 (2016 est.)
109.443 (2015 est.)
100.691 (2014 est.)
80.579 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
70.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
27.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
20.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover central government debt as well as debt issued by subnational entities and intra-governmental debt

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$5.594 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.941 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$97.89 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$114.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$4.191 billion (2017 est.)
-$3.694 billion (2016 est.)
-$22.1 billion (2017 est.)
-$26.47 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$39.96 billion (2017 est.)
$167.6 billion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$37.95 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$37.15 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$29.05 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$25.74 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$285 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$285 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.893 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.025 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$8.887 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$9.662 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$10.68 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

NA

Central bank discount rate
5.75% (31 December 2010)
4% (31 December 2010)
4% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
7.31% (31 December 2016 est.)
6.76% (31 December 2013 est.)
8% (31 December 2017 est.)
8% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$36.19 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$34.18 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$110.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$86.63 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$12.92 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$11.83 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$84.56 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$85.21 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$12.92 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$11.83 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$84.56 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$85.21 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
24.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
32.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-5.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-9.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 34.7%
male: 33.4%
female: 37.7% (2013 est.)
total: 25.7%
male: 22.1%
female: 44.9% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 71.7% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 20.8% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 19.4% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 43.2% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -55.2% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 42.7% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 20.2% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 38.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 11.2% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 23.6% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -35.8% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
12% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
37.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
37.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
36.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook