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Tunisia vs. Libya

Economy

TunisiaLibya
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.

Libya's economy, almost entirely dependent on oil and gas exports, has struggled since 2014 given security and political instability, disruptions in oil production, and decline in global oil prices. The Libyan dinar has lost much of its value since 2014 and the resulting gap between official and black market exchange rates has spurred the growth of a shadow economy and contributed to inflation. The country suffers from widespread power outages, caused by shortages of fuel for power generation. Living conditions, including access to clean drinking water, medical services, and safe housing have all declined since 2011. Oil production in 2017 reached a five-year high, driving GDP growth, with daily average production rising to 879,000 barrels per day. However, oil production levels remain below the average pre-Revolution highs of 1.6 million barrels per day.

The Central Bank of Libya continued to pay government salaries to a majority of the Libyan workforce and to fund subsidies for fuel and food, resulting in an estimated budget deficit of about 17% of GDP in 2017. Low consumer confidence in the banking sector and the economy as a whole has driven a severe liquidity shortage.

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

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$61.97 billion (2017 est.)
$37.78 billion (2016 est.)
$40.8 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
2% (2017 est.)
1.1% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
64% (2017 est.)
-7.4% (2016 est.)
-13% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$11,900 (2017 est.)
$11,800 (2016 est.)
$11,800 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$9,600 (2017 est.)
$5,900 (2016 est.)
$6,500 (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: 1.3% (2017 est.)
industry: 52.3% (2017 est.)
services: 46.4% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
15.5% (2010 est.)

note: about one-third of Libyans live at or below the national poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
5.3% (2017 est.)
3.7% (2016 est.)
28.5% (2017 est.)
25.9% (2016 est.)
Labor force
4.054 million (2017 est.)
1.114 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 14.8%
industry: 33.2%
services: 51.7% (2014 est.)
agriculture: 17%
industry: 23%
services: 59% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate
15.5% (2017 est.)
15.5% (2016 est.)
30% (2004 est.)
Budget
revenues: 9.876 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 12.21 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 15.78 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 23.46 billion (2017 est.)
Industries
petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate, iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
petroleum, petrochemicals, aluminum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement
Industrial production growth rate
0.5% (2017 est.)
60.3% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products
wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle
Exports
$13.82 billion (2017 est.)
$13.57 billion (2016 est.)
$18.38 billion (2017 est.)
$11.99 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment
crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals
Exports - partners
France 32.1%, Italy 17.3%, Germany 12.4% (2017)
Italy 19%, Spain 12.5%, France 11%, Egypt 8.6%, Germany 8.6%, China 8.3%, US 4.9%, UK 4.6%, Netherlands 4.5% (2017)
Imports
$19.09 billion (2017 est.)
$18.37 billion (2016 est.)
$11.36 billion (2017 est.)
$8.667 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
machinery, semi-finished goods, food, transport equipment, consumer products
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 13.5%, Turkey 11.3%, Italy 6.9%, South Korea 5.9%, Spain 4.8% (2017)
Debt - external
$30.19 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$28.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.02 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.116 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.)
Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar -
1.413 (2017 est.)
1.3904 (2016 est.)
1.3904 (2015 est.)
1.379 (2014 est.)
1.2724 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
70.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
4.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
7.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$5.594 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.941 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$74.71 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$66.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$4.191 billion (2017 est.)
-$3.694 billion (2016 est.)
$2.574 billion (2017 est.)
-$4.575 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$39.96 billion (2017 est.)
$30.57 billion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$37.95 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$37.15 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$20.21 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$18.96 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$285 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$285 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$20.97 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$22.19 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)
9.52% (31 December 2010)
3% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
7.31% (31 December 2016 est.)
6.76% (31 December 2013 est.)
7.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
6% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$36.19 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$34.18 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$21 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$14.14 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$12.92 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$11.83 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$76.21 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$62.57 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$12.92 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$11.83 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$76.21 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$62.57 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
24.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
51.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-5.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-25.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 34.7%
male: 33.4%
female: 37.7% (2013 est.)
total: 48.7%
male: 40.8%
female: 67.8% (2012 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: 71.6% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 19.4% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 2.7% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.3% (2016 est.)
exports of goods and services: 38.8% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -33.8% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
12% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
5% of GDP (2017 est.)
-9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-25.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook