2013 CCG FINAL.pdf
services (5.3% up from -3.6%). In parallel, contraction affected nonmanufacturing industries (-2.1% and -11.1% in 2011) and main export oriented
manufacturing industries such as textiles and clothing (-3.8% down from -1.7%)
and mechanical and electrical industry (-1.5% and -12.6%). Tourism revenues
have increased by 30.4% and foreign direct investment (FDI) by 85.4%.
Compared to 2010, tourism receipts decreased about 10% and FDIs increased
38.4%. The average inflation rate in 2012 was 5.6% and hard currency reserves
were TND 12.7 billion ($8.13 billion), a 20% increase compared to 2011 and a
2.32% decrease compared to 2010.
Manufacturing industries, producing largely for export, are the motor of Tunisia’s
economic growth and a major source of foreign currency revenue, accounting for
about 70% of exports. Labor-intensive sectors such as textiles and the
production of automobile components create much needed jobs. According to
GOT statistics, in 2012, all sectors experienced higher employment except
chemical industries (559 jobs down from 602 in 2011) and leather industries and
shoes (972 jobs created down from 1,060 in 2011).In 2012, Tunisia's official
average unemployment rate was 17.3%, much higher than the 13% levels
reported by former President Ben Ali’s regime. This change in the unemployment
rate reflects current government policies for more transparency through accurate
statistics. Textiles, mechanical and electrical equipment sales were the primary
sources of foreign currency revenue in 2012, representing 22.3% and 36.6% of
Tunisia's exports, respectively. The Tunisian export promotion agency, the
Centre de Promotion des Exportations (CEPEX), is responsible for identifying
new export markets in all sectors.
Tourism is the next largest source of foreign currency revenue. In 2012, 5.95
million tourists visited Tunisia, bringing in nearly $2.03 billion in convertible
currency. Compared to 2010, these figures have weakened, both in terms of
income brought and the number of tourists, respectively 17.45% and 13.75%.
Agriculture also plays a major role in the Tunisian economy and employs about
17.7% of the population. Agriculture accounts for nearly 9% of GDP and
comprises 9.7% of exports. In 2012, Tunisia exported nearly $1.65 billion of
agricultural products, mainly olive oil, seafood, dates, and citrus. While Tunisia's
agricultural exports increased 37.13% in comparison to 2010, they dropped 0.6%
compared to 2011 due to a decrease in exports to Libya.
The government retains control over certain "strategic" sectors of the economy
(finance, hydrocarbons, the national airline, electricity and gas distribution, and
water resources), but the role of the private sector is increasing. The
Government of Tunisia is currently studying the economic impact of liberalization
of petroleum product price controls. Most of Tunisia's electricity is produced from
natural gas (85%) and heavy fuel oil (15%). Electricity demand is growing 5.4%
each year, and will reach about 32 billion KWH by 2030. The GOT announced in
2009 it would produce 900 MW of nuclear power by 2023 but in late 2011,
officials reversed courses discounting nuclear energy as a potential source of
energy for Tunisia, opting instead to focus on hydrocarbons and renewables.
Tunisia is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
and a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA). In September 2010, Tunisia and the U.S. signed a
cooperation agreement for the safe and secure expansion of civil nuclear energy.