The Tunisian Planning and Regional Development Minister predicts GDP growth of 4.5% in 2013. This would be up from the 3.5% growth predicted for 2012.
The Tunisian economy has only gradually recovered from the turmoil during the overthrow of President Ben Ali in January 2011. The slow pace of economic growth has led to many being disappointed with the results of the revolution.
Back in March of this year the government cut its growth forecast from 4.5% to 3.5%. There were declines in tourism and also foreign investment. Tunisian exports are also suffering from the lack of demand from Europe as the debt crisis there continues. In December of 2011 the Tunisian government foresaw growth of 4.5% in 2012.
The moderate Islamists elected to run the country are business friendly but there have been clashes between them and leftist secular opponents.There are also more radical Islamists challenging the moderates. During 2011 the economy actually shrank by 1.8%. The situation is improving considerably in 2012 even though progress is slow and unemployment high.
Tunisia has been helped by Qatar a strong backer of the revolution. Qatar has loaned Tunisia $500 million U.S. The moderate Islamist Ennahda party coalition government has excellent relations with Qatar. Turkey has also extended Tunisia a 500 million dollar line of credit.
Jamel Charbi the Planning and Regional Development Minister claims that the 4.5% growth predicted for next year can be met by boosting consumption and investment as well as consolidating exports. His statement was intended to counter some observers' pessimistic forecasts about the economic future of the country.
Charbi said that 22.7 per cent of GDP would be allocated to public investment next year to help manufacturing and mining to recover. He said this would create 90,000 jobs. The government has managed to keep interest rates low and inflation in check. On the other hand the government has been hit by resignations including that of the finance minister and the governor of the central bank.
Even under Ben Ali Tunisia had the highest GDP per capita in the area. The population of ten million revolted in part because of economic conditions and hence is impatient for better times to come soon. However given the problems in Europe economic growth will probably remain relatively modest at most. Even at that, they are doing much better than many countries in southern Europe.