Industry & Retail

Tunisia Industry & Retail

Since the 1970s Tunisia has opted for an economic model geared toward exports and industrialisation, sustained by the implementation of investor-friendly legislation, as well as supportive public investment in infrastructure and human capital. The approach has been successful for decades, with manufacturing forming the basis of GDP growth over the last 40 years. However, manufacturing industries experienced a dip in production during the post-revolution years as a result of broader instability, more frequent labour disputes, a slowing of capital spending and heightened international competition. The challenges are far from minor and, in the broader context of the macroeconomic slowdown, industrial producers have some way to go. However, as a whole, the economy benefits from some encouraging fundamental traits, and growth in Tunisia is projected to improve in 2017 and 2018 on the back of new capital spending on transport infrastructure and a new law governing investment, which came into force in 2017, and which is expected to shore up investor confidence and stimulate activity. As in other North African markets, the Tunisian retail sector has been predominantly controlled by a myriad of small shops. However, modern distribution channels have gradually emerged over the past 15 years with the expansion of international supermarket chains and franchises across the country. Despite some economic downturn, the modern distribution sector has continued to thrive, with the expansion of international franchising and supermarket brands, and the proliferation of large retail outlets. During the next few years the sector is expected to keep posting strong growth, driven by a growing population and rising purchasing power. However, from a purchasing power standpoint, retail performance will also be reliant on the country’s capacity to attract foreign tourists, boost the economy and create jobs.

This chapter contains an interview with Habib Fekih, President, Airbus Africa and Middle East.