Given Tunisia’s location in the centre of North Africa and its proximity to Europe, the country’s transport sector plays a vital role in its economy, and improving the efficiency of the transport network will continue to present new opportunities. The country’s well-connected port and air infrastructure have historically formed the basis of its competitiveness in global markets as well as its ability to leverage labour cost advantages. At home, government-directed, trans¬port-focused construction projects account for a large chunk of public spending as part of a drive to mitigate regional disparities, encourage urban mobility and increase international connectivity. Growing its internal and regional trade links with its African neighbours and trading partners across the Mediterranean will build momentum, and, in the long term, the transport sector will be poised to deliver significant opportunities for future growth. This chapter contains an interview with Sana Skhiri, President, Tunisian National Federation of Airfreight Forwarders.
Efforts to overhaul the country’s hydrocarbons regulations, however, have been stymied by political instability, while the development of energy projects has been slowed by social unrest across the country. A revised hydrocarbons code has yet to be passed by Parliament and the question of whether to tap into non-traditional oil and gas reservoirs has increasingly become a key issue of debate. Despite the challenges, progress in diversifying the energy mix has seen the state issue a host of international tenders aimed at attracting contractors into a new renewable energy programme. This is expected to help the country achieve its goal of having renewable sources account for 30% of the energy mix by 2030. This chapter contains interviews with Slim Feriani, Minister of Industry and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises; and Moncef Harrabi, CEO, Tunisian Company for Electricity and Gas.
As advancements in irrigation and mechanisation are boosting efficiency and profitability, considerable improvements in infrastructure are still required, as is the organisation of farms and supply chains to ensure long-term development. Boosting competitiveness so that producers and exporters are able to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area is particularly important. The government has a vital role to play in achieving these objectives in terms of investing in infrastructure and logistics, pro¬viding a robust legal framework and improving access to financing to stimulate further private investment. This chapter contains an interview with Abdellatif Ghedira, Executive Director, International Olive Council; and Mohsen Boujbel, General Manager, VACPA Boudjebel.
In a context of significant macroeconomic challenges, Tunisia’s banking sector has demonstrated solid performance over 2017 and 2018. However, the banking sector will continue to grapple with a number of pressing challenges in the coming years, stemming in large part from weaknesses in the broader economy, which raises banks’ portfolio risk. Although the central bank is likely to continue to push for sector consolidation, in order to strengthen the sector’s players and boost overall stability, it is uncertain when a clear move towards consolidation will begin to take place. For the moment, having a large number of inadequately financed banks will continue to prevent the sector from making a more complete contribution to the economy. This chapter contains interviews with Mohamed Agrebi, General Manager, Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie; and Essma Ben Hamida, Co-Founder, Enda Tamweel.
With heightened security measures raising tourist confidence and a weak dinar making holidays in Tunisia increasingly attractive, the tourism sector is seeing a renaissance. However, in order for this growth to be sustainable, investment is needed to modernise and improve supporting infrastructure. Furthermore, most historic or cultural sites require a significant influx of restoration funds and better general management in order to attract greater numbers of international tourists. Nevertheless, as Tunisia continues to build on its quickly diversifying tourist base, and with Europeans returning in droves to take advantage of the country’s sunshine and beaches, the outlook for the sector is bright. Government commitment is strong, and with better organisation and investment, the tourism sector has ample potential to become a significant driver of sustainable development in the region. This chapter contains an interview with Amel Hachani, General Manager, Tunisian National Tourism Office.