Tunisia/Economy

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Economy - overview: Tunisia has a diverse economy, with important agricultural, mining, energy, tourism, and manufacturing sectors. Governmental control of economic affairs while still heavy has gradually lessened over the past decade with increasing privatization, simplification of the tax structure, and a prudent approach to debt. Real growth averaged 5.0% in the 1990s, and inflation is slowing. Growth in tourism and increased trade have been key elements in this steady growth. Tunisia's association agreement with the European Union entered into force on 1 March 1998, the first such accord between the EU and Mediterranean countries to be activated. Under the agreement Tunisia will gradually remove barriers to trade with the EU over the next decade. Broader privatization, further liberalization of the investment code to increase foreign investment, and improvements in government efficiency are among the challenges for the future.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $52.6 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 6% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $5,500 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 28%
services: 60% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line: 14.1% (1990 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 30.7% (1990)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.7% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 3 million (1997 est.)
note: shortage of skilled labor

Labor force - by occupation: services 55%, industry 23%, agriculture 22% (1995 est.)

Unemployment rate: 16.5% (1999 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $5.1 billion
expenditures: $5.8 billion, including capital expenditures to $1.6 billion (1999 est.)

Industries: petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, food, beverages

Industrial production growth rate: 8% (1998 est.)

Electricity - production: 7.94 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.5%
hydro: 0.5%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 7.549 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 165 million kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: olives, grain, dairy products, tomatoes, citrus fruit, beef, sugar beets, dates, almonds

Exports: $5.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: textiles, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, agricultural products, hydrocarbons

Exports - partners: France 27%, Italy 22%, Germany 15%, Belgium 6%, Libya 4% (1998)

Imports: $8.3 billion (c.i.f., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, fuel, food

Imports - partners: France 27%, Italy 20%, Germany 12%, Spain 4%, Belgium 4%, US 4% (1998)

Debt - external: $12.1 billion (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $933.2 million (1995); note - ODA, $90 million (1998 est.)

Currency: 1 Tunisian dinar (TD) = 1,000 millimes

Exchange rates: Tunisian dinars (TD) per US$1 - 1.2455 (January 2000), 1.2546 (December 1999), 1.1387 (1998), 1.1059 (1997), 0.9734 (1996), 0.9458 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year