Economic Theory & Research; Rural Poverty Reduction; Drylands & Desertification; Banks & Banking Reform; Development Economics & Aid Effectiveness
Middle East and North Africa
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Summary: Tunisia has successfully shifted from resource-based exports dominated by oil and gas to manufactures and services. The economy is now driven mainly by textile, electrical, mechanical, and food processing exports; tourism and related activities; and production of olives and cereals. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has been rising consistently, increasing from 3 percent annually over 1985-90 to more than 5 percent annually over 1996-02. Today, with a per capita income of US$2,000, Tunisians enjoy more than two-and-a-half times the real incomes that their parents had 30 years ago. Tunisia signed an association agreement with the European Union (EUAA) that provides for free trade in manufacturing by 2008. The European Union (EU) has been Tunisia's dominant trading partner; the region is the source of 67 percent of capital flows into Tunisia, accounts for a large share of Tunisia's tourism market, and is the region with the largest community of expatriate Tunisians. This dominance renders Tunisia's economy vulnerable to adverse developments in the EU.
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