Tunisia overview

Sea sight

In Tunisia we focus on:

Restructuring and strengthening the financial sector to support private sector development; the financial sector has a number of structural deficiencies particularly in MSME lending, private equity and local capital market development. High NPLs indicate weak bank balance sheets in particular in the state-owned banks that have been prone to directed lending
Financing private enterprises, with a focus on SMEs, to boost the creation of high quality private sector jobs and develop a resilient and diverse economy
Supporting energy efficiency and the development of a sustainable energy sector, to improve energy security, sustainability and economic competitiveness, and commercialisation of the energy sector which has large transition gaps across the board.
Facilitating non-sovereign financing for infrastructure development to provide wider access to better quality urban and efficient public services. Infrastructure – that of both municipalities and the transport sector - also suffers from a number of large gaps. The separation of regulatory and operational responsibility of municipalities has not taken place, negatively impacting the efficiency of water and waste water services as well as urban transport management.

We continue to cooperate with other IFIs, the EU and bilateral partners to ensure that the EBRD's operations take full account of their work.

The EBRD’s Tunisia country assessment was approved on 12 September 2012

Current EBRD forecast for Tunisia’s Real GDP Growth in 2018 2.7%

Current EBRD forecast for Tunisia’s Real GDP Growth in 2019 3.0%

In Tunisia, economic growth improved in 2017 but remained sluggish at 1.9 per cent, compared to 1.0 per cent in 2016. The modest growth was driven by the sustained improvements in security, tourism, and phosphate production; a recovery in services; and a good agricultural season, all of which offset contractions in oil and gas extraction and refining. Investment rose and exports are recovering.

Meanwhile, macroeconomic vulnerabilities increased; the current account deficit in per cent of GDP reached double digits for the first time; foreign reserves fell to critical levels and cover less than three months of imports; the dinar depreciated by more than 20 per cent year-on-year; and inflation is at its highest level in 25 years driven by the currency depreciation, energy price increases and wage inflation.

Growth is nevertheless expected to increase to 2.7 per cent in 2018 and gradually pick up to 3.0 per cent in 2019, driven by a continued recovery in tourism and investment, stronger growth in major export markets in Europe and the implementation of structural reforms. Risks stem from the 2019 election-related uncertainties and socioeconomic protests disrupting production in the phosphate and hydrocarbon sectors.

The depreciation of the dinar and the reintroduction of a mechanism that adjusts fuel prices in line with fluctuations both in currencies and international oil prices may further raise inflationary pressures. Furthermore, a faster-than-anticipated normalisation of monetary policy in the United States could lead to a stronger US dollar and amplify debt vulnerabilities, given that two-thirds of debt in Tunisia is denominated in foreign currency.

Tunisia in the EBRD's 2017-18 Transition Report