x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sparks of uprising in Tunisia still burn

Arab Spring economies: Many of the problems that prompted an uprising in Tunisia in January last year not only persist today but have intensified exponentially post revolution.

Many of the problems that prompted an uprising in Tunisia in January last year not only persist today but have intensified since the revolution.

Before the uprising, Tunisia's economic growth was expected to reach 5.4 per cent last year, and the budget deficit was not to exceed 2.5 per cent of GDP.

Instead, the economy shrank 1.8 per cent as the revolution closed factories and deterred tourists and investors, while the deficit now stands at 6.6 per cent of GDP.

The unemployment rate was high before the revolution at 14 per cent.

The rate today is 18 per cent, and most of the country's neediest are struggling.

Industry players say the loss of the firm grip of the former regime has unravelled Tunisia's economy and the lack of clear reforms and organisation has quickened the pace of economic deterioration.

"All the main companies were not doing that bad and were under control, even though it was under the influence of the Ben Ali family," said Fathi Ben Grira, a Tunisian national and the chief executive of Menacorp, an investment company in Abu Dhabi.

"So the consequence today is a country that is disorganised."

business@thenational.ae