x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

If you're going to Tunisia, be first in line

The Life: After the recent protest Tunis might not be on the top of your travel list, but if business reasons take you there here is The Life's take on the nation as a destination.

Why go to Tunis now?

It may not be the safest place to do deals, and the political situation remains unstable following the recent revolution. It may well be worth getting in early and checking out the opportunities, though, in hopes of gaining a first-mover advantage once things do get better. There is no guarantee that will happen, but hugely profitable investments could emerge if a new government enshrines stability, democracy and economic openness.

What are Tunisia's key industries?

Tunisia has virtually no natural resources, aside from some phosphate deposits and other mineral resources. Its biggest industries are tourism, technology and manufacturing. Tourism has virtually halted, although the country's leaders have made getting it started up again a top priority. The country also serves as an outsourcing hub for European companies - especially French ones, since most Tunisians speak French as a second language.

Which sectors offer the greatest opportunities?

Tunisia has a well-educated labour force willing to work for lower wages than in the developed world. Business operations and investments in the country tend to concentrate on this advantage, setting up manufacturing plants, software development outsourcing operations and so forth.

What should I be wary of as an investor?

Political uncertainty. Hopes run high that Tunisia will transition to democracy smoothly, but a happy outcome is no sure thing.

* Asa Fitch