Agricultural exports save Tunisia’s economy

The Minister of Finance, Slim Chaker, says that following the crisis in the tourist sector following the attacks in Bardo and Sousse, Tunisia has economically “avoided the worst” in 2015 thanks to record agricultural exports. Tunisian economy has seen petrol prices plummet as well as a spectacular increase in olive oil and date exports.

Olive oil exports at the end of September reached 300,000 tons, with income estimated at over €860 million, compared to €230 million last year. This figure makes Tunisia the world’s number one olive oil exporter, ahead of Spain.

About 100,000 tons of dates were exported by the end of September, representing a record €210 million, a provisional figure which is already higher than the €170 million reached in 2014.

However, despite this optimism, the Minister of Finance has reconfirmed to the press that they expect a small 0.5% growth in 2015. Whilst Tunisia has achieved it’s political transition from the 2011 revolution, it has hardly been able to restart it’s economy. The situation was further complicated by attacks in June killing 59 tourists (tourism represents 10% of the GDP) The number of tourists from Europe has halved since January and many international chains are closed all winter. Tunisia hopes to bring their public deficit up to 3.9% in 2016 and has announced that they will ask for a new help plan that is at least equal to that of 2013 (€1.7 billion) from the International Monetary Fund.

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