19 May 2014

Tunisia: African Economic Outlook in Africa - Tunisia's Growth Expected to Reach 4.6 Percent in 2015

Kigali — "Growth is expected to rebound in Tunisia in 2014 to reach 3.3% then 4.6% in 2015. This will help put an end to the 2011 recession episode (-1.8 %)," the African Economic Outlook Report 2014 revealed.

The document was presented Monday as the 49th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) opened in Kigali, Rwanda's capital.

Jointly drafted by the AfDB, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the report pointed out that "Tunisia needs to streamline public spending and ensure an efficient supervision of the financial sector, the labour market and investments to return to sustainable growth."

"The implementation soon of reforms in taxation and energy subsidies, a more rigorous management of public finance and a fully restored borrowing capacity will help reduce the budget deficit as of 2014 and wipe it out in 2015," reads the report.

"For the current account deficit, it is expected to decline from 2014, under the effect of the economic recovery and the revival of tourism," the document further reads.

The three institutions are banking on a gradual improvement in the growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product per capita to 2.2% in 2014 and 3.5% in 2015, against 1.5% in 2013.

According to forecasts of the AfDB, the OECD Development Centre and UNDP, inflation would edge down to 5.5% in 2014 to hover around 4.9% in 2015 (6% in 2013).

Twin deficits (budget and current account) are expected to post a gradual decline by 2015.

The fiscal balance is expected to decline to -6.4% in 2014 and -4.3% in 2015 (-6.2% in 2013), while the current account would progress from -8,2% in 2013 to -7,4% in 2014, to further improve in 2015 (-6.4%).

Referring to Tunisia's economic situation in 2016, the report noted a slowdown of growth to 2.6%, below official forecast (4.5%) and 2012 levels (3.7%).

The slowdown was explained by "the political deadlock, the deterioration of the security situation, the fragility of the social context, the stagnation in the Eurozone (first customer and first supplier of the country) and a declining agricultural production (-3.3%).

The report also pointed to the deterioration of the tourism sector and exporting industries, heightened by the depreciation of the dinar and unemployment as well as social spending, particularly energy subsidies which weighed heavily on fiscal balances.

Regarding the economic outlook for the African continent, the report projected "growth to accelerate to 4.8% in 2014 and 5 to 6% in 2015, levels unseen since the global economic crisis in 2009."

"Africa can transform its economy and achieve a development breakthrough provided it participates more effectively in the global production of goods and services," the report said.

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