Development of Services and Innovative Projects, Early 2000s-2011

During the period 2002-6, economic indicators including GDP, investment, FDI, and export volumes of goods and services showed steady growth. Real

GDP grew at an average rate of 4.5 per cent, despite agricultural sector stagnation on account of unfavourable climatic conditions.

The 2000s are characterized by the development of service sectors, which exhibited an average growth rate of 7.2 per cent. The mechanical and electronics industries showed promise with growth rates averaging 8.9 per cent. During the same period, the contribution from technologically intensive sectors to GDP grew to 20.4 per cent in 2006 against 16.8 per cent in 2001. Overall investment grew at an average rate of 5.1 per cent to reach TND 41.2 billion. Favourable investment policies encouraged the participation of foreign firms leading to substantial growth of FDI over the period (close to 884 joint-venture firms were established during the period).

The private sector became the dominant force in the Tunisian economy, contributing towards totals of 57.1 per cent of total investment, 85 per cent of exports, and 91 per cent of job creation. Export of goods and services grew at an average rate of 8.5 per cent, because of the emergence of new export sectors such as mechanical and electronics industries, automotive components, and textiles and tourism. Economic performance during the period relied on the preservation of internal and external financial stability—most importantly a favourable current account deficit at 2.4 per cent of GDP; a reduction in the rate of external debt to 47.9 per cent of net income; consolidation of monetary reserves; control of budget deficit, excluding donations; and privatization return to an average rate of 3.1 per cent of GDP (Republic of Tunisia 2010).

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