The Arab Spring: Tunisian Revolution of 14 January 2011

Several factors including youth unemployment, corruption, human rights violations, extreme poverty, and regional disparities sparked the Arab Spring that unseated the ruling government. Even though the Tunisian economy had exhibited strong competitiveness prior to these events, it had also masked the inequitable growth and high unemployment rates among educated youth.


In Tunisia unemployment is concentrated in younger age cohorts. In 2008 the unemployment rate for individuals under thirty years of age was nearly 30 per cent—twice the overall unemployment rate (Haouas etal. 2012). Unemployment rates among 25-29-year-olds increased from 12.6 per cent in 1984 to

25.2 per cent in 2008 (Haouas et al. 2012).

Young university graduates were particularly disadvantaged by the deterioration of job creation. Unemployment levels among youth completing higher education grew from 3.8 per cent in 1994 to 21.6 per cent in 2008 (Haouas et al. 2012). Search friction in an environment where the education system and training are not related to the structure of the economy culminated in these large unemployment rates. Private sector job creation remains concentrated on low-skill employment, while private investment is relatively low and tightly controlled by government.

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