Tunisia: World Bank Fall Report Cites Many Looming Issues

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Diplomacy, Economic, Political, Social, Tunisia


In early November 2023, the World Bank released its Economic Monitor for Tunisia for Fall 2023, entitling the report “Migration Amid a Challenging Economic Context.” 

The report highlights Tunisia’s complex and challenging economic situation, with a focus on the implications of regular and irregular migration. 

The report notes that the ongoing, multi-year drought continues to have a damaging impact on Tunisia’s economic performance, particularly given the impact on the agricultural sector and the ability to produce food products domestically. 

The report highlights a 39% decline in the trade deficit through the first eight months of 2023. This was one of few positive developments noted, alongside increased tourism, which helped prevent a worse decline in economic conditions throughout 2023. 

Challenges with shortages of staple goods and inflation were noted, as these overlapping challenges continue to strain consumers. Borrowing by the government to fund the public wage bill has strained the domestic credit market. The government has looked to domestic banks for credit as foreign creditors have become wary. 

The report notes that Tunisia’s overall economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been slower than other countries in the region, in part due to slow progress on substantive economic reform to address key weaknesses in the economy. 


Following the Spring 2023 Economic Monitor, in which the World Bank urged Tunisia to undertake “ambitious” reforms to address the challenges in the economy, the Fall 2023 report notes that little reform has occurred. 

A boom in tourism and favorable conditions for terms of trade have allowed the economy to extend its viability into 2024, however, many experts continue to warn that the country remains on an unsustainable path. 

Behind the tensions with Europe over migration, Tunisia remains intertwined with its external partners on the issue of migration and the country’s need for external financing. However, the 2024 budget appears unlikely to include the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan upon which many international creditors have made additional loans to Tunisia contingent. 


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