Tunisia: World Power Index Ranks North African Countries

by | May 27, 2023 | Diplomacy, Political, Security, Tunisia


A recent report on North Africa from the World Power Index (WPI) identified Tunisia, along with Morocco, Algeria, and Libya as “middle peripheral powers” on a scale that measures “the accumulation of national capacities that a State has to exercise its power in the international system.”

The report notes that Tunisia has faced “challenges” on its path to democratization and socio-economic development but has made progress toward a “stable political system” and the promotion of some social reforms. The report cites Tunisia’s “relative stability and commitment to international institutions” as the factors keeping it on par in terms of national power with relatively larger and more resource rich neighbors Algeria and Libya.

Among other North African states, Egypt was identified as a “subregional power” – a slightly higher rating than its neighbors – due to the “material capacities” and “hard power” that Egypt possesses in the form of its military and control of the Suez Canal. Mauritania was identified as a “minor peripheral” power – a lower ranking than its “larger and more powerful neighbors” – due to the limited ability to exploit available resources.


Tunisia has continued to wield its relatively limited power on the international stage as the government continues to avoid the implementation of International Monetary Fund (IMF)-dictated economic reforms.

As Tunisia delays implementation, the irregular migration crisis has grown, rapidly increasing the interest among European countries of providing bailout funds to Tunisia with fewer or no requirements for economic reform. Italy has become the loudest voice calling for such a bailout as both domestic and international pressure grows on Italy to address the entrance of migrants into the European Union via Italy’s coast.

While Tunisia’s political upheaval has drawn criticism, it has yet to threaten other key security partnerships, including the US, which has limited some forms of aid, but continues to be a major benefactor of Tunisia’s armed forces. The US and others continue to view Tunisia as a strategic beachhead partnership to combat terrorism across North Africa and the Sahel, and also to balance strategic competition in Africa more broadly as both Russia and China make inroads in neighboring countries.


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