Tunisian economy to grow 1-2 per cent in 2011

Reuters, Saturday 30 Apr 2011

Weaker foreign investment and low tourism revenues are causing strain, says central bank governor of Tunisia

Tunisia's economy will grow by only 1-2 per cent this year because of continuing uncertainty, the central bank governor said in remarks published on Friday.

Mass protests toppled the former president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in January and Central Bank Governor Mustapha Kamel Nabli repeated his view that weak growth could threaten the transition to democracy.

"The fundamental problem is in the situation of uncertainty and lack of confidence prevailing in the country," the official TAP news agency quoted Nabli as saying. "This leads to a wait-and-see attitude on the part of companies and also consumers who keep their savings."

He said Tunisia's economy needs to grow 7 per cent a year on average to create enough jobs.

Weaker foreign investment and lower revenues from tourism were both straining the Tunisian economy, Nabli said.

The Tunisian economy has also been hit by lower remittances, he said. Tunisians abroad sent home 530 million dinars (US$393 million) in the first quarter of 2011, down 12 per cent from the same period last year.

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