Key economic indicators of Tunisia - statistics & facts
Tunisia is a relatively small economy in North Africa characterized by a large service sector, a shrinking industrial segment, and growing agricultural production. The GDP of Tunisia was estimated at 45.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, the lowest value among the North African countries. In 2022 and 2021, the GDP recorded an annual growth rate of around three percent. The economy was slowly recovering from the sharp contraction caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in 2020.
Strong service orientation
Services represent Tunisia’s main economic sector, accounting for almost 60 percent of the GDP and attracting nearly 53 percent of the working population. Specifically, the workforce is mostly employed in education, health care, administration, trade, real estate, and business services, which are the pillars of the country’s tertiary sector. Within the service sector, tourism is an important economic contributor in Tunisia, constituting 10 percent of the GDP in 2022. The well-known country’s seaside resorts and the impressive landscapes of the Sahara Desert attract millions of national and international tourists every year. After the strong impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international tourism receipts in 2020, the Tunisian tourism industry gradually recovered in the following years.
Shrinking industrial sector
Contrary to several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Tunisia is not particularly rich in oil and gas. The country’s industrial sector has gradually shrunk in recent years, with its GDP contribution declining from around 30 percent in 2010 to 22 percent in 2020. Although some industries are growing, only a few sectors, such as textiles and mining, had a positive trade balance in 2021. Phosphates, petroleum, zinc, and iron ore are among the country’s most abundant natural resources, which are exploited in industrial production and lead to significant export value.
The potential of agriculture
Agriculture represents around 10 percent of Tunisia’s GDP and 14 percent of the total employment. With an agricultural land area of 9.7 million hectares, the country mainly produces cereals, tomatoes, potatoes, and citrus fruits, and ranks among the world’s leading producers of olive oil and dates. Moreover, Tunisia’s fishery and aquaculture production was worth around 1.38 billion Tunisian dinars (roughly 510 million U.S. dollars) in 2019. Further development of the agriculture and fishery sector could allow to create new jobs and tackle unemployment, which is particularly widespread among youth and women. Moreover, a growing agricultural output could increase the levels of food security and reduce reliance on food imports.
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