Regardless of some of the big challenges faced by Tunisia, government and business leaders are still dedicated to innovating trade and trying to advance the interests of the national economy.
For instance, a recent news report from African Manager shows a group of Tunisian business people will be exploring trade relationships with Côte d'Ivoire in the middle of this month. Involved trade groups include the National Federation of Wood and Furniture (FNBA-UTICA), the Wood and Furniture Industry Technical Centre (CETIBA), the Tunisian Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX), and the Tunisian embassy.
These business efforts operate against a mixed financial backdrop -- for instance, near the beginning of this year, Forbes put together a comprehensive report on Tunisia as part of Forbes’ “Best Countries for Business” ratings. Forbes noted GDP growth of 0.8 percent, a significant trade deficit, and unemployment of around 15 percent in a country of 11 million people.
“In 2015, successive terrorist attacks against the tourism sector and worker strikes in the phosphate sector, which combined account for nearly 15 percent of GDP, slowed growth to less than 1 percent of GDP,” Forbes analysts wrote.
New international business efforts might help Tunisia roll back its deficit and drive growth. In addition, technology offers another lifeline to nations that are trying to get their economies on track in a new digital age.
“There are definitely a lot of opportunities in technology,” Vibhanshu Abhishek told Maghreb News Wire on Oct. 10. Abhishek is an assistant professor of information systems and economics at the Heinz College of Carnegie Mellon University.
Citing progress made in “tech-driven” countries like China, India and the U.S., Abhishek said looking at the growth of companies like Amazon, Uber, Google and Facebook shows how tech companies can make up a large part of a country's GDP and contribute significantly to the economies. Tunisia, he said, could jump on the bandwagon.
“Technology as a means of economic growth is something we're seeing across many geographies,” Abhishek said.
Of the recent trade trip undertaken by the Tunisians, Abhishek said even in a highly technical age, it's still important to have human contact and work according to some of the traditional channels that have fostered international trade relationships for centuries.
“These are still important pieces of the puzzle,” Abhishek said, citing the need to really dig in and understand customs regulations and other parts of national cultures in order to promote closer trade relationships and mutually grow economies.