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Economy

Tunisia’s economy shrank 3 percent in the first quarter of 2021 amid COVID-19 impact

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Tunisia’s gross domestic product shrank 3 percent in the first quarter of 2021 from a year ago, the State Statistics Institute said on Saturday, showing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country’s tourism industry.

Tourism accounts for about 8 percent of Tunisia’s GDP and is a major source of foreign currency. In the first quarter of 2020, Tunisia’s GDP had contracted 1.7 percent from the same period a year earlier.

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Tunisia, which has seen its debt burden rise and economy shrink by 8.8 percent last year in real terms, has started talks with the International Monetary Fund to seek a financial assistance package.

The State Statistics Institute said that unemployment rates are at 17.8 percent, amid an unprecedented economic crisis in the country, which led to a record fiscal deficit of more than 11 percent in 2020.

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Tunisia has asked for IMF finance program, letter seen by Reuters shows