Tunisia’s economy could shrink by as much as 7 percent: Official

Tunisians, some wearing face masks, due to coronavirus pandemic queue up to enter a bank branch in the center of the Tunisian capital Tunis on May 4, 2020. (AFP)

Tunisia’s economy could shrink by up to 7 percent this year because of the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the investment minister said on Wednesday.

The government ended all restrictions on movement and businesses this month and will open its sea, land and air borders on June 27. However, the pandemic is hammering the tourism sector, which contributes nearly 10 percent of gross domestic product and is a key source of foreign currency.

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The number of unemployed people in Tunisia will increase by 275,000, according to a government study in partnership with the United Nations, investment minister Slim Azzabi said.

This would raise the unemployment rate to 21.1 percent in 2020, up from about 15 percent at the start of the year.

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The study expects the economy to shrink by 4.4 percent, but Azzabi said the figure could rise as high as 6 percent or 7 percent.

Tourism revenue in the first five months of this year fell by about 50% from the same period of 2019 as western tourists deserted Tunisia’s hotels and resorts.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 17 June 2020 KSA 22:20 - GMT 19:20
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