Tunisia’s external position has so far remained resilient following the successful conclusion of the painstaking transition period with foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows jumping 84% y/y to TND771mn ($398mn) in the first four months of the year, preliminary figures from the investment promotion agency showed.
Despite the prior-year low base, which is also fuelling growth, the reading implies rebounding investor sentiment and the government’s efforts to facilitate the business climate in the country.
Nearly TND582mn worth of FDI went into the real economy (up 48% y/y) and TND190mn were invested on the local bourse, up 629% y/y.
Another good news is that FDI into the energy sector climbed 12.8% y/y to TND330mn in January-April following a period of contraction thus remaining the main contributor to the total FDI into the real sector with a 57% share.
Foreign inflows into the manufacturing industries jumped 78% y/y to TND149mn, mainly due to a low prior-year base and rising GCC inflows. The services sector lured TND101mn of FDI over the period, marking a 449% annual expansion also due to a low prior-year base.
FDI into Tunisia brings real value-added to the economy and helps boost employment. The government is eagerly seeking to create new jobs for the rapidly expanding young population with high education.
Tunisia’s unemployment rate stood at 15.0% in the fourth quarter of 2014, ticking down from 15.1% in Q3 and 15.3% at end-2013, according to the latest official data. Yet, the jobless rate among people with higher education reached 30.4% at end-2014.
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