Tunisia’s external position has remained resilient in 2015 despite the low prior-year base following the successful conclusion of the painstaking transition period with foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows rising 20% y/y to TND2.375bn ($1.23bn), preliminary figures from the investment promotion agency showed.
The reading, which implies rebounding investor sentiment and the government’s efforts to facilitate the business climate in the country, came despite last year’s terrorist attacks that blew up the already embattled tourism sector. FDI inflow into the value-added services sector fell 6.8% y/y to TND422mn (18% of the total) in 2015.
Nearly TND1.973bn worth of FDI went into the real economy (up 9.2% y/y) and TND401mn were invested on the local bourse, up 150% y/y due mainly to low base effects.
Foreign inflows into the manufacturing industries jumped 15% y/y to TND522mn in 2015, mainly originating from the GCC states and France. 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.
FDI into the energy sector climbed 14% y/y to TND1.02bn, accounting for 43% of the total inflows last year.
Tunisia’s jobless rate ended last year on a false note, rising to 15.4% in Q4 from 15.3% the previous quarter amid job cuts in the value-added tourism sector and manufacturing.
The official jobless rate in Tunisia remains the highest in North Africa, undermining the government’s efforts to spur job creation, mainly among the young population with high education. The jobless rate among people with higher education slightly edged down to 31.2% in Q4 from 32% in Q3 2015.
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