Tunisia to Miss Growth Target for First Half 2019, Adviser Says

(Bloomberg) -- Tunisia won’t meet its economic growth target for the first half of 2019, an adviser to the prime minister said, as expansion for the opening three months hit its lowest rate in at least two years.

The economy grew 1.1% between January and March, compared with 2.7% in the same period the year before, the North African nation’s statistics bureau said Wednesday. Lutfi Ben Sassi, an economic adviser to Tunisia’s government, told local broadcaster Express FM that the slower rate was due to declines in tourism and industrial production and other factors.

The lone country to emerge from the 2011 Arab revolts with a strengthened democracy, Tunisia has struggled to deliver major gains in its economy. While installments of a $2.9 billion International Monetary Fund loan have brought some relief, they depend on the government making politically sensitive spending cuts in a country where inflation is already about 7% and nearly a third of youth are unemployed.

Tunisia’s economy grew an estimated 2.5% in 2018, and the government was targeting 3.1% this year.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.