For the IMF, the Tunisian economy needs reforms

Tunisia, Sidi Bouzid, December 2020: queue to buy domestic gas cylinders.


Text by: RFI Follow

2 mins

Tunisia is facing its biggest recession since 1956. With an unemployment rate that exceeds 18% and a public debt of nearly 100% of GDP at the end of 2021, it is a bad student.

At the end of the mission, the IMF representative in Tunisia, Jérôme Vacher, considered that Tunisia must carry out “ 

very deep reforms



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Priority point for Jérôme Vacher: reforming the civil service, which represents 650,000 civil servants who absorb more than half of the State's annual expenditure.

Samir Aïta, president of the Circle of Arab Economists and professor of economics, wonders how to initiate such a reform.

 The state payroll has become very, very large, but how can this be solved?

Are we going to lay off all these people?

It's a bit complicated… In addition, the problem of unemployment.

Therefore, a program that consists in taking, in the first place, the reduction of state employees, will generate quite serious problems.

An austerity program in Tunisia, just after the Covid, would be catastrophic.

You have to think of stages, before gradually managing to reduce the public service 

, ”he underlines.

At the head of the Arab Spring, Tunisia has received little financial support, deplores the economist who calls for indulgence in this Covid context.

For him, the key would be to have an appropriate recovery plan.


We need a recovery program but the question is what to do with the recovery program.

Some experts speak of an "information technology" plan


This is where Tunisia has major assets, on its internal scene, including modernizing the administration etc… and carrying out administrative reform.

There is also essential work to be done on the banking sector and how to revitalize it again.

And the third component is of course the public sector,

 ” adds Jérôme Vacher.

Read also: Tunisia in the spiral of over-indebtedness

If the economic gloom is present, Tunisia nevertheless has many advantages: growth of more than 3% and significant human and technological capital.


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  • Tunisia

  • Economy