The penetration rates in Tunisia for mobile and internet services are among the highest on the continent’s, while regulatory measures and improved international bandwidth capacity has also meant that consumers benefit from relatively low prices. The mobile sector has experienced exceptional growth since the introduction of a second GSM network in 2002. The Instance Nationale des Telecommunications (INT) is the regulating agency for the telecoms market.
Tunisia’s diverse, market-oriented economy has long been cited as a success story in Africa and the Middle East, but it faces an array of challenges following the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. Following an ill-fated experiment with socialist economic policies in the 1960s, Tunisia embarked on a successful strategy focused on bolstering exports, foreign investment, and tourism, all of which have become central to the country’s economy. Key exports now include textiles and apparel, food products, petroleum products, chemicals, and phosphates, with about 80% of exports bound for Tunisia’s main economic partner, the EU.
Since late 2014, Tunisia’s government has faced challenges reassuring businesses and investors, bringing budget and current account deficits under control, shoring up the country’s financial system, lowering high unemployment, and reducing economic disparities between the more developed coastal region and the impoverished interior. In 2015, successive terrorist attacks against the tourism sector and worker strikes in the phosphate sector, which combined account for nearly 15% of GDP, slowed growth to less than 1% of GDP.