Tunisia - Economic development
The plan for 1973–76 proposed increasing investments by 75% over the previous ten-year plan. An annual growth rate of 6.6% was targeted for the period. Fully 75% of the plan's investments were to be financed with international aid. Manufacturing industries received the largest single allocation of total investment under the 1977–81 plan. Once again, the burden of financing the program fell on external sources, with Arab funds accounting for 30% of the anticipated foreign capital. Actual growth came close to the target of 7.5% a year in real terms. The development plan for 1982–86 set forth three main goals: employment growth, regional development, and balance of payments equilibrium. Some 33% of the total expenditure was to be invested in labor-intensive industries. Performance fell far short of the goal of 6% a year in real growth.
The inauguration of the 1987–94 development plan followed the foreign exchange crisis of 1986, and the adoption of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) sponsored economic rehabilitation scheme. Services were to receive 39%, agriculture 19%, and manufacturing 16%. This plan was successfully completed, winning the country accolades from investment institutions. The 1994–96 development plan was based on strong expansion in the manufacturing industry (8.7%) and tourism (22%). The plan called for further cuts in consumer subsidies and the privatization of many state assets. The economic development plan of 1997–2001 called for investment in telecommunications infrastructure, continued privatization of industry, and lowering of trade barriers.
The 10th economic development plan of 2002–06 aimed at improving the competitiveness of the economy; increasing the private sector's share in investment; setting up a knowledge economy; and securing sustainable economic and social development and a creation of new jobs while maintaining global balances. Targets set for economic development included: an average economic growth of 5.7% a year; an increase in private sector investment to 60% (the total investment rate would be brought to 26.6% by 2006); and the consolidation of the national savings rate to reach 26% of GNP by 2006, allowing for the financing of 91% of projected investment.
The government had totally or partially privatized approximately 140 state-owned businesses by 2002. Economic growth averaged 5.5% a year from 1996–2001. Unemployment remained high in 2002, however, at around 15%. The country's economic success in the early 2000s was seen to have social impact.