Tunisia: Progress through Moderation; Economic and Social Equality Go Hand-in-Hand in Tunisia's Goods and Services-Oriented Economy

By McMahon, Janet | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 31, 1999 | Go to article overview

Tunisia: Progress through Moderation; Economic and Social Equality Go Hand-in-Hand in Tunisia's Goods and Services-Oriented Economy


McMahon, Janet, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


TUNISIA: Progress Through Moderation; Economic and Social Equality Go Hand-in-Hand in Tunisia's Goods and Services-Oriented Economy

It may take the first-time visitor to Tunisia's capital a few days to notice what the city lacks -- a multitude of Mercedes, for one thing. For another, the presence of homeless people so common now to American cities. When one begins to look more closely at the character of Tunis one senses a pervasive egalitarianism among its citizens that extends to their possessions and, even more importantly, to their relationships and transactions as well.

Asked to explain this apparent lack of extremes of wealth and poverty, Mohammad Ghannouchi, Tunisia's minister of international cooperation and foreign investment, cites his country's belief that "economic progress should go hand-in-hand with social progress." The state, he elaborates, "has a double responsibility -- to create a favorable environment for development of business, through deregulation, etc., while ensuring the distribution of benefits to the maximum number of its citizens."

The minister describes the results of this policy as "so far, so good." Some 60 percent of Tunisians are middle class. Poverty afflicts about 6 percent of Tunisians, who receive government assistance and whose number is declining.

Nor are Tunisia's citizens the only members of society exercising restraint. Noting the modesty of the building which houses his ministry, Ghannouchi stressed the importance of the government mobilizing and utilizing resources intelligently. "Our resources are limited," he explained, "and the state must set the example of how to use them."

With an eye to achieving reform without sacrificing stability, the government of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali imposes yearly price increases on consumer products. "The population trusts that the policy is in their interests," Minister Ghannouchi said, "because they see daily results -- in increased purchasing power and improved transportation and education."

Tunisia's dealings with international lending institutions reflect its priorities as well. Its first World Bank-funded project, in 1960, was for education -- as was its 100th project two years ago. The now 120 Tunisian projects funded by the World Bank have been "the result of dialogue and in the context of our priorities," Ghannouchi noted, and have addressed such needs as education, forestation, water movement and environmental protection.

The International Monetary Fund sends a yearly delegation to prepare a report on Tunisia's economy. Since the country achieved independence in 1956, however, Tunisia has never had to reschedule its debt and IMF intervention has not been necessary. Nor is this solely out of concern for its current citizens. Noting that Tunisia has succeeded in maintaining its debt service at less than 17 percent of its gross national product, Minister Ghannouchi maintains that "the debt must remain tolerable in order to ensure its equitable redistribution among generations."

Since 1990, the minister stated, "Tunisia has called on the North to rethink cooperation and move on from the logic of aid and assistance to one of partnership and mutual interests." The establishment of mutually beneficial and profitable relations, he believes, would not only benefit Tunisia but would create the conditions for peace, since stability and cooperation are linked.

Toward this end, Tunisia has become one of the first countries to sign a cooperation agreement with the European Union. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Tunisia: Progress through Moderation; Economic and Social Equality Go Hand-in-Hand in Tunisia's Goods and Services-Oriented Economy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.