Tunisia: Thousands protest about economic blues

economy protest Tunisia

As living standards rapidly deteriorate for Tunisia’s citizens, thousands protest against President Saied’s government, according to AFP.

On 2nd March, thousands of protesters called out the state’s inability to provide and care for its people under Saied’s rule, outside the Prime Minister’s office in Tunis.

The protest was sparked by critiques of Saied’s authoritarian rule from Tunisia’s main trade union confederation.

Union leader, Noureddine Taboubi fuelled the rally by voicing that Tunisia’s “economic and social situation continues to worsen.” Taboubi shamed Saied’s regime for paying off 2023’s international debts as the consequences fell to the “detriment of the people” as “shortages of basic products,” plagued the country.

Reuters reported that although Tunisia paid all of its foreign debts for 2023, experts and economists predict that 2024 will be particularly harrowing for its citizens as Tunisia will owe up to $4 billion in international debt.

At the end of January 2024, Saied requested billions of dollars from the Central Bank of Tunisia to aid the country’s economic crisis, and has since compromised the independence of the Central Bank.

Tunisia’s unemployment ratio climbed to 16.4% in 2023 from 15.2% in 2022. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified that Tunisia has “one of the highest unemployment rates within the Middle East and Central Asia.”

Due to relentless droughts and the mismanagement of government subsidies, Tunisian’s have experienced dramatic food shortages in recent years.

READ: Tunisia: Helpless farmers highlight the impact of droughts

In 2022, Tunisia made arrangements to borrow $2 billion from the IMF in attempt to ease the country out of its economic crisis. However, a spanner was thrown into the works after Saied rejected the requested reforms from the IMF.

Tunisia’s presidential elections are expected to go ahead in November 2024 but President Saied’s intentions to run for a second term remain unclear.

Between Tunisia’s ongoing migrant crisis, floundering economy, new trade deals, and the imprisonment of objectors to the Saied regime, President Saied may not have the time to gather an election campaign.



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