2009 Economic Outlook: North Africa Staring at a Tough Year
By Arezki Daoud: Despite statements that their economies are in good shape and built to withstand the ongoing global economic meltdown, North African politicians must be aware that the outlook looks shaky at best. Various indications hint that the region should brace for a tough time this year, as each country in the region is facing a specific set of challenges.
In Tunisia, the government is likely to find it impossible to maintain the economic growth the country has been accustomed. As reported in this issue, already the fourth quarter of 2008 showed worrisome signs of an economy headed to a period of slowdown. When their customers up north are facing their own economic crisis with spending cutbacks, Tunisian businesses are likely to feel the pain in 2009. Decreasing exports and lower dinar value versus the US dollar in forex are two consequences of a weak European market. Domestically, unemployment will remain a critical issue, combined with a potentially depressed housing market, making the year 2009 a challenging one for the Tunisians. Continue here.