Book Chapter
Tunisia's Development Experience

A Success Story?

Tunisia’s recent growth and development performance relative to countries in its region, and relative to countries at similar levels of development in other parts of the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, have been notable.

An analysis of Tunisia’s path to development reveals that the country’s development strategy relied primarily on diversifying its production and trade and enhancing its human capital with emphasis on women’s empowerment. Family planning programmes that have caused fertility to decline significantly are a hallmark of Tunisia’s development strategy.

This paper reviews Tunisia’s experience, identifies the major challenges and threats to the viability of its development strategy, and pinpoints lessons for other countries.


'This valuable collection of studies is full of new insights. It confirms that a deep understanding of economic history really matters for policy makers in developing countries.' - Nicholas Crafts, Professor of Economic History, Warwick University

'Comparative analysis of development successes based on country case studies is a useful complement to statistical cross-country regressions. While they have no claim at establishing causality, they give us a richness of detail that reliably suggests policy approaches to success. The 21 case studies from all five continents presented in this book show that success can be achieved, that there are many ways of engineering success, but that good governance and market forces play key complementary roles. While we have a good understanding of how markets work, knowing how to make developing country governments assume developmental functions is one of the greatest challenges to the development profession. This book makes an important contribution in that direction that will be of great assistance to both scholars and policy makers.' - Elisabeth Sadoulet, Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of California at Berkeley

'Nations are not destined to fail, however most fail to be successful. The case studies in this book provide both aspiration and insights on how to guide a nation away from failure towards success. This book will become an essential reading for scholars and for policy makers in developing countries, international development community, and in developed countries as well.' - Justin Yifu Lin, Professor and Honorary Dean, National School of Development, Peking University and Former Chief Economist, World Bank