Tunisia economic growth picks up in first quarter

Tourism is picking up

TUNIS - Tunisia's embattled economy picked up in the first quarter of 2017, and there was a slight fall in unemployment, according to data published Monday by the National Statistics Institute (INS).
Economic growth in the first quarter stood at 2.1 percent, slightly above the one percent mark registered in 2016, as GDP grew by 0.9 percent, the INS report said.
An up-tick in tourism revenues, agriculture and mining activity, namely phosphates, were among the sectors that contributed to growth.
At the same time unemployment dropped slightly to 15.3 percent, compared with 15.5 percent in the previous quarter.
While Tunisia is hailed as a success story of the Arab Spring uprisings, authorities have failed to redress the economy since the 2011 revolution.
A series of attacks targeting tourism, one of the pillars of the economy, killed 59 foreign tourists in 2015 and saw revenues plummeting.
The Islamic State jihadist group claimed an attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March 2015 and on a coastal resort near Sousse in June the same year.
Last week, President Beji Caid Essebsi said the army will protect Tunisia's main economic assets from being disrupted by protests over social and labour issues.