Tunisian economic future uncertain
After 23 year rule, ousted Tunisia's President Ben Ali and his relatives had managed to take control over large parts of the local economy. Beyond the political implications of his departure, there is great uncertainty over the future of the various businesses, often allied with foreign companies.
Entire sections of the Tunisian economy belong to the family of former President Ben Ali and that of his wife Leila Trabelsi. The two families' interests extend to various sectors, including banks - Banque de Tunisie, Banque Zitouna Attijari Bank and Arab International Bank of Tunisia.
In addition, in late 2010 one of the sons of Ben Ali announced the establishment of a new investment together with the Italian bank Mediobanca; Car dealerships – the ruling family owned Ennaki company which included the dealerships of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Seat and Kia and Mercedes; Air transport - Karthago Airlines; Advertising - Havas Tunisia , Bien Vu; Real estate development; Tourism with many hotels; Food processing - SOTUBI, Societe Tunisienne de chocolate, Tunisian juice packing; Telecommunications - Orange Tunisia SOTETEL; Media - Radio Mosaic, Carthage TV, FM Zaytuna' Newspapers – Assabah; Supermarkets - Monoprix, Geant.
In fact, sources believe that half of the businesses in Tunisia are controlled or related to these two families.
In this context, considerable uncertainty now surrounds the future of all these companies and more broadly on the Tunisian economy. Tackling the issue in an urgent way, the Central Bank of Tunisia has announced the appointment of a new administrator to head the Zaytuna Bank, established in January 2009 by Sakhr El Materi, one of Ben Ali's sons, who has left the country.
Meanwhile, the Tunisian Interior Minister Ahmed Friea stated that the popular uprising that led to the overthrow of Ben Ali and the subsequent acts of violence caused a loss of TD3 billion (1.6 billion euros) for the Tunisian economy. Cited by www.nuqudy.com, Friea conveyed that the popular uprising, which lasted nearly one month led to the loss of TD2 billion dinars due to the closure of local businesses in addition to TD1 billion due to the suspension of exports.
This amount represents 4% of GDP, which rose during 2010 to 39.6 billion euros.