The Tunisian Minister of Industry, Monsif Bin Abdullah, has recently stated that the country’s small and medium sized industry (SMI) controlled 86 percent of total exports in 1999. This constitutes a 10 percent rise compared to the previous year.
Over the past seven years, the value of exports from manufacturing industries has more than doubled, rising from a level of three billion dinars in 1992 to 6.2 billion dinars in 1999, for an average annual growth of 11 percent. The proportion of exports from manufacturing industries of total Tunisian product exports has risen from 41 percent in 1981 to 89 percent in 1999.
A national action plan, to insure the efficient upgrading of Tunisian industrial facilities and administrative systems, received responses from 1,624 local factories. Talking to Al-Hayat daily, Bin Abdullah said that of these applications, 860 were approved and are to receive financial support totaling 1.6 billion Tunisian dinars ($1.2 billion), for the modernization of their industrial production, marketing and financial functions. The remaining applicants are likely to receive approvals later this year, the minister added.
According to API, the official Tunisian industrial promotion agency, the country’s industrial sector is comprised of 9,300 enterprises, 4,519 of which have 10 or more employees. 1,858 industrial enterprises are wholly exporting. Forty two percent of Tunisian industrial enterprises manufacture textiles and clothing, 14 percent are in the food processing business and eight percent produce building materials, ceramics and glass.
The textiles and clothing sector also represents the greatest share of industrial exports, accounting for 49 percent, followed by the chemical industries—representing 15 percent—and the electric and electronics Industries, which represent 13 percent of total industrial exports.
During the past three decades, manufacturing industries have been the most dynamic of the country's economic sectors, with their share of GDP evolving in real terms from six percent in the 60’s to close to 21 percent in 1999.
That year the production value of Tunisian manufacturing industries reached 18.4 billion dinars, compared with 9.3 billion dinars in 1992, increasing on average 10 percent per annum. Accordingly, investment in the country’s manufacturing industries has risen from 515 million dinars in 1992 to 880 million dinars in 1999. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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