[09/03/07] News Bytes From Tunisia

A round-up of some of the interesting news coming out of Tunisia these days…

The 2007 Davos World Economic Forum Report ranks Tunisia first in Africa, second in the Arab World after Dubai, and 34th in the world in terms of tourist and travel competitiveness. The report is based on three main criteria: business environment, human and natural resources and the quality of political reforms undertaken.

According to figures released February 23rd by the National Office for the Family and Population, the percentage of Tunisians over the age of 60 reached 9% last year, and it is expected to reach nearly 29% by 2050. The percentage of people over 80 will reach 40% by 2050. At no more than 1.8%, the population growth rate in Tunisia is considered the lowest in the Arab world and is comparable with that found in European countries.
These figures will have an important impact on ensuring the necessary workforce during the next decade, as well as on the social security funds and retirement systems. The three solutions suggested up to now are: reducing pensions, raising fund entry prices and extending the retirement age to 65 instead of 60.

Tunisia’s key olive oil exports jumped by 53 per cent to 167,700 tonnes last year. The value of Tunisia’s olive oil exports surged to 828.9 million dinars ($643 million) last year from 476.7 million in 2005 as a drop in output from top producer Spain underpinned prices. Tunisia’s domestic olive crop grew to 220,000 tonnes from 130,000 tonnes in 2005, and a crop of 170,000 tonnes is expected this year.

A book recently released retraces the history of Tunisian cinema over the past forty years.

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