Tunisia secured a $745mn loan from the IMF on 10 April in its bid to tackle the massive economic challenges brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak. Among a slew of global downgrades (MEES, 17 April), the IMF forecasts Tunisia’s economy will shrink by 4.3% in 2020 in what would be the worst performance since independence in 1956.

As elsewhere, travel restrictions and social distancing have brought Tunisia to a standstill. Unemployment was already 15% before the crisis hit. It will get worse. With planes grounded, an inevitable downturn in the tourism sector (7% of GDP) threatens up to 400,000 jobs according to the central bank (MEES, 20 March). Key export industries such as textiles and auto-parts manufacturers are also struggling. (CONTINUED - 385 WORDS)