‘New Libya’ could be Good News for Tunisian Economy and Jobs, Says AfDB Report

30/04/2012
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Post-Gadaffi Libya could generate significant economic and social benefits for Tunisia and its other neighbors, according to a new report from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The report, in the AfDB’s latest North Africa Quarterly Analytical, is entitled: “New Libya, New Neighborhood: What Opportunities for Tunisia?

The Libyan crisis had adverse effects on Tunisia, according to an earlier report by the Bank. However, the continued presence of Libyan nationals in Tunisia, who sought refuge across the border during the troubles, and high demand for Tunisian products have sent positive signals and contributed to the Tunisian economy.

Also, Libya offers job opportunities to Tunisian workers.  Some Tunisians returned home during the period of civil strife.

However, a number of obstacles to trade, investment and labour mobility could continue, at least for the short term.

Those obstacles include residence and work permits for Tunisians in Libya, business creation and transfer guarantee problems, the widespread presence of contraband goods and the development of a black market.

The aim of the AfDB paper is to identify opportunities for greater integration and to propose a number of policy options and measures that might enable Tunisia to play a central role in Libya and to benefit from its reconstruction.

Various measures are needed.  The first is more assistance to the banking sector, including the harmonization of payment procedures to support trade and investment between the two neighboring countries. Also, an immigration support strategy is necessary to identify the Libyan labour market needs and to manage the migratory flows.

The transport links between the two countries need improving to boost trade flows and labour mobility.

Also, regional integration could receive a boost if a Tunisian-Libyan economic community began to evolve from the new relationship between the two post-revolution countries.