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Economic Brief - Political Transitions and New Socioeconomic Bargains in North Africa
High unemployment, inequality, and anger at corruption fueled the popular revolts that brought down the authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Despite a GDP growth rate in Tunisia of 4.6 in 2008 and 3.0 in 2009, unemployment was alarmingly high. Youth unemployment was estimated at around 30% during those years with a national average of 14%. Regional disparities in employment and poverty within Tunisia were distressingly high. The revolution began in the impoverished interior of the country. Meanwhile, prior to regime breakdown Egypt suffered from high unemployment, extensive poverty and corruption, high inequality and inflation. At least 16% of the population lived below the poverty line, official unemployment rates averaged around 9% in the last 30 years, with a spike to 22.5% in 1995 and an average of 11% in 2010.