On Sunday, the Tunisian economic portal, “African Manager,” released a statistical insight into Tunisia’s exports, including Libya.
The report highlighted a notable increase in exports to Libya and Algeria, and to a lesser extent, to Morocco. Specifically, exports to Libya witnessed a significant boost, marking an impressive +7% rise this year.
Interestingly, while Tunisian fruit exports to Libya have seen a decline – dropping from 38,285 tons in 2022 to 19,385 tons this year – the Libyan market alone still constitutes approximately 73.5% of Tunisia’s total fruit exports.
Libya and Tunisia have enjoyed a historically intertwined economic relationship. The fluctuating political and economic scenarios in both countries have shaped the dynamics of their trade relations over the years. By 2023, several factors influenced the bilateral trade, especially Tunisia’s exports to Libya.
Economic Recovery and Stability in Libya: Following years of internal conflict, Libya has been slowly finding its path to political and economic stability. This resurgence has driven demand for various commodities, making Tunisia a natural trading ally due to its proximity and existing ties.
Diversification of Tunisian Exports: In 2023, Tunisia continued its efforts to diversify its export portfolio. While traditionally focused on primary goods like fruits, there’s been a noticeable shift towards manufactured products, technological goods, and services, tapping into the diverse needs of the Libyan market.
Trade Agreements and Policies: Both countries have been working on streamlining customs procedures, and reducing trade barriers. This ease of doing business has further facilitated Tunisian entrepreneurs and exporters to enter the Libyan market.
Infrastructure Development: Enhanced logistics and transportation infrastructure, especially along the border areas, have bolstered trade activities. Improved road networks and border facilities have minimised transit time and costs for Tunisian exporters.
Challenges in the Agricultural Sector: While Tunisia’s fruit exports to Libya saw a decline in 2023, this could be attributed to various challenges faced by Tunisia’s agricultural sector. This includes climate issues, and water scarcity that affected crop yields.
Stronger Focus on Non-Oil Sectors in Libya: With Libya aiming to diversify its oil-dependent economy, there’s been a growing interest in sectors like construction, healthcare, IT, and education. Tunisian businesses, recognising this shift, have tapped into these emerging opportunities, exporting relevant products and services.