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After the Arab Spring: Taking stock of economies in transition

Tunisia has undergone the smoothest post-2011 political transition of all three states. An interim government, elected last autumn, is expected to finish drafting a new constitution by October, while full legislative elections are scheduled for spring 2013. With a strong civil society, a relatively homogenous and small population of 10 million and no recent history of conflict, the country has avoided any serious violence since forcing out president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January last year.

That relative success appears to have reaped some rewards – or at least helped in the avoidance of the type of losses inflicted on Egypt. According to figures from Tunisia’s Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA), FDI inflows were $690 million in the first half of 2012.

"No large foreign investor left the country, and 70% of the FDI announced in 2010 was actually implemented in 2011, despite the situation," says Nourredine Zekri, who was put in charge of FIPA shortly after Ben Ali’s departure.

Tunisia successfully sold a seven-year $485 million sovereign bond in July, its first tapping of international capital markets since 2007, and one that was fully guaranteed by the US government. The new government, led by the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, has also received both Gulf and European support.

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