The last report of the International Crisis Group (ICG) about Tunisia diagnosed corruption and clientelism as the main problems plaguing Tunisia’s “national unity” government. Titled “Blocked Transition: Corruption and Regionalism in Tunisia”, it called for a more inclusive formal economy for business newcomers and entrepreneurs. It also drew attention to the fringe group of business leaders operating in the informal sector, and cited this group’s involvement in backing the protests occurring in the south of the country. That idea inspired a backlash of criticism concerning ICG’s framing of the conflict as an intra-elite struggle. Nawaat had a meeting with Michael Béchir Ayari, senior analyst for ICG Tunisia. Interview.
Tunisia’s smuggling dilemma
Informal trade has had a disastrous impact on the economy: inadequate production-consumption cycle, lack of goods such as foodstuffs and medicine, local farmers and traders threatened by parallel trade, sharp increase in prices, etc.
Ben Guerdane: Protests Against the Death of a Merchant by the National Guard
On April 16, Ben Guerdane was the scene of demonstrations following the murder of Mokhtar Zaghdoud by an agent of the National Guard in the isolated zone between the Tunisian-Libyan borders. Protestors expressed their anger in response to a number of similar incidents; since December 2012, twenty-five inhabitants from the region have been killed in such circumstances. Two of these deaths occurred in April.