Tunisia's economy is based around agriculture (main products are wheat, barley, olive oil, wine and fruit), mining (phosphates, iron, lead, aluminium fluoride and zinc), tourism, and manufacturing (chemicals, textiles, machinery, paper and wood). After the revolution which ousted President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in early 2011, Tunisia's economy headed into a tailspin and GDP growth in 2011 was -1.8%.
Historically the government has exerted strong control over the economy and the newly elected government's largest challenge is to stabilise the economy, reduce the disparity between the wealthy coastal areas and poverty stricken interior region, and encourage investment into the country. Tunisia also has a large unemployment problem (19% in 2011) especially among the young. Inflation was 3.5% in 2011.
Tunisia's most important trade links are with the EU whose members (principally France, Germany and Italy) account for three-quarters of all the country's trade