The Teranga Lions and the Carthage Eagles clash Sunday, July 14, 2019 in Egypt. The winner will play the final of the Africa Cup of Nations. Beyond the sports issues, we were interested in the economic aspects of the duel Senegal -Tunisie. The West African country had a GDP of 16.37 billion dollars in 2017, far behind its rival of the day, accredited a sum of added value of 40, 26 billion dollars the same year.
Thus, Tunisia with 8 million inhabitants has a saving of almost three times greater than that of Senegal, twice more populated. The Carthagenians have a per capita GDP of $ 3,490 against $ 1,033 for the old “Sanhaja”. Where does this gap between the two countries, both tourist, with phopsphates and well-trained human resources come from? Is it because of the different paths taken by the two countries in the aftermath of independence?
Bourguiba’s Tunisia has valued its rock and developed a program based on the training of human resources, the liberation of women from socio-cultural yoke and the promotion of a business environment based on the research of FDI on the one hand and the development of local industrialists on the other hand. On the other hand, Senegal remained secular while preserving its socio-cultural constancy, followed closely the prescriptions of the World Bank, liberalizing its economy and privatizing phosphates (ICS) and important public companies.
It must be said that Tunisia presents great national champions (in the Poulina Group case), and has managed to enter the value chains of globalization through subcontracting in the aerospace and automotive industries. Admittedly, since the revolution, the country of Jasmine records growth at half-mast, accumulating deficits and revealing, behind the window of a country well ranked in terms of business environment, huge social disparities.
Meanwhile, Senegal has been growing at a steady pace since 2014 without creating enough jobs and lifting people out of poverty. Senegal is ranked 162nd out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) produced annually by UNDP. This barometer measuring social progress based on GDP per capita, life expectancy at birth and the level of education of children aged 17 years ranks Tunisia at the 95th rank in the world. Normal for a nation that had a poverty rate of 15.5% before the revolution against 44% for Senegal in 2014. The unemployment rate was 15.7% in 2017 in the country of Senghor against 15.5% in Tunisia . At least, on this parameter, the two countries come together and must find ways to give a future to a youth in turmoil.
Will the huge oil and gas discoveries off Senegal help rebalance the debate between the two countries? It can be underestimated, all the more so since Tunisia, which has remained too European in its exports and imports (Italy, France and Germany being the three main partners), seems to be losing ground compared to Senegal open to China and Turkey (although France remains there as mistress of the game).
The country of Macky Sall benefits moreover the effects of levers of large groups (UEMOA and ECOWAS) to find outlets for his companies where Tunisia is deprived of air by a fake Maghreb and an Arab league more diplomatic than economic . The immediate future is between the feet of the teammates of Sadio Mané and Wahbi Kazri who know it better whoever: the football and the economy do not, although Michel Platini had to declare the opposite on the eve of the memorable France- Senegal of 2002, good housekeeping. The two planets rarely meet.
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