Tunisia Urbanization Review:
The Tunisia Urbanization Review: Reclaiming the Glory of Carthage argues that Tunisia has significant regional disparities, with much of the country’s wealth and industry concentrated near the coastal cities.
Many policymakers in Tunisia, in considering options for developing their cities, worry that Tunis is too big; but the evidence suggests otherwise. Tunisia has hitched its wagon to the global economy, with exports of goods and services making up more than 50% of national GDP. The manufactured products that Tunisia exports exploit the natural advantage offered by favorable coastal access on the Mediterranean, just as Carthage did many centuries ago. In fact, 92% of all industrial firms in Tunisia are within an hour’s drive from the cities of Tunis, Sfax, and Sousse, an area that is also where 56% of all Tunisians live.
Rather than focusing whether the capital Tunis is too big, the report suggests that policymakers should start by treating their cities as a portfolio of assets, each differentiated by characteristics that include the size, location, and density of settlement. Recommendations also include public policies to promote growth in previously underserved cities, helping spread prosperity more evenly.