Tunisia Country Profile

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Business Corruption in Tunisia

Tunisia FlagThe political turmoil that Tunisia has witnessed with the Arab Spring has engendered setbacks for businesses and investors in the country. These include security issues, recurrent demonstrations and an increase in administrative fees due to a shrinking economy. Nevertheless, the Revolution has also brought a renewed focus on the issue of corruption, which was a decisive factor behind the protests that brought about the fall of the Ben Ali regime.

The interim government has addressed the high-levels of corruption in the country through several initiatives by, for instance, setting up a national anti-corruption commission in 2011 responsible for looking into corruption committed by the old government and advising on concrete measures to combat corruption. The government also presented a national anti-corruption strategy which provides for the establishment of a national system of integrity and boosting the participation of civil society in policy making. Furthermore, the government has launched an anti-corruption portal, Portail National pour La Lutte Anti-Corruption (in French). The portal is the result of a strategic partnership established between government, civil society and the United Nations development programme in Tunisia to promote integrity in the country.

Despite these positive changes, Tunisia still faces challenges that impede the fight against corruption. For instance, the government has not implemented rules governing public official declaration of assets, conflicts of interest and codes of conduct. Furthermore there is no legal provision to protect whistleblowers in the public sector. Weakly enforced legislation exists in the private sector, and, as a result, many whistleblowers, anti-corruption activists and investigators do not feel safe to report cases of corruption and bribery.

Companies should also be aware that the current rules governing transparency of tender procedures have so far failed to provide sufficient barriers against corruption in relation to public procurement. Therefore companies are recommended to use a specialised Public Procurement Due Diligence Tool to mitigate corruption risks involving procurement in Tunisia.

January 2014
GAN Integrity Solutions