Can Tunisia Shake Off “Business as Usual” Following Covid-19?
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The consequences of Covid-19 on Tunisia’s already fragile economy are bound to exacerbate existing social tensions. The government has rolled out a series of socio-economic measures to support individual entrepreneurs and businesses to maintain jobs and incomes across all sectors. This paper argues that the government’s support to the private sector represents a golden opportunity to rectify longstanding problems in state-business relations and institute a culture of corporate accountability. But to do so, the government should place the Covid-19 response within a broader effort to address the persistent and systemic challenges the country faces from corruption to rent-seeking to vulnerable workers’ conditions. Almost a decade after Tunisia’s revolution, rampant inequalities and corruption continue to plague the country as it struggles to implement needed socio-economic measures to respond to aspirations for more social justice. This has caused disenchantment with the new political elite and a rise of populism that risks endangering the democratic gains achieved so far.