Case Study: Tunisia National Business Agenda and Regional Business Agendas

10.15.2019 | Case Studies

A national business agenda (NBA) is a vital tool for the business community to encourage investment and stimulate business activity and economic growth. Developing an agenda mobilizes the business community to use its skills to effect public policy reform by setting legislative and regulatory priorities and clearly communicating them to policymakers. CIPE actively participates in helping business organizations develop their own national business agendas. CIPE’s NBA Guidebook highlights several case studies that serve as representative examples of this work. During those NBA processes, CIPE experts equipped and empowered local organizations to mobilize stakeholders, lead working groups and roundtables, and engage in public-private dialogue. This case study serves as addendum to the NBA Guidebook.


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Since the revolution in 2011 that ousted then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime from power, many in the international community have watched closely as Tunisia works towards establishing a full-fledged democracy that delivers opportunity for all. If Tunisia is successful in this transition, it could demonstrate a framework for many other nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). To that end, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) sought to build the capacity of Tunisia’s private sector to lead an inclusive, bottom-up National Business Agenda (NBA) effort to serve as a model for issue-based policy advocacy and a democratic, citizen-centric approach to reform. Although economic hardship had been one of the major reasons for the 2011 revolution, delays in establishing a permanent government meant that key economic decisions were repeatedly deferred following the ouster of Ben Ali’s regime. Tunisians felt that long-term reforms needed to wait until permanently elected representatives took office. The first free parliamentary elections since 1956 were held in October 2014 and presidential elections took place the following month. Still, the Tunisian economy was failing its people with high unemployment, soaring prices, and slow economic growth that needed to be addressed. The protracted economic difficulties in turn raised the risk of popular frustration and potential unrest and even radicalization, undermining the prospects of Tunisia’s transition.