Countries / Territories

Tunisia: Improving the international competitiveness of the textile and clothing sector (GTEX)

  • Objective | Sector Context | Beneficiaries | Contact information


    The Tunisia project follows the same approach and logical framework as the GTEX MENATEX programme, namely improving sector-specific institutional infrastructure and an improved Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISI) eco-system as well as increasing the competitiveness of 50 selected companies in the product categories. The focus will be on the clothing sector.

    The project engages with the Minister of Industry and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment, as well as the Ministry of Commerce for a sector-wide approach that is linked to the national Textiles and Clothing(T&C) strategy and the country’s overall development objectives.

    Sector Context

    In Tunisia, T&C is the largest industrial sector and is almost entirely export-oriented with about 1,592 companies that contribute to 3% to the country’s GDP. In 2017, the sector tallied $2.6bn worth of exports, mostly to the EU, which accounts for 96% of all textile exports, with France (38%), Italy (24%) and Germany (12%) as the leading markets. The textile sector is one of the largest employers in Tunisia with over 158,000 workers. Tunisian-owned enterprises and enterprises with mixed (Tunisian-foreign) ownership amount to about 60% of all enterprises, employing 61% of the sector’s employees. About 40% of all enterprises are entirely foreign-owned where decisions are taken outside the country.


    At the enterprise level, the project will work with 67 companies in the 4 sub-sectors of denim, lingerie/swimwear, protective-wear and the sub-sector of local young designers of clothing brands. These enterprises are owned by Tunisians including women and youth-led groups, selected from Grand Tunis, Sahel and interior areas. Moreover, the project will promote a mentoring approach under which “champions” operating in Tunis and the Sahel region work with small companies in poverty-affected regions such as Gafsa, Kasserine, and Sidi Bouzid.

    At the institutional level the project will work with trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) to improve their management and operations as well as an enhanced service offering to their clients. Institutional assessments were already undertaken for CEPEX (Centre de Promotion des Exportations de la Tunisie), CETTEX (Centre Technique du Textile en Tunisie), FTTH (Fédération tunisienne du textile et de l’habillement) , MFCPOLE (pôle de compétitivité Monastir-El Fejja). These will be the basis for developing institutional improvement roadmaps that the project will help implementing.

    Contact information

    Nacer Bouyahia - National Programme Consultant
    Tunis, Tunisia
    Tel: (+216) 20 927 075
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gtextunisie/  

    Matthias Knappe – GTEX MENATEX Programme Manager
    International Trade Centre, Geneva
    54-56 rue de Montbrillant, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
    Tel: (+41) 22 730 0321

    Mehdi Chaker - Trade Promotion Adviser
    International Trade Centre, Geneva
    54-56 rue de Montbrillant, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
    Tel: (+41) 22 730 0449

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