Tunisia, an Untapped Market for US Franchises

Tunisia, located on the southern shore of the Mediterranean just opposite Italy, is at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  Tunisia has a domestic market of over 10 million people with a GDP per capita (PPP) of $9,698 in 2012 as well as a strong history of universal education and gender equality.  Further, its strategic location in the middle of North Africa and strong business climate, ranked best in the region for doing business by the World Bank, offer the potential to access a broader regional market.  Finally, recent legislation has formally defined franchising for the first time creating the necessary legal and regulatory framework for franchising to flourish. 

Tunisia map

Tunisia has few franchises outside the tourism sector and US franchises are underrepresented.  The recent franchising law and the new political and business climate, along with an IFA supported innovative financing facility, hope to change this.  Currently, a few clothing retail franchises such as Benetton, Guess and Zara can be found in Tunis.  Retail grocery giant Carrefour is building a bigger footprint as well.  Much of the rest of the market has little to no franchise presence, including the food and beverage sector.  Currently, the food and beverage sector is unique in that franchises need government approval to operate (other sectors do not need government approval).  That said, the Tunisian government is currently exploring how to reform existing laws to remove the individual approval for the food and beverage sector to fully liberalize the market. 

To learn more, listen to recent Webinar (and access the slides) hosted by the IFA on Franchising in Tunisia.  Contributors include IFA members, an existing franchisor and a franchisee in Tunisia, the organizers of the upcoming Tunis-Med Franchise conference from February 27 – March 1, and the implementers of an IFA supported innovative financing facility for franchises in Tunisia.  There is still time to sign-up to attend the Tunis-Med Franchise conference at the end of February where the IFA will participate. 


For more information contact:

Josh Merin (jmerin@franchise.org)
Senior Manager
International Franchise Association
(202) 662-0762