Whispering Bell has been supporting clients in North Africa since 2011, when international businesses evacuated then reentered the Libyan market after the fall of the Ghaddafi regime. However, instability in Libya now threatens Tunisia’s recovery, as the two countries are inextricably linked due to proximity and economic ties. Whispering Bell’s permanent presence in Libya and support staff in Tunisia have allowed us to assist clients through every stage of the business cycle in both countries.
Tunisia experienced the first revolution of the 2011 Arab Spring and has endured a fragile recovery since that time. Despite debates over the future direction of the country, compromise among political parties has resulted in a functioning democracy and relative political stability. Rival factions agreed and voted on a new constitution, allowing the government to focus on growing security and economic challenges.
While Tunisia’s transition to democracy has been hailed as a success and potential model for the Middle East and North Africa, recent terrorist attacks have threatened to destabilize the country, ushering in a new era of uncertainty for international businesses. In Mar 2015, two Tunisian gunmen entered the Bardo Museum in Tunis, taking hostages and eventually killing twenty-two people, mostly foreign tourists. The country’s tourism industry—one of the main pillars of the economy—took a second hit in June 2015, when a gunman opened fire on a beach resort in Sousse, killing thirty-eight people, including thirty British nationals.
As the tourism industry declined in 2015, Islamist extremists also targeted government and security institutions. In Nov 2015, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives on a bus transporting Presidential Guard members in the capital, killing at least twelve people. Since then, the government has declared and extended a state of emergency for the country. The situation has raised concerns for international businesses with personnel and assets in Tunisia, as well as new questions over how to operate and address the new risks that they face.
Industries in remote locations, such as oil and gas, have increasingly depended on the government to ensure their security, especially near porous border regions in the south. However, they may require additional support to address gaps in security and mitigate risks amid the evolving situation throughout the country and the region more broadly. Whispering Bell offers international businesses entering or operating in Tunisia the following services: