The government is aiming at an average growth of 5.7 per cent for the 2002-2006 period. The economy had been achieving similar rates until 2002, when drought cut the cereal harvest to its lowest level for 55 years, tourism slumped, and the global economy slowed. Exports are seen as the key to growth, and the budget aims at a 7.5 per cent rise in 2003, which will be dependent on a better year for agriculture. Tourism will also require a recovery, having been hit by the attack on an synagogue in April which killed 14 German visitors (MEED 19:4:02). An ambitious programme of tourism development is underway, which would boost visitor numbers to 10 million by 2010 (MEED 28:12:01).

Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi will present the draft budget to parliament tomorrow.