Racism remains highly rooted in Tunisia. On 21 February 2023, president Kais Saied railed against the Sub-Saharan immigrants blaming them to “change the demographic composition of Tunisia” and “attack the State, Tunisian people and their identity”. Despite the groundlessness of these affirmations, ethnic violence in Tunisia has risen against the small immigrant community that represents less than 1 percent of the population. Indeed, the Black community suffered arbitrary treatment from the security forces, mob attacks and unfair firing and evictions. [source]
As a result, many Sub-Saharan citizens camped outside their embassies and the headquarters of international organisations. Nevertheless, this petty attempt to distract the Tunisian population from the real economic and political problems of the country will likely backfire in two aspects. First, Saied xenophobia has ruined lasting relationships with Sub-Saharan partners and International Organisations. Secondly, as the 4 March massive anti-government protests prove, the opposition could use the presidential statements to gain further energy and increase the contestation.
Key Judgement 1: Ethnic violence will highly likely persist in Tunisia over the next 6 months further degrading the current multidimensional crisis.
Key Judgement 2: The xenophobe positions of president Saied will likely bolster the impetus of the opposition forces against his growing authoritarian rule over the next 6 months.
Key Judgement 3: Tunisian relations with the international community and Sub-Saharan countries will almost certainly worsen over the next 6 months.