Informal commerce and development in an emerging economy: The case of Tunisia

The Maghreb Center invites you to attend the following lecture,

Informal commerce and development in an emerging economy: The case of Tunisia

Lecture and discussion with light North African meal

Speaker: Dr. Laurence Michalak

Location: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) Boardroom, 241 Intercultural Center, Georgetown University, 37th and O Sts, NW

Date and time: Thursday, November 20, 2008, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

RSVP: Free and open to the public. RSVP’s appreciated at

A well-known anthropologist and longtime University of California Middle East Center Vice Chair, Dr. Laurence Michalak spent nine years living and working in Tunisia and decades researching its economy. With the most successful and most diverse non-petroleum country in the MENA region, Tunisia has enviable growth rates averaging above five percent and has largely withstood global economic shocks in recent years. However, little is known about the role of the informal economy in Tunisia’s development. Discussions of development routinely ignore commerce and the tertiary sector; the “informal” sector, however vaguely and variously defined, accounts for a large portion of the economy and of employment in most developing countries, including in the Maghreb. This talk will look at the role of the informal sector in Tunisia, the tensions with the formal sector; as well as various commercial cultures, and gender in the market. Dr. Michalak is currently in his third year as Director of CEMAT, the American Studies Center in Tunis.

The Maghreb Center is an independent, Washington DC based non-profit created to increase understanding of the Maghreb in the United States. In accomplishing its educational mission, the Center organizes Maghreb-related conferences, seminars, lectures, and roundtables and offers a series of publicly available publications. The Center sponsors numerous programs open to the public featuring U.S. and regional experts, development practitioners, foreign policy specialists, and representatives of Maghrebi governments and civil society. This lecture is co-sponsored by the American Tunisian Association, the Middle East Institute, and the Maghreb Center.

The Maghreb Center speaker series has been made possible with the support of the Moroccan American Cultural Center.


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