There are certainly many similarities between Dubai in its heyday and Tunisia now; for example, Italian clothing giant, the Benetton Group,announced that it would be put further investment into its operations in Tunisia, reminiscent of the flood of foreign retailers in Dubai in recent years. They operate alongside a number of high-end textiles companies in the country, including Van Laack (Germany) and the Miroglio Group (Italy).Tunisian textiles companies themselves are also experiencing growth. On March 10, Tunisian suppliers met buyers in the United Kingdom at the ’Tunisian Textile Days’ event. Other similarities are in the real estate sector; Dubai had become renowned for the quality of life it offers to expatriates, with real estate investment rocketing in recent years. However, this year, International Living ranked Tunisia highest in the Arab region in their 2009 Quality of Life Index, awarding Tunisia 11 points more than the UAE. Moreover, similar to the hype that surrounded the building of the man-made Palm Islands in Dubai, Tunisia is attracting comparable attention as it is expected to host the tallest tower in Africa in its man-made ‘Mediterranean Gate’ a new town just south of Tunis, being built at a cost of $25billion. Whilst Bloomberg estimates that foreign direct investment (FDI) in emerging markets fell by 10 percent in 2008, Tunisia boasted a 38 percent increase in FDI on the previous year. The reason for Tunisia’s success may be on the back of its tourism industry, which has steadily grown in recent years. This is another major parallel between Dubai and Tunisia; unlike other emirates, Dubai did not have as much oil and gas resources. Similarly,Tunisia also lacks such natural resources and has therefore built its economy primarily through foreign-led investment. In fact, in a global economic downturn, Tunisia looks set to be an anomaly,with the tourism industry predicted to grow by 0.4 percent by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). In the UAE, however, growth is expected to be -0.8 percent. This should, according to the WTTC, improve to 2.8percent per annum over the next 10 years. But in Tunisia, it is expected to improve to 4.8 percent. The recent Open Skies agreement will do much to help this growth. British Airways and Tunis Air will no longer be the only carriers of passengers to the country, but may be joined by budget airlines too, thereby significantly increasing competition. A new international airport will cater to this increase in Enfidha, due to be completed by the end of 2009. A number of privatizations are also due to take place in 2009, including companies in the agricultural, tourism and automotive industries.Capitalizing on its human resources will also be an important internal ’investment’ that the country is making in the long-run. The government has conducted a number of initiatives to introduce new educational facilities in the country, including the opening of a branch of the University of Paris-Dauphine. The new Dauphine Tunis University will join approximately 13 other universities in the 2009/2010 academic year. Tunisia still has a long way to go before it matches the success experiences by Dubai, but it is no doubt on the right track. It does, however, face competition from other emerging markets in the Middle East and North Africa region, especially nearby Egypt. Whereas both Egypt and Tunisia improved their rankings in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2009report by 11 and eight places, respectively, Egypt was also declared ‘top reformer’ in the region, recording an impressive six reforms across various aspects of conducting business in the country (Tunisia recorded four).Nevertheless, overall Tunisia remained ahead of Egypt, ranking in eighth place in the Middle East and North Africa (Egypt ranked 12th). In the near future, should the economic climate improve and investments in emerging markets increase once more, Tunisia will certainly be one to watch as the potential new hot spot of the Middle East and North Africa region. .