Byiers, B., Ronceray, M. and Bossuyt, J. (2021) ‘Applying a Political Economy Approach in Tunisia’. Discussion Paper 290. Maastricht: ECDPM.


A political economy approach can assist in creating a common platform for discussion and understanding of context and problems among staff, and help change mindsets about engaging with development issues in a more politically-informed way. Overall, the process can contribute to a more politically feasible and adaptive programming over the long term.

This paper captures the experience of providing ‘political economy support’ to the EU delegation in Tunis – at the stages of context analysis and programme design – and looks at the lessons that can be drawn for partners seeking to take a more politically informed approach to their work. The paper highlights that bureaucratic incentives and political decisions can limit the space for adaptive and flexible approaches. There are, however, innovative ways to identify and fund projects where there is domestic traction for effective change and the ambition to push change and be creative within the donor agency.