Tunisia has just secured part of the estimated $4.4 billion it needs in foreign aid for 2013.
The World Bank approved Tuesday (Nov. 27) a $500 million loan for Tunisia. The money will help improve government transparency, reform key social services and boost job creation in the country, according to a press release. It was among the loan agreements the government aims to close to support its budget next year.
Unemployment, largely referred to as the trigger to the Arab Spring, remains a huge problem in Tunisia. With the country’s unemployment rate standing at 17 percent, the government plans to allocate 1.2 billion dinars ($759.6 million) for job creation next year, Finance Minister Slim Besbes told Reuters last week.
The loan will be built on key reforms the government plans to introduce in the country. These include cutting red tape and simplifying regulations for an improved business environment, and providing certification and accreditation for higher education as well as health institutions. The government is also working on an interactive web platform that will improve the public’s access to information, according to a press release.
These reforms “are the key demands of citizens across Tunisia,” World Bank Vice President for Middle East and North Africa Inger Andersen said, adding that the loan agreement “sends a clear signal about the historic changes underway in Tunisia.”
The agreement follows the launch this week of a $30 million investment fund created to provide additional capital to small and midsize enterprises in Tunisia. The fund, called the THEEMAR Investment Fund, was launched by the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the national holding company that the government established last year to manage national assets and prevent corruption.
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