More uncertainty in Tunisia as PM resigns

Hammadi Jebali, former prime minister of Tunisia. Photo by: Michael Wuertenberg / World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA

The resignation of Tunisia’s prime minister on Tuesday is already showing some ripple effects not only on the North African country’s political state, but also on its ability to proceed with social and economic reforms.

The country has said it requires $4.4 billion in foreign aid in 2013, including a potential loan from the International Monetary Fund. Now, negotiations on a $1.78 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund are shifting gears, as the president of Tunisia searches for a successor to Hamadi Jebali. A new constitution remains in limbo and the country readies for the possibility of mass protests and violence.

It was reported that the IMF is placing the negotiations, which were previously reported to be at an advanced stage, on hold.

“Once a new government is named, we will enquire about its intentions/mandate,” an IMF spokeswoman, Wafa Amr, reportedly told Reuters in an email. “Once the political situation is clarified, we’ll assess how best to help Tunisia.”

Yet it was also reported that the IMF is simply placing negotiations on a more technical track. The IMF’s assessment of a country’s stability often influences the behavior of other donors and aid organizations.

Jebali’s resignation – a decision that followed his failure to form a nonpartisan cabinet comes at  time when the fragile country’s economy is said to be on a slow path to recovery. Yet private investment remains hampered by political and security issues, as the Tunisian central bank governor recently said.

Find out more Tunisia news and learn about people, projects and organizations in Tunisia. Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

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    Amy Lieberman

    Amy Lieberman is an award-winning journalist based in New York City. Her coverage on politics, social justice issues, development and climate change has appeared in a variety of international news outlets, including The Guardian, Slate and The Atlantic. She has reported from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries outside of the U.S. Amy received her master of arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014. Last year she completed a yearlong fellowship on the oil industry and climate change and co-published her findings with a team in the Los Angeles Times.