African Development Bank Extends USD500 million to Tunisia

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Budget support loan to help post revolution transition

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Board of Executive Directors today approved a USD500 million loan to support the Tunisian government in its post-revolution transition. Its goal is to help restore socio-economic stability in Tunisia and engender inclusive economic growth that benefits all Tunisians.

This fast-disbursing emergency support programme, disbursed in a single installment, is a new approach that allows the African Development Bank to better respond to the emergency needs of African countries.

This AfDB financing is part of an overall USD1.4 billion programme financed by the World Bank (USD 500 million), the European Union (EUR 90 million), and the French Development Agency (EUR 185 million).

Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caïd Essebsi has commended the African Development Bank as the first international financial institution to reach out to the country in the immediate aftermath of the 14 January revolution. “Tunisia very much appreciates all the support received from African Development Bank,” Prime Minister Essebsi told AfDB President Donald Kaberuka, when Mr. Kaberuka paid a courtesy call on him in April. “The Bank has staunchly supported Tunisia over the years, and in particular in the difficult times we have just gone through,” he said.

African Development Bank Group President Donald Kaberuka said: “The African Development Bank stands by the people of Tunisia and North Africa during these challenging times and could provide USD5 to 7 billion in support of the region's economic transition towards stronger and more inclusive growth during the coming years."

The loan programme will immediately address the demands of Tunisians, heard so audibly during the revolution. It consists of three key pillars: reduce regional disparities by improving access to social services in underserved regions; create and preserve jobs; and strengthen citizen voice and accountability.

One of its priorities will be to help the government reduce youth unemployment, especially among recent graduates. Another is to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, particularly between wealthier coastal regions, and more impoverished regions in the interior of the country. Jacob Kolster, AfDB Regional Director for Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, said: “Investing in voice and accountability mechanisms and restoring the investment climate are critical for economic growth that is equitable, thereby creating a renewed sense of hope for the Tunisians, for the future.” The country’s challenges have been amplified by the impact of the revolution, particularly as a result of lower tourism revenues, the suspension of investments, and rising unemployment.

The African Development Bank will work closely with the Tunisian government at the national, regional and local levels as well as with civil society and other stakeholders to ensure that the loan objectives are met, with clear and tangible results on the ground, especially in the poorest areas.