AfDB President pays visit to Tunisian head of state « AfDB more than ever stands by Tunisia »

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African Development Bank (AfDB) Group president Donald Kaberuka, visited President Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia at the Carthage Palace on Thursday. The visit followed the one-year anniversary, on January 14, of the Tunisian revolution. Mr. Kaberuka congratulated the president, the Tunisian people and their elected leaders on the success of the country’s democratic transition process.

The Tunisian head of state thanked Mr. Kaberuka and expressed Tunisians’ pride and satisfaction at the successful transition from the old authoritarian regime to democracy. He recapped the transition process, which culminated in the elections of 23 October 2011, which paved the way for the establishment of the Constituent Assembly and other state institutions.

President Marzouki reiterated his thanks to the AfDB for all its support to Tunisia. He said Tunisia still counted on the AfDB’s continued development. He emphasized the importance of transparency, noting that corruption severely hinders development. "For the first time in 20 years, we shall offer Tunisians a non-corrupt state," he said.

Mr. Kaberuka expressed his and the AfDB Group’s appreciation to Tunisia for the warm hospitality extended to the AfDB since its temporary relocation to Tunis in 2003. He said that even after the bank’s return to its permanent headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, it would still maintain a strong presence in Tunisia, given the country’s role not only a key AfDB regional member country, but also as an important regional center for the institution.

Mr. Kaberuka said he was "aware of the current challenges and needs of Tunisia today, as this revolution naturally brought about great expectations, especially among the most vulnerable segments of the population." He reiterated AfDB’s continued support for Tunisia, first, quite naturally as Africa’s development bank, and also as part of the overall international community effort to support the country's economic recovery. He recalled that AfDB had been selected by the G8 to host the secretariat of the Deauville Partnership Coordination Platform supporting democratic transitions in North Africa.

AfDB is working closely with the Tunisian government to develop a new intervention strategy in priority areas. Immediately after January 14, 2011, the bank demonstrated its commitment to stand by Tunisians. It expressed its support through concrete actions, committing nearly one million US dollars in 2011. In that vein, it released USD 500 million in budget support in a single tranche to allow the government to meet part of its deficit and cater for social programmes. The bank subsequently approved several projects for an amount of about USD 450 million, to help finance road infrastructure in the south, including rural water supply and support to small and medium enterprises.

AfDB teamed up with Tunisians in the extraordinary outpouring of support for refugees from Libya at the Tunisia-Libya border last Spring, making an emergency donation of one million US dollars to the International Red Cross and Tunisian Red Crescent for refugee camps. AfDB staff also contributed cash and clothes through local charities.

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