TUNIS, Tunisia, September 9, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made the following statement today in Tunis:
“It has been a great pleasure to return to Tunisia, where I have had fruitful discussions with President Beji Caib Essebsi, Head of Government Habib Essid, President of the Assembly of Representatives Mohamed Ennaceur, Central Bank Governor Chedly Ayari, Minister of Finance Slim Chaker, Minister of Development, International Cooperation and Investment Yassine Brahim, and other senior government officials.
“I have come to listen and I have learned a great deal about the government’s economic vision and the measures it plans to take to put the Tunisian economy on a sustainable path of strong, sustainable, job-rich growth. I also held discussions with representatives of political parties, labor unions, the private sector, and women leaders. I was very encouraged by their determination to work together to contribute to Tunisia’s economic and social progress.
“This visit was also an opportunity for me to congratulate the authorities for Tunisia’s successful and peaceful political transition to democracy. On a personal level, I was deeply moved by my visit to the Bardo museum, which was an occasion to remember the victims of all the recent tragic terror attacks. I reiterated my deep conviction these events should not undermine Tunisia’s achievements.
“In my discussions with the authorities, I commended them for the resilience of the Tunisian economy, despite a difficult international economic environment, spillovers from regional conflicts, and a challenging domestic situation marked by grave security concerns. I stressed that the growth of Tunisia’s economy – which slowed in 2015 – is insufficient to reduce unemployment and improve Tunisians’ standard of living.
“After my discussions, I am now more convinced than ever that Tunisia needs to move forcefully ahead with the next phase of its economic and social transition to broad-based, sustainable growth. A sound banking system, a more efficient government and civil service, a fair and efficient tax system, investment-oriented public spending, a business environment more conducive to investor risk taking, and a modern social safety net will all be needed are key to maintaining growth and creating jobs.
“The IMF is adapting its policy advice to Tunisia’s political and social environment, and I congratulated the authorities on the agreement reached with IMF staff on the sixth review of the Stand-By Arrangement, which remains subject to the approval by the IMF Executive Board. The IMF will continue to remain closely engaged and stands ready to continue supporting Tunisia in its economic transformation through economic policy advice, financial support, and technical assistance.
“Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the authorities and the Tunisian people for their hospitality.”