The World Bank has just approved $175 million in budget support to help Tunisia cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
The agreement for this support, allocated under the Emergency and Development Policy Support Operation for Resilience and Recovery, was signed on Monday.
According to a Bank press release, the funding is part of a major coordinated international support program to help Tunisia manage the coronavirus crisis, to which the World Bank, Germany’s KfW Bank, the French Development Agency (AFD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank are contributing.
It has also been closely coordinated with the macro-financial assistance provided by the European Union.
The financial envelope of the joint operation will amount to between $600 and $700 million in 2020.
“This crisis poses a considerable challenge to Tunisia, but also offers an opportunity to redefine its position in the global economy by creating better conditions for private sector investment and job creation,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa.
Countries that implement difficult reforms succeed in stimulating economic growth and accelerating recovery. If its leaders are resolute, Tunisia is fully capable of undertaking these reforms.
This international support aims to help Tunisia protect vulnerable businesses and households from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and to carry out essential economic reforms to enable Tunisia to improve its post-crisis recovery potential and competitiveness in a context that is leading countries to rethink global value and distribution chains.
This is an unprecedented budgetary support that has required several months of coordination between partners on the part of our Ministry,” said Selim Azzabi, Tunisian Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation.
The reforms provided for in this program represent an investment in the future: they are aimed at strengthening social cohesion between generations and between regions, improving the business climate, particularly with regard to digitization and interoperability, and promoting good governance of public enterprises”.
The World Bank’s contribution to joint budget support will focus on three interrelated areas of the Tunisian government’s reform agenda, namely: accelerating social protection reforms and financial inclusion; fostering private sector recovery by modernizing port operations and mobilizing private financing for renewable energy production; and improving the transparency and performance of public enterprises.