The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors signed off on a new Country Partnership Framework to support, the new five-year strategy will provide up to 5 billion USD in loans for Tunisia to restore economic growth and create jobs and is intended to support the Tunisian government’s own Five-Year year development plan.
The World Bank’ Tunisia Country Partnership Framework is based on three main goals:
• Complete the economic reforms initiated following the 2011 revolution to consolidate Tunisia’s macro-economic stability while improving the business environment for private sector driven job creation and innovation;
• Reduce the disparities between the coastal centers and the underdeveloped regions in Tunisia, in terms of economic opportunities and living standards;
• Support the vulnerable segments of society, and help build greater trust between Tunisian citizens and the government, through more transparent and accountable government institutions.
The World Bank’s Country Director for Tunisia, Eileen Murray, in an interview with Tunisian radio station Express FM emphasized the encouragement of private sector growth particularly through microfinance with a focus on youth and women.
In the World Bank’s press release announcing the board’s decision Murray said “While our partnership has entered a new phase, we remain focused on helping Tunisia realize its immense potential,” adding “This is especially true of the country’s young people, for whom we will support educational reforms, to ensure they are learning relevant skills, and changes to the business environment, to provide the opportunities for their energy and creativity to drive the economy.”
Later this week the International Monetary Fund’s executive board is also expect to review a 2.8 billion dollar loan to Tunisia negotiated earlier this year.
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Along with working closely with the government in the preparation of the new five-year strategy, the Bank consulted with a broad cross section of Tunisian society. Consultations were held across the country, including in underdeveloped regions, and involved academia, civil society organizations, the private sector and young people. The feedback received helped inform both the approach and programs of the CPF.
The CPF was developed in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation(IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm, and the Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, which insures against political risk. The Partnership Framework will be implemented in close coordination with development partners, and through a combination of the existing World Bank “portfolio and a series of new operations. The latter will include a program of budget support operations to underpin the momentum on key reforms such as the Investment Code, Competition and Bankruptcy legislation, and to promote a more investor friendly business environment. This program will be complemented by investment operations targeted to specific sectors.
“Our strategy aims to support Tunisia’s efforts to transform its successful political transition into strong social and economic outcomes for its citizens,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb. “A critical element in this process is a new social contract, based on citizen’s confidence in the government’s ability to maintain a level economic playing field and access to quality services for all”.
“Governments around the world, including Tunisia, are increasingly facing fiscal constraints,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “With favorable business regulations, the government could attract more investment. Over the next five years, IFC will continue to facilitate private sector investments in Tunisia to create jobs, especially for youth, and promote inclusive and competitive economic growth.”