The World Bank Board of Directors approved today the Business Environment and Entrepreneurship development policy loan to support the Tunisian government’s continued efforts to promote stronger and more inclusive growth, and private sector jobs, especially for the youth, women and in less economically developed regions.

In the amount of US$500 million, this development policy loan supports key reforms to improve the business environment and boost investor confidence, while encouraging entrepreneurship and expanding access to finance.

The reform momentum has accelerated in recent years but maintaining it and ensuring effective implementation is critical,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta. “The large pool of talented young people, men and women are ready to seize opportunities. They just need the right conditions – including access to finance.”

The Business Environment and Entrepreneurship Development Policy Financing was designed to support key pillars of the Five-Year Development Plan 2016-2020 put in place by the Government of Tunisia’s, which puts the private sector at the heart of the growth and jobs agenda, create a level playing field for competition, and make financing accessible for young firms and entrepreneurs. The Ministry of Development and International Cooperation oversees implementation and coordination of reforms with other ministries, with considerable involvement from the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s office – this tripartite effort will ensure close monitoring of reform results.

Along with supporting the implementation of the new Competition and Investment Laws, this development policy loan will help the government’s efforts to improve the efficiency of public investments and promote greater participation of the private sector through PPPs for instance,” said Abdoulaye Sy, World Bank Senior Economist for Tunisia and team leader for the program. “This operation also contributes to meeting the government’s objective to boost seed and equity financing for young firms and entrepreneurs and improve access to credit and housing finance through the simplification of the existing regulatory framework for seed and equity funds, the adoption of the law to allow the functioning of private credit bureau and the revision of the eligibility criteria to the Social Housing Promotion Fund (FOPROLOS, Fonds de Promotion du Logement pour les Salaries).”

The new program is part of a large portfolio of Bank activities aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship and improving economic opportunities for young men and women, with a special focus on interior regions.

The World Bank has recently supported a series of hackathon events around the country where Tunisian youth used their technological talent and creativity to develop IT solutions for women’s economic empowerment.

The Bank is also financing value chain development through several projects to link Tunisian entrepreneurs to higher value added products and global markets, and support economic inclusion for poor and vulnerable women and youth in underdeveloped regions.

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