Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Two agreements were signed Wednesday between Development, Investment and International Cooperation Minister Zied Ladhari and World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta, Middle East and North Africa Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, on the financing of two projects worth 1,620 million dinars (MD).

In a statement to the media at the signing ceremony, Ladhari said that the first State budget support project of 2018 is a $500 million-loan (about 1,300 MD) in one tranche repayable over a period of 28 years, with a 5-year grace period and an interest rate of no more than 1%.

It is intended to support a major package of reforms in Tunisia, with the aim of stimulating private investment and creating opportunities for small businesses while at the same time protecting vulnerable households and enhancing energy security.

This project will support concrete measures to simplify import and export procedures, open up many sectors for investment, facilitate small businesses’ access to credit and public procurement, ensure social coverage for the poorest, strengthen human capital and build a more sustainable and greener energy sector.

He pointed out that this loan granted to Tunisia with preferential benefits, aims to boost economic growth, investment and job creation by the private sector.

This project is based on three components: Removing barriers to investment, strengthening the performance of the energy sector and economic and social inclusion.

The second project is a loan of $130 million (about 320 MD), repayable over a period of 28 years, with a 6-year grace period and an interest rate of no more than 1%.

It is a complementary loan under the Urban Development and Local Governance Programme, funded since October 2014 by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development by means of € 217 million.

Its main objective is to provide local communities with the necessary capacities to manage their own budget and to involve citizens in investment decisions, in order to promote local economic development.

The loan will extend this three-year programme (until 2023), expand the number of beneficiaries to 2.7 million Tunisians, take into account the expansion of municipal boundaries and set more ambitious goals.

The Minister pointed out that the funding granted under this programme will be used for the benefit of municipalities during the period 2019-2023.

This programme, which will be managed by the Local Affairs and Environment Ministry consists of three components namely; to upgrade the municipal infrastructure, improve access to municipal services in low-income neighbourhoods and reinforce competences to develop the institutional aspect and the accountability of local communities.

The two loans had been approved by the World Bank Board of Directors last June in Washington.