Tunisia: Macron Pledges Additional €227 Million Support

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi attend a signing ceremony at Presidential Palacein CarthageTunisia, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Macron is in Tunisia for a two-day official visit. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

France would provide Tunisia with more than €227 million in new financing as the North African nation faces it worst economic crisis since the fall of its longtime strongman Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

According to Paris, the support, announced during a visit to Tunis by French President Emmanuel Macron, includes €177 million in loans for state sectors reform and urban development, and €50 million in aid for promoting the digital economy.

Tunisia has enjoyed a relatively smooth democratic transition since Ben Ali’s ouster, but while the revolution raised many hopes, Tunisian youths still lament unemployment and escalating cost of living.
According to the latest official figures, more than 625,000 youths are currently out of work, almost half of them with university degrees.

Paris had already pledged to provide Tunisia with €1.2 billion in aid from 2016 to 2020, a commitment that Macron reaffirmed at the start of his two-day state visit to Tunisia Wednesday.

France intends to provide a further €500 million support for the 2020-2022 period, Macron annunced.

Macron affirmed Thursday before the Tunisian parliament his country’s support for Tunisia’s democratic transition that he described as a model of hope for the Muslim world.

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