USAID donates Tunisia $335mln to finance democratic transition, economic development

The United States has granted Tunisia a donation worth $335 million to finance projects and programs designed to boost economic and social development through encouraging entrepreneurship and improving governance.

The donation is part of a US cooperation and support program extending over a five-year period (2019-2024), says TAP news agency.

The Aid will fund projects that encourage private initiative, create new employment opportunities for young people, and improve governance towards supporting democratic transition, said Minister of Development and International Cooperation, Zied Ladhari.

The volume of the donation reflects the depth of the Tunisian-US relations, he pointed out.

The minister also said that USAID’s decision to open a larger office in Tunisia aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation and support the country on the road to a successful development process.

The North African country was the cradle of the 2011 Arab Spring that swept away several Araba leaders, including longtime autocratic ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who fled to Saudi Arabia.

Though reckoned as the only success story of the democratic change, the country has seen surge in terror attacks and an increase in youth unemployment.

Unemployment stands at about 15%, up from 12% in 2010, due to weak growth, low investment, and high inflation, which was 6.5% last month, according to Reuters.

The country further slid into uncertainty last month after President Beji Caid Essebsi passed away, before the end of his 5-year term in November.
Snap elections will be held on September 15. 26 candidates are in the presidential race.

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