World Bank to inject up to USDbln in Tunisian economy every year- VP
(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) (Report is part of economic file of the Federation of Arab News Agencies [FANA])
TUNIS March 30 (KUNA) -- The World Bank (WB) is planning to extend between USD 750 million to one billion in aid for Tunisia every year a WB official has said with the objective of helping the North African country boost their economy.
Hafedh Ghannam WB's vice-president for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) said in a statement to Tunisian press agency the bank planned to offer USD four billion to Tunisia as part of a total of USD 20 billion allocated for MENA countries over five years.
His remarks came after WB President Jim Jong Kim and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held talks with senior Tunisian officials. Their visit reflected the support of the WB and the international community to Tunisia he said.
Kim's talks with the Tunisian officials aimed among several issues at discussing reforms in many sectors.
Meanwhile the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had announced it was finalizing details of a loan agreement of USD 2.8 billion to be extended over four years. The money will be used for economic reforms.
A team from IMF concluding a visit to Tunis on March 3 to negotiate the agreement said the Tunisian government would specify reforms in terms of priority and where the loan was most needed.
The WB and IMF are standing behind Tunisia as the Fitch Rating agency placed Tunisia at BB+ with long-term stable to negative outlook.
Fitch attributed its rating to the collapse of tourism sector due to insecurity which forced the sector's revenues to decline to 0.8 percent in 2015 down from 2.3 percent the year before.
Although Fitch revised earlier growth estimates to 1.2 percent this year it warned against geopolitical threats caused by so-called Islamic State (IS) presence in neighboring Libya which could have ramifications on Tunisia.
Fitch said Tunisia suffered from a deficit in the budget amounting to 5.3 percent in 2015 with further strains caused by high wages and low income. It predicted Tunisia's external debt to be 58 percent in 2017 compared with 53 percent last year.
The Central Bank lowered interest rate to 4.25 percent in January 2016 compared to 4.28 percent the month before. Tunisian Dinar's exchange rate against the USD and Euro declined by 0.2 percent last January.
On the other hand 320 companies have requested to join the Export III Program aimed at increasing exports.
Director of export promotion agency Shafia Shalabia said 120 companies would be selected for the first phase of the program.
The USD 22-million five-year Export III Program will include 500 services companies 500 production firms and 100 societies said Shalabia. (end) bs
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