22 January 2013

Tunisia: World Bank's Programme to Create Jobs in Tunisia

Tunis — The World Bank (WB) Group has prepared an Interim Strategy Note (ISN) for Tunisia involving a programme focusing on "direct and indirect contribution to the Government's objective to create jobs in the short and medium terms."

According to the ISN, a copy of which was received by TAP, WB Group will focus on three main areas of support. The first aims at "laying the foundation for renewed sustainable growth and job creation. The second consists in the promotion of social and economic inclusion and the third will focus on strengthening governance through improved access to public information as the basis for increased social accountability and transparency."

Instruments of the bank to implement the ISN will comprise a range of operations to support investment policies and operations of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), trust funds of the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and other trust funds managed or financed by the World Bank, as well as analysis and advice services.

According to the WB, "the Tunisian Government programme may require up to 950 million dollars of loans, to support investment policies and loans over the year 2013. Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 funding will be defined in terms of results of the 2013 programmes, the government's demands, the IBRD equity and demand from other borrowers."

"Given the poor economic prospects, the Bank plans to allocate a significant share of IBRD's amount for Tunisia, under the form of budget support to back up the progress of political reform to speed up inclusive growth and job creation."

According to the WB "with the recovery of the economy, investment loans should represent a more significant share of its commitments for 2014."

The ISN identifies "several risks to the Tunisian programme." These include "social tension and delayed economic recovery in addition to the recession in Europe, the difficult transition in Libya, and the expected increase in prices of oil and food.

These issues may, according to the WB "arouse new challenges in terms of fiscal discipline and macro-economic stability."

In addition, the WB indicates that "2013 will be an election year and this has implications for spending and the rate of reform," underlining that the programme defined by the ISN aims "to assist the government mitigate these risks particularly by supporting the design of a reform programme that helps meet the immediate needs of Tunisia while ensuring macro-economic stability and paving the way for a sustainable economic recovery driven by the private sector."

The WB finally said that the "weakness of the financial sector could also have an impact on the economic recovery. In co-ordination with the authorities, the WB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have identified a programme to strengthen the sector's resilience to economic shocks."

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