18 May 2016

Tunisia: CPF Will Make of Tunisia Economic Hub - Murray

Tunis, — The Country Partnership Framework (CPF) adopted by the World Bank Group Board of Directors Tuesday in Washington is focused on three pillars aiming to make Tunisia an economic hub, reduce regional disparities and increase social inclusion, said World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia Eileen Murray.

Speaking at a press briefing Wednesday in Tunis, Murray affirmed that the "new strategy for Tunisia is based 100% on the strategic guidance note developed by the Tunisian government, in preparation for the five-year development plan (2016-2020)".

The new strategy for Tunisia provides for loans of up to USD 5 billion (nearly 10.3 billion dinars) in the next five years.

The 1st pillar aims to make Tunisia an economic hub by carrying on the reforms initiated after the 2011 Revolution. It places emphasis on the consolidation of economic and budget management and the improvement of the environment of business and job creation and innovation, driven by the private sector.

Asked about the debt situation in Tunisia, the WB official noted that as part of the new country strategy, the World Bank works with the Tunisian authorities on the establishment of a more modern system of debt management. It involves increasing the human and technical capacities for a better management of this debt (Ministry of Development, BCT, Ministry of Finance).

World Bank Chief Economist, Abdoulaye Sy said "the level of the Tunisian debt is still low, but its composition needs monitoring, particularly debt in foreign currency."

The 2nd pillar aims to reduce disparities between coastal regions and regions lagging behind in development, in terms of economic opportunities and standard of living.

It targets the increase in value-added of agricultural products and development of value chains in disadvantaged regions, particularly for youth and women.

Regarding access to water in all regions, the WB is conducting an analytic study on the financial viability of SONEDE, to study the costs of access to water to correct regional disparities at this level, said the bank's official.

As for the third pillar, its aim is to increase social inclusion. It provides for an assistance from the World Bank Group for particularly vulnerable groups of the society to contribute to build citizens' confidence and promote the development of skills, transparency and responsibility, i.e. all the basic elements of a renewed social contract.

Regarding the issue of corruption, Murray recalled that the WB has backed the Tunisian government in the creation of the website "MIZANIATOUNA" which facilitates citizens' access to public spending.

The international financial institution also assists the Finance Ministry in setting up an integrated information and management system and also backs the reforms initiated to simplify administrative procedures (to give less room to corrupt practices, reform customs and boost exports...

The CPF will be implemented through the existing portfolio and a series of new operations, including a series of financing to support development polices in order to back the implementation of key reforms such as the investment code, the legislation on competition and bankruptcy and other measures aimed to promote government procedures favourable to investors.

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