Tunisia To Get $560m EU Loan To Boost Economy

The European Union said on Friday it would give a loan of half a billion euros ($560 million) to boost Tunisia’s economy.

 

In a statement in Tunis, the union said the assistance was part of broader efforts by the EU to help Tunisia overcome the serious economic difficulties that beset it.

 

The EU said the assistance came at the request of Tunisia and would take the form of medium-term loans on favourable financial terms.

 

Few weeks ago, an unemployed man committed suicide when he was refused work, sparking riots by thousands of young men across the country.

 

Tunisia was the cradle of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts, triggered by a street vendor setting himself on fire after his vegetable cart was confiscated.

 

The incident has been hailed as a success story for its transition to democracy.

 

But economic development and reforms have failed to keep pace with the political changes since the fall of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

 

Three attacks last year by Islamist militants: against a museum in Tunis, tourists in a Sousse beach resort and a suicide bombing in the capital, have hit the tourist industry especially hard.

 

Tunisia relies heavily on tourists for jobs and revenue.

 

France, Tunisia’s former colonial ruler, last month pledged 1 billion euros over five years to help Tunisia, whose young democracy brought a new constitution.

 

Tunisia managed to avoid the violent after-shocks seen in other Arab Spring countries that toppled long-standing leaders in Egypt, Yemen and Libya.

 

 

(Reuters/NAN)

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