Marie Francoise Marie Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta, predicted that Tunisia’s economy would grow by 2.5 per cent in 2018.
In response to journalists’ questions during her participation in the signing of two financing agreements with Tunisia, Nelly said that “there are good signs for the local economy, especially at the beginning of this year, as the manufacturing sector regained its momentum, and tourism indicators improved.”
Tunisia’s economy registered growth rates of 1,9 per cent last year and 2,5 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.
“There are signs of improved investment, but more work needs to be done to bring more investment,” said the World Bank official at the event held in Tunis.
Tunisia ranked sixth in the Arab world and 88 out of 190 economies in the world, according to the 2018 Doing Business report issued by the World Bank last October.
The World Bank and Tunisia signed today a $630 million financing agreement (loan) distributed between budget support ($ 500 million) and $130 million loan for urban development and local governance programme.
According to the agreement, Tunisia is committed to repaying the loans over 28 years, including five years grace, with a rate of interest that does not exceed 1 per cent.
Ziyad Al-Athari, Minister of Development, Investment, and International Cooperation signed the loan agreement, along with the World Bank official, in the presence of the World Bank Group Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, Ferid Belhaj.
The amount of financing provided by the World Bank since 1 July 2017 till the end of last month amounted to $930 million, including $100 million in the form of grants
Al-Athari asserted at the signing ceremony that “the amount of funding provided to support the country’s budget for the current year amounted to one billion dollars, including two instalments from the International Monetary Fund for a total value of 500 million dollars and 500 million dollars from the World Bank.”
The estimated budget deficit for this year is 4.9 per cent of GDP, while external funding to cover the deficit is expected to be $4.2 billion.