TUNIS (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund and Tunisia are in the advanced stages of talks over a $2.8 billion credit over four years to help support the country’s economic reform programme, an IMF delegation said on Thursday.
A visiting IMF delegation said at the end of its mission that it would now focus on fine-tuning reform priorities and financing needs for this year.International lenders have been demanding Tunisia cut public spending, reduce deficits and introduce reforms that help create sustainable jobs and growth.
“Moving ahead with economic reform is crucial as the Tunisian economy confronts several significant challenges. Economic growth is held back by investors’ wait-and-see attitude and regional uncertainties,” the IMF said in a statement.
Five years after overthrowing autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sweeping in democratic change, Tunisians are still struggling with an economy unable to deliver the jobs and reforms their revolution promised.
Three major militant attacks last year, including two on foreign visitors, have battered the tourism industry, while a week of rioting earlier this year has worried Western partners looking to help the North African state.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Toby Chopra)