Tunisia Secures International Economic Assistance
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), “originally founded … with the mission of supporting market economies and liberal democracies … through investments in the private sector,” established an office in Tunisia on December 3. EBRD president Suma Chakrabarti met with the president of Tunisia, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, and the Governor of the Central Bank to sign an accord establishing the first permanent office of the organization in the “southern and eastern Mediterranean” region. Chakrabarti is expected to secure a similar agreement with the government of Morocco on December 4.
An article in The New York Times highlighted that Tunisians’ expectations for economic recovery since the revolution have been greater than the government’s actual capacity to meet such demands. “The gross domestic product is down, unemployment is up, debt and inflation are growing and social unrest is simmering,” according to Neil MacFarquhar. In efforts to jump start the economy, the World Bank approved a $500 million loan on Tuesday, whereas the U.S. has contributed $300 million since the revolution, the European Union $400 million over two years, and Qatar $500 million alone this year. Libya also signed on to help the Tunisian government by sending a “200-million dinar (98 million euros) development package” in an effort to deepen ties formed during both countries respective revolutions.
Despite the government’s efforts to cover its annual budget and create jobs, protests and unrest continued over the past week, due primarily to increasing unemployment rates among a growing youth population. As a result, opposition parties announced they would pursue a vote of no confidence, to express what they called “their rejection of the coalition’s failure to fulfill the basic demands of the nation.”