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Belgium to convert €2.9 million of Tunisian debt into development projects", says Belgian Prime Minister

Published the:  26/04/2018

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(TAP Correspondent Sofien Manai) - Belgium will convert € 2.9 million of Tunisian debt arrears into development projects, equivalent to 11% of the total amount of its debt to Belgium, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel announced Thursday in Brussels.

Of a total of €23 million of the entire debt of Tunisia to Belgium, €2.9 million will be converted into investment to revive the economy of Tunisia, he said after his meeting with Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

This measure will be submitted next May to the Belgian Council of Ministers for approval, said Tarek Ben Salem, advisor to the Prime Minister in charge of diplomatic affairs.

In a statement to TAP, he said that the conversion of part of the Tunisian debt to Belgium in investment reflects the commitment made by Belgium in this area to support the socio-economic development of Tunisia, in accordance with its Development Plan.

The effort is currently focused on identifying the priority projects to be undertaken, he said, citing as an example, the areas of health, education, infrastructure, employment, energy renewable energies and the development of SMEs.

On another issue, the adviser reported a sharp rise in Belgian tourists who choose the destination Tunisia, especially after the lifting of travel restrictions by their country.

"The number of Belgian tourists, which was around 23 thousand a year ago, reached some 50 thousand in the first quarter of 2018, up 120%," he said.

The Chahed-Michel meeting in Brussels discussed the relations between Tunisia and the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) and between Tunisia and European Union countries. It also focused on investment, municipal elections, decentralisation, individual freedoms and ways to boost economic, security and political cooperation.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister had a meeting with the speaker of the Belgian parliament.

The meeting discussed parliamentary co-operation and ways to help Tunisia achieve its political transition