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EIB: 1.87 billion Euros to finance priority projects in Tunisia

Published the:  03/03/2011

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March 3, 2011 TAP – A fund of 1.87 billion Euros (more than 3.6 billion dinars), has been put at Tunisia's disposal by the European Investment Bank (EIB), after assessment of the country's priorities, announced, on Thursday in Tunis, Mr. Philippe de Fontaine Vive, the Bank's Deputy Chairman.
In a news conference held at the end of his two-day visit in Tunisia, Mr. De Fontaine Vive voiced will to accompany the democratic transition in Tunisia, specifying that the priorities fixed centre, in particular, round speeding up disbursement of a 1-billion-euro fund (about 2 billion dinars), already allocated in 2009 and 2010, on public projects in the sectors of sanitation, energy and road infrastructures.
Additionally, accompanying the creation and development of the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by means of mobilizing EIB credit lines to Tunisian banks and leasing companies, i.e. an amount of 260 million Euros (500 million dinars).
EIB also plans to support, with an amount worth 140 million Euros (270 million dinars), the construction of the new Mdhila manufacture of the Tunisian Chemical Group (GCT) to strengthen this group's position to export. This financing is awaiting the European Commission's go-ahead.
This institution will also mobilize an amount worth 160 million Euros (310 million dinars), for the implementation of a large program of road modernization, granting priority to the road infrastructure in the inland regions.
Besides, the European bank has plans to finance by 310 million Euros (more than 600 million dinars), several significant projects, notably in the underprivileged zones: local communities equipments, SMEs, and energy in the gas sector.
Mr. De Fontaine Vive specified that the priorities, fixed in consultation with the Tunisian authorities, target the job-creating projects and improvement of the Tunisians' daily life.
He said that clear signals to the Tunisian and foreign investors have been sent meaning that new Tunisia is likely to reach, late this year and surely starting from next year, higher growth rate.
He said that, through the mobilization of these funds, EIB intends to contribute to a better distribution of the fruits of development in Tunisia, noting that other projects could be financed depending on the needs expressed by the government or civil society, in the sectors of health, education or vocational training.
EIB Deputy Chairman pointed out that the different European structures—specialized and bilateral agencies—all agree that the time has come to re-launch co-operation with Tunisia.
Answering a question on the possibility of a Marshal Plan for the Mediterranean, he said that a plan of global revival of investment is likely to open up new prospects in matters of job creation and fair distribution of riches.
On the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM), the European official estimated that Union needs to be re-conceived of in such a fashion as to help it better accompany the change taking place in the region.
He paid tribute to the "extremely positive attitude of the Tunisian people, particularly executives of the public establishments who carry on working, in spite of the conditions prevailing in the country".