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Zoellick: WB, G8 countries and AfDB wish to provide their support to Tunisia

Published the:  04/05/2011

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May 4, 2011 TAP - Interim President Foued Mebazaa received, on Wednesday in Carthage, World Bank (WB) President Robert Zoellick, presently on a visit in Tunisia.
Mr. Mebazaa voiced consideration to the World Bank for its assistance and solidarity with Tunisia at this decisive stage, "an assistance that shores up Government efforts to improve the socio-economic situation and achieve a comprehensive development, one which will be beneficial and equitable to all classes and regions of the country."
The employment issue, the Caretaker President stressed, in particular the higher-education graduates, is the main challenge facing Tunisia. The State will spare no effort to stimulate investment and encourage private initiative, notably in the interior regions, to take up this challenge, he asserted.
Mr. Mebazaa also reviewed the key steps covered on the path of democratic transition, reasserting determination to combine all conditions to ensure success to this process and keenness to hold elections to the Constituent Assembly in total fairness and complete transparency.
For his part, the WB President said he had "congratulated, through President Mebazaa, all Tunisian people for the incredible events of the Jasmine Revolution and all the work carried out afterwards."
"What is taking place today in Tunisia is historic," Mr. Zoellick added, pointing out that these events touch on all Tunisians, including components of civil society, "which requires joining of all efforts to guarantee success."
The events, which started in Tunisia, have impacted the whole region, also reminded the WB President, underlining in this connection that "in view of the stakes, their success has become imperative."
Mr. Zoellick also pointed out that he had come to Tunisia "to lend a receptive ear and learn," notably about the political change process and elections to the Constituent Assembly.
"We discussed the file of the economic challenges and the hardships the country is facing, especially in the most underprivileged regions," Mr. Zoellick stressed.
In this connection, he reminded that "the WB, the G8 countries and the African Development Bank (AfDB) wish to provide their support" to Tunisia.
The World Bank will grant Tunisia a 500-million-dollar loan and an additional one of 125 million dollars for funding development projects. AfDB will also grant a loan worth 500 million dollars, he announced during the talk.
The next G8 summit will mobilise all the necessary support to guarantee success of transition in Tunisia, he further said.
"We have reviewed the work the WB has already started in Tunisia which, we hope, will be carried on with the new Government," he said.
The meeting also turned on the situation in Libya and its implications in Tunisia, he also specified.
The talk was attended by Foreign Minister Mohamed Mouldi Kéfi.