Italy promises IMF help to stabilize Tunisia

ROME (AP) – Italy on Thursday pledged a raft of investments in Tunisia and help negotiate an International Monetary Fund bailout package as Rome seeks to stabilize the North African country’s economic crisis and stem the rising number of migrants heading to the European nation come.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says Tunisia is experiencing its worst crisis in a generation, with inflation hovering around 11% and growing food shortages. The government is negotiating a $2-4 billion loan with the IMF to deal with a budget deficit exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the Russian war in Ukraine.

But in exchange for a deal, Tunisia would have to commit to painful reforms, including downsizing its public sector sector – one of the largest in the world – which eats up about a third of the national budget. The IMF is also calling for the phasing out of subsidies and the privatization of state-owned companies, which means massive layoffs and worsening unemployment.

Tajani vowed to work on Tunisia’s behalf in negotiations with the IMF, reiterating Italy’s suggestion that the loan be made in two tranches and not be fully dependent on all reforms. Italy wants a stable and prosperous Tunisia because it has become a key departure point for some of the 31,000 migrants who have reached Italy so far this year.

Political cartoons about world leaders

Political cartoons


“For us, the main thing is to ensure Tunisia’s stability,” said Tajani.

While stressing that Italy cannot act as a “colonizer” and demand reforms from the government in Tunis, he said the international community cannot underestimate Tunisia’s strategic importance in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

“Because there are other interests – and I’m thinking of Russia and even China – that are coming,” he said.

Most migrants leaving Tunisia are not Tunisians. Data from Italy’s Interior Ministry shows that most migrants arriving in Italy this year via all migration routes are from Ivory Coast, followed by Guinea and Pakistan. In fourth place are the Tunisians with around 2,450 new arrivals in Italy.

Tajani announced the negotiation of a pilot project to encourage legal migration from Tunisia and said plans include initially training 4,000 Tunisians in their country for various jobs in Italy. That’s in addition to the number of Tunisians taken in by Italy each year, Tajani said.

Italy also plans to sponsor an investment conference in Tunisia later this year with the participation of Italian companies to encourage direct investment in small and medium-sized enterprises, Tajani said. He promised short, medium and long-term investments.

Ammar, who did not stay to answer questions at the press conference, promised that Tunisia was interested in working with Italy on the migration dossier.

“People need to stay on their territory and there is significant potential in that area,” he said.

AP reporter Elaine Ganley contributed from Paris.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.

Brian Ashcraft is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button