FEMIP, the EIB’s financing arm for the Mediterranean region, is providing two loans to assist both the private and the public sector in Tunisia:
- The first loan of EUR 200 million will be made available to small and medium-sized enterprises through five Tunisian banks that have a strong local foothold: Amen Bank, Arab Tunisian Bank, Banque de l’Habitat, Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie and Union Bancaire pour le Commerce et l’Industrie.
- The second loan of EUR 60 million has been granted to Société Tunisienne d’Electricité et du Gaz (STEG) to underpin its investment programme for developing Tunisia's natural gas network.
Both operations will benefit from a guarantee from the Tunisian Government. The corresponding guarantee agreements were signed in Tunis by Mr Jouini, Tunisian Minister of Development and International Cooperation, and Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President responsible for FEMIP.
Helping Tunisian companies to adapt to a more diversified market economy
This fifth FEMIP loan for Tunisian SMEs since 1998 brings the total amount advanced to EUR 705 million. FEMIP seeks to stimulate the private sector, the engine of sustainable growth, in the Mediterranean partner countries, and more generally to help Tunisian companies to adjust to the increased competition resulting from the liberalisation of the economy and the progressive implementation of the free trade area with the European Union.
Supporting efficient, sustainable infrastructure to create an investment-friendly environment
It is also FEMIP's strategy to create an environment conducive to investment in the Mediterranean area by means of efficient infrastructure, in this case the natural gas transmission and distribution network. This loan also has an environmental dimension since it aims to reduce imports of petroleum products by encouraging industrial and domestic users to convert to much cleaner natural gas.
Mr de Fontaine Vive’s visit was an excellent opportunity to agree on the broad lines of FEMIP’s contribution to the implementation of Tunisia’s Eleventh Plan over the period 2008/2009. It was decided that FEMIP would concentrate on the modernisation and extension of infrastructure facilitating the development of the private sector, such as energy and transport, as well as environmental projects. In 2008, FEMIP has been approached to finance a programme of arterial roads, the extension of STEG's electricity transmission network and also an environmental upgrading programme for the phosphates industry.