Supporting projects that will generate growth and employment in Tunisia’s regional heartland, that is the aim of the financing agreements that were signed today, Thursday 19 December, in Tunis in the presence of Mehdi Jomâa, Industry Minister and Prime Minister appointed by the “National Dialogue”. 

Development and International Cooperation Minister Lamine Doghri and European Investment Bank Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive signed a finance contract totalling EUR 90m to support two key projects that will have a direct impact on the daily life of ordinary Tunisians. This includes a EUR 50m loan for the economic and social development of Tunisia’s local authorities and a EUR 40m loan to tackle pollution and rehabilitate the Bizerte area.

  • EUR 40m loan for tackling pollution and rehabilitating the Bizerte area

It is as lead financier that the EIB is supporting this major project to clean up Lake Bizerte and thus rehabilitate the whole area with the aim of encouraging sustainable development. This finance will make it possible to improve the health and quality of life of the fishermen and local inhabitants by significantly reducing industrial pollution and at the same time extending the urban sewerage network. The cleaning up of the coastline will also enable the area to be developed economically and socially by promoting activities such as tourism.

This project will also benefit from the EIB’s financial and technical expertise: in addition to the loan, the Bank is to make a further EUR 15m available – financed by the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF). It is fully consistent with the H2020 initiative for tackling pollution in the Mediterranean and will enable optimum use to be made of the finance thanks to an advisory and consultancy operation tailored to meeting the challenges of the project – both environmental and economic – with a view to long-lasting and sustainable development. This project is also being financed by the EBRD (EUR 20m).

  • EUR 50m loan to support economic and social development projects undertaken by local authorities

Aware of the importance of financing economic and social development projects carried out by local authorities in Tunisia, the EIB decided to support them via a EUR 50m loan. This financing operation will focus on urban renewal and the deployment of socio-educational infrastructure adapted to the needs of the local population. Special attention will be paid to promoting accessibility to public services in order to encourage social integration and to developing local SMEs in order to boost employment, particularly in the construction and services sectors. This new line of credit should be seen as part of the neighbourhood policy’s European strategy, the aim of which is to reduce regional inequalities.  Seven million Tunisians will ultimately benefit from this financing operation.

“These are important financing agreements for Tunisia and I am delighted to be here with you to sign them”, said Philippe de Fontaine Vive at the signing ceremony. “The EIB is a trusted partner of Tunisia”, he added. “By supporting SMEs and social and educational infrastructure, we shall be helping to stimulate growth and employment in the regions. By tackling pollution in the Bizerte area, we shall be improving the quality of life of the local inhabitants while in the future encouraging tourism and investment in development. This is how the EIB operates: through action that involves, above all, concrete measures to meet the needs of Tunisians as effectively as possible.”

As the leading financier of development in the Mediterranean, the EIB has been deploying all the financial and technical resources at its disposal to provide the finance needed to give practical effect to the economic and social priorities of the Mediterranean countries. Its activities are based on a constant dialogue with the Mediterranean partner countries in order to respond to their priorities in the most appropriate manner and on bilateral and multilateral cooperation in order to maximise synergies for optimum effectiveness.