The education of young people and support for employment are now, more than ever, at the heart of the operations of the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has decided to earmark €170m (TND 383m) in new finance for those activities, including €100m (TND 225.39m) to support Tunisian businesses and their development projects. The sum of €70m (TND 157.77m) will also be allocated entirely to the education of young people, the EIB's first loan in this field in Tunisia.
"This new finance for education and businesses is vital for Tunisia as it will have a crucial effect in terms of training, employment and support for the real economy. We are financing a virtuous circle. A good education is the key to getting a job and becoming successfully integrated into society. Similarly, support for businesses leads to new jobs, particularly for the younger generation", as EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive said when the finance contracts were signed, adding: "By acting in this way, we are providing every young Tunisian with better conditions of training. We are also providing them with job opportunities."
First EIB financing operation for education of young Tunisians
This first EIB financing operation for education, totalling €70m (TND 157.77m), will enable state schools throughout Tunisia to be modernised. It will involve state primary and secondary schools but also boarding schools, the key component being the construction of 59 new buildings and renovation and extension of 310 existing schools.
This major project will also be financed by KfW and the European Commission. In addition to the modernisation of infrastructure, it will focus on the quality of the education provided to pupils, with the aim of improving the conditions available to young Tunisians for learning, training and school life. Particular attention will be paid to disadvantaged schools, in order to make them more attractive.
This project will also benefit from the full range of the EIB's expertise in financing educational facilities as a result of €7.5m in Bank support via the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF). This advice and project monitoring will focus on the quality of the education, the commitment shown by teachers and families in the schools, access for the disabled, the energy efficiency of the buildings and even the quality of the school environment.
€100m line of credit for Tunisian businesses
The EIB, aware of the key role played by the private sector in promoting growth and employment, also signed a €100m (TND 225.39m) line of credit for Tunisian businesses, specifically SMEs. The aim is to support their development projects via financial instruments adapted to the local market and on particularly attractive terms. The line of credit has already been signed with the following private banks: Arab Tunisian Bank, Arab Tunisian lease, Amen Bank, Tunisie leasing, Banque de Tunisie, Banque Tuniso-Koweitienne and Arab International Lease. Like its predecessor, this line of credit is also open to public banks.
The concrete results of this financing operation are expected to match, if not exceed, the previous line of credit signed by the EIB in December 2012, which also amounted to €100m (TND 225.39m). In just a few months – with the support of Tunisia's banking sector (banks and leasing companies) – this line of credit has enabled more than 500 projects to be financed, thereby helping to create or safeguard more than 2 800 jobs throughout Tunisia.
In view of the current liquidity crisis, this EIB support for the private sector will contribute to the consolidation of Tunisia's banking sector via the diversification of the sources of finance and the long maturities of the lines of credit offered by the EIB, which are increasingly rare on the market.
These new financing operations demonstrate the value of the partnership and the trust that has been established between Tunisia and the EIB, the country's leading international development financier. They reflect even more the EIB's strong commitment to providing concrete finance adapted to the economic and social challenges facing Tunisia. Thus, since the January 2011 democratic uprising, the EIB has signed financing operations totalling EUR 733m (TND 1.652bn) for the implementation of new projects in key sectors of the Tunisian economy such as energy, SMEs, infrastructure, education and social housing.