Tunisia needs $125 billion in funding over five years: report

Reuters News
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Posted: May 29, 2011 8:28 AM

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's government said it needs $125 billion in funding over the next five years to finance a massive economic program aimed at boosting growth and cutting unemployment, state-run news agency TAP said on Sunday.

The government presented a plan to support its new development program to the Group of Eight Summit in Deauville earlier this week, TAP said, at which G8 nations pledged $25 billion in loans to Tunisia.

Public consultation is set to begin in Tunisia on the program, which will address good governance, the modernization of infrastructure, human resource development, economic integration in the global markets and the modernization of the financial sector.

The agency gave no details of the source of the extra funds.

Nearly a quarter of Tunisia's population currently lives below the poverty line and unemployment affects 700,000 people, including a majority of young people, Tunisian Minister of Social Affairs Mohamed Ennacer said on Saturday.

Protests against poverty and unemployment in Tunisia toppled former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14 after 23 years of autocratic rule, sparking a wave of similar protests across the Arab world.

Internal forecasts suggest that Tunisia's economy will grow by a mere 1-2 percent this year due to ongoing uncertainty, mainly because of a crisis in tourism and successive strikes.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Jan Harvey; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)