Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

The World Bank’s Board of Directors approved two new loans worth US$520 million yesterday, providing additional financing to address Tunisia’s food security challenge and to balance regional disparities through improved road corridor connectivity in the country.

The two projects are aligned with the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF) 2023-2027 for Tunisia, which aims to strengthen human capital and increase economic opportunities countrywide,” said Alexandre Arrobbio, World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia. “In close partnership with the Tunisian Government, we’ve also synchronized the projects with key national strategies, such as the National Development Plan (2023-2025),” he added.

A loan of US$300 million will supplement the Emergency Food Security Response Project, which is helping to cope with the impact of four consecutive years of drought in Tunisia, including a difficult cereal harvest in 2023. This project aims to streamline wheat imports and support small-scale producers by providing barley for milk production and climate-resilient seeds for wheat producers. The funding is part of a comprehensive assistance coordinated with other development partners to strengthen the country’s resilience to future food-related challenges.

Since the food security parent project was approved in June 2022, Tunisia’s government has sought to improve the country’s grain sector. Initiatives include measures to boost domestic production, reduce food waste, increase the cereals value chain added-value, and manage drought-related production risks. The project allowed to provide barley to 126,000 dairy farmers and certified climate-smart wheat seeds to 16,362 smallholder farmers and allowed to maintain continued supply of bread through the provision of 160,099 metric tons of soft wheat.

The second loan, the US$220 million Tunisia Economic Development Corridor project, aims to reduce regional economic disparities along the Kasserine – Sidi Bouzid – Sfax corridor by developing the corridor’s infrastructure, focusing on 65 km of roadworks, and upgrading 117 km of feeder roads for physical access, as well as the capitalization of the Deposit and Consignment Fund’s (CDC) Impact Fund which will improve access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

The project will therefore benefit households that rely on road access for mobility which would improve in line with enhancements to road infrastructure; businesses that rely on connectivity that the corridor provides; SMEs benefitting from increased access to finance; as well as women benefiting from enhanced access to agricultural lands and improved financing.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The World Bank Group.

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