Japan will consider financial assistance to Tunisia once an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is reached, announced the head of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tanaka Akihiko.
Tunisian Minister of Economy and Planning, Samir Saied, last week signed a memorandum of understanding for several projects in many sectors, such as infrastructure, renewable energy, etc.
The projects will be presented to the Japanese authorities to obtain the necessary financial funds.
Fund approval is Japan’s main condition for launching the projects.
The Japanese official added that the agreement with the IMF would serve as the basis for discussions with financial institutions, including JICA.
“Once the agreement is concluded, Tunisia will be required to introduce the necessary economic reforms,” he said.
Japan will be ready to provide financial assistance when the reforms are undertaken.
The Fund demanded an “economic reform package” aimed at subsidizing essential consumer goods, reforming the financial balances of central government institutions and the tax system, and cutting public sector wages.
Economist and financial expert Ezzeddine Saidane said securing funds from major international financial institutions goes hand in hand with advancing Tunisia’s negotiations with the IMF.
Saidane said Tunisia is awaiting IMF approval for the economic reform program to be implemented between the two parties.
He stressed that the organization of major economic forums and conferences is essential to explain the benefits of investing in Tunisia, noting that the establishment of an appropriate investment environment is essential.
The expert stressed that the state is required to direct investments, indicating that in 2010 it invested about 25% of the country’s budget for development, which has now fallen to no more than 3%.
Saidane believes that if the state is reluctant to invest, local and foreign private entities will have no incentive to invest.
The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8), held last weekend in Tunis, resulted in the presentation of a set of economic projects, including 81 from the Tunisian private sector .
A set of agreements was also signed during the conference.
The Tunisian government has submitted 47 projects to Japanese financial institutions in several areas, including health, environment, higher education, infrastructure, water desalination, transport, renewable energy and green economy.
Japan has provided Tunisia with $100 million in financial assistance to mitigate the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.