September 20, 2018 / 6:09 PM / in 3 months

World bank disburses $500 million loan to support Tunisia budget

TUNIS (Reuters) - The World Bank has disbursed a $500 million loan to support Tunisia’s budget, an official source told Reuters on Thursday.

The disbursement raised Tunisia’s foreign exchange reserves to the equivalent of 78 days of imports, up from the equivalent of 68 days seen in recent weeks.

The North African country’s economy has been in crisis since the toppling of autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, with unemployment and inflation shooting up.

Tunisia plans to issue $1 billion in bonds in early October to help cover 2018’s deficit, a senior official told Reuters last week.

Tunisia expects economic growth to accelerate to 3.5 percent next year from an expected 2.9 percent in 2018, driven by a recovery of the tourism industry and an expanding agricultural sector.

Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing byh Andrew Heavens

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