August 28, 2019 / 2:35 PM / 22 days ago

U.S. gives Tunisia $335 million in financial aid over five years

TUNIS (Reuters) - The United States has agreed to give Tunisia financial aid worth $335 million over five years to support its democratic transition, the Tunisian Development and International Cooperation‮ ‬Ministry said Wednesday.

The aid will be financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

“Aid will fund projects that encourage private initiative, create new employment opportunities for young people, and improve governance towards supporting democratic transition”, the ministry said in statement.

Tunisia was the spark of the Arab Spring revolts that toppled a number of authoritarian regimes around North Africa and the Middle East.

Only in Tunisia, however, did a peaceful transition to democracy follow, but the country remains mired in an economic crisis that has bred discontent especially among young people.

Unemployment stands at about 15%, up from 12% in 2010, due to weak growth, low investment, and high inflation, which was 6.5% last month. Impatience is rising among lending institutions such as the International Monetary Fund that have helped keep Tunisia afloat and are pressing for economic reforms.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Peter Graff and Angus MacSwan

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