The loan will be used to finance the civil works and consulting services related to the construction of a 50-kilometre, four-lane highway between the cities of El-Jem and Sfax. The project is part of a larger scheme to upgrade the 140-kilometre highway linking the capital Tunis to Sfax via M’Saken. The European Investment Bank will finance the northern segment of the motorway between M’Saken and El-Jem.

The existing dual-lane road is among the busiest in Tunisia, connecting the capital and the country’s second largest city, Sfax. The upgrade is part of an infrastructure development initiative as part of the country’s ninth five-year development plan, which has earmarked 80 per cent of the transport sector’s budget to road projects.

The share of the loan allocated for civil works carries an interest rate of 2.2 per cent and is repayable over a period of 25 years, with a grace period of seven years. The share of the loan to be used for consulting services has an interest rate of 0.75 per cent and is repayable over a period of 40 years, with a 10-year grace period.