International lenders and partners have committed to providing TD34bn ($14.8bn) to Tunisia in loans and aid between 2016 and 2020.

The commitments were made during the Tunisia 2020 conference in the capital Tunis on 29 and 30 November, according to Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

The financial assistance will mainly take the form of soft loans to support projects, youth employment and innovation.

“Tunisia is facing an exceptional situation today and needs exceptional support from its partners and financial institutions,” said President Beji Caid Essebsi as he opened the conference.

Economic growth and foreign direct investment have stagnated in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution. Despite a more stable security situation and a democratically-elected government, Tunisia’s GDP grew just 1.2 per cent in the first nine months of 2016, according to the National Institute for Statistics.

Tunisia also presented 146 projects worth around €30bn to international investors at the conference. The projects, across all sectors, include 68 government funded projects, 33 public private partnership (PPP) projects, and 45 private sector projects.

The country has recently passed new PPP and investment laws which it hopes will stimulate the private sector.

Major commitments include:

  • €650m ($693m) of investment a year until 2020 by the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD), including a €46.5m loan to the Societe Tunisienne de l’Electricite et du Gaz (Steg) for smart grids in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
  • €2.5bn of support from the EIB until 2020. This includes €369.5m of loans for small & medium enterprise (SME) finance and innovation. Other loans include a €123m loan for a bridge in Bizerte with a 30-year tenor, a €100m loan for Tunisia Telecom’s 4G network development, followed by $46.5m to Steg for smart grids in partnership with the EBRD.
  • $1.5bn in loans from the Arab Fund for Social & Economic Development by 2020.
  • A $5bn financial envelope between 2016 and 2020 by the World Bank (announced previously), supporting an economic revival, the private sector, disadvantaged interior regions, youth employment and innovation.
  • €1.5 to €2bn in loans from the African Development Bank by 2020.
  • $2bn in loans from the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank.
  • Qatar promises $1.25bn of financial support. It will also postpone payments on $500m of debt.
  • €1.2bn in loans and grants from the French Development Agency by 2020, as well as wastewater, climate change adaption, phosphates, renewables and micro-finance. France will also allow Tunisia to convert debt into project investment.
  • €300m a year of support from Germany for wind projects, desalination plants, and the food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and automobile industries. Germany’s KfW will finance a desalination plant in Zarat.
  • A €300m loan from the European Commission in 2017, and similar financing each year until 2020, as well as mobilising $800m from other EU institutions by 2020 (previously announced).
  • The Saudi Fund for Development committed $800m of loans.
  • The Kuwait Development Fund promises $500m of loans over five years, and will finance a desalination plant in Kerkennah.
  • €260m in loans from Italy and a €100m grant by 2020.
  • $250m of loans from Switzerland by 2020, focused on youth employment.
  • Construction has started on the first phase of Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH)’s Tunis Bay project. It will cost TD6.5m ($2.8bn) and cover 523 hectares north of Tunis and include a financial centre. The first phase will cost $153m.
  • Qatari developer Al Majida will carry out a $200m tourism project north of Tunis.
  • A $100m interest-free deposit by Turkey in the Central Bank of Tunisia.
  • Telnet and Airbus Safran agreed to develop a microsatellite manufacturing centre in Tunisia.
  • Local Stafim and France’s PSA Group agreed to locate a Peugeot assembly facility in Tunisia.