The World Bank plans to spend $60m on infrastructure projects in Tunisia’s rural northwest region. The largest component of the initiative includes the rehabilitation and construction of rural roads and water collection facilities.

The programme is currently being appraised for its viability and is expected to be approved in October this year. Tenders are expected to follow for the road works in the last quarter of this year. The initiative is scheduled to be complete by the last quarter of 2013.    

The project will be managed by the rural region’s development office, Odesypano, with its primary goal being to build roads and infrastructure to support agriculture, fishing and forestry throughout the districts of Beja, Bizerte, Le Kef, Jendouba and Siliana.

The World Bank obligation includes a $48m loan over a five-year period. An additional $9m will be put forth by Odesypano, with the final $3m provided by the separate municipalities.

According to the World Bank, the proposed project development objectives are as follows: 

  • To improve the socio-economic conditions of the rural population in the project areas.
  • To improve natural resource management and conservation practices in these areas.
  • To introduce an integrated participatory approach (IPA) to community-based development 

This is the fourth Bank-supported community development plan in the region, the most recent of which was a $45m World Bank infrastructure initiative, which finished in July 2009. Before that a $50m initiative was completed in 2001 and a $24m project in 1990.

The Tunisian government has officially requested continued World Bank assistance to co-finance a fifth development project in the region beginning in 2011.