June 13, 2017 / 10:41 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-World Bank approves $500 million loan for Tunisia

(Adds World Bank comment, senior economist's quote)

TUNIS, June 13 (Reuters) - The World Bank on Tuesday approved a $500 million loan to support Tunisia's budget, a government official for the North African country said on Tuesday.

The funding followed the release by the International Monetary Fund of a delayed $320-million tranche of Tunisia's IMF loan, after the government agreed to speed up economic reforms.

Praised as a model of democratic transition following its 2011 uprising to oust autocrat leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has so far mostly failed to deliver on planned economic reforms to help create jobs and cut public deficits.

In a statement, the World Bank said the funding would support economic reforms to improve the business environment and boost investor confidence, as well as help expand access to finance.

"Along with supporting the implementation of the new competition and investment laws, this development policy loan will help the government's efforts to improve the efficiency of public investments and promote greater participation of the private sector through public-private partnerships," said Abdoulaye Sy, the bank's senior economist for Tunisia.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Richard Chang

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