June 28, 2018 / 6:37 PM / a year ago

World Bank approves $500 million loan for Tunisia: state news agency

TUNIS (Reuters) - The World Bank has approved a new $500 million loan to support economic reforms in Tunisia, the state news agency said on Thursday.

The loan is aimed at promoting private investment and creating opportunities for small businesses, while protecting vulnerable households and increasing energy security, TAP news agency said.

It will also support concrete actions to simplify import and export procedures, open sectors to investment, and improve access to credit for small businesses and create a more sustainable and greener energy sector, TAP said.

Tunisia dropped into a deep economic slump following the overthrow in 2011 of autocratic leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Praised as a model of democratic transition, it has so far mostly failed to deliver on planned economic reforms to help create jobs and cut public deficits.

Successive governments have failed to cut the budget deficit, and Tunisia needs $3 billion in foreign loans this year alone.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Andrew Roche and Andrew Heavens

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