Recognizing that Tunisia is facing significant economic challenges after the revolution, the United States of America today underscored it is helping Tunisia to stabilize its own economy.
On his remarks at the opening of the Tunisia Investment Forum, UNder Secretary Robert D. Hormats for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment said because of the Tunisian Government’s demonstrated commitment to these efforts, the United States is a strong champion of Tunisia as a country with the potential to grow and succeed as a dynamic, job-creating economy, and as an important destination for foreign direct investment.
“And we have demonstrated our belief in Tunisia’s potential. I will give you a few recent examples.” -Mr. Hormats
He says the United States is helping stabilize the Tunisian economy by extending a guarantee that will enable the central bank to issue bonds worth several hundred million dollars to international investors.
Both two governments signed a bilateral agreement on this guarantee operation just last week in Washington, he cited.
The United States provided a $100 million cash transfer to the Government of Tunisia for near-term debt relief, he announced.
Mr. Hormats stresses that this cash transfer allowed the Government of Tunisia to use money otherwise intended for debt payments abroad for its priority domestic programs, accelerating economic growth and job creation.
The U.S. government is also keen on promoting small and medium-sized enterprise development through the use of Enterprise Funds, Mr. Hormats stressed.
As chair of the Group of Eight this year, the US government ise working with its partners, regional countries, and international financial institutions to promote better economic governance.
“We have done this because of our friendship and partnership with Tunisia, but also because we hope others who share this view will invest in Tunisia’s future.” -Mr. Hormats
For the U.S. State Department, Mr. Hormats notes that today is Global Economic Statecraft Day.
“Today the Secretary and each of our Embassies are holding events to highlight America’s commitment to putting economics at the center of our foreign policy.” -Mr. Hormats
He notes that the transitions in Tunisia and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa region, are shaping the world.
Increasingly, political transitions hinge on global economic progress, just as economic progress depends on good political reform, he noted.
He states that sound economic policies and programs in Washington, Tunis, and other capitals must play a central role in shaping our choices and responses.
“Our partnership with Tunisia is an excellent example of our commitment to this approach.” -Mr. Hormats
The US governmet is using its available economic and diplomatic tools to help Tunisia’s challenges and unlock the flow of investment to and trade with Tunisia.
The United States looks to other governments and companies throughout the world to make similar connections, not just because it is good for Tunisia, but also because in an interdependent world it is good for them as well, Mr. Hormats added.
US support includes the bilateral and multilateral support I mentioned earlier.
“But it also means looking for ways that the U.S. private sector can play a key role in Tunisia’s transition and economic development.” -Mr. Hormats
He emphasizes that Tunisia can count on a continued partnership with US Embassy, President Obama, Secretary Clinton, myself and other leaders and officials in Washington.
“We share a deep friendship with the Tunisian people, great respect for its leaders, confidence in its reform process, and an optimism about its future.” -Mr. Hormats
On March this year, as an ardent supporter of Tunisia’s democratic progress and economic success, the United States announced that pending Congressional notification and review, the US governmen will provide a $100 million cash transfer to the Government of Tunisia for short-term fiscal relief.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the money will go directly to debt that Tunisia owes the World Bank and African Development Bank.
The initiative will allow the Government of Tunisia to instead use the money for its priority programs, accelerating economic growth and job creation.
The US support to Tunisia would be in addition to the sovereign loan guarantee agreement currently being negotiated between the United States and the Government of Tunisia.
The agreement will allow Tunisia to use $30 million from the United States to open up access to several hundred million dollars in new financing from international capital markets for the Tunisian government.
The United States ensures that democracy delivers for the Tunisian people, and to help Tunisian businesses either large and small become engines of job creation.
As Tunisia continue to chart a democratic future after the successful revolution, the United States remains a committed partner in working with the Tunisian government, private sector, and civil society to develop institutions of governance, and in laying the economic foundations for Tunisia to thrive as a 21st century democracy.
The U.S. government is an ardent supporter of Tunisia’s democratic progress and economic success, hoping it will set an example for other countries in the region that have overthrew autocratic rulers.
On October 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed to help the Tunisians as they pursue a more peaceful, prosperous and democratic future.
Since the Revolution, the United States has committed approximately $190 million in total assistance to support Tunisia’s transition which focused on technical and financial assistance to Tunisia’s economy and private sector.
In addition, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation is working to invest roughly $150 million in Tunisia. The United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation has exteded financial support in the form of direct loans, guarantees, and political risk insurance for the Tunisians.
It was the people of Tunisia that inspired the region earlier on 2011 when they stood up to demand democracy and freedom, sparking a wave of popular uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East.
Reports say the Tunisian transition has made great progress in the past year, culminating in the holding of peaceful and orderly elections in October 2011 that led to the establishment of a Constituent Assembly.