Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the Conclusion of her Visit to Tunisia

Press Release No. 12/32
February 2, 2012

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde made the following statement today in Tunis at the end of her visit to Tunisia.

“It has been a pleasure to come to Tunisia on my first visit to the region as Managing Director. I come with a message of support to Tunisia and its people who have set an excellent example for a smooth transition to democracy. I have come to listen to our friends in Tunisia and to hear how we can best support their important transition.

“I have had very fruitful discussions with President Moncef Marzouki, Head of Government Hamadi Jebali, President of the Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jaâfar, Minister of Finance Houcine Dimassi, and Central Bank Governor Mustapha Nabli about their plans to restore confidence in the Tunisian economy and to put it on a sustainable path of job-creating and inclusive growth.

“I also met with representatives of the private sector and the youth, as well as women leaders, civil society, and trade unions. This was a great opportunity to get a better sense of the profound changes that have taken place since my last visit—shortly after the Arab Spring—as a minister in France.

“Developing a new broad vision for the Tunisian economy and identifying priority reforms through a participatory social dialogue is crucial to move forward with the transition. Bringing concrete solutions to the under-development of the inner regions and high youth unemployment will be particularly important. Investors and the population at large need to regain confidence in the future of the economy, to look beyond the short-term difficulties and provide the foundations for a rebound of the Tunisian economy.

“We have to recognize that the short-term economic outlook for Tunisia is strained. The ongoing weakness in the global economy and recent turmoil on global financial markets due to the Euro zone crisis are weighing on the country’s economy through weaker trade and investment flows, and lower tourism receipts and remittances.

“The IMF is a partner to Tunisia and stands ready to help in any way the Tunisian people find useful, including by providing financial assistance. The 2012 version of the IMF differs from the past and has been closely engaged with the Tunisian authorities since the revolution in the form of technical assistance and a policy dialogue on the options they are considering to cope with the current economic downturn and develop a medium-term macroeconomic framework.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Tunisian authorities and people for their warm welcome, and wish them all success in their political and economic transition.”



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