The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, visited Tunisia last week and reaffirmed strong support for the country in its historic transition to a more stable post-revolution era.
Following their meeting with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, the UN Chief said that he had congratulated Essebsi on the democratic progress that Tunisia was making and lauded the efforts of the president to reduce social and economic inequalities in the country. “I assured him that the United Nations supports Tunisia’s citizens and Government at a time when the country is in transition,” said Ban Ki-moon.
Honoring victims of terrorism in Tunisia, Ban Ki-moon also expressed the global community’s concern against terrorist attacks in the country and full support for its fight against terrorism. The UN Chief later laid a wreath at the Bardo national museum in the capital, Tunis in remembrance of the 22 people who were killed in a terror attack in March 2015.
While on the economic front, the World Bank president called for a sharper focus on creating jobs for disenfranchised youth and spurring economic growth in the country’s lagging regions. Tunisia’s economy has suffered in recent months because of insecurity and a significant drop in tourism.
The World Bank estimates that GDP per capita fell by 10 percent in 2015, with tourist arrivals and foreign investment shrinking by one-third. While the national unemployment rate stands at 15.3 percent.
Currently, the World Bank is working with Tunisia’s government on a strategy aimed at reviving the economy and will lend the North African country $5 billion over a period of five years. Secretary General Ban and Mr. Kim were on the final leg of a five-day, four-country tour of the region that also took them to Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.