Tunis in talks with Qatar over central bank deposit

Tunisia's PM says discussions ongoing over deposit by Gulf state; reportedly worth $1bn
With a population of 10.5 million people and a mobile penetration rate of 83%, Tunisia holds significant potential
By Reuters
Thu 23 May 2013 02:24 PM

Tunisia is in talks with Qatar over a deposit in Tunis' central bank "with easy conditions" Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said on Thursday.

"Qatari officials have shown their willingness to support us," he told a news conference.

He did not give details on the amount being discussed but some officials sources have said it could be around $1bn.

Larayedh, who travelled to Doha last week, said Qatari officials had said they were "ready to boost investments in Tunisia."

Last month, the International Monetary Fund said it had reached a $1.75bn loan deal with Tunisia to ease the country's financial problems since a revolution that topped the former regime two years ago.

The North African country is struggling with rising inflation, a big external deficit and an uncertain political outlook.

The February assassination of opposition politician Chokri Belaid ignited the worst street violence since the revolution. Elections expected towards the end of this year will create fresh uncertainty.

Larayedh said economic growth in the first quarter of this year was 2.7 percent.

Last month, the Qatari government agreed to provide an additional $3bn of aid to Egypt.

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