Tunisia asks to join EBRD as member, recipient

Reuters, Friday 24 Jun 2011

Following the pro-democratic changes in north Africa, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development may expand its membership to the region, and is looking at requests from Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco

SIDI BOUZID, Tunisia (Photo: Reuters)

Tunisia has asked to be admitted to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as a member and as a recipient country, the EBRD said on Friday.

Tunisia, like much of North Africa, was roiled by political turmoil earlier this year and has called for more foreign investment after the ousting of a long-standing authoritarian ruler.

The EBRD said last month it would look into expanding its mandate beyond its original remit of Eastern and Central Europe and start investing in the fledging democracies of North Africa. The development bank, which is already formally considering a request from Egypt, also said Morocco is seeking recipient status.

In a letter to the EBRD's President Thomas Mirow, Tunisia's Minister for Planning and International Cooperation, Abdelhamid Triki said his country had embarked on political, economic and social reforms to achieve democratic transition.

"In this context I wish to inform you that we are very much interested in having the EBRD's support in this process," Triki said, adding the country wanted the process to be completed as soon as possible.

The EBRD has calculated that it would be in a position to eventually invest around 2.5 billion euros a year in the Middle East/North Africa region without seeking additional funds from shareholders.

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