The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s financing institution, is granting two loans totaling 260 million euro for the modernization of 30 hospitals in Tunisia and to support long-term investment by the country’s SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
These operations are being financed under the EIB’s new Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), whose aim is to foster development of the private sector and its socio-economic environment.
They can be described as follows: 110 million euros are being devoted to the modernization or expansion of the infrastructure and improvement of the technical capabilities of thirty Tunisian regional hospitals.
This group of investments forms part of the Tunisian Tenth Economic and Social Development Plan which, under its Public Health component, aims to raise the share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) devoted to expenditure on health to six percent, and to bring the service into line with the epidemiological and demographic development of the country.
It will relate more specifically to those hospital services where modernization will have a positive impact on the reduction of infantile and prenatal mortality, the improvement of adolescent health-care and the treatment of traumatic pathology and internal medicine. In certain cases, the project will also extend to modernization of the psychiatry services.
The EIB’s financing, given its exceptionally long term (20 years), with grace periods tailored to the speed of implementation of the schemes (up to 2007), represents a major contribution to achievement of the goals of the Tenth Plan, under optimal financial conditions from the standpoint of the Tunisian social budget.
Another 150 million euro are being provided to a number of public and private banks or leasing companies for financing Tunisian SMEs in the industrial and services segment, including those operating in the tourism, health and training sectors.
This is the third global operation of this type since 1998, designed to provide Tunisian enterprises, via local banks with knowledge of the market, with the long-term resources required to finance their development, at the EIB’s advantageous rates of interest.
By way of example, the previous operation, involving 100 million euro, enabled 65 investments to be financed, with a total value of 404 million euro, and resulted in the creation of almost 3 000 jobs. This latest operation extends the EIB’s role by providing bespoke resources for Tunisian leasing companies allowing them to respond better to the needs of their clients.
Not only does the EIB’s support for development of the Tunisian private sector correspond to the principal aim of its activities in the Mediterranean Partner Countries, but it also supports the Government’s policies to improve the competitiveness of its economy and to create employment
The EIB has been operating in Tunisia, as an element of the financial cooperation between the EU and this country, since 1978. Its loans, totaling almost 1.8 billion euro, are concentrated on projects that have a fundamental impact on the economic development of the country, such as the financing of private enterprises, water supply and treatment, industrial pollution abatement and waste management, urban roads and the Tunis public transport system, the Tunisian rail network, the ports of Tunis and Sfax, and electricity distribution.
Tunisia is the third largest beneficiary of EIB financing among the Mediterranean Partner Countries. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )