The United States strongly supports the Tunisian people as they lay the foundation for a future of economic prosperity that empowers a new generation, strengthens civil society and solidifies the foundation of democracy.
Tunisians have charted their own political transition. USAID has answered Tunisian requests for support for economic growth, democratic governance, and expanded opportunities—areas that are interlinked in this transition environment.
Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
USAID is strengthening participatory and inclusive political processes and has worked with the government and civil society to support a more progressive legal environment for non-governmental organizations. In October 2011, USAID assisted Tunisia in organizing and administering what were widely hailed as free and fair multiparty elections for a Constituent Assembly, which is drafting a new constitution in 2013.
USAID is also supporting Tunisians in their pursuit of a peaceful democratic transition. Specific efforts focus around en-couraging broad participation in the political transition with a particular emphasis on youth and women engagement; providing tangible benefits of the revolution by working with local organizations to identify and respond to community priorities; supporting constructive citizen-government relationships; and advancing dialogue on key transitional issues. By providing material and technical support to communities, civil society organizations and local institutions, USAID is helping to build democratic resiliency, increase citizen participation in democratic life and bolster positive change, particularly in areas where the sense of marginalization and disenfranchisement may challenge a stable political transition.
Economic Growth and Trade
Following the Tunisian revolution in January 2011, USAID stepped in with a broad range of economic assistance and part-nerships. In May 2012, the United States provided the Tunisian government with a $100 million cash transfer for short-term fiscal relief. USAID also put in place a $485 million sovereign loan guarantee to support the country’s economic stabilization and economic reform goals. Most recently, USAID capitalized a $20 million U.S.-Tunisian Enterprise Fund that will invest in the small and medium enterprises that are the engines of sustainable job creation in Tunisia. USAID is also implementing a $20 million four-year economic growth project to increase the competitiveness of Tunisia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector to support small and medium enterprise development, as well as skills training and placement into local ICT firms. In addition, USAID is supporting the Tunisian private sector through (i) a $3.3 million public-private partnership with Hewlett Packard and UNIDO to support enterprise development and entrepreneurship training, (ii) a $2.9 million program with the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF) to provide small grants to support and sustain local entrepreneurs, and (iii) a $1.2 million activity to strengthen Tunisia’s economic competitiveness by providing support to small business development centers in Tunisia and export-ready SMEs to boost Tunisia’s exports.
USAID provided $50,000 to the Tunisian Red Crescent (TRC) to address the humanitarian needs of economically vulnerable Tunisians following unrest in the country in 2011. In addition, USAID provided $50,000 to the TRC for emergency assistance and then relief commodities in response to the large-scale population outflows from Libya into Tunisia as a result of the Libyan conflict in 2011. USAID also provided $3 million through the UN World Food Program for food assistance benefiting Tunisian host communities, Libyans, and other displaced nationals.
Last updated: September 26, 2013