Saudi Arabia on Thursday said it will give Tunisia financial assistance valued at $500 million, including a $100 million grant, as the North African country grapples with crippling inflation and debt.
The announcement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency followed a visit by Tunisia’s Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar as part of a Gulf tour this week aimed at drumming up financial support.
Ammar also made stops in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
“The Kingdom offers a soft loan and grant to the Republic of Tunisia in the amount of $500 million,” SPA said, without providing additional details.
The financial assistance consists of a $400 million soft loan and a $100 million grant, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Tunis, Abdel Aziz al-Saqer, told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television on Thursday.
Tunisia is struggling under crippling inflation and debt estimated at around 80 percent of its gross domestic product.
Last October, the North African country reached an agreement in principle with the International Monetary Fund for nearly $2 billion, but discussions have since stalled.
President Kais Saied, who assumed near total governing powers since July 2021, has repeatedly rejected what he calls the “diktats” of the IMF before a loan is granted.
On Sunday, Saied reiterated his rejection of IMF demands to lift subsidies on basic products and services, namely oil and electricity, as well as the restructuring of 100 state-owned firms.