In recent years, Egyptians have experienced a noticeable decline in their standard of living with the devaluation of the national currency and at the same time a substantial rise in the cost of goods and services. Something quite unusual in a country where over the past few decades changes have always been gradual. Egyptians interpret their difficulties as a consequence of the implementation of the “Economic reform” aimed at bringing the country out of the current crisis with a series of austerity measures decided by the IMF.
In November 2016, Tunis hosted an international conference, Tunisia 2020. Co-organised by the Tunisian, French and Qatari governments, its ambition was to garner from the “friendly countries” in attendance investment pledges for projects contributing to growth and job creation as well as significant financial support. The problem is that the promised financial support appears never to have been forthcoming, and the Tunisian government has been obliged to go into debt on the financial markets. This situation has prompted several observers to wonder publicly: “Where are Tunisia’s friends?”
On July 2, The Guardian announced that the British government had concluded a contract with advertising agency M&C Saatchi for a communications campaign to benefit the Tunisian government. The revelation, fueled by the declarations of Britain’s ambassador to Tunisia and statements made by the spokesman for Tunisia’s Presidency, shed light on the growing implication of foreign countries in Tunisia under the convenient pretext of « strengthening capacities ». A problem all the more critical because it is the Tunisian government requesting foreign assistance.