After a four month delay which prompted observers to convey their concerns and suspicions about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) « lending freeze, » Tunisia is set to receive the second installment of its four-year $2.9 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan. The Tunisian government has agreed to set to work immediately with « delayed structural reforms, » including reducing spending on wages in the public sector and devaluing the national currency.
If important steps have been taken to improve management and optimize exploitation of State-owned agricultural lands and alleviate the debts of tenants who lease these properties, adopted measures are yet limited and incomplete … Working at the very heart of a sector upon which depends the country’s food security and, to a certain extent, the economy, Tunisian farmers have yet to gain substantial financial backing, adequate legal support, and due political recognition. Moving onward from a year of climatic fluctuations and political violence which have had devastating effects upon the sector, government officials and decision-makers will do well to recognize and invest in agriculture as the base from which sovereignty, security, and stability can grow.
Earlier this month, Nawaat visited one of four regions in Tunisia where the French Compagnie Générale des Salines de Tunisie, or COTUSAL, extracts and produces salt for the local market and for export. The ensuing report, which elicited a prompt response from the company, is the most recent in a series of articles from the past year that explore the legal, economic, and environmental implications of the company’s operations in Tunisia.