WASHINGTON (AFP) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday approved a USD745 million emergency loan for Tunisia as it continues to roll out an unprecedented number of aid packages to countries battling the coronavirus.
“These resources will help address urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic” in Tunisia, the IMF said in a statement.
The nation has been hit hard by the virus, and the economy is expected to contract by 4.3 per cent this year, the fund said, which would be the deepest recession since Tunisia’s independence in 1956.
The funding will be used to finance health measures, strengthen social safety nets and help businesses weather the crisis.
Tunisia has officially declared over 600 cases of COVID-19, including 25 deaths, since reporting its first case at the beginning of March.
The IMF has been moving swiftly to reply to an unheard-of 90 simultaneous requests for crisis funding. On Friday alone, the fund approved loans for Albania, Kosovo, Malta and North Macedonia.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the fund has USD1 trillion in lender ammunition available, and the IMF board this week doubled its fast-deploying emergency facilities to USD100 billion.