Tunisia Rebuffs Qatari Aid Over Independence Concerns

Tunisia Rebuffs Qatari Aid Over Independence Concerns
Tunisia’s Parliament/Creative Commons/Sami Mlouhi

According to Bloomberg, Tunisia’s parliament blocked a Qatari state-run fund expanding into Tunisia on Tuesday. 

Opposition to the deal, which would provide immediate financing of around $150 million and potentially more from the Gulf state, was reportedly spearheaded by President Kais Saied's allies.

They claimed the Qatar Fund for Development’s proposal to open a Tunis branch could undermine Tunisia’s national sovereignty and contradicted Saied’s self-reliance agenda.  

Some also linked the funding to alleged Qatari support for Islamist groups, including the Ennahda party – some of whose members have been arrested since Saied expanded his powers in 2021.  

The rebuff comes just months after Saied turned down a $1.9 billion bailout from the IMF. That deal fell apart after Saied refused to enact spending cuts that he called “foreign diktats”. 

Tunisia is struggling with low growth and high levels of youth unemployment. It also faces looming debt obligations and spending requirements estimated to total $9 billion this year. 

Qatar has historically been one of Tunisia’s largest financial backers but analysts expect Tunisia is now likely to turn to other Arab nations like Algeria and Saudi Arabia for financial assistance. 


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