Tunisia has secured a loan of $87.1 million from the African Development Bank.
The credit facility will be used in financing Tunisia’s grain sector, the country’s Economy and Planning Minister Samir Saied said in the capital, Tunis, on Wednesday.
The African Development Bank was represented at the deal-signing by Deputy Director General for North Africa Region Malinne Blomberg.
Tunisia will repay the loan over a period of 24 years. The debt also has a grace period of four-and-a-half years.
Saied stated that the $87.1 million will be used to increase the country's strategic grain storage capacity from two to three months' requirements.
This will be done through the rehabilitation and modernisation of the Rades and Bizerte port silos, the creation of a new silo at Djebel Djeloud and the relaunch of grain transport by rail, said the economy minister.
Wheat and barley are the grains that Tunisia is seeking to boost their supply locally.
External shock factors
Saied noted that relying on the domestic market for grain would cushion Tunisia against external shock factors such as the war in Ukraine and climate change.
Tunisia has experienced drought that has led to the reduction of domestic grain harvest. The country needs at least 3.4 million tonnes of grain, but was only able to produce 250,000 tonnes in the last harvest.
African Development Bank’s deputy director general, Blomberg, said she hopes that the loan facility would help Tunisia improve grain production and minimise post-harvest losses due to insufficient storage resources.
Tunisia was among the leading beneficiaries of the discontinued Black Sea Grain Deal in Africa. Other countries were Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, Algeria, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, according to UN data.