Tunisia Targets 4% Economic Growth Next Year, Minister Says

Tunisia’s budget for 2014 targets an economic growth rate of about 4 percent after the government revised down this year’s forecast amid political unrest, Finance Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said.

The economy may expand between 3.2 percent and 3.6 percent in 2013, Fakhfakh said in an interview in Washington on Oct. 12 during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

More than two years after an uprising toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s transition to democracy has been complicated by the assassination of two opposition politicians. Bowing to pressure, the government has agreed to resign, though the ruling Ennahda Party has said the cabinet will remain in power until consensus is reached on a new constitution and an election timetable.

Fakhfakh, a member of the secular-leaning Ettakatol party, said steps that would allow the government to leave office, including the completion of the charter, may be concluded by mid-November. “Our biggest goal is to make the transitional period a success,” he said.

The government is in talks with U.S. authorities to guarantee a bond sale next year as the North African country seeks to bridge a $1 billion shortfall in external financing needs, he said. The government has already mobilized the external support required for 2013, he said.

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