World Bank lends 50 mln dollar to Tunisia for small firms

09:27, July 15, 2011      

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The World Bank announced Thursday that it has approved a loan in the amount of 50 million U. S. dollars to Tunisia in an effort to finance smaller firms' expansion in the nation, the Bank's latest effort to lend funding assistance to support local economic development.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are critical to job creation for millions of young people but smaller businesses in this region have some of the lowest levels of access to finance in the world, the Washington-based Bank said in a statement.

The World Bank Group's MSME Facility is expected to channel over 500 million dollars to MENA countries over the next five years including support from the International Finance Corporation, regional partners such as the African Development Bank and donors, noted the statement.

Small businesses in the region have enormous potential to create more jobs for a growing, young and increasingly impatient population, said Shamshad Akhtar, Vice President for the MENA region at the World Bank.

"A dynamic, open and growing MSME sector can create jobs and open up access to market opportunities at a rate that keeps pace with this growth. We urgently need to start this engine and creating access to finance is critical," Akhtar added.

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