Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 August 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: World Bank approves $20m in healthcare assistance for Tunisia

The funding follows the IMF's provision last month of a $745m emergency loan to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak

Members of the medical staff of the Ariana Mami hospital, where patients of Covid-19 are being treated, work at the special care unit, in the city of Ariana near Tunis. AFP
Members of the medical staff of the Ariana Mami hospital, where patients of Covid-19 are being treated, work at the special care unit, in the city of Ariana near Tunis. AFP

The World Bank approved a $20m scheme for Tunisia to support the country's healthcare sector during the Covid 19 pandemic.

The latest project fast-tracks an allocation of $15m made in April to the North African country for emergency health expenditures.

The total of $35m disbursed to Tunisia will support the country's health ministry in procuring essential medical equipment and supplies as it battles the pandemic and increases its response to new cases.

Tunisia has 994 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 41 reported deaths as of Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The infection has hit the country's crucial tourism sector which generates about 10 per cent of its gross domestic product.

The World Bank's funding follows the approval last month of a $745m emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund to Tunisia to tackle the outbreak. Tunisia's economy is projected to shrink 4.3 per cent in 2020 - its deepest recession since it gained independence in 1956, according to the IMF.

The Covid-19 pandemic has crippled the world economy, which is now in recession, as factories stand idle, people stay at home and countries close their borders or implement lockdowns.

Moody's placed the North African country on review for a downgrade last month as it faces weak near-term growth amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tunisia's central bank, which has a B2 rating and is responsible for the repayment of the government's bonds, is also on review for a possible downgrade, according to the ratings agency.

Updated: May 2, 2020 11:07 AM

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