Jean-Luc Revreault – EIB: one billion euros is waiting to be disbursed by the Tunisian authorities

Jean-Luc Revreault – EIB: one billion euros is waiting to be disbursed by the Tunisian authorities

The Head of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Representation in Tunisia and Algeria, Jean-Luc Revereault, explained that this institution was present in all countries of the world except the so-called rich and belongs to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

During a press conference held on 17 February 2022, Jean-Luc Revereault clarified that the EIB’s objective was to improve the living conditions of European and non-European citizens, inside or outside the EU.

All our projects have an impact on the citizens of each country, whether at the infrastructure level or at the value creation level … In 2021, the EIB was asked by the EU to launch a comprehensive recovery plan … The EIB has broken a historic record by providing loans of a total of 65 billion euros … Tunisia has benefited from funding of up to seven billion dinars since 2011 … This had made us Tunisia’s leading donor and financial partner “, he said.

Jean-Luc Revereault explained that one third of this amount had been used for SMEs, VSEs and the industrial sector and two thirds for the state and public enterprises. Tunisia ranks first in the world (outside the European Union) in terms of the amount of loans granted by the EIB in relation to its population or GDP. Tunisia could have benefited from more projects and a marked improvement in the living conditions of its citizens. Main reason for opposing this: a rather low payout percentage.

Jean-Luc Revereault revealed that the Head of State had asked the President of the EIB, Werner Hoyer, during his visit to Brussels in June 2021, whether this institution could fund the TGV project. The President of the Republic of Tunisia had spoken to him about this project … We had rejected the offer … I believe that in the future there will be fewer roads and more railway infrastructure … Tunisia should focus on the existing network and its improvement .. It is quite close and requires a significant rehabilitation plan … We worked on this topic with SNCFT and we were able to identify critical points that require reinforcement to run the train at normal speed instead of being limited to forty km / h … The next stage would be a high-speed train, but which is not limited to Tunis-Sfax … We must take advantage of the idea of ​​a trans-Maghreb TGV “, he declared.

The head of the EIB’s representation in Tunisia and Algeria explained that several loans had been approved and signed. ” Out of an amount of about three billion euros, not one billion euros was paid out … When I arrived, I wondered about the reasons behind this phenomenon … The diagnostic report conducted in 2020 identified two or three reasons that could be summarized as the promoter’s lack ability to implement donor standards. These are standards regarding public procurement rules, tenders, environmental rules, social rules (expropriations) and rules regarding environmental health and safety. Our on-site teams and consultants prepare a report in the event of a breach of these standards. This causes the payout to be blocked “, He continued.

Jean-Luc Revereault mentioned the obligation to consult residents and to compensate the traders concerned when carrying out development projects. He stressed the importance of establishing a Tunisian grievance mechanism in addition to the one set up by the EIB. He insisted on holding training sessions, handling complaints and properly compensating those who have suffered injury. This includes compensation for indirect damage in accordance with the EIB standard. He clarified that the compensation also applied to families who did not have financial securities. “We have also mobilized teams of sociologists to collaborate with initiators and get in touch with families.

Asked about the projects with the longest delays in implementation, Jean-Luc Revereault mentioned those relating to the establishment of the high-speed railway network, the Tunesian Chemical Group and the upgrading of wastewater treatment plants and the National Sanitation Office. ” In return, the fastest project was that in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. We had deployed a team of consultants and technical assistance to monitor progress in 400 locations … This is a project to upgrade schools in secondary schools … This is an excellent example of success. The project shows what the Tunisian administration would be able to achieve … We want to copy the project to primary schools. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Finance disagreed. I hope we will sign an agreement by the year 2022 “, he declared.

It should be noted that in 2017 the EIB had launched a program to modernize schools worth 70 million euros, which enabled the rehabilitation of 383 and the construction of 59 schools.

Jean-Luc Revereault also returned to the program for the rehabilitation and integration of popular neighborhoods with a budget equivalent to 294 million euros, which facilitates citizens’ access to services and stimulates the local ecosystem such as a sewing workshop. This project concerns 310 neighborhoods.

The head of the EIB Representation in Tunisia and Algeria stated that another project on wastewater treatment and industrial and household waste had been started in 2005. Another project called Depolmed was awarded a € 69.6 million envelope to rehabilitate and expand four treatment plants with the aim of preserving the quality of coastal waters and reducing pollution of the Mediterranean.

Renewable energy is also part of the EIB’s programs in Tunisia. She had chosen to present herself since last year as the climate bank. “ This project deals with the modernization and strengthening of the Steg network in order to prepare the injection against renewable energy … We hope to be able to multiply the projects with Steg to catch up with this sector … Tunisia has the opportunity to become a major player in this sector . It is directly connected to Italy through a gas pipeline, which could make it possible to transfer green energy thanks to hydrogen … In view of the economic situation in Steg and Tunisia, the private sector could take care of production and entrust Steg distribution … We are ready to help Steg grow greener “, he explained.

Jean-Luc Revereault stated that the EIB’s shareholder countries were exclusively those of the European Union. He stressed the rapprochement between the EIB and the European Union. He explained that the ratings published by the credit rating agencies had no bearing on cooperation between the EIB and Tunisia. He insisted on the independence of the institution he represented in the evaluation of the projects to be funded. He insinuated that the deterioration of diplomatic relations with the European Union could damage cooperation between Tunisia and the EIB.

The Head of the EIB’s Representation in Tunisia and Algeria recalled the launch of the European Neighborhood Instrument (EIV). This is a branch that brings together the EIB’s activities outside the European Union. This focuses on renewable energy, access to water, education and health to ensure sustainable inclusive growth. “ We intend to strengthen our presence on earth … I hope we can create a regional hub for North Africa in Tunisia “, he said.


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