As the IMF and Tunisia’s government met in Tunis this week to discuss economic reforms prescribed as part of the fifth review of the country’s $2.9bn IMF program, angry demonstrators took to the streets to demand the government roll back a set of fuel hikes introduced at the beginning of the month. No doubt with one eye on events in neighboring Algeria (MEES, 12 April), Tunisia’s politicians risk being caught between the worthy but unpopular demands of the IMF and the jury of the street.

During the IMF’s 27 March – 9 April visit, the government both announced fuel price increases and a two-year in the civil servant retirement age to 62. Unable to conclude their visit with a deal to release the next tranche of cash to Tunis, the IMF said the government still “needs to fully flesh out its policy proposals.” (CONTINUED - 873 WORDS)