Tunisia and the IMF reached a staff-level agreement on the fifth review of its $2.9bn economic program the Fund announced on 17 April, opening the way for the sixth disbursement of around $245mn.

Following inconclusive talks in Tunis from 27 March to 9 April, discussions moved to Washington DC where the government and IMF staff agreed on steps to ensure that the “budget deficit target of 3.9% of GDP (before grants) for 2019 can be met to contain the high debt and elevated financing needs.” In 2018 the fiscal-deficit-to-GDP came in at an estimated 4.6%, down from 5.9% in 2017. Facing sustained pressure from its populace, the country is struggling to cut its costly fiscal and trade deficits as well as sky-high unemployment (MEES, 12 April). Tunisia will need around $2.5bn in foreign financing in 2019, according to an 18 April Reuters report. (CONTINUED - 131 WORDS)