Since the revolution, the World Bank Group has adjusted its overall strategy to support the goals of the transition. The bulk of this support has been in the form of a series of Development Policy Loans (DPLs), totaling $1,250 million – now fully disbursed. The DPLs were designed to provide budget support and allow the government to focus on key reforms. The Bank reacted rapidly post-revolution and approved a US$500 million DPL in June 2011 (topped up by US$800 million from other partners such as the Africa Development Bank, the European Union and the French Development Agency). Two further DPLs s, one for $500 million and another one for $250 million were approved respectively in fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The latest, for $500 million is in an advanced stage of preparation. This series of DPLS has focused on reforms to improve public sector governance, strengthen the banking sector, increase transparency and access to information, promote competition in the private sector and introduce more flexibility into the labor market.
The World Bank also finances 22 investment and technical assistance operations in Tunisia (10 loans for about $1 billion – disbursed at 42% - and 12 grants for $51 million). The loans support access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), infrastructure (energy, water and sanitation) and social services (education), and community driven development operations. Water and sanitation is the largest sector (30%), followed by access to finance, (20%) and local Governance (20%) (see chart on the right). Recently approved projects include a Competitiveness and Export Development Project ($51 million); a groundbreaking Urban Development and Local Governance program for results ($300 million), additional funds for a project supporting access to small and medium enterprises ($100 million) and additional funds for a project financing Water Treatment Facilities (SONEDE - $20 million). The local governance program for results is seen as a flag-ship operation to support the emerging decentralization agenda. t The project is designed to boost the capacities of local governments to take charge of their budgets, and to encourage more responsiveness to local citizens by linking the disbursement of project funds to improved performance. . The other 12 smaller grants facilitate a variety of development projects. They encourage innovation (such as protecting precious oases ecosystems and the related livelihoods), co-operation between government and civil society organizations and to increase the participation of marginalized groups in projects (such as emergency support for youth).