TUNIS: The European Union has approved a 305 million euro (267 million pounds) financial assistance package for Tunisia to help youth find jobs and boost local development, the bloc said on Wednesday.
The EU said in a statement the record financing deal reflected its strong ambition to create better chances for Tunisian youth. "The adopted programmes will facilitate access to the job market for young Tunisians, boost entrepreneurial innovation and ensure that local communities are not left behind," Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said in the statement.
The North African country has made a transition to democracy since former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in 2011, the only "Arab Spring" country to avoid conflict as in Syria or further bouts of political turmoil like Egypt.
But an economic crisis has eroded living standards and unemployment is high as political turmoil and lack of reforms have deterred investment needed to create jobs. That has forced the government to launch austerity measures to please donors and lenders including the IMF.
(Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Catherine Evans)