The heavily-indebted North African nation seeks a two billion dollar loan from the global lender, says a source with knowledge of the preliminary talks.

Tunisia's economy has been ravaged by years of high unemployment, inflation and public debt even pre-dating its 2011 revolution.
Tunisia's economy has been ravaged by years of high unemployment, inflation and public debt even pre-dating its 2011 revolution. (Reuters Archive)

The International Monetary Fund is sending a team to Tunisia next week to begin formal talks on a new financial aid package.

"An IMF mission will be in Tunis from July 4 to initiate negotiations on an IMF-supported program," an IMF spokesperson told AFP news agency on Friday. 

"The IMF remains a strong partner of Tunisia."

The North African nation has been in preliminary discussions with the global lender for a new loan to save an economy ravaged by years of high unemployment, inflation and public debt even pre-dating its 2011 revolution.

The heavily indebted country is reeling from price hikes on imports such as oil and wheat since Russia attacked Ukraine.

It is seeking a two-billion-euro loan, according to a source with knowledge of the preliminary talks.

READ MORE: Tunisia's public sector workers go on strike to demand wage hikes

'Ambitious reforms'

The Washington-based crisis lender said last week it was ready to begin the formal negotiations.

It, however, said that the severity of the crisis will require the government to implement "ambitious reforms" to deal with fiscal imbalances.

The fund welcomed the program proposed by President Kais Saied.

The powerful UGTT trade union, however, rejected the plan that includes a freeze on the public sector wage bill, some subsidy cuts and a restructuring of state firms.

READ MORE: Thousands in Tunisia take to the streets to demand return to democracy

Source: AFP