Heavily indebted Tunisia has secured a $1.9 billion loan while Egypt is close to finalising a deal.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Tunisian government have reached a tentative agreement to unblock a $1.9 billion loan as the North African country faces grave economic and political challenges.
Under the four-year accord, the Tunisian government — hit by growing public protests at home amid shortages of food and fuel — has committed to undertake a "comprehensive economic" reform programme as it gets access to the money, according to an IMF statement.
Those reforms would include steps to extend taxation to the informal economy, to provide greater public-sector transparency and to phase out "wasteful price subsidies" while expanding social safety nets.
The agreement in principle, reached between IMF staff and Tunisian authorities meeting this week in Washington, still requires the approval of the Fund's board, which is scheduled to discuss the matter in December.
Earlier Saturday, thousands of people poured into the streets of Tunis to protest the policies of President Kais Saied.
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Productive discussions with Egypt
The same day, the multilateral lender said it agreed to finalise work to reach a staff-level agreement with Egyptian authorities "very soon."
"IMF staff and the Egyptian authorities have held very productive in-person discussions on the margins of the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings and made substantial progress on all policies", the statement from IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said.
The policies would enable the country to gradually and sustainably rebuild foreign reserves, the statement said.
The IMF said discussions covered "a continued fiscal consolidation path that will safeguard public debt sustainability and ensure a steady decline of the debt-to-GDP ratio over the medium term".
IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said she would meet on Saturday with delegations from Egypt and Tunisia and was confident the global lender would be "backing them up."
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