Tunisia's largest infrastructure project secures AfDB loan

By Richard High19 January 2009

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a € 70 million (US$ 92.5 million) loan for Tunisia's Enfidha Airport Project.

The largest infrastructure project in the country it consists of the construction, operation, and maintenance of the new Enfidha Zine El Abidine Ben Ali International Airport and the operation and maintenance of the existing Monastir Airport, under a 40-year Concession Contract for client TAV Tunisia.

The project is the first transport concession in Tunisia and the first airport concession in the Maghreb region. According to a statement on the Bank's website, the project is "well aligned with the Bank's mandate to support the development of private infrastructure in Africa. It also aligns with the Bank's Country Strategy Paper for Tunisia and the Government of Tunisia's 11th Economic and Social Development Plan, which both seek to support Public-Private Partnerships."

The project is expected to create about 2200 direct jobs during the construction phase and 1200 direct jobs during operations. Another 10000 direct jobs will be created in the local private sector.

By supporting growth in the tourism sector, a major economic driver of foreign currency for Tunisia, the project will also generate revenue for the Government contributing to "macroeconomic resilience", according to the AfDb statement.

Both Airports will serve the major tourism areas of Monastir, Sousse and Hammamet, which are all located on the Mediterranean coast. Passenger traffic has been steadily growing at the existing Monastir airport over the last 10 years, as Tunisia remains an important tourist destination for European operators. Capacity shortages are currently being experienced in both the Monastir and Tunis Carthage airports.

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