In August 2022, the leader of the Polisario, Brahim Ghali, was welcomed when he got off the plane by Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed, in the same way as the presidents and heads of government who came to attend the Japan-Africa summit. So many respects which can be explained by the promises of the Algerian regime to pay 200 million dollars to a bloodless Tunisia
The two men then spoke in the presidential lounge at the airport. This surprising political gesture in view of his great hostility to Morocco is not fortuitous because it was mischievously well calculated by the Tunisian president. And for good reason, Tunis rolled out the red carpet to Brahim Ghali at a time when Kaïs Saied is secretly negotiating with Algiers the terms of a new financial loan of 200 million USD, we were able to learn from several concordant sources.
And to make eyes at the Algerian leaders, Kaïs Saied seized on the delicate file of Western Sahara which feeds the Algerian-Moroccan estrangement. The question of the Sahara is a fundamental and precious issue for Algerian diplomacy. Tunisian leaders are well aware of this and have thus decided to exploit this sensitive issue to gain even more confidence and support from Algiers.
Tunisia would have urgently requested a new loan of USD 200 million to be able to end the year 2022 without fear of bankruptcy. This money will serve as a security deposit to allow Tunisia to reassure the international donors with whom it is indebted.
In debt since the end of 2021 to the tune of 41 billion dollars (102% of GDP), Tunisia is regularly in negotiation with the International Monetary Fund to renew loans. To get out of the rut, despite the massive aid received from the European Union, Tunis has turned at least 4 times in ten years to the IMF, but also to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the Bank world, the African Development Bank, etc.
Since 2020, Algeria had agreed to grant Tunisia no less than USD 450 million in loans. In February 2020, a first loan of USD 150 million was released by Algiers for the benefit of the Tunisian Central Bank. And in December 2021, no less than 300 million US dollars were added by Algiers to Tunis.
This article is originally published on mondafrique.com