In Tunisia, against great headwinds, the people are proving that democratic reforms can become a reality. In just a few short years, the Tunisian people have negotiated a peaceful transfer of power from a transitional government to a democratically elected coalition government. For the second year in a row, Freedom House has categorized Tunisia as "free" – the first Arab country to be recognized in this way.
Nevertheless, Tunisia continues to face great challenges, including eradicating corruption, engaging marginalized populations, reducing bureaucracy, and creating jobs.
Unless, these challenges are met, said Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a recent speech, "the hope and promise of this extraordinary democratic transition is at risk." That's why the U.S. is determined to deepen its political, economic, and security support for Tunisia.
The U.S. is committed to help Tunisians consolidate their democratic gains as the greatest bulwark of long-term growth and stability.Tunisia has worked to improve accountability among security services, combat corruption, and hold the first-ever municipal elections. The U.S. has invested in efforts to reform the security and justice systems.
In order to help the Tunisian government and private sector create jobs for youth, the U.S. is providing technical assistance and support while Tunisia’s leaders are enacting tough economic reforms and working to create an environment in which business can thrive. The U.S. has extended almost one billion dollars in loan guarantees to help the Tunisian government gain affordable financing. And with $60 million in seed funding from the U.S., the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund is ramping up its investments in small and medium-sized businesses, which are engines for growth and employment. We are continuing to support educational exchanges and training to enable young Tunisians to obtain 21st century skills to find jobs.
And finally, the U.S. is deepening its security cooperation with Tunisia in order strengthen Tunisia's capability to defeat those who threaten its freedom and security.
As Tunisia seeks to build the Arab world's newest democracy, they continue to have the full support of the United States.