Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Nazanin Ash Meets with Tunisian Civil Society Representatives
September 7, 2012
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Nazanin Ash met today with a group of Tunisian entrepreneurs and civil society representatives working on projects across Tunisia funded by the State Department’s U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). Deputy Assistant Secretary Ash congratulated the Tunisian people and civil society for their valuable contributions to Tunisia’s democratic transition and stressed that the United States remains committed to supporting the Tunisian people. Since January 14, 2011, the United States has committed more than $300 million in assistance to support Tunisia’s nationally led transition efforts in three key areas: enhancing economic opportunities, ensuring a secure Tunisia, and supporting transparent and accountable governance.
The United States is partnering with the Tunisian government and citizens to promote sustainable economic growth throughout the country. The United States acted quickly to help stabilize the Tunisian economy after the revolution by providing critical budget support and through a bilateral loan guarantee. The United States is also providing scholarships, training, and access to credit to equip Tunisian youth with the skills and resources they need to be competitive in the global economy and to start their own businesses, especially in the interior parts of the country. In addition, the United States is working with the Government of Tunisia to promote institutional and regulatory reform to ensure sustainable economic growth and to integrate Tunisia more fully into global and regional commerce.
Among her responsibilities, Deputy Assistant Secretary Ash oversees MEPI, which offers assistance, training, and support to civil society organizations and individuals in the Middle East and North Africa. In Tunisia, MEPI-funded projects help to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth and create jobs. One MEPI project, Workplace Success, provided training to 31 Tunisian youth in overarching workplace principles such as work ethics, communication, and self-confidence. Graduates of the program have been matched with Magasin Général, Tunisia’s largest chain of general stores and one of the program’s first employer partners. Other U.S.-funded projects train Tunisian women in the areas of technology, social media, entrepreneurship, leadership, and organizational management in order for them to launch and grow their own businesses. The United States continues to promote foreign direct investment and small- and medium-sized enterprise growth in Tunisia and to provide technical assistance to the Tunisian Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance to generate economic growth.
The United States will continue to be a steadfast partner in Tunisia’s transition.