Tunisia says it paid all its 2023 internal and foreign debts

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia has succeeded in repaying all its 2023 domestic and external debts despite huge pressure on public finance, Finance Minister Sihem Boughdiri said on Monday, dispelling doubts about the possibility of a default.

Tunisia will pay $4 billion of foreign debts in 2024, an increase of 40% compared with 2023, an official document showed amid a scarcity of external financing for the North African country that is struggling to fix its ailing public finances.

Economists say Tunisia relied heavily on new internal loans to pay off its external debts, which significantly reduced liquidity and contributed to reducing banks’ financing of the economy.

They believe that the situation will very difficult this year amid the rise in foreign debt and the difficulty of repeatedly resorting to the internal loans.

The government expects the accumulated public debt in 2024 to reach about 140 billion dinars ($45.17 billion),or about 79.8% of GDP, up from 127 billion dinars.

($1 = 3.0995 Tunisian dinars)

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Angus MacSwan)