The World Bank Group has decided to suspend its cooperation with Tunisia, after the Tunisian president’s statements on sub-Saharan migrants sparked a wave of racist violence.
In a note to staff on Sunday evening, World Bank President David Malpass said the financial institution is suspending the partnership framework with Tunisia, which defined future programs from 2023 to 2025, and is postponing until further notice. orders a meeting of its board of directors, initially scheduled for March 21, to examine this new strategic commitment.
“The safety and inclusion of migrants and minorities are part of our institution’s core values of inclusion, respect and anti-racism in all its forms”he pointed out, noting that “public comments that incite discrimination, aggression and racist violence are totally unacceptable”.
Tunisian President Kais Saïed had announced, in a speech delivered on February 21, “ urgent measures » against illegal immigration from sub-Saharan Africa.
In this speech denounced by the African Union and described as “racist” by NGOs, he affirmed that the presence of sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia was a source of “violence, crimes and unacceptable acts”.
For Malpass, the World Bank is working to ensure the safety of its staff in Tunisia, and in particular from sub-Saharan Africa, including through additional security measures.
Security measures could affect delivery of World Bank programs, but “staff safety will trump program concerns”he insisted.
It should be noted that the World Bank is one of Tunisia’s main donors, notably through aid for the import of food products and business development.