Following his meeting today with Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, President Obama announced $500 million in new loan guarantees that will allow Tunisia to access additional financing in international markets at favorable rates. This is good news for Tunisia, which has made more progress than any other “Arab Spring” country in its transition to democracy. Indeed, it has become an oasis of optimism in an otherwise tumultuous region.
In his speech earlier this week at Columbia University, Prime Minister Jomaa described his country as a “start-up democracy” and urged the U.S. government to provide more support. The new loan guarantees will help, but there is still more that the U.S. can do to encourage democracy in Tunisia for a relatively small investment. For more on what the U.S. and other countries can do to support Tunisia’s transition, read my latest Foreign Policy article.