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World Bank announces $500M loan for Tunisia

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November 27, 2012 04:00 PM EST | AP

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RABAT, Morocco — The World Bank has announced a half billion dollar loan to Tunisia to support economic reforms to improve the North African country's investment climate.

The bank's statement late Tuesday said the loan "sends a clear signal" about the global financial institutions efforts to support Tunisia as it makes a transition to democracy.

Tunisians overthrew their dictator in January 2011, sparking off region-wide pro-democracy uprisings.

The loan will support reforms to remove red tape for investments, improved financial sector regulation, training programs for youth and increased government transparency.

Tunisia's economy shrank by 2 percent in 2011 after the uprising and is only recovering slowly, plagued by severe unemployment.