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IMF to send teams to Lebanon, Tunisia this month

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The IMF will send staff to Lebanon and Tunisia this month to further discussions on new financial aid programs for the countries, a fund spokesman said Thursday.

The governments have been seeking support for their troubled economies for months but have yet to reach an agreement with the Washington-based crisis lender.

Talks with Lebanon on aid to address the severe financial challenges are “progressing well,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.

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But “extensive work” is needed, he said. “Lebanon’s challenges are deep and complex they will require time and commitment.”
In 2020, Lebanon defaulted on its sovereign debt for the first time in its history.

The IMF launched negotiations last month on a program to help pull the Middle Eastern country out of its economic crisis, which has seen the currency collapse, inflation hit triple-digit levels and poverty climb.

Rice said fund staff will also meet again this month with Tunisian authorities and seek to build on the “good progress that has been made in understanding their reform policies.”

The North African nation in mid-November requested an IMF loan program for an economy plagued by low growth as well as high public debt, inflation and unemployment.

President Kais Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament on July 25 last year, and the requested IMF bailout would be the fourth since Tunisia’s revolution.

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