Saudi Arabia Agrees to $500 Million Soft Loan to Tunisia

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia has agreed to lend $500 million to Tunisia at preferential interest rates, a Tunisian government official said, part of a slew of deals set to be announced days after a visit by embattled Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was met with street protests.

The interest rate has yet to be decided, the official said, declining to be named as the information is not public.

Several hundred protesters rallied in the Tunisian capital on Tuesday condemning Prince Mohammed, the de facto ruler of the world’s top oil exporter, over the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

Saudi Arabia Agrees to $500 Million Soft Loan to Tunisia

The 33-year-old crown prince dropped by the North African country on his first trip abroad since the Khashoggi controversy provoked an international outcry. He arrived in Argentina on Wednesday where he plans to attend the Group of 20 summit.

Tunisia has struggled to rebuild an economy battered by political upheaval since the 2011 uprising that inspired the Arab Spring. Terrorist attacks, repeated strikes and government infighting have hampered efforts to stimulate growth and cut costs, key elements of a reform program backed by an International Monetary Fund loan.

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