World Bank pauses Work in Tunisia after the president’s anti-migrant remarks

The World Bank has halted discussions on its future involvement with Tunisia due to the country’s president, Kais Saied’s, anti-immigrant comments, according to an internal message seen by AFP.

An internal message to staff seen by AFP revealed that the World Bank has put a pause on discussions regarding its future engagement with Tunisia after the country’s President, Kais Saied, made anti-immigrant comments. The bank’s outgoing President, David Malpass, stated that Saied’s comments had led to “racially motivated harassment and even violence,” resulting in the institution postponing a planned meeting with Tunisia until further notice.

The bank’s outgoing President, David Malpass, stated that Saied’s remarks had caused “racially motivated harassment and even violence,” prompting the bank to postpone a planned meeting with Tunisia.

Malpass also confirmed that the Country Partnership Framework will be paused and withdrawn from Board review due to the situation. Despite this, ongoing projects will continue, and funded projects will remain financed.

Malpass emphasized that the bank’s work in Tunisia is intended to assist all people, whether they are citizens or immigrants. The development lender will introduce additional safety measures for its staff on the ground and may take further action as required.

Following Saied’s speech, there has been a rise in vigilante violence, including stabbings targeting African migrants, according to rights groups.

The African Union expressed “deep shock and concern” at Saied’s remarks, and governments in sub-Saharan Africa have been rushing to bring home hundreds of their nationals who have been seeking assistance at their embassies.