Tunisia has been hailed as the best hope for success in consolidating a democracy in the Arab world. The situation is fragile, however, as the country faces serious economic woes and growing security concerns. Tunisian Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Hedi Larbi visited Washington earlier this month in advance of the annual meetings of the international financial institutions. Lara Talverdian, Assistant Director for Research at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, had the opportunity to sit down with Minister Larbi for a timely discussion, as Tunisians prepare to cast their ballots in the first elections since the adoption of a post-revolutionary constitution.
Minister Larbi discussed the work of Tunisia’s caretaker government, prospects for the country’s economic development, and priority areas for US assistance. He shared his assessment of progress the country has made thus far, such as the technocratic government dialoguing with the private sector, and what measures need to be undertaken to grow the economy, particularly in terms of job creation and developing the country’s interior. Hear Minister’s Larbi’s thoughts on these and other matters: