An olive oil producer in Tunisia has received a loan package of $26 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) aiming to increase olive oil production and develop exports.
The beneficiary of the loan is Conditionnement des Huiles d’Olive (CHO), a leading olive oil producer located in Sfax, a coastal city in central Tunisia. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group which provides financing and advice to projects and private sector ventures in developing countries.
The loan package is expected to increase production and exports while encouraging the development of the country’s olive oil sector and the profile of Tunisian olive oil abroad. “Thanks to this loan from the IFC, we can continue our development and reinforce the positive image of Tunisian olive oil in international markets which will have an important impact on the local sector as a whole,” declared Abdelaziz Makhloufi, CEO and founder of CHO.
The loan package is part of a larger IFC program in Tunisia amounting to $62 million which aims to support small businesses, technology firms and the agricultural sector to stimulate employment, economic growth and investor confidence in the North African country.
“The Tunisian economy is full of potential,” stated Mouayed Makhlouf, director of IFC for the Middle East and North Africa. “IFC is supporting the realization of this potential by investing in promising companies like CHO while encouraging job creation and providing support for growth.”
Following the Tunisian Revolution in early 2011 which sparked off the Arab Spring uprisings across the region, the country’s economy has been unstable and marked by high unemployment in some regions.
Olive oil currently makes up 40 percent of the country’s agricultural export and 10 percent of its total exports. Tunisia had an excellent olive harvest during the past crop year with a 400 percent increase in production, putting it in second place as the largest olive oil producer after Spain.