Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative Launches New Initiatives to Support Tunisia's Democratic Transition

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 22, 2011

The State Department’s Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is pleased to announce its plan to support the Tunisian people as they build the stronger democratic foundations needed for long-term stability and broad-based economic growth. The initiatives outlined below reflect MEPI’s determination and ability to respond rapidly to Tunisia’s strategic needs during this historic time of transition.

MEPI’s Tunisia Transition Support

MEPI intends to provide $20 million to Tunisia Transition Support that will help consolidate Tunisia’s gains in the post-Ben Ali era and assist Tunisians as they progress toward sustainable democratic development and economic prosperity. MEPI plans to partner with local and international organizations to support the transition effort. Specifically, the $20 million in new proposed assistance will strengthen efforts to:

  • Establish an independent, professional, and pluralistic media sector that provides information transparently and constructively;
  • Form an independent civil society that can play a critical role supporting effective advocacy and civic education;
  • Strengthen and develop political parties;
  • Develop a sound framework for elections; and
  • Encourage economic reforms.

To kick off the Tunisia Transition Support initiative, on March 18, MEPI launched a new Annual Program Statement (APS) competition for innovative proposals supporting Tunisia’s democratic transition, which includes the drafting of a new constitution, the election of a new president and parliament (anticipated for later in 2011), economic and political reforms, and other steps toward democracy. To learn more about this competition, please visit

MEPI IT Public-Private Partnership to Support Tunisian NGOs

Through a newly-developed IT Public-Private Partnership, MEPI and Microsoft have arranged for several local NGOs to receive the latest computer software and related training to improve the effectiveness of their projects, build organizational capacity, and assist with cementing the long-term sustainability of their work.

MEPI Support for Tunisian Civil Society

The MEPI Regional Office in Tunis provides direct grants to Tunisian NGOs. New partnerships to support the Tunisian transition will include:

· Club UNESCO-Bardo Tunisie to provide training on citizenship and local governance;

· E-Khedma to foster economic development and promote job creation through an online portal website that will connect skilled young entrepreneurs with potential clients and consumers.

To learn more about these new opportunities for Tunisia, please visit the MEPI website at

PRN: 2011/434