Tunisia: USAID, World Bank Finance Wheat Purchase as Aid Approach Shifts

by | Apr 22, 2023 | Diplomacy, Economic, Tunisia


On 21 April 2023, the US Ambassador to Tunisia, Joey Hood, announced that the US and the World Bank had partnered to facilitate the financing of a shipment of 25,000 metric tons of American wheat to Tunisia. The announcement came on Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The shipment of durum wheat is designed to help address food insecurity issues for Tunisians who consume wheat products as part of nearly every meal in the form of baguettes, couscous, and many different pasta dishes.

Tunisian’s wheat supply chain has been severely disrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Tunisia had previously imported as much as half of its grains from Ukraine and Russia prior to the start of the war. A 2022 agreement negotiated by Turkey released some grain supplies from Ukraine, but supply has not recovered to match demand.


The wheat delivery is an expression of the long-signaled evolution of US aid to Tunisia, which has been transitioning from a focus on military and security assistance aid mechanisms that avoid direct funding to the Tunisian government.

The US policy community, including US think tanks and legislators, have been pushing for aid that goes directly civil society organizations and that supports specific economic development initiatives. Ambassador Hood has echoed this change of direction as overall US aid has dipped, much of it becoming contingent on democratic reforms, and new aid efforts have been targeted at specific industries like tourism or empowering local artisans.

The US has long been a significant partner to Tunisia and an evolution in US policy will inevitably contribute to the shaping of Tunisia’s future. Our team will continue monitoring how US policy might shift the risk environment in Tunisia.


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