French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers his New Year speech to civil servants and constitutional bodies at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on January 30, 2018. / AFP / POOL / PHILIPPE WOJAZER
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French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Tunisia Wednesday on a visit intended to "support the democratic transition" of a country still battered by economic stagnation and social unrest seven years after its revolution.His visit comes after several hundred people were arrested in Tunisia this month in protests fuelled by unemployment, corruption and austerity measures in the 2018 budget.The French president told Tunisian daily La Presse he would use his visit to announce "an additional effort in at least three areas: the reduction of inequalities, social and territorial, the employability of young people ... and increased investment" in sectors including renewable energy and new technologies.He said Tunisia needed to push ahead with reforms in order to attract more foreign investment.France has said it wants to help Tunisia tackle joblessness, which remains above 15 percent overall and over 30 percent among the young, despite a slight uptick in economic growth last year.
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