Qatar is giving Tunisia a US$1bn loan, half of which will be allocated to support the central bank, the official Tunisian news agency reported. Qatar also expressed a willingness to provide 20,000 jobs to Tunisians in Qatar, Agence Tunis Afrique Presse said, citing the presidential spokesman, Adnen Mnasser. The announcements follow a visit by Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki to Qatar this month. The economy of Tunisia, the North African birthplace of last year’s uprisings across the Arab world, contracted by 1.8 percent in 2011, according to official figures. Tunisia has already received a US$500m Qatari loan, according to a central bank statement last week. The five-year loan carries an annual interest rate of 2.5 percent, it said. The bank’s spokesman, Zied Mouhli, said by telephone today that he could not immediately give any details of the loan.