Tunisia: Moody’s in bed with Ben Ali?

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Less than a week after the departure of Tunisian dictator, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, Moody’s international financial rating agency has reworked Tunisia’s ratings, taking into account the northern African country’s new political context.

Moody’s has dropped Tunisia’s credit rating from “Baa2” to a dismal “Baa3”. A rating that only serves to confirm those long suspected and unholy links between big international businesses and dictatorships.

Despite the transitional government of the northern African country’s establishment of commissions of inquiry to ensure a more transparent financial future, among others, alongside announcements made by entities, including the governments of Switzerland and France, to work in concert with a more democratic Tunisia, Rue89, a French newspaper, notes that as a result of this rating “credit conditions (for Tunisia) would be tightened”.

Moody’s move is proof that a free and democratic country holds little importance, if any, for global financial institutions. While highlighting the pedestal on which they place dictatorial regimes with excessive kleptocratic tendencies, the ratings show that a despotic Tunisian government is a better financial bet compared to a real people’s democracy. The key to a country’s financial success lies in the asphyxiation of its media, nepotism, human rights abuses …

“The current uncertainties about the economic and political consequences of the collapse of Tunisia’s previous political regime are the main drivers for the decision to downgrade the government’s bond ratings by one notch and assign a negative outlook,” Reuters quotes Aurelien Mali, Moody’s lead sovereign analyst for Tunisia, as saying.

The financial consequences of the new rating could be dire following Moody’s decision to change the country’s outlook to “negative” from “stable”. In fact, their next move could see the northern African country’s status dropping to “junk”!

“Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings have signaled they may also lower their ratings on Tunisia’s bonds by placing them on rating-watch negative. Both services currently rate the North African country two levels above junk” notes Bloomberg.

The precipitated ratings, possibly called for shortly after Ben Ali’s departure and published six days later, come as a slap in the face of the devil we call democratic development! A shocking irony that sees Western governments lauding a democratic move whilst their financial institutions overtly give a thumbs up to stable dictatorships.

Mr. Aurelien’s statement, redux, sums it all up: The “political consequences of the collapse of Tunisia’s previous political regime are the main drivers for the decision to downgrade the government’s bond ratings…”

A shameless financial lesson that gives impetus to dictatorial regimes!

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