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Submitted by Antonio on

Vanessa - thanks for your comments. I would push back slightly that these revelations have only emerged now. It's been actually quite interesting following the debate in Tunisia over this report the last few days, because a lot of the reactions have been "we knew this all along." In fact, arguably, the revolution was one of the outpourings of popular discontent against the system that the Ben Ali clan created, because even if Tunisians weren't allowed to talk about it, everyone knew what was going on behind the scenes. In that sense, our report confirms and quantifies what was known, but not proven about the old system. But you are exactly right that, for a variety of reasons, these issues weren't emphasized or weren't acknowledged - at least as strongly as they should have been. At the World Bank, we clearly were not immune to getting behind the image the Ben Ali regime tried to create for itself. And while we regularly detailed the regulatory failures, the barriers to entry, and the privileges of the old system, this was often masked in bureaucratic language that did not get to the heart of what was clearly a system asphyxiated by its own corruption. It's certainly a lesson we'll take forward and it's one of the key reasons we've put access to information, transparency, and accountability on the top of our agenda with Tunisia (and across the region) since the revolution.