More bad news for Morocco this week, after it was banished from the Africa Cup for pushing to delay the football tournament out of Ebola fears. S&P Dow Jones has downgraded the equities market one of north Africa’s most stable and promising countries from its index of emerging markets to its frontier market index.

Alone among Arab countries, Morocco managed to weather the political tumult of the Arab Spring, even forging an unprecedented compromise with moderate Islamists that maintained stability without resorting to widespread state violence and helped the country maintain an average annual GDP growth rate of 3.5 per cent since 2011. Read more

The Arab Spring is officially over, at least as far as Egyptian equities are concerned.

In a milestone of sorts, Egypt’s benchmark EGX30 stock index on Tuesday hit a new three-year high, surpassing for the first time its level on January 14, 2011. That was the day when a popular uprising felled Tunisian leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and set off frenzied speculation about which Arab leader would be next to fall.

Source: S&P Capital IQ

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Egypt’s benchmark stock index fell 5.17 per cent on Wednesday after reports that Morgan Stanley would consider removing the economically battered nation from its basket of emerging market indices.

It was the biggest daily drop in months and underlines the market’s nervousness since Egypt’s February 2011 revolution and subsequent economic malaise. The benchmark EGX30 index is down 15.8 per cent this year. Read more

Algeria’s powerful armed forces, which already run Africa’s biggest defence budget, have requested a 14 per cent spending increase for next year, as the country prepares for security threats on its southern border.

The Algerian defence ministry, still mostly run by the ageing generals who fought for the country’s liberation from France 50 years ago, has requested a $10.3bn budget for 2012, according to the South African news outlet, DefenceWeb. So what’s on the shopping list – and from whom? Read more

After weeks of political turmoil since the killing of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Libya’s economic prospects received a boost of confidence with news that a Dubai investment bank was buying a local financial services company.

Arqaam Capital, which describes itself as a Dubai investment bank specialising in emerging markets, announced Sunday it had reached an agreement to purchase the entire operations of Libya’s Al Rashad Finance and Management Advisory.

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Libya barely has a functioning government. Armed militias that overthrew Muammer Gaddafi last year still roam the land. And some eastern Libyans want to bolt from the union. But people still have to eat…

Despite political and security worries, Tunisia’s largest food retailer has announced plans to expand operations into Libya. Monoprix Tunisia, an affiliate of the French supermarket giant, will begin opening 10 new stores this year in Libya, the company announced last week, according to the official Tunisian news agencyRead more

A United Arab Emirates firm has agreed to invest up to $3bn in Egyptian land reclamation “mega-projects” that would turn 100,000 acres into agricultural fields, according to the website of Egypt’s General Authority for InvestmentRead more

The north African nation of Algeria has hired an American company, Itron, to upgrade the metering system for its electricity power network.

US firms play a relatively major role in Algeria’s economy, but mostly in developing the oil and gas industry, rather than utilities. Read more

A welcome boost to Morocco’s lucrative and strategic phosphate mining and processing industry has come in the form of a $250m loan from the African Development Bank.

Developing the industry is a key objective for the north African state. But it also has implications for agriculture in the region by increasing the supply of locally-produced fertiliser. Read more

Construction of Tunisia’s first-ever privately owned oil refinery will begin later this year with an investment by Qatar, which has been busy buying up properties in north African states emerging from a year of political tumult.

The state-owned Qatar Petroleum Company agreed years ago to build the refinery, just outside of Tunisia’s industrial port city of Sfax. But the deal was only set to be finalised on Sunday, according to Kuwait’s official news agencyRead more

Nestlé, the Swiss food group that last month swallowed Pfizer’s infant nutrition business for $11.85bn in order to enlarge its emerging markets presence, is at it again.

On Tuesday, the company said it planned to invest more than CHF5.3m ($5.7m) in the North African nation of Morocco in a bid to boost its milk collection and production in the region. Read more

Qatar’s top bank has purchased a major stake in one of Libya’s leading privately held financial institutions. The deal strengthens the commercial ties between two countries already bound together politically in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.

Following months of negotiations, Qatar National Bank, the energy-rich Arabian Peninsula kingdom’s largest financial institution, paid an undisclosed sum for a 49 per cent stake in the Bank of Commerce and Development. Read more