Morocco is finalising a new securitisation law that will allow the state and companies to issue sukuk, the Islamic equivalent of bonds. Preparations for a corporate and a sovereign sukuk are already underway, according to Islamic finance experts. Continue reading »
Smiles all round on the faces of those officials of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development who successfully lobbied for their role to be broadened from their traditional stamping grounds in eastern Europe to Turkey, North Africa and beyond.
As any visitor to the organisation’s annual meeting in Istanbul on Friday would have seen, top officials from the likes of Poland, Ukraine and Russia were notable for their absence. But there to fill the gap were the prime ministers of Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, not to mention the host, Turkey’s premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the ex-Communist bloc, the EBRD is now old hat. In and around the Mediterranean, it still makes news. Continue reading »
Asia’s footprint in Africa’s commodity-rich economies has been growing, with Singapore-listed companies among the biggest investors.
Wilmar, the world’s largest refiner of palm oil, first moved into Africa in 2007 with a couple of palm oil refining joint ventures in Uganda and Ivory Coast. Africa is short of refined palm oil and Wilmar spotted an opportunity to fill that gap. Maersk, the Danish shipping line, says a significant proportion of the goods carried in ships from Singapore to Africa is refined palm oil.
Inflation is on the rise in the Middle East and north Africa, bringing risks to consumption-driven growth and adding to political strains in the transitional countries least able to cope with them. Continue reading »
The Arab spring seems a world away on the train from Casablana to Rabat. In one compartment a conversation springs up between a local Moroccan, running a machine parts manufacturing business, and a Saudi from a construction company, visiting Rabat to seek migrant labour to help with the booming development in Saudi’s northwest. Cards are exchanged, then brochures; business is done, right here on the rumbling train. Continue reading »
The “Genghis bonds” issued by Mongolia last week might already be losing its sparkle as political turmoil rocks the country. But the specter of political risk hasn’t deterred investors from piling in on Morocco’s maiden dollar-denominated bond.
The North African country, which is under pressure to plug budget gap and contain the kind of protests that have brought down regimes in other parts of the Middle East, raised $1.5bn in a dual-tranche offering on Wednesday. Continue reading »
Escalating disputes between labour unions and employers in north Africa are threatening to derail economic recovery after the uprisings that ousted long-ruling dictators in the region, writes Farah Halime.
Emboldened by the spirit of political change, thousands of workers in Egypt and Tunisia have staged a series of protests and are now in deadlocked talks with companies over demands for a minimum wage. Continue reading »
Economies in north Africa have suffered a sharp drop in direct foreign investment since last year’s Arab uprisings, and they have been hit hard by the eurozone crisis. What can they do to rekindle investors’ interest?
“Don’t forget, revolutions are expensive”, says Dimitris Tsitsiragos. He should know: his responsibilities as a vice president at the International Finance Corporation include north Africa and the Middle East, not least the countries hit by the Arab Spring.
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. Continue reading »
More evidence, as if it were necessary, of the damage done to tourism by the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. Tui Travel, the UK-based operator, on Tuesday reported a £23m increase in its operating losses for the three months to December.
If you were a sovereign wealth fund where would you invest your money? How about Africa? And more exactly: infrastructure in Africa.
That at least is where Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is putting its money. On Thursday it agreed to plough $1bn into a 50-50 joint venture with Morocco to help the north African country fund major development projects, Reuters reported. Continue reading »
Late on Monday it announced plans to buy a $111.2m controlling stake in Morocco’s Societe de Promotion Pharmaceutique du Maghreb (Promopharm) to secure access to one of the Arab world’s more promising markets. Continue reading »
Royal Air Maroc is not flying so high these days. The problems that have engulfed Morocco’s flag carrier came to a head on Thursday after the government moved to shore up the airline’s finance with a 1.6bn dirham ($193.3m) bailout.
According to Reuters, the funds are part of a five-year 9.3bn dirham package aimed at helping Africa’s third largest airline cut its workforce by 30 per cent to around 4,000, renew its fleet to reduce fuel consumption, and revamp its operations. Continue reading »
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