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 »
For Tunisia, the deal is done. But as far as the bigger, trickier north African question goes, there are merely encouraging words.
On Saturday, the IMF concluded terms with the Tunisian government on a crucial loan. Meanwhile for Egypt, while talks continue in Washington on the sidelines of the IMF spring meeting, no news is a worry. Continue reading »
Tunisia is hoping that the country’s first government sukuk, or Islamic bond, scheduled for later this year could spur companies in the North African country to raise Islamic debt and boost its sharia-compliant finance industry, writes Camilla Hall.
The government is working alongside the Islamic Development Bank – the multilateral lender – to pave the way for a 1bn dinar ($700m) sukuk sale that would set a benchmark for companies seeking to tap the Islamic debt markets, Elyes Fakhfakh, finance minister, told the Financial Times. Continue reading »
April looks set to be a busy time for the IMF. Two crucial meetings have been put in the diary – one with Tunisia, and one with Egypt (again).
The two potential deals have a lot at stake, and not just in monetary terms. Tunisia’s possible $1.7bn loan will help shield the country from the European downturn. Egypt’s on-off $4.8bn loan is even more important, as it should unlock other sources of funding, and avert what could become a complete collapse of the economy. Continue reading »
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 »
Egyptians are not the only Arabs who are grappling with the place of religion in their emerging democracy. In Tunisia, perhaps even more so than Cairo, the battle between liberals and Islamists has been raging since last year’s ousting of the Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali regime.
In a country where the state has been staunchly secular – there was a time when police would detain women wearing the headscarf – Islamists in all their shades have faced a more determined opposition than in Egypt. 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?
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…
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.
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.
“The fund is expected to perform well next year also, given the expected recovery of the Tunisian economy,” says Salma Zammit, one of MAC’s senior investment analysts. With the new government aiming to modernise Tunisia and create in Tunis a hub for Islamic finance, it could be a matter of being in the right place at the right time for MAC. Continue reading »
With the first elections since the rise of the Arab Spring take place in Tunisia, investors will be watching closely to see whether the outcome bodes well for the region’s democratic evolution and business environment. In this video (after the break) Seb Morton-Clark reports on the investment outlook for the Middle East and north Africa. Continue reading »
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