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Newsletter North Africa December 2019

Business

MOROCCO – Spirit AeroSystems to Acquire Bombardier’s Moroccan Assets
US company Spirit Aerosystems has announced its acquisition of aeronautic giant Bombardier’s aerostructures and aftermarket services businesses in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Casablanca, Morocco, and Dallas, United States, for cash consideration of USD 500 mn. The transaction is valued at approximately USD 1 bn, including USD 300 mn in net pension liabilities and USD 290 mn of government grant repayment obligations. Bombardier announced the decision to sell its Casablanca plant in May.
October 31, 2019

MOROCCO – Konekranes to Deliver Fleet of RTG Cranes to Tanger Med 2 Port
In a press release on November 13, Finnish company Konecranes announced the delivery of 16 Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) cranes for use at the TC3 container terminal at Tanger Med 2 Port near Tangier. The cranes will be delivered in batches with the last ones arriving by mid-July 2020. The RTGs will have a lifting capacity of 40 tons, lifting containers 1-over-5 high and seven container rows wide, and will be equipped with an auto-steering feature.
November 13, 2019

MOROCCO – Italian-Moroccan Consortium to Build 300 MW Wind Farm in Boujdour
The National Office of electricity and drinking water (ONEE), the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy “MASEN”, and the consortium made up of Nareva Holding (Morocco) and Enel Green Power (Italy) have signed a contract for the delivery of a 300 MW wind farm in Boujdour, south of Laayoune. The Boujdour wind farm is valued at USD 415 mn and is the second wind farm of a 850 MW project. It will be commissioned in 2021.
November 19, 2019

MOROCCO – HPC Survey Finds That Difficulty Getting Loans Hampers Morocco’s Business Climate
In a survey of 2,101 Moroccan companies, the High Commission for Planning (HCP) found that financing is a major challenge for the business climate in Morocco. The survey, conducted from January to July 2019, focused on companies’ experiences in the last three years across the services, trade, industry, and construction sectors (excluding the agriculture and financial services sector). 58% of companies said they were “dissatisfied with the services offered by financial institutions,” noting that restrictions on getting loans had increased in the three-year period from 2016 to 2018.
November 19, 2019

MOROCCO – French Automotive Company Sealynx Opens New Factory in Tangier
Sealynx Automotive, a subsidiary of French company GMD Group, inaugurated its USD 24 mn production unit in Tangier on November 20. Covering an area of 12,600 m² the factory will produce automobile sealing using “EPDM rubber” and “TPE thermoplastic products,” a first in Morocco according to GMD Group’s CEO Alain Martineau. The factory is expected to create 180 direct jobs. GMD Group also has sealing subsidiaries in Algeria and Romania.
November 20, 2019

MOROCCO – Emirati Developer to Build USD 155 mn Commercial Complex in Rabat
Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer IMKAN has announced plans to build a multi-use luxury complex, “The Carrousel,” on the Rabat oceanfront. The USD 155 mn project will include a 33 000 m² mall with local and international businesses, a 12 000 m² office space, a residential building, and a luxury 123 room hotel. The project is set to be completed in five years. This will be IMKAN’s largest project in Africa. The Abu Dhabi-based company has a portfolio of 26 projects across six countries, including the Alburouj residential complex in Cairo, Egypt and H Hotel in the Seychelles.
November 21, 2019

TUNISIA – Bureau Veritas Awarded Three-year Asset Integrity Contract with Shell Tunisia
French company Bureau Veritas Solutions – Marine & Offshore has been awarded a three year Enterprise Frame Agreement with Shell Tunisia Upstream Ltd to provide asset integrity management support services. The agreement comprises technical safety services, asset integrity and inspection services and general support services and will serve to maintain process safety systems at Shell’s onshore and offshore facilities at Miskar field in Tunisia.
November 25, 2019

TUNISIA – Foreign Investors Now Eligible For Residency Card
The Tunisian Investment Authority (TIA) has announced new measures to facilitate foreign investment in Tunisia: foreign investors are now eligible for residency cards. TIA has also launched six new online services to facilitate investment, in particular relating to investment declarations, business set-up procedures and permit applications. Tunisia went up two ranks to 78 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2020 report, behind Morocco (ranked 53rd) and ahead of Algeria (ranked 157th). The country performs particularly well when it comes to setting up a business (scoring 94.6/100, a figure that measures the number of procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital requirement for a company to start up and formally operate).
November 26, 2019

TUNISIA – Tunisair to Cut 400 Jobs in Cost-Cutting Plan
The state airline plans to lay off 400 of its full-time employees in 2020. “As part of a structural reform program, 400 employees will be laid off in 2020 in an effort to reduce the company’s high wage mass and ease its financial difficulties,” said CEO Elyess Mankabi. The plan was approved by the government, he added. The airline has been facing financial difficulties as well as increased competition as Tunisia negotiates an Open Skies agreement with the European Union.
November 26, 2019

TUNISIA – Tunisia sees 38% Increase in Tourism
The Ministry of Tourism has released figures showing tourism profits between January and November 2019 have increased by 38.3%, compared to profits over the same period last year, reaching USD 1.8 bn on November 20. Over 8.3 million tourists have visited Tunisia since the beginning of the year. Just over half of these tourists come from the Maghreb region, and a third from Europe.
November 27, 2019

ALGERIA – Italian Company Edison Renews Gas Export Contract with Sonatrach
Edison and Sonatrach have agreed to renew their gas export contract until 2027, with a two year possible extension. Sonatrach has also recently renewed its gas export contracts with Italian companies Eni and Enel, consolidating its position on the Italian market as one of Italy’s main gas suppliers. Through these agreements, Sonatrach will export approximately 3 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Italy, via the Enrico Mattei gazoduct. Sonatrach and Edison signed their first supply agreement in 2008.
November 13, 2019

ALGERIA – Concrete Exports to Reach USD 400 mn by 2021, Says Minister of Commerce
“Exports values of Algerian concrete reached USD 20 mn in 2018 and have tripled this year, reaching USD 60 mn, with indicators showing that exports will reach USD 400 mn by 2021,” the Minister of Commerce told Algerian press. The Minister noted “promising markets” on the west coast of Africa, in particular Guinee Bissau, Senegal, Gabon and Mali, emphasizing Algeria would be able to respond to the market needs of these countries and become their main supplier by 2020.
November 19, 2019

ALGERIA – Algeria Approves New Energy Law to Attract Foreign Investment
Algeria’s parliament has passed a new energy law aimed at reviving the oil and gas sector by making it more attractive to investors. State energy firm Sonatrach’s foreign partners have stayed away in recent years, complaining of bureaucracy and unattractive contract terms. The new law contains tax incentives and reduced administrative procedures.
November 28, 2019

Politics

TUNISIA – Tunisia’s Parliament Elects Moderate Islamist Party Leader as Speaker
Tunisia’s new parliament has elected Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, as its speaker. Ghannouchi was backed by the party Heart of Tunisia, opening the way for a possible coalition government between the two parties. Tunisia’s post-revolution constitution splits power between the newly elected President Kais Saied and a government that passes legislation through the parliament.
November 13, 2019

ALGERIA – Algerian Protesters Scuffle with Police as Election Nears
Algeria’s presidential election is due to take place on December 12. Protests have been taking place weekly across the country, with anti-government protesters opposing the election to replace former president Bouteflika, saying it cannot be fair if his allies retain positions of power. On November 27, hundreds of protesters in Bouira, 100 km east of Algiers, prevented one of the presidential candidates, Ali Benflis, from leading a campaign rally. Reuters reports that several protesters were injured and several arrested, although adding there was no official confirmation from the Ministry of Justice. On November 30 however, over 10,000 people across several cities marched in support of the current government, in the biggest show this year by pro-government groups.
November 30, 2019

Economy

MOROCCO – Morocco’s Trade Deficit Increases by 2.4%
Morocco’s trade deficit increased to approximately USD 16 bn reports the Exchange Office, up by USD 370 mn or 2.4% over the first nine months of 2019, in comparison to figures from the first nine months of 2018. Imports increased by USD 1.1 bn, whereas exports increased by approximately USD 748 mn. Morocco’s main exports increases were across the agriculture sector (5.4% increase), the automotive sector (4.1%) and the aeronautic sector (9.9%). Morocco’s automotive sector remains Morocco’s main export item (26.7% in September 2019). The electronic, extractive mining, leather and textile, and pharmaceutical industries all experienced a slight drop in export rates, compared to September last year.
November 1, 2019

TUNISIA – Tunisian Export and Import Volumes Drop Across First 10 Months of 2019
Over the first ten months of 2019, export volumes decreased by 3.8%, and imports decreased by 7.8% compared to this time last year, reports the Tunisian National Institute of Statistics. Agriculture products experienced the most significant drop in export volumes, decreasing 18.7%. Textile, clothing and leather exports dropped by 4.6%, and the mechanical and electrical industry exports dropped by 2.4%. Energy exports increased however by 8.4%. Mechanical and electrical industry imports and textile, clothing and leather imports also decreased in volume by 11.3% and 7.8% respectively, showing an overall slowdown in the sectors.
November 14, 2019

ALGERIA – Algeria’s Trade Deficit Totals USD 5.2 bn in First Nine Months of 2019
Algerian exports went down 12.43% in the first nine months of 2019, falling to USD 27.21 bn. Imports also decreased by 5.27% to USD 32.34 bn. Oil and gas exports, Algeria’s main exports, which accounted for 92.91% of total sales abroad, reached USD 25.28 bn, down from USD 28.29 bn in the first nine months of 2018.
November 24, 2019

Key Economic Indicators

norty africa key economic indicators december 2019