North Africa News April 2022
(as at April 3, 2022)
EGYPT – Amazon set to open 4 new delivery stations in Egypt and create 2,000 new jobs
Amazon has announced that it intends on creating more than 2,000 new jobs across its network in Egypt before the end of 2022. The American commerce company is set to open four new delivery stations in West Cairo, East Cairo, the port city of Alexandria, and Banha in northern Cairo. Amazon’s expanded network seeks to guarantee same-day delivery in Cairo and Giza and next-day delivery across most of Egypt. Amazon first expanded in Egypt in 2021 and currently employs over 1,500 people in 22 delivery stations across the country, along with a fulfillment center in the 10th of Ramadan City, with a storage capacity of nearly 70,000 cubic meters.
Mar. 21, 2022
MOROCCO – French company AD Industries inaugurates a new production unit in Casablanca
French mechanical engineering company AD Industries has inaugurated a new industrial site in Casablanca, specializing in the production of metallic parts used in the aeronautics industry. The new factory is the first aeronautical industrial unit in Morocco to have five last-gen laser cutting machines, as well as an industrial punching machine. The new unit is located in the MidParc Free Zone in Casablanca, which hosts several other aeronautical companies. The Casablanca factory is AD Industries’ second unit in Morocco after the one opened in Tangier in 2011.
Mar. 16, 2022
MOROCCO – Colas Rail wins a deal to build electrical systems for the Casablanca tramway extension
French company Colas Rail has won a call for tenders to build low voltage electrical systems as part of the extension of the Casablanca tramway system. Colas Rail will establish the electrical systems along the third and fourth lines of the Casablanca tramway, currently under construction. The company will realize the project with a budget of MAD 192 mn (EUR 17.9 mn) and has a deadline of 30 months.
Mar. 22, 2022
MOROCCO – Air France to launch two new routes with Morocco during the summer
Air France has signed a partnership agreement with Morocco’s National Tourism Office (ONMT) to launch new flights between Paris and the Moroccan cities of Tangier and Agadir during the summer season. Air France is set to operate four weekly flights on the Paris-Tangier route and three flights per week between Paris and Agadir. The French airline is also set to increase the frequency of its traditional Paris-Rabat and Paris-Marrakech routes to 20 and 15 weekly flights, respectively.
Mar. 23, 2022
MOROCCO – Morocco signs 8 new investment agreements in the automotive sector
Morocco’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce has signed eight investment agreements in the automotive sector, worth over MAD 1.7 bn (EUR 159 mn) and expected to create 12,000 direct jobs. Three agreements were signed with Japanese company Yazaki for the opening of a production unit for automobile wires and cables in Meknes, as well as the expansion of its already-established factories in Kenitra and Tangier. Two agreements were signed with the American Lear Corporation for the construction of two factories, one for car battery connectors in Tangier, and another for electric wires in Meknes. Another agreement was signed with the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation Group for the creation of a cable harnesses production unit in Casablanca. The seventh and eighth agreements were signed with Switzerland’s TE Connectivity and Germany’s Stahlschmidt for the creation of two production units in Tangier. TE Connectivity’s factory will specialize in the molding and assembly of connectors, while Stahlschmidt’s unit will focus on lock systems.
Mar. 24, 2022
TUNISIA, ALGERIA – Tunisair Express launches a new air route with Algeria
Tunisair Express, a subsidiary of Tunisia’s national airline, has launched a new flight between the Tunis-Carthage International Airport and the Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport in Constantine, Algeria. Tunisair Express will operate the flight weekly, on Saturdays. The new route seeks to promote exchange and tourism between the two neighboring countries.
Mar. 12, 2022
TUNISIA – Airbag cushions manufacturer Alva opens a production unit in Tunisia
Airbag cushions manufacturer Alva, owned by Japanese conglomerate Toray Industries, has opened a production unit worth EUR 10.5 mn in Tunisia. The new factory is located in the Chbedda industrial zone, 15 kilometers south of Tunis, and is expected to create 3,000 jobs. The factory has a production capacity of 18 million airbags per year.
Mar. 16, 2022
TUNISIA – Tunisia’s Syphax Airlines signs a partnership to acquire 10 Boeing 737-800 planes
Tunisian private airline Syphax Airlines has signed a partnership agreement with Boeing allowing the airline to acquire 10 units of the American company’s aircraft Boeing 737-800. The Tunisian airline received the first aircraft, in provenance from Japan, on the same day as the signing ceremony with Boeing. The new planes will help Syphax Airlines increase its presence in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mar. 22, 2022
TUNISIA – Tunisian ferries resume cruises in the Mediterranean after a two-year suspension
The Tunisian Ministry of Tourism and Handicraft has announced the resumption of cruises by Tunisian ferries, starting March 23. Cruises in Tunisia have been suspended since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Tourism has programmed at least 44 cruises for the year 2022 to various destinations in the Mediterranean, notably Italy, France, and Spain.
Mar. 23, 2022
ALGERIA – Sonatrach and Eni drill a new oil well in the Algerian desert
Algeria’s national oil and gas company Sonatrach and its Italian partner Eni have announced the successful drilling of a new well in the Zemlet El Arbi region, near Algeria’s border with Tunisia. According to preliminary tests, the new well has a daily production capacity of 7,000 oil barrels and 140,000 cubic meters of gas. Sonatrach and Eni estimate that the Zemlet El Arbi region has a potential of around 140 million oil barrels. The two companies are set to four additional wells in the region.
Mar. 20, 2022
ALGERIA – Algerian-Chinese consortium launches a new phosphate fertilizer production company
A consortium of two Algerian and two Chinese companies have partnered up to create the Algerian Chinese Fertilizers Company (ACFC). The newly-created company will specialize in integrated phosphate fertilizer projects, through a global investment of USD 7 bn. The ACFC seeks to produce 5.4 million tonnes of fertilizer per year through several production units in eastern Algeria. The Algerian party holds 56% of the new company’s shares, while the Chinese party holds 44%. The Algerian party is composed of Asmidal, a subsidiary of Algeria’s national oil and gas company Sonatrach specialized in fertilizers, and mining company Manal Group. Meanwhile, the Chinese partners are Yunnan Tian’An Chemical, specializing in the production of phosphate fertilizers, and Wuhuan Engineering.
Mar. 22, 2022
ALGERIA – Algeria to increase its daily oil production by 11,000 barrels in May
Algeria is set to increase its daily oil production by 11,000 barrels in May 2022. The increase would bring the country’s total daily production from 1.002 million oil barrels to 1.013 million. The decision is in line with the results of the 27th ministerial meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which decided to increase the global daily oil production of its member states by 432,000 barrels during May 2022.
Mar. 31, 2022
EGYPT – Egypt bans exports of some basic commodities amid Russia-Ukraine crisis
The Egyptian Government has issued a decision of banning exports of some basic commodities for three months, until the end of May, to preserve their stocks amid the global supply chain crisis related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The commodities banned from exportation include lentils, beans, and all types of flour and pasta.
Mar. 11, 2022
MOROCCO – Morocco suspends the exportation of tomatoes
The Moroccan Government has suspended the exportation of tomatoes to prevent their price in local markets to increase beyond the purchasing power of Moroccans. The decision came amid complaints from citizens against the increase in the prices of food products due to drought and the global supply crisis. It also came ahead of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, in which Moroccans consume tomatoes more abundantly.
Mar. 12, 2022
MOROCCO – Morocco switches to GMT for the month of Ramadan
Morocco has switched its clock to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) from GMT+1, starting March 27 at 3 a.m. Morocco regularly switches to GMT on the weekend before the holy month of Ramadan and switches back to GMT+1 on the weekend after. The country is set to go back to GMT+1 on May 8 at 2 a.m. Public office hours are also shortened during the month of Ramadan, from 9-5 to 9-3.
Mar. 27, 2022
TUNISIA – Tunisian President dissolves the parliament after a vote against his ‘exceptional measures’
Tunisian President Kais Saied has completely dissolved the country’s parliament, eight months after he suspended it. According to President Saied, the move seeks “to preserve the state and its institutions.” The decision came a few hours after the suspended Tunisian parliamentarians held a plenary session online and voted for a bill against the president’s “exceptional measures.” Following the vote, Tunisia’s Minister of Justice ordered the opening of a judicial investigation against the suspended members of the parliament on charges of “conspiring against state security.” President Saied described the vote as a “coup attempt” and accused the responsible parliamentarians of “betraying the nation.” The Tunisian President has been holding nearly-total power in the country since he suspended the parliament in July 2021.
Mar. 30, 2022
ALGERIA – Algerian President bans the exportation of essential food products
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has issued a decision to ban the exportation of mass-consumption products in Algeria, including sugar, pasta, oil, semolina, beans, lentils, and wheat. The Algerian President also requested the Ministry of Justice to develop a law criminalizing the re-exportation of non-local products. The decision seeks to preserve the supply of essential goods to the Algerian population amid the global crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Mar. 13, 2022
ALGERIA – Algeria alleviates its entry requirements for visitors
The Algerian Government has canceled the obligation of a COVID-19 PCR test for fully-vaccinated incoming travelers. From March 20, fully-vaccinated passengers entering the Algerian borders will only have to present their vaccination passes. Meanwhile, travelers who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 still have to present a less-than-72-hours-old negative PCR test result. Algerian authorities have also canceled antigenic tests for COVID-19 upon arrival.
Mar. 17, 2022
ALGERIA – Algerian government begins distributing unemployment stipends to 500,000 applicants
The Algerian Government has approved the newly-established unemployment stipend for 500,000 applicants. Announced by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in February 2022, the new stipend is a monthly allowance of DZD 13,000 (EUR 82) seeking to support unemployed Algerian youth. According to the Algerian Ministry of Labor, 42% of the applicants do not have a diploma, 36% have a university degree, and 20% have diplomas from vocational training centers.
Mar. 28, 2022
EGYPT – Central Bank of Egypt increases several policy rates by 100 base points
The Central Bank of Egypt has raised several policy rates by 100 base points. The overnight deposit rate increased to 9.25%, the overnight lending rate to 10.25%, the main operations rate to 9.75 %, and the discount rate to 9.75%. The Central Bank of Egypt explained that the decision aims to anchor its inflation expectations of 7.0% in 2022 and to contain the effects of supply shocks stemming from exogenous factors.
Mar. 21, 2022
MOROCCO – Morocco reports a 6.6% economic growth in Q4-2021
Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) has reported that the country’s economy grew by 6.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to a 5.1% regression in the same period of 2020. The growth in Q4-2021 is the result of an 18.9% increase in agricultural activity and a 5.6% increase in non-agricultural sectors. The figure brings Morocco’s estimated GDP growth in 2021 to 7.4%, up from a 7.2% estimation by the HCP in January. The number, however, is set to undergo a final confirmation or revision in July.
Mar. 31, 2022
TUNISIA – Fitch Ratings downgrades Tunisia’s long-term rating to ‘CCC’
Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings has downgraded Tunisia’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from ‘B-’ to ‘CCC’. According to Fitch Ratings, the downgrade reflects heightened fiscal and external liquidity risks due to Tunisia’s delay in agreeing on a new program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since the political changes of July 2021. Fitch Ratings also attributed the downgrade to the ongoing social opposition in the country and the friction between the Tunisian government and labor unions.
Mar. 18, 2022
ALGERIA – Algeria recorded a USD 1.6 bn trade surplus in 2021
Algeria has recorded a trade surplus of USD 1.6 bn in 2021, according to the country’s General Directorate of Customs. The figure represents a positive evolution in comparison with the USD 10.0 bn trade deficit recorded in 2020. Algerian exportations increased by over 65% in value, with gas and oil exports as the main contributors. Meanwhile, Algerian imports were mainly composed of industrial equipment, followed by food products and semi-finished products.
Mar. 21, 2022
Key Economic Indicators