North Africa News December 2021
(as at December 5, 2021)
EGYPT – Egyptian company partners with Greek and Emirati counterparts on nanotechnology products
Egypt’s Heliopolis Company for Chemical Industries, known as Factory 81, has signed a partnership with Greece’s NanoPhos and the UAE’s Creazure Building Materials, two companies specialized in nanotechnology. The partnership will allow for tripartite cooperation in the domains of nanotechnology coatings and waterproof construction paints.
Nov. 4, 2021
EGYPT – Abu Dhabi Ports announces plan to invest USD 500 mn in Egypt
Abu Dhabi Ports, an Emirati government-owned holding company, has announced its plan to invest USD 500 mn in Safaga, a coastal city in eastern Egypt, and the 10th of Ramadan City, near the capital Cairo. The company, however, is yet to specify the nature of its future investments in Egypt. Abu Dhabi Ports is one of the main Emirati actors in the sectors of trade, industry, and logistics. Its portfolio includes 11 ports and more than 550 square kilometers of industrial areas.
Nov. 8, 2021
EGYPT – International firm Openner launches a venture capital fund with Egypt’s Benya Group
International venture capital firm, Openner, and Egyptian IT infrastructure company, Benya Group, have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a USD 50 mn venture capital fund. The fund is set to provide capital investments and support entrepreneurs and startups in Egypt, as well as in Arab and African markets. Through the agreement, Openner and Benya Group will create a joint committee to select eligible startups and provide them with the necessary resources.
Nov. 9, 2021
EGYPT – South Africa-based Vodacom purchases majority shares in Vodafone Egypt
Vodafone International Group has approved the sale of its shares in Vodafone Egypt to its South African subsidiary, Vodacom. The deal, expected to be finalized by March 2022, is worth USD 2.47 bn. Egyptian company Telecom Egypt owns 44.95% of Vodafone Egypt, while the remaining shares are owned by Vodafone International Group and will soon be transferred to Vodacom. The deal comes as Vodacom is looking to further expand its presence on African markets. The company already operates in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique, Congo, and Lesotho, with a market capitalization of USD 16.63 bn.
Nov. 10, 2021
EGYPT – Egypt imposes a 10% tax on imported mobile phones to encourage local production
The Egyptian Ministry of Finance has imposed a 10% customs tax on imported mobile phones to stimulate the national industry and encourage local production. The decision comes amid a reform in Egypt’s IT sector, seeking to turn the country into a regional leader in the field. Computers and their accessories, as well as tablets, are exempt from the new tax. However, the ministry did not reject the idea that a similar tax could be imposed on these items in the future.
Nov. 29, 2021
MOROCCO – Morocco and Portugal launch a joint Economic Council
The General Confederation of Enterprises in Morocco (CGEM) and the Confederation of Enterprises of Portugal, the largest employer associations in their respective countries, have signed a cooperation agreement to put in place a Morocco-Portugal Economic Council. The council’s objectives are to redefine partnership domains between the two countries, create a roadmap for developing bilateral economic cooperation, and facilitate exchange between Moroccan and Portuguese businesses.
Nov. 22, 2021
MOROCCO – Tanger Med Zones begins the construction of a new commercial zone in northern Morocco
Tanger Med Zones, the company managing the Tanger Med Port in northern Morocco, has launched the construction of a new commercial zone in Cabo Negro, on the Mediterranean coast. The commercial zone will have a global surface of 70 hectares. The first phase of the zone, 30-hectares-large, is set to become operational by April 2022. Several international companies have expressed interest in the project, including Ikea, which will build a 3-hectare-large store in the commercial zone.
Nov. 22, 2021
MOROCCO – EasyJet and Ryanair suspend their flights to Morocco until the end of January 2022
Low-cost airlines EasyJet and Ryanair have decided to suspend all of their flights to Morocco until the end of January 2022. The decision comes following Morocco’s two-week flight suspension. According to statements from EasyJet and Ryanair, Moroccan authorities have not shown enough transparency regarding the flight suspension and whether it will be extended, forcing the airlines to preemptively suspend their flights to the country until the end of January.
Nov. 29, 2021
TUNISIA – French car equipment manufacturer Bontaz opens a new factory in Tunisia
French car equipment manufacturer Bontaz has inaugurated a new production unit in the El Mghira Industrial Zone, northeastern Tunisia. The factory is 6,500 square meters large and cost an investment budget of EUR 20 mn. It created 800 new jobs. Bontaz, present in Tunisia since 2007, has another production unit in the same industrial zone, as well as a research and development center.
Nov. 10, 2021
ALGERIA – Algerian airline launches weekly flights to and from Qatar
Algeria’s national air carrier, Air Algérie, has launched a new direct air route between Algiers and Doha, Qatar. The Algerian airline will operate two weekly flights between the two capitals. The new flights will add up to two other weekly flights already operated by Qatar Airways.
Nov. 10, 2021
ALGERIA – TotalEnergies announces the construction of a polypropylene factory in Algeria
TotalEnergies has announced that construction works are ongoing on a polypropylene production unit in northwestern Algeria. Polypropylene is a type of thermoplastics mainly used for packaging and making plastic parts for machinery and equipment. The production unit, which is owned by Algeria’s gas company, Sonatrach (51%), and TotalEnergies (49%), is set to become operational in 2025. The project has an investment budget of USD 1.4 bn and is set to have a production capacity of 550,000 tonnes of polypropylene per year.
Nov. 11, 2021
ALGERIA – French waste treatment company Europlasma plans to expand in Algeria
French company Europlasma, specializing in the treatment of toxic waste, has announced its intention to expand in Algeria. Europlasma is set to partner up with Algerian company NCC Environnement to create a unit for the vitrification (transformation into glass) of asbestos, a mineral that is mainly used for insulation in buildings and other construction components such as pipes. The French company’s decision to expand in Algeria stems from “the abundance of asbestos waste” in the country.
Nov. 17, 2021
EGYPT – Egyptian Government bans unvaccinated citizens from accessing public establishments
The Egyptian Government has decided that no citizens will be allowed to enter any state-run building unless they are vaccinated against COVID-19, starting December 1. The decision concerns access to public administrations and establishments, as well as universities. Unvaccinated university students will be banned from taking exams in December.
Nov. 15, 2021
EGYPT – Egypt suspends flights with South Africa due to the new coronavirus variant
Egyptian national airline EgyptAir has announced the suspension of its flights to and from Johannesburg, South Africa. The suspension comes after the detection of the new Omicron coronavirus variant in South Africa. Egyptian authorities have also imposed a mandatory rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival for incoming passengers from Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini. Travelers who test positive will be banned from entering Egyptian territory and will have to return to their countries.
Nov. 27, 2021
MOROCCO – Morocco fully lifts COVID-19 night curfew
The Moroccan Government has decided to lift the nationwide night curfew implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19, starting November 10. Citizens can also travel freely between cities, without presenting their vaccination pass. The government, however, has maintained the obligation of presenting a vaccination pass or a vaccination exemption certificate to access indoor public spaces, such as shopping centers, coffee shops, restaurants, and gyms.
Nov. 9, 2021
MOROCCO – Morocco closes its air borders for two weeks
Morocco has decided to fully close its air borders for two weeks, starting November 29. The suspension concerns all incoming and outgoing passenger flights, except for special repatriation flights organized to transport stranded tourists out of the country. The decision seeks to prevent the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant in Morocco. It is still unclear whether the Moroccan government will extend the suspension after December 13.
Nov. 28, 2021
TUNISIA – Tunisia to impose COVID-19 vaccination pass in schools and universities
The Tunisian Government has announced that the COVID-19 vaccination pass will become mandatory in all public and private schools and universities in the country, starting December 22. The decision concerns teachers, employees, visitors, and students who are more than 18 years old.
Nov. 23, 2021
ALGERIA – Algerian President replaces three ministers
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has ordered a minor government reshuffle, replacing three ministers. The concerned officials are the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Minister of Communication, and the Minister of Labor, Employment, and Social Security. The Algerian Presidency did not specify the reasons behind the decision. The reshuffle is the first of its kind since the appointment of the new government in June 2021.
Nov. 11, 2021
EGYPT – Egypt’s unemployment rate increases to 7.5% in the third quarter of 2021
Egypt’s unemployment rate stood at 7.5% in the third quarter of 2021, marking an increase of 0.2 percentage points from the second quarter of 2021, according to the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). The unemployment rate also recorded a yearly increase of 0.2 percentage points (7.3% in the third quarter of 2020). The estimated size of the Egyptian labor force stands at 29.38 million individuals, including 13.19 million in urban areas and 16.19 million in the countryside.
Nov. 16, 2021
EGYPT – Egyptian non-oil exports increase by 40% in the first nine months of 2021
Egypt’s non-oil commodity exports have recorded an annual increase of 40% in the first nine months of 2021, reaching a value of USD 29.7 bn, compared to USD 21.2 bn in the same period of 2020. According to CAPMAS, the G20 countries are the main destination of Egyptian non-oil exports, with a total value of USD 14.1 bn in the first nine months of 2021.
Nov. 28, 2021
MOROCCO – Morocco’s unemployment rate declines to 11.8% in the third quarter of 2021
Morocco’s unemployment rate has declined from 12.7% to 11.8% between the second and third quarters of 2021. The unemployment rate currently stands at 5.2% in rural areas and 16.0% in urban areas. The categories with the highest unemployment rates include young people aged 15 to 24 (31.0%), higher education graduates (18.7%), and women (16.5%).
Nov. 3, 2021
TUNISIA – Tunisia’s tourist arrivals increase by 7.2% in the first ten months of 2021
The number of tourist arrivals recorded in Tunisia in the first ten months of 2021 has exceeded 1.94 million, marking a 7.2% annual increase compared to the same period in 2020. The value of tourism revenue has also witnessed a 6.1% increase between October 2020 and October 2021, reaching TND 1.9 bn (EUR 594.1 mn).
Nov. 11, 2021
ALGERIA – Algeria records a 6.4% economic growth in the second quarter of 2021
Algeria’s economic growth has reached 6.4% in the second quarter of 2021, according to the Algerian National Statistics Office (ONS). The sectors that witnessed the highest increase in activity compared to the same period in 2020 were construction (+13.7%), hydrocarbons (+11.0%), services (+10.2%), and industry (+9.3%).
Nov. 15, 2021
ALGERIA – Algeria’s exports recorded a 67.5% growth in value in the first half of 2021
The value of Algerian exports has witnessed a 67.5% growth in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, according to the figures released by Algeria’s ONS. The most notable increases in exports concerned the sectors of hydrocarbons (+72.9%), followed by oils (+59.8%), drinks and tobacco (+23.5%), and chemical products (+23.5%). The total value of Algeria’s exports in the first half of 2021 stood at DZD 2,293 bn (EUR 14.68 bn). The value of imports has also recorded a rise of 15.6% in the first half of 2021, standing at DZD 2,463 bn (EUR 15.78 bn). The figures put Algeria’s foreign trade coverage ratio at 93.1% in the first half of 2021, up from 64.2% in the same period in 2020.
Nov. 20, 2021
Key Economic Indicators