North Africa News February 2022
(as at February 6, 2022)
EGYPT – Egypt signs two new oil exploration agreements with investments of over USD 500 mn
The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has signed two new exploration agreements for the production of petroleum in Egypt’s desert. The investments are worth more than USD 500 mn and concern the drilling of 12 wells. The first agreement is with the Canadian Transglobe Company and covers three regions in Egypt’s Eastern Desert. Meanwhile, the second agreement is with British company Pharos Energy and covers the Fayoum region in the Western Desert.
Jan. 20, 2022
EGYPT – FDIs in renewable energies in Egypt reach USD 3.5 bn in 2021
Foreign direct investments in renewable energy projects in Egypt have increased to USD 3.5 bn in 2021, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity. Wind energy projects in the Gulf of Suez region on the Red Sea coast accounted for 78% of these investments, while 22% concerned solar energy projects. The Egyptian Ministry of Electricity stated that the value of these investments has doubled between 2020 and 2021.
Jan. 20, 2022
EGYPT – EgyptAir resumes flights to and from Algeria
Egyptian national airline EgyptAir has decided to resume its flights to and from Algeria starting February 6. The airline will operate two weekly flights between Cairo and Algiers, on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights between the two countries have been suspended since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020.
Jan. 23, 2022
EGYPT – Egypt to sign a deal with Siemens for the construction of a 925 km high-speed train line
The Egyptian Ministry of Transport has announced that negotiations with Siemens regarding the project of a second high-speed train line in the country have reached their final stage. The line will extend from the 6th of October City, 60 kilometers southwest of Cairo, to Aswan in the south of Egypt. The project will be 925 kilometers long, running along the Nile River, and will include 28 stations. The train’s speed is expected to reach up to 250 kilometers per hour.
Jan. 29, 2022
MOROCCO – Canadian company Stellar AfricaGold obtains new gold exploration permits in Morocco
Canadian exploration company Stellar AfricaGold has signed a new agreement with Morocco’s National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) to mine for gold in the mountainous Tichka region near Marrakech. The agreement grants Stellar AfricaGold the exploration permits for four different zones, bringing the number of permits granted to the company to seven, covering a total area of 82 square kilometers.
Jan. 11, 2022
MOROCCO – Morocco begins construction of a EUR 500 mn vaccine production unit
King Mohammed VI of Morocco has inaugurated the construction works on an industrial unit for the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines. Titled “Sensyo Pharmatech,” the project is located in Benslimane, 50 kilometers east of Casablanca, and will require a global investment of EUR 500 mn. The industrial unit is expected to become the largest of its kind in Africa and among the top five largest in the world. In total, the project will have three different production lines. The first production line will focus on a fill and finish process and is set to become operational before the end of 2022, with a capacity of 20 million vaccine doses per month. The second and third production lines will be established in separate phases between 2022 and 2025, focusing on the production and distribution of vaccines.
Jan. 27, 2022
TUNISIA – French company Actia begins extension of its research and development center in Tunisia
French engineering company Actia has launched an extension project on its research and development center in Sfax, 270 kilometers south of Tunis. The project will provide new jobs for 200 engineers. Actia is specialized in developing and manufacturing electronics, mainly used in the automotive, telecommunication, and energy industries.
Jan. 19, 2022
TUNISIA – Low-cost airline EasyJet to launch three weekly flights between Tunisia and Switzerland
Swiss low-cost airline EasyJet has announced that it will launch three weekly flights between Geneva, Switzerland, and Enfidha, a seaside city 100 kilometers south of Tunis. The new flights are set to launch on March 29, with departures on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Jan. 29, 2022
ALGERIA – Air Algérie resumes daily flights to and from Tunisia
Algeria’s national air carrier Air Algérie has resumed its daily flights between Algiers and Tunis. The flights have been suspended since December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resumption of the daily flights came after Algerian authorities decided to fully reopen the border with Tunisia.
Jan. 17, 2022
ALGERIA – Air Algérie resumes weekly flights between Algeria and Egypt, Switzerland
Air Algérie has resumed its weekly flights to and from Egypt and Switzerland. Flights between Algiers and Cairo are scheduled on Mondays and Fridays, starting January 28. Meanwhile, flights between Algiers and Geneva are planned on Saturdays, starting January 29. The resumption of the air routes came after Algerian authorities decided to reopen Algeria’s air borders for Egyptian and Swiss aircraft.
Jan. 19, 2022
EGYPT – Egypt updates its entry requirements
Egypt has updated its entry requirements for incoming travelers. As of January 22, all arriving passengers who have a vaccination certificate approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be allowed entry without having to undergo a PCR test for COVID-19, provided that 14 days have passed since their vaccination. For travelers who aren’t fully vaccinated, documentation proving that they have tested negative for the coronavirus 72 hours before their arrival is still required. If the vaccination certificate or examination is not approved by Egyptian health authorities, passengers will undergo an Antigen Rapid Test upon arrival. If the test is positive, the travelers will be allowed entry but they will have to self-isolate for five days in hotels, with a PCR examination on the sixth day. If the PCR test yields negative results, the visitors can end their quarantine. If not, they will have to quarantine for another five days.
Jan. 22, 2022
MOROCCO – Moroccan government allocates EUR 190 mn to assist the recovery of the tourism sector
The Moroccan government has launched an emergency plan worth MAD 2 bn (EUR 190 mn) to assist the recovery of the tourism industry. The plan includes five main measures: (i) paying monthly stipends of MAD 2,000 (EUR 190) to employees of the tourism sector who lost their jobs for the first quarter of 2022 ; (ii) postponing the deadlines for employers to pay social security charges for six months ; (iii) postponing the deadlines for hotels and touristic establishments to reimburse bank loans ; (iv) paying off the professional taxes due on hotels for the years 2020 and 2021 ; and (v) granting a total of MAD 1 bn (EUR 95 mn) to tourism operators wishing to renovate their establishments and train their employees to prepare for the relaunch of touristic activity.
Jan. 18, 2022
MOROCCO – Morocco reopens its air borders
The Moroccan government has decided to reopen Morocco’s borders starting February 7, following a relative improvement of the epidemiological indicators in the country. The borders have been closed since November 2021. During the closure, incoming commercial flights were completely banned. Meanwhile, some outgoing flights were authorized for foreigners in Morocco and Moroccans living abroad.
Jan. 27, 2022
TUNISIA – Tunisian government extends night curfew until further notice
The Tunisian government has announced that the night curfew established to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic will be maintained until further notice. The curfew, which runs from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., was put in place on January 13, 2022, following the rise in COVID-19 cases recorded across the country.
Jan. 26, 2022
ALGERIA – Algeria reopens its land border with Tunisia
Algerian authorities have decided to fully reopen the four crossing points of Taleb Abi, Hazoua, Om Taboul, and Melloula, on the land border with Tunisia. The crossing points have been closed for regular travelers since December 2020 and only freight trucks were allowed to move through them. With the reopening, regular passengers can now travel by land between the two countries, on the condition of presenting the negative result of a recent PCR test.
Jan. 5, 2022
ALGERIA – United Kingdom approves Algerian vaccination pass
According to Air Algérie, the United Kingdom is set to approve vaccination passes delivered by Algerian health authorities from February 11. Fully vaccinated Algerian citizens wishing to travel to the United Kingdom will no longer need a PCR test for COVID-19 and can access British territory by only presenting their vaccination pass.
Jan. 27, 2022
EGYPT – Egypt’s non-petroleum exports exceed USD 32 bn in 2021
Egypt’s non-petroleum exports have increased from USD 25.4 bn in 2020 to USD 32.1 bn in 2021, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry. The figure represents an annual increase of 26%. The United States was the largest importer of Egyptian commodities in 2021 at USD 2.4 bn, followed by Saudi Arabia (USD 2.0 bn), Italy (USD 1.9 bn), the UAE (USD 1.2 bn), Malta (USD 1.2 bn), Spain (USD 1.2 bn), and the United Kingdom and Ireland (USD 1.1 bn).
Jan. 19, 2022
EGYPT – IMF forecast 5.6% GDP growth in Egypt in 2022
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its forecast for Egypt’s GDP growth in 2022 to 5.6%, up from a 5.2% prediction back in October 2021. According to the IMF, the Egyptian economic growth outlook has improved thanks to the good management of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Egyptian government, along with the improvement in external demand from Egypt’s main trading partners.
Jan. 26, 2022
EGYPT – Egypt officially rejoins J.P. Morgan Emerging Market Bond Index
Egypt officially returned to the J.P. Morgan Emerging Market Bond Index (EMBI) on January 31, 2022, 10 years after its exit in June 2011 for failing to meet its requirements. Egypt began its pursuit to rejoin the index around two and a half years ago by fulfilling the bank’s requirements, which include extending the life of government debt, adjusting the yield curve, and raising the participation rate of foreign investors in government financial instruments.
Jan. 31, 2022
MOROCCO – Moroccan airports record a 38.9% annual increase in incoming passengers
Moroccan airports have witnessed a 38.9% increase in incoming traffic in 2021, compared to 2020. However, the 2021 traffic only represents 40% of the figure recorded in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Moroccan airports have welcomed about 9.94 million passengers in 2021, including 3.56 million in the summer period, from June 15 to August 31. The Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca was the busiest in Morocco in 2021, with over 4.15 million incoming passengers. The Marrakech Menara Airport came second with 1.53 million travelers, followed by the Tangier Ibn Batouta Airport (868,842 incoming passengers).
Jan. 19, 2022
MOROCCO – Morocco records a 1.4% average inflation rate in 2021
Morocco’s average inflation rate for the year 2021 has reached 1.4%, according to the Moroccan High Commission for Planning. The figure is higher than the rates recorded in the past two years, with 0.2% in 2019 and 0.7% in 2020. The product categories that witnessed the highest inflation rates were transportation (5.9%), alcoholic drinks and tobacco (3.5%), clothing (1.9%), and education (1.6%).
Jan. 21, 2022
TUNISIA – World Bank expects 3.5% GDP growth in Tunisia in 2022, 3.3% in 2023
The World Bank has forecast Tunisia’s GDP to grow by 3.5% in 2022 and by 3.3% in 2023. According to the World Bank’s economic outlook report of January 2022, the Tunisian economy still needs more time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and return to its pre-pandemic level.
Jan. 12, 2022
ALGERIA – Algeria’s liquefied natural gas exportations grow by 7.8% in 2021
Algeria’s exportations of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have recorded an annual increase of 7.8% in 2021, reaching about 11.5 million tonnes, according to a report from the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC). Turkey was the main importer of Algerian LNG, with 37% of total exportations, followed by France (20%), Spain (14%), Italy (6%), and the United Kingdom (6%).
Jan. 26, 2022
Key Economic Indicators