North Africa News January 2022
(as at January 9, 2022)
EGYPT – Siemens announces the beginning of the operation of a 250-megawatt wind farm in Egypt
German company Siemens has announced the beginning of the operation of the 250-megawatt Ras Ghareb Windfarm, on the western coast of the Gulf of Suez in Egypt. The project was implemented by Siemens Gamesa, a subsidiary specializing in renewable energy, and includes 96 wind turbines. Siemens is set to provide maintenance for the wind farm through a 15-year service agreement, while operations are supervised by the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company and Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Authority.
Dec. 2, 2021
EGYPT – Qatar Energy acquires stakes in two Shell-operated exploration zones in the Egyptian Red Sea
State-owned company Qatar Energy, formerly known as Qatar Petroleum, has signed farmout agreements with Shell Egypt to acquire a 17% stake in two Shell-operated oil and gas exploration zones in the Egyptian Red Sea. The zones concerned by the agreements are Block 3 – an area of 3,097 square kilometers in water depths ranging between 100 and 1,000 meters, and Block 4 – an area of 3,084 square kilometers in water depths of 150 to 500 meters. Qatar Energy’s new acquisition falls within its strategy to expand its international exploration portfolio.
Dec. 13, 2021
EGYPT – Emirati retailer Spinneys opens a new store in Egypt
Emirati supermarket chain Spinneys has opened a new 1,500 square meter store in New Cairo, Egypt. The store is the latest step in Spinneys’ plan to further expand its presence across the Egyptian territory. The new store has created 100 new jobs. Spinneys, present in Egypt since 2006, has so far opened 17 stores in the country and employs approximately 2,000 people.
Dec. 14, 2021
EGYPT – Suez Canal Economic Zone to build a USD 2.6 bn methanol plant
Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone has signed a USD 2.6 bn contract to build a methanol plant in the Ain Sokhna port and industrial complex, on the northwestern coast of the Suez Gulf. The project will create an integrated complex to produce ammonia and methanol. The partners included in the project are Egyptian companies Abu Qir Fertilizers and Helwan Fertilizers, along with Kuwaiti Al-Ahly Capital Holding. The project is expected to generate around 1,200 direct and indirect jobs.
Dec. 21, 2021
MOROCCO – Auto Hall plans to purchase exclusive distribution rights of Maserati in Morocco
Moroccan automobile distributor Auto Hall has announced its intention to purchase the exclusive rights of selling Maserati cars in Morocco. The sales of Maserati in Morocco are currently exclusively managed by Société de Développement Automobile, a company owned by Moroccan-Emirati private holding SOMED. Auto Hall intends to purchase 100% of the capital of Société de Développement Automobile from SOMED in order to become the exclusive distributor of Maserati in Morocco. Auto Hall has exclusive distribution rights in Morocco for 13 other car brands, including Ford, Nissan, Opel, and Mitsubishi.
Dec. 8, 2021
MOROCCO – French multinational Alstom begins the construction of a new production line in Fez
French railway and rail vehicles manufacturer Alstom has launched the works on a new production line in Fez, Morocco. The new production line, an extension of Alstom’s factory in Fez, will be around 13,000 square meters large and require an investment of EUR 10.5 mn. The new production is set to become operational in the beginning of 2023, increasing the factory’s total production capacity to 200 on-board transformers per year.
Dec. 14, 2021
MOROCCO – Chariot Oil and Gas begins the drilling of an offshore gas well in northern Morocco
British exploration company Chariot Oil and Gas has begun drilling the Anchois 1 well in the Lixus offshore zone, on the northern part of Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The drilling operation is set to last 40 days and is expected to confirm the volume of natural gas available in the region, estimated at 28 billion cubic meters. The Lixus offshore zone, which Chariot Oil and Gas earned the right to drill and exploit in 2020, is 2,390 square kilometers large.
Dec. 15, 2021
TUNISIA – Tunisair receives its first Airbus A320neo plane as part of a five-plane purchase
Tunisian airline Tunisair announced that it has received the first A320neo airplane, as part of a five-plane deal with Airbus. The airline received the first plane in December, while three other aircraft are set to be delivered in April, July, and September 2022. The fifth and final plane will be delivered in April 2023. Tunisair and Airbus signed the deal in October 2021 without disclosing its value. The purchase aims to expand Tunisair’s fleet to serve additional destinations by the summer of 2022.
Dec. 22, 2021
ALGERIA – DHL Global Forwarding opens its first two offices in Algeria
DHL Global Forwarding, specializing in international freight transport, has opened two offices in Algeria in response to the growing demand of logistic services in the country and across North Africa. The first office, which will serve as the headquarters of DHL Global Forwarding in Algeria, is located in the capital Algiers. Meanwhile, the second office is located in Hassi Messaoud, eastern Algeria, and seeks to serve local customers from the petroleum industry by providing them with assistance to transport their products by air via the Hassi Messaoud airport or by road through the Algerian-Tunisian border. DHL Global Forwarding also intends to open a third office in Oran, northwestern Algeria, in line with its growth strategy in the country.
Dec. 8, 2021
ALGERIA – Italian energy firm Eni signs a USD 1.4 bn deal to produce oil in Algeria
Algerian state-run oil and gas company Sonatrach has signed two agreements with Italian energy firm Eni. The first agreement is a USD 1.4 bn exploration and production contract of 45,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day on an onshore field in the Berkine basin, in central Algeria. The contract covers a total area of 7,880 square kilometers. The second agreement is related to developing renewable and new energies that aim to reduce Algeria’s carbon footprint.
Dec. 14, 2021
ALGERIA – Low-cost airline Volotea launches new flights between Algeria and France
Spanish low-cost airline Volotea has launched new weekly flights between Marseille, in southeastern France, and Oran, in northeastern Algeria. The airline will initially operate two weekly flights between Marseille and Oran, before increasing the frequency to four flights per week by the end of January 2022. Volotea has also announced its intention to launch weekly flights between the Algerian capital Algiers and Bordeaux, in southwestern France, in February 2022.
Dec. 16, 2021
EGYPT – Switzerland cancels quarantine requirement for travelers from Egypt
The Swiss government has announced canceling the quarantine requirement for passengers arriving in Switzerland from Egypt, among other countries. Switzerland imposed in November a 10-day quarantine on arrivals from Egypt, due to the emergence of the new coronavirus variant known as Omicron.
Dec. 3, 2021
EGYPT – Egypt resumes flights to and from South Africa after a two-week suspension
Egyptian airline EgyptAir has announced the resumption of its weekly flights between Egypt and South Africa after a 13-day suspension due to the new coronavirus variant, Omicron. The airline will return to its regular frequency of one flight per week between Cairo and Johannesburg on Thursdays. Egypt had suspended flights to and from South Africa on November 27 after the World Health Organization classed the new variant that emerged in southern Africa as “a variant of concern.”
Dec. 9, 2021
EGYPT – Canada lifts its travel ban on Egypt
Canada has decided to lift its travel ban on 10 African countries, including Egypt, starting December 18. Following the decision, Egyptian air carrier EgyptAir announced the resumption of its weekly flights between Cairo and Toronto. The Canadian government had introduced the travel ban on November 30, in order to prevent the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Dec. 18, 2021
MOROCCO – Morocco extends the suspension of incoming flights and resumes outgoing flights
The Moroccan government has decided to extend the suspension of incoming flights to Morocco until further notice. Meanwhile, outgoing passenger flights have been allowed to resume. The government is also studying the possibility of repatriating Moroccan citizens stranded abroad. Moroccan authorities decided to suspend all international flights on November 29, following the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant around the world, notably in Europe and Africa.
Dec. 9, 2021
MOROCCO – Morocco confirms its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant
Moroccan health authorities have announced the detection of the first confirmed case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the country. The concerned case is a woman living in Casablanca. The Ministry of Health said it will keep closely monitoring the case and the people it had recently contacted to minimize the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
Dec. 15, 2021
TUNISIA – Tunisian President extends the suspension of the Parliament until December 2022
Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed has extended the suspension of the Tunisian Parliament for one year, until the holding of legislative elections on December 17, 2022. The Tunisian President has also announced the establishment of a popular consultative body between January and March 2022, tasked of leading consultations with the Tunisian people in view of drafting a new constitution. The reformed constitution will be subject to a national referendum on July 25, 2022. The Tunisian Parliament has been suspended since July 2021, after President Saïed dismissed all deputies, along with the previous government.
Dec. 13, 2021
ALGERIA – Algeria resumes its diplomatic relations with France after a three-month hiatus
Algeria has decided to send back its ambassador to Paris, ending its diplomatic crisis with France. The Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune had recalled his ambassador to France in October 2021 after French President Emmanuel Macron questioned the existence of “an Algerian nation” before the French colonization, accusing Algerian authorities of “fabricating its official history.” The return of the Algerian ambassador to Paris signals that diplomatic relations between the two countries are starting to recover from the crisis.
Jan. 5, 2022
EGYPT – Egypt to join the JP Morgan bond index for emerging markets in January 2022
Egypt has announced it will be joining the JP Morgan bond index for emerging markets by the end of January 2022. Egypt is eligible to join the index with 14 government bonds worth a total value of about USD 26 bn. JP Morgan announced in April 2021 that it had placed Egypt under review for including in the emerging markets index because of the country’s steady improvement in liquidity and access to onshore government bond markets on the foreign investor level. Egypt was previously included in the index but it was removed in 2011 after failing to meet its requirements. The upcoming inclusion will make Egypt the second country in Africa to join the index, besides South Africa.
Dec. 12, 2021
MOROCCO – IMF forecasts 6.3% GDP growth in Morocco in 2021
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted Morocco’s GDP to record a 6.3% growth in 2021. The financial institution also expects the Moroccan economy to maintain a positive momentum in the upcoming years. Finally, the IMF forecasts Morocco’s debt-to-GDP ratio to return to its pre-pandemic level of around 65%. The IMF released the predictions after achieving its study of the Moroccan economy and consultations with Moroccan authorities between November 30 and December 10.
Dec. 10, 2021
TUNISIA – Tunisian government announces a USD 19.9 bn state budget for 2022
The Tunisian government has announced a USD 19.9 bn state budget for 2022, a 3.2% increase from the previous year. The country seeks to narrow its budget deficit to USD 3.2 bn, or 6.7% of its GDP, down from 8.3% in 2021. The 2022 budget also anticipates the Tunisian economy to grow by 2.6% in 2022, compared with 2.8% in 2021.
Dec. 28, 2021
ALGERIA – Inflation in Algeria reached 9.2% by the end of October 2021
Global inflation in Algeria has recorded an annual increase of 5.96 percentage points, standing at 9.2% by the end of October 2021, according the Algerian central bank. The increase is due to a rise in the inflation rate of food products in the country, from a 1.8% in October 2020 to 14.4% in October 2021, as well as manufactured goods, which reached a price increase of 6.2%. Meanwhile, the inflation rate of services grew from 0.7% in October 2020 to 2.3% in October 2021.
Dec. 22, 2021
Key Economic Indicators