North Africa News July 2021

Covid-19 Status

(as at June 30, 2021)

Business

EGYPT – Poland to build industrial zone near Suez canal
The Suez Canal Economic Zone has signed a framework agreement with Poland’s Katowice Zone to establish a Polish industrial zone in Ain Sokhna, on the Gulf of Suez. The Polish industrial zone will have an area of 400,000 to 1 million square meters and will host businesses operating in the food industries, electronic industries, and automotive industries. A Polish delegation comprising 18 companies has visited Egypt to inspect the location of the future project.
Jun. 9, 2021

EGYPT – Siemens partners with Egyptian companies to build high-speed electric train
A consortium led by German multinational Siemens has earned a contract to build a high-speed electric train between Ain Sukhna on the Red Sea to El Alamein on the Mediterranean, passing by Cairo. The consortium includes Egyptian companies Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors. The project is about 660 kilometers long and the contract includes maintenance operations for 15 years. The estimated cost of the project is USD 8.2 bn, including USD 3.0 bn for Siemens and USD 5.2 bn for the Egyptian construction companies. Siemens will receive payment after six years from the start of the project and over 20 years.
Jun. 23, 2021

MOROCCO – Ikea to open new megastore in Morocco by June 2022
Ikea has announced the opening of a new megastore in Tetouan, northern Morocco, by June 2022. The store will be located in the Tangier Med commercial zone and require an investment of MAD 400 mn (EUR 37.6 mn). The project will cover a total surface of 16,100 square meters and include a showroom, a market hall, an exhibition space, and a restaurant. The store is expected to generate 500 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs.
Jun. 8, 2021

MOROCCO – Six new luxury hotels to open in Morocco by end of 2021
Moroccan tourism investment corporation Madaef – a subsidiary of Morocco’s Deposit and Management Fund (CDG) – is set to open before the end of the year six new luxury hotels with a total investment of MAD 2.5 bn (EUR 235 mn). The project includes three hotels in the Al Hoceima region (northern Morocco), one near the capital Rabat, one in the beach town of Taghazout (southern Morocco), and one in the Atlas Mountains. The hotels will have a total capacity of 3,000 beds and will generate more than 3,200 direct and indirect jobs.
Jun. 17, 2021

TUNISIA – United Kingdom exonerates Tunisian olive oil exports from customs
The United Kingdom has enacted an agreement with Tunisia that exonerates Tunisian businesses from custom duties on olive oil exports. The agreement, signed back in October 2019, allows Tunisia to export up to 7,723 tonnes of olive oil per year to the United Kingdom without paying customs. Tunisia’s Ministry of Commerce has called on Tunisian olive oil exporters to benefit from the opportunities offered by the agreement.
Jun. 8, 2021

TUNISIA – Sousse expects more than 500,000 visitors to 3-month-long Carnaval City
The coastal city of Sousse, eastern Tunisia, is hosting from June 19 to September 12 the Sousse Carnaval City, one of the largest tourist events in North Africa. The event is taking place in the Hergla attraction park and will include a series of cultural and commercial activities for tourists, including more than 30 concerts and talent shows with the participation of over 165 artists from 18 countries, art exhibitions, playgrounds for children, and other attractions and entertainment activities. Sousse authorities expect the event to attract more than 500,000 visitors, or even a million visitors if restrictions on international travel decrease. The three-month-long event will generate about 1,500 direct and indirect jobs.
Jun. 19, 2021

ALGERIA – Algeria’s Sonatrach and Italy’s Eni sign new agreement on natural gas sales
Algerian gas company Sonatrach and Italian hydrocarbons corporation Eni have signed a new purchase agreement. The document fixes the terms and conditions of Sonatrach’s natural gas sales to Eni for the period 2021-2022. The agreement increases the volume of natural gas to be exported by Sonatrach to the Italian market, compared to previous years. The two companies have had an ongoing partnership since 1977.
Jun. 1, 2021

ALGERIA – Algeria and Turkey exonerate each other’s ships from cargo transportation taxes
Algeria has enacted an agreement with Turkey that exonerates Algerian and Turkish maritime companies from all taxes relating to freight transportation activities. The agreement seeks to encourage maritime trade between the two countries. According to the agreement, Algerian and Turkish cargo ships will be treated like domestic boats in both Algerian and Turkish ports to facilitate administrative formalities and reduce the time spent in docks. The agreement also provides for other forms of cooperation, such as technical and medical assistance to ship crews.
Jun. 4, 2021

 

Politics

EGYPT – Vaccinated foreigners can visit Egypt without tight restrictions
Vaccinated foreigners who visit Egypt will not have to provide a PCR test certificate if they have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate. The certificate, however, must include a QR code, and the country issuing it should not be affected by COVID-19 variants. Visitors from countries that have been affected with the coronavirus variants during the past 14 days will also have their certificates accepted but they must undergo a COVID-19 test at their arrival. Moreover, the vaccination certificates have to be submitted at least 14 days from receiving the second dose of the vaccines that require two shots.
Jun. 24, 2021

MOROCCO – Morocco prepares to launch ambitious 15-year development plan
Morocco’s Special Committee for the Development Model (CSMD) has published an ambitious 15-year development plan for the country over the period 2021-2035. The new development model, which has been in preparation for over a year, seeks to turn the country into a regional economic power. Some of its objectives include an average annual growth of 6.0% over 15 years, increasing GDP per capita from USD 7,800 to USD 16,000 by 2035. The model also seeks to increase the part of private investments from 35% to 65% and expand the number of Moroccan exporting companies from 6,000 to 12,000. The 170-page document presents a series of recommendations to achieve these objectives. The new development model is publicly available on: www.csmd.ma
Jun. 1, 2021

MOROCCO – Moroccan government extends state of health emergency until July 10
The Moroccan government has once again extended the country’s state of health emergency by one month, until July 10. The state of health emergency has been in place since March 2020. It is a legal framework that allows the Moroccan government to enforce restrictive measures and control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Jun. 3, 2021

MOROCCO – Morocco reopens international borders after a 15-month closure
Morocco has reopened its international air and maritime borders. Entry requirements will differ for incoming visitors depending on their country of provenance. The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created two lists: List A includes countries where the epidemiological situation is relatively under control, while List B includes countries that still represent a risk. Visitors coming from “List A” countries only need a negative PCR test for COVID-19 or a vaccination pass to access the Moroccan territory. Meanwhile, passengers from “List B” countries need special permits (except for Moroccan citizens), a less than 48-hour-old negative PCR test, and a 10-day quarantine in a hotel after they enter Morocco. The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs updates List A and List B regularly.
Jun. 15, 2021

TUNISIA – Tunisian government imposes strict lockdown measures across the country
The Tunisian government has decided to maintain the nationwide night curfew – from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. – until at least July 11. Tunisian authorities have also imposed a lockdown on all governorates where the number of new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days exceeds 400 per 100,000 inhabitants. Travel to and from the highly infected governorates is strictly prohibited. Meanwhile, access to governorates with 200 to 300 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants is only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Cafes and restaurants across the country also have to close their doors by 4 p.m. every day.
Jun. 25, 2021

ALGERIA – Algerian government extends partial night curfew for 3 more weeks
The Algerian government has extended the 12 a.m.-4 a.m. night curfew in 14 governorates. The 21-day extension began on June 21. The decision seeks to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The concerned governorates include Batna, Bejaia, Blida, Tizi-Ouzou, Algiers, Setif, Constantine, and Oran. The 44 remaining governorates are not concerned by the measure.
Jun. 20, 2021

ALGERIA – National Liberation Front (FLN) maintains most seats in Algerian Parliament
The National Liberation Front (FLN) party has won the Algerian legislative election that took place on June 12. The FLN is the same party that held the majority of parliament seats during the previous legislature. The legislative election witnessed a historically low participation rate of 23%. The election’s results gave the FLN 98 seats in the parliament. Independent candidates earned 84 seats, the Society Movement for Peace (MSP) 65, the National Democratic Rally (RND) 58, the El Moustakbal Front 48, and the El Binaa Movement 39. The remaining 15 seats were shared between nine other parties. Following the announcement of the election’s results, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad submitted his government’s resignation to President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, as required by the Algerian Constitution.
Jun. 23, 2021

ALGERIA – Algerian President nominates new Prime Minister in charge of forming government
Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune has nominated Aimen Benabderrahmane from the National Liberation Front (FLN) as new Prime Minister. Benabderrahmane, a former governor of the Bank of Algeria (Nov. 2019-Jun. 2020) and minister of finance (Jun. 2020-Jun. 2021), will be in charge of forming the new Algerian government.
Jun. 30, 2021

 

Economy

EGYPT – Egypt’s trade deficit decreases amid a rise in exports and remittances
Egypt’s trade deficit has decreased by 1.0% during the first quarter of 2021. The trade deficit went from USD 9.7 bn in January-March 2020 to USD 9.6 bn in the same period of 2021. The improved indicator is due to an increase in non-oil merchandise exports, which stood at USD 7.4 bn in the first quarter of 2021, compared to USD 7.0 bn in the same period of 2020 – a 6.0% increase. Remittances of Egyptian expatriates have also increased by about 10.0%, reaching USD 15.5 bn.
Jun. 2, 2021

EGYPT – Egypt remains the largest recipient of FDIs in Africa
Egypt has remained the largest recipient of FDIs in Africa in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UNCTAD, Egypt attracted about USD 5.9 bn of FDIs in 2020, more than any other country in the continent. On the continental level, the flow of FDIs in Africa declined by 16% in 2020, from USD 47 bn to USD 40 bn.
Jun. 21, 2021

MOROCCO – World Bank forecasts 4.6% GDP growth in Morocco in 2021
The World Bank has predicted a 4.6% GDP growth in Morocco in 2021, up from a 4.2% prediction in April 2021. The World Bank bases its forecast on three factors: the decrease of challenges related to drought, the maintenance of accommodating policies, and the alleviation of restrictions on domestic travel. In 2022, the World Bank expects Morocco’s GDP to grow by 3.4%.
Jun. 9, 2021

TUNISIA – World Bank forecasts 4.0% GDP growth in Tunisia in 2021
The World Bank expects Tunisia’s economic growth to reach 4.0% in 2021, after the historic -8.0% recession in 2020. The World Bank predicts Tunisian GDP growth to slow down in 2022 (2.6%) and in 2023 (2.2%). The financial institution has warned that economic perspectives in Tunisia are still uncertain and highly depend on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s vaccination campaign.
Jun. 9, 2021

TUNISIA – Tunisia’s trade deficit widens as exportations to EU, Turkey, China, and Russia drop
Tunisia’s trade deficit has increased by TND 378 mn (EUR 115 mn) in May 2021. The trade deficit went from TND 1,175 mn (EUR 357 mn) in April to TND 1,554 mn (EUR 472 mn) in May. The decline in Tunisian trade is mainly due to a 7.9% decrease in exports to the European Union, notably Germany (-12.9%), Spain (-11.4%), and France (-4.6%). Exportations to Turkey (-65.6%), China (-58.4%), and Russia (-19.5%) have also significantly dropped.
Jun. 21, 2021

ALGERIA – World Bank expects ‘partial recovery’ of Algerian economy in 2021
In its June 2021 update on Algeria, the World Bank announced that the Algerian economy is expected “to recover partially” in 2021 from the health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Bank, however, did not share its forecast for the country’s GDP growth. The financial institution estimates that the efforts of Algerian authorities to reduce imbalances in the country’s macro economy would contribute to the economic recovery. However, considering the slow pace of Algeria’s vaccination campaign, containment measures are expected to remain in place until 2022.
Jun. 14, 2021

ALGERIA – Foreign Direct Investments in Algeria declined by 19% in 2020
The flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Algeria has recorded a 19.0% annual decline in 2020. Algeria attracted about USD 1.1 bn in investments in 2020, compared to USD 1.4 bn in 2019. According to a report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the COVID-19 pandemic is the main reason behind the decline in FDIs in Algeria and Africa as a whole.
Jun. 21, 2021

Key Economic Indicators