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North Africa News October 2020

Covid-19 Status

(as at October 11, 2020)

Business

MOROCCO – Spanish company Siemens Gamesa to install 87 wind turbines in southern Morocco
Spanish wind power operator Siemens Gamesa will install 87 wind turbines at the Boujdour wind farm in southern Morocco. The project, worth MAD 4 bn (EUR 367.16 mn), has a capacity of 300 megawatts. Its completion date is set for the third quarter of 2022. Siemens Gamesa will cover the supply, transport, installation, testing, and maintenance of the wind turbines through a five-year service contract.
September 2, 2020MOROCCO – Morocco inaugurates new highway project near Tangier 
The Moroccan government has inaugurated a new highway project in the Lixus region, about 80 kilometers south of Tangier. The new infrastructure has cost a budget of MAD 150 mn (EUR 13.768 mn). It comprises several structures, including a viaduct, 2×2 lanes over 1.6 kilometers, 3 kilometers of ramps, and a toll station with a capacity of 15,000 vehicles per day.
September 2, 2020MOROCCO – French and Japanese companies begin work on a new wind farm in northern Morocco
French renewable energy operator EDF Renewables and Japanese corporation Mitsui have launched the construction of the first wind farm in Taza, northern Morocco. The first phase of the project requires an investment of over MAD 1.5 bn (EUR 138.48 mn) and will include 27 wind turbines, with a capacity of 87 megawatts. The project will become operational in early 2022.
September 9, 2020MOROCCO – Morocco subsidizes 100 investment projects in various sectors
Morocco’s Ministry of Industry has announced the launch of 100 subsidized investment projects in various sectors, including transport, construction, electronics, textile, food, and metallurgy. Morocco’s Industrial Development and Investment Fund and the National Agency for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises have financed up to 60% of the projects’ initial costs. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry offered fiscal advantages, including an exemption from the import taxes of capital goods. In total, the ministry will subsidize 500 projects by the fourth quarter of 2021.
September 28, 2020MOROCCO – Chariot Oil & Gas discovers 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in northern Morocco
British company Chariot Oil & Gas has announced that the total recoverable gas resources in Larache, northern Morocco, exceed one trillion cubic feet. The figure represents a 148% increase compared to the company’s initial assessment. Chariot Oil & Gas is the managing company of the Anchois offshore gas project in Larache.
September 30, 2020

TUNISIA – French company GreenYellow to build parking lot solar canopies in Tunis
French solar energy operator GreenYellow has signed a contract with Tunisian supermarket corporation Meddis Distribution to build solar canopies in Tunis. The infrastructure, built on the parking lots of the supermarkets operated by Meddis Distribution, will generate 1.2 megawatts of energy and offer shading for parked cars. GreenYellow will finance 100% of the project. Construction works will finish before the start of 2021.
September 7, 2020

ALGERIA – Algeria to inaugurate 4th submarine optical fiber cable in October
Algeria’s Minister of Post and Telecommunications has announced that the country will inaugurate a fourth submarine optical fiber cable in October. The cable is expected to increase the internet speed in Algeria and make the telecommunications network more secure. Algeria currently has three submarine communication cables linking the country to international networks.
September 7, 2020

ALGERIA – Algeria’s phosphate megaproject reaches final planning stages
The phosphate megaproject planned in eastern Algeria has reached the final stage of preparation, the Algerian Minister of Energy has announced. The project has an overall budget of USD 6 bn. The project will be achieved over three phases in three different regions: Tebessa, Souk Ahras, and Annaba. Each phase will be completed in approximately five years. The first phase requires an investment of USD 3 bn. Meanwhile, the second and third phases will cost USD 1.5 bn each. The revenue generated by the first phase of the project will finance the second and third phases. The megaproject will include a complex for extracting and processing phosphate, as well as several production units for ammonium nitrate, ammonia, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, and nitric acid. In parallel, the port of Annaba in northeastern Algeria will witness an expansion.
September 15, 2020

ALGERIA – US legal firm Andersen Global enters Algerian market
US legal firm Andersen Global has entered the Algerian market through partnering with local fiscal consulting office Cabinet Hadj Ali. The Algerian business is nearly 60 years old and offers fiscal consulting services to multinationals operating in various sectors, as well as their subsidiaries. Meanwhile, Andersen Global is an association regrouping over 600 partners in more than 144 locations across the world.

September 22, 2020

 

Politics

MOROCCO – Morocco opens borders for foreign tourists and business people
Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allowed foreign tourists and business people to enter the country, starting September 10. Visitors, however, must present the results of a PCR test for COVID-19 that are not over 72 hours old. Tourists must also present their hotel reservations. Meanwhile, visiting business people must have an invitation letter from a Moroccan company. The letter must include the purpose of the visit, the full names and passport numbers of visitors, their date of entry into Morocco, and their place of stay.
September 10, 2020TUNISIA – Stabbing attack in Sousse kills one agent of National Guard
A stabbing attack in Sousse, eastern Tunisia, has killed one agent of the National Guard and severely wounded another. Security forces used firearms to deter the attackers, killing three of them. One day after the attack, the Ministry of the Interior announced the arrest of seven people with links to the attack and the interrogation of 43 others. Terror group ISIS claimed its “fighters” had carried out the Sousse attack.
September 6, 2020TUNISIA – Tunisia enforces new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19
Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has announced a series of new measures to curb the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the country. Public administrations and institutions will adopt new schedules with fewer working hours. The country also banned all cultural, political, social, and sports events that can lead to gatherings. Previous regulations, such as obligatory face masks in public and workspaces, remain in place. The new measures are set to expire on October 13, but they can be extended, depending on the country’s epidemiological situation.
October 3, 2020ALGERIA – Algeria asks EU to put Free Trade Agreement on hold
Algeria has asked the European Union (EU) to put the free trade agreement, set to come into effect on September 1, on hold. Algerian officials consider the deal to be detrimental to Algeria because of the state of the Algeria-EU trade balance. Between 2005 and 2017, Algeria imported goods worth EUR 240 bn from the EU, but only exported EUR 10 bn worth of products to the international bloc. In August, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune asked the Algerian Minister of Trade to assess the trade agreement with the EU to ensure it provides for “balanced relations.”
September 1, 2020ALGERIA – Algeria and Switzerland pledge to boost cooperation in tourism and handicrafts
Algeria and Switzerland have pledged to boost their bilateral cooperation in the fields of tourism and handicrafts. The Algerian Minister of Tourism and the Swiss Ambassador to Algiers have met to discuss several issues of common interests. The two officials mainly focused on the legal framework regulating tourism and handicraft trade. They also discussed ways to share experiences in the training of catering professionals.

September 14, 2020

Economy

MOROCCO, TUNISIA – Morocco and Tunisia rank well in 2020 Global Innovation Index
Morocco and Tunisia have ranked well in the 2020 Global Innovation Index. Tunisia ranked 65th in the world, out of 131 countries, with a total of 31.21 points out of 100. Meanwhile, Morocco ranked 75th with a score of 28.97 points. In North Africa, Tunisia ranked first, followed by Morocco, Egypt (104th), and Algeria (121st). In the Arab world, Tunisia came second, only outranked by the UAE (34th), and Morocco came fifth, ranking behind Saudi Arabia (66th) and Qatar (70th). The Global Innovation Index takes into account 80 different indicators, including human capital and research, infrastructure, creativity, and technology.
September 3, 2020

MOROCCO – Morocco’s central bank forecasts a 22.4% increase in exports in 2021
Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, has predicted a 22.4% increase in the country’s exports in 2021. The central bank anticipates a rise in automobile exports, as well as common goods. The increase will come after a 16.6% decline in Morocco’s exports in 2020. It will allow the country’s trade balance to gradually recover.
September 23, 2020

MOROCCO – Morocco issues EUR 1 bn bond on the international financial market
Morocco’s Ministry of Economy has issued a EUR 1 bn bond on the international financial market. The bond is divided into two EUR 500 mn tranches. The first tranche has a maturity of 5.5 years, a price of 99.374%, and a rate of return of 1.495%, or a coupon of 1.375%. The second tranche has a 10-year maturity, a price of 98.434%, and a rate of return of 2.176%, or a coupon of 2%. The issued bond will replace an old debt at an interest rate of 4.5% with new debt at an average interest rate of 1.7%, allowing Morocco to make significant savings in the long term.
September 24, 2020

MOROCCO – Morocco launches loan guarantee program for real estate operators
Morocco’s Economic Monitoring Committee has launched new measures to support the Moroccan economy amid the COVID-19 crisis, including a loan guarantee program for real estate operators. The “Damane Relance Promotion Immobilière” program can guarantee investment loans for real estate projects with a value up to MAD 50 mn (EUR 4.612 mn) per project. To benefit from the program, businesses must provide proof of a significant drop in their revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis.
October 5, 2020

TUNISIA – Central Bank of Tunisia reduces the key interest rate to 6.25%
The Central Bank of Tunisia has reduced its key interest rate by 50 basis points from 6.75% to 6.25%. The decision aims to “create favorable conditions to boost investment and restore the pace of economic activity while preserving financial stability.” The Central Bank of Tunisia took several indicators into consideration, including economic growth, inflation, and the current account deficit.
September 30, 2020

ALGERIA – Algeria launches National Startup Investment Fund
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has announced the official launch of the National Startup Investment Fund. The new funding mechanism aims to allow project leaders to “avoid banks and the subsequent bureaucratic slowness,” said Tebboune. The fund will be mainly financed by the Algerian government, but will remain “open to the private sector and foreign companies wishing to contribute financially,” he added. According to Tebboune, the fund will be characterized by “flexibility” and “risk tolerance.”
October 3, 2020

 

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