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North Africa

Arid conditions brought about by the drought in Morocco are affecting the cost of sheep

Drought pushes up sheep price for Eid in Morocco

The price for a sheep in Morocco for the annual sacrifice at Eid al-Adha has increased on average at 10 times the 2.2 percent rate of inflation. A medium-sized female sheep costs MAD4000 ($400) as opposed to MAD3000 last year. This puts it out of range for many families in the country where a high […]

Mena economic data

Mena economic data

The latest indicators for the largest Middle East and North Africa economies outside the GCC, including Egypt, Iran and Turkey

A cargo ship passes through the Suez Canal

Suez Canal revenues and traffic fell in May

Suez Canal revenues continued to decline in May because of instability in the Red Sea, according to Egyptian media. Revenues fell 64.3 percent year on year to $337.8 million. Last month 1,111 individual ships passed through the canal – down 54 percent on the May 2023 figure of 2,396.  Finance minister Mohamed Maait said last […]

Passengers board a bus in central Marrakech, Morocco. Aside from new buses, the government will also upgrade related infrastructure

Morocco to invest $1bn in public transport

Morocco is to invest $1.1 billion to enhance its public transport network in the latest move to improve the North African country’s infrastructure. The plan, announced by the Ministry of Interior and will be centred around the provision of 3,500 new buses by 2029, which will operated in 32 cities. Interior minister Abdelouafi Laftit said […]

Morocco’s energy minister Leila Benali said work is underway to determine the best route for the Nigeria pipeline

$25bn Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline gains momentum

Morocco’s energy minister has said studies on a $25 billion gas pipeline with Nigeria, which will be backed by investment from the UAE, are almost finished. Work is underway to determine the best route for the pipeline, Morocco World News, a daily news outlet, reported, quoting Leila Benali. The front-end engineering design (Feed) studies cover […]

Locals at Daraw market, Egypt. The biggest challenge facing digital banks could be the 60 percent of Egyptians who say they lack internet access

Digital lenders eager to tap into Egypt’s unbanked masses

Egyptian banking history was made this month when Misr Digital Innovation (MDI) became the first Egyptian company to receive preliminary approval for a digital banking licence.  MDI, a subsidiary of Banque Misr, will open Onebank – Egypt’s first digital bank – by the first quarter of next year at the latest. Experts predict many more […]

The timeline for the $35 billion Ras El Hekma project on Egypt's Mediterranean coast is still uncertain

Egypt and UAE still in talks over $35bn Ras El Hekma deal

Egypt and the UAE are holding talks on issuing contracts for the $35 billion Ras El Hekma development project, according to a news report. “It’s still extremely premature. We are now in the stage of finalising contracts,” Nader El Biblawi, chairman of the Egyptian Travel Agents Association, told Reuters. While no details were given on […]

Tourists in Essaouira, Morocco. AfDB's strategy aims to strengthen Morocco’s economic competitiveness

AfDB launches $13bn plan to support Moroccan economy 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched its €12 billion ($13 billion) five-year strategic roadmap to support Morocco’s economic growth. The new strategy aligns with the country’s new development model until 2035 and will strengthen Morocco’s economic competitiveness and resilience, sustainable growth, and consolidating economic and social inclusion dynamics, the bank said. “This new strategy […]

The fish market in Sousse, Tunisia. The country hopes the first phase of its H2V deal will produce 5,000MW of renewable energy

Tunisia signs $6.5bn green hydrogen investment deal

Tunisia has signed a memorandum of understanding with French company TotalEnergies and Austrian group Verbund to produce green hydrogen (H2V). The first phase of the project, which is expected to cost €6 billion ($6.5 billion), aims to produce 200,000 tonnes of H2V per year, generating 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy and 2,000MW of electrolysis […]

Beekeepers in Mannouba, Tunisia. The country has 305,000 hives

Tunisia’s honey production hit by global warming

Almost three-quarters of beekeepers in Tunisia have seen their honey production curtailed by climate change. The North African country has 305,000 hives tended by 13,000 beekeepers, according to Hassene Ben Salem, chief engineer at the Office of Livestock and Pastures. But he said extreme weather conditions have almost halved honey production, from an average of […]

The Egyptian government is focusing on growing tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh, Gouna and Luxor

Egypt to host more Turkish tourists as relations improve

Egypt will likely host 250,000 Turkish tourists this year as relations between the two nations improve. Cairo hosted around 80,000 Turkish tourists in the first four months of 2024, Amr El-Kady, CEO of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, told the state-run Anadolu Agency. The Egyptian government is working on several initiatives to boost tourism, with a […]

A woman using a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. The Mena region accounts for 7% of global cryptocurrency volumes

Gulf asset managers remain wary of resurgent bitcoin

Gulf asset managers and institutional investors remain reluctant to invest in bitcoin, despite the cryptocurrency’s resurgence over the past year. The Middle East and North Africa accounted for 7 percent – or $390 million – of global crypto volumes in the 12 months to June 30, 2023, according to Chainalysis. Turkey made up nearly half, […]

The five-star Barceló Al Jaddaf in Dubai, formerly Occidental Al Jaddaf, will open in the fourth quarter of 2024

Spain’s Barceló expands reach in Middle East and Turkey

Spain’s Barceló Hotel Group is intensifying its focus on the Middle East, Africa and Turkey this year with plans to invest more than $400 million as part of its global expansion strategy. The move includes opening hotels in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Turkey. The company will expand its portfolio in the Middle East by […]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at a meeting last year to discuss the country's healthcare system. It is estimated that one fifth of Egypt's adult population has diabetes

Egypt misses healthcare targets as population ails

Egypt is failing to meet its healthcare spending targets, exacerbating deteriorating living standards that are leading to a rising number of illnesses and health problems. Egypt’s parliament approved legislation in 2018 to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, pledging to expand provision to include the 50 percent of Egyptians lacking insurance, according to a 2023 […]

Construction work at Egypt's new administrative capital. Real estate 'is a very strong inflation hedge', says Aldar's Faisal Falaknaz

Aldar’s Egyptian sales unhindered by war and economic risk

Real estate developer Aldar says geopolitical and economic volatility is not affecting its expansion in Egypt. The Abu Dhabi-listed company acquired its Egyptian subsidiary Sodic in December 2021. Since then, sales have risen by more than 50 percent on a dollar-basis, Faisal Falaknaz, Aldar’s chief finance and sustainability officer, told reporters on Monday.  “What has […]

Tunisair passenger numbers were up slightly in the first quarter of 2024

Tunisair reports ‘steady’ revenue rise in first quarter

Tunisian national flag carrier Tunisair has reported a “steady” start to the year with a 5.6 percent increase in revenue for the first quarter. The airline is attempting to restructure in order to resolve legacy financial difficulties and refresh its fleet. Revenues rose to TND 316 million ($100 million) at the end of March, according […]

Spinneys currently operates 27 stores across Egypt

Spinneys Egypt expands with 10 new stores

Supermarket operator Spinneys will open 10 new stores in Egypt as part of its expansion drive in the North African country.  Four new stores will be opened before June 2024, while six more will be opened in fiscal year 2024/2025, which starts in July, Daily News Egypt reported. Spinneys Egypt operates 27 stores across the […]

Migrants attempting to reach Italy from Tunisia. About 270,000 so-called irregular migrants arrived in the EU via sea crossings last year

EU reveals total aid to North Africa to combat migration 

The European Union provided €673 million ($718 million) in funding to four North African countries from 2021-23 to help the quartet reduce what it calls irregular migration to the 27-member bloc, official data shows. Last year about 270,000 “irregular migrants” arrived in the EU via sea crossings, 64 percent more than in 2022. Crossings from […]

Sodic general manager Ayman Amer and Robert De Niro, Nobu Hospitality Co-Founder, at the launch of their third venture in Egypt

Aldar-owned Sodic to build third Nobu hotel in Egypt

Sodic, the Egyptian real estate subsidiary of the UAE’s Aldar Properties and Nobu, the US-headquartered luxury lifestyle brand, have signed up to develop their third hospitality project in Egypt. The Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which will come up in east Cairo, will open next year, the developer said in a statement. The cost of the […]

Egypt's wealthiest man, Nassef Sawiris, who lives in Cairo, has interests in construction, manufacturing and sports

Cairo has most billionaires in Africa, but wealthy are leaving

Cairo is home to more billionaires than any other African city, but Egypt is facing an exodus of its wealthiest citizens. The international wealth advisory firm Henley & Partners said Cairo is home to four billionaires, and 30 centi-millionaires – those worth $100 million or more. Most reside in affluent parts of Greater Cairo, including […]

Dubai rendered in the metaverse. Prices of virtual land plots peaked in 2022

The Mena metaverse: moving beyond the hype

Two years ago, the concept of metaverse lands transformed from an interesting subculture into a thriving multi-billion-dollar market, capturing the interest of major investors both regionally in the Middle East and globally.  Metaverse lands, made of pixels and digital images, refer to buildings and plots within a virtual environment, offering spaces for gaming, socialising, business […]