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North Africa

Harvesting wheat in Sharkia, Egypt. The Opec Fund is backing food security projects in Egypt and Jordan – both big importers of grain

Opec Fund piles up financing for wheat, wind and water

The Opec Fund for International Development is on track to meet its pledges to increase grants and loans to climate-related projects, its Middle East and North Africa head has told AGBI.  Musab Alomar, the fund’s director of public sector operations for Mena, said climate financing made up 33 percent of all Opec Fund approvals in […]

Drinking water from an outdoor tap in Egypt

AI to help drive Middle East water reuse 

The International Water Management Institute is developing an AI platform to improve wastewater reuse in the Middle East and North Africa region, backed by a $1 million grant from Google.  Water scarcity is a concern in the region. Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of the 1,000 UAE respondents to a recent survey listed access to clean […]

AAAID aims to support Egypt's efforts to increase agricultural productivity and achieve food security

Egypt’s agriculture sector gets $100m funding boost

UAE-based Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID) plans to invest $100 million into Egypt’s agricultural and livestock production sectors over the next three years, according to a local media report. The authority’s current investments in Egypt have reached $158 million, Egypt Today newspaper reported, citing chairman Mohamed Al Mazrooei. The significant investments include […]

Phosphate mining in Morocco

Future is rosy for Mena phosphate producers

With Morocco and Saudi Arabia now holding the bulk of the world’s high-quality, accessible phosphate rock reserves, the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is a major centre for the phosphate mining industry’s future growth, analysts say. Morocco alone holds around 70 percent of the world’s total reserves of phosphate rock, the raw material […]

A trader at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo. Qatar has already invested over $5.5bn in Egypt's financial, real estate and energy sectors

Qatar to invest $1.5bn in Egypt’s industrial sector

Qatar will invest $1.5 billion in Egypt’s industrial sector in 2024, according to Egyptian commercial service chief Yahya Al-Wathiq Billah. This is the first investment by the Gulf nation in Egypt since signing a bilateral agreement in March 2022, Egypt Today newspaper reported. Billah said that trade volume between the countries increased by 47 percent […]

A stock investor centre at Arab National Bank in Riyadh. The Saudi exchange accounted for five of the six Mena IPOs in Q3

Mena IPOs drop but analysts still bullish for 2024

Listings on Middle East and North African stock markets slowed during the third quarter, but analysts remain upbeat for 2024 despite concerns over the Israel-Gaza conflict.  There were six initial public offerings (IPOs) in Q3, raising $523 million in total. This is a 14 percent drop in volume and a 66 percent slump in proceeds compared […]

A woman collects water from a well in Tunis. Tunisia is having to operate a quota system for tap water

Droughts could cost Tunisia $1bn annually

Water shortages in Tunisia could cost the North African country up to $1.3 billion annually by 2030, according to a report from the World Bank. For the sixth year in a row, below-average rainfall impacted the country’s agricultural production. The sector’s value fell 9 percent in real terms in the first half of this year […]

A vegetable market in Casablanca. The jobless rate among Moroccan women is almost double that of men

Moroccan graduates struggle as unemployment rate soars

Almost one-fifth of graduates in Morocco cannot find work in the country as the number of jobless continues to soar. The unemployment rate increased to 13.5 percent in the third quarter of the year compared to the same period last year, according to Morocco’s statistics office, HCP. The total number of unemployed stood at 1.625 […]

Workers harvest baby kale grown at the vertical nutrient film technique (NFT) system at Veggitech, a start-up farm, that produces all year-round crops using smart and sustainable farming technologies in the middle of UAE's Sharjah desert, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates,

Investment in Mena climate tech hits record $270m in 2022

Venture capital funding into climate tech startups across the Middle East, North Africa (Mena) and Turkey reached a record $270 million in 2022, although investments have been lower in the year to date, a study shows.  Climate tech VC in the region was up 50 percent annually compared to 2021, said the report by CE […]

M&A insurance can protect businesses if the deal they've signed goes wrong

Insurers take a chance on Mena’s merger market

The Middle East and North Africa is a hotspot for mergers and acquisitions in a tricky global market – which also makes it fertile territory for insurance companies that offer protection if deals go wrong. “A couple of years ago, trying to get a UAE deal insured would have been fairly difficult. Now a UAE […]

Morocco African Development Bank (AfDB) funds will go to earthquake relief

Morocco signs $280m deals with African Development Bank

Morocco has signed three agreements with the African Development Bank (AfDB) worth more than MAD2.9 billion ($280 million). The deals will improve access to healthcare, support increased social security coverage and provide emergency help in the wake of September’s devastating earthquake in Al Haouz, according to an announcement by the government. The first agreement, worth […]

The Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. Owner Majid Al Futtaim Group is one of the few companies praised by a report into net zero targets

Just 12% of Mena businesses have net zero target

Businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) “lag behind” their global peers in terms of net zero targets, according to a report by the World Economic Forum and US consultancy Bain & Company. WEF evaluated the disclosure and sustainability measures of around 200 publicly listed and private companies across Mena’s nine biggest economies.  […]

One of the factories in the Sokhna industrial zone, where China Energy will build a green hydrogen project

Suez Canal Economic Zone signs $15bn energy deals  

Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone signed a $6.75 billion deal with China Energy Engineering Corporation on Tuesday, for a green ammonia and green hydrogen project to be built in its Sokhna industrial zone.  On the same day, another Chinese company, Hong Kong’s United Energy Group, signed a memorandum of understanding for a potassium chloride production […]

Morocco's earthquake will contribute to a slump in Mena GDP growth

Mena growth to fall as GCC weakness exposed

Analysts have predicted a slump in growth for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) for 2023, prompted by oil production cuts in the GCC and the impact of the Morocco earthquake in September. Both the World Bank and BMI, formerly Fitch Solutions, said Mena growth is likely to fall to 1.9 percent this year, […]

An IMF mission plans to visit Tunisia to assess economic developments, said IMF Middle East and Central Asia director Jihad Azour

Tunisia yet to propose new terms for $1.9bn IMF loan

Tunisia has not yet proposed new terms for a long-pending $1.9 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, according to the fund’s Middle East and Central Asia director Jihad Azour. Speaking at IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Morocco this week, Azour called for the elimination of “wasteful and socially unfair subsidies” before the fund’s board could […]

gulf generative AI

How generative AI is gaining momentum in Mena

Generative AI has dominated headlines for almost a year since the launch of US artificial intelligence-powered chatbot Chat GPT in November 2022.  The coverage of ChatGPT has been mixed – the technology had many in awe at first, but a data breach affecting a reported 100,000 accounts soon sparked security concerns. The story is still […]

Finger, Person, Hand

More IMF nations support funding boost

Support increased on Wednesday for the US-backed call to boost the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) quota lending resources without shareholding changes, according to statements from various countries issued at the IMF’s annual meeting in Morocco. France, Britain, Ghana, Switzerland, Finland and Belgium said in statements to the IMF’s steering committee that they supported an equi-proportional […]