Monday 24 July 2017
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
Tunisia's election chief Chafik Sarsar resigned Tuesday for being unable to work "independently and impartially" just months before the country is due to hold its first post-revolution municipal elections. "According to the oath we took" in which "we committed to work towards free and transparent elections and to carry out our duty independently and impartially... we have decided to resign," Sarsar said, announcing he, his deputy and another member of the electoral commission were quitting. "We were compelled to resign" over disagreements on "the founding values and principles of democracy", he said at a news conference. Sarsar did not elaborate and AFP was unable to reach him afterwards. Sarsar's deputy Mourad Ben Mouelli and another member of the electoral body,...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/09/17)
Protests over jobs and development in southern and central Tunisia have halted production at or shut the fields of two foreign energy companies in a new challenge to the country's Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. For Tunisia, a small oil and gas producer compared to its OPEC neighbors Libya and Algeria with national production is around 44,000 barrels per day, the protests come at a sensitive time as Chahed's government tries to enact austerity reforms. Tunisia's Energy Minister Hela Chikhrouhou told reporters sit-ins halted production at energy company Perenco's Baguel
(Xinhuanet 05/09/17)
Tunisian oil production has declined remarkably during the last six years following the uprising of 2011, said Tunisian Minister of Energy and Mines Hala Chickrouhou on Monday. Chickrouhou revealed during a press briefing in Tunis that the contribution of oil companies to the Tunisian state budget has decreased from 3 billion dinars (1.23 billion U.S. dollars) between 2009 and 2010 to 1 billion dinars (0.41 billion dollars). Tunisia does not present itself as one of the biggest oil-producing countries, but the fuel distribution sector provides 15,000 jobs through 800 distribution points of petroleum products and a potential of 500 additional jobs, added the minister. The country is currently producing 40,000 barrels of oil and 40,000 barrels of natural gas daily...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/08/17)
Algeria on Sunday summoned Tunisia's ambassador in Algiers a few days after a Tunisian minister described Algeria as a communist state, state news agency APS said. The North African neighbors usually have strong security and economic ties with Algeria coordinating with Tunisia to combat Islamist militancy in the region. "Tunisia's ambassador has been received today at the ministry of foreign affairs where he has been asked to provide clarifications about remarks made by a Tunisian minister," the ministry said in a statement on APS. Tunisia's minister for local affairs made a comment that Algeria is a communist
(AFP (eng) 05/05/17)
The co-founder of a Tunisian news website said Thursday he was questioned by authorities after the publication of an article about a presidential bid to promote a controversial draft law. The article published by the Nawaat site on April 21 focussed on the bill adopted by the government in July last year that would grant an amnesty to people accused of corruption. Sami Ben Gharbia, who is also editorial managing director at Nawaat, told AFP he was questioned on Wednesday by the Central Investigation Brigade of the National Guard. He said investigators pressed him to reveal the source behind the article concerning the presidency's "strategy" to promote the draft legislation. "I told them that my task was to protect the...
(Agence Ecofin 05/05/17)
In Tunisia, 40,000 occupants and users will soon have their land situation regularised. This was announced by the nation’s Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, on May 2, as was being launched a nation-wide regularization campaign in the Northern part of the country. “The campaign aims to regularise the land situation regarding appropriation in order to introduce thousands of farmers into to economic system and restart investment and development in all regions to give a great boost to the economy and provide the State significant revenues while reducing challenges that farmers have to deal with. This will also help the farmers develop projects through bank loans and other advantages,” the PM said. In the presence of Samir Betaieb, Mohamed Salah Arfaoui, Mabrouk...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.” Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology. “For business to prosper, you need a situation where...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
A Tunisian court Wednesday sentenced two people to death and 16 others to jail terms for acts of "terrorism" in 2014 during which a security guard was killed. Judiciary spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP that nine of those sentenced were tried in absentia. The two death sentences were handed down for the murder of the guard in Kebili, southern Tunisia. The 16 others were condemned to prison terms of between four and 36 years for "belonging to a terrorist group" and over a deadly clash with security forces near Tunis. Tunisia has observed a moratorium on carrying out executions since 1991. Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist attacks that have cost the lives of dozens...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
The son of a Tunisian doctor killed in a jihadist bombing in Turkey was sentenced to four years in jail Wednesday for having joined the Islamic State group. In a family drama which has gripped the Tunisian public, Fathi Bayoudh, head of paediatric services at Tunis military hospital, had travelled to Turkey to bring his son home. But the father was killed in a June 2016 gun and bomb attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport that left more than 40 dead and was blamed on IS. Anwar Bayoudh and his fiancee had in autumn 2015 joined the group in Iraq and then Syria, before regretting their decision and calling for help from the family, according to his mother. He escaped from...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
Israel warned its citizens on Wednesday against visiting Tunisia, where Jewish pilgrims will celebrate a religious festival later this month, citing the threat of jihadist attack. It also said any Israelis there should "leave the country immediately." The festival of Lag BaOmer draws hundreds of Jews to tombs of revered rabbis as well as the famed El Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian holiday island of Djerba. This year the pilgrimage is due to start on May 12, according to organisers. "Terrorist elements, especially those affiliated with global jihad, continue to act toward carrying out attacks in Tunisia," the counter-terrorism bureau said in a statement released by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "There is a risk of attacks, against...
(Xinhuanet 05/04/17)
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 released in Durban Thursday called for urgent policy reforms if the continent intends to create more jobs for its growing young population. According to the report issued at the 27th WEF on Africa, fewer than one-quarter of the 450 million new jobs required in the next 20 years will be created if current policies remain unchanged. The report called for structural reforms in the economies to create more jobs for the youth entering the market. African countries have to prioritize improving infrastructure, skills and adoption of new technology and quality of institutions. To improve competitiveness in the short term Africa needs to increase housing construction through investment, better urban planning and...
(AFP (eng) 05/03/17)
Tunisian and international non-governmental organisations warned Tuesday of deteriorating freedom of the press in a country considered to be a rare success story of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. "The Tunisian government these past weeks has not stopped tightening its grip on the press," they said in a joint statement published on World Press Freedom Day. Twenty-five associations, including the Tunisian Press Syndicate, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International, said they were "deeply concerned" about the creation of a regulatory body for audiovisual communication. Six years after a popular uprising toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the rights groups expressed concern about the recent banning of a small daily
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/02/17)
Tunisian security forces killed a senior commander in an Islamist group who detonated his suicide belt as he was shot during a raid against militants planning attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, officials said on Sunday. Tunisia's armed forces have been cracking down on militants allied to Islamic State and al Qaeda's North Africa branch, especially since the country suffered four major attacks in the last two years, including two against foreign tourists. The clashes came on Sunday when national guard special forces raided a house where the group had been under surveillance for weeks, after communications about a possible attack were intercepted, National Guard spokesman Col. Major Khelifa Chibani said.
(AFP (eng) 05/02/17)
Mohamed Talbi, a prominent Tunisian academic and specialist on Islam, died early Monday aged 95, the country's culture ministry said. Talbi, who was born in Tunis in 1921, was one of the "founders of the modern Tunisian university" and a "great intellectual" figure, the ministry said in a statement. Having studied Arabic literature, he went on to earn a doctorate degree in history from the prestigious Sorbonne in Paris and later became the first dean to head the faculty of literature at University of Tunis. Talbi penned around 30 books and 100 articles in Arabic and French in which he challenged rigid interpretations of Islam and called for a fresh view of Islamic
(AL Jazeera 05/02/17)
Two men in an ISIL and al-Qaeda-linked group killed during a security sweep in Sidi Bouzid. A senior commander in an armed group blew himself up and another was shot dead during a raid by Tunisian security forces on Sunday. The men - suspected of having links with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda's North Africa branch (AQIM) - were planning attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, according to a spokesman for Tunisia's national guard. The raid took place in Sidi Bouzid, a town 200km southwest of the capital, Tunis. Another three people were arrested and security forces were hunting for other suspects. The group had been under surveillance for weeks after communications about a possible...
(Xinhuanet 05/02/17)
The Tunisian government announced Sunday a partial cabinet reshuffle at the level of ministries of education and finance. According to the announcement, Slim Khalbous, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, will replace Neji Jalloul as the Minister of Education. Fadhel Abdelkafi, who was the Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, will serve as the Minister of Finance. The minister of public function and minister of religious affairs were changed in February.
(Bloomberg 05/02/17)
Saudi Aramco is seeking to boost its fuel-trading volume by more than a third as the world’s biggest crude exporter expands its capacity to refine oil to grab a bigger share of growing markets in Asia and Africa. Aramco, as Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is known, is building refineries in the kingdom and in Asia to help it increase sales and purchases of gasoline, diesel and other products to more than 2 million barrels a day, said Ibrahim Al-Buainain, chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco’s trading unit, Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co. Owning refineries gives the unit, known as Aramco Trading Co., options for buying and selling fuel that some of its competitors don’t have. “The key is that you...
(Agence Ecofin 04/28/17)
According to statistics released by the Tunisian Foreign Investments Promotion Agency, foreign direct investments (FDIs) in Tunisia rose 18% to $177.68 million during Q1 2017, as compared to the same period the year before. Amongst sectors that captured most foreign investments are manufacturing and services. The first attracted $59 million worth of FDIs while the second attracted $23 million. Tunisia hopes to attract more foreign investment in order to revive its economy which has been staggering for some years now. This month, Tunisia implemented a new law which aims to make it easier for foreign investors to transfer their profits out of the country.

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