Saturday 19 August 2017
(Xinhuanet 05/16/17)
More than 55 percent of Tunisian imports come from the European Union (EU) during the first four months of the current year, Tunisian Minister of Commerce Zied Laadhari said on Monday. At a press briefing here in the government headquarters, Laadhari said, besides the imports from the EU, 8.4 percent of Tunisian imports come from China, 6.2 percent from Arab countries, 4.6 percent from Turkey, 4.2 percent from North America and 3 percent from Russia. According to Laadhari, imports from the EU reached 22.16 billion dinars (about 9.086 billion U.S. dollars), including semi-industrial products and industrial equipment. The Tunisian minister said that 75 percent of Tunisian exports are to euro zone countries, 10 percent to Arab countries, 3 percent to...
(Xinhuanet 05/16/17)
Tunisia's National Statistical Institute (NSI) said on Monday that the country's economic growth in the first quarter of 2017 reached 2.1 percent year-on-year. According to NSI, the Tunisian GDP grew 0.9 percent from the last quarter of 2016. The NSI attributed such growth to the positive performance of tourism sector, which posts a growth of 35 percent. However, the manufacturing sector declined 1.1 percent, while non-manufacturing industries saw a mild growth of 0.2 percent, it said.
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
A Tunis court has sentenced Ridha Grira, the last defence minister under ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to six years in jail for corruption, the judiciary said Friday. Spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP that the verdict against the 61-year-old "fugitive" was issued late Thursday by a court which also ordered him to pay a fine of 402,000 dinars ($164,000/150,000 euros). Grira was jailed in September 2011 over corruption cases linked to the Ben Ali regime which was overthrown in a popular uprising that year. But in March 2014 a court ordered his release, as he was suffering from cancer. The Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights group had called for his release because of his poor...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
​An annual Jewish pilgrimage to Africa's oldest synagogue on Tunisia's Djerba island began on Friday under tight security but in a festive mood. An AFP journalist saw dozens of pilgrims from the North African country and from France heading to the revered Ghriba synagogue to pray, light candles and write wishes on eggs. Some celebrated the centuries-old Lag BaOmer festival by sipping glasses of boukha, a liqueur made from figs. "My parents brought me to Djerba when I was a little boy and each year since I have returned," said Sylvain, who travelled from Paris. "This year I came with my oldest brother and some friends. We are happy to be here," said the 55-year-old interior decorator. Organisers expect the...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 05/11/17)
A Tunisian court has sentenced a man to two months in prison for wearing a T-shirt deemed insulting to police, a judicial official said Wednesday. She said it had handed the same sentence to the printer of the T-shirt, which according to local media read "If a woman is corrupted, she becomes a whore, and if a man is corrupted, he becomes a policeman." Police in the eastern city of Sousse on Friday stopped a young man in a cafe and later detained the owner of the print shop, local media reported. Assistant prosecutor Zahia Sayadi said the man who wore the T-shirt was charged with publicly insulting an official and the printer with participating in the insult. "Wearing the...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi on Wednesday ordered the army to protect phosphate, gas and oil production facilities after protests aimed at disrupting output broke out in the south of the country. It is the first time troops in Tunisia will be deployed to protect industrial installations vital to Tunisia's economy. Protests, sit-ins and strikes in recent years have cost the state billions of dollars. For several weeks, about 1,000 protesters in Tatouine province, where Italy's ENI and Austria's OMV have gas operations, have been demanding jobs and a share in revenue from the area's natural resources. Protests have also broken out in another southern province, Kebili, and on Wednesday police fired tear gas to break up rioting in a...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Tunisian police fired tear gas to break up rioting by hundreds of protesters who took to the streets after a fruit seller set himself on fire when police stopped him working, local residents said. In an incident similar to the self-immolation in 2011 that sparked the uprising that toppled autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, the street vendor in a small town west of the capital poured gasoline over himself and set it ablaze. A crowd of young men in Tebourba, about 35 km (22 miles) from Tunis, then threw rocks at police. "Hundreds of angry youths have clashed with police who have been firing tear gas," said Anis Mabrouki, a local resident. The vendor was being treated for his injuries...
(AFP (eng) 05/10/17)
Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi on Wednesday criticised the surprise resignation of the country's electoral chief just months before it is due to hold its first post-revolution municipal elections. Chafik Sarsar resigned on Tuesday, implying he was no longer able to work "independently and impartially" towards holding "free and transparent elections". The president said Sarsar told him he was resigning in a phone call. "I said 'Yes, I saw it on television... You could at least have asked me beforehand'," Essebsi said in a speech in Tunis, with Sarsar in the audience. "Whatever your reasons, they are not above Tunisia's greatest problems... We want to put Tunisia's highest interest before all others," he said. Tunisia, which set off the Arab...
(AFP (eng) 05/10/17)
President Beji Caid Essebsi said Wednesday that the army will protect the output from Tunisia's main resources from being disrupted by protests over social and labour issues. "We know this is a serious decision but it must be taken," Essebsi said in a speech in Tunis. The Tunisian government has faced growing social discontent over the economy, especially in inland regions, with protesters often staging sit-ins that block access to production sites. "Any person who wants to demonstrate can demonstrate, within the framework of the law... But if you want to demonstrate and the first thing you do is to stop Tunisia's production... if you obstruct our few resources, where does that get us?" Essebsi asked. "When they (demonstrators) get...
(The Associated Press 05/10/17)
Serbia’s foreign ministry says the country’s ambassador to Libya, Oliver Potezica, has died after a car crash in Tunisia. It said that Potezica, 64, was rushed to a hospital after the crash some days ago near the coastal town of Sousse, but died on Wednesday. No other details were given. In November 2015, gunmen in Libya crashed into a convoy of vehicles taking Potezica to neighboring Tunisia and then kidnapped two Serbian embassy employees. He escaped unharmed along with his wife and two sons. The two Serb hostages died in a U.S. airstrike on an Islamic State camp in February 2016 in western Libya that killed dozens. Serb officials had questioned why the Americans did not appear to know that...
(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...

Pages