Friday 15 December 2017
(Agence Ecofin 08/23/17)
Ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Tunisia sovereign rating to B1 from Ba3, putting the country’s debt in the “Highly speculative” category. The agency said the country lack strong tax reforms and delayed in implementing recommendations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), amid persistent external imbalances. Moody’s also said the downgrade could be extended further if the country does not immediately implement major reforms. “A sustained economic recovery, supported by reduced social unrest, in addition to the stabilization and reversal of fiscal and external imbalances with improved funding visibility” the agency recommended on its website in this regard. Since the Jasmin uprising in 2011, Tunisia’s economy has been struggling to get back on its feet. A situation worsened by the wave of...
(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said Tuesday that the cabinet reshuffle remains imperative as three posts are vacant. While announcing a national strategy to boost employment, Chahed said an official announcement will be released after a new list of cabinet members is completed. Tunisian interim Minister of Finance Fadhel Abdelkafi, who was also acting minister of development, investment and international cooperation, resigned on Aug. 18 as he faced a court case next month over alleged illegal financial transactions. Moreover, the post of education minister has been vacant since April 30. Political factions in the country are divided on the reshuffle, with some parties preferring to fill the vacancies while the others supporting a general reshuffle. The North African country has...
(Agence Ecofin 08/23/17)
Next September 7th, shareholders of the Banque de l’Habitat (BH) of Tunisia will hold an extraordinary general meeting during which they will discuss the capital increase of the lender, raising it by 170 million dinars ($70.4 million) to 238 million dinars ($98.55 million). The capital raising will occur via an incorporation of reserves valued at 34 million dinars ($14.07 million) and a distribution of 6.8 million additional free shares on the basis of one new share for five old. Besides, capital will be raised by issuing 6.8 million shares to be subscribed, on the basis of one new share for five old. Price per share is set at 5 dinars with a 10 dinars issuance premium. Many Tunisian banks, over...
(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
China is dedicated to enhancing its cooperation with Africa in human resource development through knowledge and technology transfer, a Chinese diplomat said Tuesday. Liu Tao, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, made the remarks at the Chinese Government Training Program Fellowship Reception in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. He said China, since the year 2000, has sent over 2,000 agricultural experts and over 7,000 medical personnel to Africa, and has trained more than 80,000 Africans from more than 50 countries. China has pledged that it would, in three years, train 200,000 technicians and provide 40,000 training opportunities in China, and will offer 30,000 government scholarships, he said. Stating that 1,100 Ethiopian candidates are invited this year to attend short-term...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/22/17)
Tunisia's tourism revenues have risen 19 percent so far this year, reflecting a recovery in a vital sector crippled two years ago by attacks on foreign holidaymakers. Tourism Minister Salma Loumi said 4.58 million foreign tourists visited the North African country between Jan. 1 and Aug. 10. Arrivals from neighboring Algeria were up 60 percent, helped by a promotional campaign by Tunisia, while visits by European tourists rose 16 percent. "There are good indicators, revenues rose by 19 percent to 1.5 billion Tunisian dinars ($613 million)", Loumi told reporters on Tuesday. Tunisian officials expect the number of foreign tourists to rise to 6.5 million this year, up about 30 percent from 2016, due to an improving security situation and interest...
(Xinhuanet 08/22/17)
African officials on Monday called for urgent infrastructural development and regional integration to boost the continent's economy. At the Infrastructure Africa 2017 in Johannesburg, Zambian Minister of Finance Felix Mutati encouraged Africans to speedily address infrastructural deficit. "We have to inject some sense of urgency in ourselves. If we remain captured by business as usual, we are headed for disaster," said Mutati at the opening ceremony of the two-day event. "Competitiveness in Africa is being constrained by infrastructure deficit. We need about 93 billion U.S. dollars every year to address the infrastructure gap in the continent. We need to urgently implement projects," he said. Mutati said Africa has to narrow focus to innovative financing and design, better use of existing...
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting into productivity and growth. “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent,” said Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenWish, who was formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “Smaller towers can run...
(Reuters 08/18/17)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's interim finance minister, Fadhel Abdelkefi, told local radio on Friday that he was resigning from the government over a conflict of interests case in which he has been fined and handed a suspended prison sentence. Abdelkefi had also been serving since last year as minister for development, investment and international cooperation in Prime Minister Youssef Chahed's government.
(AFP (eng) 08/17/17)
Muslim clerics in Tunisia on Thursday voiced opposition to President Beji Caid Essebsi's plan to introduce legislation granting equal inheritance rights to women, contrary to Islamic precepts. Essebsi has announced the formation of a commission to examine "individual liberties" and "equality in all domains", including inheritance rights. As laid down in the Koran, the Muslim holy book, daughters in the Islamic world inherit half the shares of sons. Touching another raw nerve in Tunisian political and religious debate, the secular leader called for the government to scrap a 1973 circular that prevents Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. The proposals amount to "a flagrant violent of the precepts" of Islam, prayer leaders from across the North African state said in a...
(Egyptian Streets 08/17/17)
Egypt’s Al-Azhar criticized the recent calls for equality between men and women in inheritance issues and said that it doesn’t comply with Islamic teachings. Al-Azhar made the announcement in response to the calls of the Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi to establish equality between men and women in terms of inheritance. While the announcement of Al-Azhar didn’t directly address Essebsi, it was made a few days after his suggestion to form a committee to study the matter. Deputy of Al-Azhar Abbas Shuman said that equal inheritance is not “fair and just” to women and goes against the Islamic teachings. In most cases, males inherit double that of females except for a few cases in Islam. Shuman continued that in some...
(Xinhuanet 08/16/17)
Tunisia's statistic agency has said it expected the Tunisian economy to grow by over 2 percent this year, despite high unemployment and inflation rates. The North African country's economy grew 1.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2017 with contributions from the agricultural and service sectors, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) said Tuesday. Foreign trade registered a year-on-year growth rate of 15.9 percent in the first seven months this year, the agency said, adding that the unemployment rate reached 15.5 percent while inflation stood at 5.6 percent by July this year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission in Tunisia said in February that Tunisia's economic growth is expected to pick up, while significant macroeconomic challenges linger. The IMF...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all, but that’s still subject to...
(AFP 08/11/17)
Next to a palm grove, a blackish mud flows into the sea. After years of living with industrial pollution, residents of Tunisia's Gabes are fighting back. Close to the Chott Essalem beach and in front of a rare coastal oasis, the state-owned Tunisian Chemical Group (GCT) has been processing phosphate since the 1970s. The authorities say the plant pumps 14,000 tonnes of phosphogypsum into the sea every day. On top of the toxic mud, the factory also pumps phosphoric acid into the air. "In the past, our town was clean," says Moncef Ben Ayadi, a 52-year-old carpenter who lives in Nezla, close to the plant. But "since the company arrived, Gabes has become a victim city". Residents blame it for...
(Bloomberg 08/10/17)
Tunisia is set to return to Europe’s tourism map two years after a gunman murdered 38 mainly British holidaymakers in the resort town of Sousse, according to TUI AG, the region’s biggest tour operator. Demand from the U.K. in particular is such that the North African state will probably feature in TUI’s coming vacation offerings, Chief Executive Officer Fritz Joussen said Thursday. Some 33 of the Sousse dead were clients of the Hanover, Germany-based travel group. “It is something which is demanded by British customers, and therefore it is most likely to be a part of our program,”
(Agence Ecofin 08/10/17)
From October 1, 2016 to August 7, 2017, period over which extends the date season, Tunisia exported 103,000 tons of dates valued at 530.3 million dinars ($220 million). This was disclosed by a statement from the ministry of agriculture, water resources and fishery released yesterday. Proceeds of the exports over the period reviewed is 19% more than that recorded a year before, knowingly 445.8 million dinars ($185 million). In regards to the main export destinations of the dates, Morocco is at the top of the ranking with more than a quarter of exported volumes (26,700 tons) ahead of France (7,600 tons), Italy (7,100 tons), Spain (6,000 tons), Malaysia (6,000 tons) and Germany (6,000 tons). Let it be recalled that Tunisia...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the word for "ancestor" in the Turkana language of Kenya, where the lemon-sized skull was unearthed. The sole specimen is that of an infant that would have grown to weigh about 11 kilogrammes (24 pounds) in adulthood. It had a brain...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
Two militants were killed Tuesday night in an operation led by special units of the Tunisian National Guard in the central-western province of Kasserine, local media reported. The official confirmation, however, is still not available. According to local media, Abu Awf Al-Moujahad, the brother of former Algerian jihadist leader Lokmane Abou Sakhr who was killed in 2015 in the southwest of Tunisia, is among the killed. Al-Moujahad was involved in a series of attacks in Tunisia, including an attempt to assault the home of former Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jedou.
(AFP (eng) 08/09/17)
Tunisian security forces have killed two suspected jihadists during an operation in a mountainous area near the Algerian border, the national guard said on Wednesday. A third suspect was critically wounded in the operation launched on Tuesday evening on Mount Birinou in the Kasserine region, national guard spokesman Khalifa Chibani told Shems FM radio. Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist attacks that have cost the lives of dozens of members of the security forces and 59 foreign tourists. Jihadists claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group (IS) or Al-Qaeda's North African affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/09/17)
Tunisian armed forces killed two Islamist militants including a senior commander in a mountain raid near the western border with Algeria late on Tuesday, security sources said. "Two terrorists were killed and weapons were seized during an ambush that National Guard units set up against a terrorist group," in Kasserine region, National Guard spokesman Colonel Major Khelifa Chibani told state news agency TAP. Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM identified the commander as Mourad Chaieb, the Algerian leader of Okba Bin Nafaa, a group that has skirmished for years with security forces in Tunisia's mountainous interior. Its members are mainly aligned with al Qaeda's north African branch, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which has a presence over the border in...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
Two militants were killed Tuesday night in an operation led by special units of the Tunisian National Guard in the central-western province of Kasserine, local media reported. The official confirmation, however, is still not available. According to local media, Abu Awf Al-Moujahad, the brother of former Algerian jihadist leader Lokmane Abou Sakhr who was killed in 2015 in the southwest of Tunisia, is among the killed. Al-Moujahad was involved in a series of attacks in Tunisia, including an attempt to assault the home of former Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jedou.

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