EconSource: Export diversification a must for GCC
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the share of non-hydrocarbon output in GDP has increased steadily in many Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the export diversification of these countries has been limited. The GCC countries have implemented policies to support economic diversification, including reforms to strengthen the business environment, develop infrastructure, and increase financing for companies and SMEs. But the IMF underscored that these countries need to further accentuate their diversification program to make their economies less reliant on volatile hydrocarbon revenues. Further diversification would create high-value-added private sector jobs for GCC nationals and would establish the non-oil economy that will be needed when oil reserves are eventually exhausted.

The Peninsula, 3/22/2015]

Iraq lost $4 billion in the last two months

A parliamentary finance committee’s member revealed that Iraq suffered a financial loss amounted to more than $4 billion. He said in a press release that “the production and export of crude oil during the past two months, (January and February) did not reach to the planned figure in the 2015 budget and this caused a financial loss estimated at more than $4 billion.” [NINA, 3/21/2015]

World Bank set to loan Egypt $500 million for housing project

Negotiations over a $500 million loan has been finalized between Egypt and the World bank, announced minister of housing Mostafa Madbouli in a press statement. The loan, allocated for ‘social housing’ or the 1 million residential units project, will be paid back by Egypt over the course of five years. The project which has been unveiled late 2014 aims to build 1 million residential units across the country for low-incomers. [Ahram Online, 3/22/2015]

World Bank allocates $4 billion to Tunisia to support economic reforms

The executive director of the World Bank, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, announced during a three-day visit to Tunisia, that the Bank would grant Tunisia a budget of $4 billion over the next four years to support economic reforms in the country. The funds should help fund reforms in the banking sector and improve the business climate. Indrawati further elaborated that the funds will “help create jobs, eradicate poverty, reduce regional disparities, and reform the Tunisian administration to cut red tape.” [Medafrica, 3/22/2015]

Also of interest:
Oil prices drop after Saudi Arabia says it will not cut output alone | Reuters
Egypt’s balance of payments deficit hits new high | SIS/allAfrica
Libya rivals fight for control of National Oil Corporation | Reuters
Bahrain fourth quarter GDP growth eases to 4 percent | Reuters
Qatar to grow 7 percent in 2015 | Gulf Times
Algeria trade balance recorded a deficit of $341 million in January-February | Ennahar