EconSource: First Moroccan Islamic bank to open in 2016
The governor of Morocco’s central bank has announced that the country’s first financial institution fully compliant with the principles of sharia will open in 2016. The launching of the Islamic finance industry is part of efforts to stimulate the Moroccan economy and attract more foreign investment. Morocco has already approved plans to create a committee of experts and sharia scholars, officially called the Sharia Committee, to monitor Islamic banking products and transactions and to decide on whether the bank’s transactions are in conformity with Islamic legislations.

[Morocco World News, 3/25/2015]

Jordan and Russia sign $10 billion deal on nuclear power plant

Jordan signed a $10 million deal with Russia to fund the kingdom’s first nuclear power plant with two 1,000 megawatt reactors in the country’s north. The deal caps efforts by Jordan to increase energy capacity and reduce imports. Jordan imports nearly 98 percent of its oil products and crude and struggles to meet electricity demand, which is growing by more than 7 percent annually due to a rising population and industrial expansion. These essential imports have recently been threatened by violence in neighboring countries, endangering and completely cutting off supply in some cases. [AP, Reuters, 3/24/2015]

Qatar to treat Gulf investors as locals, freeing up foreigner quotas

Qatar’s stock exchange will treat investors from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as local citizens when calculating whether foreign ownership in listed companies has reached permissible limits, the bourse said on Wednesday. The move will allow foreign investors, from both the Gulf and outside the region, to hold bigger stakes in listed Qatari companies, most of which have ceilings on total foreign ownership of 25 or 49 percent. However, the decision will have little immediate impact on investment flows since foreign ownership limits for most stocks are far from being used up. [Reuters, 3/25/2015]

Tunisia’s 25 million euro debt to Italy cancelled

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni announced that Italy has cancelled Tunisia’s 24 million euro debt with Italy. Gentiloni met, only a week after the Bardo attack, with Tunisia’s President Caid Essebsi to discuss finances as well as “cooperation in the security sector and the fight against terrorism.” He added that Italy will urge the European Union to draft an investment plan for Tunisia in order to support the country coping with economic instability and fundamentalist movements. [ANSAmed, 3/24/2015]

Also of interest:
An oil war in Libya, not a war of liberation | Morocco World News
Falling oil prices to have minimal impact on UAE | Gulf News
Egypt hopes economic conference will yield results | Al-Monitor
Morocco’s central bank predicts higher growth of 5 percent in 2015 | AP
Saudi stocks decline most in world as rebels in Yemen advance | Bloomberg