Follow the latest in economic news and developments about the Arab transition countries

According to Libyan Economy Minister Mostafa Abufanas, the current budget cannot meet all the needs of the infrastructure in Libya, so a number of projects should be carried out through local or foreign investment. Abufanas confirmed that initial studies have begun on the free economic zones in Libya, adding that the ministry plans next year to give attention to establish free trade zones with the border crossings with Egypt and Tunisia. He, meanwhile, warned that the continuation of besieging petroleum production sites would result in dire consequences and will cause a budget deficit. [Youm7]

The GNC’s Economy, Trade and Industry Committee at a meeting on December 11th reviewed a bill presented by the Ministry of Economy on the adoption of the Trade Companies’ law which would enable Libyan citizens to set up companies easily and quickly, and abolish laws imposed by the former regime, and to “enable the youth to engage in trade activities and private sector to contribute in the economic development of Libya”. A copy of the draft laws hasn’t been made public yet. [Libya Herald]

Minister of Investment Osama Saleh announced that in spite of the harsh circumstances witnessed by the country in the last three years, Egypt managed to attract about $9.2 billion foreign investments of which EGP 2.2 billion foreign investments in 2011, $4 billion foreign investments in 2012 and about $ 3 billion foreign investments in 2013. The Minister added that after the decline in the rates of founding companies in 2011, the rates back on track especially after the June 30th revolution. [SIS]

According to the head of the statistics department at the National Institute of Statistics (INS), the unemployment rate showed a decline in the third quarter to 15.7 percent (620,600 unemployed) against 17 percent (665,000 unemployed) during the same period of 2012, including 13.1 percent men and 22.5 percent women. The number of unemployed graduates reached 249,000 during the third quarter of 2013, against 217,000 during the same period of 2012. [L’Economiste Maghrabin, French]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian trade deficit falls 22.3 percent in August year-on-year: CAPMAS | Ahram
Gulf businessmen demand guarantees for Egypt spend | Gulf Times
Qatari businessman gives EGP 800 million to Egypt | Youm7
Special coverage: Looming poverty line- The Struggle for Bread | Aswat Masriya
NBE offers $3.6 billion to finance industrial and service projects | Zawya DJ
Egypt Investment Minister: Cash reserve safe | SIS
Around 27 countries ease or lift travel warnings on Egypt since September | Ahram
Jordan: Government plans to sue electricity providers after snowstorm | Jordan Times
Libyan rebel leader won’t let oil ports reopen | WSJ
Libya having to increase fuel imports to cope with demand | Libya Independent
Libya chooses Egypt for national reconstruction projects | Youm7
Morocco to double exploration wells in 2014: minister | AFP
Morocco’s Islamic Finance: A potential market of 80 billion dirhams | Le Matin [French]
Tunisia adopts compensation law for Ben Ali victims | The National
Opinion: Tunisia has big potential for Islamic Finance | Zawya DJ
Kuwait lends Tunisia 140 million dinars to develop natural gas network | TAP

Private sector key to development in MENA | Al-Monitor