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

The experimental operation of the second phase of government’s smartcard system was launched Sunday, distributing diesel and petrol in Mobil and Shell stations nationwide, according to Ministry of Petroleum. The first stage of the project saw the completion of automated trade between petroleum warehouses and fuel stations throughout the country, and ended in July. Egypt is home to 2,646 fuel stations, 102 warehouses and 15 public relations companies currently connected to the smartcard system, according to Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) Executive Chairman Tarek El-Molla. The smartcard system would automate the nationwide distribution of diesel and gasoline while also helping the government address shortages and combat smuggling, according to Finance Minister Ahmed Galal. [DNE]
The loan will support the completion of major rights and principles of governance contained in the constitution and will serve to consolidate transparency and governance, and increase citizens’ commitment and access to information. The loan agreement was signed this Monday by Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Boussaid, and head of the World Bank’s department for the Maghreb, Simon Gray. The two sides also signed a donation agreement, worth $4.55 million extended by the WB MENA transition fund to finance a program to support territorial councils. [MAP]
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on Tunisia to speed up economic reforms and reduce its budget deficit, following its latest visit to the country. An IMF delegation was in Tunisia last month as part of the review process for a two-year $1.74 billion funding package the country agreed to in June. This stand-by arrangement is meant to provide Tunisia monetary support while it suffers from low foreign exchange reserves, a significant trade deficit, and decreasing investor confidence.  So far, however, only $150 million of this package has been delivered by the IMF. This payment was made when the agreement was finalized in June. [Tunisia Live]
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states welcomed the decision to accept Yemen to become member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce and Industry Anas Al-Saleh said Monday. On the fringes of the 9th ministerial meeting of WTO in Bali, Indonesia, and after meeting with GCC ministers of commerce, Al-Saleh said that Yemen was finally able to finish negotiating terms to join the world trade body. He added that the GCC states affirmed the right of all countries to join WTO without any hurdles. [KUNA]
Also of Interest:
Gulf states gave Egypt fuel worth $2.48 billion July-Nov | Reuters
CBE extends assistance to tourism investors | DNE
Mobile subscriptions grew 57.3 percent in Egypt 2008 – 2012 | Ahram
EBRD, Egypt in talks over €158 million investments | Amwal Al-Ghad
Analysis: Egypt’s capital markets show investor upsides | OBG
Opinion: SME’s in Egypt, victim of political unrest | DNE
Jordan to use Gulf aid to spur economy | World Bulletin
King renews Jordan’s support for new Libya | Jordan times
Opinion: Jordan faces major challenges in 2014 | Gulf News
Tunisia, EU to start negotiations on free trade soon | African Manager
Qatar pledges $350 million to Yemen’s Southern Compensation Fund | Yemen Post