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

A new joint publication prepared by the Tunisian Institute of Competitiveness and Quantitative Studies (ITCEQ), the Centre for Research on Economic Development and International Finance (DEFI) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) analyzes the main barriers to improving the competitiveness of the Tunisian economy. The report entitled “Modeling and Analysis of Tunisia’s Productive System” identified several challenges to improving the country’s competitiveness to deliver the maximum benefits of its development strategy and position itself in the global economy. [AfDB]
The World Bank expects Egypt’s economy to grow by 3.5 percent by the end of the current fiscal year to end in June 2014. The WB attributed the increase to the government’s announcement of two economic stimulus packages worth $8.7 billion. The packages aim at promoting economic activities on the short term through pumping more investments and lowering the budget deficit from 13.7 percent to 9.1 percent. [MENA]
Fitch Ratings says in a new report that Egypt’s ratings have stabilized on tentative political and economic improvements, but rapid upgrades are unlikely. In early January 2014 Fitch took Egypt’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency rating off Negative Outlook for the first time since January 2011. Over this period Egypt’s ratings were downgraded by a cumulative five notches. We expect economic performance to improve over our two-year forecast period but by end-2015 the economy will still be much weaker than in 2010, illustrating the damage to Egypt’s credit profile caused by political and economic turmoil. [Reuters]
The governing body of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the WFP Executive Board, has approved a two-year, $491-million operation, aimed at supporting a gradual shift from relief food assistance to promoting recovery and building resilience and livelihoods among vulnerable and food-insecure people in Yemen. The operation is due to start on 1 July. Between then and the end of 2014, WFP will need to raise $133 million. [SABA]
Also of Interest:
Egypt’s cabinet: 30 percent of first stimulus package spent | DNE
Egypt’s SFD to obtain $400 million loans from UAE, Saudi funds | Amwal Al-Ghad
Germany’s Die Welt report: Egypt army controls 45 percent of the economy | World Bulletin
30.7 percent decline in tourists visiting Egypt in December | Cairo Post
Egypt sings 9 agreements with Jordan | Cairo Post
Inflation in Jordan up by 3.4 percent in Jan. – report | JNA
Libyan oil production reaches 600,000 b/d | Libya Herald
Morocco bets on 8 percent more tourists in 2014 | Bloomberg
Yemeninflation at 10-month low in Nov, reserves drop | Zawya DJ [sub-based]