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

Egypt’s economic growth rate shrank by 0.5 percent, recording 1 percent in the first quarter of the 2013/14 fiscal year, down from 1.5 percent in the final quarter 2012/13. The growth rate during the period between July-September 2013 was down 1.6 percent as compared to the same quarter of the fiscal year 2012/13, where the growth rate stood at 2.6 percent. Meanwhile, GDP at current prices rose from EGP 445.8 billion ($64 billion) in the Q1 of 2012/13 to EGP 518 billion ($74.4 billion) in the Q1 of 2013/14, according to data from the finance ministry. [Ahram]
Egyptian debt has reached a new high record of EGP 1,865 billion at the end of December 2013, up from EGP 1,709 billion at the end of the preceding September, according to a report from the Finance Ministry. The ministry added that net domestic debts stood at nearly EGP 1,546 billion by the end of December 2013, an increase of EGP 252 billion from December 2012. Foreign debts reached EGP 45.8 billion during the same period, a rise of EGP 7 billion. [Egypt Independent]
The political transition is moving forward again following another period of political upheaval and security tensions. However, the protracted political crisis of the past few months has taken a toll on the economy, resulting in a weaker economic recovery than envisaged and further erosion of external and fiscal buffers. Program performance has been mixed. [IMF]

A new EU-funded Tempus program for the employability of students from the Maghreb and Mashrek regions will be officially launched on February 18-20 in Montpellier, France. The Semsem project (Service for employability and mobility through internships for students from Maghreb/Mashrek countries) is a three-year regional structural project that involves 25 partners in 7 countries: Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, Italy and France. It seeks to help modernize higher education in the Southern Mediterranean countries and to favor convergence with the field of higher education in Europe. [ENPI]
Also of Interest:
Reducing unemployment in Egypt by 2020 requires 6 percent growth rate: WB | Cairo Post
Egypt welcomes 5 year strategic cooperation plan with IDB | DNE
‘Around 4.2 million tourists spent JOD 3 billion in Jordan in 2012’ | Jordan Times
Libya Investment Authority personnel changes | Libya Herald
Governor of Central Bank of Tunisia: Issuing bonds not enough for economic re-launch | TAP
Op-ed: Economic imbalance could destabilize Yemen | Yemen Post
TOTAL faces a difficult future in Yemen | Yemen Post
Opinion: ‘The real Arab Spring is about women and economic development’ | Al Bawaba