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

EU financial assistance worth €45 million will be provided in Jordan, Libya and Tunisia to boost socio-economic development. Jordan will receive a total of €20 million, to support the national education system and the wastewater sectors. Libya will receive €10 million to help in the establishment of a human rights-based migration management and asylum system in the Southern Mediterranean country. Another €15 million will be given to Tunisia, for the development of the agricultural and rural development and for environment protection. [ENPI, NewEurope]
Morocco said on Friday it had ended subsidies of gasoline and fuel oil and had started to cut significantly diesel subsidies as part of its drive to repair public finances. But the government, keen to avoid the kind of social unrest that toppled several other North African regimes during the Arab Spring, said it would continue to subsidize wheat, sugar and cooking gas used by poorer Moroccans. Morocco is the most advanced among North African countries in its reform of public subsidies and already started last year to partially index energy prices to international market levels. [Reuters]
The IMF has cut its growth forecast for the Arab world, despite the global economy being expected to pick up in 2014. Growth in MENA (Afghanistan and Pakistan) is expected to stand at 3.3 percent this year – lower than the 3.6 percent the IMF forecast in October. “Downward revisions to growth in 2014 in the Middle East and North Africa region mainly reflect expectations that the rebound in oil output in Libya after outages in 2013 will slow,” the IMF said in a summary of its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report. [al Arabiya]
Egypt is targeting growth of between 4 and 4.5 percent next fiscal year, Planning Minister Ashraf al-Arabi said on Sunday, as the army-backed government pushes on with plans to stimulate the economy. Arabi said growth projection for the current 2013-14 fiscal year was unchanged at 3 to 3.5 percent. Some government ministers have previously said it was 3.5 percent. [Reuters]
Business leaders in Jordan are stepping up their calls for government policymakers to consult more closely with them in formulating and implementing economic reforms, stressing the possibility of negative consequences for the private sector. The warnings come as the business community continues efforts to head off a 7.8 percent hike in electricity rates for companies consuming more than 10,000 KWh a month, which opponents say would substantially increase costs already under inflationary pressure, making Jordanian exports less competitive and endangering jobs at home. [OBG]
Also of Interest:
Egypt’s cabinet increases social security pensions by 50 percent | Ahram
Constitution referendum results boost investor confidence in Egypt | DNE, Al Bawaba
Egyptian economists largely bullish on new constitution | DNE
Egypt seen activating bond trading platform in Q2 | Reuters
Egypt finance minister to present country’s economic reforms in Davos | Ahram
Egypt tourism revenues down 41 percent in 2013 vs. 2012 | Ahram
Egypt exempts diplomats from maximum wage restrictions | Ahram
Egypt’s poor families need permanent aid, subsidy system needs flexibility: Official | Ahram
Jordan’s central bank cuts key rates by 25bps to stimulate economic growth | Intellinews
Religious tourism is lifeline for Jordan | AlifArabia
Tunisia’s $1 billion smuggling problem | IBT
Yemen, WB discuss implementation of road projects | SABA
Opinion: How are the Gulf’s investments doing in North Africa’s economies? | Al Bawaba