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

Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is expected to become Egypt’s next president, said on Thursday the country’s economic situation is grave. “Sincerely speaking, our economic situation is very difficult,” Sisi told a military convention. [Reuters]
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb asserted that the government was determined to restructure State coffers and develop assets of strategic industries such as iron and steel, Mahala weaving factories and others, ruling out any plans for privatization. [SIS]
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour received on Thursday the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Sherif Ismail, and Iraq’s Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi. Ensour stressed that economic ties play an important role in drawing up regional policies for the region’s countries and creating bridges of cooperation between them, noting that economic interests of the countries and peoples lead politics. [JNA]
Overall, macroeconomic performance improved in 2013, but the outlook hinges on the sustained delivery of reforms. After a difficult 2012, a return to a more favorable environment and policy action helped reduce fiscal and external imbalances in 2013, while growth picked up, boosted by a strong rebound in the primary sector. Growth in 2014 could reach about 4 percent, but the economy remains vulnerable to a fragile international environment. [IMF, 2013 Article IV

Also of Interest:
World Bank launches consultations with Egypt for new strategy | SIS
Entrepreneurship grows in Egypt’s flailing economy | AP
Egypt tries harder to stop energy firm exodus | Amwal Al-Ghad
Tunisia: Inflation rate down to 5.5 percent in February 2014 (INS) | TAP