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

Egypt aims to cut energy bill
Egypt is pressing ahead with plans to link 800,000 households to its natural gas grid by next July as the government works to reduce its soaring energy bills. Energy subsidies account for 20 percent of total state expenditure, but the government is taking steps to address the problem and possible abuse of the subsidy system by instigating a smart-card scheme for car drivers and by efforts to connect more people to the gas grid. [Reuters]

EBRD announces support for Egyptian government’s economic reform plans
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is eager to support the Egyptian government’s economic reform plans in the immediate future, Director of Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Operations Hildegard Gacek said Tuesady. The remarks came during a meeting between Gacek, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa El-Din, and Philip Tirrot, the director of the bank’s Cairo office. [Al Borsa]

Jordan may issue Islamic bond this year: finance ministry
Jordan will consider issuing a Sukuk possibly this year after it sold a conventional bond, guaranteed by a US government agency earlier this week, according to Finance Minister Umayya Toukan. On Monday, Jordan priced a $1.25 billion seven-year bond backed by the US Agency for International Development. The transaction took the debt-to-GDP ratio up to 75.5 percent. The government would like to keep the ratio at 80 percent or below, Toukan said. [IFR]

Jobs top agenda for new Morocco team
Morocco’s newly-reshuffled coalition government set out a fresh vision to redefine its priorities, a key element of which is to boost employment by encouraging investment. The National Rally of Independents (RNI), the new ally in the government led by Salaheddine Mezouar, who has now become foreign minister, said that priorities must focus on the average citizen, particularly opportunities to develop revenue-generating activities, and boost investment and employment. One of the key challenges is employment for young people, with fresh initiatives such as making education more relevant to the labor market and the needs of the economy, according to Mezouar. [Magharebia]

Also of Interest: 
Extra UAE aid to Egypt ‘non-refundable grant’ | World Bulletin
Egypt expected to keep rates steady as inflation picks up | Reuters
Egypt aims to attract 13.5 million visitors in 2014 | Ahram
Energy efficiency to boost employment: EU project leads Cairo climate talks | EUMed
Banque du Caire profit surges by 215 percent in 2012 | DNE
US-guaranteed eurobonds issued by Jordan oversubscribed by 180 percent | Jordan Times
Libya participants at Islamic finance summit in London | Libya Herald
WB Approves $200 million for reforms in Morocco | Press Release
‘EU’s support for Morocco not conditional on human rights’, ambassador says |  EurActiv
Preferential Trade Agreement between Tunisia and Algeria expected by January 2014 | TAP
World Bank Doing Business Report | WB
Partnership agreement to improve youths’ skills | IFC