EconSource: IFC Plans up to $2 Billion Investment in Egyptian Infrastructure, Power

The World Bank’s development arm plans to invest between $1.2 billion and $2 billion in Egypt over the next four years, including around the Suez Canal, its regional director said. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is looking at ports and logistics projects, according to Mouayed Makhlouf, the IFC’s director of Middle East and North Africa. Besides infrastructure and energy projects, IFC is working with United Arab Emirates’ renewable energy company Masdar and Saudi Arabia-based power and water project developer ACWA Power, in which it invested $100 million in last year, on up to three or four renewable energy projects in Egypt, Makhlouf said. IFC plans to contribute between $300 million and $500 million per year over the next four years in different sectors, but mainly infrastructure and energy. Makhlouf said, “I have noticed a huge change in the way private investors are looking at Egypt and the government is on the right track to make it easier for investors to come in and add value by improving the investment climate.”[Ahram Online, Reuters, 4/10/2015]

Hampered by quality issues, Iraq backs crude split to drive exports
Iraq’s plan to split a heavier crude being produced in its southern oilfields from its flagship grade should reduce quality issues dogging its exports, though there will be challenges getting the price it wants and setting up infrastructure. OPEC’s No. 2 producer has little choice, since its drive to boost production – which hit a record 3.15 million barrels per day last year – has led to it drilling more heavier crude to mix with its Basra Light. But Iraqi officials have indicated they will move to price their heavier crude competitively and secure a port facility from May in a bid to make the split production approach work. [Reuters, 4/10/2015]

Shipping lines pull back from Yemen as conflict escalates
International shipping lines are being forced to scale back or suspend port calls to Yemen as the conflict gets worse, putting pressure on supplies of food as prices rise in local markets. Yemen imports more than 90 percent of its food, including most of its wheat and all its rice, to feed a population of 25 million. Much of its needs had been serviced by foreign ships. The coalition has deployed naval vessels to intercept ships carrying arms to the rebels, although merchant ships are meant to have free passage. Most ports appear to be under Houthi control or are disputed by combatants. Many shipping companies are now unwilling to risk their vessels, industry sources say. [Reuters, 4/9/2015]

Also of interest
Algeria, United States agree to strengthen economic and trade relations | Algerie Presse Service
OPEC’s no-cut strategy is not working, Iran says | Reuters
Egypt’s MIDOR signs $1.4 billion deal to expand refinery | Ahram Online