EconSource: World Bank Increases Middle East Program to $3.7 Billion

The World Bank has increased funding for its Middle East program to $3.7 billion in 2016/17 from $3.5 billion in 2015/16 and mobilized extensive resources to support countries neighboring Syria, according to Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Thursday. “The migration of Syrian and Libyan refugees to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt, reflected negatively on the local economies there, which exacerbated crises of poverty and unemployment while adding pressure on these countries’ budgets,” he said. However, he noted that “an influx of working age refugees or migrants into a country with an aging population can ultimately reap benefits for everyone.” Meanwhile, European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer called for increased investment in economic and social transformation in the Middle East and North Africa. He outlined a number of ways which international financial institutions, including the EIB, could increase investment. [Ahram Online, 10/8/2015]

Word Bank says Turkey needs to enhance performance of energy efficiency programs
Although the Turkish government has designated energy efficiency a key component of its energy strategy, critical institutional and functional gaps remain that prevent Turkey from realizing its stated energy efficiency goals, according to a World Bank report. “Energy efficiency is among the least expensive and cleanest energy resources and Turkey needs to do more to exploit this critical and abundant resource,” said World Bank Senior Energy Specialist Jas Singh, the primary author of the report. He said, “[Energy efficiency could allow Turkey to] enhance its energy security, sustain economic growth, and help protect the environment. … There is need to shift from free-standing, one-off, pilot investments to national level programs with strong institutions, dedicated, sustainable financing mechanisms and an able private sector.” [Hurriyet, 10/8/2015]

Egyptian Finance Minister attends IMF, World Bank annual meeting in Peru
Egyptian Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian is attending the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Lima, Peru. Dimian will attend a number of meetings, including a meeting of the Deauville Partnership Initiative, an international effort launched by the G8 to support transitioning countries in the Arab world. Dimian will also attend meetings with high-level officials in international financial institutions and credit ranking institutions, including Standards and Poor’s and Moody’s. Dimian is also expected to attend a number of closed meetings with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and other finance ministers from the region. Finally, Dimian will hold meetings with a number of international investment banks, including HSBC, Bank of America, and PNB Paribas. He will present his ministry’s regulation plans, Egypt’s subsidy amendment plan, and the planned value added tax. [DNE, 10/8/2015]

Essid says TND 10 billion worth of infrastructure projects blocked
Prime Minister Habib Essid said on Thursday that about TND 10 billion worth of infrastructure projects, including are blocked in the district of Greater Tunis. Following a visit to check on projects in the governorates in Tunis and Ariana, Essid emphasized that the implementation of these projects will help to revitalize economic and trade activities. He added that these blocked projects, some of which have stalled since 2012 or 2013, are a priority for the government. Essid called for project implementation to be sped up, some of which are funded by the European Investment Bank, noting that new infrastructure projects cannot be scheduled while these projects remain blocked. Also on Thursday, Minister of Equipment, Housing, and Territory Development Mohamed Salah Arfaoui said that eighty infrastructure projects worth TND 2.5 billion had been allowed to proceed. [TAP, 10/8/2015]

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Egypt Central Bank to auction EGP 7.5 billion in treasury bills Sunday | Cairo Post
Tunisia intends to launch network of sustainable cities | TAP
Tunisia is world’s top olive oil exporter | TAP
Negotiations between EU, Tunisia on liberalization of exchanges to start October 19 | TAP
Global Finance magazine lowers Turkish Central Bank governor’s grade | Hurriyet
Russia’s Gazprom declines Turkey’s request for gas via Blue Stream pipeline | Reuters