EconSource: World Bank Lends Tunisia $500 Million for Economic Reforms

The World Bank has approved a $500 million loan for Tunisia to help finance economic reforms and address the impact of two large attacks on the country’s tourism industry. The World Bank said on Friday the operation would aid restructuring of state banks and administration as a way to help economic growth. International lenders want to see Tunisia enact more economic reforms to help reduce the country’s deficit and high public spending. “We have accelerated the pace of our program to support Tunisia to face the economic shocks that followed the terrorist attacks in the Bardo and Sousse,” the Bank said in statement. “As Tunisia moves beyond the political transition, speeding up the pace of economic reforms will be critical to guarantee stability and further progress,” said Eileen Murray, World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia. She said the aid package was prepared “in close consultation” with the African Development Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.” [Reuters, The Financial, 10/2/2015]

Egypt to sign EUR 240 million deal with Siemens to establish electricity transmission stations
Egypt will sign an agreement with the German industrial company Siemens to establish six new electricity transmission stations for EUR 240 million ($268 million), Ministry of Electricity Spokesperson Mohamed al-Yammany said on Thursday. Siemens will establish transmission stations at a 500/220 Kilovolt capacity in eighteen months, he said. He added that the transmission stations will serve power plants located in Burullus on the north coast, Upper Egypt’s Beni Suef, and the planned administrative capital. Siemens signed a $9 billion deal in June with the Egyptian government to establish three high-efficiency natural gas power plants and wind power installations. [Ahram Online, 10/1/2015]

Jordan, Egypt discuss energy cooperation, engage Iraq
Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek al-Molla met on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations and energy cooperation. Jordanian Energy Minister Ibrahim Saif and Egyptian Ambassador to Jordan Khaled Tharwat were also present. Jordan hopes to increase cooperation in the recently discovered Zohr gas field. Ensour stressed Jordan’s interest in importing gas from Egypt. Molla said that development of the Zohr natural gas field would bring benefits to both countries. The discussion also highlighted the importance of the Iraqi oil pipeline, planned to be built between Basra and Aqaba. A Jordanian-Egyptian delegation is due to visit Baghdad to examine plans for the pipeline and the possibility of extending it to Egypt. [Jordan Times, SIS, 10/1/2015]

Bahrain lifts meat prices as cheap oil hits state finances
Bahrain more than doubled the prices of beef and chicken on Thursday, removing meat subsidies in a politically sensitive move designed to save money as low oil prices slash the government’s revenues. The government plans to partially compensated Bahraini citizens with cash handouts. Foreigners, who make up about half the population of roughly 1.3 million, will not be compensated. The government originally announced in August that it would remove meat subsidies starting September 1, but then delayed implementation as it consulted lawmakers and advisers. Local media quoted officials as saying the reform was expected to save the government about 22-29 million dinars ($58-77 million) annually. This marks a small amount compared to a state budget deficit projected at 1.5 billion dinars this year. While considering cuts to a range of other subsidies, the government has not yet announced a concrete plan. [Reuters, 10/1/2015]

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