Algeria: the new government challenges

  • 29 September 2012

On the 25th of September 2012 the program of the new Algerian government was submitted to the Parliament.

Sure, the preparation of the executive has been so slow. In fact, the new Parliament elections were held on the 10th of May. However, this time-consuming disappoint, because the new government seems not to be particularly innovative.

In fact the Ministers considered the most important, haven’t change, remaining assigned to the same ministers of the past legislation.

The choice to assign only three ministries (and, moreover, with few importance) to women is disappointing.

And finally, the Algerian economic situation should require a technical government, instead of a politic one, such as the new executive.

The economic situation is very complicated: in the first six months of the year, in fact, the Algerian imports declined 5.2% and inflation rose in August, making the expected annual inflation of 7.7%.

Also Algerian imports have a strong decrease (7.4% in the first eight months of the year).
Algeria is still suffering of choices made after independence from France. The State is still present in many sectors of the economy and the Country needs lot of reforms to reach the development.

About transport modernization, the infrastructural program proceeds all over the country.

Algeria is investing (between 2012 and 2015) 1 billion and 245 million of euro to strengthen the road and rail network and increase the safety standard of transport.

The involvement of the Algerian State is also reflected in the creation of an “ad hoc company” that care of the improvement and speed of tram network connections all over the country.

Algeria is also investing in the energy sector, through the creation of four refineries until the 2017 and setting up partnerships with multinational companies involved in the field of hydrocarbons.

However, both the infrastructure works, and the development of the nascent tourist industry, and also the creation of several dump, are threatening the ecosystem Algerian. This situation is creating considerable tension and alarm among environmentalists.

The Algerian government must think not only about the economic, but also about others indicators that reveal the Country backwardness.

The 22% of the population is still illiterate and the 23% lives below the poverty line, often in huge shanties.

Some measures have already been undertaken, such as providing housing for 1,500 families at random among the slum dwellers, or the establishment of nine universities; but the way to solve all the Algerian problems is still long.

The Turkish economy: between international crisis and privatization

  • 11 September 2012

The Turkish economy is suffering the effects of the global crisis situation. In fact, in August, there was a significant decline (-13%) of Turkish exports to Europe, as reported by the Turkish Exporters’ Association (Tim).

In August, the local chemical industry exported goods to $ 1.4 billion, followed by the clothing with 1.3 billion and that of steel with 1.2 billion. The surprise is that the automobile industry, it hasn’t among the three largest exporters. However, some sectors have still increased. The largest increase has been achieved by the defense and aviation industry, which together have created an expansion of 61%, while the jewelry sector has increased by 51% and that of fruits and vegetables by 24% . Turkish exports in August fell to a total value of 10.5 billion dollars, registering a loss of 4.6% year on year. The total value of exports in the first eight months of the year Turkish reached 97.7 billion dollars.

In July, however, the trade deficit of Turkey decreased by 20%, consolidating a trend for some time now, the result of many economic policies of the government in Ankara.

Inflation slowed down to 8 .8% in August, according to data released by TUIK, the National Institute of Statistics, but there are fears of sudden jumps. In fact, the Syrian civil war also disrupts the flow of goods by road from the Mediterranean to the Middle East countries. In recent months, in fact, the transport of fruit and vegetables that the Turkish province of Hatay passes through Syrian territory to reach the Middle East markets fell 87%. Transport costs are instead rising because of the adoption of alternative routes, while in game there are hundreds of jobs.

Turkey faces various problems with the privatization of the electricity and natural gas networks because of financing difficulties faced by potential candidates.

Currently five consortia, which include the major Turkish holding company, are in competition for the privatization of the management of the Bosphorus bridges, highways and service structures, management structures and tolls connected to it. This race is part of a scenario of privatization that has led to contract other infrastructure, such as a third bridge over the Bosphorus, a subway line under the Bosphorus, in addition to a tunnel for cars.

The Turkish government is also considering a reform of the tax system that calls for an expansion of the tax base and increases the number of taxpayers.

Mission of the Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica Central in Tunisia for the internationalization of Italian enterprises

  • 6 September 2012

From 5 to 7 September 2012, the Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica Central will travel to Tunisia with a delegation headed by President Alfredo Cestari.

There will be a series of meetings and subscriptions Memoranda of Understanding with the Government and local institutions in order to create optimal conditions to promote the internationalization of Italian enterprises in Tunisia. In particular, it will be signed bilateral agreements with the Chamber of Commerce of Tunis and that of Gabes.

The President Cestari said that “the task of the Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica Central is also to realize the ambition of Tunisia to become the Mediterranean platform of logistics distribution of Western goods in sub-Saharan Africa, on which ItalAfrica has institutional expertise in 19 States”.

Arab Spring: effects on tourism of the Southern Mediterranean Countries

  • 30 August 2012

The countries of the Arab Spring in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean are grappling with serious macroeconomic challenges in a climate of increasing uncertainty. According to a report of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (which has recently expanded its operations in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan), “the economies of these four countries have been hit by the decline in tourism, foreign direct investment and trade, and the investors have adopted wariness in the short term investments”.

Tourism is a large part of revenue in Egypt (27%). The area of ​​South Sinai and the Red Sea represents 70% of revenues from tourism and Sharm el Sheikh alone it covers 40%.

According to the Italian Foreign Ministry, the situation in Egypt (following the attack on a border post in the Sinai) shows elements of danger. The Foreign Ministry stressed that even in the most fashionable destinations (such as Sharm El Sheikh, Marsa Alam and Hurghada) there are new tensions and turbulence in the presence of Bedouin tribes. These tribes are particularly aggressive and responsible for frequent acts of intimidation and violence.

The Jordan’s economy grew unexpectedly by 3% in first quarter of 2012, but the government deficit has increased significantly because of political instability in the regional areas and the increase of energy costs.

In Morocco the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development expected a weaker growth in 2012, (because their close ties with the euro zone). The real GDP rose of the 2.8% in the first quarter of the year, but the existing deficit is expanded.

Tunisia is showing signs of recovery in the first three months of 2012, with real GDP grew by 4.8% on an annual basis (+ 33% in the tourism sector, and +29% of foreign direct investment). At the same time, however, the taxes are raised, link to the increase of social spending.

Turkey benefits for this situation, and it’s become the new El Dorado of Islamic tourism. The geographical position (hinge between Europe and Asia), the wealth of archaeological heritage, the moderate climate, the ease entry permits and, not least, the economic boom that is transforming the country into an emerging power; contribute to attract an increasing number of tourists. Moreover, tourism is one of the economic driving forces of Turkey, which in 2011 was visited by over 31 million people and that, again thanks to the tourism industry in the first half of 2012 achieved revenues of nearly 5 billion euro (+3.8% compared to the same period last year).