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Big boost for Senegal as World Bank sign deals to finance four key projects worth $495m



The economic fortunes of impoverished West African country, Senegal, is set to take a monumental leap after the World Bank on Tuesday, signed deals to finance four key projects worth a total of $495 million.

The deals, according to the global banking institution, will help improve education, electricity, economic development and road access to rural areas in the country which is undergoing serious economic downturn.

The World Bank considers the West African nation with a population of16.7 million as a lower-middle-income country, with its economy hit hard by border closures during the pandemic that affected tourism and delayed oil and gas extractions, while job opportunities and industries are only concentrated in the capital, Dakar, and a few other cities.

World Bank Director for Senegal, Nathan Belete, who announced the deals, described them as record breaking.

“One of the projects to improve the quality of the education system will be awarded $100 million and will benefit over 600,000 students.

“Another $45 million will fund a project to help develop the economy of the impoverished southern Casamance region, focusing on rural areas and including the construction of infrastructure resistant to the impact of climate change.

“Another $150 million will be disbursed to improve electricity access across the country, connecting 200,000 households to the grid and improving power services in schools, health facilities, and small and medium enterprises.

“The fourth project, worth $200 million, will focus on developing better road links to rural food producing areas in the northern and central regions,” Belete said.


Libya’s National Oil Corp signs South Refinery contract with Honeywell



Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) announced on Sunday it had signed a contract with Honeywell (HON.O) for engineering work on its planned South Refinery project, which is expected to cost between $500 million and $600 million.

According to a statement by NOC subsidiary, Zallaf For Oil And Gas Co, the project would be carried out in two phases but not issue a schedule for works.

Libya hopes to take advantage of increased demand for its oil and gas as the Russia/Ukraine war continues. The country is seeking to bring foreign investment back into its energy sector after two and a half years of comparative peace following years of conflict.

The war has forced major global players to push for the enhancement of relations with oil-rich Libya. The United States in the week ending revealed that it is “actively” working to re-establish a diplomatic presence in Libya following a season of ruptured ties between the countries.
Last month, the Tripoli-based government agreed to move forward with an offshore gas project with Eni (ENI.MI).
Despite a plan for national elections, the political situation remains fragile, and armed factions have shut down production repeatedly since the ceasefire that ended the last bout of fighting in October 2020.
The North African country is strategic in the global economy as its oil reserves are the largest in Africa and among the ten largest globally.

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Morocco restricts tomato exports to manage high domestic prices. Smart move?



The head of Morocco’s main fruit and vegetable exporters’ group has revealed the country restricted tomato exports since late February with a total ban in place from last week until Thursday to lower domestic prices.

The head of the Federation of Moroccan Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables (FIFEL), told journalists that the Agriculture Ministry had agreed on a daily quota of tomato exports last month before stopping all exports from March 18 to 22, with a lower quota of 700 tonnes a day from Thursday.

Higher-priced produce such as cherry tomatoes, which represent more than half of the North African country’s tomato exports, are not included in the restrictions, Aderdour said.

He further revealed that exporters were given a quota of 1000 tonnes but that was less than the usual 1500 tonnes they used to have.

“We are failing to honour our long-term supply contracts,” one trader said, noting that most contracts with British clients are signed a year ahead at fixed prices.

“The credibility of Morocco as a stable tomatoes supplier to both the EU and UK market is at stake,” he added.

The ministry is yet to respond to Reuters calls for comment and did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Morocco’s central bank recently increased its benchmark interest rate for the third time in a row by 50 basis points to 3% as part of measures to fight inflation.

Food inflation jumped to 20.1% last month, bringing general inflation to 10.1%, a level unmatched since the 1980s.

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