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Morocco-Saudi Arabia joint maritime line to start operations soon

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The Chairman of the Moroccan-Saudi Arabian Business Council, Khalid Benjelloun, on Friday, announced that a maritime line which will connect Morocco and Saudi Arabia will be launched in the coming weeks.

Benjelloun said the initiative will give a new impetus to economic and trade cooperation between the two countries when it starts operations.

“The Federation of Saudi Chambers has signed an agreement with a shipping company to establish a direct line between Morocco and Saudi Arabia,” said Benjelloun in a statement at the end of the Moroccan-Saudi Business Forum held in Jeddah.

The integration, according to him, will provide opportunities for the “economy of both countries to establish fruitful industrial partnerships and investments and create joint value added and local jobs.”

Saudi Arabia which is Morocco’s largest trading partner in the Arab world, had a total value of bilateral trade with the north African country amounting to 17.2 billion dirhams in 2021 ($1.76 billion), according to data provided by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Riyad Mezzour, who led the Moroccan delegation at the forum.

“With the agreement, there is the need to relax administrative restrictions on exports and imports and the establishment of a Moroccan-Saudi investment fund to facilitate market access for small and medium enterprises, encourage partnerships between companies in both countries, and help them obtain financing,” Benjelloun said.

“During the Forum’s proceedings, investment and partnership opportunities between Morocco and Saudi Arabia and the potential of the two countries’ markets were reviewed, as well as the obstacles facing investors and the solutions proposed to promote investment and double the volume of trade between the two countries.

“The Forum was also a platform to enhance partnership between the two countries’ private sectors,” he added.

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COVID-19: Friendship renewed as Algeria opens land border with Tunisia

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Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune has announced that it will reopen the land border between the two countries in mid-July.

The border, which starts in the north at the Mediterranean coast, proceeding overland in a broadly southwards directions via a series of overland lines was closed in 2020 during the peak of Covid-19.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune made the announcement at Algiers airport alongside his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied who was preparing to leave the country after attending the festivities marking the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence.

“We have taken a joint decision to reopen the land borders from July 15.”

Until the pandemic, more than three million Algerians travelled to Tunisia each year, according to local media.

Generally speaking, relations between Algeria and Tunisia have so far been homogenous. Although Algeria postponed the opening of it borders with Tunisia in May.

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The Gambia benefits from World Bank’s $68m grant to revive tourism industry

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The Gambia and the World Bank have sealed a $68m grant deal which will go to support the West African country’s tourism industry, hitherto the biggest contributor to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), before the Coronavirus pandemic hit the global tourism sector, causing a near economic meltdown.

World Bank’s Managing Director of Operations, Axel Van Trotsenburg, who announced the signing of the deal at a ceremony in Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Tuesday, said the grant is meant to support the diversification and climate resilience of the country’s tourism after the pandemic and economic crisis.

Trotsenburg added that promoting the diversification and climate resilience of tourism will help protect the Atlantic coastline of The Gambia from the effects of climate change.

About 20 per cent of The Gambian economy depends on earnings from its tourism as it is the largest foreign exchange earner for the government but the advent of the pandemic had caused the country’s economic growth to contract by 0.2 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank.

This was as a result of the global restrictions on travelling between 2020 and 2021, which prevented tourists and visitors going to the country, leading to the tourism industry taking a huge hit.

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