Blog económico

Archive for August, 2007

Tunisia tourism revenue up 9%

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Tunisia’s revenue from tourism, the country’s main foreign currency earner, rose 9.1%o 1.8 billion dinars ($1.4 billion) for January-August from the same period last year, official figures showed on Wednesday.

Some 4.411 million holidaymakers visited the North African country in the period, up 3.7% from a year earlier.

Tourism revenue grew to 2.8 billion dinars last year, on record tourist arrivals of 6.5 million, from 2.5 billion in 2005.

Desde Arabianbusiness.com

Jordan, Tunisia discuss transport cooperation

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Minister of Transportation Saud Nseirat on Wednesday held talks with his Tunisian counterpart on cooperation in the field of aviation, maritime and land transport between the two countries.

The two ministers praised the distinguished relations, particularly in the field of transportation, affirming the joint willingness to boost cooperation to meet the aspirations of the leaderships of both countries.

The also recommended holding a session during the coming month between officials of aviation companies and airports in both countries to discuss ways to enhance cooperation in this field.

Nseirat pointed to the possibility for Tunisia to join the Jordanian-Syrian company for land transportation.

He also pointed the booming in the transportation sector in light of trade and economic prosperity that Jordan is witnessing.

Desde Jordan News Agency

Rey de Jordania insta a la aceleración de programa nuclear

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

El rey Abdalá II de Jordania instó hoy a ‘acelerar’ el desarrollo de un programa nuclear jordano con fines pacíficos, como una de las soluciones para hacer frente a la dependencia energética.

Según un comunicado de la Casa Real ‘el rey presidió una reunión del Alto Comité de la Energía Nuclear e instó a la comisión a acelerar la aplicación del programa nuclear jordano’.
 

‘La cuestión energética es uno de los retos más importantes a los que se enfrenta Jordania y que requiere soluciones a largo plazo’, agrega la nota.

Uno de los miembros del comité, el ministro de Educación Superior, Jaled Toqan, espera que la energía nuclear suponga el 30 por ciento del total de los recursos energéticos jordanos en 2030.

Asimismo, el alto funcionario dijo que esa energía será utilizada para generar electricidad y para la desalinizar el agua marina.

Toqan dijo que la financiación internacional es clave para evitar que el éxito del programa nuclear jordano represente una carga para el erario público.

Los estudios preliminares realizados hasta ahora han señalado que el coste del programa nuclear ronda los 1.000 millones de dólares.

A comienzos de este año, el monarca hachemí dejó claro que el programa nuclear en Irán podría desembocar en el desarrollo de programas propios por parte de los estados árabes.

Jordania, como signatario del Tratado de No Proliferación de armamento Nuclear, ha asegurado que someterá su programa nuclear a la ley y a los estándares internacionales.

Desde Terra.es

Maroc Telecom añade otro cable submarino entre Europa y el país

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

El operador de telecomunicaciones Maroc Telecom, ha puesto en marcha un nuevo cable submarino de unión con Europa que refuerza la conexión a Internet de banda ancha y televisión ADSL, informa el portal en Internet ‘marruecosdigital.net’.

 

Atlas Offshore, el nombre de este nuevo cable, es el tercero en comunicar África con Europa desde Marruecos.

Atlas Offshore, que se instaló en junio pasado, se suma a los cables submarinos Eurafrica y Sea-Me-We 3; lo que pone de manifiesto el interés del país por dotarse de nuevas tecnologías, bajo el objetivo de “reforzar la posición líder de Marruecos como país de acogida de empresas deslocalizadas”, afirma el presidente del directorio de Maroc Telecom, Abdeslam Ahizoune.

La empresa Alcatel-Lucent, que ha recibido 26 millones de euros, ha sido la encargada de la realización de la construcción de este nuevo cable submarino, desde la creación hasta la puesta en marcha y el soporte.

Desde EL FARO

Siria da la bienvenida a más inversión china en sector de telecomunicaciones

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

El viceprimer ministro sirio para Asuntos Económicos, Abdullah al-Dardari, dijo el día 27 que su país da la bienvenida a más compañías chinas especializadas en el sector de telecomunicaciones para inversión y cooperación.

Dardari hizo el comentario en un discurso durante la ceremonia de inauguración de una exhibición de cuatro días de sofisticados productos inalámbricos de comunicaciones presentada por la ZTE Corporation de China.

La industria de tecnología de información y comunicaciones de Siria ha experimentado un rápido desarrollo en años recientes, el cual ofreció una amplia plataforma para la cooperación con la ZTE y otras compañías internacionales, dijo Dardari.

Destacó que durante su reciente viaje a China en julio habló con un número de compañías chinas especializadas en el sector de tecnología acerca del establecimiento de un parque de tecnología china aquí, en Damasco.

“Y creo que la ZTE ha ofrecido ayudar… con este parque de tecnología que servirá a nuestros centros de investigación y desarrollo, manufactura y mercadeo de la tecnología de información y comunicaciones en Siria y a través de la región”, dijo Dardari.

Por su parte, el embajador de China en Siria Li Huaxin dijo que el gobierno chino animó y apoyó a compañías como ZTE, que tienen fuerza y credibilidad, para que hagan negocios con Siria.

La tercera sesión del Comité Económico y Comercial Chino-Sirio, celebrado en Damasco en junio pasado, acordó otorgar prioridad a la cooperación en telecomunicaciones entre las dos partes, dijo Li.

El embajador expresó la creencia de que tal exhibición de alta tecnología promoverá una cooperación mutuamente beneficiosa y de ganar-ganar entre los dos países.

Desde Pueblo en Línea

Ericsson inaugurates Global Service Delivery Center in Lebanon

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has opened a new Global Service Delivery Center (GSDC) in Beirut, Lebanon, to better service Ericsson’s regional and global customers.

Last week’s inauguration, the culmination of six months work, was attended by various officials from the Lebanese telecommunication sector.

Having experienced experts based in Lebanon will strengthen Ericsson’s position as a provider of telecom services in the region, as well as support the evolution and growth of the local telecom market.

Beirut is seen as the perfect site for the GSDC due to its strategic location and cultural affinities across the Middle East and Africa. Lebanon also has 17 universities producing highly skilled, multilingual professionals who are willing to work globally, and has a good investment climate.

About seventy engineers have already been recruited and a further 40 staff will be employed by the end of the year to deliver services in the areas of systems integration, network and technology consulting, and managed services.

Fredrik T. Strand, head of Service Delivery, Ericsson, says: “The time is right for us to extend our capabilities and invest in this market. This region has strong potential in the services area and we now have the possibility to be closer to our customers and provide state-of-the art services faster and in a more localized fashion.”

Worldwide, the Ericsson services organization employs 24,000 professionals, of which 6500 work at Ericsson’s 20 Global Service Delivery Centers. These GSDCs are designed to ensure business readiness for the global market and support global and regional demand by providing global expertise cost efficiently.

Ericsson operates in all 14 countries of the Middle East, employing about 2000 people and working with more than 20 operators.

Ericsson is shaping the future of Mobile and Broadband Internet communications through its continuous technology leadership. Providing innovative solutions in more than 140 countries, Ericsson is helping to create the most powerful communication companies in the world.

Desde Newest Phones

Jordan: King stresses importance of nuclear energy development

Monday, August 27th, 2007

King Abdullah II affirmed the importance of accelerating the implementation of a nuclear energy program of Jordan. According to the monarch, energy is one of the most important challenges that Jordan is facing, therefore, thinking on alternatives and radical solutions became a must for the long term scale.

Chairing a meeting of the Higher Committee for Nuclear Strategy on Sunday, the King pointed to the importance of providing alternative sources of energy and to develop local traditional and renewable sources of energy to reduce the Jordan’s energy imports.

In the presence of Prime Minister, Chairman of the Committee, Marouf Bakhit, Director of King’s Office Bassem Awadallah, Abdullah was briefed by the Vice Chairman of the Committee and Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khalid Touqan on the steps of implementing the nuclear energy program of Jordan.

According to Petra, the briefing noted that the Commission assessed the option of nuclear power generation in light of the natural sources and nuclear materials which are available in Jordan. It said that the nuclear energy will form 30% of total energy generated in Jordan by the end of the third decade of this century.

According to Touqan, the strategic vision for the energy sector aims to make Jordan into an exporting country for energy by 2030 and to provide energy at low cost to industries and the service sector.

Jordan’s Desde Al Bawaba

Batelco Jordan contributes in developing the website for the “Qudarat” Program

Monday, August 27th, 2007

 Within the framework of its commitment to its social duties and responsibilities to the local community, and in support of the efforts of the Noor al Hussein Foundation, which aims to counter poverty and unemployment to promote all aspects of social development, Batelco Jordan (a subsidiary of Batelco Bahrain, a pioneering company in the field of IT and telecommunications) has contributed in developing the website for the foundation’s ‘Qudarat’ program,

This initiative grew out of the importance that Batelco Jordan places on the interaction between the private sector and the local community.  The initiative is part of an overall framework to build a future Jordan the way the company and citizens envisage it. It also reflects a national movement to support socially responsible programs and herald a new era where the private sector consolidates its role in supporting socially responsible programs and spreads a socially constructive culture in the field of commercial work, as Mr. Ihab Hannawi, CEO of Batelco Jordan, explains.Mr. Hannawi added, ‘It is true that the main role of the private sector is to be an engine for national economic growth and the main source of creating job opportunities and improving and developing its services. However, addressing the needs of society as a whole by supporting all forms of initiatives and national programs like ‘Qudarat’ is an inseparable part of the business world’s mission’.Ms. Hana Mitri Shaheen, CEO of the Noor Al Hussein Foundation, expressed her enthusiasm about the strategic thinking that Batelco Jordan has shown which demonstrates the commitment and determination of private sector companies to achieve the notion of social responsibility.

Ms. Shaheen said, ‘Batelco Jordan has supported our national program ‘The Qudarat Program’ which is one of the Noor Al Hussein Foundation’s programs that aims to consolidate the corporate abilities of non-governmental national institutions to achieve sustained development which they have employed during the last period along with their professional and continuous work to create a high-quality, user-friendly website for us.’

In addition to contributing in developing the ‘Qudarat’ program’s website, Batelco Jordan will also be managing and updating the program’s web pages and it will be offering technical support and follow up for the website.

It is worth noting that Batelco Jordan is one of the leading companies in the field of website development and the company has won many local and international prizes for its work in this field.  One of the most important prizes the company was awarded was the international prize for ‘Best website under the VIP website personal category’ for designing His Majesty King Abdullah the Second’s website.

Desde Al Bawaba

Le ministre égyptien de l’investissement affirme la profondeur des relations économiques et commerciales entre l’Egypte et la Syrie

Monday, August 27th, 2007

M.Mahmoud Mouhieddine, ministre égyptien de l’investissement, a affirmé la profondeur des relations syro-égyptiennes et la nécessité de les développer dans les domaines économique, commercial et d’investissement.

Dans une conférence de presse qu’il a tenue aujourd’hui, M.Mouhieddine a souligné que l’objectif de sa visite est d’examiner les perspectifs de coopération économique entre les deux pays frères et la possibilité de l’établissement des projets d’investissement communs “vu le climat d’investissement propice en Syrie qui attire les capitaux”.

M.Mouhieddine a qualifié de “bonne” la coopération entre le marché financier syrien et la bourse égyptienne.

Il a révélé que le nombre de sociétés syriennes se trouvant en Egypte s’élève à /408/ sociétés opérant dans les domaines textile, commercial, de l’industrie alimentaire et du tourisme, ainsi que /23/ sociétés opérant dans le domaine des investissements dont le volume du montant exporté atteint environ un milliard de livre égyptienne.

M.Mouhieddine a appelé à l’augmentation du volume de l’échange commercial qui a atteint l’année dernière /933/ millions de dollars.

De son côté, M.Abdallah al-Kafri, chef de l’Organisme syrien de l’investissement, a appelé à la traduction en des projets d’investissement communs les relations distinctes entre la Syrie et l’Egypte.

R.Jorf

Desde Sana

Algérie : le français Areva remporte un contrat de 50 millions d’euros

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Le géant français Areva annonce aujourd’hui avoir remporté, via sa filiale Areva T&D, un contrat clé en main avec Sonelgaz, confirmant ainsi une information publiée par « toutsurlalgerie.com » le 5 juillet dernier (lire). Le contrat, qui s’inscrit dans le cadre du projet «Réseau méditerranéen » prévoyant l’interconnexion des réseaux des pays européens et maghrébins, porte sur le renforcement du réseau électrique national. Areva « construira et installera une sous-station haute-tension (400kV) conventionnelle, un système de télécommunications, ainsi que l’équipement de protection et de contrôle qui, associés à de nouvelles infrastructures, permettront de renforcer considérablement le réseau algérien », explique le groupe français dans un communiqué.

En quatre ans, c’est le cinquième contrat attribué par Sonelgaz à Areva T&D Algérie. « Nous sommes très heureux de la confiance que Sonelgaz porte aux solutions d’AREVA T&D. Nous sommes convaincus que la signature de ce contrat va accélérer notre développement dans cette région.», a déclaré Philippe Romieu, vice président Europe du Sud et Afrique du géant français.

Pour accompagner son développement, la filiale algérienne d’Areva s’apprête, selon nos informations, à installer un centre d’ingénierie à Alger. Ce dernier, le premier du genre en Afrique, accueillera une cinquantaine d’ingénieurs, des Algériens et des étrangers. Ils travailleront sur des solutions destinées aux groupes algériens. Mais pas seulement : selon une source proche d’Areva, le nouveau centre d’ingénierie constituera le fer de lance de la stratégie de développement du géant français en Afrique dans les prochaines années.

Desde tout sur l’Algérie

Maroc: En dépit de l’expansion de 28% de l’encours des crédits, l’endettement des ménages reste modeste

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Par intérêt ou par nécessité, les ménages marocains recourent au crédit bancaire pour se constituer leur patrimoine.

Aussi bien pour l’achat d’un logement que pour l’acquisition des biens meubles ou produits de consommation courante, le crédit bancaire représente la solution idoine, même pour les catégories de population plus ou moins aisées. A telle enseigne que l’endettement des ménages prend ces derniers temps une allure assez vive. En effet, l’encours des crédits aux ménages est évalué, selon le dernier rapport de Bank Al Maghrib sur l’activité des établissements de crédit, à 116 milliards de dirhams, à fin 2006, représentant 33% de l’encours global des crédits à l’économie.

Stimulé par la détente des taux d’intérêt et l’offre pléthorique de crédits, le financement à crédit des ménages est assuré par les banques à hauteur de 76%, contre 24% pour les sociétés de financement, essentiellement sous forme de crédits à la consommation. Bank Al-Maghrib indique, par ailleurs que le ratio d’endettement des ménages (rapport de la dette bancaire des ménages au Revenu national disponible) atteint 18%, et demeure presque similaire à celui enregistré en 2005.

Desde Libération

Algeria mining sector shows first surplus in 11 years

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria saw foreign trade for its mining sector post positive results in 2006 for the first time in 11 years, with a surplus of $50.58 million, the energy and mines ministry said on Tuesday.

The OPEC-member country spent $407.34 million in importing mining products, including $112 million in industrial minerals, $161.6 million on basic metals and $128.7 million for solid energy minerals, the official APS news agency cited the ministry as saying in a report.

The value of exports was at $457.92 million with sales reaching $205.6 million, $197 million and $ 3.6 million for basic metals, iron and alloys and precious stones respectively.

It was “the first positive balance” since 1996, APS quoted the report as adding.

The north African nation has awarded tens of exploration permits for potential mineral mining sites to try to attract foreign investment into its non-energy sector.

Desde Africa Reuters

Algeria, Iran launch economic co-operation

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

During the visit by Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad in this month, Algeria and Iran have launched new opportunities of economic co-operation to boost their relationship.

The two-day trip on August 6 and 7 saw Algeria sign a series of agreements with Iran to establish direct flights between the two capitals, open up the Algerian banking sector to Iranian financial institutions - with the Iranian Development Bank to open a branch in Algiers. It was also agreed to put in place a preferential tariff system and eliminate dual taxation.

Iranian senior officials had already visited Algeria last year such as the Iranian foreign affairs minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani.

Commercial exchange rate between the two countries was estimated at $20 million, according to Ali Larijani. He stressed the necessity to invest in available means in that field to reinforce economic and commercial relationships between Algeria and Iran.

In his visit to Algeria, Ali Larijani said political will between Algerian and Iranian officials existed in that regard. It just needs to be revived in different economic, political and cultural fields.

Ali Larijani believed that there are several common factors between Iran and Algeria likely to promote ties between both countries to reach a strategic level.

He added that the will of Algerian and Iranian high authorities would help to set up strong basis for friendship, solidarity and mutual understanding.

On the other hand, the Iranian presidential advisor Ali Taskhiri said Algerian-Iranian relationships were good. “There is a mutual love between the two people. There are good relationships. I believe that ties between the two countries would be prompted in economic and cultural fields.” “Algeria and Iran have a very strong will,” he told Echorouk Al Yaoumi.

Last year, the Algerian energy minister Chakib Khelil paid a visit to Iran where services were proposed to Algeria to help it in peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s visit to Iran in October 2003 played a major role in the improvement of relationships between the two countries.

However, it was natural gas that grabbed most of the business headlines during Ahmadinejad’s visit. On August 8, Ghanimi Fared, the director of international affairs of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), announced that the Iranian firm and the Algeria’s oil and gas producer Sonatrach were in talks over a number of projects. In particular, Fared said NIOC was keen to work with the Algerian producer and gain from its experience to facilitate the export and distribution of Iranian gas in Europe and Asia.

Iran has recently signed an agreement with Ankara to pipe gas across Turkey to Europe, a market in which Algeria is already well established. Sonatrach has also expressed interest in developing part of Iran’s South Pars gas field, for both upstream and downstream operations.

The Iranian official told us the Algerian company Sonatrach and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) were holding talks on several projects as part of natural gas exploitation and production in Algeria and Iran.

“Gas producers’ cartel project will be achieved sooner or later,” said Ghanemi criticising gas consumer countries that are against this project.

According to him, gas producer’ cartel is likely to guarantee the interests of producer and exporting countries.

The Iranian Energy Minister’s assistant said countries that are against gas producers’ cartel want to monopolise the global market, keep control of multinational companies and prevent national companies in producer countries from turning to hydrocarbons industry.

Energy Iranian companies are expected to cooperate with Sonatrach in petrochemistry industry.

Sonatrach is looking to assist Iran in developing its liquid natural gas (LNG) production facilities, to export gas by tanker rather than through pipelines. Iran’s LNG plants have been hindered by the US embargo and a lack of investment and advanced technology, things the Algerian firm has in abundance.

Ahmadinejad told a meeting of Algerian businessmen that the energy sector would be the basis for increased co-operation between the two countries. Calling for higher levels of Algerian investment in Iran, he said Tehran wanted to open up its economy to overseas capital. Currently, bilateral trade between the two countries runs at a paltry $7m.

Iran is determined to remove all obstacles to developing economic, trade and investment relations. We are ready to transfer Iranian expertise to Algerian businessmen, Ahmadinejad told the meeting in Algiers. Iran and Algeria enjoy remarkable capacities not only in energy, mining, agricultural and industrial fields but also in cultural and historical fields.

Ahmadinejad also called for the setting up of an international gas cartel in which Iran and Algeria would be key members, a move he said would counteract the economic hegemony of great powers.

Fared commented the forming of an international gas cartel similar to that of the OPEC, with Algeria and Iran at its heart, will be achieved sooner or later.

Hossein Abdi-Abyanah, Tehran’s ambassador to Algiers, confirmed there were major possibilities for energy co-operation between the two countries.

Our investment capacities are enormous, he told a press conference. Algerian engineers are working in the Iranian hydrocarbon sector. Sonatrach can develop projects in Iran. Iranian companies can do the same in Algeria.

One other area where Algeria and Iran may consider co-operating is far more controversial, that of nuclear energy. During Ahmadinejad’s visit President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said it was unacceptable that Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, was being restricted in its legitimate right to acquire nuclear technology for strictly peaceful purposes.

Algeria already has two small-scale nuclear reactors for medical and experimental purposes, but said it wants to develop a nuclear energy industry within the next 10 years, a measure Iran said it would support.

Among the measures to boost trade relations, it was announced that Iran would start exporting its low cost Saipa family cars to Algeria and plans to establish a factory to manufacture vehicles in the country in the coming years. Saipa already has overseas production plants in Syria and Venezuela.

Mohsen Javan, an executive with Saipa, said exports of the cars would begin by the end of 2012, running to 20,000 units annually.

During a meeting with Speaker of the Algerian People’s National Assembly (lower house) Abdul Qadir Bin Saleh, Khatami said that the Iranians consider themselves “very close” to the Algerian people, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported.

If the two sides adopt similar positions, it would be in the benefit of Islam, regional and world peace, Khatami stressed.

Last September, Iran and Algeria resumed the diplomatic relations, which were severed in 1993 after the North African nation accused Iran of supporting the Islamic Salvation Front, Algeria’s major opposition force.

Describing the resumption of the ties as a “bold step” meeting the interests of both sides, Khatami said that “we should safeguard the ties and plan for the future.”

He praised Algeria for making efforts in establishing and broadening Islamic civilization and called on Islamic states to put aside their differences and try to make progress through cooperation.

“We believe that the unity of Islamic states can perform miracles” and “attain a higher position in the technological, scientific, political, cultural and economic fields,” Khatami stressed.

Saleh arrived here on Tuesday to deliver a message of brotherhood, friendship and appreciation to Khatami from Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, IRNA said.

Saleh briefed Khatami on Algeria’s political and economic developments and lauded Iran’s policies both at the domestic and international levels.

Algeria and Iran share views in their general political and economic programs and has had good relations of cooperation in the oil, gas, trade and security fields, he said.

Algeria is ready to expand the ties of cooperation with Iran in all fields, he added.

Desde Alarab Online

Global warming causing Mediterranean Sea to rise, threatening Egypt’s lush Nile Delta

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt - Millions of Egyptians could be forced permanently from their homes, the country’s ability to feed itself devastated.

That’s what likely awaits this already impoverished and overpopulated nation by the end of the century, if predictions about climate change hold true. The World Bank describes Egypt as particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming, saying it faces potentially “catastrophic” consequences.

“The situation is serious and requires immediate attention. Any delay would mean extra losses,” said Mohamed el-Raey, an environmental scientist at Alexandria University.

A big reason is the vulnerability of Egypt’s breadbasket - the Nile Delta, a fan-shaped area of rich, arable land where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. Although the Delta makes up only 2.5 percent of Egypt’s land mass, it is home to more than a third of this largely desert country’s 80 million people.

The Delta was already in danger, threatened by the side effects of southern Egypt’s Aswan Dam. Though the dam, completed in 1970, generates much-needed electricity and controls Nile River flooding, it also keeps nutrient sediment from replenishing the eroding Delta.

Add climate change to the mix, and the Delta faces new uncertainties that could have a potentially more devastating effect on Egypt.

Scientists generally predict that the Mediterranean, and the world’s other seas, will rise between one foot and 3.3 feet by the end of the century, flooding coastal areas along the Delta.

Already, the Mediterranean has been creeping upward about .08 inches annually for the last decade, flooding parts of Egypt’s shoreline, el-Raey said.

By 2100, the rising waters could wipe out the sandy beaches that attract thousands of tourists. Also at risk would be the buried treasures archaeologists are still uncovering in ancient Alexandria, once the second most important city in the Roman Empire.

But those losses would pale to the impact of the worst-case scenario that some scientists are predicting - global warming unexpectedly and rapidly breaking up the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.

If this happens, seas could rise by about 16 feet, causing mass devastation to the region, according to a World Bank study released this year.

Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Penn State University, said the sheets are collapsing at slow rate, but much faster than scientists thought a decade ago. A complete collapse could take “at least centuries,” said Alley, an expert on ice melt.

But even minimal sea rise in the next century would have serious consequences for Egypt, experts warn.

A rise of 3.3 feet would flood a quarter of the Delta, forcing about 10.5 percent of Egypt’s population from their homes, according to the World Bank. The impact would be all the more staggering if Egypt’s population, as expected, doubles to about 160 million by the middle of the century. The Delta is already densely packed with about 4,000 people per square mile.

Also hit would be Egypt’s food supply. Nearly half of Egypt’s crops, including wheat, bananas and rice, are grown in the Delta.

Areas not under water would also be affected, with salt water from the Mediterranean contaminating the fresh ground water from the Nile River used for irrigation.

But the unique and fragile ecosystem of the Delta makes the job of protecting it much greater - and human activity has already made the task harder.

For thousands of years, annual Nile floods deposited mud, sand and minerals that replenished the Delta and prevented erosion. But for the past three decades, the Aswan Dam has curbed the sediment from resettling in the Delta and allowed erosion to flourish.

“The sediment created a balance. Now the coastal processes are acting alone without sediments counteracting, and the balance has been changed,” said Omran Frihy, a retired coastal researcher in Alexandria who has published several reports on sea level rise and erosion.

In Egypt, as in much of Africa, global warming is rarely discussed. But the government in Cairo is beginning to confront the problem.

In Alexandria, authorities are spending $300 million to build concrete sea walls to protect the beaches along the Mediterranean, Frihy said. Sand is being dumped in some areas to replenish dwindling beaches.

Similar walls are going up in other parts of the coast including Rashid, where archaeologists in 1799 discovered the Rosetta Stone that unlocked the secrets of ancient Egyptian writing.

The government is also preparing a “national strategy study” on ways to adapt to climate change, said Maged George, Egypt’s minister of environmental affairs.

Mohamed el-Shahawy, a climate scientist at the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, said the government was obtaining a “vulnerability index and detecting the most vulnerable regions.”

“Egypt is trying to protect its shores,” el-Shahawy said. “After this we will request that the world help. We have to protect ourselves. But it costs so much.”

Desde Ledger Dispatch

Algérie: un excédent commercial de plus de 17 milliards de dollars en sept mois

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

L’Algérie a réalisé, durant les sept premiers mois de l’année, un excédent commercial de 17,14 milliards de dollars, a-t-on appris jeudi auprès du Centre national de l’informatique et des statistiques (CNIS).

Ce chiffre représente néanmoins une baisse de près de 4 milliards de dollars par rapport à la même période de l’année dernière, en raison de la hausse des importations conjuguée à une baisse relative des exportations.

Les hydrocarbures continuent à représenter l’essentiel des ventes de l’Algérie pendant cette période, avec 98,55% du total des exportations.

A part des hydrocarbures, l’Algérie a exporté notamment des débris de cuivre, l’ammoniaque et des produits alimentaires.

Quant aux importations durant cette période, elles ont été dominées par les biens d’équipements, les matériaux de construction et le groupe des biens alimentaires.

Desde french.xinhuanet.com

Jordan’s finance minister resigns amid government decision not to boost fuel prices

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

AMMAN, Jordan: Jordan’s finance minister resigned on Tuesday amid a government decision not to increase fuel prices.

The resignation of Ziad Fariz, a renowned economist who also served as a deputy prime minister, was announced following a Cabinet meeting that had also set parliamentary elections for Nov. 20.

Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit did not provide details on Fariz’s resignation but said he had recommended that Jordan’s King Abdullah II accept it.

Fariz is a known critic of state fuel subsidizing, arguing that this swells the treasury’s fuel bill and exacerbates an already high budget deficit.

The state is seeking to keep the deficit under control in line with recommendations by the International Monetary Fund, which supervised Jordanian economic reforms for almost two decades until 2004.

It was not immediately clear if Fariz had sought to push for another fuel price hike, which was widely expected this month.

But the prime minister’s move reflects his determination to undermine Jordan’s largest opposition group, the fundamentalist Islamic Action Front, which has blasted possible further increases in fuel prices and threatened calling general strikes.

The IAF, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, boycotted the country’s first mayoral elections last month, citing government irregularities — an allegation the state denied. The IAF also plans to contest the upcoming elections.

Al-Bakhit did not say who would fill in for Fariz, the third Cabinet minister to quit within a month.

Water Minister Mohammed Thafer al-Alem and Health Minister Saad al-Kharabsheh left the Cabinet in July over the outbreak of a nonfatal parasitic disease in northern Jordan that was linked to an allegedly animal dung-infested water pipe.

Al-Bakhit said that he and the remaining 22 Cabinet ministers decided to put off the fuel increase because it would have “burdened Jordanian citizens.” He said the government would look into alternatives to a fuel price hike.

The government sharply increased fuel prices three times within nine months in 2005-2006 and had also announced steps toward completely canceling fuel subsidies by this year.

The government says that rising world fuel prices would cost the treasury more than 377 million Jordanian dinars (US$528 million; €392 million) this year.

Cash-strapped Jordan is saddled with a multibillion dollar foreign debts. Unemployment runs at 15 percent, poverty blights a third of the nearly 6 million population and inflation is estimated at 8 percent. The country heavily depended on cheap Iraqi oil until dictator Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003. Saudi Arabia and other rich Arabs stepped in afterward.

The average salary of government employees is at 300 Jordanian dinars, or about US$420. Unleaded gasoline costs the equivalent of about US$0.90 per liter, while diesel fuel is at about US$0.44 per liter.

Desde Herald Tribune

Libia construye un aeropuerto de 1.000 millones de euros

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

La construcción de un nuevo aeropuerto de mil millones de euros, que se espera reciba a 20 millones de viajeros anualmente, ha comenzado ya en la capital libia, Trípoli.

Según el director del proyecto, Abdel Majid Saddah, esta majestuosa obra, que será supervisada por un grupo consultor francés, la llevarán a cabo seis compañías, incluyendo Vinci de Francia, Oderbrecht de Brasil y TAV de Turquía.

El aeropuerto se extenderá sobre más de 1.000 hectáreas y será capaz de manejar al menos a 100 aviones. Tendrá una capacidad de aparcamiento de 4.400 vehículos.

Libia ha destinado 2.000 millones de euros más para la modernización de otros aeropuertos.

El ministro libio de Transportes, Mohammed Abu Ajila, se mostró optimista de que la nueva construcción provoque un cambio radical en la industria del transporte de Libia.

El nuevo aeropuerto internacional de Trípoli propiciará un cambio fundamental en el transporte aéreo, y atraerá y desarrollará el viaje y el transporte de carga aérea entre Libia y el resto del mundo, particularmente la Unión Europea.

Se espera también la puesta en marcha de nuevos centros de servicio de apoyo al transporte aéreo y que esto atraiga la inversión internacional para crear horizontes sin precedentes para los turistas económicos, y que cree, asimismo, más oportunidades laborales en el país.

El gobierno libio ha preparado también programas de desarrollo y mantenimiento de puertos marítimos. Además, miles de millones de euros van a ser destinados para el desarrollo de 160 proyectos viarios cubriendo más de 13.000 kilómetros.

Más de 25 compañías libias han sido seleccionadas para ejecutar los proyectos portuarios y viarios.

Desde afrol News

La préservation de l’environnement a fait des progrès prodigieux au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique du Nord

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Durant les années 90, la qualité de l’environnement n’était pas la priorité principale de la région du Moyen-Orient et de l’Afrique du Nord (MENA).

« Quinze ans plus tard, l’intérêt porté à la question environnementale a fait un bond en avant et la région est passée d’un investissement nul dans la protection de l’environnement à des investissements dans chaque pays », a déclaré Sherif Arif, conseiller régional de l’environnement de la région MENA pour la Banque mondiale.

Selon M. Arif, le tournant décisif s’est produit en 1999, lorsque la Banque a commencé à parlementer avec les pays qui ne se préoccupaient pas de la dégradation de l’environnement et du coût qui en résultait.

Dans un effort innovateur, une équipe de la Banque mondiale, financée par le Programme d’assistance technique pour la protection de l’environnement en Méditerranée (METAP), a calculé que le « coût d’inaction » allait de 2,1 % du PIB en Tunisie jusqu’à 7 ou 8 % en Iran.

« C’est un progrès important », a déclaré M. Arif. « Nous pouvons maintenant mettre un prix sur le coût de l’inaction et comparer les avantages et les coûts de l’investissement dans la gestion des ressources naturelles. »

Ces statistiques ont servi d’appui aux ministres de l’environnement, qui ont pu discuter de l’importance de la protection environnementale « en parlant la même langue que les ministres des finances », a expliqué M. Arif.

Le facteur critique de l’économie

« En résultat, les gouvernements ont commencé à considérer la pollution et la dégradation des ressources naturelles comme des facteurs critiques de l’économie », a-t-il ajouté.

« Les récents progrès et succès de la protection de l’environnement sont également les fruits d’années de confiance et de bonnes relations, même entre des pays qui n’étaient pas clients de la Banque », a-t-il dit. « Nous avons développé une relation de travail très étroite pendant 15 ans. »

La Banque a participé à l’établissement d’une politique, de plans d’actions, d’une stratégie et d’une analyse de la question environnementale, et a aidé à mettre en place des ministères de l’Environnement dans toute la région MENA. Les gouvernements allouent, ou prévoient d’allouer, des ressources conséquentes à la protection de l’environnement. Encore plus important, les préoccupations d’ordre environnemental influencent d’autres secteurs, tels que le commerce et l’industrie.

« En 15 ans, nous avons fait des progrès prodigieux en mettant réellement en place ces institutions, en renforçant leurs capacités et en leur accordant des subventions et des prêts », a ajouté M. Arif.

Le changement climatique

« Outre les problèmes environnementaux, les pays de la région doivent également faire face au changement climatique », a souligné M. Arif.

« Le changement climatique est devenu la préoccupation principale de chacun. Il affecte toutes les couches sociales, des agriculteurs aux ministres. Ils savent qu’ils ne vont pas pouvoir échapper aux impacts négatifs du climat sur leur vie quotidienne. »

« Cette nouvelle façon de penser permettra aux futurs efforts d’adaptation au changement climatique d’être acceptés rapidement », a prédit M. Arif.

La Tunisie a déjà commencé à s’adapter au changement climatique et la Banque apporte son aide à d’autres pays, tels que le Yémen et le Maroc, pour surmonter ce problème.

Selon M. Arif, « Tous ces pays seront touchés d’une façon ou d’une autre et ils doivent modifier leur comportement et leur façon de faire des affaires. »

Le marché du carbone

L’un des facteurs de ce tout nouvel intérêt pour les pays de la région est le marché prospère du carbone estimé à 30 milliards de dollars US. « Le marché du carbone permet aux pays en développement ayant ratifié le Protocole de Kyoto de recevoir des versements en espèces pour les encourager à investir dans des projets respectueux du climat, réduisant les émissions de gaz à effet de serre, ainsi que la pollution, et augmentant ainsi l’efficacité énergétique et la participation aux efforts du monde entier pour freiner le changement climatique », a expliqué M. Arif.

Trois projets de ce type sont en cours en Égypte et en Tunisie, et d’autres sont prévus en Jordanie, en Algérie, au Maroc, en Iran, en Arabie saoudite et « potentiellement, dans toute la région », selon Lasse Ringius de l’Unité de financement du carbone de la Banque.

Sinon, les projets d’enfouissement des déchets qui permettent de capter le méthane (un gaz ayant le potentiel d’accroître l’effet de serre) et d’améliorer les conditions de travail souvent dangereuses des jeunes employés des décharges, ne seraient pas viables sur le plan économique. Certains projets permettent de produire de l’électricité en tant que sous-produit.

Le financement du carbone pourrait éventuellement permettre la construction de « villes vertes » bénéficiant de normes et réglementations améliorées en matière d’énergie, ainsi que de carburant moins polluant, une perspective que contemple déjà l’Égypte », d’après M. Ringius.

Conjuguer pour mieux prêter

« La région MENA a été la première à conjuguer les prêts octroyés par la Banque mondiale aux revenus générés par la réduction des émissions », a déclaré M. Arif.

De tels prêts conjugués, dont les revenus aident à compenser le paiement des intérêts, sont en place en Tunisie et en Égypte. Le Projet de réduction de la pollution II mis en place en Égypte depuis un an a permis à cette dernière de s’appuyer sur le prêt de 20 millions de dollars US octroyé par la Banque mondiale pour obtenir un autre financement de 145 millions de dollars US. Ce projet, qui cible la pollution industrielle, vend des réductions d’émission à la Banque et autres, et une partie des revenus générés est versée au nouveau programme gouvernemental de réduction de la pollution.

M. Arif a ajouté que l’approche « conjuguer pour mieux prêter » stimulait les gouvernements à s’attaquer de front aux problèmes de la pollution, lesquels autrement seraient mis de côté pendant des années.

« On peut faire de bonnes affaires en protégeant l’environnement », a souligné M. Arif. « C’est la première fois que les protecteurs de l’environnement sont récompensés pour leurs actions. »

Desde Banque Mondiale

Le Portugal a investi 1 milliard d’euros en Algérie

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Les relations entre l’Algérie et le Portugal ont connu, au cours des dernières années, un développement significatif couronné par la signature d’un traité d’amitié, de bon voisinage et de coopération notamment dans l’économie.
Ce secteur a connu, ces dernières années, un dynamisme à la faveur d’échanges de visites ministérielles et, consécutivement à un séminaire organisé à Alger en septembre 2003, sur les opportunités d’affaires et de partenariat. Les deux pays tiennent à confirmer leur engagement et leur volonté à “raffermir” la coopération bilatérale et cela à travers le deuxième Sommet Portugal-Algérie qui se tiendra début 2008 à Lisbonne au premier trimestre 2008.
Cette rencontre annoncée lundi à Lisbonne par le ministre des Affaires étrangères portugais, Luis Amado, sera axée sur le “renforcement des relations économiques des deux pays”, déclare-t-il, lors d’une conférence de presse avec son homologue algérien Mourad Medelci, en visite de travail d’une journée au Portugal. Les investissements portugais en Algérie atteignent déjà le milliard d’euros, a indiqué M. Amado, tandis que M. Medelci a fait valoir que la coopération entre les deux pays pouvait être renforcée notamment dans le domaine des services et de la finance.
Les entreprises portugaises “participent déjà à un programme très ambitieux de développement des infrastructures de mon pays, qui représente une enveloppe de 150 milliards de dollars”, a également souligné le ministre algérien. L’Algérie a lancé, pour la période 2005-2009, un programme de soutien à la croissance économique estimé au départ à 60 milliards de dollars, et revu à la hausse à près de 150 milliards de dollars.
Le premier sommet luso-algérien s’était tenu en début d’année à Alger. L’Algérie et le Portugal ont signé, en janvier 2005 à Alger, un traité d’amitié de coopération et de bon voisinage, à l’occasion d’une visite officielle du Premier ministre portugais, Pedro Santana Lopes. Le traité prône notamment une coopération dans les domaines économique, politique, militaire, culturel et scientifique. M. Amado a effectué en novembre 2006 une visite officielle en Algérie, durant laquelle il a été reçu par le président Abdelaziz Bouteflika et le chef du gouvernement, Abdelaziz Belkhadem.
Le partenariat entre les deux pays connaît également un développement dans les secteurs des transports et de la pêche. De plus, le Portugal est, depuis les années 1990, l’un des principaux clients de l’Algérie dans le domaine des hydrocarbures. L’Algérie est actuellement le principal fournisseur de gaz naturel du Portugal.
Une “progression constante” a, par ailleurs, marqué ces dernières années, le montant des échanges commerciaux, à la faveur du rapprochement opéré entre les milieux d’affaires des deux pays, passant de 778 millions de dollars en 2004 à 1,611 milliard de dollars en 2006 avec un “solde positif” de 1,478 milliard de dollars pour l’Algérie.

R. Tiar
Desde Le Magrheb

Syria, Iraq discuss oil cooperation

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sufian Alaw and his visiting Iraqi counterpart Hussain al-Shahristani discussed means of boosting bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas domains, the official SANA news agency reported on Tuesday.

They reviewed the possibility of activating the signed cooperation agreements, particularly the ones of joint cooperation in oil and gas industry, establishing a pipeline to transport crude oil and the principle agreement to link gas networks, the report said.

They also deliberated on the exchange of petroleum products and Iraq’s connection to the Arab gas pipeline, which is under construction to transport the Egyptian gas through Syria and Jordan.

Shahristani was accompanying Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was on his first official visit to Syria since taking office last year. They arrived in Damascus on Monday morning for a three-day visit.

Desde China View

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