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Reflections from The Morocco Summit: Gateway for Unlimited Opportunities

In a stimulating and action-oriented atmosphere, over 200 prominent Moroccan and international leaders from a breadth of disciplines and legal traditions convened on November 19-12, 2013, at the inaugural Morocco Summit at Sofitel Jardin des Roses, Rabat, Morocco to promote Morocco as an investment hub and gateway to doing Business in North Africa. As the President and Chief Counsel of ARPA International (www.arpainternational.org ), ARPA had the privilege to co-lead the process of convening such a diverse international gathering of leaders.
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Despite Security Vacuum in Libya, Oil Exploration Goes On, Repsol Finds New Reserves

The North Africa Journal | There have been high profile cases of companies leaving Libya in droves. The actions of armed militias and those of the Islamist militants active in the country, overwhelming the weak government in place, have scared a great number of companies. But for those willing to stick around, eventually it will all pay off....
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Wanted: Algerian Court Issues International Warrant for the Arrest of Ex-Oil Minister Chakib Khelil

The North Africa Journal | Chakib Khelil, the once top powerbroker in Algeria’s oil and gas sector, woke up this Tuesday morning with news that the judicial authorities in his country of origin want him in jail....
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Algeria to Beef Up Security in Oil Fields

The North Africa Journal: Recognizing the increase risk in and around oil and gas fields, the Algerian government is planning to strengthen security in these key economic infrastructures....
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ArcelorMittal Site in Algeria Headed Toward Nationalization

The North Africa Journal | Steel giant ArcelorMittal may be given a lifeline and a gift of sort by the Algerian government. The company is reported to be wanting the Algerian government to acquire an additional 21% stake in its Annaba unit, northeast Algeria for $200 million. ...
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ENI-Saipem Hit by Corruption Scandal on Algeria Business

The North Africa Journal | Italian oil and gas industry contractor Saipem is embroiled in a corruption scandal in its Algeria operation that forced the resignation of its veteran CEO Pietro Franco Tali. The company’s engineering and construction Chief, Pietro Varone was suspended pending the ongoing investigation. Energy giant ENI, which owns 40% of Saipem announced the resignation of its own CFO Alessandro Bernini. ...
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Tunisia’s Real Estate Market: Between Fear of Proximity to Libya and Spanish Competition

The North Africa Journal | The real estate market in Tunisia is displaying mixed signals. Pockets of growth in the housing market continue to drive prices up, but these houses were designed for foreign investors and wealthy Tunisians. In contrast, the average Tunisian is priced out of these desirable real estate sites as their incomes do not meet the continuously rising prices in regions that have been insulated from the political crisis facing the country for the past two years. ...
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Competing for Africa: Is China’s Africa’s Economic Campaign Unstoppable?

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | China's Africa's economic policy remains a major topic among Analysts and watchers. But while the China offensive on the African continent seems unstoppable, a number of issue are facing Chinese companies as they deal with African decisions makers. Cultural differences, lack of transparency and corrupt practices have forced some Chinese companies to be on the defensive. And as the relationships between Africa and China grow stronger, Chinese executives and the officials that oversee them should think harder about the way they do business there. ...
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Counterfeit Goods Invade North Africa, Industry Poorly Coordinated

The North Africa Journal | North African customs are facing a deluge of counterfeit products entering their markets. In Algeria, the customs office reports that the amount of counterfeit products they seized rose by a stunning 84.5% in 2011, compared to 2010. The DGD is either overwhelmed by such inflow of illegal products or does not have enough incentives to launch a full crackdown. In neighboring Morocco, the situation is no better, so much so that multinational corporations that own well-known consumer brands have began cracking down on the counterfeit market themselves....
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Despite Security Concerns, Oil Companies Position Themselves for Leadership in Libya

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | In all our discussions with corporate executives, we end up with two critical conclusions regarding their exposure to the region and beyond. First, doing business in North Africa is important to them and their companies given the oil and gas sector, and the vast amounts of money governments there have to spend on economic buildup and reconstruction. Ignoring the region is not the smart option, and they know it. Secondly, however, the risk factor in the region is a permanent one, requiring higher operational cost and perpetual reassessment of postures and exit strategies....
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Debt Crisis in the Moroccan Subsidy System: Undesirable Gift for Islamist PM

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | There is a bumpy road ahead for the new government leader in Rabat. As he enters his offices, both excited and energized by a fresh electoral victory with the prospect of governing a nation, Prime Minister Benkirane has to deal with the country’s accounting books, and what he sees does not please him. The ledger looks dangerous and could force him to chose between making unpopular decisions or maintain a financially unsustainable status quo. ...
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Betting on the Wrong Horse: China and Russia Struggling to Deal with the New Libya

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | It is becoming increasingly evident that China and Russia have bet on the wrong horse when they sided with Muamar Gaddafi as other UN members sought to condemn him over the killings of his own people. On the short term at least, and in the foreseeable future, Chinese companies that have done business in Libya during the Gaddafi era are being scrutinized by the Libyan interim authorities, while the Russians find the Libyans evasive and unwilling to cooperate at the moment....
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Debt Crisis in the Moroccan Subsidy System: Undesirable Gift for Islamist PM

There is a bumpy road ahead for the new government leader in Rabat. As he enters his offices, energized by a fresh electoral victory with the prospect of governing a nation, Prime Minister Entrance has to deal with the country’s finances, and what he sees does not please him....
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SNC-Lavalin: Collateral Damage of Dealing with Dictatorships

The North Africa Journal | Damage control and reputational risk are two things the Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is currently experiencing firsthand. As the company celebrates one hundred years of business, it is facing unprecedented scrutiny related to its dealings with the Gaddafi family of Libya. Key senior executives have already lost their jobs as the company is going through damage control, and construction contracts in other parts of the world are being questioned. ...
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Algeria to Nationalize Orascom Algeria’s Mobile Phone Unit

The North Africa Journal | The Algerian government is slated to take over a majority stake in the mobile phone operator Djezzy. Previously owned by the Egyptian Orascom, then sold to Russia’s Vimpelcom, the company is likely to be 51% under the control of the State of Algeria after a long battle pitting Orascom CEO Naguib Sawiris against Algeria. The news of the takeover was announced by the Algerian postal and technology minister on Saturday, January 8, 2012....
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Oil and Energy Sectors Vulnerable to Corruption in North Africa

The North Africa Journal | Corruption in North Africa is a widespread and is a deeply rooted problem. So much so that the activists that are driving the revolts in the Arab world say many of ills that have been crippling economic, social and political progress originate from corruption. While corrupt acts such as paying bribery are widespread in administrations and bureaucracies, the business sector is particularly affected by corrupt practices as well. ...
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Al Baraka Banking Group Maintains Aggressive Growth Strategy in North Africa despite Uprisings

The year 2010 was not bad at all for Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG). Involved in international Islamic banking, the company is a Bahrain Joint Stock Company listed on Bahrain Bourse and NASDAQ Dubai. It maintains Standard and Poors long term and short-term credit ratings of BBB- stable and A3 respectively. ABG offers retail, corporate and investment banking and treasury services in accordance with the principles of the Islamic Sharia law. The authorized capital of ABG is US$1.5 billion, while total equity amounts to about US$1.8 billion....
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Despite Revolt and New Politics, it’s Business as Usual for Energy Sector in Egypt

Having been affected in early 2011 by what they call “Force Majeure,” oil companies remain very active on the Egyptian exploration front. With violence erupting in January, most major companies had to scale back their expectations, only to resume normal activities after the departure of Hosni Mubarak....
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Tunisia: Painful Recovery for the Business Sector

As if the Jasmine Revolution was not enough in itself, the Tunisian economy is also suffering from a massive drop in trade with its troubled eastern neighbor of Libya. Government data suggests that during the recent disturbances, Tunisia lost in all between 5 to 8 billion dinars as a consequence of the inevitable crisis. ...
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Challenges Cripple the Tunisian Business Sector, Expect Recession

Despite the promises of democracy, the Jasmine Revolution has had the expected debilitating impact on the conduct of business and the Tunisian economy at a large. The multi-billion dollar support packages promised by the likes of the G8, the World Bank, the EU and individual nations are not for trivial purposes. They are about keeping a country from moving into chaos and economic bankruptcy as entire industries and almost all companies are struggling to survive...
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US Military Capture Tanker Carrying Libyan Oil

The American military have seized an oil tanker carrying crude illicitly obtained from a rebel-held port in Libya.
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More Violence in Libya: Dozens Killed, Incontrollable Militias

The North Africa Journal | Deadly clashes erupted in the outskirts of Tripoli on Saturday resulting in dozens of deaths, estimated at almost 40. These events are similar to those that occurred last summer in Benghazi, when 30 people died after confronting an unruly armed militia. In Tripoli this weekend, local populations battled a militia from Misrata (some 200 km east of Tripoli), who came to the capital to avenge the death of some of their members following the burning of their south Tripoli headquarters on Wednesday.
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Morocco-Algeria: Diplomatic Tension Escalates

The North Africa Journal: Tension has been rising between Morocco and Algeria, over, yet again the disputed Western Sahara territory. This escalation seemed to have started following statements made by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika during a speech made on his behalf by his Justice Minister, where he insisted on “the establishment of an international mechanism to monitor human rights in the Western Sahara.” This particular statement led the Moroccan government to recall its ambassador for consultation, and in Casablanca, the Algerian consulate was attacked by an angry mob.
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Libya PM Zeidan Kidnapped by a Government “Anti-Corruption Unit” [update]

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Making a public statement on Thursday, the Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Abdulkarim Sadikk clearly missed the mark when he stated that Libya was safe and security was under control. The problem with Mr. Saddikk statement is that nothing could be further from the truth. Early Thursday, Mr. Saddikk’s boss, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was simply kidnapped from his room at the Corinthia Hotel. Yes, only in failed state do we see these kinds of events and to speak of security when the Prime Minister is abducted simply defies logic.
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Morocco: the King’s Men Return to Power, Islamists Take a Much Needed Break

The North Africa Journal | by Arezki Daoud | The coalition that formed the Moroccan cabinet since the electoral victory of the Islamist PJD party has been facing a crisis when in July 2013 the conservative-monarchist Istiqlal party withdrew from it. The exit of Istiqlal, the second biggest party in parliament, appears to have dealt a blow to the PJD, which has been leading a nation that faces a series of difficult social and economic issues, and opponents that could not wait for it to fail. At the end, however, the Islamists minimalist position in the new cabinet may actually be their saving grace.
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US Raids in Somalia and Libya | Audiocast

The North Africa Journal's Deputy Editor Alessandro Bruno shares his views on the latest US raids on Al Shabab locations in Somalia and on a location in Tripoli to capture Anas Al Liby. The discussion took place on a TV news program.
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Anas Al-Liby Captured by US Special Forces

The North Africa Journal | US Special Forces have captured Libya-born Al Qaeda leader Anas Al-Liby. Al Liby was seized in a commando-style operation undertaken on Saturday, October 05, 2013. Al-Liby is wanted by the US authorities for his alleged role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. He is also believed to be a key coordinator of North African terrorist organizations on behalf of Al Qaeda.
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Al Qaeda Gets Sophisticated with Intelligence Gathering

The North Africa Journal | The operatives of Al Qaeda's North Africa and Sahel franchises are often considered ruthless and acting as bandits. They are quick to take hostages and conduct criminal operations involving drugs, arms, and human trafficking. Imagining them gathering intelligence to plot attacks is not something widely considered. But that's exactly the case.
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Facing the Truth About Jerusalem

By Dr. Alon Ben-Meir | Those who are privy to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations appear to be more optimistic than ever before about the prospect of reaching an agreement. Yet there are those who believe that, regardless of American prodding, no agreement is likely to emerge because neither Prime Minster Netanyahu nor President Mahmoud Abbas are in a position to make the necessary concessions to make peace and politically survive.
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Why a US-Iran Rapprochement May be a Good Thing in the War against Global Terrorism

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | The horrific attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi may have come as a surprise for many, but for us, the surprise was less about the act in itself and the perpetrators' intentions than about the magnitude of the violence. Whether it is El-Shabaab, Boko Haram, AQIM, etc, the actual perpetrators eventually lead us back to the same source, Al Qaeda Central. Can a US-Iran rapprochement lead to an easing of such violence? I think so.
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Featured author
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Leila Hanafi

Leila Hanafi is a legal expert who brings fresh insight on law and judicial issues to The North Africa Journal. Based in Washington DC and with a dual Moroccan-American citizenship, Ms. Hanafi is also Staff Attorney and Programs Manager at the World Justice Project. Prior, Ms. Hanafi held various legal positions at the World Bank, including in the areas of operations, finance, and legal and judicial reforms. Ms. Hanafi serves on the board of numerous nonprofit organizations related to the areas of international law and development, with a focus on North Africa. Ms. Hanafi has published several academic papers and articles, contributed to a few published works on legal systems of North Africa, and have been profiled in several national and international media outlets for her work. Ms. Hanafi is an Honors graduate from American University and Georgetown University in Washington DC, and she is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in International Law. She can be reached at hanafi@north-africa.com
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