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Africa in October 2023

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October 3, 2023

  1. Egypt’s President Al-Sisi Announces Third-Term Candidacy (France 24). Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi confirmed his candidacy for a third term in the presidential elections scheduled for December 10-12. The announcement comes as Egypt faces an economic crisis, including record inflation and a significant decline in the value of the pound. Only one opposition candidate, Ahmed Al-Tantawi, has begun an election campaign against Sisi.
  2. Massive Fire Engulfs Ismailia Security Directorate in Egypt, Dozens Injured (Sharq Awsat). A large fire broke out at the Security Directorate building in Ismailia, Egypt, resulting in dozens of injuries and the collapse of the building’s main facade. Firefighting teams controlled the fire and rescue teams are working to free those trapped. Causes of the fire are still unclear.
  3. Egypt Faces $29.2 Billion Debt Repayment in 2024 (The New Arab). The Central Bank of Egypt has announced that the country is due to repay $29.2 billion in 2024, nearly a fifth of its total external debt obligations. This amount is significantly higher than the estimated debt service bill for the current year, which stands at $19.3 billion. Egypt’s external debt rose to $165.4 billion at the end of the third quarter of the 2022/2023 fiscal year. The country is also in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund regarding a $3 billion loan program. Economist Hani Genena expects the IMF loan to potentially increase to $6-8 billion following economic reforms.
  4. Algeria Mediates Niger’s Political Crisis After July Coup (Arabic Post). Algeria announced that Niger has accepted its mediation offer to resolve the country’s political crisis following a July coup. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has assigned Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf to initiate talks in Niamey. The initiative aims to restore constitutional order and involves multi-level consultations.
  5. UN Envoy Worries About Disorganized Flood Relief in Southern Libya (Al Moraqb). UN envoy Abdullah Batili voices concern over uncoordinated reconstruction efforts following devastating floods in Ubari, southern Libya. Local authorities are assessing damage and suspending studies in affected regions.
  6. Morocco Q2 2023 Economic Growth Fueled by Agricultural Sector Surge (SNA Business). Morocco’s economy expanded by 2.3% in Q2 2023, up from 2.2% year-over-year. Agricultural activities increased by 6.3%, while the industrial sector contracted by 2.8%.

October 4, 2023

  1. Sisi’s Re-Election Celebration Turns into a Parade of Opposition! (New Arab).  Hours after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced his bid for a third term, a rally in Marsa Matruh turned into demonstrations against him. Residents tore down Sisi’s propaganda banners and clashed with security forces. The unrest comes due to the growing dissatisfaction with Sisi’s administration and economic conditions in the region.
  2. Contrasting Approaches to Derna’s Reconstruction in Libya (Sharq Awsat). Libya’s Unity Government seeks cooperation and transparency in Derna’s recovery, while a Western diplomatic mission backs UN envoy Batili’s call for unified aid efforts. In contrast, a parallel government promises immediate assistance to municipalities, and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar inspects recovery work. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi commended the House of Representatives for election law approval. The Libyan Parliament approves a law to establish a Derna Reconstruction Authority, initially proposed for broader reconstruction, now focusing on disaster response. 
  3. Tunisian President Rejects EU’s “Meager & Contradictory” Payment, Deeming it “Charity” (France 24). Tunisia rejects EU financial aid of €42 million out of a total €105 million to curb illegal immigration. President Kais Saied considers it “charity” and inconsistent with their agreement and the spirit of the Rome conference held in July. The funds aimed to rehabilitate Tunisian coast guard boats, cooperate with international organizations for migrant protection, and organize return flights to migrants’ home countries. The agreement also included €150 million in direct EU assistance to Tunisia’s 2023 budget to address economic difficulties.
  4. Moroccan King Excludes French and American Ambassadors Over Western Sahara Positions (Al Quds). King Mohammed VI of Morocco’s exclusion of the French and American ambassadors from official accreditation raised questions about their positions on the Western Sahara conflict and the United Nations. It’s seen as a diplomatic message to urge allied countries to take a clear stance on the Sahara conflict. Morocco has expressed concerns about the US’s ambiguous position on the Sahara, particularly after Secretary Blinken’s statement supporting UN envoy Staffan de Mistura’s efforts without explicitly mentioning Moroccan sovereignty. Morocco’s reservations about the UN envoy’s approach to marginalize autonomy proposals explain their actions. Excluding the French Ambassador, Christopher Lecourtier, reflects tensions between Morocco and France due to Paris’s perceived obstruction of EU support for autonomy in Western Sahara. This move underscores strained relations between Morocco and France and concerns over the US’s stance on the issue. Meanwhile, Secretary Blinken is set to visit Morocco in October to align discussions on the Sahara issue in the Security Council.

October 5, 2023

  1. Qatar Energy, Eni, BP Consortium Secures Offshore Exploration Rights in Egypt (Zawya). A consortium of Qatar Energy, Italy’s Eni, and Britain’s BP has won exploration and production rights in Egypt’s EGY-MED-E8 area, east of Port Said. The move aligns with Egypt’s goal to become a regional energy hub, attracting foreign investment amid a dollar liquidity crisis. The area spans 2,600 square kilometers.
  2. Political Corruption Limits Global Aid to Hurricane-Stricken Derna in Libya (Anadolu Agency). Hurricane Daniel’s toll in Libya exceeds 4,300, including 101 healthcare workers, and 8,500 missing. International aid to Libya following the devastating Hurricane Daniel has been limited due to the country’s political division, corruption, and security concerns. Despite urgent needs for reconstruction, especially in the city of Derna, global hesitance persists.

October 6, 2023

  1. Egypt’s Political Landscape: No Challengers for Presidency Egypt’s National Elections Authority announced that no other candidates have registered to challenge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the upcoming elections (Ahram Online). 

October 10, 2023

  1. Egypt Warns Israel Against Pushing Gazans to Egyptian Border. Egyptian sources have issued a stern warning against plans to push defenseless Palestinians toward the Egyptian border amid the ongoing Israeli bombing in Gaza. Egypt is actively engaging with international actors to stop the escalation and protect the Palestinian people, emphasizing the seriousness of calls for displacement and their potential impact on the Palestinian cause (Veto). 

 

October 11, 2023

  1. Egyptian and Iranian Foreign Ministers Discuss Israeli Bombing in Gaza. In a recent phone call, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, discussed the ongoing Israeli bombing in Gaza. Shoukry expressed Egypt’s deep concern and briefed Abdollahian on Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate the situation and deliver humanitarian aid. Abdollahian expressed Iran’s appreciation for Egypt’s efforts in supporting the Palestinian cause (Al Maydeen). 
  2. Israel Halts Gas Exports to Egypt, Shifts to Jordan Pipeline. After escalating conflict in Gaza, Israel’s Ministry of Energy announced that Chevron has suspended natural gas exports to Egypt via the East Mediterranean pipeline. The gas will now be exported through an alternative pipeline in Jordan. The ministry also temporarily suspended production from the Tamar offshore gas field and is seeking alternative fuel sources (i24).

October 12, 2023

  1. Egypt Warned Israel of “Big” Gaza Situation, Reports Say. Multiple outlets, including the Associated Press and Al-Monitor, reported that Egyptian intelligence warned Israel of a looming “big” situation in Gaza. Israeli officials reportedly downplayed these warnings, focusing instead on the West Bank. Financial Times added that the warnings were general in nature. The Prime Minister’s Office has denied these reports, calling them “absolutely false (Jerusalem Post). 

October 13, 2023

  1. Egypt Diverts International Aid for Gaza to North Sinai Airport, Urges Avoiding Rafah Crossing Targeting. Egypt has announced that international aid meant for the residents of the Gaza Strip will be directed to the international airport in Al-Arish, North Sinai. Egypt asserts that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza remains open and has not been closed at any stage during the current crisis. Egypt has called on Israel to avoid targeting the Palestinian side of the crossing. While Egypt is trying to facilitate the delivery of aid, the situation within the Gaza Strip is hindering these efforts. Egypt is working towards de-escalation, protecting civilians, and promoting calm in the region (France24).
  2. Turkish Foreign Minister Visits Egypt for Bilateral Relations Discussion. Turkiye’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Minister Hakan Fidan will undertake an official visit to Egypt tomorrow, in response to an invitation from Minister Sameh Shoukry. During the two-day visit on October 13 and 14, both sides will discuss various aspects of Turkiye-Egypt relations and exchange views on current regional developments and international issues (Almasry Alyoum).
  3. Money Laundering Heightens the Depletion of Libya’s Wealth. The recent gold and hard currency smuggling case through Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport has brought the issue of money laundering to the forefront in Libya, further depleting the country’s wealth. The absence of a functioning state, along with widespread corruption, has allowed money laundering crimes to become prevalent. Despite various efforts and the ongoing investigations, these issues continue to pose a significant challenge for the nation (Sharq Awsat).
  4. European Investment Bank Commits €1 Billion Loan to Morocco for Post-Earthquake Reconstruction. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has pledged to provide Morocco with a €1 billion loan over a three-year period to support post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in areas affected by a recent violent earthquake. EIB Vice President Maurizio Filippi emphasized that their role goes beyond financing, aiming to establish a more resilient and prosperous future in all earthquake-affected regions of Morocco. The EIB’s contribution focuses on flexibility, sustainability, and leveraging the bank’s expertise and resources to repair earthquake-related damages and build resilient and sustainable infrastructure. This funding is part of a comprehensive program dedicated to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake-affected areas, with a total budget of MAD 120 billion (€12 billion) allocated over five years (Eleqtisade News).

October 16, 2023

Expert Analysis: Egypt’s stance and criticism of the Gaza crisis have not only grown vocal but have also extended to the decision to deny entry to foreign nationals stranded in the strip. Egypt has insisted on aid entry in exchange for opening the Rafah crossing, but Israel declined the offer. The situation, marked by civilian casualties, was emphasized by Egyptian Secretary of State Shukri during his meeting with his French counterpart. American efforts to mediate a solution between Egypt and Israel have not yielded a successful conclusion thus far.

  1. Egyptian President Sissi Criticizes Israel’s Actions as Collective Punishment. During a meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi criticized Israel’s actions in Gaza, stating that they amount to collective punishment and go beyond the right to self-defense. Egypt is warning about the seriousness of the situation in Gaza and the possibility of residents fleeing to Egyptian territory. Cairo is focused on stopping the escalation, preserving civilian lives, and providing safe corridors for humanitarian aid, fuel, water, and electricity to Gaza. Egypt also strongly rejects any attempts to empty the Gaza Strip of its population and warns against displacement. Egypt has refused the passage of foreign nationals from Gaza through the Rafah crossing, emphasizing the need to facilitate the arrival and crossing of aid into the Gaza Strip amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes and attacks.
  2. Tunisia Refuses to Be Europe’s Immigration Policeman, Demands Equal Partnership. Tunisia’s Foreign Minister, Nabil Ammar, rejects the EU’s attempt to turn his country into a Mediterranean immigration enforcer, citing differences in agreements with Libya and Turkiye. Tunisia stands firm, with President Kais Saied rejecting European aid and calling for clarity in the partnership. Ammar emphasizes Tunisia’s acceptance of migrants. The July agreement with the EU aims to bolster border and immigration control, sparking debate and confusion.

October 17, 2023

  1. Egypt Issues $500 Million Panda Bonds in China. Egypt has issued Panda bonds for a three-year term, with a total value of 3.5 billion yuan (approximately $500 million), as announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Finance. The bonds were priced with a low yield of 3.5%, making them more attractive compared to international dollar bond interest rates in the face of global economic challenges. The funds raised from the bond sale will be used to finance projects and are backed by credit guarantees from international development banks (Sky News Arabia).
  2. Sisi and Putin Discuss Gaza Escalation and Peace Efforts. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and peace efforts during a phone call. The leaders emphasized the importance of prioritizing ceasefire efforts, protecting civilians, and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. As Israeli airstrikes continue in Gaza, the leaders highlighted the urgency of providing safe access for humanitarian aid. This call took place during ongoing international efforts to achieve a ceasefire and deliver urgent aid to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing, despite Israeli reluctance. (Anadolu Agency).
  3. Political Impasse Threatens Libyan Elections Despite International Efforts. International efforts to expedite Libyan elections are hindered by ongoing political disputes. Despite parliament approving election laws, disagreements persist. The High Council of State opposes the laws, and the UN mission cites a lack of consensus. UN envoy Abdullah Battelli plans to meet Libyan leaders to resolve disputes and plan for a technocratic government. However, political analyst Mohamed Al-Raeish doubts parties will engage in mediation under Battelli’s leadership, given accusations of bias. The political crisis is set to escalate, with influential factions opposing the elections (Alhadath).
  4. Morocco and Polisario Stand Firm as UN Issues Official Report on Western Sahara. The UN issued a report on the Western Sahara conflict, confirming Morocco’s commitment to its 2007 self-governance proposal. However, Morocco shows flexibility in negotiations beyond this proposal, while the Polisario Front still insists on a self-determination referendum. Tensions between Morocco and Algeria affect the situation, with Algeria calling for direct talks between Morocco and the Polisario, while Morocco considers Algeria a party to the conflict (Mena Monitor).
  5. An African-North European ministerial meeting in Algeria discusses terrorism and poverty. In Algiers, representatives from 30 North European and African nations are meeting to address cross-border terrorism, irregular migration, climate change, trade, and economic cooperation. They’re also examining the African Union’s mechanisms to resist unconstitutional regime changes, particularly in the wake of the Niger military coup. Key topics include peace, security, economic partnerships, and multilateral cooperation to tackle regional challenges. The meeting underscores the importance of international support in resolving these pressing issues (Sharq Awsat).

October 18, 2023

  1. Egypt’s President Warns Against Gaza Displacement to Sinai. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi voiced concern over ongoing military operations in Gaza, fearing their security and military repercussions. He warned against displacing Palestinians to Sinai, which could turn it into a base for attacking Israel. El-Sisi emphasized Egypt’s commitment to peace and called for allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz supported not expanding the conflict in Palestine (Sharq Awsat). 
  2. Jordan and Egypt Reject Hosting Gaza Refugees as Tensions Rise. Jordan’s King Abdullah II declares that neither Jordan nor Egypt can host Palestinian refugees from Gaza, calling it a “red line.” The statement comes ahead of a tri-nation summit involving the U.S., Egypt, and Jordan, and coincides with escalating Israeli attacks in Gaza that have killed over 2,750 people (Egypt Independent). 
  3. Egypt Retaliates Over Israel’s Rafah Crossing Stance. An Egyptian security source responds to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to open the Rafah crossing, stating, “Egypt will not allow the evacuation of foreigners in the Gaza Strip, and the escalation will be met with an escalation.” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi emphasizes that forced displacement of Palestinians is unacceptable and suggests transferring civilians to the Israeli Negev Desert temporarily (Sky News Arabia).
  4. US Envoy Highlights Egypt as Libya’s Peace Broker. In a comprehensive interview, US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland underscores Egypt’s pivotal role in fostering Libyan stability. Norland touches on key issues such as Libya’s sovereignty, the regrettable US role in the 2011 crisis, and the importance of political solutions. The discussion comes ahead of a significant tri-nation summit (Egypt Independent). 
  5. Egypt’s House Mourns Palestine Victims with Lowered Flags. The House of Representatives in Egypt lowers its flags to half-staff to mourn the victims of the bombing in Gaza’s National Baptist Hospital and other Palestinian casualties. The action follows President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s declaration of a three-day period of national mourning across Egypt, effective from October 18 to October 20, 2023 (Ahram Gate).

October 19, 2023

  1. Cairo Summit Urges Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza, Rejects Forced Displacement. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II, in a joint statement, called for an immediate end to the Gaza war and condemned the policy of collective punishment against the Gaza Strip. They warned of a potential regional catastrophe if the conflict escalates further and rejected any attempts at forced displacement of Gaza’s residents to Jordan or Egypt. The leaders emphasized the need to protect civilians, lift the siege, and provide humanitarian aid to Gaza (Sharq Awsat).
  2. UN Chief in Cairo for Gaza De-escalation Talks, Aid Ready at Rafah Crossing. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in Cairo discussing efforts to reduce the military escalation in Gaza. The World Health Organization has five trucks loaded with medical supplies ready at the Gaza-Egypt border. Egypt and the United States are working to deliver aid to Gaza, with plans to enter up to 20 trucks through the Rafah crossing in the near future (Al Hadath).
  3. Egypt and China Sign Debt Swap Memorandum for Development Projects. Egypt and China have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to exchange debts to support development projects. The MoU was signed during an official visit to Beijing by Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly. This agreement aims to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the field of debt exchange to implement development projects and promote sustainable development. Egypt has previously engaged in similar debt-swap programs with Italy and Germany, fostering comprehensive development initiatives in partnership with these countries. This agreement strengthens the strategic partnership between Egypt and China (Sky News Arabia).
  4. Jordan and Egypt Reject Forced Palestinian Displacement and Call for Ceasefire. Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have reiterated their unified stance against collective punishment, siege, starvation, or displacement of Palestinians in Gaza. They condemned any attempts at forced displacement to Jordan or Egypt. Both leaders called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, protection of civilians, lifting of the blockade, and humanitarian aid delivery. They warned that the ongoing conflict’s escalation and expansion could lead to a dangerous regional crisis. The two leaders emphasized their unwavering support for Palestinian rights and the establishment of an independent state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital (Al Nahar).
  5. Egypt’s President Sisi Discusses Gaza Developments with US Central Command Chief. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and US Central Command chief General Michael Kurilla met to address the developments in Gaza. They stressed the need for de-escalation between Israelis and Palestinians, emphasizing the potential regional security risks if the conflict expands. They also highlighted the importance of providing sustainable humanitarian aid to Gaza, given the severe humanitarian conditions in the area. General Kurilla commended Egypt’s significant role in maintaining regional security and stability (Sharq Awsat).
  6. Libya Ready to Support Gaza, Rejects Calls for Displacement. The Libyan representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation affirmed Libya’s support for the Palestinian cause and its readiness to provide assistance, including military support, to Gaza. The organization rejected calls for Gaza’s displacement and emphasized the centrality of the Palestinian issue, self-determination, and the right of return for refugees (Roya News).
  7. Morocco Thwarts ISIS Attack Plans, Arrests Suspects. Moroccan authorities arrested four individuals aged 25 to 32 for suspected involvement in plotting terrorist attacks aimed at destabilizing the kingdom. The arrests followed escalating threats from ISIS and other terrorist groups. Authorities found electronic equipment, bladed weapons, ISIS-related documents, and instructions for joining the organization’s camps. The suspects possessed images of terrorist attacks and calls for recruitment, along with a guide on secret operations used by terrorist organizations (Asharq).

October 20, 2023

  1. Historic Tunisian Synagogue Damaged in Protests Against Israel-Hamas Conflict. A historic synagogue in El Hamma, Tunisia, was severely damaged during demonstrations protesting the Israel-Hamas conflict. Hundreds were filmed setting the structure on fire, following outrage over a Gaza hospital explosion blamed on Israel. The incident is part of a wider pattern of attacks on Jewish and Israeli sites globally amid the ongoing conflict. The synagogue included the tomb of a 16th-century rabbi and was previously damaged in the 2011 Arab Spring protests (Times of Israel). 

October 23, 2023

Analysis: The Cairo Peace Summit convened a high-profile array of international leaders from countries including Egypt, Palestine, and the European Union. Notably absent were representatives from Israel and Iran, countries that wield significant influence in the Middle East. UK Foreign Minister James Cleverly, speaking after more than 100,000 pro-Palestinian protesters marched through London, emphasized his direct talks with the Israeli government about adhering to international law and exercising restraint. This suggests that not just Arab leaders, but Western representatives like Cleverly, were also attuned to their domestic audiences. The summit concluded without issuing a joint statement, highlighting not just a divergence of opinions but also an apparent absence of concrete, unified objectives to resolve the crisis and halt ongoing violence. On a lighter note, the summit also had its share of photo-op drama. Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani opted out of the group photo, refusing to stand in the second row behind the Emir of Qatar. This wasn’t al-Sudani’s first time dodging the camera; he pulled a similar move at the 32nd Arab Summit in Jeddah. If leaders can’t even agree on a photo formation, it adds a layer of complexity to the already intricate diplomatic dance.

Intercept:

  1. “Showboating” at Cairo Summit, Says Expert. Marc Owen Jones, an assistant professor of Middle East studies at Doha’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University, noted significant “political grandstanding” in the opening remarks of Arab leaders at the Cairo Summit. These leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Much of this is aimed at bolstering domestic legitimacy, especially for el-Sisi, who faces a restless population demanding action on the Palestinian issue,” Jones told Al Jazeera. Despite the posturing, Owen Jones believes the summit’s real-world impact will be minimal, ranging from “a ceasefire at most, to slightly increased humanitarian aid at least.” Jones added that without Israel’s participation, the summit lacks the political influence needed to halt Israel’s bombing of Gaza (Al Jazeera).

October 24, 2023

  1. Egypt Proposes Palestinian Camps near Rafah to Address Gaza Crisis. Egypt is considering establishing camps near Rafah, just 3 kilometers inside Palestinian territory, as a way to manage the influx of displaced people from northern Gaza. This initiative would enable Egypt to provide humanitarian services and assess the medical needs of those affected. The proposal is connected to negotiations facilitated by Qatar for the release of civilian prisoners in Gaza, backed by U.S. pressure on Israel. Egypt aims to expand its role beyond providing humanitarian aid to a more comprehensive solution for Gaza (i24news).

October 25, 2023

  1. $1.5 Billion Agreement Between Suez Canal and Qatari Company. The Egyptian Suez Canal Authority and Qatari company “Baladna” signed a memorandum of cooperation worth $1.5 billion to boost food security. This partnership includes dairy production investments in Egypt, launching a cattle farm with initial capacity for 20,000 Holstein cows to produce 300 million liters of milk annually. The collaboration also involves cultivating 280,000 acres in Egypt’s New Valley Governorate to supply fodder and agricultural products for both domestic and export use (SNA Business).
  2. Egypt Negotiates $5 Billion Deposit with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Egypt is in discussions with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to secure a $5 billion deposit that will later be converted into investments. The deposit aims to support the International Monetary Fund program signed last year and includes renewing existing deposits due next year. Egypt has been grappling with increasing foreign currency shortages, maintaining a fixed exchange rate, and rising external debt. Despite an uptick in international reserves, Egypt faces significant debt obligations in 2024 (Alaraby).
  3. EU Accelerates Economic Aid Program for Egypt Due to Regional Conflict Concerns. The European Union is fast-tracking an economic support agreement with Egypt as tensions rise due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Discussions on the deal have taken place in Cairo, focusing on stabilizing Egypt’s economy and creating job opportunities. This move aims to prevent mass migration to Europe and mitigate far-right sentiment in EU countries (Al Arabiya). 
  4. Egypt and Ethiopia Agree to Resume GERD Talks in Addis Ababa. Egypt has announced its agreement to hold a new round of negotiations regarding the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. These negotiations aim to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the Ethiopian dam, which has been a point of contention between the two countries. Egypt and Sudan insist on the need for a binding agreement with Ethiopia to ensure the continued flow of their share of the Nile River’s water. Ethiopia argues that the dam is vital for development, particularly in generating electricity. The negotiations mark a significant step forward after a pause of over two years (Anadolu Agency).
  5. Italy Calls for Full Implementation of Tunisia Migration Agreement. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has urged the complete implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed between the European Commission and Tunisia to address migrant flows from the Tunisian coast. The agreement, signed in mid-July, aims to provide financial support to Tunisia’s economy and the naval guard. However, obstacles remain in turning the memorandum into a final agreement, with disagreements over provisions, especially related to financial support. Tunisia recently arrested over 2,600 irregular migrants and dozens of human smugglers in a security campaign, highlighting the ongoing migration challenges in the region (Sharq Awsat). 
  6. Libya’s Natural Gas Production Drops 8% to 861.96 Billion Cubic Feet. New data shows Libya’s natural gas production decreased by 8%, reaching 861.96 billion cubic feet compared to the previous year’s target of 941.7 billion cubic feet. The country aims to produce an average of 2.58 billion cubic feet daily (Alwasat).
  7. Morocco Signs $282 Million Financing Agreements With the African Development Bank. Morocco has signed three financing agreements worth over $281.96 million with the African Development Bank. The agreements support healthcare infrastructure, social security expansion, and emergency assistance following a deadly earthquake last September (Sky News Arabia).
  8. Algerian Foreign Minister Meets Palestinian Counterpart in New York. On the sidelines of the UN Security Council session in New York, Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf met with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki. The meeting focused on the recent developments in Palestinian territories during Israeli operations in Gaza. Diplomatic efforts to stop the violence and provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians without restrictions were also discussed (Al-Nahar).

October 26, 2023

  1. Sisi to Macron: No Entry into Egyptian Territory. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Cairo, declared that Egypt will not allow any displacement into its territory. This statement is seen in response to Israel’s threats to forcibly relocate Gaza residents. Sisi emphasized the need to prevent further escalation and called for a peaceful solution, while Macron expressed solidarity and his intent to broaden alliances (Akhbar Alkhaleej).
  2. Egypt Secures $500 Million Financing, EU Backs Egypt-Greece Energy Network Project. Egypt has obtained $500 million in financing from the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation. The EU supports the Egypt-Greece energy network project, accelerating its licensing and funding. Greece’s Copelouzos Group is developing a 950-kilometer, 3 GW capacity “Greece Interconnector” to transport green energy from Egypt to Europe. The Greek company plans to establish 5.9 GW renewable energy stations in Egypt. Notably, Copelouzos Group, in collaboration with Infinity Power, accelerates renewable energy generation for the shared submarine cable between Greece and Egypt (Sharq Awsat).
  3. Gaza Tensions Threaten Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan Economies. The economic crises in Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan are escalating due to tensions in Gaza and the potential for war with Hamas. This increases pressure on these countries and may have global ramifications, including impacting oil supply chains and economic stability. Officials warn of the need to address these challenges and provide financial support (Sky News Arabia).
  4. Libyan Parliament Calls for Immediate Departure of Ambassadors from Israel-Supporting Nations. Libya’s House of Representatives demands the immediate departure of ambassadors from nations supporting Israel and threatens to halt oil and gas exports if the Israeli-Gaza conflict continues. They consider it a genocidal war led by the US and the West, aiming to eradicate Palestinian rights. The application of the ambassador’s departure request in Western Libya remains unclear, as they are under a different recognized government than that of the House of Representatives in the east (Shafaqna).
  5. Libya Expands Maritime Borders in the Mediterranean. Libya’s interim “Unity Government,” led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, has established a new maritime zone, intensifying the race for energy resources in the Mediterranean. This move raises regional and international concerns, given ongoing disputes over maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean. The decision extends Libya’s maritime authority from 12 to 24 nautical miles. The legal implications and potential conflicts related to this decision remain contentious, further fueling the power struggle in the region’s energy resources (Sharq Awsat).
  6. Threats to Italian Forces in Libya During Gaza Solidarity Protests.As Gaza Support Rallies Unfold in Western Libya, Demonstrators Demand Withdrawal of Western-Backed Foreign Troops. A militia leader, Salah Badi, threatened Italian forces in Misrata, triggering security concerns. The Municipal Council held discussions to address the issue. Meanwhile, Libyan UN envoy Bathily’s efforts to evacuate foreign forces face challenges due to divisions and external influence, according to a UN report. The situation remains volatile in Libya (AL Nahar).

October 27, 2023

  1. Turkish Media Observes Growing Tensions Near Egyptian-Israeli Border. Recent events along the Egyptian-Israeli border have raised concerns as a missile struck a building in Taba, near Israel. Six individuals were injured in the incident, which is currently under investigation. The escalation in Gaza appears to have spilled over into this region. Both Egyptian and Israeli authorities have responded, with Egypt reserving the right to react once the missile’s origin is determined. Tensions in the area have escalated recently, with previous incidents drawing attention to the volatile situation near the border (TRT Arabic). Egyptian security forces are conducting preliminary investigations, and Egypt reserves the right to respond once the perpetrator is identified, according to a sovereign source. The incident is linked to the ongoing escalation in Gaza and is under serious investigation to determine the circumstances.
  2. Egypt Initiates Talks on Establishing a German Industrial Zone. Egypt is negotiating the establishment of a German industrial zone within the Suez Canal Economic Zone after discussions during the Joint Egyptian-German Economic Committee’s sixth session in Berlin. Trade exchange between Egypt and Germany grew by 7% in 2022, reaching 5.5 billion euros, with 1,444 German companies investing 2.2 billion euros in various Egyptian industries (Al Arabiya).
  3. US Firmly Backs Morocco on Sahara Issue for Regional Stability. US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, reaffirmed American support for international consultations to resolve the Sahara issue, emphasizing that Rabat is the key to regional stability. The US maintains its recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara, aligning with the Trump-era stance. This support comes during changes in the Sahel and Sahara region’s political landscape and Washington’s aim to counter terrorism and secure regional stability. Analysts suggest Morocco’s role in regional security partnerships makes it essential for stability (MEO). 
  4. Morocco’s External Debt Surpasses $42 Billion, Shows 11.3% Increase in 2022. Morocco’s total public external debt reached 423.601 billion dirhams at the end of 2022, making up 31.8% of the GDP, marking an 11.3% increase compared to 2021. The majority of this debt is owed to official lenders (bilateral and multilateral), accounting for 75.2% of the total volume. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development remained the largest lender, followed by the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank. Multilateral debt increased by approximately 35.1 billion dirhams compared to the previous year. Bilateral debt concentrated on European Union countries, Japan, and Arab nations, with France ranking first among bilateral lenders (Al Maghreb 24). 
  5. Tunisia to Criminalize Normalization with Israel, Including Life Sentence. Tunisia’s parliament is set to discuss a draft law that criminalizes any ties with Israel, with potential life imprisonment as a penalty. The law covers actions such as trade, communication, cooperation in various activities, and bans participation in international forums taking place in Israeli territories. While commercial relationships with countries that have normalized relations with Israel will remain unaffected, the draft has raised concerns about potential misuse to suppress political opposition in Tunisia (New Arab). 
  6. Sudan Forms Civil Front Led by Hamdok to Stop the War and Restore Democracy. Sudanese political and civil forces, meeting in Addis Ababa, have established a “Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces” led by former Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok. This alliance, consisting of various representatives, aims to unite forces demanding the restoration of a democratic civil transition in Sudan. They have outlined political, economic, humanitarian, and media papers to pave the way for ending the war. Hamdok urged unity among civil and democratic forces to address the humanitarian crisis and achieve comprehensive peace. The meetings marked an unprecedented consensus towards stopping the war and restoring democracy (Sharq Awsat).

October 30, 2023

  1. Egypt-Israel Ties at Risk, Defying History. The recent developments between Egypt and Israel indicate a growing tension that has significant implications for the broader Middle East. Egypt’s stern warning to Israel over military operations in the Philadelphia Corridor suggests that Cairo is willing to take a more confrontational stance. The fact that Egypt is considering diplomatic measures to limit its relationship with Israel is a significant departure from the historically cautious approach Cairo has taken in its dealings with Tel Aviv. Moreover, Egypt’s criticism of Israel for hindering aid delivery to Gaza adds another layer of complexity to their relationship. Egypt holds Israel accountable for violating a UN resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian aid access in Gaza. This could potentially strain Israel’s diplomatic relations not just with Egypt but also with other international actors who are signatories to the UN resolution.

October 31, 2023

  1. Egyptian Prime Minister’s Extensive Visit to Northern Sinai. Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly embarked on an extensive tour in the Northern Sinai province, including a meeting at a military base in El-Arish. This visit raises questions about its implications, particularly in the context of tensions on the Palestinian side of the border. The delegation is expected to visit the Rafah border crossing connecting Egypt and Gaza, as part of ongoing developments in the region (Sharq Awsat).
  2. Egypt Invites Hamas to Discuss Prisoner Issue and Engages with Hezbollah. Egypt extends an invitation to Hamas leadership for discussions on the prisoner file and the situation in Gaza. Egypt’s evolving stance toward Hamas, driven by the group’s opposition to displacement and Israeli pressure, includes plans for a permanent Hamas representative in Cairo. The country also initiates communication with Hezbollah and Iran, expanding its regional network amid Gaza’s crisis (Alaraby).

 

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