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North Africa Politics

Algeria’s President Tebboune to Return Home after COVID-19 Treatment in Germany

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Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is set to return home from a German hospital “in the coming days” after treatment for COVID-19.

“The president assures the Algerian people that he is recovering and will return to the homeland in the coming days,” the office said in a statement, published on Facebook.

In late October, Tebboune was transported to Germany for an in-depth medical examination following a doctor recommendation.

Shortly after, the office announced that the president was diagnosed with COVID-19.

In compliance with the recommendations of his medical team, the 75-year-old Algerian leader continues to undergo the rest of recovery procedures after leaving a specialised medical facility in Germany, the office added.

Tebboune has served as the president of Algeria since December 2019.

He assumed the post after the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika following months of protests.

Since the start of the pandemic, 83,199 cases of the coronavirus have been registered in Algeria.

To date, the North African country’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 2,431, while the number of recoveries is approaching 54,000.

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North Africa Politics

President Kais Saied Urges Restraint, 4 Days into Protests in Tunisia

The Tunisian President Kais Saied visited Ariana, a city near the capital Tunis, and asked people not to let others take advantage of their anger and poverty

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The Tunisian President has showed up at a rally where demonstrators were protesting and pleaded with them to put an end to the protests which are already in their fourth consecutive day against the worsening social and economic crisis in the country.

Blocking streets and setting barricades on fire on Monday, demonstrators clashed with police who responded by firing tear gas. The Protests have led to the looting of shops and protesters have thrown stones and Molotov cocktails at official buildings and businesses in some areas.

The Tunisian President Kais Saied visited Ariana, a city near the capital Tunis, and asked people not to let others take advantage of their anger and poverty.

“Through you, I want to speak to all the Tunisian people, I know the state of poverty and I also know who is exploiting your poverty.  Don’t let anyone exploit your misery, don’t attack private or public property. We live today because of moral values and not because of theft or looting,” Saied said to the crowd.

Angry about the high unemployment rate and the financial crisis in the North African nation, Tunisians have protested since Friday in Kasserine, Tunis and several other cities.

On Monday, demonstrators shouted: “Dissolve the parliament, dissolve the parliament.”

In some regions, the defence ministry deployed the army to protect private and public property. It said troops will conduct joint patrols with security forces in the regions of Siliana, Kasserine, Sousse and Bizerte, where police and protesters clashed.

Authorities made 630 arrests linked to the violence on Sunday alone, the interior ministry reported.

Amnesty International has called for restraint, citing footage showing officers beating and manhandling people they had detained. They have also demanded the immediate release of Hamza Nassri Jeridi, a rights activist arrested on Monday.

“Security forces must immediately refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force to disperse protesters in the capital and several governorates against marginalisation, police violence, poverty and lack of job opportunities,” it said.

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Bread Crisis: Libya’s Central Bank Rejects New Letters of Credit for Flour

Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) Al-Siddiq Al-Kabeer emphasised that the letters of credit, which were opened in 2020 for the supply of flour, were appropriate for the amounts consumed in Libya.

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In response to the Head of Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj’s regarding requests for new letters of credit to import flour, the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) Al-Siddiq Al-Kabeer has on Sunday issued a statement.

Al-Kabeer emphasised that the letters of credit, which were opened in 2020 for the supply of flour, were appropriate for the amounts consumed in Libya.

The General Union of Bakers in Tripoli shut down all bakeries in the city on Saturday, citing an increase in the price of ingredients. This move was justified by the union’s head, Saeed Boukhreiss who claimed the new prices were necessary due to the new prices of flour being linked to lack of supply by the mills’ company.  

The Governor explained that the PM’s call represents a grave breach of the country’s financial law and public spending controls, stipulated in the 2015 Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). He further stated that the state’s balance of foreign exchange with the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB) is linked to sovereign revenues.

Al-Kabeer also countered rumours suggesting that it had opened letters of credits for importing unnecessary food items.

He further reminds the GNA officials on their obligation to control the country’s borders and ports to curb the smuggling of subsidised goods, especially flour and fuel.

Bakeries reopened Monday after the Bakers’ Union reached an agreement with the control authorities. Bread prices have been impacted largely by flour shortage, the prices of wheat which increased globally by 40% and the new exchange rate of the Libyan dinar to U.S. dollar on the confectionary sector. Bakeries may face dire straits in the coming months if state authorities do not resolve the problem satisfactorily.

In 2018, inflationary pressure and dwindling oil prices among other factors saw bakeries in Tripoli abruptly shut for two weeks, thereby triggering a food crisis around bread – a staple for many Libyans.

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North Africa Politics

Egypt’s PM to Deliver Statement on Policy Programme on Monday

Gibali also indicated that the summoning of the prime minister was in line with Article 136 of the country’s constitution, as well as articles 26 and 27 of the parliament’s internal bylaws.

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Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly will visit parliament on Monday to deliver a statement on the implementation of his government’s two-year-old “Egypt Kicks Off” programme, parliamentary sources announced on Sunday.

Sources said Prime Minister Madbouly’s visit comes after Parliament Speaker Hanafi Gibali announced on Sunday that the house decided to summon Madbouly and other cabinet ministers to deliver statements and respond to questions on the implementation of the so-called “Egypt Kicks Off” programme.

Sources also said that the Ministers of Local Development, and Supply and Internal Trade, Mahmoud Shaarawi and Ali Al-Moselhi respectively, are also expected to appear at the parliament on Monday to deliver statements on the implementation of the programme.

Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar and Minister of Information Osama Heikal will also come on Tuesday, to explain the role of their ministries in implementing the “Egypt Kicks Off” programme.

Minister of Education Tarek Shawki and Minister of International Cooperation Rania El-Mashat will make an appearance to deliver statements on Wednesday.

Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi and Minister of Public Enterprise Hesham Tawfik will deliver statements are expected to deliver their own statements on Thursday.

Speaker Gibali indicated that all cabinet ministers will be at the parliament to explain the role of their ministries in implementing the “Egypt Kicks Off” programme. “Two cabinet ministers will come per day to deliver statements on the programme,” said Gibali.

On Sunday, Gibali recalled that in July 2018 the government of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly delivered its policy statement before parliament, vowing to implement the “Egypt Kicks Off” programme.

“This programme opened the doors for the government to win the confidence of parliament, but after two years, the parliament’s general committee noted that the implementation of the programme fell short of expectations and is full of shortcomings and negative points,” said Gibali.

Gibali also indicated that the summoning of the Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, was in line with Article 136 of the country’s constitution, as well as articles 26 and 27 of the parliament’s internal bylaws.

“In its review of the Egypt Kicks Off programme between July 2018 and June 2020 and how much the government is committed to implementing it, the committee noted that there are many shortcomings and negative points, and so it recommends that the prime minister and other concerned cabinet ministers be summoned to attend a number of sessions to answer questions on the progress of the implementation of the programme,” the parliament’s general committee said.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madboulyin 2018, delivered the ‘Egypt Kicks Off’ programme before parliament, one month after the cabinet’s appointment.

Madbouly vowed at the time that the government would boost economic development in Egypt, reinforce Egypt’s national security, implement intensive social protection programmes, raise productivity rates, and improve the standard of living of poor citizens.

Madbouly said, “we will create a job for every poor citizen as long as he is able to work, but if he is living below the poverty line and it’s hard for him to work, we will do our best to take care of him.”

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