Arabs invest $850m in Mauritania projects

Updated 27 January 2014

Arabs invest $850m in Mauritania projects

NOUAKCHOTT: Mauritania has attracted funding from Arab organizations totalling more than $850 million at a one-day international investment forum, the government said.
The investments, equivalent to almost a fifth of the size of the economy, will pump cash into fisheries, agriculture, livestock, health and roads while funding imports from Arab countries to the tune of $145 million.
The event brought together some 500 investors, including Saudi Arabia and a large number of Arab and international funds and agencies, the finance ministry said.
The goal of the forum was to raise awareness of "the enormous potential of the country", its investment opportunities and the "attractive" legal framework put in place by the government, according to its organizers.
The government said it had signed five investment deals totalling $856 million (625 million euros) with the Saudi Development Fund, the Rajihi banking group, the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and the Arab Institution for Agricultural Development.
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz spoke of Mauritania's committment to "protecting investment, ensuring the full rights of investors and paying particular attention to ensure the best conditions for their activities" as he opened the forum.
The west African nation's economy, heavily dependent on agriculture, has suffered in the past as a result of frequent droughts, but it is rich in minerals such as gold and iron whose exports have helped keep growth high.
According to the finance ministry the economy — estimated by the World Bank to be worth $4.2 billion in 2012 — grew by almost seven percent last year, putting it "in first position in the Arab world and in Africa."


Turkey hikes interest rate for first time since 2018

Updated 23 min 46 sec ago

Turkey hikes interest rate for first time since 2018

  • The bank said the one-week repo rate would go from 8.25 percent to 10.25 percent
  • The coronavirus pandemic has forced nations worldwide to cut rates to revive their stalled economies

ANKARA: Turkey’s central bank raised Thursday its main interest rate for the first time since September 2018, boosting it by two percentage points to haul the lira up from historic lows.
The bank said the one-week repo rate would go from 8.25 percent to 10.25 percent.
The lira gained around one percent in value against the US dollar within minutes of the announcement, after touching a record low of 7.71 earlier in the day.
“Massive surprise, and positive,” said Timothy Ash, an analyst at BlueBay Asset Management.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced nations worldwide to cut rates to revive their stalled economies.
But Turkey has been burning through its hard currency reserves to support the lira, which has lost nearly 22 percent of its value against the dollar this year and is one of the world’s worst performing emerging market currencies.
The Moody’s ratings agency estimated on Monday that Turkey’s hard currency reserves were now at a 20-year low.
A central bank statement said it “decided to increase the policy rate by 200 basis points to restore the disinflation process and support price stability.”
Inflation edged up to 11.77 percent in August from 11.76 percent in July but it has remained stubbornly in the double digits in the past few years.
This means that Turkey is running a negative real interest rate, where bank deposits and bonds lose value over time, forcing investors out of the market and Turkish nationals to convert their liras into dollars or euros.
The bank last increased its main rate in September 2018 from 17.75 percent to 24 percent owing to a currency crisis caused by tense relations with the United States.
But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opposes high rates, once describing them as “the mother and father of all evil,” and called for them to be lowered to stimulate growth.
Erdogan last year sacked the bank’s governor and appointed Murat Uysal, under whose direction the rate has been cut nine times.
Ash said the rate decision “suggests the (bank) listened to the market and decided they had to move to avoid a disorderly devaluation and potential balance of payments crisis.”
“They are not out of the woods yet, but they have given themselves a fighting chance.”