Theodore May

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Latest by Theodore May


Hamas politician plays nice with Egypt

GAZA CITY: Despite persistent tensions between the Egyptian government and the leadership of Hamas, which effectively rules Gaza, a high ranking Hamas official sought to tamp down the controversies in an interview with Daily News Egypt. Dr Ahmed Yousef doesn’t fit the mold of your typical Hamas leader. He loves Tom Clancy novels and is …

Theodore May

YEAREND SPECIAL: Telecom sector keeps Egypt entertained in 2009

It was a wild year for Egypt’s telecom industry with price wars, international disputes, and a rapidly changing industry. The most dramatic – and least satisfying – story of the year came in the form of an international dispute between France Telecom (FT) and Orascom Telecom (OT) over the fate of Mobinil. After repeatedly rejecting …

Theodore May

YEAREND SPECIAL: Mixed performance for major revenue earners

The Egyptian government has structured its economy around three key revenue earners: the Suez Canal, tourism and remittances. All three depend on global economic factors and threatened to undermine the government’s reform programs in 2009. There was a sense that these sectors could go into freefall since their performances depended somewhat on the performance of …

Theodore May

YEAREND SPECIAL: Construction, real estate and banking see ups and downs

Economic crises are never a good thing. But depending on the timing, they can be especially devastating. Egypt’s economy was in major growth mode when the recession struck last fall. GDP growth was high, job creation was strong, and Egyptian businesses were going international. As the recession began, analysts turned to a number of critical …

Theodore May

Martin Lindstrom explains the science of marketing

CAIRO: “Consumer behavior is constantly and rapidly changing in today’s world, Hany Mwafy, managing director of Nielsen North Africa, said Monday at a conference. “This requires new and innovative marketing methods in order to keep up with these rapid changes in consumer behavioral patterns and this is what we are presenting to the local market, …

Theodore May

Egyptians looking for easier way to pay the bills

According to a recent survey, Egyptians overwhelmingly say they want a simpler, more streamlined way to pay their bills. The study was conducted by Ipsos Marketing Research for Fawry, a company launched last year that specializes in electronic bill payments. While Ipsos did not release the profile of the respondents, it did say that they …

Theodore May

Taking flight in Kabul

KABUL: When you live in a perpetual state of war, getting on with life is the only way to persevere. A car bomb had rocked the outskirts of Kabul Friday morning, hitting outside the wall of US Camp Phoenix. When we visited the bomb site two and a half hours later, there was little evidence …

Theodore May

48 hours in the Big Apple

Forget Paris in the springtime and Rio in the summer. New York City for Christmas is what you should be saving your money for. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Muslim, Christian or Jew, New York in December has an atmosphere as infectious as any you’ll find. Time your flight from Cairo (Delta and EgyptAir both …

Theodore May

Ten companies to compete in Egypt wind farm bid

CAIRO: In an effort to beef up its alternative energy sources, the Egyptian government has established a list of 10 bidders to build a wind farm in the country. The farm will have a capacity of 250 megawatts and is expected to be built on the Gulf of Suez. El Sewedy Cables, as part of …

Theodore May

World Bank says more private sector reform needed in MENA

CAIRO: Members of the region’s private sector are not all competing on a level playing field, according to a World Bank report released Monday. Success depends too often on “privilege and vested interest instead of competitiveness, Shamshad Akhtar, vice president of the World Bank’s MENA region, said at a conference where the results of the …

Theodore May

Lessons learned: Going back to mortgage finance basics

CAIRO: With Egypt’s demand for affordable housing growing and a thirst for the development of the mortgage industry, the American Chamber of Commerce hosted an event yesterday to bring the lessons learned from the US housing boom and subsequent collapse to Egypt. To speak at the event, the chamber brought in Kathleen Vaughan, an executive …

Theodore May

Central Bank holds key rates for second month

CAIRO: After a streak that saw Egypt’s Central Bank cut interest rates six times, the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced late Thursday that it would hold its key rates. For a second straight month, therefore, the overnight deposit rate would remain 8.25 percent and the overnight lending rate would stay 9.75 percent. As the …

Theodore May

Egypt's first quarter 2009/10 growth at 4.9 pct

CAIRO: In what amounts to the first hint of how Egypt’s economy performed in the first quarter of fiscal year 2009/10, reports have circulated that real GDP growth is expected to have been 4.9 percent between July and September 2009. This number first surfaced after Bloomberg quoted the Minister of Economic Development discussing the new …

Theodore May

Egyptian economy at a 'crossroads,' says report

CAIRO: Straying from what officials and analysts have been saying recently, a report released this week poured cold water on those continuing to celebrate Egypt’s resilience throughout the economic crisis. In a note titled “Egypt Rebounding: The Turtle or the Hare, Cairo-based brokerage firm Beltone Financial starts off by saying that the country did manage …

Theodore May

Cairo tops regional outsourcing cities

CAIRO: For a country where unemployment is traditionally among the top domestic concerns, Egypt got a new shot in the arm this week as a report ranked Cairo as the seventh best city for outsourcing. The survey was conducted by Global Services and Tholons and is called the “Top 50 Emerging Outsourcing Cities. While Cairo …

Theodore May

Africa works to build e-banking infrastructure

Africa is facing a unique banking challenge in the 21st century. As the world undergoes a lengthy revolution from conventional banking to a more internet/mobile-based technologically savvy banking system, Africa is struggling to build the infrastructure to extend basic bank services to its people. How to put not only the basic infrastructure in place but …

Theodore May

The bottom line: Security

The first day of the Mediterranean Smart Cards Company (MSCC) conference, “Together for a Better Africa, wrapped up with a panel focused on outsourcing business in the context of maintaining security and improving companies’ bottom lines. With a lack of basic banking services infrastructure in Africa, the panelists said, outsourcing is a critical way to …

Theodore May

Utilizing IT to grow the banked population

While the final day of the Mediterranean Smart Cards Company (MSCC) conference covered an eclectic mix of topics, much of the talk centered around developing technological solutions to further banking in Africa. The conference’s title, “Together for a Better Africa, was especially apt for the discussions on day two because talk centered around how a …

Theodore May

Makro lays groundwork for Egypt wholesale chain

CAIRO: Makro Egypt held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for its chain of wholesale stores expected to spread through Egypt’s capital in the coming years. The event for Makro, which is a sales division of Germany’s Metro Group, was held in Salam City and attended by Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid and Cairo …

Theodore May

Private equity a smart way to use liquidity, say experts

CAIRO: In advance of a conference next month aimed at promoting private equity and venture capital in Africa, executives briefed the media about the upcoming event. The eighth annual conference, titled “Africa: The Growth Continent for Private Equity, Investment Opportunities and Beyond, will be hosted by the African Venture Capital Association (AVCA) from Nov. 15 …

Theodore May

Get your own URL – in Arabic

CAIRO: The most important organization that no one knows about is, this year, forging ahead with a plan that will fundamentally reshape the way you use the internet. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a global not-for-profit group that, with oversight from countries around the world, is responsible for laying out …

Theodore May

Silicon Vision: Bringing heavy-duty data transfer to consumers

CAIRO: It’s a small company with big plans. They work out of a small Heliopolis office but are partnered with one of the world’s premier technology giants. This is Silicon Vision, and they’re well on their way in transforming the way data is streamed in the IT world. The company is only two years old, …

Theodore May

African banking experts convene in Sharm El Sheikh

CAIRO: The Mediterranean Smart Cards Company (MSCC) held a conference in Sharm El-Sheikh this weekend bringing together banking, bank processing, and card experts from around Africa to discuss the future of banking and banking transactions in a conference titled “Together for a Better Africa. The conference was MSCC’s first annual gathering and was intended to …

Theodore May

Festival Centre

CAIRO: Al Futtaim Group announced on Tuesday that it had begun leasing property for Festival Center, the commercial hub of its ambitious New Cairo mixed-use development, Festival City. Festival Center is a 180,000-square-meter space that Al Futtaim has begun to fill with a mix of stores and restaurants. According to company executives, when the shopping …

Theodore May

Turkey, Egypt highlight need for trade among Islamic nations

CAIRO: Turkish and Egyptian officials met on Monday afternoon as part of an effort to boost economic cooperation, including trade and investment, between the two countries. Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid and Turkish Minister of State for Foreign Trade Zafer Çaglayan gathered for the additional purpose of kicking off the International …

Theodore May

El-Gabaly talks healthcare at economic forum

CAIRO: Egypt needs between LE 7 billion and LE 17 billion annually to deliver the kind of healthcare citizens are looking for, the health minister said Monday. Egypt’s International Economic Forum hosted Monday a seminar featuring Health Minister Hatem El-Gabaly. El-Gabaly gave an address entitled “Universal Healthcare & Reform of the Health Sector: The Time …

Theodore May

Egypt inflation reverses downward trend

CAIRO: After a period of significant decline, Egypt’s September inflation rose for the first time in 10 months, largely on the back of higher food prices. Urban headline inflation hit a low of 9 percent in August, but state statistics agency CAPMAS has released data this week saying that inflation bounced to 10.7 percent for …

Theodore May

Egypt's tourism seeing rebound, say analysts

CAIRO: There are more indications this week that tourism, representing a critical source of income to the Egyptian government, may be pulling out of its yearlong slide. Bloomberg reported Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garranah as saying that tourism revenues fell 6.4 percent in the first nine months of 2009, versus the same stretch in 2008. …

Theodore May

Egypt, Malaysia look to bolster trade

CAIRO: Government and business leaders from Egypt and Malaysia gathered Wednesday for a series of meetings that culminated in both sides signing memoranda of understanding (MoUs), designed to bolster business ties between the two countries. Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid presided over the meeting with Mustapa Mohamed, the Malaysian minister of international …

Theodore May

Consumer confidence up

CAIRO: Egyptians join consumers around the region in expressing optimism over the future of their economy, according to a recent survey. The survey, which was conducted by YouGov and Bayt.com, illustrated the long held argument that Egypt suffered less in the global economic crisis than developed economies. Around 48 percent of Egyptians surveyed said they …

Theodore May