Daily News Egypt https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:09:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Temporary exhibition for antiquity replicas takes place in Venice https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/temporary-exhibition-for-antiquity-replicas-takes-place-in-venice/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:07:47 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720554 Antiquity replicas include statues for Nefertiti, Akhenaten, Tutankhamun

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As a part of the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism adopted policy in promoting ancient Egyptian antiquities through a number of foreign exhibitions, the ministry is to hold an exhibition of replicas for a number of relics in Venice, starting mid-February.

Executive Director of the Archaeological Models Production Unit at the Ministry of Antiquities Amr El-Teiby said in a press statement that the exhibition targets as many people as possible, especially children, to explore Egyptian antiquities, and discover the treasures of ancient Egyptian civilisation, while learning about its most famous tourist destinations.

The exhibition showcases 70 antiquity replicas, that were especially produced to be on display. This includes the most famous Nefertiti statue, and the statue featuring the head of Akhenaten as well as the well-known masks of Yuya, who was a powerful Egyptian courtier in the 18th Dynasty, and Tuya the wife of 19th Dynasty Pharaoh Seti I.

Replicas of a number of Tutankhamun’s belonging are also to be displayed at the exhibition, including the royal chamber, golden knives, as well as a number of warrior shields covered with gemstones. A number of jewelry replicas are also to be on display along royal hunting equipment.     

El-Teiby further explained that the exhibition highlights the passion and high turnout of Italians regarding the exploration of ancient Egyptian antiquities, highlighting that the exhibition is not the first of its kind.

A similar exhibition took place in Italy back in 2018 where over 100 thousand visitors attended.

The ministry of Antiquities and Tourism previously announced its plan of activating the Archaeological Models Production Unit.

El-Teiby stated last week that the unit is to produce a number of replicas that will be available for purchase at the Cairo International Airport’s duty free by the end of January. The almost identical replicas produced by the unit are the closest in shape and quality to the real relics, unlike the commercial ones that are commonly sold at bazaars.

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First Nubian dictionary reviving extinct language https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/first-nubian-dictionary-reviving-extinct-language/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:07:39 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720553 The self-funded initiative publishes a booklet with over 200 Nubian words that are translated in Arabic, English, and Spanish, as well as a number of videos of native Nubian speakers

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While a young big city woman was working on a documentary about her Nubian heritage, social activist Hafsa Amberkab was shocked at the fact that she didn’t understand the meaning of dozens of Nubian words spoken by natives. Despite her parents’ constant efforts in communicating with the language at home, it didn’t prevent Amberkab’s lack of knowledge of her hometown language, as a young woman who opened her eyes away from the land of beauty. She is one of many Nubians that left their hometowns years ago, but still holding closely their love for their motherland. Because of this, Amberkab felt the urge to change her situation, and dedicated her time into making the first Nubian language dictionary, to give both Nubians and foreigners a better understanding of the ancient tongue.

With the aim of reviving the almost demolished Nubian language, Amberkab started the “Koma Waidi.”

“Koma Waidi”, which is Nubian for Tales of the Past, is an individual initiative seeking to document Nubian vocabulary digitally and on paper. The campaign seeks raising people’s awareness of the language, which is only spoken in a very small and specific area in Egypt. The campaign is meant to open an access gate for Nubians living away from their hometown to reconnect to their culture.

“Even though my parents left Nubia years ago, they always paid attention that we communicate through our language at home, in order not to forget it; yet that did not prevent me from finding myself not recognising the meaning of dozens of words spoken by natives when I was filming my documentary last year,” Amberkab told Daily News Egypt.

She explained that through time, Nubians tended to Arabise the words, and replace most of them, “which ended up with having sentences that are half Nubian and half Arabic. But I never really recognised this, until the moment I personally communicated with natives.”

Thousands of Nubians were displaced from their hometown villages due to the building of the High Dam in 1960, which was officially inaugurated in 1971, as well as the Aswan reservoir. For them, there is only one official language, the Nubian one, and as a foreign language dealing with Arabic in their way of fitting in society.

About two-thirds of the Nubian Valley is now under Nasser Lake. The most famous of the monuments affected by the Aswan High Dam was the temple complex on the island of Philae.

The self-funded initiative publishes a booklet with over 200 Nubian words that are translated in Arabic, English, and Spanish, as well as a number of videos of native Nubian speakers.

When she first started the initiative, Amberkab never imagined the large number of young generations that knew very limited Nubian words, and were looking for a way to learn it.

“Even those who still reside in Nubia and speak the language fluently told me that there were ancient words in the dictionary they did not know about,” she said.

For four months, Amberkab went through the documentation journey of Nubian words, through the videos she captured of people speaking randomly.

“I wanted people to speak about all life aspects, in order to have all possible words in each field. These videos were published in a set of online broadcasts for people to learn the pronunciation and all about the Nubian language,” she explained.

“When my parents funding the dictionary printing, we weren’t looking for any financial benefit. However, based on peoples’ requests, we decided to sell it for a price that only covers its costs,” said she. The booklet is being sold for EGP 40.

The booklet is the first of a series of books. Amberkab plans to dedicate each part of the series to a certain topic.

“The book series is the first of my plan to have the biggest digital and printed library all about Nubian culture, where people get to explore the far away and shed light heritage,” she added.

  

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Tourism, education, financial services best investments in Egypt: CI Capital Co-CEO https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/tourism-education-financial-services-best-investments-in-egypt-ci-capital-co-ceo/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:03:08 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720545 Group has EGP 9.2bn assets under management

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CI Capital Holding – provider of leasing, microfinance, and investment banking services – continued its leadership of the non-banking financial sector last year, after arranging finances that exceeded EGP 9bn for financial leasing and microfinance, and launching a new mortgage finance company. In addition, the company prepares for starting the actual operation of its Souhoola, CI Consumer Finance in the first quarter (1Q) of 2020.

With the growth of finance portfolios in the non-banking financial sector and the launch of hundreds of companies in the fields of consumer finance, financial leasing, microfinance, and mortgage finance over the past years, Daily News Egypt interviewed Co-CEO of CI Capital Holding Hazem Badran. He talked about the company’s future activities and the available opportunities in the sector.

Badran says that increasing foreign investments depends on political and economic stability, stressing that Egypt is ready to receive foreign capital.

In the last period, Egypt witnessed an increase in local direct and indirect investment, after the decline in foreign investment due to regional political unrest. So, the government and local investors were the most capable of seizing investment opportunities and risk-taking.

The most attractive sectors for foreign direct investment will be those that benefit from governmental initiatives of reducing energy prices and the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) initiatives, the most prominent of which are tourism, education, financial services, and banking, Badran said.

“The market indicators are attractive, and the market lacks only foreign liquidity,” he added.

CI Capital considers various opportunities in all sectors, not direct investment in its usual sense. The company does not have funds with certain orientation and does not work in fund management.

CI Capital has 60% indirect stake in Taleem Educational Services and Consultations (TESC). The company share the stake with several local and foreign investors, however, the TESC’s management is under CI Capital.

Investment in the education sector relies on its growth rates and available opportunities. CI capital aims to support the current administration of TESC to achieve greater growth in its managed universities.

“There is an investment gap in the higher education market that prompts the company to consider expansion by acquiring existing universities or establishing new ones in new cities, or even entering in partnerships in this field,” Badran noted.

CI Capital works on preparing TESC for offering on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), but not with the aim of investment exit. TESC will be the backbone of CI Capital’s investment in the sector, as it started to contribute to the latter’s revenues in 2019. Starting from 2021, TESC will be an important contributor to CI Capital’s consolidated profits.

The first investment of TESC will be announced in the first half (1H) of the year, and a study is underway to open a physical therapy college within the next fiscal year (FY) 2020/21, Badran revealed.

In addition, the company has already started expansion, and obtained a land plot of 25 feddan in New Beni Suef, 3 km away from Nahda University, owned by TESC, to establish a new campus of the University.

He pointed out that non-medical colleges in Nahda University, such as engineering, commerce, and computer science, will be transferred to the new campus next year.

On a different note, Badran said CI Capital has about EGP 9.2bn worth assets under management, stressing that the company is always keen to enter into successful and existing investments to achieve profits.

“There are certain criteria that the company pursues when assessing investment opportunities, including profits, recurring profits, and growth rates,” he continued.

CI Capital is represented in all non-banking financial services and has a good local market share in financial leasing, microfinance, and consumer finance.

The company’s loan portfolio exceeded EGP 9bn after the latest securitisation process, of which the financial leasing accounted for EGP 8bn.

Badran believes that new non-banking financial companies will take a long time to achieve significant growth, due to the large number of these companies.

He noted that all CI Capital services achieve separate profits, whether finance leasing, microfinance, brokerage, etc, and these profits are cash which allows distribution to shareholders.

The company will start considering profit distribution starting from 2021 after retaining the profits for two years to finance expansions and investments. The company invested about EGP 400m last year and would invest the same amount in 2020. The last year’s investments included establishing two companies, one for mortgage financing and another for consumer finance, in addition to expansion in the education sector.

Meanwhile, CI Capital is working on offering Abu Qir Fertilizers Company and ENPPI Petroleum on the EGX.

Moreover, the company’s affiliate Souhoola for consumer finance conducted several operation trials, and it became ready for actual operation in the first quarter (1Q) of the year.

Also, the portfolio of CI Capital microfinance institution, Reefy, reached about EGP 700m, serving over 90,000 customers. The company’s portfolio saw significant growth in 4Q2019.

Reefy has 54 branches and plans to open six new branches this month. The company plans to add 25-30 branches in remote areas by the end of the year to target new segments. The company works on providing crowdfunding services, and there are negotiations with an electronic payment company to facilitate the collection of instalments from customers.

CI Capital plans for a new securitisation this year for its financial leasing portfolio. It targets less than the maximum limit set by the Financial Regulatory Authority.

As for the debt instruments market, the company plans for two operations, either for itself or subsidiaries, which is an expected step amid the fall of interest rates, which positively affects the market and the expansion of companies.

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Raya Holding receives 24 domestic, foreign offers to acquire minority stake in Aman Holding https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/raya-holding-receives-24-domestic-foreign-offers-to-acquire-minority-stake-in-aman-holding/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:01:10 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720549 Among these institutions came 8 local financial entities operating in Egypt, in addition to 16 international foreign institutions, including major financing institutions and investment destinations.

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Raya Holding Company for Financial Investments has received offers from 24 local and international companies and institutions to acquire a minority stake in its subsidiary Aman Holding for non-bank financial services, which includes under its umbrella Aman for electronic payment, Aman for non-bank financial services, and Aman Microfinance.

Among these institutions came 8 local financial entities operating in Egypt, in addition to 16 international foreign institutions, including major financing institutions and investment destinations.

Medhat Khalil, Chairperson of the Raya Holding Group and CEO, said that the offers made by those institutions to invest in one of the group companies express the confidence of investors at the local and international levels in the professionalism of the company’s board of directors and the added value and production capacity that is achieved through the work of Raya companies and the returns of their investment projects.

Khalil added that the group’s investments support non-bank financial services, which represent a national trend to provide multiple channels to finance various economic activities in a way that fully supports the economy and is reflected on the development rates of Egypt in general.

He explained that the entry of such institutions to invest in a national company is considered one of the state’s steps to enhance foreign direct investment flows inside Egypt, supports the position of financial institutions operating in Egypt, and raises the international classification of companies operating in the local market in general.

Raya previously announced restructuring the non-bank financial services sector in the group under one affiliate platform and wholly-owned by Raya, which is Aman Holding Company for non-bank financial services, with a paid-up capital of EGP 375m.

Raya Holding also announced that the restructuring process took place after receiving all approvals required to complete the restructuring and transfer of shares.

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Egypt’s tourism revenues to jump $29.7bn in the next five years, with CAGR of 13%: ATM https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/egypts-tourism-revenues-to-jump-29-7bn-in-the-next-five-years-with-cagr-of-13-atm/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:00:55 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720546 GCC tourists average spending in 2020 to witness hike of 11%, reaching $2.36bn, Saudi Arabia will drive this growth

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Egypt’s total tourism revenues in 2019 recorded about $16.4 bn, and is expected to jump to $29.7bn over the next five years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%, according to Danielle Curtis’s, exhibition director of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Middle East, comment on the latest ATM report.

She said that Egypt is considered a major tourism market for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC), explaining that Egypt received 1.84 million visitors in 2019.

Curtis added that the number of the visitors coming to Egypt from the GCC, is expected to witness a remarkable growth, expecting the total number of visitors coming to Egypt from the GCC to reach 2.64 million by 2024.

According to the ATM report, Egypt will witness a noticeable increase in the volume of average GCC tourist spending in 2020, forecasting it to reach $2.36bn, an increase of 11% compared to 2019. It expected that the tourists coming from Saudi Arabia will drive this growth.

The ATM said that the number of trips coming from Saudi Arabia reached 1,410 trips in 2019. The report also forecasted the number of visitors coming from Saudi Arabia to reach 1.8 million by 2024, with a CAGR of 5%, according to Colliers International, official research partner for ATM.

The ATM said that Germany is the number one tourist exporter for Egypt, with a total of 2.48 million visitors in 2019, a hike of 46% compared to 2018, and with a total average spending of $1.22bn.

“Egypt is expected to receive about 2.9 million German visitors by 2024, with an average spending of about $ 2.18 bn,” according to the report.

While Ukraine comes in second place after Germany, in which the number of Ukraine tourists who visited Egypt in 2019 reached 1.49 million, an increase of 50% compared to 2018, the report attributed this increase to the availability of direct flights between Ukraine and Egypt who have resumed after a hiatus of nearly two years.

“At the level of geographical regions, the European continent is the largest source of tourists to Egypt with 6.2 million tourists in 2018, and this number is expected to rise to 9.1 million in 2022,” the report said.

The report showed that GCC countries record one of the highest growth rates in terms of number of visors coming to Egypt. 

Curtis said that during the past 12 months, Egypt’s tourism industry has witnessed a remarkable growth, evidencing that the number of visitors increased by 57.5%, reaching 17.8 million visitors in 2019, up from only 11.3 million in 2018.

She added that this increase is driven by a decrease in the Egyptian pound exchange rate and the government’s incentives for chartered airlines operating for international flights.

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No change in Vodafone Egypt’s management after STC acquisition deal: CEO https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/no-change-in-vodafone-egypts-management-after-stc-acquisition-deal-ceo/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:54:46 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720542 Telecom Egypt has pre-emption right to purchase Vodafone International’s stake in local subsidiary

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Alexandre Froment Curtil, CEO of Vodafone Egypt, said his company aims to focus on deploying 5G technology services in European markets and developing its communication networks.

Curtil spoke to press on Tuesday after media reports about Saudi Arabia’s STC offer to acquire a majority stake in Vodafone Egypt at a cost $2.39bn.

He explained that STC expressed its appreciation to Vodafone Egypt’s administration and stressed that they had no intention to make any changes in the management structure.

Vodafone would benefit from the Saudi company’s experience in spreading digital communication services in Egypt, and contributing to the implementation of the nationwide comprehensive health insurance project.

STC acquisition offer reflects regional confidence in the Egyptian economy, Curtil added.

The press conference held by Vodafone meant to announce signing a memorandum of understanding between STC and Vodafone International over a possible selling of the latter’s 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt to the Saudi company.

Curtil stressed that the economic climate in Egypt is attractive for investment, especially in the telecommunications sector.

He revealed that both sides plans to launch a long-term partnership in Egypt, after concluding the acquisition deal, noting that the mega mobile operator will continue to work in Egypt under the same brand.

He added that the deal provides customers with quality services at good prices, such as roaming and central purchasing.

Moreover, Ayman Essam, head of Foreign and Government Relations in Vodafone Egypt, revealed that STC and Vodafone International will complete evaluating the value of the deal within 2-3 months.

According to the shareholders’ agreement between Vodafone International and the Egyptian Telecom, the latter has the right of pre-emption to purchase the 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt, noting that the issue of evaluating the company’s shares is not subject to the opinions of the partners but rather to the potential seller.

He pointed out that Vodafone Group notified Telecom Egypt officially on the deal on Tuesday, during a meeting of the President of Vodafone International Group with Adel Hamed, President of Telecom Egypt.

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Environment Ministry plants 10,000 trees in 2 weeks https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/environment-ministry-plants-10000-trees-in-2-weeks/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:51:03 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720472 Ministry to consider integrating a human rights office

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Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad said she launched an initiative of planting 10,000 trees, under the motto of go civilised, go green.

During her speech before the Human Rights Committee at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Fouad stressed that the initiative had environmental perspectives.

She said that the ministry considers the people’s right in knowledge.

Fouad said the ministry is already working on training the employees on human rights topics in collaboration with the National Council for Human Rights and civil rights groups.

The Minister added that she was working on countering many environmental issues in Egypt through research, study and awareness-raising among citizens, noting that the Waste Management Regulatory Authority has established an integrated waste system based on planning and oversight, and the implementation of the infrastructure would be completed within two years in all governorates.

Fouad explained that the ministry conducts environmental impact assessments for all projects, noting 7,555 studies were conducted with an environmental impact assessment last year.

She further said that the strategy of agricultural waste was completed in line with the nature of agricultural crops in each governorate, and that the ministry is currently working on the issue of dangerous and electronic waste, and integrating the private sector in this field.

The Ministry is also working to integrate environmental concepts into educational curricula through a protocol of collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

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Egypt’s trade exchange reaches $23bn in 3 months: CBE https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/egypts-trade-exchange-reaches-23bn-in-3-months-cbe/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:50:42 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720528 Volume of trade exchange between Egypt and its most important trading partners amounted to $14.15bn, equivalent to 60% of the total trade exchange

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The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) revealed that the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and other countries hit $23bn during the first quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019/2020, including $15.9bn in imports, and $7.12bn in exports, compared to $23.2bn during the first quarter of FY 2018/2019, including $16.5bn in imports, and $6.7bn in exports.

The CBE, in a recent report, indicated that the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and the 14 most important trading partners account for 60% of the total trade exchange, increasing to about $14.15bn compared to $14.03bn.

According to the CBE, the volume of Egyptian exports to the most important trading partners increased during the first quarter of the current FY to $4.3bn compared to $4.1bn, while the volume of imports decreased to $9.7bn compared to $9.8bn.

The bank pointed out that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranked first, in terms of the most important trading partners with Egypt, with a trade exchange amounting to $1.7bn, including $1bn in imports, and $720m in exports, followed by the United States with a trade exchange amounting to $1.57bn, including $840.9m in imports, and $732.2m in exports.

China ranked third with a trade exchange of $1.55bn including $1.4bn in imports and $96.7m in exports, followed by the United Kingdom in the fourth rank, with a trade exchange of $1.36bn, of which $801.2m in imports and $560.6m in exports.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia came fifth with a trade exchange volume of $1.306bn, of which $975.3m were imports, and $330.7m in exports, followed by Italy with a trade exchange amounting to $1.12bn including $556m in imports, and $571.2m in exports.

The volume of trade exchange with Germany reached $1.02bn, of which $766.7m were imports, and $262.6m exports.

India came eighth with a trade exchange amounting to $860.3m, of which $478.8m were imports to Egypt, and $381.5m were exports, while the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Switzerland was about $843.8m, including $556.6m in imports, and $287.2m in exports. The volume of trade between Egypt and Turkey is about $709.9m including $520.2m in imports, compared to $189.7m in exports.

Kuwait ranked eleventh with a trade volume of $567.2m including $541.7m in imports, and $25.5m in exports, followed by France with a trade volume of $539.6m, including $408m in imports, and $131.6m in exports. Russia comes next with a trade volume of $515.4m, including $470.4m in imports, and $45m in exports, while the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and South Korea reached $436.1m, of which $407.3m in imports, and $28.8m in exports.

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Polaris Parks deliver Bosla 1 in October Industrial Zone https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/polaris-parks-deliver-bosla-1-in-october-industrial-zone/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:48:38 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720507 Bosla projects attract investments of up to EGP 2.4bn, says Shoirah

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Industrial developer Polaris Parks celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its Bosla 1, one of Polaris Parks’ major projects.

With total investments of EGP 350m, Bosla 1 Project in October extends over 55,000 sqm including 56 units starting from 500 sqm.

During a press conference held on Tuesday, Osman Evren Arikan, General Manager of Polaris Parks, said: “After the success of Bosla 1 project, Polaris Parks set the corner stone for the second Bosla project on an area of 40,000  sqm, with 62 units, and unit sizes starting from 390 sqm.”

Arikan added that the second phase is expected to be delivered in 2021 and to be the second of many upcoming Bosla projects across the country.

Bassel Shoirah, Deputy General Manager of Polaris Parks, emphasised that Bosla provides incentives to attract local investors through flexible payment terms and competitive plans and deals offered by National Bank of Egypt (NBE). In addition, various advantages  distinguishing Bosla from other competitors  whether in professional management, or through partnerships with major brands, eco-friendly units, and modern designs, are also available, bringing the total of these local investments in both projects to EGP 2.4bn.

Magdy Ghazi, chairperson of Industrial Development Authority (IDA), along with management officials of Polaris Parks, and a number of government officials attended the opening ceremony. The ceremony witnessed honouring the investors that have projects within Bosla, as Polaris Parks announced selling and delivering 80% of the first project units.

Ghazi praised the outstanding establishment of Bosla project and its punctual delivery.

He highlighted that the project offers ready-units for investors to immediately commence their industrial or servicing activities, which is a compatible integration of the state’s plan – represented by the Authority, and the industrial developer in order to provide high quality integrated solutions to investors.

Ghazi deliberated on the importance of the industrial developer’s role in developing fully-integrated industrial zones that meet the international quality standards.

Arikan noted,  “We are delighted to collaborate with leading governmental entities and private sector organisations, such as the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), NBE for payment facilities, and Al Zamil Steel, with whom we share a strategic vision to attract SME investors, with regards to their pivotal contribution to developing the industrial scene and boost the Egyptian Economy.”

“Through Bosla project, we offer SMEs Plug and Play units compatible with their scope of work and different usage as industrial units or warehouses. Our priority is fulfilling every need for SME investors, guaranteeing them the best environment for their project success and customer satisfaction,” added Arikan.

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Egypt’s PM discusses ways to enhance relations with Kenya’s parliament  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/egypts-pm-discusses-ways-to-enhance-relations-with-kenyas-parliament/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:46:46 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720494 Egypt coordinates with Kenya treating one million HCV’s patients, says Madbouly

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Egypt’s Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly discussed on Tuesday ways to enhance bilateral relations with a Kenyan delegation headed by Justin Muturi, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya (parliament), asserting Egypt’s keenness to strengthen economic relations between the two countries.

Pointing out the cooperation between the two countries, Madbouly said that the Egyptian ministry of health is coordinating with Kenya in order to implement the Egyptian initiative to treat one million cases of Hepacivirus C (HCV).The two sides also asserted the importance of cooperation between Egypt and Kenya for training and exchange experiences and modern technologies in agricultural fields.

Madbouly had also hailed the increased momentum in bilateral relations between the two countries, expressing Egypt’s support for development efforts made in Kenya’s “Big Four Agenda” for improving health and manufacturing, in addition to providing low-cost housing, and food security.

He said  Kenya was one of Egypt’s largest trade partners in Africa, adding that the volume of Egyptian-Kenyan trade increased to $640m in 2018, compared to $553m in 2017.

Speaking about the water file, Madbouly asserted that Egypt depends mainly on the Nile River as a main source of water, explaining that this source is supposed to meet the needs of more than 100 million Egyptians. He said that cooperation among the Nile Basin countries was imperative.

Meanwhile, Muturi expressed Kenya’s appreciation for the important role played by Egypt during its presidency of the African Union, affirming Kenya’s support in the efforts made by Egypt to enhance cooperation between African countries.

Later, Muturi met with Egypt’s Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Al-Sayed el-Quseir, discussing ways to enhance agricultural cooperation. During the meeting, the two sides asserted the importance of cooperation between Egypt and Kenya, for training and exchange experiences and modern technologies in agricultural fields.

They also agreed to activate the memoranda of understanding signed between the two sides, aimed at establishing farms for the production of maize, rice, and soybeans, as well as increasing opportunities for commercial exchange of agricultural crops and animal production between the two countries.

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Diaa Rashwan discuss upgrading of press institution with Prime Minister, Finance Minister https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/diaa-rashwan-discuss-upgrading-of-press-institution-with-prime-minister-finance-minister/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:45:21 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720500 The development plan of national institution focuses on the digitisation of the news service at press institutions, says Gabr

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Head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan affirmed importance of developing  national press institutions which only comes on a full appreciation of the vital role of these bodies as one of the main pillars of Egypt’s soft power.

This came during a meeting between Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, and Minister of State for Information Osama Heikal, regarding the development and modernization of national institutions. Head of the National Press Authority (NPA) Karam Gabr and a host of senior officials from national press institutions were in attendance.

Rashwan said that the updating of these institutions will be the subject of extensive discussion at the meeting to be held by the Press Syndicate next Thursday.

They agreed not to hire more employee, whether on permanent or temporary bases, or extend the service of the retired journalists, except for senior writers.

The officials underlined the state’s keenness to provide all possible support for national press institutions as long as they achieve their goals.

Rashwan said that resolutions taken during the meeting to improve and upgrade these institutions will be the subject of extensive debate.

He called upon the NPA to take urgent steps in cooperation with relevant board chairmen and editors-in-chief to provide detailed lists including national press institutions’ needs of journalists.

He also asserted the need to prepare lists of fellow journalists who have not yet been permanently appointed and pensioners working under temporary contracts to take the actions necessary within the powers assigned to the NPA in this regard.

Madbouly stressed the importance of rationalising the spending at national press institutions, saying that President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi follows up a plan to develop such institutions in order to help them overcome different challenges.

Gabr said the development plan focuses on the digitisation of the news service at press institutions, as well as implementing financial and administrative reforms to ensure the best use of their assets.

He added that the plan was carried out in cooperation with the ministries of planning, public enterprise, finance, investment and social solidarity.

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World Bank Group, Partners launch new initiative to expand A2F for MSMEs, drive growth, jobs in MENA https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/world-bank-group-partners-launch-new-initiative-to-expand-a2f-for-msmes-drive-growth-jobs-in-mena/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:40:05 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720496 MSMEs are the backbone of MENA economies, comprising nearly 90% of private firms and playing a pivotal role in the creation of dynamic, competitive, and inclusive economies and jobs, according to International Finance Corporation (IFC's) press statement on Tuesday.

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The World Bank Group, in partnership with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Switzerland is launching a new expanded phase of an advisory programme to help improve access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), promote sustainable job creation, and boost private sector-led economic growth across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

MSMEs are the backbone of MENA economies, comprising nearly 90% of private firms and playing a pivotal role in the creation of dynamic, competitive, and inclusive economies and jobs, according to International Finance Corporation (IFC’s) press statement on Tuesday.

However, MSMEs’ ability to grow has been severely limited, largely by restricted access to finance. As a result, MSMEs in MENA have among the lowest levels of usage of bank loans in the world, the statement said.

“The five-year advisory programme, implemented by the World Bank and IFC through targeted regional advisory projects as well as country-focused initiatives is aimed at energising the MSME sector in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and the West Bank and Gaza,” the statement read.

The programme takes a 360-degree approach in improving MSME’s access to finance. This involves enhancing the enabling environment, developing financial market infrastructure, and building the technical and funding capacity of financial intermediaries.

IFC elaborated that the programme particularly focuses on supporting women entrepreneurs and leveraging digital technology to enhance financial inclusion.

“A robust MSME sector can generate jobs, economic opportunities for women, innovation, and channel youth energies productively. We are committed to helping economies in the Middle East and North Africa in their efforts to promote access to digital financial services by entrepreneurs,” said Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, World Bank Group vice president for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions (EFI).

Sérgio Pimenta, IFC vice president for the MENA, said “A vibrant private sector, underpinned by strong MSMEs and forward-looking entrepreneurs, is vital for sustainable, long-term growth in MENA. We will work together with our development partners across the region to stimulate private sector development and help enhance financial sector sustainability and stability.”

In this second phase of the initiative, activities will build on the experience of previous advisory work implemented from 2012 to 2018 under the MENA MSME Technical Assistance Facility.

During the first phase, the programme covered Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, West Bank and Gaza, Libya, and Lebanon.

Moreover, 5,247,647 microloans disbursed (58% to women), 69,075 SME loans disbursed (total value of $7.9bn) and 336,867 jobs created through Bank Group credit lines and advisory services were provided to 100 entities and supported 2,356 MSMEs.

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Health ministry denies inspecting Chinese restaurants over coronavirus outbreak  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/health-ministry-denies-inspecting-chinese-restaurants-over-coronavirus-outbreak/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:29:50 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720492 “No Coronavirus cases had been detected or suspected in Egypt,” says spokesperson 

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The Ministry of Health denied media reports that the ministry inspected Chinese restaurants in Egypt on the back of Coronavirus outbreak outside the country.

In a ministerial statement on Monday, Khaled Mogahed, spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, said the Egyptian Food Safety Authority always conducted periodic inspection campaigns on all food establishments in the country.

It is part of the ministry’s role to oversee food establishments, control food markets, and ensure restaurants meet required health standards in accordance with the laws and regulations of the state.

“No Coronavirus cases were detected or suspected in Egypt,” said the spokesperson.

Mogahed further explained that a medical plan was developed by the ministry to address the emerging Coronavirus and prevent its entry into the country via several steps, including raising the public health alarm at all quarantine departments in the country’s entry points to its highest level.

He pointed out that health monitoring cards will be issued to any person coming from China to Egypt. The General Administration of Quarantine will monitore them for 14 days from the date of arrival.

According to Mogahed, all travellers coming from the areas where the disease appeared, were checked, and if any passenger was found positive for the virus, they would be immediately isolated. A letter has been circulated to all health facilities nationwide defining the disease and how to deal with it, as well as preventive measures for medical service providers.

Meanwhile, Egyptian airports also have taken several preventive measures against the virus. These measures include obligating passengers to wear a muzzle on mouth and nose, and providing health cards to passengers on board.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less-severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease such as MERS and SARS. Some transmit easily from person to person, while others do not. Symptoms of the virus include fever and cough, and some people should have difficulty breathing. The symptoms appear between 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus.

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Egypt, Exxon Mobil sign two Mediterranean exploration agreements https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/egypt-exxon-mobil-sign-two-mediterranean-exploration-agreements/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:21:59 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720490 Company to start exploration in two blocks with $332m in investments

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Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla has signed two oil and gas exploration agreements in the Mediterranean with Exxon Mobil, the ministry announced on Tuesday.

The press statement indicates that the new agreements set a minimum investment of $332m.

Accordingly, Exxon Mobil will start exploration in the North East Amriya block, with a minimum investment of $220m, and the North Marakia block, with a minimum investment of $112m.

El-Molla stressed that the return of Exxon Mobil, one of the largest international companies operating in the oil and gas industry, to work in exploration in Egypt after their long absence, shows the successes achieved by the oil sector during the past period.

Egypt achieved several gas discoveries in the last period, the most prominent of which was the mammoth Zohr gas field, bringing the total production capacity to about 6.5bn feet of gas per day.

The country aims to turn into a regional gas hub, through exploiting the country’s LNG plants in Idku and Damietta, through importing gas from Israel and Cyprus and re-exporting them to other markets.

El-Molla explained that the Exxon Mobil agreements bring the total number of deals with investors to 82 since 2014, with a total minimum investment of about $16bn for the drilling of 340 wells.

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Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia attend last meeting in US over GERD https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/egypt-sudan-ethiopia-attend-last-meeting-in-us-over-gerd/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:19:47 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720489 The meeting is expected to end 29 January

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Meeting of Egyptian, Sudanese, and Ethiopian foreign ministers kicked off on Tuesday in the US to finalise an agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

It will also discuss the final technical, and legal drafts prepared by technical, and legal experts within the outcomes of the last meeting in Khartoum mid-January and the previous four rounds, as well.

The talks will cover filling, retained volumes of water in the dam, reservoir operation, drought, and its management, data exchange, and coordination mechanisms.

The dam’s negotiations enters its ninth year among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

In November, Washington hosted negotiations, mediated by the World Bank, and the US Treasury, between the three Nile Basin countries.

The US Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the World Bank will attend the meeting, as observers.

During their previous meeting in Washington two weeks ago, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt agreed on the filling of the dam to be executed in successive stages, and for the fillings to take place during the rainy season, July and August, and sometimes in September based on existing conditions.

Ethiopia intends to start filling the dam at the end of this year, and the filling process will take 4-7 years to complete.

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FRA reviews most important achievements in 2019 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/fra-reviews-most-important-achievements-in-2019/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:15:47 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720486 Securitisation bond issuances reach 18 of about EGP 22bn last year

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Mohamed Omran, head of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), reviewed the most important events that happened to the authority throughout the last year, including the approval of the consumer finance draft law and sending it to the parliament for discussion scheduled within two weeks.

FRA also approved the compulsory car insurance draft law, and permitted financial leasing activities for microfinance companies.

FRA set controls on the futures exchange in March, issued a guide for all non-banking financial activities, and amended the Microfinance Law.

In June, FRA joined the International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability and issued its first report on sustainability. The authority also completed procedures for establishing a regional centre for sustainable financing. While Egypt moved up 15 ranks in the Doing Business index.

FRA issued 182 decisions in 2019, including 56 regulatory rules and 89 others regulating non-bank financial activities.

Securitisation bond issuances reached 18 worth about EGP 22bn in 2019, compared to seven issuances of EGP 5.2bn in 2018.

Moreover, Egypt ranked first in the Middle East in terms of venture capital deals, and the second in terms of the value of such deals. Egypt’s ranking also increased 39% in the Morgan Stanley index.

Non-bank financial activities, except factoring, achieved remarkable growth last year, as mortgage financing grew 18% to EGP 2.6bn, compared to EGP 2.2bn in 2018, while financial leasing achieved 34% growth, reaching EGP 56bn, compared to EGP 41.7bn in the comparison period.

In addition, microfinance grew 43.5% to EGP 16.5bn in 2019, compared to EGP 11.5bn in 2018.

FRA made licences available to credit rating companies for small and medium enterprises, in addition to reducing the cost of issuing green bonds by 50%.

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Capital flows return to emerging markets in September after August exit: CBE https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/capital-flows-return-to-emerging-markets-in-september-after-august-exit-cbe/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:13:31 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720483 Direction of capital movement remains dependent on future outlook of economic activity growth rates, development of global trade tensions

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The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said that emerging markets witnessed a continuous return of capital flows in September 2019, following a temporary exit in August.

The CBE, in its monetary policy report issued on Tuesday, stated that the return of capital flows to emerging markets during 2019 came after it witnessed an eleven-months exit between February 2018 and December 2018, supported by the impact of the monetary policy direction on the economies of developed countries.

It pointed out, however, that the direction of capital movement remains dependent on the future outlook for the rate of growth of economic activity in addition to the development of global trade tensions.

The CBE said that net foreign assets of commercial banks continued to improve during the second quarter (Q2) of 2019, second in a row.

The decrease in net foreign direct investment continued on an annual basis during the Q2 of 2019, for the fourth consecutive quarter.

The CBE indicated that these developments came mainly as a result of higher outflows, despite the improvement in inflows on an annual basis, which recorded the highest rate since the Q4 2016. At the same time, the net foreign exchange reserves of the CBE rose slightly to record $45.1bn in September 2019, after having generally stabilised at $44.9bn in July and August 2019.

It said the decline in the financial account surplus continued during the Q2 2019, after surplus increased in the Q1 2019.

The CBE report pointed to the continued positive shift in investor perception of emerging markets since the beginning of 2019 to support the continuation of net investment flows in the foreign securities portfolio in Egypt during the Q2 2019 for the second quarter in a row, but at a lower rate compared to the previous quarter. The success of the Ministry of Finance in issuing international bonds during the Q2 2019 also supported the continuation of net investment flows in Egypt’s foreign securities portfolio despite the decrease in the size of issuance and surplus services settling on an annual basis during Q2 2019, after it recorded an improvement for the eighth consecutive quarter in Q1 2017 and Q2 2018.

This comes as remittances from workers abroad continued to decline on an annual basis during the Q2 2019, for the third consecutive quarter. Despite this, the annual decline rate decreased during the Q2 2019, for the second consecutive quarter.

The petroleum trade balance continued to improve on an annual basis during Q2 2019, for the sixth consecutive quarter, to record a surplus for the second time since Q3 2013.

This was mainly supported by the decrease in the volume of imports and the increase in the volume of exports, despite the decrease in world oil prices on an annual basis during Q2 2019, for the second consecutive quarter.

The improvement came mainly supported by a surplus in net natural gas exports since Q4 2018, while net imports of oil products continued to decline, mainly supported by the state’s fiscal reforms and improved domestic refining activity, which in turn mainly supported the stability of net oil exports.

The non-oil trade balance deficit improved on an annual basis during Q2 2019, for the first time since Q3 2017.

While the contribution of exports improved, the non-oil trade balance deficit betterment was mainly supported by a decrease in imports, especially imports of intermediate goods, for the first time since Q2 2017, after imposing custom duties on iron imports in April 2019.

At the same time, the net deficit in exports of goods and services continued to improve on an annual basis during Q2 2019, after rising during Q1 2019, for the first time since Q4 2016. This was mainly driven by an improved non-oil trade balance deficit.

The current account deficit continued to increase on an annual basis during Q2 2019 for the third quarter in a row, but at a lower rate compared to the previous quarter, after it recorded an annual improvement for the seventh quarter in a row during the period between Q4 2016 and Q2 2018.

The decrease in the pace was mainly driven by an improvement in the contribution of the non-oil trade balance deficit, the oil trade balance surplus, and the remittances of workers abroad. This was partly limited by the decrease in the contribution of both the net investment income deficit, while the contribution of the net services surplus stabilised.

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US government invested $80bn in Egypt over 40 years: Amb. https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/us-government-invested-80bn-in-egypt-over-40-years-amb/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:42:39 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720471 We'll continue to support Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to reach an agreement on GERD negotiations, says Cohen

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The United States’ government provides robust support for Egypt, both bilaterally and through multilateral institutions, having invested over $80 bn in Egypt over the 40 years of the strategic partnership, US ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen said during his speech at the event  organised entitled “The US-Egyptian strategic partnership and opportunities for commercial engagement,” organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) on Tuesday.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), just celebrated its 40th year partnering with the Egyptian people to improve economic growth and trade, healthcare, education, vocational training, water, sanitation, historical site preservation, and so much more, the ambassador mentioned.

“My entire career has been about forging US partnerships with countries and regions to expand mutually beneficial opportunities, including with and for US business.  I previously worked on economic and commercial files in a number of Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Turkey, and gained in-depth understandings of how to realise opportunities and overcome challenges to boost trade, investment, and development,” the ambassador said.

Playing a pivotal role in the development of Egypt’s energy sector, the ambassador said “In both Cyprus and Greece, I worked with Exxon and am delighted to report the signing just yesterday of a new contract to explore offshore here in Egypt.”

Egypt is a dynamic country with a complex economy and unique regional challenges, the ambassador said, noting, “I’ve been working hard over the past few months to understand the specific challenges our US companies face here. And I’m still learning.  But with your help I hope to be an expert advocate for your interests – because the success of US businesses in Egypt is in America’s best interests.”

Cohen presented his credentials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 17 November 2019 after he was sworn in as ambassador to Egypt on 14 November 2019.

“As the US Ambassador, I am responsible for the US-Egypt relationship in all its aspects.  Political, military, economic, trade, cultural, educational – it all comes across my desk,” the ambassador stated, asserting that the first and most important point is he is, and will be, American businesses’ advocate in Egypt.

“I will be working tirelessly to create and expand business opportunities between the US and Egypt, and working with the Egyptian government to build an environment that attracts US investment and in which a strong private sector can generate jobs and deliver the economic growth that Egypt needs,” the ambassador said.

He asserted the importance of American brands in terms of quality products and services that American companies bring to the local market, jobs they create, innovation and entrepreneurship they inculcate, knowledge and technology they transfer, and corporate-social responsibility projects they undertake.

Egypt is the fourth-largest export market for US goods and services in the Middle East, and the largest market for US goods and services exports in the continent, the ambassador said.

From 2017 through this past November, total US-Egyptian bilateral trade grew by over 44% to $8.2bn, the ambassador said, adding that US goods exports to Egypt were $5.2bn, up 30% over the past two years.

US imports from Egypt were $3 bn, up 76% in two years, and US food and agricultural exports to Egypt grew 145% from 2017 to 2018.

“Our military and security assistance to Egypt also remains a lasting testament to Egypt’s historic peace treaty with Israel 41 years ago and totals over $50 bn over that time span,” the ambassador said.

He added that energy is one of the most promising sectors, not just in Egypt, but across the Eastern Mediterranean region, and that “The recent announcement by Egypt and Israel of gas deliveries via the East Mediterranean Gas pipeline is historic – congratulations to Noble Energy for their part in this success story.”

ExxonMobil and Chevron are entering Egypt’s dynamic upstream market, the ambassador said, noting that the Apache Corporation remains one of the largest investors in the country.

Information and communications technology (ICT) is a very promising area in Egypt, bursting with entrepreneurial spirit. The most recent ICT exhibition attracted over 20 major US vendors, who see great opportunities in helping Egypt build out a 21st century communications infrastructure.

In the past two years, IBM, Microsoft, Uber, Cisco, and Honeywell have all expanded their footprint in Egypt, the ambassador mentioned, saying Google has returned to Egypt based on positive growth prospects in the market.

US pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment providers have long played an important role in Egypt, partnering with the Egyptian government to keep Egyptian citizens healthy, the ambassador said, noting, “it was a US-Egypt joint venture that mobilised the public and private sector and with the support of the World Bank tested 70 million Egyptians in seven years to wipe out Hepatitis C in Egypt.”

There are opportunities for US companies, in Egypt’s plans, to digitise medical records and upgrade its national health insurance plan, the ambassador mentioned.

Textiles continue to present important commercial opportunities for Egyptian companies to export to the US, which translates into opportunities for US importers and clothing manufacturers.

The Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ), which allows for duty-free imports to the US of Egyptian products with 10.5% Israeli input, continues to expand Egypt’s textile exports to the US, which is now worth nearly $1bn each year and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in both US and Egypt,  the ambassador said.

QIZ is not limited to textiles and the embassy is encouraging Egyptian companies to look for other opportunities to expand the use of this facility to other products, the ambassador said.

Agriculture accounted for nearly 60% of US-Egypt bilateral trade last year, the ambassador said, adding, “US companies are well-aware of the many opportunities across Egypt’s agricultural sector, including food and beverages, feedstock, and so much more.”

Many US agribusiness associations are already active in Egypt and work closely with local firms on best practices.

The USAID is working with universities and technical high schools to promote entrepreneurship programmes that will help the next generation of entrepreneurs enter the market, that ambassador said.

The tourism sector also presents excellent opportunities now that tourism numbers are returning to pre-2011 levels.

Additionally, the ambassador told Daily News Egypt on the sidelines of the event that several US companies are interested in putting new investments in the local market.

He concluded that the US supports Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan in reaching an agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and will continue to.

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STC acquires stake in Vodafone Egypt, to use Vodafone trademark and services https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/stc-acquires-stake-in-vodafone-egypt-to-use-vodafone-trademark-and-services/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:30:15 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720477 In the event of the transaction’s completion, both parties intend to conclude a partnership agreement that will allow STC to use the Vodafone trademark and other Vodafone services.

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The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) agreed to acquire Vodafone International’s stake in Vodafone Egypt for $2.4bn. The two companies will complete the remaining procedures within the coming months in preparation of the deal’s completion, scheduled for June, provided that the final acquisition cost is determined by then.

In the event of the transaction’s completion, both parties intend to conclude a partnership agreement that will allow STC to use the Vodafone trademark and other Vodafone services.

Nasser Al-Nasser, CEO of STC Group, said that the potential acquisition would depend on the results of both parties’ due diligence.

Nick Reid, CEO of Vodafone Group, said that this potential deal supports the company’s vision to increase its geographical presence in two regions, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. This deal comes in a time when Vodafone is looking to reduce its debt and increase its value to shareholders.

After STC completes its side of the deal, any binding agreement regarding this transaction will require the necessary approvals of both the boards of STC and Vodafone, and the relevant regulatory authority.

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STC to reveal Vodafone Egypt acquisition offer Wednesday: source https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/stc-to-reveal-vodafone-egypt-acquisition-offer-wednesday-source/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 20:01:46 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720464 The source said Vodafone International negotiated with more than one Gulf company, but it finally preferred STC and kept it secret until it got the best price.

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Saudi Telecom Company’s (STC) offer to acquire Vodafone Group’s stake in its subsidiary in Egypt will be revealed on Wednesday, a source related to Vodafone Egypt told Daily News Egypt Tuesday.

He added that the negotiations started a long time ago after the entry of Telecom Egypt (TE), which acquires 49% of Vodafone Egypt, to the market of mobile operators through the fourth network WE, which was considered by the British company as a conflict of interests, as TE was their Egyptian partner and a competitor at the same time.

The source said Vodafone International negotiated with more than one Gulf company, but it finally preferred STC and kept it secret until it got the best price.

Bloomberg quoted a senior government official as saying that Vodafone was in talks to sell its stake in its Egyptian unit to STC. They also reported that Egypt’s cabinet, though, said in a text message that the Egyptian unit’s CEO was due to meet Egypt’s Prime Minister on Tuesday.

According to Bloomberg, this deal comes more than six years after STC had considered a bid for a minority 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt held by state-run TE.

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Deal of Century: 2-state solution, remarking borders, and disarming Palestine https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/deal-of-century-2-state-solution-remarking-borders-and-disarming-palestine/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 19:29:32 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720462 Palestinian politicians call for ditching Oslo Accords, establishing Palestinian state 

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US President Donald Trump revealed his so-called “Deal of the Century” peace plan on Tuesday, claiming that it is the most detailed proposal that has been put out so far, as it provided precise technical solutions.

In short, the plan stipulates a two-state solution, but recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, gives parts of West Bank to Israel, enforces disarming of Hamas movement and Gaza demilitarised, and ends the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

This was the first time that Israel authorised the release of a conceptual map for a peace plan, Trump said, adding: “today could be the last opportunity Palestinians will ever have to establish a state.”

“The Palestinian people have grown distrustful due to years of unfulfilled [American] promises. This map will double Palestinian territory and provide capital in Eastern Jerusalem where the US will establish an embassy.”

On the status of the religious sites, he explained that under his plan “Israel will work closely with the King of Jordan to ensure the status quo of the Temple Mount is preserved and ensure that all Muslims who want to pray in Al-Aqsa mosque would be able to.”

He called on the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the deal, adding: “if you chose the path to peace, America and other countries will be there to help you through the way, your response will show the world to what extent you are ready to lead the Palestinians to statehood.”

“Soleimani ran an organisation called Jerusalem Liberation Forces [sic] and falsely promoted the false notion that a free Jerusalem should be at war with Israel. In truth, Jerusalem is liberated. It is time for the Muslim world to fix the mistake they made in 1948 when they chose to attack instead of recognising the state of Israel,” Trump blatantly said in an unprecedented statement by a US president.

Earlier this week, Trump discussed his proposal for Middle East peace in closed meetings in Washington, D.C. with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival in the upcoming Israeli elections, Benny Gantz. But no Palestinians attended the Monday meetings.

Netanyahu, who was standing beside Trump in the press conference, said that previous peace plans failed because they did not find the right balance between Israeli security and Palestinian aspiration. “I agree to negotiate peace with Palestinians on the base of your [Trump’s] peace plan.”

“You have been the greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House,” he added.

Palestinian position

Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan asked on Tuesday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to announce the establishment of the Palestinian state and ditching the Oslo Accords.

He affirmed the need for abolishing the accords of mutual recognition and security coordination, in addition to providing the necessary international protection for Palestinian people.

At the same time, the Palestinian Authority called on the Arab League in Cairo to hold an urgent meeting next Saturday to discuss Trump’s peace plan in the Middle East, adding that Abbas will attend this meeting.

Palestine’s Foreign Ministry asserted the importance of backing the Palestinian position by Arab countries and rejecting the American peace proposal, according to Palestinian local media.

Palestinian ambassador to Egypt Diab Al-Louh said Saturday’s meeting “comes at a crucial time, and requires a unified Arab position in the face of all schemes designed to exclude the Palestinian national question and undermine the two-state solution as well as the prospects for the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Based on Abbas’s request, the Palestinian leadership held an emergency meeting in the West Bank’s central city of Ramallah to discuss ways to combat the peace plan. It was reported that Hamas, leader of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine and Gaza’s ruler, attended the meeting as members of the Palestinian National Council.

The Palestine Liberation Organization said on Tuesday, despite the Palestinian rejections for the peace proposal, Trump claimed that it will be implemented without the approval of the Palestinian leadership.

Moreover, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that the Middle East Quartet must join the discussions of the so-called “Deal of the Century.” The foreign minister was referring to a group of four sides, namely UN, US, EU, and Russia, who are involved in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

On the other hand, Abbas said on Monday that he received a call from Washington, but he refused to pick up the phone, asserting that he refused to be a traitor. He added that he only had two choices: either to die as a martyr or hang the Palestinian flag on the walls of Jerusalem.

In June 2019, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner announced that the “Deal of the Century” will include $50bn investments in Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon in its first phase, creating one million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza.

Kushner explained that out of the total amount, $13.38bn would be in grants, $25.689bn subsidised loans, and $11.6bn private investments.

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USAID’s FAS, Ministry of Agriculture organise first Cold Chain Exhibition https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/usaids-fas-ministry-of-agriculture-organise-first-cold-chain-exhibition/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:13:38 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720448 $23m-FAS programme to end in June 2020

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Food Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) programme, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and land Reclamation, Global Cold Chain Exhibition Alliance (GCCA) and the World Food Logistics Organisation (WFLO) organised the first cold chain exhibition in Egypt, the US embassy said on Monday.

Participants of the Cold Chain Exhibition attended educational sessions and talked about cold chain processes, innovations in transportation technology, efficient storage and fire suppression.

FAS is a $23m programme that aims to increase agriculture-related incomes of smallholder farmers in Upper Egypt through implementing a market-driven approach that facilitates sustainable, pro-poor value chain development and helps smallholders increase access to domestic and export markets.

The programme has been in effect since July 2015 in Assiut, Aswan, Beni Suef, Luxor, Minya, Qena, and Sohag governorates and will end in June 2020.

The market-driven approach is supported by four interrelated component which are improving on-farm production, more efficient post-harvest processes, improving marketing of agriculture crops and products, and enhancing nutritional status, especially for women and children.

USAID has provided more than $1.4bn to the agriculture sector in Egypt since 1978. Its legacy has enabled farmers to purchase land, improve farm management techniques, access financial services, and has liberalised agro-input markets for fertilisers and seeds.

USAID helps Egypt increase its agricultural productivity and raise farmers’ incomes to become more self-reliant. Through Feed the Future, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative, USAID’s approach encourages free market competition and helps match farmers with local and international buyers to meet market needs and consumer demands.

USAID has invested more than $30bn in Egypt over the years.

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Saudi Arabia to truly cement itself as international hospitality destination: Colliers https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/saudi-arabia-to-truly-cement-itself-as-international-hospitality-destination-colliers/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 14:36:27 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720443 Saudi hospitality market is progressing, experiencing demographic shift

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The Saudi hospitality market is currently experiencing a demographic shift, which has had an influence on general consumer preferences in the market. The influx of international arrivals since the introduction of the Saudi tourist e-visas are also projected to have a long-term impact on general consumer preferences within the market.

According to Colliers International’s report “Transformation – Redefining Real Estate in KSA – Part 2”, international arrivals across Saudi Arabia have seen an increase a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of approximately 9% between 2013 and 2015.

The report highlighted that the visa reforms have had a positive impact on the proportion of international hospitality demand to local hospitality demand, however, local tourism demand is still expected to remain a key driver of demand for hotels in the future.

The increasing international demand does, however, have an influence on overall consumer preferences in Saudi Arabia, which can have an impact in hospitality offerings and supply.

The report noted that the largest international source market for Saudi Arabia in 2019 was Middle East and Africa with 7.5 million tourists followed by Asia Pacific with 6.5 million.

Asia Pacific is expected to experience the highest growth between 2019 and 2024.

Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Malaysian tourists account for the largest proportion of inbound arrivals from Asia-specific countries at present. These markets visit Saudi Arabia for religious purposes.

“The Saudi hospitality market is progressing through three distinct phases, first is the establishment phase, followed by the diversification phase, and the third phase is the locally established phase. Theses phases can help describe the state of the hospitality market and its supply within the Kingdom,” the report read. “Saudi Arabia’s hospitality supply is currently on the diversification phase; however, the market is showing clear indications of its transitioning to the locally established phase.”

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), led by international brands that opened in 2008, established themselves in the market, followed by the lower positioned Holiday Inn, which operated 11 properties by 2011.

Other operators followed a similar strategy, opening higher positioned properties to establish their brand credentials in the market, followed by other brands in their portfolio.

Between 2000 and 2020, luxury and upscale branded hotels accounted for 55% of the branded supply in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, operators start to experience increasing levels of competition causing a change in market dynamics and a diversification of brands.

Moreover, operators introduce a greater variety of brands in the hopes of achieving a unique selling point, giving them an advantage over the competition.

The Saudi market is currently on the diversification phase. During this phase, Saudi Arabia experienced a wider array of brands entering the hospitality market with almost double the number of brands available in 2019 compared to 2010. Hence, the scope of attracting consumers narrows. Differentiation through brand offerings alone is no longer an effective competitive strategy. To have a competitive edge in a growing hotel market should offer a greater variety in term of hotel product offerings.

Colliers believes that operators in the kingdom have identified they should better cater to both local and international guests. Along with this, there has been a noticeable growth in demand for lifestyle hotels in the Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, the locally established phase is that local brands also evolve and grow, becoming more competitive in the market versus international operators, diversifying in hospitality offerings and attracting a larger market share to their hotels.

This phase is considered to be the most developed phase in a hospitality market’s development. During this phase, local investors and operators would have already built their experience and portfolios. This allows these local operators to become more of a competitive presence in the market, especially in direct competition to international operators.

Local operators begin to diversify their product offering by evolving old brands and introducing new ones.

Experience led hotels are driven by the growing experience economy which has been fueled by millennials seeking real life experiences. While, the term “experience economy” has been around for some time, it re-emerged again recently, with the heightened use and cultural impact of social media.

In light of these new market developments, Colliers International identified three key elements of experience led hotels which developers in Saudi Arabia should consider when designing future hotels.

As the increasing competitive pressures associated with Saudi Arabia enter the diversification phase, the demand for unique experiences increases. The progressively younger Saudi demographic are looking for experience led hotel offerings, where personalised service is a key contributor to their overall experience.

The Saudi demographic is getting increasingly younger, there is a big opportunity for Saudi Arabia to take the lead on adapting their current hospitality standards to the changing consumer preferences in the market. Operators can do this by implementing new technologies to help offer greater personalised services to their guests.

Colliers estimates that there will be an increase in investment level amongst existing and forthcoming hospitality properties to implement artificial intelligence and internet of things technology to ensure better provision of personalised services.

“Findings by Gartner has also highlighted that in 2018, 50% of companies had redirected their investments towards customer experience innovation,” the report said.

Saudi hospitality properties can also use voice-controlled customer services, which is enabled by internet of things technology. Providing voice enabled devices can allow guests to tailor their experience in the property. This technology is already being adopted by operators such as Marriott International and Hilton.

Accordingly, most hotels have a social aspect to them at their very core, which plays a key role in the strength of their relationships with guests and the local community. We are in a time when hotels are seen as a social platform which not only connects itself to the surrounding environment, but also with the community.

Moreover, Colliers identified three key enablers of hotels as community hubs, namely coworking spaces or shared spaces, community engagement, and free-based membership.

The report disclosed that the rise of digital nomads and increasing business travel led hotels to incorporate coworking spaces as part of their service offering.

Colliers considers that the industry saw an increase in business travel among millennials, many of whom view business travel as a perk rather than an inconvenience.

The report mentioned that there were more than 3 million co-workers globally in 2019, expecting that this number will be doubled by 2022. Hotel brands are taking note of this trend and are incorporating shared working spaces to capitalise on this growing market.

In line with Vision 2030, Colliers expects to see an increase in coworking spaces as Saudi Arabia pushes for more freelancers and entrepreneurs in the kingdom. The younger demographic will play a big factor in the development of coworking spaces in hotel public places such as the lobby and meeting rooms.

While hotels in Saudi Arabia can look forward to an increase in international arrivals over the next few years, hoteliers should also look towards local residents as a source of supplementary revenue. This supplemental revenue can be achieved through leveraging hotel assets and services through free-based membership. Free-based memberships are a great way for hotel properties to reduce dependency on occupancy and average daily rate (ADR) for revenue generation.

Colliers believes that for Saudi Arabia to truly cement itself as an international hospitality destination, its hospitality market should exhibit traits unique to the country.

Over and above, the hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia is now reaching out to a new regional and international audience. During the first month of introducing tourist e-visas to 49 different nationalities, Saudi Arabia had processed approximatively 77,000 e-visas. With a goal of attracting 1.5 million tourists by 2020, hotels should take into consideration that international tourist demand for hospitality products are expected to increase.

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Faster Implementation of reforms is key to unleashing private sector investments, boosting sustainable growth and jobs: IFC’s Walid Labadi https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/faster-implementation-of-reforms-is-key-to-unleashing-private-sector-investments-boosting-sustainable-growth-and-jobs-ifcs-walid-labadi/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 14:31:12 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720437 State should encourage public-private partnerships in desalination, wastewater removal, renewable energy, says IFC Country Manager in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen

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Following the adoption of the economic reform programme in 2016, the business environment in Egypt has been improving, albeit at a modest rate. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Manager in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen Walid Labadi, said what is left to do is structural reforms to increase private sector participation, in addition to making sure the deficit, and debt levels, are narrowing.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Labadi to find out the IFC’s views on the Egyptian economy, how the country could boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs), and the most promising sectors for investments.

How much has IFC invested in FY 2019? And in which sectors?

Egypt is a priority country for IFC, and we have been a long-time supporter of the country’s private sector. Since 2005, IFC has committed a total of $4bn  (including mobilisation) to support private sector development, helping companies grow, create jobs, and boosting the country’s overall economic growth. Last fiscal year, 2019, which ended in June, IFC invested $309m (including mobilisation) to support the country’s manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, and renewable energy sectors.

We also have a robust advisory programme that helps businesses improve their processes and become more competitive and transparent. Our advisory portfolio has 15 projects that are worth $17.6m. In fiscal year 2019, we launched six advisory projects worth a total of $6.5m, to expand access to finance, especially for smaller businesses, support financial inclusion, promote gender diversity, and support entrepreneurship.

We often combine our investments and advisory work to provide a comprehensive support package that maximises our developmental impact. We also advise the government on how to create an attractive business environment, and work with them to help remove legal and technical obstacles that hamper private sector growth.

How much do you plan to invest in 2020?

There is no set limit to our investments in the country. For example, in FY 2018 IFC invested about $1.5bn in Egypt (including mobilisation), a record amount for us in the country. We look for impactful investment opportunities and we also offer other organisation opportunities to invest with us.

In the first half of FY 2020, we invested $234m. This includes an investment of $84m in a private wind farm on the Gulf of Suez, a debt package of $125m to a leading healthcare service provider to improve healthcare services in Egypt and Morocco, and a loan of $25m to the Middle East Glass to boost their production capacity.

How many equity investments do you have?

With 26 investments, our equity portfolio currently stands at $680m and covers critical sectors, like banking and financial services, manufacturing, insurance, construction, and technology.

Is IFC planning to invest in the upcoming government IPOs?

IFC invests in several industries, including the financial sector. IPOs are encouraging steps and could help unleash the promise of the private sector. IFC is open to considering opportunities associated with the IPOs of state-owned firms.

How do you see the business environment in Egypt?

The business environment in Egypt is improving, but at a modest rate. Egypt continues to advance in the World Bank Group’s annual Doing Business report. It placed 114th in the world in the latest rankings, up from 120th the previous year. However, there is much more to be done to improve the business environment and attract investments to the country.

Egypt’s rise reflects both procedural and structural reforms undertaken by the government, such as the introduction of new laws for investments, industrial licencing, and insolvency, which were significant steps toward supporting private sector development. In addition, one-stop shops were established reducing the time to start a business, borrower and lender rights were strengthened, and VAT cash refunds were extended to manufactures when engaged in new capital investments.

There is more room to lower the cost of doing business, which is still high. Also, an uneven playing field tends to drive investors away from Egypt and prevent companies from reaping the opportunities created by the recent currency devaluation.

What are the main 5 reforms that are needed for Egypt to improve its business environment?

Reducing the time it takes to register a property would benefit Egypt, where it now ranks 130/190 on the Registering a Property Indicator in the Doing Business Report 2020. Also, improving the efficiency of industrial land allocation through a market-based mechanism is important. Speeding up the ratification of the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) law, currently in parliament is key as well. The new law aims to strengthen the institutional, financial, and operational independence of the ECA, while enhancing its accountability and transparency.

Egypt’s geographical location is a great advantage for many sectors. The country is strategically located between east and west, which could make it an important logistics hub. But red tape and high customs fees discourage cross-border commerce. Egypt currently ranks 171 out of 190 countries on the trading across borders indicator. Cutting back on bureaucracy would be relatively simple and lead to major gains.

Diversifying the energy mix is critically important. That’s one area the country has made significant progress in especially in the case of the Benban solar array, near Aswan. Financed partially by IFC is one of the largest solar complexes in the world and a testament to Egypt’s potential when it comes to renewable energy. Opening-up the sector for private investments helped attract $2bn to build the Benban park.

Also, IFC recently invested $84m to support the development of a 252-megawatt wind farm in the Red Sea governorate. These projects will bolster the production of clean energy, lower generation costs, and diversify the country’s energy mix.

Would you recommend Egypt as an investment market? Why?

Yes. Egypt has taken significant strides in turning its macroeconomic situation around, which underscores the political will to implement reforms, boding well for successful policy implementation across the board.

Egypt’s much improved macro fundamentals will continue to have a positive impact on investor confidence and the country’s risk ratings. If the government continues to reform the business environment it will keep this country on the investors’ radar.

Which sectors offer attractive value to investors?

We believe there are several sectors that offer value to IFC and other investors, conditional on some sectoral reforms and a general improvement in the business climate.

With Egypt’s large population, we see tremendous opportunities for investors in the food, healthcare, logistics, chemicals, information technology, and renewable energy sectors.

Moving forward with our strategy in Egypt, we will continue to invest in renewable energy, especially solar and wind, two areas where we have been extremely active in recent years. We’ll forge ahead with our work to support small businesses, which are the backbone of Egypt’s economy, and we’ll look at new investments in areas like manufacturing, agribusiness, banking, and digital technology.

Which sectors should the government reform or focus on reforming?

The government should focus on sectors that have a significant developmental impact and where private investments can step in to alleviate pressures on government finances and ensure efficiency of the products and services. Those sectors include healthcare, where the proposed National Health Insurance plan should include a role for private providers and mechanisms to ensure quality care.

The state should also encourage public-private partnerships in desalination, wastewater removal and renewable energy, deals that would help the government focus precious funds on other priority areas.

It would be good to see the state strengthen the laws around microfinance, which is a potential driver of growth. Finally, in telecoms, it would behoove officials to implement a sector road map and remove barriers to private investments in towers and other infrastructure.

How do you see the performance of Egypt’s economy after completing EFF and IMF?

With the conclusion of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility, Egypt has already completed the most difficult macro reforms needed to stabilise and eventually jump-start the economy. What is left to do is mostly structural reforms that are aimed to increase private sector participation, in addition to making sure the deficit and debt levels are narrowing. We do not believe there will be a reversal of macro-economic policies and the Central Bank of Egypt seems committed to maintain a flexible exchange rate and setting inflation as the core objective of monetary policy.

Real GDP growth is projected to continue its upward trend to reach 5.8% and 6.0% in FY 2020 and FY2021, respectively, supported by private consumption, investments, tourism, and gas exports. The fiscal deficit is expected to continue declining gradually over the medium term to reach 7.0% of GDP by FY2021 on the back of continued subsidy reforms and consolidation of the public sector wage bill. The current account deficit is projected to remain stable over the medium term at 2.6% of GDP in FY2020 and FY2021. These are all signs that Egypt is starting to turn the economic corner.

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Calls inside parliament to cancel 2005 free trade agreement with Turkey https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/calls-inside-parliament-to-cancel-2005-free-trade-agreement-with-turkey/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 14:23:56 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720402 ‘Agreement is supposed to be reassessed in 2020, but there is no intention to cancel it,’ says economic analyst

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Parliamentary committee of industry and trade, headed by Mohamed Farag Amer, called for the abolishment of the 2005 free trade agreement between Egypt and Turkey, only a few weeks after several MPs had presented a proposal to boycott Turkish products on the back of ongoing political divergence between the two countries.

Amer justified his call explaining that the agreement harmed Egyptian products, and contributed to flooding the local market with Turkish goods, which, in most cases, do not meet Egyptian standards. There was a clear deficiency in the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s handling of this file, he said, pointing out that the committee had previously asked to cancel the free trade agreement because it negatively affected local industry.

He claimed that Egyptian consumers were no longer interested in Turkish products after the escalating hostile attitudes of Ankara against Cairo.

“It seems like there is an intention for harming Egyptian products and causing broad lay-offs. Strict measures must be taken through the World Trade Organization regarding the spread of Turkish products in Egypt,” he continued.

It came during a meeting of the industry committee to discuss MP Mohamed Al-Ghoul’s inquest about the large presence of imported wood particles from Turkey and China in the Egyptian market.

Al-Ghoul explained that these imported woodchips might lead to the closure of granular wood factories in Edfu and Nag Hammadi towns due to the accumulation of large quantities of wood in stores, as well as the sales decline in the local market.

Loses of millions of pounds are expected as large quantities of wood piled up in warehouses in Nag Hammadi, Qena governorate, which is the largest of its kind in the production of wood (fiberboard) in Egypt and the Middle East. The factory is under threat of closure and laying off thousands of workers as it cannot market its products due to their high prices compared to the imports.

Al-Ghoul said the free trade agreement was signed in 2005 by former prime minister Ahmed Nazif and came into effect in 2007. The deal was activated in 2013 under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkish exports to Egypt exceeded EGP 4.6bn, while Egyptian exports to Turkey were only EGP 1.1bn, so the trade agreement was skewed to benefit Turkish industry only.

“You [Ministry of Trade] did not try to protect the local industry,” he claimed, referring to America’s imposing of 10-25% fees on Chinese imports.

“Turkish products have been entering the Egyptian market with zero customs for two years in violation to the timeline of the agreement,” Al-Ghoul said, calling for a clear written clarification from the Ministry of Trade and Industry on this issue.

This should not be happening in light of the deteriorated relations with the Turkish state, he added, describing the situation as “collusion between Turkish factories and some Egyptian importers at the expense of the local industry.”

The agreement stipulates that if one side faced any difficulties in terms of its balance of payments, this state should take the necessary measures to adjust its situation in line with the provisions of the World Trade Organization.

Interestingly, relations between Egypt and Turkey have been strained since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, however, the trade exchange between the two countries has witnessed steady growth.

Official figures and statistics show an increase in the volume of exports and imports between Cairo and Ankara, year after year, in what appears to be an attempt to isolate political differences from trade relations.

Notably, diplomatic relations between Turkey and Egypt have been maintained at the level of Chargé d’affaires on both sides since 2013. When Morsi was ousted, Ankara offered refuge and protection for the Muslim Brotherhood leadership while waging a media campaign against the current regime.

In addition, the two countries support different sides in the Libyan conflict, as Turkey allies with the UN- recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), while Egypt, along with the UAE, backs the eastern-based Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) led by Khalifa Haftar.

This dispute intensified after Turkey had signed an agreement with the GNA last November, aiming to establish an exclusive economic zone that extends from Turkey’s southern coast on the Mediterranean to the north-eastern Libyan coast. The move alarmed several countries, including Egypt which allocated huge investments to prospect energy sources in the mentioned region, and may threaten its ability to export gas to Europe.

Ibrahim Al-Sajeni, head of the commercial remedies sector at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that the commercial remedies sector will start taking the necessary measures and impose protection fees on Turkish wood as soon as the factory presents a completed complaint with documents proving the spread of Turkish wood.

On the other hand, Egyptian economic analyst Sabri Najeh said: “The agreement is supposed to be reassessed in 2020, and there is no intention to cancel it.”

“In the first nine months of 2019, the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Turkey reached about $4.6bn, which was the same figure in the whole of 2018. This means that there is an increase in the trade exchange between the two countries,” he added.

“The two countries hoped the increase would be greater, but the escalation of political tension between them affected a lot of things in one way or another, despite the numbers of trade exchange rising year after year.”

“It is not in the interest of the Turkish government to cancel any free trade agreement with any country in light of the recent economic problems plaguing Ankara, and the same applies to Egypt, which has a programme for economic reform, and therefore aims to increase investments with any country, even if it is Turkey,” Najeh concluded.

Egypt’s imports from Turkey increased by 11% between January to September 2019, recording $2.39bn compared to $2.16bn in the same period of 2018, despite recent political tensions between the two countries.

According to a recent report issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Egyptian exports to Turkey declined by 22% from January to September 2019, recording $1.37bn compared to $1.73bn in the same period in 2018.

In the first nine months of 2019, Turkey came fourth in the list of countries importing from Egypt, with a value of $1.2bn, according to the statistics of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). 

Notably, the total value of Egyptian non-oil exports increased overall between January and November 2019 to $23.227bn compared to $22.187bn in the same period in 2018, a growth of 4%.

It is expected that this prosperity in economic relations between the two countries will continue in case of the renewal of the free trade agreement scheduled for this year.

In 2018, Ahmed Helmy, chairperson of the Chamber of Wood Products and Furniture, in the Federation of Egyptian Industries, called for the necessity of reviewing the pros and cons of the free trade agreement between the two countries, and taking measures that achieve the protection of the local furniture industry in a memorandum to former Minister of Industry Amr Nassar.

The decrease in Turkish lira’s value, larger exports to Egypt from Turkey, lifting customs on Turkish products, have all led to Egyptian products’ inability to compete with their Turkish competitors in the local market.

He went on to say, “The cost of a wooden product from an Egyptian company may reach EGP 70, while the Turkish product is now sold in Egypt at EGP 58. So many Egyptian companies could no longer operate, and 200 workers were laid off.”

Helmy warned that if the agreement is to continue without any control and with a lack of protection for Egyptian products, many countries like Morocco, Jordan, and others, will continue to push out Egyptian companies from the national market.

Several furniture factories submitted a memo to the Chamber demanding prompt interference to protect them from the harm caused as a result of the low price of the Turkish lira against US dollar. They also said that Turkish products threatens the closure of factories and displacement of labour, and they proposed in their memorandum the necessity of imposing fees on Turkish products that have a local equivalent.

This parliamentary move is considered a second attempt to slight Turkey after MPs called for the boycott of Turkish goods in response to Turkey’s blatant transgressions against the region, along with their attempts to plunder, spread chaos, and destabilise the Middle East.

Egypt’s Congress Party presented a request to Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the necessity of severing economic and trade deals between Egypt and Turkey. 

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Foreign investments in Egypt’s T-Bills rise to EGP 254.30bn December 2019 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/foreign-investments-in-egypts-t-bills-rise-to-egp-254-30bn-december-2019/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 09:20:55 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720388 Increase of total outstanding balances of T-Bills to EGP 1.512trn 2019-end

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The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said foreign investments in treasury bills (T-Bills) increased by about EGP 5.03bn at the end of December, to about EGP 254.30bn, from EGP 249.26bn in November 2019.

Two days ago, Minister of Finance Mohamed Moeit revealed that foreigners’ contribution to government debt instruments increased to $22bn in December.

Before its recovery in 2019, Egypt lost about $10.8bn of foreign investments in T-Bills from April 2018 to December 2019, according to the CBE.

Emerging markets (EM) were exposed to a wave of foreign exit from investments in government debt instruments starting from April 2018 with the rise of the US dollar price, and the growing fears of the economies of these markets, especially after the crises of Turkey and Argentina, but the crisis slowed down in December, and then reflected positive flows since the beginning of this year.

Mohamed Abdel Aal, a banking expert and a board member of the Suez Canal Bank, expected indicators of foreign investments in government debt instruments to be more positive in the coming period, in light of the continued strong real return on them compared to other markets.

The CBE said that the total outstanding balances of T-Bills reached EGP 1.512trn in December against EGP 1.47trn in November 2019.

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Delegation from Swedish embassy explores investment opportunities in SCZone https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/delegation-from-swedish-embassy-explores-investment-opportunities-in-sczone/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 09:00:24 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720386 Mohamed Shaaban, vice chairperson of SC Zone received the delegation that included representatives from the Swedish Trade and Investment Council, a statement issued by the SCZone said, noting that both sides exchanged views about infrastructure development and potential projects in the Zone.

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A delegation from the Swedish embassy to Egypt visited the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) to closely identify investment opportunities, according to a Monday statement.

Mohamed Shaaban, vice chairperson of SC Zone received the delegation that included representatives from the Swedish Trade and Investment Council, a statement issued by the SCZone said, noting that both sides exchanged views about infrastructure development and potential projects in the Zone.

The SCZone is implementing an openness policy that aims at attracting foreign investors, Shaaban said, adding that it offers taxation and customs incentives to totally benefit from its unique geographical location and increase the Zone’s competitiveness in comparison with other economic zones in the Middle East, and North Africa.

A promotional film was displayed during the meeting to highlight the positive infrastructure developments in the SCZone and its affiliated ports, mentioned the statement, saying that the Swedish delegation also visited Ein El-Sokhna Port after the meeting with Shaaban.

For their part, the Swedish delegation asserted their keenness on boosting business cooperation with the Egyptian side, particularly in the SCZone, noting that they are looking forward to investing in the SC Zone due to its several advantages.

Additionally, SCZone is discussing with the Cabinet offering new taxes incentives for investors, Yehia Zaki, chairperson of the SCZone, told Daily News Egypt over his participation in the event organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) on 12 January 2020.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will inaugurate the Zone’s Economic Conference in Galala City on 7 March 2020, Zaki mentioned, noting that one day ahead of the conference, a tour will be organised in the SC Zone to closely identify the developments.

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Banks’ credit facilities reach EGP 1.84trn November 2019 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/banks-credit-facilities-reach-egp-1-84trn-november-2019/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:40:40 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720385 Private business sector accounted for 59.2% of the total facilities, and the industrial sector is at the forefront of the sectors that benefit from it: CBE

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The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said that the volume of credit facilities granted by banks operating in the domestic market to their customers reached about EGP 1.84tn by the end of November 2019, a decrease of EGP 13.3bn (0.7%), between July 2019 and November 2019.

The CBE attributed this decline to the decrease in government credit facilities by EGP 56.1bn. In contrast, the balance granted to non-government credit facilities increased by EGP 42.8bn, growing at a rate of 3.3%.

The CBE explained that the increase in balances granted to non-government facilities came as a result of the increase in the volume of facilities in local currency by EGP 51bn, while facilities in foreign currencies decreased by EGP 8.2bn.

Credit facilities refer to loans granted by banks to their customers, in addition to letters of credit and guarantee to cover imports.

The CBE indicated in its monthly report issued on Sunday that the private business sector obtained about 59.2% of total non-governmental credit facilities granted by banks to various economic sectors.

It said that the industrial sector came in the forefront of the sectors funded by banks, as it  got about 32% of these facilities, followed by the services sector which accounted for 26.2% of them, then the trade sector with 10.8%.

As usual, the agriculture sector received the lowest percentage of the credit facilities granted by banks to various economic sectors, as it acquired only 1.8% of the size of these facilities until the end of November 2019.

According to the CBE, there are other sectors that were not mentioned in detail, especially the household sector, which received about 29.2% of the size of these facilities.

The household sector holds a large share of the volume of loans with banks, and this stake is expected to increase during the coming period, after the CBE raised the maximum loan instalments percentage to 50% of the total borrower’s income instead of 30%.

This comes while the agricultural sector still suffers weak financing, due to the banks avoiding its finance, except the Agriculture Bank of Egypt (ABE) that specialises in financing and servicing this sector.

Earlier this month, the government and the CBE launched an initiative to finance the industrial sector with EGP 100bn, which would raise the volume of financing directed to this sector.

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Bank deposits up EGP 16.792bn November 2019 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/bank-deposits-up-egp-16-792bn-november-2019/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:20:49 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720382 Household sector accounts for 81.6% of total deposits, 84.4% of deposits in local currency

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The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) revealed that customer deposits in the banking sector increased by about EGP 16.792bn to EGP 4.18trn at the end of November, compared to EGP 4.16trn October 2019.

In its monthly report issued on Sunday, the bank indicated that government deposits recorded EGP 612.57bn in November, compared to EGP 623.77bn in October, a decrease of EGP 11.19bn.

The government deposits in the local currency amounted to EGP 537.15bn, and EGP 545.95bn in foreign currencies.

The CBE added that non-governmental deposits recorded an increase of EGP 27.98bn EGP 3.57trn in November, compared to EGP 3.54trn in October.

He added that non-governmental deposits in the local currency reached EGP 2.9trn in November, compared to EGP 2.86trn in October, an increase of EGP 36.32bn, while non-governmental deposits in foreign currencies were EGP 668.98bn, down from EGP 677.32bn.

According to the CBE, the growth rate in total bank deposits increased to 13.01% in November, compared to 12.8% in October.

The CBE indicated that the rate of growth in deposits in local currency rose to 20.1% in November, compared to 19.5% in October, while the rate of growth in deposits in foreign currencies reached -10.1%, compared to -8.9%.

According to the CBE, the share of foreign currencies in total deposits in banks declined to 18.62% at the end of November 2019, compared to 19% at the end of October.

In November, the household sector accounted for about 81.6% of the total bank deposits. The sector’s share of deposits in local currency was 84.4%, and 69.5% in foreign currencies.

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Cabinet defines 10 tasks for planning and economic development ministry https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/cabinet-defines-10-tasks-for-planning-and-economic-development-ministry/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:00:33 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720379 Ministry achieves great progress in administrative reform file, says El-Said

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Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly defined 10 tasks for the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, within the ministry’s economic portfolio, according to a ministerial statement.

“We accomplished the files entrusted to us. We now have 10 tasks for the Ministry within the economic development portfolio,” Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said said on Monday.

“We are working on the formulation and following–up the execution of the national sustainable development strategy (Egypt Vision 2030), and on advancing partnership mechanisms with the private sector, civil society, and development partners to enhance financing for sustainable development,” she added.

The Ministry is responsible for developing and supporting entrepreneurship and innovation with a target of increasing its contribution to comprehensive and sustainable economic development, according to El-Said.

The Ministry achieved great progress in the critical administrative reform file, most notably the institutional development and capacity-building pillars, in tandem with the comprehensive economic reform process in an exceptional period.

She noted that the Ministry assigned another file of great importance for economic development, stressing that after the success of the Egyptian economic reform programme, the Ministry seeks to maintain sustainable growth in a manner that reflects more opportunities for decent and productive work.

She further said the economic development file was closely related to people’s lives, adding that development was an integral part of planning, especially on the local and provincial planning levels, which helps make use of available resources to maximise available investment opportunities.

According to the recently assigned tasks, the ministry is also responsible for following up the implementation of the UN sustainable development strategy, while ensuring compatibility with the African Agenda 2063, in addition to preparing periodic reports to assess the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation.

She indicated that the Ministry was responsible for designing optimal utilisation mixtures for the state’s unutilised assets to maximise their returns in the benefit of future generations.

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