Daily News Egypt https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Wed, 11 Dec 2019 10:00:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Google announces new features for Arab countries https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/google-announces-new-features-for-arab-countries/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 10:00:35 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716296 $1m grant for a digital skills programme

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Google made a series of announcements on Tuesday, to make its products more helpful to the Arab world. The announcements are new features on Google Search, the launch of Google Assistant in 15 new countries, a new safety feature on Maps, and a $1m grant to scale digital skills programmes next year.

“Every day, people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) turn to Google for help, to get things done and to learn new things,” said Lino Cattaruzzi, Managing Director for Google in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan over a statement on Tuesday.

Over the years, Google improved how their products work in Arabic, whether that was on Search, Assistant, Maps, or YouTube, Cattaruzzi mentioned, noting that “we are committed to making our products more helpful to people in the Middle East and North Africa, and to scale our digital skills programme to open opportunities for more people.”

 In 2018, Google launched an Arabic digital skills programme, “Maharat min Google,” which has reached more than 500,000 young people, women, and underprivileged students in the MENA region.

A 2019 research by Public First research company estimates that 89% of people in the UAE and Saudi Arabia use Search once a month to learn a new skill, and 80% of online Egyptians use Google Search because it provides new information not available by other means.

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Egyptian authorities seize 72 ancient coins during a smuggling attempt  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/egyptian-authorities-seize-72-ancient-coins-during-a-smuggling-attempt/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:30:53 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716293 Coins date back to Greco-roman era and Muhammad Ali Pasha era

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Egypt’s Central Administration of Seized Antiquities Units managed to seize 72 ancient coins on Tuesday from a smuggling attempt at Safaga Port. The coins date back to the Greco-roman era, while 16 of them are from the Muhammad Ali Pasha era. 

The coins were hidden among the belongings of a passenger who was trying to leave from Safaga. However, the Ministry of Antiquities did not announce the destination of the passenger. According to a statement published by the ministry, the port’s customs authorities formed an urgent committee upon the coins’ seizure, which quickly confirmed their authenticity. 

It is not the first time for Safaga Port to witness illegal smuggling attempts. In 2017, the archaeological unit at Safaga successfully prevented an attempt of illegally smuggling 204 coins coming to Egypt from Dubai. The unit seized 17 coins also dating back to the Greco-Roman era, one from the Umayyad period, two from the Ottoman period, and ten from Mohamed Ali Pasha’s reign as well.

 

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Egypt’s Environment Minister stresses Africa’s rights to development, climate finance  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/egypts-environment-minister-stresses-africas-rights-to-development-climate-finance/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:00:41 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716290 "It is time for developed countries to fulfil their obligations towards Africa," says Fouad

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Egypt’s Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad participated in the activities of the ministerial part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25, which is currently being held in Madrid, Spain. 

On Monday, Fouad delivered the speech of Egypt, in which she emphasised the right of Africa to obtain appropriate support during the coming period to meet the requirements necessary to combat the impacts of climate change.

 

In her speech, Fouad highlighted Africa’s rights to development as it is more vulnerable to the climate change and has the lowest contribution of greenhouse gases in the world.

She also called upon developed countries to fulfil their obligations of the pre-2020 period and provide the obliged $100bn annually in financing combating climate change, according to the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

“It is time for developed countries to fulfil their obligations towards Africa,” said Fouad.

Moreover, Fouad called upon all countries to do better and quicken the pace in combating climate change and to do so in a way that does not compromise the legitimate rights of developing nations in their pursuit towards economic and social development and eradicating poverty.

The minister will hold a series of bilateral meetings with her counterparts from different countries in order to discuss the activation of the Paris Agreement and ensure that the needs of developing countries are met. These needs include technology transfer, capacity development, and financing procedures. 

She will also meet with the representative of the United Kingdom, which will host the next Climate Change Conference COP26.

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Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan agree on a roadmap for next GERD technical meetings https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/egypt-ethiopia-sudan-agree-on-a-roadmap-for-next-gerd-technical-meetings/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:30:07 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716286 “This step is a success and will put negotiations on the right track,” says Egypt’s former irrigation minister 

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The foreign and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan agreed that the next two trilateral technical meetings on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should evolve around the development of technical rules and guidelines for the filling and operation of the dam, according to a joint statement issued on Monday.

The ministers of the three countries have met in Washington under the auspices of the US Department of the Treasury and with the participation of the World Bank.

The participating ministers announced that “a progress has been achieved in the technical meetings among the ministers of water resources in Addis Ababa and Cairo,” the statement added. 

 

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan appreciated the role of the United States and the World Bank as observers, noting that they look forward to reconvening in Washington on 13 January to review the results of the upcoming technical meetings in Khartoum and Addis Ababa to finalise an agreement in this regard, the statement continued. 

 

Later, Egyptian foreign and irrigation ministers issued a joint statement in which they emphasised the significance of the involvement of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia with good faith and transparency in the talks, and to ensure the implementation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles Agreement in a manner that help Ethiopia generate electricity without harming Egypt’s share of Nile River.

Mohamed Nasr Eldin Allam, Egypt’s former irrigation minister, said the joint statement of Washington meeting pointed out that the two upcoming meetings in Khartoum and Addis Ababa will focus on the filling and operation rules of the dam taking into account the natural reserves of the Blue Nile in accordance with the international agreements of transboundary rivers and the international law. 

“This step is a success and will put negotiations on the right track, and this is what Egypt called for from the beginning,” Allam wrote on Facebook. 

Yet, he added, this statement does not mean reaching a solution for the dispute, as this will depend on the flexibility of the negotiators and the role of observers. 

On the other hand, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo on Monday. The pair discussed promoting strategic relations between Egypt and the US, and also exchanged views over regional issues of common interest. 

Shoukry and Pompeo reviewed the updates in the GERD negotiations, where the Egyptian official expressed his desire to reach a fair and balanced agreement on the operation and filing of the dam, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry.

“I had a productive meeting today with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on ways our strategic partnership can help achieve greater regional security and prosperity,” Pompeo tweeted on Monday.

The upcoming technical negotiations between the irrigation ministers of the three countries are scheduled in Khartoum on 21-22 December. 

A week ago, the ministers of irrigations of Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia held talks in Cairo in the presence of observers from the US and the World Bank. 

Egypt has sought an international meditation after talks with Ethiopia reached a “deadlock” in October.

In November, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan agreed to continue talks over the disputed GERD and reach a deal by 15 January 2020.

Egypt depends on the Nile for more than 70% of its water supply for drinking, industry, and agriculture, and it is concerned that the GERD will shrink its share of Nile water and cause “harm” to its people.

The dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia is basically on the period of filling the GERD’s reservoir.

Ethiopia insisted on its rights in development, seeking to make the GERD the largest hydropower project in Africa. The dam, of which 70% have already been established, is expected to generate more than 6,000MW by 2021. 

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Veteran Egyptian director Samir Seif dies at 72 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/veteran-egyptian-director-samir-seif-dies-at-72/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:00:55 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716283 The late director passed away after suffering a heart attack

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Samir Seif, an Egyptian film and TV director who rose to prominence in the early 1980s and 1990s, passed away on Monday at 72, according to the Head of the Egyptian Artist Syndicate Ashraf Zaki

Seif passed away after a heart attack.

Minister of Culture Enas Abdel Dayem mourned the death of Seif. In a statement, Abdel Dayem said that the deceased artist was a good teacher for the younger generation and several creative directors.

He graduated from the High Cinema Institute, and entered the cinematic scene right after. He went off to direct films, series, and work with local film festivals as a juror and a director

Seif started his career as a script writer and then went on to direct very popular action and drama films with Adel Imam, Ahmed Zaki, and Nour El-Sherif.

His death is a great loss for the cinematic profession in Egypt and the Arab world, the minister added.

Sief was nominated for the Golden Pyramid Award at the Cairo International Film Festival twice, in 1999 and 2002. His directorial debut came in 1977 with the film Ota Ala Nar (A cat on Fire).

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Egypt sets five requirements for citizenship by investment  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/egypt-sets-five-requirements-for-citizenship-by-investment/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 07:30:54 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716281 Moreover, the cabinet approved the establishment of a special unit to look into citizenship by investment applications.

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Egypt’s cabinet on Tuesday set five requirements to grant nationality to foreigners by investment in the country’s economy, per Law No. 90 of 2019, a law recently approved by the Parliament.

The requirements include either purchasing state-owned or public juridical person-owned property valued at $500,000 or more, or to establish or partner in an investment project with $500,000 or more. Other cases include depositing $750,000 through direct wire transfer from abroad into a special Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) account and to be retrieved in Egyptian pounds after five years without interest, or depositing $1m through direct wire transfer from abroad in a special CBE account, and to be retrieved in EGP after three years without interest. The fifth case is to deposit $250,000 non-refundable, through a direct wire transfer to the CBE.

Moreover, the cabinet approved the establishment of a special unit to look into citizenship by investment applications.

According to the law, the application for obtaining Egyptian nationality shall be submitted at the unit’s headquarters or through its to-be official website accompanied with the required data and documents after the payment of a $10,000 fee.

The unit shall examine the applications and made its decision within three months from the date of submission, after making the required security investigation, and in the case of initial approval for the request, the foreign individual will be granted the right of temporary residence in Egypt for six months to complete the procedures and documents necessary to obtain the final approval of his application.

The unit shall complete the examination of each application and submit its report to the prime minister for approval, all within three months of the submission date of the required data and documents.

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Al-Sisi receives his South African counterpart in Cairo to promote strategic cooperation https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/al-sisi-receives-his-south-african-counterpart-in-cairo-to-promote-strategic-cooperation/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 07:00:18 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716277 Al-Sisi and Ramaphosa held bilateral talks that involved senior officials from both countries to discuss strategic political and economic cooperation.

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Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received on Tuesday his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in Cairo, during his first official visit to Egypt.

Al-Sisi and Ramaphosa held bilateral talks that involved senior officials from both countries to discuss strategic political and economic cooperation.

The two leaders then held a press conference where Al-Sisi said that he and Ramaphosa exchanged views over regional and international issues of common interest. Al-Sisi mentioned the two countries’ intention to increase trade exchange and promote investments between Egypt and South Africa.

The pair also agreed on intensifying political consultations and coordination between the two countries on urgent issues concerning Africa as well as maintaining security and peace in the continent to reach peaceful settlements in all conflicts.

Ramaphosa is scheduled to take part in the inaugural session of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development on 11 December, according to South African government. 

The Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development is to be held on Wednesday and Thursday with “an agenda for sustainable peace, security, and development in Africa.” 

Egypt and South Africa have strengthened their economic relations over recent years. According to the South African government website, “trade data indicate that bilateral trade exchange between South Africa and Egypt between 2014 and 2018 has been on a growth trajectory.”

Aiming to enhance military and civilian cooperation, Minister of Military Production Mohamed El-Assar met last Saturday with the CEO of the South African Aerospace Maritime and Defence Industries as well as several major South African companies.

They discussed enhancing cooperation between Egyptian military production ministry’s affiliated companies and their counterparts in South Africa. 

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Egypt’s annual core inflation falls to 2.1%, while urban headline inflation rises to 3.6% in November https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/egypts-annual-core-inflation-falls-to-2-1-while-urban-headline-inflation-rises-to-3-6-in-november/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 06:30:24 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716275 Annual headline Inflation rose to 2.7% from 2.4% in October

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Egypt’s annual core inflation fell to 2.1% in November from 2.7% in October, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said on Tuesday. 

Core inflation doesn’t take into consideration price changes in volatile items such as food and energy.

Meanwhile, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said that the urban annual consumer price inflation increased to 3.6% in November, compared to 3.1% in October.

It added that the headline annual inflation rate increased slightly in November to 2.7% compared to 2.4% in October.

November headline inflation inches up on base effect, slightly below our expectation of 4%, Beltone Financial said in a research note. The note forecasts annual headline inflation of 7.3% in December.

Beltone attributes the expected rise to seasonal spending on entertainment activities during Christmas, despite an expected 2% month-over-month drop in food prices on the government’s decision to lower the prices of subsidised staple foods starting December.

The CAPMAS said in a report that the consumer prices index reached 104.6 points in November, recording a decrease of 0.5% from October 2019.

The agency attributed the reasons for this decrease to the decline in the prices of vegetable by 4.3%, the fruit group by 3.5%, the fish group by 1.8%, and the meat group by 1.7%.

Meanwhile, the prices of the clothing and footwear section increased by 1.3%.

Radwa El-Swaify, head of research at Pharos Holding, expected the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to keep interest rates unchanged during its meeting on 26 December. She said that there are expectations for inflation rates to rise during December at a monthly rate of about 0.5% and to reach 6.5-7% annually, which will prompt the MPC not to move interest rates and to cut it again during the first quarter of 2020.

She explained that the annual rate of inflation during November recorded 3.6% annually, which is slightly lower than expectations, which was 3.9%.

Noteworthy, the MPC decided in its 14 November meeting to reduce the basic interest rates by 1% to 12.25% for deposits, 13.25% for lending, and 12.75% for credit, discount, and operations rates.

At the time, the MPC said their analysis indicates that inflationary pressures will continue to be contained and that they will remain within the CBE’s target of 9% (±3%) during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Accordingly, Beltone Financial said that they expect that the MPC will hold interest rates at its 26 December meeting, adding “we reiterate our view that EGP strength will continue to advocate benign annual inflation readings, keeping inflation rates within the CBE’s target of 9% (±3%) by the end of 2020.”

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Signify’s global investments €7.5bn, sales in Egypt reach €26m: Devan Pillay https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/signifys-global-investments-e7-5bn-sales-in-egypt-reach-e26m-devan-pillay/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 06:00:30 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716232 Egypt and East Africa account for 40% of Signify’s trade in the continent

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Signify, formerly known as Philips, specialised in manufacturing lighting products announced its intention to implement €150m worth expansions and project development globally next year.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Devan Pillay, president and CEO of Signify Africa, and Inna King, head of Human Resources for the Growth Markets (Africa, Middle East, India, South East Asia, Pacific, Korea, and Japan) at Signify.

The company leaders talked about Signify’s strategy for next year, and its new solutions and products.

How much are the company’s investments and sales?

Pillay: The company always seeks to pump new investments for development. Our investments amounted to €7.5bn and the company developed a strategy to keep pace with the technological revolution through implementing expansions, launching new products, providing its services to business and consumer sectors, and employing the Internet of Things (IoT) to go beyond lighting of houses and turn them into intelligent buildings. The company’s total sales reached about €7bn.

Does the company intend to launch new products next year?

Pillay: We always offer the latest products, systems, and means that help countries switch into intelligence and become more suitable for life, in addition to implementing €150m worth expansions and launch new products at the latest technologies globally next year

The company launched Interact IoT Platform, a secure, scalable IoT platform that collects insights from your connected LED lighting, embedded sensors, and IoT devices over an IoT-ready connected lighting system.

It is a reflection of the company’s strategy to provide data-backed services, and enhance the value of lighting products and systems, making cities smarter, more efficient, and easier to manage at the lowest cost. The platform focuses on different facilities in smart cities, whether administrative, residential, or sportive, and street lighting.

Signify also launched Trulifi. It’s a range of LiFi systems, providing two-way wireless communication that’s reliable, secure, and fast. Our Trulifi systems modulate light waves to transmit data. A USB access key plugged into a laptop or tablet receives data and sends data back to a transceiver. By leveraging lighting infrastructure, Trulifi customers get the best of both worlds: great quality Philips light and a reliable, secure, high-speed wireless connection.

Trulifi is a fixed and integrated system with internet speed of up to 250 Mbps, an ideal solution for connecting devices, say, in industrial facilities, and suitable for use in areas sensitive to radiofrequency (such as hospitals, clinics, power plants, etc.) or areas with poor or no wireless connectivity.

What is your assessment of the investment climate in Egypt?

Pillay: The Egyptian market is very promising and has many opportunities that can encourage investment. Legislative and political stability and security greatly stimulate long-term investments and the participation of the private sector with government agencies in the implementation of national projects, such as the New Administrative Capital (NAC).

Egypt and East Africa account for 40% of Signify’s trade in the continent. The company has increased the volume of its business and investments in the Egyptian market by about 25% during the fiscal year 2019/20 to implement targeted projects in the coming years.

How much are the company’s sales in Egypt, and what are your most prominent projects in the country?

Pillay: The company’s sales in Egypt amounted to €26m and are intended to increase during the next year, according to the strategy that Signify has prepared regarding its sales in Africa and the Egyptian market.

Signify Egypt recently provided its lighting solutions to several projects in the NAC, and participated in projects in the New Alamein city, including providing the new headquarters of the cabinet in the city as well as five major football stadiums nationwide with the latest lighting technologies.

Do you intend to launch new projects in Egypt next year?

Pillay: Of course, we are in talks to implement new projects which will be announced after reaching agreements. We also inked cooperation agreements with two Egyptian companies on several projects, including El Sewedy Electric.

king: Signify has 20,000 employees in 70 countries, and the company has a diversified structure that includes R&D, operation, sales, and marketing departments. About 30-40% of the workforce in Signify are university graduates, as the company provides training programmes to university students.

We focus on social responsibility programmes that benefit the communities where the company operates. For example, in Indonesia, Signify helps individuals develop themselves, and provides them with technical training, and helps them understand how lighting technologies work.

Also, several projects related to lighting using solar energy were implemented in Africa, since many societies in Africa are not connected to electricity networks. It is not only about providing solar-powered lights, but also educating citizens about how they work and how to make them sustainable.

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National projects to support 4% growth in Egyptian steel market in 2020: AISU https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/national-projects-to-support-4-growth-in-egyptian-steel-market-in-2020-aisu/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 21:30:25 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716226 Steel consumption increased by 7% in MENA region

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Dubai – Demand for steel in Egypt is expected to grow by 4% during 2020, driven by new projects, improvement in private consumption, and disposal of steel surplus accumulated in 2019 estimated at 700,000 tonnes, said George Matta, chairperson of the Economic Committee of the Arab Iron and Steel Union (AISU).

Matta was a speaker at the Middle East Iron and Steel Conference in Dubai on 10-11 December which witnessed the participation of several major steel companies in the Middle East, such as Emirates Steel, SABIC Steel, and some Egyptian companies, notably Ezz Steel.

He explained that the demand for steel decreased by 6% in 2018, but has improved in the second half of the year with the acceleration of implementing major projects, such as the New Administrative Capital and New Alamein cities, new metro lines, etc.

The committee’s report – of which Daily News Egypt obtained a copy – revealed that with the imposition of protectionist fees approved by the government and the reduction of gas prices, the demand on steel increased and steel companies’ stocks declined to lowest levels. The report predicts consumption to reach 9.9m tonnes in 2020, growing 4%.

The report expected that Egypt, the largest consumer of steel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), would lead economic growth in the region, noting that despite the recovery of gas, tourism, wholesale trade, real estate, and construction sectors, the past period witnessed a recession in the steel market.

Steel related stocks rose to its highest levels as a result of low price of imported steel and low liquidity, which negatively affected local factories, and led the steel market to shrink during the first half of this year by about 6% compared to the same period last year.

With regard to the MENA region, Matta said that the steel consumption is expected to reach 40m tonnes by the end of this year and 41m tonnes by the end of 2020, marking a decline of about 7% from the previous year, which recorded 43m tonnes.

The report attributed the decline in consumption in the MENA region to the significant contraction in the steel market in the Gulf Cooperation Council by 8%, in addition to the decline in oil prices, and the failure to start reconstruction projects in Syria and Iraq alongside continued military operations in Syria and Yemen, as well as political instability in some other countries.

Matta expected 2% steel consumption growth, an increase of about 1m tonne over this year’s estimates, including 34.1m tonnes of rebar and steel sectors, and 7m tonnes of hot rolled steel plate.

Moreover, the Dubai conference will discuss the challenges faced by the steel industry in the Middle East and the concerns over expected slow growth in the industry in 2020 due to its exposure to several challenges.

The AISU was founded in Algeria in 1971 as the first qualitative Arab union to be concerned with the development of the Arab iron and steel industry. It consists of 89 member companies from 15 Arab countries. It is a non-governmental organisation with a private entity that has no political or commercial affiliation.

Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi, CEO of Emirates Steel, said at the opening session of the conference that this year’s edition is taking place at a difficult time for global steel markets. He believes that over the past two years, several countries have adopted some protective measures to preserve their domestic steel industry

However, the Arab markets are witnessing significant reconstruction and building processes that are driving the growth in demand for steel, especially the Egyptian market, where important projects are being established.

Hassan Shashaa, chief operating officer at Emirates Steel, said that the increase in raw material prices by 32%, especially pellets, as a result of global trade wars, especially the protectionist war of wars between the United States and a number of countries in the world, that caused an increase in costs.

He believes that those challenges are killing the steel industry and investments in it, expecting the crisis to continue during the next year.

Shashaa expected that growth in the steel industry in developing countries will decrease by 0.4% during the next year.

He added that the main problem facing the steel industry is that there is a surplus in supply as a result of countries’ protectionist measures, noting that 2019 saw an increase in steel demand by 2.5%, but the result of an expected trade war will decrease demand in 2020.

He explained that the solution is to diversify target markets instead of relying on traditional ones, for example, the Iraqi market now needs huge quantities of steel for reconstruction.

Ravi Singh, chief executive officer of SULB Company, said that during the past 15 years, there has been an increase in demand by 85% and that despite this there have been fluctuations in prices by 30-50%.

Marwan Al-Mojil, executive commercial director of Long Products at SABIC, said that the surplus in production and trade wars were the most prominent challenges during 2019, in addition to the decline in steel prices by about 15-20%, as the Gulf countries were the favourable destination in the world as they do not have protection fees or tariffs on steel as in most markets.

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Taliban claims responsibility for suicide bombing in South Afghanistan amid peace talks with US https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/taliban-claims-responsibility-for-suicide-bombing-in-south-afghanistan-amid-peace-talks-with-us/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:21:01 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716229 Both the US and the Taliban outfit were close to signing a peace deal in September, but President Donald Trump suspended negotiations after a Taliban-led car bomb claimed 10 lives, including a U.S. soldier in Kabul on 5 September.

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The Taliban outfit has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that rocked a Nad Ali check point in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province on Monday, which left eight soldiers dead and two others missing.

According to media reports written in Suhail Shaheen’s, the spokesperson for Taliban’s liaison office in Qatar’s capital Doha, twitter account, “Talks between the US and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (name of the ousted Taliban regime) resumed Saturday from where discussions were left off” and would continue.

Both the US and the Taliban outfit were close to signing a peace deal in September, but President Donald Trump suspended negotiations after a Taliban-led car bomb claimed 10 lives, including a U.S. soldier in Kabul on 5 September.

Zabihullah Majahid, who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit, claimed responsibility and said that a suicide bomber exploded his “explosive-laden truck inside the combined base of commandos and troops in Zerh Pul area of Nad Ali district, killing 52 security personnel and injuring several others.”

Analysts believe that the militant group would intensify activities against government interests to secure the upper hand at any possible direct talks with the Afghan government for achieving peace in the conflict-stricken country.

“No doubt the armed insurgents would do their best to gain more grounds, to consolidate positions and finally demonstrate their power in efforts to garner the attention of media outlets,” political expert Abbadi told Xinhua.

Fighting has intensified in Afghanistan recently as more than 40 fighters including 11 security personnel, according to security officials, have been killed in the country over the past 24 hours.

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FBI says investigating Florida naval base shooting as “act of terrorism” https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/fbi-says-investigating-florida-naval-base-shooting-as-act-of-terrorism/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 16:40:32 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716224 The FBI has identified the shooter as Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was on the base for flight training.

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 The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Sunday that they are investigating a deadly shooting by a Saudi national at a naval base in Florida as “an act of terrorism.”

“We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism,” said Rachel Rojas, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville office, at a news conference in Pensacola, Florida pointing to Friday’s rampage that left three people dead and eight others injured inside a classroom building at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The FBI has identified the shooter as Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was on the base for flight training.

Rojas said the shooter, neutralized by a responding police Friday morning, used a Glock model 45 nine-millimetre handgun that he had purchased legally.

“We currently assess there was one gunman who perpetrated this attack and no arrests have been made in this case,” Rojas told reporters. “We are looking very hard at uncovering his motive and I would ask for patience so we can get this right.”

The Saudi king called US President Donald Trump on Friday to extend his condolences after the shooting.

“King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies,” Trump tweeted earlier, adding the Saudi king said the shooter “in no way, shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people.”

Rojas said on Sunday that there were several Saudi students who were close to the shooter and are cooperating with investigators.

“Their Saudi commanding officer has restricted them to base, and the Saudi government has pledged to fully cooperate with our investigation,” the special agent said.

Located in Florida’s northwest corner near its border with Alabama, the Pensacola facility is a major training site for the U.S. Navy and home to its aerobatic flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels. It employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel.

The Friday attack was the second shooting at a US military facility in the past week.

A shooting on Wednesday afternoon in Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii left three dead, including the gunman.

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Aoun postpones consultations on naming new prime minister for a week https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/aoun-postpones-consultations-on-naming-new-prime-minister-for-a-week/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 16:28:42 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716212 Al-Khatib fails to gain Sunni support, withdraws candidacy

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The Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced on Sunday night postponing consultations with members of parliament on selecting a new head of government for a week in order to reach an agreement among all sects of the society.

According to a statement issued by the Lebanese Presidency, the decision came based on the parliamentary blocs’ desire and request to give more space for more consultations and communications.

President Aoun also decided to delay the binding parliamentary consultations that were scheduled on Sunday to next Monday, the 16th of December, until resolving the Sunni situation regarding the name of the coming prime minister who is likely to be the Sunni leader Saad Al-Hariri. 

On 29 October, Al-Hariri resigned as prime minister due to mass protests against the ruling elite. The protesters accused the political class of leading Lebanon into its worst economic crisis since the civil war that raged between 1975 and 1990.

Al-Hariri said at the time that some parties wanted to make him a scapegoat for the crisis and civil unrest. He added that the talks about foreign interference against Lebanon’s stability do not deny the authenticity of the people’s anger. “Whoever believes that he has a solution for the crisis, he is welcome to take the reins of power,” Al-Hariri said in a televised speech.

Due to the sectarian quota system in Lebanon, the position of prime minister is allocated for the Sunnis. Al-Hariri is still holding the position as an acting prime minister until the selection of a new Sunni leader. 

Last week, the political crisis was about to reach a solution as the main parties, including Al-Hariri himself, were in agreement over selecting Samir Al-Khatib to form the new government, but Al-Khatib did not succeed in gaining Sunni support . 

Violent clashes broke out in Lebanon’s streets between protesters and security forces after demonstrators attempted to block a main road known as the Ring Bridge in central Beirut, expressing their refusal of the new candidate for leading the new government.

The protestors headed to parliament on Sunday calling for a technical government regardless of the sectarian system. 

In a televised speech on Sunday, Al-Khatib said that he has met the Grand Mufti of Lebanon who informed Al-Khatib that Sunni support will go only for one candidate and his name is Al-Hariri. This led Al-Khatib to withdraw his candidacy. 

Al-Hariri did not issue a statement regarding his candidacy yet.

Despite hopes for reaching a fast compromise, the complexity of the political system in Lebanon could make negotiations last for months, as Al-Hariri himself took about nine months to form his government.

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Sudan PM says Khartoum reduced its troops in Yemen from 15,000 to 5000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/sudan-pm-says-khartoum-reduced-its-troops-in-yemen-from-15000-to-5000/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 16:24:41 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716220 Hamdok says he believes the political solution is to resolve Yemen crisis

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Sudan’s Prime Minister (PM) Abdalla Hamdok has announced that his country reduced its troops in Yemen from 15,000 to 5,000 which operate as part of the Saudi led coalition against Iran-backed Houthis.

Hamdok told reporters on Sunday after a trip to Washington that he believes the conflict in Yemen will not be solved with a military solution, but with a political one, according to Reuters. 

He said that his discussions with officials from the U.S. did not involve talks over the Sudanese troops in Yemen. Instead, he said they addressed removing Sudan from Washington sponsor of terrorism list

Since Hamdok assumed office in August this year, he sought to attract investments and financial aids to his country to enrich its economy as well as lift its name from the US terrorism list. 

The U.S. added Sudan to its List of State Sponsors of Terrorism on August 12, 1993. The main categories of sanctions include restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defence exports and sales, and miscellaneous financial, and other restrictions. 

Earlier in July, the UAE, Saudi Arabia’s main partner in the war in Yemen said it reduced its troops in Yemen, adding that it will redeploy its forces in the war-torn country.

Saudi Arabia which supports embattled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi intervened in the Yemeni conflict and formed the Arab coalition in 2015 to prevent the fall of Hadi against Iran-backed Houthi movement. The coalition launched hundreds of strikes in Yemen, killing thousands of Yemeni people, including civilians.

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Now United global band searching for a Middle Eastern golden fleece https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/now-united-global-band-searching-for-a-middle-eastern-golden-fleece/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 15:43:17 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716213 “The music, the dance, and the fashion of the Middle East are warm, sophisticated, and intensely exotic,” says band founder

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The screaming enthusiast fans who travelled from different areas to attend the Now United’s concert in Dubai last month, had no idea that one of them might soon join the 14-member young pop troupe.

Now United has announced earlier that another member from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) could find space amid the diverse group of young pop talents. Now United is the world’s first global pop group which presents songs based on diversified inputs from across the world.

The campaign, kicked off earlier this month, called for talented youth to send samples of their performance online. The campaign comes in partnership with Pepsi.

“Finding a member from the Middle East will bring so much to our group. The fact that this region is the connection between East and West means it brings a fascinating and exotic cultural mix. The music, the dance, and the fashion of the Middle East are warm, sophisticated, and intensely exotic. We will gain so much from all these new influences,” Simon Fuller, the founder of Now United told Daily News Egypt.

The pop music icon explained that having a Middle Eastern member in his band is his current “top priority” as the founder of the world band.

With members from India, Brazil, UK, Mexico, Philippines, Finland, South Korea, Senegal, China, Japan, Germany, Russia, Canada, and US, the Middle East seems to be the missing element to complete the miscellany grid. 

Since establishing the group two years ago, Simon worked on absorbing the diversity of the regions presented in the music, aiming to make everyone in the band find a piece of himself in the final track.

Now United is the vision of Simon Fuller, one of the most respected and successful music entrepreneurs of all time, who has been responsible for over 500 Number One hits worldwide, and who inspired the careers of Spice Girls, Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, Kelly Clarkson, and Carrie Underwood.

When it comes to music, Fuller believes that adding a member from the Middle East only comes to add the diversity of the music, which is one of the most remarkable elements of the Now United.

“The beauty and uniqueness of Now United is that because of all of the different cultural influences and the authenticity of our message and sound, it means we can make any style of music. We are not limited to one sound or one beat. We are positive, dynamic, and heartfelt with all that we do. We have a sound of optimism and celebration and have a connective sound that can touch any person from anywhere in the world. There is nothing we can’t do!” he added.

Hundreds of the band’s 40-million fan base across the world have sent audition videos online to be the MENA representative in the group, in what was described by Fuller as “an overwhelming extent of the number of interactions.”

While believing the music is the world’s common language, the band creator still finds the Middle Eastern music splendiferous, which leaves him with fascination towards its artists.

“I have been incredibly impressed by the music scene in the Middle East. There is a confidence and excitement about the music scene in this region that I haven’t seen before. Young people are exploring music and dance in so many new ways. It is creating a strong local sound and at the same time embracing sounds from other countries. There has never been a better time to be connecting to the young people of the Middle East. It is exciting, people seem happy and very receptive to the joys of positive uplifting entertainment,” Fuller concluded.

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Egypt’s housing ownership sets world record high, as 67% of population own apartments https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/egypts-housing-ownership-sets-world-record-high-as-67-of-population-own-apartments/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 13:00:52 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716175 On the rent system, Hawk said that according to a survey conducted on 10,300 Egyptian families, of whom 25% live in housing units with old rent contracts, and 12% live in housing units with new rent contracts. About 12% of the participants in the survey are outside Cairo.

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About 67% of Egyptian families own housing units, which is one of the highest rates of housing ownership in the world, said Maria Hawk, Regional Director Secondary Schools & Board Development at the World Bank.

She added that Cairo is one of the largest cities in the world in regard with housing units owned by individuals, recording 60%.

On the rent system, Hawk said that according to a survey conducted on 10,300 Egyptian families, of whom 25% live in housing units with old rent contracts, and 12% live in housing units with new rent contracts. About 12% of the participants in the survey are outside Cairo.

According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Housing; the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics; and the World Bank, the average new rent contract reaches EGP 650 per month, while the average old rent contract is only EGP 50 per month.

Moreover, CEO of Mortgage Finance Fund (MFF) Mai Abdel Hamid said, during a Monday press conference, that families living in houses with new rent contracts allocate 22.5% of their income for the rent, while those living in houses with old rent allocate only 3% of their income for the rent, according to the study conducted on a number of citizens within the social housing programme.

She elaborated that only 10% of Egyptians prefer renting housing units, and 27.2% prefer living in new cities, with the most in demand cities are Badr, Shorouk, Obour, and New Cairo.

The study revealed that the majority of the participants in the survey prefer old rent contracts, which are found mainly in rural areas, and the average rent is EGP 761 monthly.

Hawk noted that “the number of citizens who change their places of living is very small.”

“40% of families lived in their houses for 20 years and have no desire to move,” according to the study.

Hawk elaborated that most of the Egyptians prefer to live near their families, representing 47% of the population.

Abdel Hamid noted that the demand for housing is not calculated by the people’s desire to buy, but the availability of the main determinants of purchasing, namely the income level.

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Egypt, Germany ink new grant to improve agricultural production’s quality https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/egypt-germany-ink-new-grant-to-improve-agricultural-productions-quality/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 12:30:03 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716171 German investments reach $7.4bn, says Nasr

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German ambassador to Cairo Cyrill Nunn signed on Monday a new grant agreement with Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) Sahar Nasr, worth EGP36m to improve the quality of the country’s agricultural production.

The new grant will also improve the regulatory systems for ensuring the quality of agricultural production from the early stage to the final stage of the harvest.

Through the new grant, a dialogue platform for experts will be established to discuss the quality of agricultural production in Egypt under the umbrella of both Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and the Germany’s Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture.

Nasr pointed out that this grant is a confirmation of the strategic partnership between Egypt and Germany, completing the latest framework agreements that were signed between both countries during the past period.

Nasr asserted that the agreement will significantly support the agriculture sector and food security for Egyptian citizens.

Nasr also called on German companies to pump more investments into Egypt, especially with the rise of German investments in Egypt during the past four years currently reaching $7.4bn through about 1,215 companies.

German investments in Egypt are diversified in the sectors of petroleum, chemicals, automotive industry, telecommunications, iron and steel, gas, and automotive components, Nasr explained.

Germany’s developmental cooperation projects in Egypt reached €2bn, supported by German financial institutions, Nasr added.

For her part, Mona Mehrez, deputy minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation for livestock, fish, and poultry, asserted that this agreement also includes training of all the agricultural workers which sits at about 25 million people whether in the ministry or in normal farmers.

The Egyptian consumer will benefit by receiving a safe commodity, Mehrez mentioned, noting that MIIC’s efforts to support the agriculture sector are key to improving the performance of the sector in Egypt.

“This new project is complementary to previous projects that the ministry implemented  in the fields of animal health which ensures the importance of agriculture and food security for citizens,” she added.

“Germany has supported Egypt since the beginning of economic reforms in Egypt in 2016, and I am happy that economic growth now take a positive turn,” the German ambassador said, noting that this new project is one of the important projects between both countries in the agriculture sector.

   

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Siemens Gamesa completes the 262.5 MW Ras Ghareb project, Egypt’s biggest wind farm https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/siemens-gamesa-completes-the-262-5-mw-ras-ghareb-project-egypts-biggest-wind-farm/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 12:00:44 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716168 The wind farm, equipped with 125 2.1 MW wind turbines, was completed 45 days ahead of schedule. 

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Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) announced starting commercial operation of the largest wind farm ever built in Egypt, the 262.5 MW Ras Ghareb project, located in the Gulf of Suez, close to Ras Ghareb town.

The wind farm, equipped with 125 2.1 MW wind turbines, was completed 45 days ahead of schedule.

The 262.5 MW project is executed on a build-own-operate basis under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Egyptian Energy Transmission Company, marking the first renewable energy project of its kind and size in Egypt for an Independent Power Producer.

It has been conducted by Ras Ghareb Wind Energy S.A.E, a company created in 2017, comprising ENGIE, Toyota Tsusho Corporation & Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation, and Orascom Construction.

To mark the event, an opening ceremony was celebrated today at site of the wind farm, with representatives from the companies involved, including Siemens Gamesa, and institutions.

The project has been a driver of economic growth and job creation in the area during the construction of the wind farm, as most of the suppliers were local. It has specifically involved a total of more than 50 subcontractors across the area, creating approximately 140 jobs.

The 15-year service agreement, provided by local workforce, will also help increase activity and employment in the area. Some of these local suppliers are El-Masria Equipment, that supplied the cranes, SIAG, DSD Ferrometalco, and NSF, that manufactured all the towers locally, along with support from Power Zone and Petrotec.

Apart from the job creation, the projects led to industrial integration and value chain, which is one of the main priorities of Siemens Gamesa for a sustainable development of Egypt and Africa in general.

Managing Director of Siemens Gamesa in Egypt Ayman Saad, highlighted during the event: “Since 2005, as the first company to deliver clean wind energy in the country, Egypt has always been a key market for Siemens Gamesa. This project, which strengthens our commitment to the country, is unique in the history of our presence in Africa, since we have been able to install the wind turbines in record time: 45 days ahead of schedule. The production of five turbine foundations per week by Orascom Construction ensured the supply of the wind turbines was seamless. The learnings we have amassed from this project from conception to completion will be carried through to all other projects in Egypt and the continent.”

“The country offers huge growth potential in wind power, especially in the Gulf of Suez and the Nile Valley. It is one of the 15 countries worldwide presenting the greatest potential for growth, as it is expected to install 6,500 MW of wind power capacity by 2026. Today, Siemens Gamesa is the market leader in Egypt. With the new capacity of Ras Ghareb, Siemens Gamesa has a total of 1,249 GW installed in the country,” added Saad.

The building of the wind farm comes as part of the Egyptian government’s plan to increase dependency on renewable energy sources so that the ratio of power generation from renewable sources reaches 20% of Egypt’s electricity production by 2022, and 42% by 2035.

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Industrial production value reached EGP 168.4bn in 1Q2019 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/industrial-production-value-reached-egp-168-4bn-in-1q2019/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 10:30:06 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716165 Food industries contributed the largest share in industry value in 1Q2019 accounting for 22.7%

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The value of industrial production, excluding extracting and refining crude oil, reached EGP 168.4bn during the first quarter (1Q) of 2019, compared to EGP 168.5bn during the 1Q2018, with a decrease of 0.1%, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported.

In its quarterly bulletin of industrial production statistics for the public sector, public business sector, and the private sector, CAPMAS noted that the food products industry contributed the largest percentage to the value of industrial production during the 1Q2019. It reached 22.7%, followed by coke (fuel) coal and oil products industry with 21.7%, then iron and steel industry, precious metals, and metal casting at 17.0% of the value of industrial production, excluding extracting and refining crude oil.

It added that the production value of the textile and textile processing industry reached EGP 5.6bn during 1Q2019, compared to EGP 5.9bn in 1Q2018, with a decrease of 6.1%. This trend started when it reached EGP 5.8bn in 4Q2018, a decrease of 4.8% due to the availability of stock of production.

According to CAPMAS, the production value of pharmaceutical, chemical, medical, and medicinal plant products amounted to EGP 9.8bn in 1Q2019, compared to EGP 9.5bn in 1Q2018, an increase of 3.5%, due to the increase in sales, while it reached EGP 8.8bn in 4Q2018, an increase of 11.0%.                                                                                                                           

The value of production for the ready-made garment industry reached EGP 5.1bn in 1Q2019, compared to EGP 4.3bn in 1Q2018, an increase of 17.9%, against the increasing export contracts, and reached EGP 4.5bn 4Q2018, an increase of 12.5%.

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Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada airports fastest growing in Africa: Routesonline https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/sharm-el-sheikh-hurghada-airports-fastest-growing-in-africa-routesonline/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 10:00:05 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716161 It said Sharm El Sheikh airport is the fastest growing major airport in Africa by capacity.

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Routesonline’s new study said that Sharm El Sheikh International Airport and Hurghada Airport are of the fastest growing in Africa, local media reported.

It said Sharm El Sheikh airport is the fastest growing major airport in Africa by capacity.

The study indicated that Sharm El Sheikh airport’s capacity has increased by 28.9% in 2019, providing 1.49m available departure seats rather than 1.16m departure seats in 2018. While Hurghada airport came  third on the top ten list, recording a growth rate of 11.9% this year, as its capacity growth has increased, reaching more than double the number of seats in 2016.

Sharm El Sheikh airport tops the list, showing that it has recovered greatly after the crash of the Russian Metrojet flight 9268 in Sinai four years ago. After taking-off from Sharm El-Sheikh airport the flight  was destroyed, likely by a bomb on board, and left no survivors from the 224 passengers and crew.

Although the incident lead to a drop in tourism starting 2015, Egypt was able to recover, tightening security procedures in Egyptian airports, which encouraged the British government to lift its four-year ban on air travel to the Red Sea governorates in October 2019.   

Routesonline is responsible for organising and operating world-renowned airline and airport networking events through its annual World Route development forum. They are held in key markets throughout the year in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

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Berlin Film Festival grants its homage to Helen Mirren https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/berlin-film-festival-grants-its-homage-to-helen-mirren/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:45:40 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716200 The festival will be hosted by award-winning film and stage Actor Samuel Finzi

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The 70th Berlin International Film Festival announced early this week honouring Oscar-winner Dame Helen Mirren with its homage and the Honorary Golden Bear for her lifetime achievement, according to the festival’s press statement.

The award will include a screening of the film, The Queen by Director Stephen Frears. Both the opening and the award ceremonies will take place from February 20 to March 1, 2020.

Not only is Mirren one of the world’s most renowned actresses, but she was also one of the youngest ever to join the famed Royal Shakespeare Company. Over the decades, her charisma and expressiveness as an actress have been amply demonstrated in a wide variety of genres.

“Helen Mirren is a strong personality whose powerful portrayals are always impressive. She surprises us time and again with her interpretation of complex characters – whether it’s Chris in Calendar Girls or Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. Her portrayals are a paradigm of strong women, and it is our great pleasure to award her the Honorary Golden Bear for her lifetime achievement,” says Executive Director of the festival, Mariette Rissenbeek.

Among the many accolades Mirren has received, she won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actress and Golden Globe for her performance in The Queen. In addition to many international film prizes, her stage work has also been honoured with the leading theatre tributes – the Olivier, Tony, and Drama Desk Awards. In 2003, Mirren was awarded the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to drama.

Mirren has a unique acting style that allows her to feel at home in both British and American cinema, making it possible to work with auteur filmmakers who have clearly defined styles such as director Robert Altman or screenwriter Paul Schrader. She also took part in big US action films like RED and the Fast and Furious franchise.

After working mainly in theatre, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Mirren’s first major film role was through Director Michael Powell’s 1969 comedy, Age of Consent. She subsequently made her mark in the 1980’s The Long Good Friday directed by John Mackenzie, playing the assertive girlfriend of a top gangster.

Her portrayal of Georgina in director Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) was also legendary. Beginning in the 1990s, Mirren increasingly expanded and diversified her roles in both film and television, among which is director Robert Altman’s 2001 film, Gosford Park, screened at the 2002 Berlinale. Her flair for comedy was once again evident in Calendar Girls directed by Nigel Cole. Between 1991 and 2006, she headed up the seven instalments of the TV series, Prime Suspect as police superintendent Jane Tennison.


In the film, The Last Station (2009), directed by Michael Hoffmann, she played the main character Leo Tolstoy’s wife Sofya. She was at the Berlinale in 2015, alongside co-star Ryan Reynolds, with Woman in Gold by director Simon Curtis. She also appeared in Eye in the Sky directed by Gavin Hood and The Leisure Seeker directed by Paolo Virzì, among others.


Mirren gave another terrific performance in the thriller The Good Liar directed by director Bill Condon with actor Ian McKellen, which recently opened theatrically in Germany and will also be shown in the Homage section.

The festival will be hosted by award-winning film and stage actor Samuel Finzi.

“We’re very pleased that Finzi will be hosting the inauguration of the 70th Berlinale. His eloquence, energy, and improvisation skills promise an entertaining start to the festival,” the festival said in a statement.


According to his bio, Finzi began acting in his first theatre and cinema roles when he was studying. Early in his career, he came into contact with directors who strongly influenced the European stage and screen. In addition to his activities on all major German-language and numerous European stages, Finzi took roles in varying film and television productions, impressing viewers in terms of box office hits and independent films.

His in-depth, expressive, and almost entire immersion into human mannerisms and his effortless, yet very accurate acting, are celebrated by critics and audiences alike.


“As a European, it’s a great honour for me to be a part of one of the most important film festivals worldwide. I’m very happy about the opportunity to be part of the 2020 Berlinale on the occasion of its 70th anniversary, and a new beginning,” he commented on being chosen to host the festival’s ceremonies.

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Minister of Planning discusses Egypt’s SWF  investment opportunities with Saudi delegation https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/minister-of-planning-discusses-egypts-swf-investment-opportunities-with-saudi-delegation/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:40:01 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716159 The fund is moving quickly and confidently towards activating its investment work and attracting investments in line with the sustainable development strategy, says Hala Al-Saeed

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Minister of Planning, Monitoring, and Administrative Reform Hala Al-Saeed met on Monday a Saudi delegation to discuss investment opportunities available in Egypt’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF).

The delegation included a number of  representatives from the Egyptian-Saudi Business Council, including Bandar bin Mohamed Al-Amri, chairperson of the council and Alameriah Investment Company.

Hala Al-Saeed said that Egypt’s sovereign fund is taking a fast and confident step towards activating its investment work and attracting investments. This is in line with its sustainable development strategy, Egypt’s Vision 2030, and the goals of the investment fund to increase the contribution of capital to the Egyptian economy, creating job opportunities for youth, and developing Egypt’s resources for current and future generations.

She added that the aim of such meetings with investors is to expand the base of investment opportunities available to the fund, which is a clear indication of the support of the Egyptian state and the Arab brothers to the Egyptian sovereign fund. This is in light of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s assertion of Egypt’s keenness to communicate and interact directly with investors and the business sector, within the framework of stimulating investment and achieving sustainable development in all its fields.

In the same context, Al-Saeed reviewed the efforts made by the Egyptian state, with the aim of improving the investment climate in Egypt and the mechanisms that the state set to encourage investment and enhance private sector participation.

She explained that Egypt seeks to reform the business environment and create investment opportunities through a comprehensive long-term vision represented in Egypt’s Vision 2030.

Through the framework of implementing  programmes and interim plans, programmes like the national economic and social reform programme were executed, including many legislative and institutional reforms supporting the business environment. In addition, the country intensified investment in infrastructure projects necessary to stimulate local and foreign investment, along with the steps that have been taken to create the legislative environment.

For its part, the Saudi delegation expressed its desire to invest with the fund, stressing that it is a good opportunity to invest, form new partnerships, and take advantage of growth opportunities offered by the Egyptian economy.

The Saudi delegation affirmed its full support for investment in Egypt, noting that what is happening in Egypt today is a major development boom, and that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are witnessing an unprecedented movement.

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Irrigation Ministry launches Africa Cultural Centre in Aswan https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/irrigation-ministry-launches-africa-cultural-centre-in-aswan/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:30:46 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716152 The centre includes an open theatre that can accommodate 2500 individuals, located behind the Aswan Reservoir

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Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation announced on Monday, developing the Nile Museum in Aswan, which is affiliated to the ministry, to include an African Cultural Centre, in addition to launching a library attached to the centre that includes the most important books on African nations.

The ministry has also communicated with a number of African countries to support the centre with some holdings and memorabilia to display civilisations and cultures from these nations.

In March, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi directed the ministry during the activities of the Arab-African Youth Forum, which was held in Aswan from 16 to 18 March 2019, to establish such a centre to showcase the varying cultures that the continent has to offer.

The centre includes an open theatre that can accommodate 2500 individuals and is located behind the Aswan Reservoir. The establishment of the theatre was constructed with the natural materials available in Aswan, and it is expected to be used when holding international forums and conferences, major celebrations, festivals, and theatrical performances that express African cultures.

The Aswan Reservoir is also equipped with environmentally friendly lighting that add an aesthetic touch that attracts the eyes of visitors to the centre and Aswan.

Furthermore, the centre includes paintings of all African countries, as the continent was divided into five sectors according to the geographical and climatic nature of each region, in addition to a sector describing the rivers of the continent. 

These paintings are characterised by the use of an expressive background with African colours and shapes, to define the nature and environment of each African region, in addition to displaying photos of the capital, currency, and the most important rivers, tribes, and tourist regions in each country separately.

The library of documentaries and the information centre contain many books, documents and important historical manuscripts about Africa.

The centre also has a museum corner that includes many archaeological collections that record the flow of the Nile River from its source to the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Asian cinema sweeps prominent awards at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival’s Award Ceremony https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/asian-cinema-sweeps-prominent-awards-at-the-tallinn-black-nights-film-festivals-award-ceremony/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:15:57 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716196 Grand Prix went to Japanese Kontora and the Best Director award went to Filipino filmmaker Jun Robles Jana for Kalel

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The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival concluded last week, leaving Asian cinema with prominent awards.

Through the festival’s premiere competition programme, the Official Selection Competition chose the Japanese film Kontora, directed, produced, and written by Actress Anshul Chauhan to win the festival’s Grand Prix, while the Best Music award was given to Yuma Koda.

The film centres on the problematic relationship of a single father and his teenage daughter in economic distress, when a stranger, a mute man who only walks backwards, enters their lives, forcing them to confront their emotional reality.

The Official Selection Competition jury included Director and Producer Michael Newell, Italian Director and Cinematographer Fabrizio Maltese, Actress Lisa Carlehed, Director and Producer Kerem Ayan, and Indian Filmmaker Rima Das.

The jury said that the film offered a powerful mysterious story that links modern Japanese lives with a past that the characters think have been buried and forgotten, but rises up to haunt and obsess them.

“It’s also a rich portrait of an ordinary Japanese family under severe tensions. Full of unexpected disturbing images, this film is brilliantly multi layered-a truly cinematic experience,” the jury added.

The Best Director award of the festival went Filipino Filmmaker Jun Robles Jana for the film, Kalel, a portrait of a 15-year-old teenager in Manila, Philippines, who receives the news that he has HIV and is forced to cope with the gradual falling apart of his family.

“Working with a large cast of mostly very young actors, the directors has made a film which feels deeply rooted in the everyday lives of its characters,” the jury said on choosing the film.

“His film pulls away from the sticking-plaster from the wound of the AIDS epidemic among young people of the Philippines and exposes the terror and violence that this crisis imposes on them. It’s a passionate and concerned film about lives we never see in the West,” the jury added.

The Best Actress Award went to Roma film and theatre Actress and Writer Alina Serban for the film, Gipsy Queen for the portrayal of a single mother of two, struggling to take odd jobs as she gets an unexpected chance of returning to the boxing ring, a career she had quit years ago. The physical and mental transformation was also behind Actor Clavan Clerking’s Best Actor prize for his role in the UK thriller Muscle.

On choosing Serban, the jury said that she offered a strong performance in committing herself flawlessly to the character and its challenging physical demands. For Clerking, the jury said that he provided an outstanding performance in portraying an ordinary man in unordinary circumstances, and for his great transformation skills.

The film Golden Voices, a tale of two Russian Jewish voice actors emigrating to Jerusalem at the beginning of 1990s, received two awards, Best Script for Evgeny Ruman, who is also the director of the film, and Writer and Cinematographer Ziv Berkovich, and the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) award.

The jury said that they awarded Ruman the prize for telling a vivid and gripping story through real and relatable characters. Right from the opening scene, you fall in love with the characters and get intrigued by what’s in store for them. It stands out simply for telling a unique story in a balanced and compelling way.

Iranian director Narges Abyar and winner of the Official Selection’s Best Director award in 2016 for her film Breath, received the festival’s Audience Award for Official Selection entry for her film, When the Moon was Full, closely beating two other audience favourites – the previously mentioned Golden Voices and Fiela’s Child.

Director Wayne Wang’s Coming Home Again received the Best Cinematographer award for its Director of Photography Richard Wong. On this decision, the jury said they gave the prize to Wong “for his ability to translate into images the tension and the drama of the story with an elegant minimalism, framing through narrow spaces, both physical and metaphorical, representing the despair of the characters with a discrete eye and delivering a bold vision of what cinematography should be.”

At the awards ceremony, jury President Newell described the difficult decision-making process as all the 21 films in competition had their merits, naming four more films that he wished to highlight: The Flying Circus by Albanian director Fatos Berisha, Monster by Irish Director Tom Sullivan, Drowsy City by Vietnamese director Dung Luong Dinh, and When the Moon Was Full by Abyar.

In the First Feature Competition, the jury handed the Best Film award to Stories from the Chestnut Woods by Director Gregor Bozic, an exquisitely shot collection of stories set in a rural area on the border of Italy and Slovenia during the difficult years after the Second World War.

The first Special Prize went to the Brazilian film The Seeker for a script which depicts a woman and a man living in a community of liberals on the stressful visit to the girl’s wealthy parents. The family is in crisis as the patriarchal head of the family has gotten himself into a corruption crisis.

The second Special Prize went to the Bolivia-Qatar-Canada production, The Names of the Flowers for the cinematography of Nicolas Taborga. The film, directed by Bahman Tavoosi, is a multi-layered drama about the impact of the Che Guevara’s cult on a small community in Bolivia.

Selecting their favourite also from amongst the First Feature Competition, the International Film Critics Association (FIPRESCI)- jury selected the British film Looted by Director Rene Pannevis as their favourite.

Through Rebels with a Cause, the section for films breaking cinematic rules and expanding artistic boundaries, the Rebels with their Shorts awards were handed to the short film The Silence of the Dying Fish by Director Vasilis Kekatos and Feast by Chinese Director Yunxing Nie.

The Baltic Competition jury handed the Best Baltic Film award to the Lithuanian entry Motherland by Director Tomas Vengris.

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Gemini Enterprises Africa, and RiseUp sign 3-year partnership for Pyramids Plateau https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/gemini-enterprises-africa-and-riseup-sign-3-year-partnership-for-pyramids-plateau/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:00:50 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716156 We will work together to position the Pyramids venue as the place where culture merges with technology and entrepreneurship, says Naguib Sawiris

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Gemini Enterprises Africa, part of Orascom Group, and RiseUp LLC, the MENA region’s connector of startups to local and global resources, signed on Monday a three-year partnership that will make the Pyramids Plateau the official venue for the annual RiseUp Summit and Pitch by the Pyramids competition until December 2022.

The partnership was announced during the first Pitch by the Pyramids competition, RiseUp’s latest flagship programme, by both Adly Thoma, CEO of Gemini Enterprises Africa, acting on behalf of  Naguib Sawiris, executive chairperson of Orascom Investment Holding, and Abdelhameed Sharara, co-founder and CEO of RiseUp.

Through this agreement, both parties seek to empower the entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem, and ensure a sustainable future by tapping into the local talent and innovation of young people.

Witnessing the signing ceremony, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said, “I am proud of RiseUp’s selection of the location. We are standing next to the Pyramids which are the symbol of innovation and civilization. This is an excellent platform where we have seen a lot of young people, international institutions, the private sector, and investment banks gathered.”

“It is the platform to put together the right ecosystem to ensure our young entrepreneurs get the right environment and the right support for them to grow, because they are the future, and they will remain the main contributor to our sustainable growth,” she added.

The partnership also stipulates that RiseUp and Gemini Enterprises Africa shall co-develop innovation hubs on the premises and other Orascom-owned holdings, while the former gains exclusivity for any entrepreneurial events in the area.

Sawiris added, “I’m pleased to announce the strategic partnership between Gemini Enterprises Africa and RiseUp to migrate the summit and all its activities to the Pyramids Plateau. We will work together to position the Pyramids venue as the Hub where history meets the future and the place that culture merges with technology and entrepreneurship. We are sure that this partnership will create a generation that will leave a legacy like our pharaonic ancestors did.”

Thoma stated, “This strategic partnership is not only to change the location of the summit, but rather to create a new platform that guides our youth through innovation inspired by our ancestors, the Pharaohs, the first entrepreneurs in history. We are proud to team up with RiseUp.”

“This partnership truly brings us closer to our vision, as we build bridges to connect entrepreneurs to the most relevant resources in Egypt and the region as a whole. It is a great pleasure to be standing here today and have the support of such an esteemed organisation,” Sharara added.

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We aim to bring the Premium International’s turnover to EGP 3.8bn in 5 years: chairperson https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/we-aim-to-bring-the-premium-internationals-turnover-to-egp-3-8bn-in-5-years-chairperson/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:45:09 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716187 The company aims to launch two new products in 2020 and provide premium services to individuals

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Premium International for Credit Services aims to reach a turnover reaching EGP 3.8bn by the end of 2024, supported by the provision of liquidity from the securitisation process, planning to launch a retail product in 2020, and contracting A50 to provide mobile payment services.

The company is also seeking to join the umbrella of consumer finance law as a prelude to the initial public offering (IPO) within three years, in addition to launching a company with Sarwa Capital company to introduce a new product in the field of consumer finance. Daily News Egypt sat down with Paul Antaki, owner of Premium International for Credit Services, in order to get the latest of the company’s plans.

What is the volume of business in the next five years?

The company aims to bring its current business volume to EGP 1bn, targetting to reach EGP 1.3bn in 2020, EGP 1.8bn in 2021, and EGP 2.5bn in 2022.  We aim to bring up its business volume in five years to EGP 3.8bn by the end of 2024. The sales volume is calculated on the basis of the total purchases of cardholders and not returns. The number of sales and purchases amounted to EGP 1m transactions per month.

What are the main sectors covered by the Premium Card?

Premium cardholders are able to cover all simple daily needs directly and without restrictive procedures, including foodstuffs, clothing, shoes, all fashion products, and electrical appliances, as well as health care services, tourism, and travel. Customers can pay on instalments over 10 months without interest. Premium Card is a commercial credit card for commercial goods and services, not funds.

How many premium card customers are there currently?

The number of customers currently reached about 130,000 cardholders. The number of customers increases from 2,000 to 2,500 at a monthly rate. The figure is seen to increase by 4,000 cardholders per month starting next year with the support of securitisation.

How many companies contract Premium to obtain cards for their employees? What are the conditions of the contracted companies?

The number of companies contracted with Premium is more than 800 companies. The company aims to expand its contracts with the private sector. The volume of government contracts ranges from three to four  government agencies whose employees use a Premium Card with negotiations with the ministries of investment and housing currently underway.

Premium contracts with companies with specific conditions, a joint-stock company, the capital of which shall be no less than EGP 2m, and that the company’s employees must be registered with the General Authority for Social Insurance, and the number of employees at least 100 employees.

What is the company’s percentage of profitability from the contracts of traders?

The profit margin of the company is estimated at 2% to 3% obtained from the contracted trader. The company is currently contracting with 5000 outlets through which premium services are provided for instalments with the same advantages as the outlet. The volume of sales and purchases amounted to 1m annual transactions.

Can you give us some details about the company’s securitisation bond programme?

The duration of the short-term bond issuance programme of the premium credit services company is up to two years until 2021. The company could offer an additional bond programme parallel to the programme in case of need for liquidity.

EFG-Hermes has announced the launch of a short-term securitisation in a multi-issuance programme for Premium Credit Services. The total value of the issuance programme is EGP 2bn divided into six, nine and 12-month tranches. The Arab African Bank covered the offering of premium bonds by 50%, and the investment bank Hermes covered 25% of the offering, while 25% was covered by Azimut company.

The company’s decision to move towards the issuance of securitisation bonds aims to provide large liquidity that enables it to expand the issuance of new products.

Are there new products in the pipeline?

One of the new products that the company plans to add during 2020 is the premium cards for individuals through specific communities, and after credit and field inquiry. We are also planning to launch a new product in the near future.

The cost of the first securitisation represents about 12.80% annually on the first tranche of the issuance programme, and 6.9% cost on a 10-month basis. Financing by issuing bonds is cheaper than bank borrowing, and over the years the cost of securitisation has become constant and the volume of securitisation has been increasing. The guarantee for the securitisation programme is the biggest obstacle faced by the company in the process of securitisation since it does not have the receipt securities in the conventional sense. The cardholder form of premium customers and receipt is the guarantee of the securitisation programme. Securitisation proceeds are purchases of 38,000 cardholders.

The customer at the beginning of the contract signed a receipt of the credit limit set by his company. Premium contracts with companies and bodies and not individuals.

How does one overcome the credit risk of default?

The credit risk of non-payment is very limited, as the customer signs a receipt equivalent to the limit allowed to borrow which corresponds to the credit card. The biggest motivation behind the company’s tendency to securitisation instead of credit facilities from banks is due to the Central Bank of Egypt’s instructions that the size of facilities for non-bank financing companies does not exceed 1 to 10 of the capital, while the company’s capital is currently EGP 50m.

Can you tell us more about your partnership with Sarwa Capital?

A partnership agreement was signed with Sarwa Capital Holding for Financial Investments to establish a new product offering in the field of consumer finance. Under the agreement, the partnership will draw on the expertise and capabilities of the two companies to develop a unique product in the consumer finance sector, which will contribute to reach a larger segment of customers and promote growth opportunities in the market. The partnership is 50/50 between the two companies.

What are the benefits of securitisation for Premium Card?

The process of securitisation gives the company flexibility in cash flows and greater liquidity without pressure on leverage, and continue to retain profits for faster growth. The company, since its inception 17 years ago, did not distribute any profits to partners to achieve a rapid growth rate. Securitisation gives more room to control profits. The volume of credit facilities of the company amounted to about EGP 250m, the latest of which is a loan from the Arab African International Bank. The year 2002 witnessed the start of the company through the contract with 50 dealers, 2,000 customers, and six companies.  The year 2009 witnessed the beginning of the profitability of the company since its establishment. The first credit facility obtained by the company during this year was from the Arab African International Bank.

What are the total credit facilities obtained by the company?

The company’s first loan in 2009 was worth EGP 5m in return for a capital increase of EGP 5m to reach EGP 17m at the time. In 2018, the company obtained a credit facility from the same bank worth EGP 200m.

What is a premium store?

Premium Card has launched an online store under the name of a premium store to sell the products of non-contracted outlets to Premium customers with the same instalment policy. This is being developed to satisfy Premium customers.

Is there a competition with payment cards from banks?

In terms of competition with electronic payment cards, the advantage that Premium offers to its customers is continuity in instalments without interest for 10 months, and not for a certain period as the rest of bank cards.

How many outlets is the company contracted with?

Premium Card has sought to include a huge network of service providers and products to serve different segments of consumer groups. It currently consists of 500 brands and retail chains dealing with various products and services, representing more than 5000 outlets across Egypt. The emergence of the idea of an alternative solution and the establishment of Premium Card came in 2002, 17 years ago, which allows the average consumer to buy and consume through a huge network of merchants offering various products and services through a card that allows them to install purchases in 10 months without interest.

Are there new technologies the company is considering adding?

Premium is always moving to the new technology after the launch of the Premium app, which allows the user to complete purchases using the application on mobile phone. The company plans to contract with A50 to launch a mobile payment system, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

In the coming years, Premium could consider expanding outside Egypt in countries such as Nigeria and Ethiopia through a partner in those countries, which will be provided by the operating system for a certain percentage agreed upon.

What about the state’s policy of financial inclusion?

The government’s tendency for financial inclusion in Egypt supports the idea of individuals turning to the use of credit cards to pay various services and reduce liquidity, which would expand the base of premium card customers.

Premium Card applies to consumer finance law, where the company is waiting for the availability of licenses to obtain them immediately. The company has turned to Financial Regulatory Authority to be included under the umbrella of consumer finance law. After obtaining the necessary licences, the company will launch the IPO procedures in the capital market. The IPO is one of the options offered for financing. All Premium Cardholders are expected to be premium investors at the IPO.

What are the main challenges facing the company in the market?

The main obstacles faced by the company in the establishment phase is to convince merchants to sign a premium with a discount in the presence of Visa and Master Card. Premium cardholders accounted for three times the cash sales of merchants. In terms of operational hurdles, the biggest challenge faced by the company is the introduction of a special operating system. The operating system of Premium is the credit card system of banks that has been launched and developed more than once to meet the needs of Premium. The company started to work with the ports manually using a manual system based on the merchant’s contact with the company, and then the company was able to contract with the National Bank of Egypt to accept premium cards on its machines through a contract that allows the issuance of premium cards to cardholders of the bank.

Premium was established in the Egyptian market in 2002 for the brothers Paul and Rami Antaki, through the issuance of a system of instalment cards for corporate employees, up to 10 months without interest through more than 450 brands in the market.

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USAID, Egypt agree to boost future cooperation https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/usaid-egypt-agree-to-boost-future-cooperation/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:30:32 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716150 Agency’s Deputy Assistant Administrator visits Egypt for the first time

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Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) Sahar Nasr met with, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East region at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Andrew Plitt, during his first visit to Egypt in his position where both sides agreed to boost their future cooperation.

The meeting was held in the presence of Sherry Carlin, USAID’s mission director in Egypt, and other staff of the MIIC and USAID, according to a statement of the MIIC on Monday, noting that the current portfolio of the USAID in Egypt is currently at the $1bn of bilateral agreements with special attention to small- and medium-sized enterprises and supporting private sector investments.

The U.S.’s investments in Egypt are at $22.8bn, the statement mentioned, noting that USAID along with the MIIC, encourage the American businesses to pump new investments in the Egyptian market.

U.S.-Egypt economic cooperation reflects the strength of the two countries’ partnership that takes into consideration the national priorities according to the economic and social reforms, Nasr said. She illustrated that the government’s priorities are to empower young people and women, in addition to supporting the small- and medium-sized enterprises, water and sanitation investments, in line with the expansion of social protection programmes.

For his part, Plitt praised Egypt’s economic reform programme and the measures taken to improve the investment climate, noting that the USAID is proud of its strong partnership with Egypt that will be even stronger after the Egyptian reforms and the business environment’s improvements.

USAID’s programmes in Egypt amount to over $30bn since 1978, according to the USAID’s website, noting that the agency has directly and fundamentally supported gains such as a reduction in infants and maternal mortality rates, improvement of reading ability in the early grades, and an increase in marketable skills.

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ACUD to complete lands sales in NAC’s first phase by July 2020 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/acud-to-complete-lands-sales-in-nacs-first-phase-by-july-2020/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:15:39 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716191 Shoura council building is being designed to be ready after elections, says ACUD chairperson

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New Administrative Capital’s (NAC) has sold 17,500 feddan from the 24,000 feddan offered for sale – excluding the landscape, infrastructure etc which make up 16,000 feddan – Magdy Amin, head of Real Estate Sector at the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD) said.

He added that the remaining 6,500 feddan will be marketed until July 2020.

The Egyptian government is planning to move all ministries and agencies in June 2020 to the NAC. The Government District’s development process exceeded 70% and they are currently working on the interiors of the ministry buildings.

Additionally, the infrastructure’s completion of the Government district will be complete in April 2020.

ACUD is the owner and developer for the NAC in Egypt and is located 35 km east of Cairo with a total area of 170,000 feddan.

Daily News Egypt sat down with leaders of the ACUD to learn more about the development process at the new capital project.

Ahmed Zaki Abdeen ACUD’s chairperson said that they are preparing designs for the Shura Council to move to the NAC.

Abdeen added that the company is ready to offer lands in mixed use areas in the NAC after the operation of the government district at twice the current meter price.

Furthermore, ACUD’s spokesperson Khaled El Hosseini, said that prices per square metre jumped by approximately 150% since the first offering.

What are the updates in the Green River area in the NAC project?

Abdeen: The Green River area spans over a total of 1,660 feddans, out of which 1000 feddans have been reserved for green areas and 660 feddans for mixed-use activities. The mixed-use areas are currently being developed and marketed through the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA). The NUCA is responsible for developing the area’s infrastructure and offering lands for developers as well as managing the projects within the Green River area.

How much is the price per metre that the ACUD plans to offer the NUCA?

Abdeen: The NUCA has bought the square metre in Green River with EGP 2,100.

What is the update regarding the MU4 and MU7?

Abdeen: The MU4 and MU7 zones are specialised for mixed-use commercial, administrative, and medical projects. We have offered very few plots of lands in these two areas. Additionally, we do not intend to offer lands in this area in the current period; however, we plan to offer lands in the two areas after the Government District’s operation which includes all ministries and government agencies, as well as the presidency and parliament, with doubled price per square metre compared to the current price.

How much is a square metre in these two areas?

Abdeen: The price per square metre reached EGP 15,000 and depends on the height of the project’s buildings, as every extra additional unit over seven floors means a 5% increase in price of the square metre for investors, and can reach approximately EGP 40,000 and EGP 45,000.

How many companies have paid the 2% serious reservation and not the 20% down-payment yet?

Abdeen: There are about five or six companies that haven’t paid the 20%. This means that they are not developing in the mixed-use areas until they the 20% and sign a contract.

When will the ACUD officially offer lands for developers in the mixed-use areas?

Abdeen: The company is ready to offer lands in mixed-use areas in the NAC after the operation of the government district at twice the current metre price.

Are you ready to transfer all governmental agencies to the NAC in June 2020?

Abdeen: Yes, we are. The political leadership is very keen on moving the ministries and agencies in time. However, the parliament will move in 2021 due to the beginning of the new legislative session of parliament in 2021. The building is huge and still in need of a lot of work. Moreover, the ACUD is preparing designs for Shura Council to be in the NAC.

Which operator is going to provide technological services in the project?

Abdeen:Telecom Egypt will manage and provide technological services and support in the NAC through an usufruct contract for 25 years.  Moreover, last week, we signed an agreement with Etisalat Misr to provide technical services for the NAC. Etisalat Misr won the tender for the supply, implementation, and operation of city management systems in the NAC to provide technological services and technical support within the new capital. Accordingly, we will sign another agreement with Orange in the coming period.

When will the joint venture with Electricité de France (EDF) and German Dorsch Group be established?

Abdeen: We are currently finishing the procedures of establishing the joint ventures with the operators and service provider in the NAC projects. In mid-January, three joint ventures will be established with EDF to provide electricity service and Dorsch to provide water and irrigation services as well as, another French service provider company in gas services.

What are some areas that the company is currently working on?

Amin: We are working on developing infrastructure in two areas, MU4 and MU7 inside R2 and R3 in the first phase of the NAC project. MU4 is overlooking the Green River and MU7 is close to CBD. Each MU is divided to approximately 50 plots of land with sizes ranging between one feddan to five or six feddans and allocated for business towers from 15 to 80 floors.

How many developers are working in MU4 and Mu7?

Amin:There are 17 developers, two of which have received lands in these areas.

How much is the price per square metre in MU4 and MU7?

Amin:We offer square metre with prices starting at EGP 20,000 according to the building’s height and place.

What is the size of lands that have been sold out?

Amin:The total area for sale in the first phase of NAC project is 24,000 feddans and the rest are roads and landscaping, out of which 17,500 feddans have been sold out. The other 6,500 feddans will be marketed until July.

Are there international operators or investors requesting land?

Amin: We have several requests to know more about investment opportunities and check lands in the NAC project. Therefore, we have a lot of discussions with other developers. Additionally, we are studying requests by 18 investors to acquire lands for residential and mixed-use projects.

How many developers are working in the NAC?

Amin: We have about 300 developers.

How many ministerial approvals have been issued for developers in the NAC?

Amin: We have issued more than 50 ministerial approvals.

What is the aim beyond contracting with EDF France to provide electricity service?

El Hosseini: We aim to provide services with minimum loss of electricity which is currently estimated at 35%, and  we want to reach 7%.  EDF France will also provide online and smart solution to supply the NAC’s residents with electricity services. This system is to be implemented with high techniques and solid infrastructure.

Do you have any requests from international institutions to acquire lands for headquarters in the Diplomatic Area?

El Hossieni: The African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) requested a land area of 110,000 square metres (sqm) divided into two plots, the first in the diplomatic district with an area of 50,000 sqm to establish housing for the bank’s employees at a price of $400 per sqm, and the second with an area of 60,000 sqm in the central business district to establish a headquarters for the bank and an African trade centre. The bank is seeking to establish an administrative tower with a height of 400 meters and includes 100 floors. The average price of a square meter of land in that area was $2500 per meter depending on the place.

What are the ACUD’s activities in promoting the NAC project?

El Hossieni: Last month, we have participated in an international exhibition in Barcelona, Spain at Fira de Barcelona to showcase countries’ experiences in establishing smart cities. Accordingly, we plan to participate in that exhibition next year to largely promote the project.

What is the percentage of increase in prices since the first offering to date?

El Hossieni: The prices hiked by approximately 150% since the first offering until now.

Do you receive requests by developers to expand the instalments of land value?

El Hossieni: We have already received very few requests by developers to not extend or increase instalment periods, but to pay the instalment in more than one payment, provided that they are adhering to a contracted period of time to pay the whole price of the land.

How many ministerial approvals are being issued?

El Hossieni: We are preparing to issue about 16 ministerial approvals for developers in the NAC. Additionally, we have issued 2203 building permits for projects.

Tell us more about the updates in the Government District?

El Hossieni: The development process of the Government District at the NAC exceeded 70% and currently we are working on interiors in ministries and it will move in June 2020. Additionally, the completion of infrastructure in government district will be completed in April 2020. The total cost of infrastructure in the government district is approximately EGP 40bn.

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PM Mostafa Madbouly opens Pacprocess and Food Africa exhibitions https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/pm-mostafa-madbouly-opens-pacprocess-and-food-africa-exhibitions/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:00:30 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716149 Attended by Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Ali Moselhy, and Governor of Cairo, Khaled Abdel Aal, Pacprocess Middle East and Africa is to be held from 9 to 11 December.

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Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly opened on Monday the activities of packaging technology trade shows; Pacprocess Middle East and Africa, and Food Africa.

Attended by Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Ali Moselhy, and Governor of Cairo, Khaled Abdel Aal, Pacprocess Middle East and Africa is to be held from 9 to 11 December.

During Madbouly’s tour in the exhibition, he praised the progress of the packing industry in Egypt, expressing his appreciation for the wide participation of major companies, especially German ones, indicating that such international exhibitions is grabbing more attention.

Pacprocess is held under the auspices of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. More than 500 national and international companies representing 31 countries attended both exhibitions, and more than 600 investors were invited to the fair to discuss establishing partnerships and deals with their local and foreign counterparts.

On the sidelines of the exhibitions, several discussion sessions were held with the participation of ministers, businesspeople, and local and international experts specialised in the fields of food, packaging, and engineering and chemical industries, discussing the future of food processing and the developments of the packaging industry.

The exhibitions will also witness many important activities such as organising the first gathering of date makers, as Egypt is one of the largest producers and exporters of dates in the Arab region, in cooperation with the Khalifa International Date Palm Award and Agricultural Innovation as a strategic partner.

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Swiss Christmas fair 2019 to kick off in Egypt on Friday https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/swiss-christmas-fair-2019-to-kick-off-in-egypt-on-friday/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:45:11 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716188 The embassy’ staff, Egyptian senior officials are expected to attend the event, says club manager

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With a fun-filled festive family day with a traditional Christmas market, the Swiss Club Cairo (SCC) will kick off the Swiss Christmas fair 2019  next Friday.

Club Manager Alvin J Furrer told Daily News Egypt that the event will include many activities such as singing competition, in addition to an oriental show and tanoura folkloric dance.

For children, the club prepared puppet shows and Santa Claus.

According to Furrer, the Swiss community, a number of the Swiss embassy’ staff, and Egyptian senior officials are expected to attend the event.

The SCC was previously known as The Swiss House or The Swiss Home, constituting a hideaway from Cairo’s busy streets and lifestyle. With a history dating back to the 19th century and unique atmosphere and architecture, the SCC is considered a popular hangout for expats and locals alike, according to the SCC’s website.

Early August 2019, the SCC hosted a celebration for the Swiss National Day with the participation of ambassador of Switzerland to Egypt Paul Garnier as well as representatives of the Swiss community in Egypt and Swiss companies’ representatives.

The post Swiss Christmas fair 2019 to kick off in Egypt on Friday appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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