Sunday, 22 February 2015
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY
The GCC has issued a statement denying it has sided with Qatar in a dispute over remarks made by Egypt’s envoy to the Arab League. Full details in Diplomacy, below.
The Higher Elections Commission has indicated it will release a preliminary list of candidates for parliament today. (Read)
An Italian trade delegation’s visit to Egypt is set to begin today, with the visit running until 24 February. A total of 90 companies, five banking groups and five entrepreneurial associations make up the delegation, whose primary focus will be on the renewable energy, mechanical and infrastructure sectors. (Read) Minister of International Cooperation Naglaa Al-Ahwany was in Rome over the weekend to speak with Italian entrepreneurs ahead of the delegation’s visit and next month’s investment summit. (Read)
It will be cloudy (off-and-on) through Wednesday — and Tuesday could yet prove a bit windy — but the worst of the weather we’ve been having lately is behind us and the Red Sea Port Authority says itexpects ports to resume normal operations today, with the exception of Sharm El-Sheikh. Alexandria and Dekheila ports on the Mediterranean were closed Thursday and Friday amid high winds and wave surges, while the ports of Al-Adabiya, Port Tawfick, Al-Zeitat, Sokhna, Hurghada and Sharm also closed to maritime traffic over the weekend, Al-Mal and Al-Borsa report.
Finally: The Oscars air tonight in America (03:30am on Monday morning Cairo time). OSN has snapped up the exclusive rights for the MENA region. Details here.
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING THIS WEEK
Afreximbank will host a one-day forum on a USD 500 mn trade finance support program to support Egyptian exports on Tuesday, 24 February, the same day of the first draw in the lottery for the allocation of Dar Misr housing units.
The Telegraph’s two-day Middle East Congress 2015 gets underway on Wednesday, and the Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee is set to hold its next meeting on Thursday.
LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS
Lamees El Hadidy reported that Tamarod youth threw clay urns at the Qatari embassy today (a symbolic gesture in Egyptian culture that means, essentially, good riddance.
“Yes, don’t come back. This is our message to the Qatari ambassador. Qatar is funding terrorism in Libya and elsewhere. We stand by the statements of Tarek Adel at the Arab League. What he said is no different than what is being reported in the Telegraph and all other reputable western media outlets,” said El Hadidy. “Qatar is a terrorist state that funds and arms and supports terrorists.”
That was pretty much the sentiment across the board on the topic of Qatar.
“Even the New York Times — which hates us — is in agreement with us when it comes to Qatar,” said AmrAdeeb. He reassured viewers that the GCC still stands firmly behind Egypt and the Egyptian economy. “I don’t want anyone to have any doubt of their unfaltering support, particularly that of Saudi Arabia and King Salman. Nothing has changed in that relationship. Qatar would love to take advantage of this situation to create a rift between us but it won’t happen.”
The highlight of last night’s shows, however, had nothing to do with Qatar. It was an extended telephone interview with Ahmad Ezz on Qahira El Yawm. Ezz’s call is front-page news on the sites of the leading domestic media outlets this morning.
Ezz confirmed rumors that a recorded interview with Osama Kamal, which was reportedly due to air on El Qahira Wel Nas, has been cancelled.
“We taped the interview last Wednesday night but later I was informed by the owner of station that the interview would not be aired,” said Ezz. “I was not given a reason for the decision.”
“I am running for one out of 540 seats in parliament, I never thought that one seat would cause so much controversy. Democracy means giving everyone equal opportunity. Those who claim to be advocates for democracy are the ones who are actually fighting it the most. I nominated myself because I owe it to the people of my district. I started my first factory and worked hand-in-hand with the youth there to build it into what it is today. I think my experience and my qualifications will make me a good representative, particularly during this juncture when we are trying to boost economic development and boost investment in the country,” saidEzz.
“But you have already had your chance, your time is over. There was a revolution against you. Why do you want to go through this again?” asked Adeeb.
“Despite the advice of my family not to re-enter political life, I have made the decision to run. All I’m asking is for the chance to compete. Whether or not I succeed will be up to the people in my district,” said Ezz.
“But your candidacy is an embarrassment to the government,” said Adeeb
“I fully support the current regime, but this is my decision. I have not been in touch with any member of the government nor any former members of the NDP. Other political parties have reached out to them, but I have not,” said Ezz.
“But the NDP has been dismantled because it was a corrupt party and you were a party leader,” said Adeeb.
“That is one thing, and my candidacy as an independent is another. You are entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine. I am a private Egyptian citizen and it is my constitutional right to run just like anyone else. I beg you to please be impartial. It is your role as a presenter to be impartial, although I do respect your opinion,” said Ezz who remained calm and polite to the end despite Adeeb’s escalating antagonism.
Adeeb’s final question — “Are you willing to reconsider your candidacy?” — was left unanswered. Ezz wished Adeeb and his viewers well and hung up the phone.
Some of you may recall our suggesting in the 9 February edition of Enterprise that a policy disagreement between Finance Minister Hani Demian and Investment Minister Ashraf Salman was behind the delayed release of the eagerly-anticipated ‘unified investment law.’ While the law has since been promised by the time the Sharm economic conference kicks off in mid-March, suggestions the Mahlab government would hold public consultations on the legislation have fallen by the wayside. It’s in that context that we’re reading a piece posted to Al-Mal’s website on Friday in which sources at the Tax Authority detailed objections to investment incentives in the proposed law, particularly those for companies operating in industrial free zones, both current and future.
Another issues on which business wants some clarity before Sharm is the proposed VAT, but a piece in Al-Shorouk suggests we’ll be waiting until after the election of the House of Representatives. It seems MPs will be left to take the bullet for passing the measure. The news emerged from a weekend piece that notes Mamdouh Omar, an advisor to the Minister of Finance on tax policy, said implementation of the VAT would curtail price hikes. VAT, Omar noted, is an alternative to the sales tax, which is imposed once in the lifecycle of a good. VAT, on the other hand, is imposed at each stage of production. Omar suggested that free zone goods and products as well as state-run hospitals would be exempt from the new tax, according to the draft law, unless a change occurs to the Investment Law.
Meanwhile, President Abdelfattah El-Sisi discussed potential legislative changes during a meeting with ENI President Claudio Descalzi. According to Al-Ahram, the president assured the Italian oil chief that legislative reforms will be announced by the time of the Sharm conference, including the unified investment law and its promise of a one-stop shop for foreign investors.
Investment Minister Ashraf Salman says that the government is targeting USD10-15 bn in investments coming out of the Sharm El-Sheikh investment summit, according to a report from state-run news service MENA picked up in Egypt Independent. It’s the first time we can recall seeing a government official putting a USD target on the conference. Speaking of Sharm: The conference is now on Twitter @egyptthefuture — and received an indirect love letter from the Telegraph (which is hosting a conference of its own on the region’s economies) in ‘Digging deep for a new Suez canal investment boom,’ which quotes CIB’s Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, Qalaa’s Ahmed Heikal and TAQA Arabia’s Khaled Abu Bakr.
Are foreign exchange bureaux crying uncle? In the latest sign Hisham Ramez’s clampdown on the black market may be working, a representative of Egyptian exchange offices declared the bank price to FX bureaux for the greenback is “too low.” Banks are treating the bureaux as normal customers and offering them rates capped by CBE regulations, the rep complained, saying exchange offices are refusing to sell at the current rates and would rather hold on to their stock of hard currency. He added that a higher offer price from banks would likely result in a larger foreign currency supply in the market, Amwal Al-Ghad reports.
Qalaa Holdings board approves EGP 1.7 bn capital increase, according to an emailed statement received overnight. The hike to EGP 9.7 bn will come primarily through “capitalization of liabilities arising from the purchase of additional shares in core subsidiaries, particularly in energy and cement, from limited partners and co-investors,” the same “synthetic swap” mechanism the company used in an EGP 3.64 bn capital increase last year. For more, see Reuters (the piece appears to have been written before the statement was emailed) and Al-Borsa (which tags Reuters with background).
The chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives State and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee Kay Granger (R) has called upon Obama to release jets and tanks to Egypt that have been held up since 2013. Granger also called upon the administration to provide Jordan and Iraqi Kurds with the arms they have requested in order to fight Daesh, and has threatened to block foreign aid money if the weapons are not delivered. (Read)
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG’s CEO Sergei Korotko said on Friday that the company is ready to supply Egypt with jets should the request be made by Cairo. (Read)
The International Monetary and Financial Committee, the policy advisory committee of IMF, appointed the Governor of Banco de México, Agustín Carstens, as Committee Chairman.
Mahmoud Mohieldin, Egypt’s former investment minister and current managing director at the World Bank, suggests optimising the financing aspect of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Mohieldin believes that imbalances were created when MDGs were funded individually and the next development agenda, underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), should be developed in an integrated approach to develop programs and policies that can channel a larger share of global savings toward the SDGs.Mohieldin also points readers to a World Bank analysis of how countries can use a combination of public, private, domestic, and international sources of financing most effectively to fund the implementation of the SDGs.
There remains a degree of confusion as to the identity of the 21st victim of the recent beheadings of 21 people in Libya. While 20 are confirmed to have been Egyptian Copts, Ahram Online cites “reports” without any further indication of sources, that the individual is of Chadian origin, while another recent report assertsthat the man’s name is Matthew Ayariga, from Ghana. “No matter what his nationality is, the Orthodox Church considers him as one of its sons,” said Bishop Macarios of Minya to Ahram Online.
A Daesh affiliate has claimed responsibility for 3 car bombs in the eastern Libyan town of Qubbah on Friday, which have killed at least 42 people, including 5 Egyptians, and injured 70 people. The terror group stated that the attack was in retaliation for Egyptian air strikes. (Read) Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that three Egyptian engineers have been kidnapped in the Libyan city of Sabha. This is in addition to four other kidnapped Egyptian Christians who were kidnapped months ago.
Al Arabiya reported that just hours later, six missiles from the Daesh-held city of Derna hit Labraq airport on Friday, although there does not appear to be confirmation from other sources at the moment. One possible reason for the lack of confirmation is that it has been difficult for foreign journalists to operate in Libya given its current instability.
Egypt and Israel aim to double duty-free textile exports to the U.S. under the QIZ framework:Egypt and Israel agreed on Wednesday to target a doubling of exports to the U.S. to USD 2 bn per year within the next 3 years through increased marketing, according to Gabi Bar, head of the Middle East desk at the Israeli Economy Ministry, as reported by Haaretz. QIZ factories in Egypt employ at least 280,000 workers. (Read in Haaretz)
Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Dr. Khaled Hanafi said that for the first time the Sisi administration is aiming to restructure all of state-owned holding companies formed under law 203 / 1991. The announcement was made during a meeting between Hanafi and EGX boss Mohamed Omran after which the two announced that the Holding Company for Food Industries (HCFI) is considering a capital raising. The domestic press is positioning the transaction as being in the EGP 2-3 bn range and touting it as one of the largest such transactions to take place on the EGX. Both Hanafi and Omran took pains to not appear as if the state was looking to sell-down its holdings in HCFI.
Minister of Irrigation Dr. Hossam Moghazi is in Khartoum for a meeting with his counterparts from the Nile Basin countries. The meeting, set to focus on technical issues, is being positioned in the domestic press as a landmark event and comes after President Abdelfattah El-Sisi re-engaged with Egypt’s up-river partners late last year. Al-Ahram has more.
Measure Egypt’s recovery by how much we spend shopping in Dubai. According to a press release from Visa picked up by Al-Mal, Egyptians dropped USD 10.2 mn in Dubai during the first two weeks of its eponymous shopping festival. That’s roughly a 52% rise in spending over the same period last year.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement at the Countering Violent Extremism summit is available here. Obama seems to be incorporating criticism lodged at him for avoiding the naming of the faiths of the victims and perpetrators of terrorism. Obama made some very belated statements that needed making a long time ago, but according to this fact sheet released by the White House, the entire amount of funds the United States is allocating for its counter-terrorism proposals conceived at the summit amount to c.USD 18.5 mn, which seriously calls into question the seriousness of the proposals.
Egypt will waive its request to host the 2017 African Cup of Nations in order to support Algeria’s bid, according to FIFA Executive Committee member Hany Abu Rida speaking to Youm7 on Friday. (Read)
A media gag has been imposed on trial of 213 suspected members of Sinai Daesh affiliate Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, the Daily News and Youm7 report.
Hundreds evacuated after fire at Dubai skyscraper: One of the world’s tallest residential buildings caught fire on Saturday, with police stating that the fire does not appear to have been set deliberately. Only a few minor injuries were reported, as authorities moved to quickly evacuate the 79-floor Torch skyscraper, as well as two adjacent buildings. (Read)
Qatar’s “Grand Mosque of Hate:” The Daily Beast profiles the Grand Mosque in Doha as a fountain of sectarian hate in the region. The piece notes, among other interesting details, such as that Qatar has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest source of private donations to Daesh, that an imam of its Grand Mosque implicitly laid blame on the Jordanians for the death of their fighter pilot Moaz al Kasabah, saying that Jordan should have negotiated and agreed to a prisoner exchange, even though it is widely believed that he was already dead when Daesh offered the exchange, as they had not responded to Jordan’s demands for proof of life. (Read)
Yemen’s Hadi flees to Aden and says he is still president: President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has escaped house arrest on Saturday after fleeing from the Yemeni capital Sanaa in disguise, reaching the Yemeni seaport of Aden. Hadi has declared that he is still the president of Yemen and describes the power-sharing agreement he signed as a coerced acceptance of a coup against him. The Shiite Houthi rebels have denied that Hadi had been held under house arrest. (Read)
Erdogan’s AKP party has killed a motion in the Turkish parliament to probe Daesh’s activitiesinside Turkey. (Read)
There’s open warfare between Gulf airlines and the head of Delta, the U.S. carrier, with the latter invoking 9/11 and ‘unfair’ state subsidies in an ongoing fight over access to markets under Open Skies. Skift has a roundup.
In international business news, it’s been a quiet weekend since news that Greece arrived at a four-month extension of its bailout and is now scrambling to settle on a list of reforms before meeting with it creditors for a review tomorrow. The Wall Street Journal has more on this two other major stories with regional implications, including talks of more US and European sanctions on Russia over Ukraine and more defense and security spending by Egypt and the GCC.
The Nationalist Solution: David Brooks argues in an op-ed in The New York Times that the solution to Islamist extremism is nationalism, including Egyptian nationalism.
The above article really gets to the heart of the Islamist / non-Islamist divide in Egypt and throughout the region. Critiques of Egyptian politics rarely seem to be of the opinion that political players should uphold a basic commitment and respect for the concept of the nation-state, rather than make entreaties to legitimize shadowy organizations with supranational ambitions. To be fair, political Islam is not the only form of tribalism which can lend itself to abuse; nationalism in Egypt in its most extreme form has also produced its own ills: xenophobia, rabid conspiracy theories and a general lack of critical thinking.
Even the Islamists have seemed to woken up to the notion that the symbol of the Egyptian flag being invoked against them, as Brotherhood marches and protests have up until recently only featured the symbols and narrow interests of the group. It seems they have wised up to this, as residents of Egypt may have noticed the very clunky introduction of Egyptian flags at Brotherhood demonstrations in addition to their symbol of the yellow hand of Saruman.
Health care in insurgency and counter-insurgency: Some lessons from others: This FP article hits on an incredibly important point that is not getting enough attention from the government, media or the population at large in Egypt: while most recognize that Islamists rose to power through their providing of social services, little has been done to fill in the resulting vacuum following the closure of Brotherhood charity organizations. The FP article goes on to note:
“The Egyptian MB, Palestinian Hamas, Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah, and Iraqi and Syrian Badr, Al-Sadr, and Islamic Supreme Council Shia groups are adapting and implementing the Hezbollah model of social services, especially in the health care sector. Of the 5,000 NGOs working in Egypt, greater than 20 percent of them are MB affiliates operating dozens of hospitals and clinics countrywide. The MB has focused on recruiting physicians and educators to serve in their highest leadership echelons, including the recently appointed Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat, the MB movement general counsel. Unlike state-run institutions, MB-managed facilities are rarely the subject of fraud or corruption allegations. MB health care efforts are touted as ‘getting closer to God through medical work’ The MB’s effective response to the devastating Cairo 1992 earthquake provided them with much sought-after legitimacy. As is the case in Hezbollah’s legitimacy among people, it is becoming more difficult to remove the MB from the political scene.” (Read)
Swedish director Johannes Nyholm has his toddler play a drunk tourist in the short film Las Palmas. (Watch, running time: 1:29)
The suicidal West: Sweden allows Daesh fighters to come and go as they please (Watch, running time: 2:37)
Fist fight in the Turkish parliament: Despite Erdogan’s daily diatribes against the Egyptian government, which include lectures about stifling political dissent, fist fights in the Turkish parliament erupted for a second day as opposition lawmakers are attempting to stall debate on bill that would introduce harsher restrictions on protests, as Erdogan moves to check off another obstacle on his list as he prepares to transform Turkey into a presidential system and discard with Turkey’s once respected democracy. (Watch, running time: 1:01)
WHAT YOU CLICKED ON LAST WEEK
The five most-clicked links in Enterprise for the week of 15 February were:
As noted last Thursday, Qatar has recalled its ambassador to Egypt over remarks made by the Egyptian delegate to the Arab League implying that Qatar supported terrorism for stating its reservations over Egypt’s unilateral military action in Libya and for Egypt’s proposal’s to impose an arms embargo on Qatar’s Islamist proxies in Libya. A statement was issued by the GCC siding with Qatar and condemning Egypt’s remarks, only to be withdrawn and replaced by a statement by GCC head Abdulateef al Zayani, which states: “Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Dr Abdulateef Al Zayani has denied statements attributed to him about the Gulf-Egyptian relations. Al Zayani said that the GCC countries always sought to support Egypt under the leadership of President Abdelfattah Al Sisi in all areas … The GCC countries also support all military actions taken by Egypt against terrorist groups in Libya, following the barbaric act carried out by the Daesh terrorist group against 21 Egyptians in Libya, Al Zayani said.” (Read) The corrected statement was also run by the Saudi Press Agency.
While the original statement attributed to the GCC was widely carried by Western media, and jumped upon by analysts who still think that the so-called ‘Sisi leaks’ matter to anyone, the major outlets are still circulating the old version of the story that the GCC has sided with Qatar over Egypt, with no updates or amendments appearing as of this morning in the coverage by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and theAssociated Press.
UAE-based Gulf News has run a report citing an unnamed source who states that the statement condemning Egypt and siding with Egypt was “drafted unilaterally by sources outside the Riyadh-based headquarters of the general secretariat … It was then sent to the GCC general secretariat that posted it on its website and it was subsequently disseminated by the GCC news agencies.” (Read)
Regardless of any GCC denials, Dina Ezzat of Ahram Online warns that the new Saudi king may start revealing his true intentions toward Egypt and his plans for reconciliation with Islamists. The report also seems to suggest that the Gulf countries are pulling a reluctant Egypt into the conflict in Yemen. “Already Egypt is feeling uneasy about a delay in a meeting that it was promised Saudi’s new monarch would make to Egypt – even though officials in Cairo know very well that this meeting is about sharing with the Egyptian leadership the Saudi wish for Cairo to be ‘more accommodating of Egypt’s diverse political groups, not excluding the moderate Islamist groups’ … The new GCC political mood was reflected on Wednesday in New York during an Arab group meeting that declined an Egyptian diplomatic demarche to solicit a UN-supported intervention in Libya. New York-based sources said that Egypt was not impressed with the level of support it received from its previously keen allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE during this meeting, especially as it was already faced with no small diplomatic resistance from North African Arab states, who openly told the meeting that the time is not right for military intervention and that Libya needs diplomatic and political efforts.” Ezzat’s must-read piece:Egypt sees the dawn of the new colours of Saudi foreign policy? (Read)
National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry last Thursday.(Read)
The Qatari Emir will make his first official White House visit on Tuesday. (Read)
Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to meet in Khartoum next month: A committee comprised of Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese foreign ministers will meet next month in Khartoum to discuss the ongoing Ethiopian Dam issue. The committee met this month in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry in attendance. Sudanese Minister of Electricity Moataz Moussa said that the meeting seeks to reach a political agreement on the Ethiopian Dam crisis. (Read in Arabic)
EGYPT IN THE NEWS
Trying to keep up with the regular stream of New York Times editorials condemning Egypt is akin to drinking from a fire hose. Beyond Kirkpatrick’s coverage, the NYT editorial board publishes regular unsolicited opinions on the governing of Egypt with such a regular frequency that one could be forgiven for mistaking the Times for an Egyptian newspaper. Their latest editorial Egypt’s Crisis Across the Border With Libya can only be described as otherworldly. (Read)
The Economist has a misleadingly-titled piece on the Egyptian economy titled ‘Pyramid scheme’ which, rather than focusing on fraud or corruption as the headline implies, outlines the challenges facing the economy. “Investment is just 14% of GDP. “In a developing, industrializing economy, investment needs to be much higher—around 25% of GDP for many years in a row,” says Simon Kitchen of EFG Hermes, an investment bank.” (Read)
CNN is calling SIsi the GOP’s favorite Arab leader, although Nathan Brown is summoned to throw cold water on their enthusiasm. Brown could most recently opined on Egypt with his hit job How Egypt Prolonged the Gaza War co-authored with Michele Dunne which seeks to pin the blame on Egypt, with of course no mention of reports that Qatar had threatened to expel Hamas’ Meshaal if he agreed to the Egypt-mediated deal. The aforementioned FP piece also offers up this nugget of wisdom: “the new Egypt-Israel alliance is based on a short-term coincidence of interests rather than any strategic consideration.”
Tom Stevenson writes on Egypt’s prisons in Sisi’s Way for the London Review of Books. (Read)
ENERGY, RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUBSIDY REFORM
Masdar’s Ras Gharib wind farm to be ready in two years
Al Borsa | 19 Feb 2015
At an investment cost of USD 400 mn, UAE’s Masdar is expected to deliver the wind farm project at Ras Gharib in two years. Masdar, in cooperation the National Renewable Energy Authority, will begin implementing the project within the next three months. Masdar is also engaging in minor energy generation projects to increase the household usage of solar energy, and renewables in general. (Read in Arabic)
Technical assistance to be provided to households installing solar panels –Cairo governor
Al Borsa | 19 Feb 2015
The governor of Cairo announced that the city will provide technical assistance to households wishing to generate electricity from solar energy. The city will also help households connect to the national grid and will liaise with the electricity ministry. The governor called on more Cairo residents to install solar panels on roof tops as well as conserve their energy usage. (Read in Arabic)
Criteria for Egypt’s nuclear power plant
El Hadas | 21 Feb 2015
An official from the ministry of electricity outlined three criteria for the government’s selection of a foreign partner to assist in building the country’s first nuclear plant. According to the source, the government will assess interested parties based on: the type of technology the envisioned plant will use, the foreign parties means of financing the project, and the speed at the which the plant can be completed. The unnamed source concluded by stating that the government was likely to choose its partner based on strategic factors, such as national security, rather than through a bidding system. (Read in Arabic)
El Sewedy commissions ECG to review power stations’ design plans
Al Mal | 19 Feb 2015
El Sewedy Electric has commissioned the Engineering Consultants Group (ECG) to review and assess the design plans for the power stations in Attaqah and Mahmoudiya. ECG will also oversee the implementation process of the two power stations, which is expected to take six months. The power stations have a cumulative investment cost of USD 706 mn. (Read in Arabic)
OIL & GAS
EGAS signs deal with Vitol for LNG shipments, in talks with BP
Reuters | 19 Feb 2015
Vitol will supply Egypt with nine LNG shipments starting this June as per a deal signed with EGAS, according to the Ministry of Petroleum. This contract comes as part of the results of tender the ministry put out earlier this year to buy 75 LNG cargoes. The ministry also announced it is in talks with BP over a deal to supply 21 LNG cargoes. (Read)
Jordan determined to cooperate with Egypt to get Iraqi gas
Shafaq | 19 Feb 2015
Iraqi news outlet Shafaq reports that Jordan’s Minister of Energy unveiled his country’s plans to cooperate with Egypt and extend a gas pipeline to import natural gas from Iraq. The planned pipeline will be extended from the Arab Gas Pipeline towards gas fields in Iraq and would be expected to transport around 150 mcf of gas a day. The security situation in Iraq is slowing the implementation plans down. (Read)
Investments in Egypt unaffected, expansions planned for 2015 –Oil Libya
Amwal Al Ghad | 18 Feb 2015
Oil Libya said that its investments in Egypt were not affected by the most recent developments, according to the company’s Egypt CEO. The company sees Egypt as a very promising market in the light of the economic and legislative reform processes currently underway. Oil Libya has plans to increase investments in Egypt in 2015 as it plans to commission 10 new gas stations and to refurbish five ones currently in service along with opening a number of new service centres across Egypt. (Read in Arabic)
Eni intends to increase it investments in Egypt
Wafd | 21 Feb 2015
Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, announced on Saturday that his company plans to increase its investments in Egypt. Due to improving security and the government’s recent economic reforms, Egypt, according to Eni’s CEO, offers very attractive investment opportunities for companies operating in its oil and gas space. Last year, Eni’s vice president announced that his company planned to invest USD 1.3 bn on annual basis in order to develop its oil and gas projects in Egypt. Eni has been operating in Egypt since 1954, and has various projects throughout the western desert and the Gulf Suez.( Read in Arabic)
BASIC MATERIALS & COMMODITIES
Steps to create a commodities exchange underway –supplies minister
Al Ahram | 20 Feb 2015
The government has already began taking steps to create a commodities exchange to support the grain storage and logistics hub project underway, according the Minister of Supplies, Khaled Hanafy. Hanafy was in talks with the head of the EGX regarding the commodities exchange, as well as to discuss restructuring of state-owned food companies. The ministry has plans to financially restructure 43 companies in the sector. (Read in Arabic)
Delta Fertilizers informed that its gas supplies will stop until 25 February
Al Shorouk | 20 Feb 2015
Natural gas to the Delta Company for Fertilizers will be stopped until 25 February, the company’s Chairman, Mohsen Nasser, said. Nasser said his company received a warning from the Ministry of Petroleum saying it will not pump any natural gas to the factory, which means that the company will not be able to operate for 11 days this month. In January, natural gas supplies’ disruptions stopped production from two weeks. Delta Fertilizers is fully state-owned and is the only fertilizer producer that channels its entire production to the government. (Read in Arabic)
Egypt signs USD 63 mn loan agreement with IFAD
Youm7 I 20 Feb 2015
The Ministry of International Cooperation signed a USD 63.1 mn loan agreement with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome on Friday to finance the Sustainable Agricultural Investment Project. In a statement, Minister of International Cooperation Nagla Al-Ahwany said that the project will benefit 40,000 rural households, small-scale farmers, recent graduates, and women. Since 1981, IFAD has granted Egypt a total of USD 329.7 mn to help fund 12 projects in the field of agricultural development. (Read in Arabic)
Solb Misr to invest USD 150 mn in 2015, mull IPO – group’s chairman
Amwal Al Ghad | 19 Feb 2015
Sold Misr will invest USD 150 mn to expand its steel production capacity in 2015, according to the group’s chairman, Gamal Al Garhy. Al Garhy aims to increase the production capacity to 3 mn tons annually from 2 mn at present. The expansion will be financed through borrowing from domestic banks and a potential flotation of 20% of the group’s shares on the EGX. (Read in Arabic)
National steel production to come to a halt as hard currency remains short
Al Masry Al Youm | 18 Feb 2015
The Suez Steel company warned that steel production nationally will come to a complete halt in three days. As Dollars remain in short supply, following the new CBE regulations, steel producers are not able to pay for raw material imports and their stocks are running out. (Read in Arabic)
Metallurgical industries section at the FEI to present CBE a note about the USD shortage
Al Shorouk | 19 Feb 2015
The head of the metallurgical industries section at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, Khaled Hanafy, said the section is in process of preparing a note on how the shortage of Dollars is hindering their operations. The note will be presented to the CBE and the office of the PM. Hanafy warns that almost 30 factories producing copper, steel, and aluminum could be forced to stop operating as raw materials are becoming increasingly short and given that the sector imports 85% of its raw materials. (Read in Arabic)
Marcyrl targets EGP 100 mn in sales of its Sovaldi generic
Al Mal | 19 Feb 2015
Domestic pharmaceuticals producer Marcyrl said it is targeting EGP 100 mn from the sales of its generic hepatitis-C drug. The release of the drug, a Sovaldi generic, was delayed following a request by the health ministry to increase the amount supplied to over 3,500 packs. Marcyrl says it aims to bring supply up to 20 thousand packs within the next few days. (Read in Arabic)
REAL ESTATE & HOUSING
Orascom Construction to raise USD 241 mn from IPO
Reuters | 19 Feb 2015
Orascom Constructions, which is being spun off by OCI NV, expects to raise as much as USD 241 mn from its IPO on the EGX. The company will offer 15% of its ordinary share capital in up to 15.8 mn shares priced between USD 13.33-15.23 per share. A bookbuilding process to determine the final price for institutional investors started on Thursday and will last until next Thursday with retail investors offered the shares at the same price between 1-4 March. (Read)
CIB and UNB to finance Arabtec’s mn units’ project
Al Borsa | 19 Feb 2015
Arabtec has reached an agreement with CIB and UNB to finance its 1 mn units’ project. Arabtec agreed to the government’s request to bring down its prices from EGP 3,500 per sqm to EGP 2,650. The UAE based developer is also currently assessing promotional campaigns for the project from Hill & Knowlton and Tarek Nour Advertising. (Read in Arabic)
Draw for the Dar Misr units scheduled for 24 February
Al Mal | 19 Feb 2015
The housing ministry set 24 February as the date for the first draw for the Dar Misr housing units. The first draw will be for units in New Damietta and will last for three days until 26 February. Five days are scheduled to the draw for the New Cairo units and two for the Sixth of October ones. All of those who booked units for the first phase’s projects but weren’t awarded them at the draw will be given units at the second phase project if they do not withdraw their deposits. (Read in Arabic)
Minister of Housing introduces first water treatment plant of its kind in Egypt
Al Borsa I 21 Feb 2015
Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development Moustafa Madbouly opened the first water treatment plant in Egypt in Al-Nubaria province situated in the Beheria governorate, which was completed by a Danish contracting company and Nasr General Contracting. The new water treatment plant costs 68% less than existing water treatment plants to build. The Ministry announced that it will build 4 identical water treatment plants in the near future. Madbouly said the plant operates at a capacity of 86,000 cubic meters per day at a cost of EGP 200 mn and serves more than 250,000 people in the adjacent cities and regions. (Read in Arabic)
Senior Executives of American tourism companies arrive in Luxor to attend Tour Operators Conference
Youm7 I 21 Feb 2015
Luxor will host a delegation of 25 senior executives of American tourist companies and a number of international media members to attend a Tour Operators Conference which will be held on Sunday. In attendance will be Minister of Antiquities and Heritage Mamdouh El-Damaty and Minister of Tourism Heshan Zaazou. The American delegation will also attend the celebration on the passing of 110 years on the discovery of Nefertari’s tomb under the auspices of the Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage . (Read in Arabic)
The Egyptian Maintenance Company to cooperate with Ericsson to improve telecommunications in power stations
Al Ahram | 19 Feb 2015
The Egyptian Maintenance Company (EMC) is cooperating with Ericsson to repair the telecommunications systems at 250 power stations in Upper Egypt. The project, commissioned by the Ministry of Electricity, is financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and will refurbish the electricity transport system from Giza southward to Aswan. EMC will supply 32% of the project’s telecommunications devices and install and operate the new fiber-optic based systems.(Read in Arabic)
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE
Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour holds meeting with France’s Minister of Finance
Al Iqtisad Al Araby | 21 Feb 2015
Egypt’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, met with France’s Minister of Finance, Michel Sapin, on Friday. The two discussed ways of increasing bilateral trade between the nations, as well as means of increasing French investments in Egypt. Abdel Nour also highlighted to the French minister the significant economic reforms that his government had undertaken over the past year in order to attract foreign investment to Egypt. (Read in Arabic)
Hossam Kamal meets with representatives from the World Bank
Sahifa Sada | 21 Feb 2015
Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Hossam Kamal, met with representatives from the World Bank on Saturday. According to an official press release from the Egyptian Holding Company for Airport and Air Navigation, the World Bank praised Egypt for completing its work on Terminal 2 of Cairo Airport, according to the agreed upon timeline. Moreover, according to the press release, the World Bank expressed its readiness to assist the government with other projects related to air transport and infrastructure. (Read in Arabic )
IFAD to loan Egypt USD 63.1 mn
Masr Al Youm | 20 Feb 2015
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has agreed to provide the Egyptian government with a USD 63.1 mn loan. The aid package will be used to support agricultural projects and alleviate poverty in the country. Egypt Minister of International Development, Naglaa Al Ahwany, signed the agreement with IFAD on Friday in Rome, Italy.
(Read in Arabic)
Bulgarian trade delegation arrives in Egypt
Al Mokhtasir News | 21 Feb 2015
A Bulgarian trade delegation, hailing from the city of Haskovo, arrived in Egypt on Saturday. Over the the next three days, members of the delegation are set to meet with their Egyptian counterparts in order to discuss investment and business opportunities. Although their names were not provided, the delegation comprises companies belonging, but not limited to, the renewable energies, household appliances, and pharmaceuticals sectors. (Read in Arabic)
EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS
Extra precautions taken with passengers and cargo from Qatar and Turkey – customs authority
Al Shorouk | 20 Feb 2015
The head of the customs authority, Magdy Abdel Aziz, said the authority is now taking extra precautions with passengers and when handling cargo coming from “hostile countries” such as Qatar and Turkey. The customs authority also pays extra attention to people travelling to China for business. Abdel Aziz said the authority has managed recently to block attempts to smuggle military uniforms into Egypt. (Read in Arabic)
ON YOUR WAY OUT
Court acquits ex-oil minister Sameh Fahmy of corruption charges: A court has acquitted former oil minister Sameh Fahmy of charges of selling natural gas to Israel at below-market prices as well as charges related to misuse of public funds. (Read)
Twenty Al Qaeda-affiliated militants killed four police officers and stole their weapons at a police checkpoint in Tunisia on Wednesday. (Read)
The cabinet has approved a draft law that gives judges what appears to be absolute the discretion regarding which witnesses may be summoned to provide testimony in trials. While the government’s reason for law is to prevent prolonging lawsuits, Executive director of ANHRI Gamal Eid told Daily News Egypt that “photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid … has so far spent more than 550 days in detention without trial. Eid added that the new draft law ‘not only conflicts with the constitution and binding international agreements but it also destroys the idea of justice at its roots.’” (Read)
BY THE NUMBERS
USD CBE auction (Thursday, 19 Feb): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday, 02 Feb)
USD parallel market (Saturday, 21 Feb): 7.69 (unchanged from Wednesday, 18 Feb)
EGX30 (Thursday): 9,481.20 (-0.59%)
Turnover: EGP 509.6 mn (25% below the 90-day average)
WTI: USD 50.81 (-1.97%)
Brent: USD 60.22 (+0.02%)
TASI: 9,300.2 (-1.1%)
ADX: 4,669.0 (-0.1%)
DFM: 3,857.7 (flat, 0.00%)
KSE Weighted Index: 453.1 (+0.4%)
QE: 12,496.5 (-0.5%)
MSM: 6,638.6 (-0.3%)
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