Monday, 9 March 2015

No fuel price hikes this coming fiscal year? Economy continues to grow. Sharqiya logistics center opened. No labor law before new parliament. Investment banks reveal some details of Sharm megaprojects.


Sunday was another slow (or perhaps bland?) business news day, with companies saving up announcements — and energy — for the weekend kickoff of the EEDC.

Gulf leaders began arriving in Cairo yesterday for a two-day Arab League ministerial meeting due to get underway today. Among the first to arrive, Al-Masry Al-Youm reports, was UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the first GCC minister to applaud Egypt’s air strikes against Daesh targets in Libya following the beheading of 20 Egyptians last month. Also arriving early was Kuwaiti First Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah, according to state news agency KUNA. Both are reportedly holding side talks with senior Egyptian officials in the run-up to the Sharm economic summit starting Thursday.

In a stark reminder that Egypt’s economy isn’t the only story going in the world, the Arab League meeting will focus primarily on the conflicts in Libya and Syria. Arab League chief Nabil Al-Araby has reportedly invited Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström to speak as the AL’s special guest. The two-day ministerial will set the groundwork for an Arab League summit 28-29 March in Sharm El-Sheikh.


Direct talks between Libyan factions will resume in Morocco on Wednesday, 11 March.

The three-day Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) gets underway Sharm El-Sheikh on Friday.


Majid Al Futtaim Holding CEO Alain Bejjani talked with Lamees El Hadidy by the phone about his company’s strong commitment to Egypt and reported on progress with their 440,000 square meter Mall of Egypt, the company’s new flagship retail mega, which is expected to be complete in early 2016 and will include an indoor ski hill. According to Bejjani, Al Futtaim Holding will be announcing future investments in Egypt’s retail and food sectors during the EEDC.

El Hadidy’s studio guests were representatives of some of Egypt’s most prominent investment banks, including EFG Hermes Head of Research Wael Ziada, CI Capital Chairman Mahmoud Attallah and Beltone Financial CEO Maged Shawky.

“The largest and most important project that we are presenting is Airport City which we are working on in coordination with EFG Hermes. The project will be carried out in four phases and is expected to create 120,000 new job opportunities. It will include a logistics center, hotels, and a conference center, all located near Cairo International Airport and linked to Sokhna Port by train,” said Attallah. “We also have the Sixth of October Logistics Center, a 400,000 square meter project that includes a dry port, and the new Ahly Stadium.”

“All of Egypt’s investment banks have played a very important role to ensure that the economic summit will be a success. EFG Hermes just had an investor conference in Dubai, and we at CI Capital had investor conferences in London and New York; we have already seen that there is tremendous interest in Egypt on the part of foreign investors,” added Attallah.

“We met with 400 investors from 14 countries in Dubai and the interest is in precisely the type of projects that we are promoting in Sharm El Sheikh,” said Ziada. “There is a lot of interest in the infrastructure, energy and logistics sectors. In addition to Airport City, we have a power plant project in Qena and a USD 3-4 bn logistics and industrial park in Ain Sokhna.”

Said Shawky: “The important thing about this summit is not the projects per se, but the seriousness with which everyone involved is tackling the issues at hand. The EEDC is proving to the world that we are serious. It is the first gathering of its kind in the region. Whether it was intentional or not, the conference deadline has kept the government on track with the reform process. We are not seeing the indefinite delays of the past. Beltone’s focus has been on the logistics center in Damietta, which includes industrial zones, grains silos, sugar refining, and flour manufacturing and transport. The project will be carried out in five phases, the first of which constitutes a USD 2-3 bn investment.

When asked about the new investment law, Attallah noted a number of encouraging decisions have already been taken such as the unified exchange rate, the removal of subsidies and the liberalization of the energy sector, “which are proving to investors that we are headed in the right direction.”

“Protection for investors against criminal prosecution is also a very important point that had to be dealt with. In the event that commercial law is violated, fines should be paid instead of prison sentences being handed out. The establishment of a one stop shop, clarity on taxes and better coordination between government entities will also be very important going forward,” said Ziada. “I think we have already achieved half our goals before the summit even begins. We have witnessed a lot of cooperation between the private sector, particularly the investment banks, and the government.”

According to Amr Adeeb, “USD 10 bn out of the USD 20 bn in investments that we are trying to attract at the EEDC have already been committed. We are halfway there,” announced Amr Adeeb.

Adeeb then proceeded to raise his own blood pressure as well as that of his audience by reading an extremely negative article published in Qatar’s Al Raya newspaper. The gist of the piece is that the Egyptian government is setting itself up for complete failure by hosting the economic summit because Egypt is not a suitable investment destination. The article states that Egypt has no infrastructure, no energy, no legislation and no security apparatus to support investments.

“We are used to these types of attacks from the Qataris. They are entitled to their opinion, but the baffling thing is that Qatar will be attending the economic summit with the caveat that they won’t invest and they won’t provide economic assistance. I don’t get it. If things are so bad here, then why would you attend? Why didn’t you withdraw your existing investments from Egypt? Don’t bother yourself, don’t come,” shoutedAdeeb. “Mr. President you are too nice, why did you invite them? We don’t want them here.”


No fuel price hikes this year? The Daily News claims that Oil Minister Sherif Ismail told its sister publication Al-Borsa that the government has no plans to raise fuel prices in the upcoming fiscal year. The paper claims the government is taking advantage of the breathing room presented by lower-than-expected fuel prices — despite the IMF’s recommendation that the state take advantage of lower fuel prices to accelerate the phase-out of subsidies. The news comes as rumors of coming price hikes have seen supplies of petrol and diesel in the market fall as motorists begin hoarding, Al-Borsa suggests, declaring that another fuel crisis is looming. The newspaper reports long lines at multiple filling stations nationwide. (Those of us who have not left the People’s Democratic Republic of Maadi in the past 96 hours can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of this report.)

Egypt’s economy grew by 4.3% y-o-y in 2Q14/15 pushing the growth rate for the first half of the government’s fiscal year to 5.6% y-o-y. Almost all of the growth in 2Q14/15 came through strong domestic consumption levels with the poor external sector personal offsetting the small gains made in the investment sector of the economy, Planning Minister Ashraf Al-Arabi told Al Borsa.

Egypt’s economic goals for the coming four years including USD 60 bn in FDI, an average growth rate of 7% and unemployment below the 10% mark, Planning Minister Ashraf Al-Arabi told Reutersyesterday. “We’re targeting foreign direct investments worth USD 60 bn starting from 2015/16 to the end of 2018/19. Targeting an average 7 percent growth rate over four years means reaching 10 percent in 2018/19 and this is a big challenge, but we are working on it. We’re working on decreasing the budget deficit to below 10 percent in the same period, as well as the unemployment rate to below 10 percent.”

EGP 200 mn Sharqiya logistics center officially opened: The second phase of a logistics and warehousing center in Sharqiya was inaugurated by Minister of Industry and Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour on Sunday. The center is operated by Paradise Capital, and Egyptian-European JV. (Read)

Edita shareholders approved converting up to 33% of the company’s capital to GDRs during their EGM yesterday, according to a disclosure sent to the EGX. (Read)

Egypt’s new labor law awaits parliament -Investment Minister: The new labor law will be debated and passed through the upcoming parliament, rather than have the law pass by decree now, according to Investment Minister Ashraf Salman on Thursday. Contentious points remain around the right for workers to organize for collective bargaining, as well as the minimum wage. (Read)

Pharos advising Qalaa on Enjoy, Misriyeen sales: Al-Borsa quotes Pharos investment banking head Sherif Abdelaal as saying the Cairo-based firm is advising Qalaa Holdings on its exits of food industry companies including dairy and juice producer Enjoy and cheesemaker Misriyeen. The company also has a mandate to advise on the divestment of Misr Glass Manufacturing. The newspaper quotes Abdelaal as suggesting the food companies in particular are earning attention from both foreign and domestic suitors.

Supply and Domestic Trade Minister Khaled Hanafi has issued a ban on sales of LPG cylinders after 7pm as part of a bid to curb their sale on the parallel market, Al Borsa reports.

Egyptian exports fell 27.4% year-on-year in February to EGP 10.54 bn compared to EGP 13.43 bn the same period last year, Al Mal reports.

To mark the occasion of International Women’s Day yesterday, the World Bank’s Voices and Views MENA blog published “Ten facts you didn’t know about women in the Arab world.” The ranking shows that the Arab world is last overall globally in the WEF Gender Gap Report, female labor force participation rate is half the global average at 25%, and female obesity is epidemic regionally. On the upside, Egypt has a very narrow gender gap in terms ownership of mobiles, education for women is up, and maternal mortality rates in the Arab world have gone down by 60% on average over the last two decades.

Government committee seizes additional assets from Ikhwan members: A special government committee tasked with seizing and managing assets of the Ikhwan has seized the funds of 16 individuals, along with six companies and three international schools, as reported by Aswat Masriya. (Read)

Egypt’s Islamists outraged by Morsi supporter’s execution: Daily News Egypt reports on the reactions of various Islamists with regard to Saturday’s execution of Islamist Mahmoud Ramadan for his involvement in the death of a teenager who was thrown off a rooftop in Alexandria by Morsi supporters who protested his ouster. Mohamed Galal, a leading figure in the Salafi Front was quoted as saying: “The reply to Ramadan’s execution is an uprising and the [declaration] of Jihad.” (Read)

Union National Bank Egypt is looking to hike its capital to EGP 1.27 bn from EGP 637 mn,according to a request submitted to the EGX. (Read in Arabic)

CIB Foundation to donate MRI scanner to 57357 children’s cancer hospital: CIB Foundation is preparing to donate an MRI scanner to the 57357 children’s cancer hospital, according to Daily News Egypt. The Foundation is also providing equipment for the pediatric ICU wards of Aswan and Sohag university hospitals. (Read)

Fanboys, take note: Apple is widely expected to unveil its smartwatch (and maybe a handful of other gadgets, though the odds seem high the gathering will be entirely timepiece-focused) at an even kicking off at 7pm CLT today. The WSJ has a look at what this means for the computing industry, while Engadget has a solid overview of the watches in question and what other goodies are (un)likely to make an appearance today. Just about every media organization on the planet will probably be live-tweeting or liveblogging the event; if you need to see it yourself, open the live stream here.


  • In yesterday’s Speed Round, the story on Majid Al-Futtaim looking to nearly double its investment in Egypt should have noted the company would invest “a fresh EGP 12 bn in Egypt, bringing its total investments here to EGP 30 bn.” H/t Joseph I.
  • In yesterday’s recap of Naguib Sawiris’ ONTV interview, the comment regarding former Minister of the Interior Mohamed Ibrahim’s service was with respect to 30 June, not 39 June. We promise the 39th was the result of early-morning editing slips and not us transmogrifying into 3okasha. H/t Karim K.


80 countries, 23 organizations to participate in the Economic Development Conference: Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty said that as of Sunday, 80 countries and 23 regional and international organizations will participate in the Economic Development Conference in Sharm El Sheikh. Abdel Atty said that international transnational corporations will also participate, which reflects the steady rise of the Egyptian economy on a regional and international scale. The European Council, the International Telecommunications Council, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Investment Fund, the European Regional Development Fund and the African Development Bank are among the most notable participants in the Sharm El Sheik conference. (Read in Arabic)

Minister of Finance: Egypt to aims for USD 10 bn during investment summit: The government aims to attract USD 10 bn in FDI during next week’s investment conference, according to Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian. The minister added that his meetings with members of the international business community in London were fruitful, and suggested that European, and particularly British investors, were keen on investing in Egypt’s economy. During his meetings, Kadry provided investors with an overview of government’s vision for the economy. (Read in Arabic)

N Gage Consulting releases pre-EEDC report. The strategy and government relations specialists at N Gage have released “Investor’s Guide to Egypt: Assessing the government’s efforts to position Egypt on the global investment map“ (48pp, pdf download without charge for Enterprise readers). The report includes an overview of political and economic developments in the past four years; the Sisi administration’s political and economic roadmap following 30 June 2013; an assessment of Egypt’s “multi-pillar” strategy to bypass challenges; a look at Egypt’s potential as an international trade hub; and a quick guide to doing business in Egypt. It’s recommended reading for newcomers to the market — or for anyone reporting to home office on recent developments in Egypt

King of Bahrain to head his country’s delegation at the investment summit: The King of Bahrain will reportedly head his country’s delegation at next week’s international investment summit. Bahraini investments in Egypt amount to USD 1 bn, spanning 166 companies. (Read in Arabic)

Siemens AG’s CEO Joe Kaeser to attend summit: Following a meeting between President Abdelfattah El Sisi and Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser at the end of last month, Siemens AG announced on Sunday that the Kaeser will attend this week’s investment summit. Kaeser will discuss the ways in which his company can support Egypt’s economic development. (Read in Arabic)

Transport Ministry to present 7 projects at summit: After many months of deliberation, the Ministry of Transportation has come up with a final list of projects for next week’s investment summit. The list comprises 7 projects worth a total of  USD 2.5 bn. The majority of these projects will be offered to investors in the form of BOT contracts. Amongst the list of projects is the USD 390 Bus Rapid Transit System for Greater Cairo and a Public Ferry (River Transport) system, with an estimated cost of USD 100 mn. (Read in Arabic)

Roads to South Sinai closed: The Interior Ministry has effectively closed roads linking North Sinai to South Sinai and are stepping up mobile and fixed checkpoints and security screening across the peninsula in the run-up to the conference, Al-Masry Al-Youm reports.

Egypt Post has announced it will release an EGP 2 stamp in commemoration of the Sharm conference.


‘How global warming helped cause the Syrian War’: A recent study suggests that a 3-year drought, the worst in Syria’s recorded history, was one of the contributing factors in Syria’s war. In addition to the influx of 1.5 mn Iraqi refugees fleeing their drawn-out civil war, lack of rain precipitated heavy use of groundwater by farmers, and when the wells ran out, a massive internal displacement from rural to urban areas placed even greater strains on the Syrian state. The study also suggests that the drought may have been brought about due to climate change through human activity. “Researchers have linked abrupt changes in climate to the rise and fall of civilizations from the Roman Empire to the Khmer Empire that built Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In modern times, droughts or hotter temperatures have contributed to Hindu-Muslim riots in India, civil wars in Africa, and even violence and crime in the U.S.” (Read in Wired)


FOP University: Check out the skillful use of corporate-speak in this commercial for a fictitious university: “We use technology to develop tools to allow businesses to connect to global solutions.” (Watch, running time: 11:00)

Coin-operated suicide booth from Futurama’s first episode. (Watch, running time: 1:24)


Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt trial held in ‘unprecedented legal limbo’: The Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley notes that prosecution witnesses in the AJE trial have failed to show up at the retrial for cross-examination for the second time in a row, causing an adjournment to 18 March. The judge has threatened to have the witnesses arrested if they fail to make an appearance for a third time. (Read in The Guardian. The story was also picked up by Voice of America, the AP and Al Jazeera, among others)

The Washington Post carries an Associated Press piece headlined Silence in Egypt over police abuses amid “war on terror”: “Three men killed in a single day in the Egyptian capital, their deaths united by one common factor: Each was killed by police. One was a minibus driver, shot to death when he tried to elude officers asking for his license. Another was a 19-year-old under police guard in a hospital bed after suffering a gunshot wound. The teen allegedly taunted the guard, who responded by pumping seven bullets into him. The third was beaten to death in a police station, his family and witnesses said. The Feb. 1 incidents, which took place in two neighboring districts, went largely unnoticed in Egypt. But they illustrate warnings by rights activists that the country’s security forces, whose oppressiveness helped spark the 2011 uprising, again have a free hand to abuse now that they are waging what the government calls a ‘war on terror.’”


Agreement with France to build power plant in Aswan
Al Ahram | 08 March 2015
As part of continued efforts for international development, Minister of International Cooperation Nagla Ahwany and French Minister of International Cooperation and la Francophonie and official languages Enak Gardein expect to sign an agreement to build a 20MW power plant in Kom Ombo, Aswan. In addition, both parties agreed to continue cooperating on other projects such as the construction of the third phase of the metro line, improving infrastructure and restructuring Cairo’s sewer system. (Read in Arabic)

Closer to model energy sales agreement?
Al-Borsa | 09 March 2015
A source at the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy reports German consulting firm Fichtner is currently reviewing the final draft model energy sales agreement for companies looking to sell energy to the state. The agreement has been given the seal of approval by 12 local and international consulting firms. The agreement will be discussed with investors and energy companies to who are qualified for renewable and conventional energy projects. (Read in Arabic)

Government studying plan to distribute LED bulbs to citizens
Al Mal | 08 March 2015
In accordance with the government’s efforts to reduce energy consumption, the Minister of Supply met with  the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energies on Sunday to discuss a plan to provide citizens with LED lightbulbs. The bulbs, according to the article, would likely be distributed to citizens at subsidized bread and fuel stations. Households will reportedly save EGP 100 per installed LED bulb annually. Additionally, the LED lights will reduce pressure on Egypt’s struggling electricity grid. (Read in Arabic)


Gas shipments from Shell and Total are still in planning phase
Youm7 | 07 March 2015
The deals with Shell and Total to import LNG are only in the planning phase without an actual decision being taken yet, a source at the Ministry of Petroleum told Youm7. The deal is likely, the source added, as the LNG contracts EGAS signed are only for two years and government is eyeing a more diversified supply to ensure to continuity and satisfy domestic demand. (Read in Arabic)

Chinese investors to pump USD 250 mn Egypt’s oil sector
Amwal Al Ghad | 08 March 2015
Executives from Sinopec Star have presented a USD 250 mn project to produce seamless pipes in Egypt. The project, which is set to be the second of its kind in the Middle East, will be financed completely through Chinese banks and the Chinese government.. (Read in Arabic)

Government entities owe EGPC EGP 195 bn
Al Borsa | 08 March 2015
EGPC is owed EGP 195 bn as at the end of January from government entities for fuel products, the head of EGPC, Tarek El Molla, told Al Borsa. EGPC’s receivables are growing as government institutions, led by the Ministry of Electricity, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, as well as some public sector companies, have not paid for fuel products consumed in full. PM Mahlab had tasked a committee with resolving the energy-related financial disputes between the various government entities. (Read in Arabic)


El Sisi to establish farming center with an aim to end cotton imports
Al Masry Al Youm | 08 March 2015
President Abdelfattah El Sisi issued a decree to establish a contractual farming center with an aim to eventually halt to the import of cotton. The farming center’s activities will include agricultural and livestock production, based on a contractual agreement between the producer and the consumer. The 14th presidential decree of 2015 aims to reduce imports and demand on cotton and to resolve disputes over production. (Read in Arabic)


Antidumping duty on steel imports should be 20% higher –metallurgical industries chamber
Al Borsa | 08 March 2015
The metallurgical industries’ chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries have called for the antidumping duty on steel imports to be increased by 15-20%. According to the chamber, Turkey slaps a 40% duty on its steel imports and Canada and the US impose duties of 58% and 110% respectively, and Egypt to respond accordingly. The antidumping council is currently assessing the duty structure on steel imports. (Read in Arabic)

Mahlab continues ban on Japanese scrap metal
Al Masry Al Youm | 08 March 2015
PM Mahlab issued a decision on Sunday to continue Egypt’s ban on scrap metal imports from Japan. Importers are required to return rejected scrap metal to Japan within 15 days. (Read in Arabic)

Egyptian Steel’s stocks will be listed “at the right time” –Abou Hashima
Al Borsa | 07 March 2015
Egyptian Steel will be listed on the EGX, but this will only happen “at the right time,” said group CEO Ahmed Abou Hashima. While praising the government’s recent drive to reform legislations, including the new investment law, Abou Hashima hopes for a new law regulating the relationship between employers and employees. (Read in Arabic)

Egyptian Steel to present project to use coal instead of gas in steel plants at the EEDC
Amwal Al Ghad | 08 March 2015
Egyptian Steel will present a project to use coal instead of natural gas to fire steel manufacturing plants at the EEDC. The company is currently finalizing the project’s feasibility studies and expects the project to attract sufficient investments. (Read in Arabic)


EGP 1 bn in Saudi investments in real estate expected at the EEDC
Al Borsa | 08 March 2015
The Ministry of Housing expects to sign MoUs with Saudi businesspeople at the EEDC promising EGP 1 bn in real estate investments, involving a number of projects in new cities. Housing Minister Moustafa Madbouly notes that cheap real estate in Egypt promises large profit margins to investors, particularly given that the demand for units annually is at around 600 thousand while only 250 thousand new units are built each year. (Read in Arabic)

EGP 12.5 bn housing project on offer at the EEDC
Amwal Al Ghad | 07 March 2015
The Minister of Housing said the ministry will put an EGP 12.5 bn housing project on offer at the EEDC. The project, a residential and business hub, is set to be built on 2,000 feddans by the Wahat Road. It includes a residential component to be built on 265 feddans and retail space on an area of 480 feddans amongst other subdivisions. The Minister expects the project to have an expected return of 25-30%. (Read in Arabic)


Armed forces to begin developing 78 villages – local development ministry
Al Borsa | 08 March 2015
The armed forces’ engineering authority are about to begin an EGP 1.52 bn project to develop 78 villages, according to the Minister of Local Development. The project should bring the villages up to “model-village” status. The project involves building sewage networks, water treatment and road works. The Minister said the Armed Forces engineering authority was chosen to ensure the speed and quality of project execution. (Read in Arabic)

Mehleb orders a drainage project in the North Coast
Al Masry Al Youm | 10 March 2015
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb ordered the formulation of a committee to be headed by the National Bureau for Land Use Planning, which will coordinate between the various government agencies for the reclamation of 42,000 feddans in the Hammam, Daba’a, and Alamein regions in the North Coast. Mehleb also requested that the committee should include the representatives from the ministry of Local Development, and Environment, as well as the General Authority for Agricultural Development, NUCA, and the General Authority for Sewage and Irrigation. (Read in Arabic)


UN Women, SFD, and Coca Cola to create 5 mn jobs for Egyptian women by 2020
Daily News Egypt | 08 March 2015
UN Women will create around five mn job opportunities for Egyptian women by 2020 in cooperation with the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and Coca Cola. UN Women’s representative said the economic empowerment of women is one of the five topmost priorities for the UN. The SFD will provide 4,000 small business opportunities for women with a total cost of EGP 18 mn in 250 villages. Coca Cola will achieve the project’s objectives by giving women small shops and also allowing them access to distribution networks for food products. (Read)

DRC seeks to attract Egyptian investment
El Fagr | 07 March 2015
Egyptian Ambassador Hany Salah met with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of Economy to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral trade between the countries. In their meeting, the minister expressed his country’s desire to attract Egyptian private sector investments to his country. Representatives from Qalaa Holdings are reportedly in Kinshasa from 08-10 March in order to study investment opportunities. (Read in Arabic)

Meat accounts for 90% of Aussie exports to Egypt
Al Masry Al Youm | 08 March 2015
Trade between Australia and Egypt stands at USD 500 mn, with 90% of trade volume in the form of Australian meat products to Egypt, according to Samir Qershy, representative of the Egyptian Commercial Services Office in Asia. In a meeting with the Australian Business Delegation, Qershy said that Egyptian exports to Australia stands at AUD 40 mn, including fertilizers, chemicals and textiles. (Read in Arabic)


Morocco hosts talks between Libyan factions, talks to resume on 11 March
DW, UNSMIL | 07 March 2015
Libyan factions returned home on Saturday after three days of direct talks hosted in Morocco, marking the first instance of direct negotiations between the elected parliament based in Tobruk and Islamist rebels in Tripoli, as reported by DW. No concrete details of the discussions have been released, but the talks are set to resume in Morocco this Wednesday, 11 March 2015. (Read in DW and the UNSMIL statement)

Judicial reform in Algeria grants women more rights, outlaws domestic violence, sparking Islamist outrage
Algeria Press Service, Saudi Gazette | 06-07 2015
On the occasion of Women’s day on 08 March, Algeria passed a number of laws aimed at closing the gap in equal treatment under the law between men and women. Included in the reforms was a revision in the nationality code whereby children can obtain the Algerian nationality from their mother. In addition to stiff penalties for domestic violence, including 20 years imprisonment for personal injury and life sentences for violence that results in the woman’s death. Islamists in Algeria’s parliament were critical of the package of reforms, according to the Saudi Gazette, saying they were “contrary to Quranic precepts and aims to break up the family.’ (Read in Algeria Press Service and the Islamist response in the Saudi Gazette)

More details emerge on Algeria anti-shale protests- Algerian army deployed quell protests at end of February
Menas Associates | 06 March 2015
On 28 February, Menas Associates reports that after 50 police officers were injured in clashes with demonstrators in the town of In Salah protesting over Algeria’s plans to pursue fracking, over 1,200 army troops were brought in to restore order. “Following official statements that the hydraulic fracking would continue, an angry crowd of demonstrators gathered outside the Halliburton base, only to reportedly be provoked by the brigade commander who allegedly taunted them.” (Read)


At least three killed in north Mali rocket attack, including two children -UN
Reuters | 08 March 2014
Unknown attackers launched a rocket attack at a U.N. base in northern Mali that resulted in the death of U.N. peacekeeper from Chad, as well as the deaths of two children in a nearby camp for Tuareg and Arab nomads. Mali is currently battling an Islamist insurgency, mainly led by the Al-Mourabitoun [The Sentinels] group, led by Algerian Islamist militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar. (Read)


Atheist risking jail considers fleeing Egypt: Karim al-Banna, a 23-year old engineering student facing three years in prison for blasphemy as a result of his declaring himself an atheist on Facebook, will attend an appeals hearing on Monday. The appellate court could affirm the sentence. Readers may recall that Al-Banna’s father had testified against him in court. (Read)

One killed, 9 wounded in two bomb blasts in Alexandria: Two bombs went off on Sunday in Alexandria, the first exploding near Carrefour, leading to one death and six injuries. The second explosion occurred outside Muharram Bek police station, injuring three. (Read)

Egyptian pupil dies after reportedly being beaten by teacher: A fifth-grade student in Sayeda Zeinab beaten by their schoolteacher succumbed to their injuries and died days later from a brain hemorrhage. Despite the outlawing of corporal punishment almost 20 years ago, allegations of abuse of schoolchildren by their teachers remains commonplace. (Read)


USD CBE auction (Sunday, 08 March): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday, 02 Feb)
USD parallel market (Sunday, 08 March): 7.66 (unchanged since Wednesday, 04 March)

EGX30 (Sunday): 9,638.41 (+0.65%)
Turnover: EGP 448.8 mn (29% below the 90-day average)

WTI: USD 49.45 (-0.32%)
Brent: USD 59.45 (-0.47%)

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