Thursday, 2 April 2015

Hoho, anyone? Edita shares begin trading today. Gas cuts to energy-intensive industries continue. Mahlab kicks off ‘national dialogue’ with pols. Worries about an emerging markets meltdown are back. Xi Jinping postpones Cairo visit. EEDC follow-up meetings begin. Cairo garbage crisis in TV spotlight.


P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran have been extended by yet another day to today as negotiations have so far failed to result in an agreement.

The HSBC / Markit Economics Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index will be released on Sunday, 5 April at 7:30am CLT.

Egypt and Ethiopia’s irrigation ministers will announce the Renaissance Dam consultancy firm, who will be tasked with assessing its impact, next week in Addis Ababa. The consultancy firm will carry out new water and environmental studies on Ethiopia’s GERD, whose findings the recently signed Principles Agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan calls upon its signatories to abide.


On the occasion of April Fools Day, Khairy Ramadan reported the following stories:

  • Egypt will cease to have power outages next summer
  • A national project to collect garbage on the streets of Cairo has been launched
  • Ikhwan have admitted to their mistakes and are backing down gracefully and pleading loyalty to their country

“We can dream can’t we,” said Ramadan. “Today these pieces of news are an April Fool’s joke but we hope that they will one day become a reality.”

In a bid to take a more serious look into one of the issues that he brought up in jest, Ramadan conducted a telephone interview with Hafez El Saeed, Head of the Sanitation Authority at the Cairo Governorate. “One of our collection companies has been on strike for the last few months which has exacerbated the garbage problem in some areas of the city,’ said Saeed. “But rest assured the problem is being dealt with.” Saeed disclosed that all the existing garbage collection contracts will end in 2017: “We have already started working towards a solution now so that we are prepared to hit the go button in 2017 with an optimal solution.”

“Inshallah we will call him on 1 April 2017 to see what he has done,” said Ramadan.
“We are drowning in garbage. This isn’t a solution. How can we wait until 2017?”

Ramadan also reported on an official complaint filed by Al Azhar to the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones against Islamic researcher and TV presenter Islam El-Behery. The complaint asks the Ministry of Investment to send a warning to Al Kahera Wal Nas, the television channel that currently airsEl-Behery’s show, to stop the program as El-Behery is allegedly spreading false information and questioning the foundations of Islam.

“You can disagree with him, you can debate him, but accusing him of defamation and forcing him off air is wrong and beneath a venerable institution like Al Azhar,” said Ramadan. “This is not the way to go about it. You are Al Azhar Al Sharif and Islam El-Behery is just an individual. Engage him in a dialogue and prove to us that he is wrong if you wish, but harsh accusations like these are not doing anyone any good.”

A very angry and defiant Islam El Behery then called in to say that he is not backing down and stands by every word he has ever uttered on his program. “They are accusing me of kufr. My viewers know that I always refer back to the Qur’an with everything that I say. All I’m doing is questioning the credibility of the sources of some hadith. Al Bukhari and Muslim are human beings. They could be right and they could be wrong. I am sure that none of my critics have seen a full episode of my program. I have not touched the foundations of Islam.”

Asked what he will do if the Ministry of Investment bans his program, El-Behery stated that, “it is not possible, they would have to take me to court first and I would be very happy to defend myself. The program will continue.”


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We’re celebrating with Hohos, the official snack of Enterprise: We’re exceptionally happy for our friends at Edita, where Chairman and CEO Hani Berzi will be the man of the hour a little later this morning to ring the bell at the start of trading. The snackmaker’s shares will trade under EFID, opening at EGP 18.50 per share, with GDRs going for USD 12.28 on the LSE later in the morning (each GDR represented five ordinary shares). All told: The institutional offering of 92.5 mn shares was 13.4x oversubscribed (generating EGP 22.8 bn in demand) while the retail tranche of 16.3 mn shares was 4.5x oversubscribed (with demand for shares worth c. EGP 1.4 bn). The company will have a free float of 30% and a market cap of EGP 6.7 bn at the start of trading. EFG Hermes and Goldman Sachs were Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners for the transaction. You’ll be able to read Edita’s listing release on their IR website a little later this morning, we’re told; the same site has links to their investor presentation, prospectus and other bits and pieces (you’ll have to click through the usual ‘no US persons’ stuff to get to the latter)

Houthis attack Aden; President El Sisi calls on Houthi rebels to stand down: Houthi fighters, who acknowledge their alliance with Iran as noted by the New York Times, advanced into the center of Yemen’s second city Aden on Wednesday. In a speech on Tuesday, President Abdelfattah El Sisi said that aggressors in Yemen should withdraw “for the sake of their nation’s national security … The army and all the relevant parties in Yemen should live up to their responsibilities to protect their country.” (Read)

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab convened the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers yesterday, with major decisions having included:

  • Approving a government agreement to take on an EGP 50 mn loan from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to fund SMEs.
  • Approving an agreement with the IFAD, whereby the latter provides the government with an EGP 50mn loan and two grants, worth a combined EGP 4.3 mn, to finance the Sustainable Agricultural Investments project. (Read in Arabic)
  • Clearing the way for phase one of Arabtec’s 1 mn homes project, although Cabinet stopped short of saying it had approved a contract, suggesting the horse-trading over a final deal that has been ongoing since before the EEDC is yet to wrap up. (Read in Al-Mal or Al-Borsa).
  • Approving the regulations for the zoning and transfer of land to renewable energy projects and, on a related note, zoning land near industrial zones for new dry and inland ports and logistics centers, including plots in Damietta, 10 Ramadan, 6 October, Beni Suef, Sohag and Sadat City (Read in Arabic)
  • Other nuggets from Al-Ahram‘s cabinet roundup: Amendments to the criminal code specifically criminalizing the digging of tunnels in border zones; conditions on eligibility for subsidized housing; and updates from the Interior and Foreign Ministers as well as Suez Canal Authority chief Mohab Mamish.

EEDC follow-up meetings begin: The first signs emerged yesterday that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s promise of structured government follow-up on EEDC outcomes may come to pass as Investment Minister Ashraf Salman and International Cooperation Minister Naglaa El-Ahwani met with members of the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors to discuss the latter’s report on the EEDC and, critically, concrete follow-up steps, Al-Mal reports. Details are scant in the local press, but we would expect to see additional news next week in the run-up to the Easter and Sham El-Nessim holidays.

Speaking of Cabinet and the EEDC: Many readers will remember that “socially inclusive growth” was a major government theme at the love-fest in Sharm. Now, it seems set to serve as one of the government’s core messages heading into the new budget year. Major newspapers today — including Al-Mal and Al-Borsa — carry identical press releases penned by Cabinet spinmeisters noting that the weekly Wednesday cabinet meeting will include regular updates on what the Sisi administration has lately accomplished in the social justice and services-for-the-needy portfolios. Yesterday’s highlights, according to the release: The Interior Minister recapped steps police have taken to clamp down on trafficking in subsidized products, particularly LPG cylinders, and the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation recapped a campaign to crack down on ‘encroachments’ on the Nile and its tributaries and banks.

GDF Suez will invest EUR 250 mn in renewable energy projects, including a 350 MW wind farm and a 50 MW solar energy power station. GDF Suez is creating three subsidiaries in Egypt to manage the projects and is presently waiting for land to be allocated by the New and Renewable Energy Authority. Financing for the investments is already in place, the company suggests. (Read in Arabic)

Vodafone Egypt to triple its workforce by 2017, invest EGP 9 bn until 2016: Vodafone Egypt will triple its workforce by 2017 and will have invested EGP 9 bn by the end of 2016, Al Borsa reports. An executive at Vodafone Group said that Vodafone Egypt generates EGP 13 bn in profits, EGP 2-3 bn of which comes from data services.

Gas cuts to energy-intensive industries continue, players in the iron, steel and chemical industries tellAl-Borsa in a fairly exhaustive wrap-up. Most players attribute the supply cutoffs to continued shortfalls in domestic production, not to back-dues owed to EGAS by the private sector. Upcoming LNG imports via FSRU will not ease the gas crisis for industry, the story concludes, because imported gas will be allocated to power generation plants to ease the expected summer electricity crisis. The only solution: Continued investment in domestic E&P activity, in the context of which we again note continued rumors that some players in energy-intensive or gas-dependent industries are looking to diversify into natural gas exploration (directly or indirectly) as a means of guaranteeing their energy supplies and / or feedstock provided Cabinet will come to terms.

The CBE released its report on the country’s position as of the end of the first half of FY2014-15. Early coverage of its findings include external debt falling, total trade rising 7.8% (imports are up, exports are down), local currency liquidity rising and bank deposits climbing 2%. We’ll have a comprehensive wrap-up and some analysis on Sunday morning. A summary of their report is also available on Daily News Egypt.

The influential Judges’ Club will hold elections on 29 May, with a nominations period running 11-16 April, Al-Masry Al-Youm reports, citing a discussion with a member of the club’s board.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab will begin a ‘national dialogue’ with political parties starting today to pave the way for the now-delayed elections to Egypt’s House of Representatives, reports Ahram Online‘s Gamal Essam El-Din, who quotes Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ibrahim Heneidy as noting of the 75 or so people with whom the PM is expected to meet: “Some of them are representatives of 15 political parties, while others are high-profile public figures. … Prime Minister Mahlab wants to listen to all viewpoints over proposed amendments to election laws in a bid to reach common ground that could pave the way for the long-awaited parliamentary elections.”

Amendments to the laws regulating debt to equity conversions and the issuing of capital have won approval from Investment Minister Ashraf Salman, Amwal Al Ghad reported. Al Borsa has a longer explainer of the changes citing the head of EFSA, Sherif Samy.

President El Sisi issued an executive decree on Tuesday delegating part of his responsibilities in applying the civil service law to the prime minister, members of the cabinet, and the governors, according to Al Borsa.

An Italian business delegation will visit Cairo in June following the success of the EEDC, Egypt’s Ambassador to Rome told Al Shorouk.

In ‘Campaign launched to defend witnesses-turned-defendants in Sabagh murder case,’ Ahram Online’s Reem Gehad picks up where the New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick left the story yesterday, reporting that, “Egyptian activists are drumming up support for a rights advocate and members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) who were originally witnesses in the Shaimaa El-Sabagh murder case, but were recently listed as defendants for protesting the day she was killed.”

Are worries about an “EM meltdown” back? That’s the theme running through the FT’s ‘Emerging markets: The great unravelling‘ this morning, a lengthy must-read that notes: “Faced with recession, decade- high inflation, a fiscal crisis and water rationing, more than 1m Brazilians took to the streets last month to protest against corruption and mismanagement in their government. In China, growth is slowing as property prices fall, propelling more than 1,000 iron ore mines toward financial collapse. The patriotic citizens of Russia, meanwhile, are deserting their nation’s banks, switching savings into USD. Such snapshots of growing distress in the world’s largest emerging markets are echoed among many of their smaller counterparts. Several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are beset by dwindling revenues and rising debts. Even the turbo-powered petroeconomies of the Gulf, hit by a halving in the price of oil over the past six months to USD 55 a barrel,are moving into a slower lane.”

Fahad Nazer, former political analyst at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC, writes for The National Interest: ‘Revealed: Saudi Arabia’s Plan to Transform the Middle East.’ The title is a bit misleading, as the thrust of the article is simply that Saudi Arabia is becoming more assertive in light of President Obama’s disengagement of the Middle East: “The Yemen operation appears intended to send several messages to three different audiences. It is meant to be a warning to Iran to stop its encroachment on what is traditionally considered Saudi Arabia’s “backyard” of Yemen specifically, but also its heavy involvement in “Arab affairs” in general. It is also a message to the Saudi public that the bns of USD that have been spent on military equipment and training had not been wasted and are now paying dividends. Just as importantly, it is a message to the United States that makes clear that while Saudi Arabia still considers the United States to be a valuable partner, going forward, it will take “whatever measures necessary” to guarantee its own security, with minimal consultation if necessary, should the United States prove unable or unwilling to do so.” (Read)

As AIIB deadline closes, these two applicants might be out of luck’: Asia-centric publication The Diplomat notes that Taiwan and North Korea may be excluded from China’s nascent development bank the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), although for vastly different reasons. Hong Kong’s application is being seen as a test if the same reasoning will apply for Taiwan, whereas in the case of North Korea, China wishes to project that it is setting some sort of transparency standards for the bank, with regards to disclosures North Korea allegedly is not willing to make. (Read)

The Palestinian Authority formally became a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday. The Guardian notes: “The move could open the way for Israelis to be prosecuted for war crimes – despite Israel not being a member – and it also allows the prosecution of Palestinian militants, including those from Hamas, who now fall under the court’s jurisdiction.” (Read)

Clashes in Damascus refugee camp after reported arrival of Isis’: The Guardian noted yesterday: “Fighting has erupted throughout Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, with observers claiming Islamic State has entered the area, less than 10 miles from the Syrian capital’s most secure hub. Yarmouk, the largest Palestinian camp in Syria, has been a frequent battle zone pitting regime forces against mainstream and Islamist rebels during more than three years of fighting, which along with a brutal siege has emptied it of all but around 15,000 of its pre-war population of close to 200,000 residents.” (Read)

‘Turkey struck by attacks on government and party offices’ -WSJ: The sum of events in Turkey over the past few days is both unfortunate and disturbing. The Wall Street Journal notes: “On Wednesday evening, two attackers carrying hand grenades launched a brazen assault on the city’s police headquarters, sparking a shootout in which one assailant was killed and two policemen injured. There were no immediate claims of responsibility … on Tuesday night to try to free a prosecutor who had been taken hostage hours earlier by armed assailants.” The hostage-takers were killed and the prosecutor later succumbed to his wounds and died. “Analysts and Turkish news organizations said Wednesday’s attacks were likely the work of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, DHKP-C, the Marxist group that claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s assault and hostage-taking.” The article goes on to note that the group has ties to the Alevi Shiite minority in Turkey, who make up one-fifth of its population, and who are reportedly protesting in some areas. (Read)

The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos has a long, interesting profile of China’s President Xi Jinping and how he became the country’s most authoritarian leader since Mao. Xi is different from leaders that came after Deng Xiaoping in that they adhered to a principle known as “Hide your strength, bide your time,” but he effectively replaced that concept with declarations of China’s arrival. While an economist quoted notes “that Xi’s government has achieved more progress, in more areas, in the past eighteen months than the Hu government did in its entire second term,” an ominous warning that “if the Communist Party can’t take sufficient political reform in five or ten years, it could miss the chance entirely” is also posited.

NOTABLE: Xi Jinping was supposed to visit Egypt by mid this month, but a spokesman for Ittihadiya said the trip has been delayed. Trade Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said that he was informed by China’s ambassador to Egypt that the delay is temporary and a new date for the visit will be scheduled.


The only (albeit brief) commentary worth reading about regarding The White House’s recent lifting of suspension of military aid to Egypt may be found in Eric Trager’s quote to The Los Angeles Times: “It was an unproductive period for Washington,” he said. “It did not promote greater democracy and only hurt its relationship with Cairo, creating distrust.” (Read, or skip as that’s really all there is of value to the piece)

‘Turkey’s misguided Yemen move’: Fehim Taştekin, columnist and chief editor of foreign news at the Turkish newspaper Radikal, speculates in Al Monitor about Turkey’s motivations for supporting the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. Academic Fulya Atacan is quoted as offering the following explanations:

  • Erdogan hopes that the Saudi king will change the kingdom’s policy vis-a-vis the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • He expects economic favors from the Gulf states.
  • By joining the camp that the United States is trying to create via Saudi Arabia, he is trying to make up for the troubled relations, if not the lack of relations, between the United States and the Justice and Development Party. The phone call between Erdogan and US President Barack Obama on March 26 after a long break was no coincidence.
  • In the wake of those efforts, Erdogan could again argue for an intervention in Syria.

(Read ‘Turkey’s misguided Yemen move’)


VICE on HBO has a short documentary showing life inside Houthi-controlled zones in Yemen. (Running time 11:17)

WEEKEND VIEWING: BBC documentary ‘The Other Side of Suez’: “This is a story of how the government of the United Kingdom decided to attack an Arab nation; of how, afraid its oil supplies were under threat, it embarked on a strategy of regime change; of how Britain deliberately bypassed the United Nations, and of how a British prime minister led the nation to war based on suspect intelligence.” (Watch, running time: c.1 hour)

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One can only imagine how difficult and emotional of a time it is for the liberal corners of the foreign press following news that the executive hold on U.S. military aid to Egypt was being lifted. We should attempt to empathize, and put ourselves in the shoes of, let’s say, a member of the New York Times Editorial Board, for example. You’re one of the writers on the board. You do your part in helping put out an average of two editorials / hit jobs on Egypt per month, thinking someone, somewhere is going to sit up and take notice and appreciate everything you’ve been doing. Then one day, you find out on Twitter, of all places, that not only is all of that being tossed aside, but everyone is going to expect you and your colleagues to comment on it, and explain it. You would feel angry too. You don’t deserve this; you went to college. You voted for Obama – but that was only after Amr Moussa failed to make it past the first round of voting. You also sometimes forget you’re supposed to be empathizing right now.

24 hours after the news broke, we have ‘Mixed Messages in Egypt’s Military Aid,’ by the editorial board of The New York Times. Other than being a short turgid apologia, the only thing that really stands out is what seems to be a passive aggressive shot at, well not to name names, let’s say someone who visited Sharm recently, who has often taken a different tone with regard to Egypt as opposed to the White House: “[President Obama’s] criticism is unlikely to have much effect, considering how erratic the United States has been toward Egypt in the wake of the 2011 public revolt and the country’s subsequent reversion to authoritarianism.”

Thomas Friedman’s latest article wears out its welcome almost immediately, much like a family friend who comes over for dinner, talks about themselves and who they know and where they’ve been the entire time, and doesn’t seem to show any indication that they’re getting tired or want to go home. ‘Tell Me How This Ends Well‘ stands as a testament that there is no justice in this world, as Thomas Friedman demonstrates, yet again, that there is nothing that Thomas Friedman can say or do at this point that could get him fired, much like a low-level Egyptian civil servant. “I’ve been in China for the last week. It’s always instructive to see how the world looks from the Middle Kingdom. Sometimes the best insights come from just reading the local papers.” Which is to say, Friedman had the New York Times pay for his recent vacation to China, where after picking up a local newspaper, finds his idea for this article: a comparative piece. After stressing China’s commitment to education and Yemen’s water scarcity, he goes on to thread the disparate pieces together: “Nevertheless, Egypt may send troops to defeat the rebels in Yemen. If so, it would be the first case of a country where 25 percent of the population can’t read sending troops to rescue a country where the water comes through the tap 36 hours a month to quell a war where the main issue is the 7th century struggle over who is the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammad — Shiites or Sunnis.” By the same argument, this op-ed would be the first case of a man who shows no awareness that this is not the first time that Egypt has sent troops to Yemen, to then write an op-ed about Egypt going to war in Yemen, where the main issue is that he went on a paid vacation to China and — instead of interviewing someone there — relayed what he found in a newspaper.

For a momentary cleansing of the palate before diving back again into the foreign press’ raging against the dying of the light, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawky Allam has penned a Reuters opinion piece where he unequivocally condemns any ideological justification for terrorism in Islam in: ‘No justification for terror in any religion.’ Egyptians are still torn by grief for the 21 [sic] countrymen who were horrifically beheaded in Libya. It was an exceptionally sad day for the Egyptian nation to have to watch a video of its citizens massacred by a group of thugs. The scenes of bloodbath are heart-wrenching in their severity. This grisly crime finds no justification in any reasonable understanding of any religion. Only extremists who have perverted the essence of Islamic teaching could countenance the idea that our religion of mercy and reason might allow the killing of innocent workers earning money so their families can live dignified lives.”

At The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald writes the response that the New York Times Editorial Board likely wishes it could write: ‘Obama personally tells the Egyptian dictator that U.S. will again send weapons (and cash) to his regime.’ “Who is more tragically propagandized: those who actually believe that U.S. foreign policy is motivated by a desire to spread freedom and democracy … or those who scoff with unbridled contempt whenever the suggestion is made with a straight face?”

Arming Egypt Is a Necessary Evil,’ by The Bloomberg View editors. “President Barack Obama’s decision to lift the partial embargo on military aid to Egypt is a harsh nod to reality.” What’s a harsh nod? Try it right now – it’s ok if there are people around you; everyone will just assume you have a nervous tic. “… given the various crises in the Middle East and North Africa, the shutoff of arms to Egypt no longer made sense.” When has the Middle East not been in crisis over the past few years? Headless corpses have been turning up in the Sinai for some time now.

Turkey slams Arab League chief over ‘interference’ remarks‘: Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reports: “Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said the ministry summoned Mohamed El Fatah Naciri, the representative of the Mission of the Arab League in Turkey, on Monday,” regarding remarks made by Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Araby, who cited Turkey as a country which interferes in Arab affairs. “ Bilgic added that al-Arabi’s statements did not reflect the ideas of Arab people, rather he said these under the influence of his nationality.” This is definitely an interesting argument for him to make, considering the number of Egyptian Ikhwan hosted in Turkey who certainly manage to transcend their nationality when broadcasting calls for incitement and murder in Egypt.

Some Egypt experts “have criticized the new [economic] plan due to its seemingly sole dependence on massive foreign investment,” Alfred Jasins and Brendan Meighan write for The Carnegie Endowment’s Sada blog, “these criticisms do not apply to Egypt’s current initiatives in developing the country’s power infrastructure” in a wrap-up of the EEDC.


Deadline to receive offers to construct 250 MW wind farm extended
Al Mal | 31 March 2015
NREA extended the deadline to receive offers for a tender to build a 250 MW wind farm from 30 March to 19 April, a source told Al Mal. The extension follows company’s requests from bidders to allow them more time to ensure that they are abiding by all of the tender’s requirements The project will be granted on a BOO basis with the investors required to secure funding and will sell the generated electricity to the government for 25 year at the price set by the winning bid. (Read in Arabic)


Maridive reduces the value of some of its contracts by 5% on oil prices
Al Mal | 01 April 2015
Following the oil price drop, Maridive decided to reduce the value of some of its maritime services contracts by 5%, the company’s IR director, Adel El Zomor, said. Oil companies had called for a 30% reduction, but Maridive rejected before agreeing to a much smaller cut. El Zomor noted that the company will maintain its strategy of engaging in long-term agreements to reduce Maridive’s operating costs. (Read in Arabic)

GASCO sets up pipelines to receive natural gas at Sokhna Port
Al Masry Al Youm | 31 March 2015
GASCO has finalized the construction of the pipeline network to receive natural gas at the Ain Sokhna Port. The 6 km pipeline will receive the natural gas after it is regasified via Hoegh’s FSRU, which is set to dock at the Ain Sokhna Port. (Read in Arabic)

Sharjah’s Crescent Group mulling entering Egypt’s gas market
Gulf News | 31 March 2015
Sharjah-headquartered Crescent Group is exploring opportunities in Egypt’s gas sector, according to a board member. The group is already involved indirectly through a subsidiary, Crescent Petroleum, which is the single largest private shareholder in Dana Gas. Egypt is on the cusp of transformation, the shareholder believes, and Crescent is looking into projects that they could “get comfortable [and] where feel we’re going to get paid” without further elaboration. (Read)


Sinosteel delegation advises Egypt Iron and Steel
Al Borsa | 01 April 2015
A delegation from Sinosteel is set to complete their assessment of Egypt Iron and Steel today. The delegation, comprising 14 experts, has been brought on to advise the Egyptian company on ways to develop and expand its production facilities. Egypt Iron and Steel plans to increase its production capacity to 1.2 mn tons per year, costing approximately USD 400 mn. (Read in Arabic)


Factory licenses will not be granted without providing waste management facilities
Al Borsa | 31 March 2015
No new factory licenses will not be awarded until factories provide waste management facilities, the water resources and irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi said. Moghazi is liaising with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that no factory pumps untreated waste into any lakes. Both ministries are addressing the pollution issues at the Manzala Lake in hopes of being able to restore the lake’s fish stock. (Read in Arabic)


Seven domestic producers obtain licenses to produce Hep-C drug
Al Masry Al Youm | 01 April 2015
Seven domestic producers are now licensed to produce the hepatitis-C drug Sovaldi in Egypt, the deputy health minister for pharmaceuticals announced. Three companies have already began production, with two having already marketing the product. The rest of the producers are set to begin production in the upcoming few weeks. The deputy ministry alleviated all concerns about the potency of the drug, saying it is as effective as the US-produced Sovaldi. (Read in Arabic)


Court reverses decision banning the transfer of calls to mobile numbers with incomplete data
Al Shorouk | 31 March 2015
The Cairo Economic Court reversed a lower court’s decision banning the three mobile operators from connecting calls to mobile phone numbers with incomplete user data. The court dismissed the case citing that the plaintiff was not related to the conflict thereby nullifying the initial ruling and the case is now passed on to the administrative court. In January 2014, the plaintiff had filed a case asking the court to block calls to users with incomplete data on concerns of national security. (Read in Arabic)


Tanmeyah Micro Enterprise discusses expansion plan at press conference
Al Mal | 31 March 2015
Tanmeyah Micro Enterprise Services will hold a press conference at the end of April to discuss the company’s financial performance in 2014 as well as its medium-term expansion plan. The company is exploring the offering of products including microloans to individuals and facilities for very small enterprises, leveraging the EGP 200 mn in financing it received from Union Bank earlier this year, the paper reports. Tanmeyah also plans to establish 15 new branches by year’s end, eight of which will be in Upper Egypt. (Read in Arabic)

United Bank considers options to finance household solar power generation
Al Borsa | 01 April 2015
The United Bank of Egypt is assessing options to finance households’ electricity generation from solar energy using the new feed-in-tariff system. The bank is also trying to reduce its reliance on conventional energy sources and will power its billboards using solar panels. (Read in Arabic)


Egypt Post targets an EGP 250 mn surplus this fiscal year
Al Borsa | 01 April 2015
Egypt Post is targeting a surplus of EGP 250 mn surplus by FY2014/15’s end, according to a senior source at the company. The previous years’ surpluses and Egypt Post’s diversification strategy have ensured that it is not a burden on the state’s budget. Egypt Post also aims to improve the efficiency of the operations at its printing centers. (Read in Arabic)

Ministry of Commerce and Industry: QIZ a success
Al Mal | 01 April 2015
According to a representative from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Egypt’s QIZ exports to the United States amounted to USD 1.4 bn in 2014, with ready-made-garments comprising USD 1.1 bn. The representative described the country’s QIZ with the United States and Israel as a success, adding that currently 210 Egyptian companies qualify to export their goods to the US market without tariff or quota restrictions. (Read in Arabic)

Tariff Authority: Textile tariff will not be lifted
Youm7 | 01 April 2015
The President of the Tariff Authority has denied reports that the government is preparing to lift tariffs on ready-made-garments and fabrics. The president then added that the Ministry of Finance and the Tariff Authority are working to protect the country’s textile industry , while ensuring that foreigners producers have access to the Egyptian market.(Read in Arabic)


Egypt to build Ethiopia’s new airport, Arab Contractors to increase investments
Al Borsa, Amwal Al Ghad | 31 March 2015
Egypt will participate in building a new international airport in Addis Ababa, the Minister of Housing said. Currently Arab Contractors is building two 180 km roads in Ethiopia, Al Borsa reports. A source with the Arab Contractor said the company is liaising with other contractors to expand operations in Ethiopia and bid for new infrastructure projects across the country. Arab Contractors has invested USD 111 mn in Ethiopia since 2010. (Read in Arabic and here)


Eni exits Tunisian operations, government mutes impact
Al Mal, African Manager | 01 April 2015
Eni has decided to end its operations in Tunisia with African Manager speculating that it will sell its assets to a Kuwaiti company. The divestment was reportedly driven by a study conducted by Eni that “revealed that the oil industry suffers from lack of advanced technology, production capacity and especially financing.” However, the Tunisian industry and energy minister, muted any impact on the country’s hydrocarbons production and also denied that the reason behind the exit was the security situation. Eni operated in Tunisia since 1960. (Read and in Arabic)

PPGC cancelled Israeli gas deal in favor of BG –Al Hadath
Al Hadath | 31 March 2015
The Palestine Power Generation Company (PPGC) cancelled the deal to import Israeli gas in order to not undermine BG Group’s E&P operations of Gaza’s coasts, Al Hadath believes. The official reason cited energy producers Delek and Noble’s trouble with the antitrust regulator in Israel. A source told Al Hadath that the Palestinian government opted to encourage BG to accelerate its production activities and sought a legal loophole to end the deal with Delek and Noble. The head of the PPGC said BG has reached significant milestones in its operations and soon might be able to supply the PPGC with natural gas. (Read in Arabic)


Three would-be terrorists were accidentally killed while attempting to manufacture an IED in Sharqiya, according to state news agency MENA as reported by Ahram Online.


USD CBE auction (Wednesday, 01 April): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday, 02 Feb)
USD parallel market (Wednesday, 01 April): 7.65 (unchanged since Monday, 23 March)

EGX30 (Wednesday): 9,099.33 (-0.39%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (EGP 795.5 bn executed through special transaction)

WTI: USD 49.59 (-1.00%)
Brent: USD 56.56 (-0.95%)

TASI: 8,812.4 (+0.4%)
ADX: 4,495.5 (+0.6%)
DFM: 3,531.8 (+0.5%)
KSE Weighted Index: 424.7 (-0.6%)
QE: 11,531.0 (-1.5%)
MSM: 6,240.5 (almost flat, +0.04%)


April 2015
Sudan goes to the polls to elect a president. Ro-ro agreement with Turkey linking Damietta and Eskenderun expires.

12-13 April
(Sunday-Monday) Easter Sunday, Sham El Nessim (National Holidays)

15-16 April
(Wednesday-Thursday): World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2015, Madrid. Visit the official website here.

22-23 April
(Wednesday-Thursday): World Green Economy Summit, Dubai. Visit the official website here.

23 April
(Thursday): CBE Monetary Policy Committee meeting

25 April
(Saturday) Sinai Liberation Day (National Holiday)

01 May
(Friday) Labor Day (National Holiday)

03-04 June
(Wednesday-Thursday): 6th OPEC International Seminar, Vienna. View the official website here.

07-10 June
(Sunday-Wednesday): COMESA, EAC, SADC Tripartite Summit, Egypt.

08-09 June
(Monday-Tuesday): MENA Economies: Diversification, Growth and Employment. Chatham House, London. Register online here.

11 June
(Thursday): CBE Monetary Policy Committee meeting

18 June
(Thursday): First Day of Ramadan. Date is tentative and subject to change.

01 July
(Wednesday): Holiday for public banks.

(Friday-Saturday) Eid El Fitr. Date is tentative and subject to change. (National Holiday)

23 July
(Thursday): Revolution Day (National Holiday)

30 July
(Thursday): CBE Monetary Policy Committee meeting

16-19 September
(Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt, Cairo International Convention Centre. Visit the official websitehere.

22-24 September
(Tuesday-Thursday): Eid Al Adha. Date is tentative and subject to change. (National Holiday)

06 October
(Tuesday): Armed Forces Day (National Holiday)

14 / 15 October
(Wednesday): Muslim New Year (Hegria 1437). Date is tentative and subject to change. (National Holiday)

23 December 2015
(Wednesday): Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday (National Holiday)

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