Thursday, 1 October 2015
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING NEXT WEEK
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi will make a two-day state visit to Egypt at the invitation of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi from 4-5 October, according to the Tunisian state-ownedAgence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP).
The Markit / Emirates NBD purchasing managers’ index for Egypt is due out on 5 October; PMIs for KSA and the Emirates will drop the same day.
Tuesday, 6 October is a national holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day. Banks and markets will be closed.
Next Friday will mark the beginning of the three-day Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Lima, Peru. Expect hand-wringing over the state of the global economy, China in particular, and the likely impact of a U.S. interest rate hike on emerging markets.
LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS
Khairy Ramadan, host of CBC Egypt’s Momkin, sat down with Nabila Makram, Egypt’s recently appointed Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Minister, for a short interview on Wednesday. The host asked Makram a series of questions pertaining to her career, the purpose of her ministry, and the importance of Egyptian expatriates.
Makram: “I was surprised when I learned of my appointment for the position … I am aware that by assuming this role, I have opened myself up to criticism, which I welcome. … Egyptian expatriates can do great things for Egypt abroad; they are capable of shaping foreign opinions of the country… In addition to providing general government services to our citizens, my ministry will also assist the foreign ministry with coordinating elections for those living abroad. My first step as minister will require that I improve services for the one mn Egyptians living in Saudi Arabia.”
Ramadan later transitioned to a short discussion on the status of Mostafa Mahmoud Ahmed El Masony, a young Egypt man who disappeared in late June of this year. “On behalf of Egypt’s youth, where is Ahmed Mahmoud Ahmed? … I’m not saying that the Interior Ministry knows, but it is incumbent on them to gather information on the issue,” said Ramadan.
With a number of the nation’s “leading talk show hosts” in Manhattan as members of Egypt’s ‘media delegation’ to the UN General Assembly, we close with this and note that Ibrahim Eissa makes his debut on Al Kahera wal Nas on Sunday night.
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Abraaj in reported USD 100 mn investment with Egyptian education provider Tiba Group: Abraaj Group announced on Wednesday it is investing in vertically-integrated education provider Tiba Group, as well as the formation of the Education Management Company to support the management of higher education institutions in Egypt. The investment in Tiba is via Abraaj’s second North Africa Fund (‘ANAF II’), which closed at USD 375 mn in August. “Abraaj and Tiba’s management team will focus on enhancing its curricula and brand to increase enrolment, upgrading its facilities, and expanding partnerships with potential employers to increase job placements for its University and Academy students,” Abraaj said in a press release. Tiba is an education service provider in Egypt that owns the Thebes Language Schools and operates “across three verticals and through seven educational institutions in Egypt, serving approximately 20,000 students.” The partnership marks Abraaj’s second investment in Egypt’s education sector and fifth globally. (Read the release by Abraaj). While the press release makes no mention of the ticket size, Dow Jones publication Financial News (paywall) claims the investment was for USD 100 mn for an unspecified stake.
EBRD votes to upgrade Egypt to ‘country of operation’ status: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) voted on Wednesday to name Egypt as one of its countries of operation, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. The statement notes that the vote was unanimous save for one abstention, with the dissenting state going unnamed. Unnamed diplomatic sources speaking to Al Mal pointed the finger at Turkey, which is a reasonable claim as Egypt enjoys good relations with all other 63 member countries of the bank. If the source is accurate, Turkey may have based its objection on the pretext of political requirements under Article 1 AEB defining the Bank’s mandate. Egypt is a founding member of the Bank, and first began the process of ascension as a country of operation in 2011, with the Bank’s Board of Directors approving the first phase of induction, which included technical cooperation. Ittihadiya welcomed the vote, noting that Egypt being named a country of operation “will increase the scope of activities and investment of the EBRD in Egypt as well as its participation in the development process in the near future. This will support and advance the private sector, including small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and to finance joint ventures between the private and public sector.” EBRD’s overview page on its activities in Egypt is here; the bank has invested EUR 762 mn in 21 projects in Egypt since 2014, with the private sector receiving 56% of the bank’s investment. EBRD has invested in everything from the Cairo Metro to Faragalla and Merlon Petroleum; check out their list of investments here.
Starwood Hotels will open two new hotels in Sharm El Sheikh in 2020. Starwood made the announcement at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday. Out of seven newly announced hotels to open throughout Africa, two will be based in Sharm El Sheikh: W Sharm El Sheikh and The Residences at W Sharm El Sheikh, according to a release from Starwood. “The momentum of growth we are seeing in Africa today is unprecedented,” said Michael Wale, President for Starwood, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “Africa is a market with huge potential. With economic growth, a rising middle class and rapid urbanization.” Owned by Tower Prestige for Hotels SAE, the hotel will feature 350 guest rooms and suites will be located at Nabq Bay in Sharm, and will also feature 50 branded residences. (Read the release)
Egypt moved up the rankings of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report for the first time since the Arab Spring. Egypt’s ranking improved to 116th globally from 119th last year. Egypt’s performance overview said the improvement reflected mostly “a more positive assessment of the country’s institutions (87th), in particular higher levels of physical security (up by seven places although still, at 133rd, an important hindrance to economic growth), a more efficient judiciary in settling business disputes (up by 23 places), and better protection of property rights (up by seven).” The WEF says continuous reforms including more openness to trade and investment are needed to facilitate private sector growth. Switzerland topped the global competitiveness rankings, followed by Singapore and the United States whereas Guinea, Chad, and Mauritania are the least competitive countries. The landing page of the report is here and the full competitiveness rankings can be found here.
Egypt received its second FSRU yesterday, EGAS head Khaled Abdel Badie said, as reported by Reuters. The FSRU, provided by Singapore-based Norwegian group BW Gas has a capacity of 600-700 mcf per day and will remain at the Sokhna Port, where the Hoegh Gallant is also docked. The agreement with BW Gas is reportedly worth USD 60 mn per year, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail had told Reuters.
Egypt finalized an agreement with Kuwait Energy to search for oil abroad for the first time, Reuters reported. EGPC will now control 10% of Kuwait Energy’s share of its concession in Basra, Iraq. This follows news we reported on back in March when CNBC Arabia said EGPC was going to acquire 10% of Kuwait Energy’s 70% share of the concession, of which Dragon Oil controls the remaining 30%. “The agreement opens up the space for the oil sector to find sources of oil outside Egypt for the first time… This is an important step for securing energy supplies from outside Egypt in order to partially meet the demands of the local market,” Former EGPC Chairman and current Oil Minister, Tarek El Molla, said. “Production in the concession area’s first well, Fayhaa 1, is expected to begin in October with an initial return of 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) with the number expected to reach 150,000 bpd by 2020-21,” Reuters reported. Ahram Gate has coverage in Arabic.
President El-Sisi has tasked the Cabinet Economic Group with laying down a national economic strategy for the current fiscal by year’s end, reports Al Borsa. Government sources have stated that the economic group will hold meetings next week to begin laying out a comprehensive economic and monetary strategy that will focus on social development, increasing growth indicators, completing major national projects, and improving the investment climate.
Spotlight on: The weekly cabinet meeting
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail’s cabinet held its first weekly meeting yesterday, with the agenda focusing squarely on delivery of national projects as well as preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections, Al Mal reports. A leading point at the meeting was reviewing the mechanisms being put in place to implement the investment one-stop shop, in addition to laying out a plan to meet the goals set out by the President in his appointment speech, according to Al Ahram. The primary meeting outcomes announced so far are pretty quotidian:
Juhayna had landed facilities totaling EGP 480 mn from domestic banks to refinance debt and shore-up its working capital. Tiba, the company’s distribution arm, will draw on facilities from EGB and AAIL (including a sale-and-lease-back), while CIB is giving Juhayna’s EgyFood yoghurt plant access to EGP 250 mn to enhance its working capital position. “Securing the necessary financing from three leading financial institutions underscores the market’s confidence in Juhayna’s outstanding fundamentals and in our growth plans,” a company statement quotes Financial Director Sameh El Hodaiby as saying. Funds will be drawn down this quarter and in 4Q2015. (Read in Arabic as a pdf or head to their website to read the English, as in pdf; no direct link available)
Governorates across Egypt are reporting shortages in fuel and diesel supplies, despite state efforts to flood the market with as much as 30% more product. Sohag has been the hardest hit, Al Borsa reports. According to Petroleum Products Chamber vice-president Saad Mohamed, the blame lies with inefficiency at distribution companies that have failed to keep pace with expanded supply and demand. The chamber’s representative in Sohag claims that the shortage was caused by the shuttering of the governorate’s refinery for the Eid due to a lack of crude.
We like to talk about small businesses. But actually helping them? Not so much. Everyone loved SMEs at the EEDC. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has repeatedly directed that cabinet clear red tape for small business. The banking sector pays continual lip service to loving entrepreneurs. And yet here we are, post cabinet shuffle, and the “SME” section has been cut from the Trade and Industry Ministry and assigned to … exactly no one. Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority chief Sherif Samy says it’s because we have enough ministries as it is, Al Mal reports. Other ‘experts’ the newspaper quotes suggest it would be more effective to simply establish institutions or an institution that directly provides loans not only to SMEs but to microenterprises as well. Because that’s what small businesses need: Not a marketplace, but a single monopoly to offer us table scraps. Brilliant.
The government’s VAT inflation calculations are being called into question. The government’s reliance on income and spending data to estimate the likely impact on inflation of a value-added tax paints an incomplete picture, Al Mal reports, as EFG Hermes Research gives the paper a primer on how one might estimate the impact of the the tax, which is now expected before the end of the year. Elsewhere, Al Mal spoke at some length with former Tax Authority head (turned tax consultant) Ashraf Al Araby, who lauds the coming implementation of the VAT and suggests, for the first time we can remember seeing it, that a 2% levy may somehow apply to the informal sector. More important than the rate or what is exempt from the VAT, Al Araby suggests, could be the manner in which the tax is implemented.
Russia conducted its first airstrike in Syria near Homs on Wednesday, a senior U.S. official told CNN. The Russian Defence Ministry confirmed that military jets carried out airstrikes against Daesh after the upper chamber of parliament voted to greenlight sending troops to Syria. Moscow could be also trying to help Assad as U.S. officials suggest that “Russia had positioned itself to launch airstrikes in Syria, but its movements suggested that its targets might be something other than ISIS.”
Some people just insist on being humiliated: FIFA scandal widens as Swiss open criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter; Blatter ally and former FIFA vice president Jack Warner banned for life over bribery; UEFA and FIFA call off friendly match: It would appear that Sepp Blatter and Jack Warner are adamant about being dragged kicking and screaming to prison rather than going with some modicum of dignity The Swiss Attorney General (OAG) opened a criminal investigation of FIFA chief Blatter last week for criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, according to a release from the OAG’s office. The charges involve Blatter signing a contract for the 2005 World Cup broadcast rights that was unfavorable to FIFA with then-president of the Caribbean Football Union (and later vice-president of FIFA) Jack Warner. Warner, meanwhile, has been banned from soccer for life for repeated bribery, according to the AP, following a decision by the FIFA ethics committee on Tuesday over the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the latter of which is, remarkably, still set to take place in the ninth circle of Qatar. On Wednesday, FIFA issued a statement to the AP saying “In a joint decision it was agreed to postpone the UEFA-FIFA challenge 2015, which had been scheduled for Friday, 2 October, until further notice.”
Brookings fellow resigns after Sen. Elizabeth Warren accuses him of conflict of interest:Prominent Brookings Institution fellow Robert Litan resigned on Tuesday following revelations he had accepted editorial feedback on his study criticizing a US Labor Department’s plan to regulate brokerages from the investment firm funding his work. The discovery was made after US Senator Elizabeth Warren questioned him following the conclusion of a hearing in front of US Senate panel,Reuters reports. Litan was formerly a senior official in the Clinton administration.
U.S. troops have turned to some unsavory partners to help find warlord Joseph Kony: As the search for the African warlord Kony heats up, U.S. troops have reportedly turned for help to a group of rebels known as the Seleka, who have waged a campaign of mass atrocities of their own against Christians, according to the Washington Post. Kony is thought to be hiding in a region between Sudan and South Sudan. Not familiar with his particular brand of murder and torture? The Guardian spoke with survivors first-hand. (We’re sure the U.S. operators on the ground asked the local Girl Scouts whether Kony had left a forwarding address before looking at who else might have intelligence the exploit and a network to use.)
EGYPT IN THE NEWS
Russian state-owned news outlets RT and Sputnik both reported on a statement issued by the French Senate Finance Committee (Read in French) which states that after the proceeds of the sale of two Mistral ships to Egypt originally intended for Russia are reconciled with the c.USD 1 bn paid to Russia in compensation for breach of contract, the French stand to lose between EUR 200 mn to EUR 250 mn on the transaction. This is in contrast to statements made by French President François Hollande last week, when he said that France would not incur a loss on the sale to Egypt. The sale of the Mistrals to Russia was cancelled due to the Russian intervention in the Ukraine.
The project to establish the Grand Egyptian Museum near the pyramids of Giza was announced in 1992. Twenty-three years and mns in spending later, Al-Monitor asks if the Grand Egyptian Museum will ever open: “The real reasons behind the delay stem from serious negligence indicating that the Ministry of Antiquities and the museum management do not realize the importance of this extensive site,” one archaeologist said. However, the general supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum said “the Ministry of Antiquities and the Egyptian government are determined to move forward with this global project. The ministry will not spare any efforts to inaugurate the museum on the set date with no further delays.”
Syrian entrepreneurs starting new lives in Egypt: Syrian refugees living in Egypt by no means have it easy: They still suffer from some xenophobia directed toward them following incitement from Egyptian media figures such as Youssef El Housseiny, among others. However, a key difference between Egypt and other states where Syrians make their temporary or perhaps permanent homes (and a justified point of pride in addition to the relatively large number of refugees that Egypt has accepted, despite its limited resources, as noted by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in his UNGA address), is that they are able to live normal lives, more or less. No refugee camps — they live in urban settings alongside Egyptians. And while life may not always be easy, the following BBC profile shows that Syrian entrepreneurs are making their way in Egypt. “Known as ‘Little Damascus,’ it’s located in Cairo’s satellite town of 6 of October City, which houses some of the nearly 500,000 Syrian refugees who have found a sanctuary from war in Egypt, although 350,000 of them are not officially registered according to UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency.” (Read)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority “is no longer bound” by the Oslo Peace Accords during his UN General Assembly speech on Wednesday, the New York Times reports. Abbas said that Palestinians should not abide by subsequent agreements while Israel violates them. In related news, the Palestinian flag was raised at the U.N.’s Rose Garden in New York on Wednesday, which CNN dubbed as “historic.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the flag-raising event “a day of pride for the Palestinian people,” CNN reports. President Mahmoud Abbas’ full statement delivered to the UN may be found here in English and in Arabic, both in pdf format.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held the third annual trilateral meeting with his Cypriot and Greek counterparts in New York on Tuesday, according to a joint statementpublished by the MFA. The statement roughly follows the same main points in President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s UNGA address earlier this week. With regard to offshore gas fields, the statement reads that the foreign ministers “expressed their resolve to strengthen their cooperation so that the discovery of important hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean can serve as a catalyst for regional cooperation and prosperity. They stressed that this cooperation is founded upon mutual adherence to well-established principles of International Law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) [a treaty which Turkey refuses to recognize]. They particularly underscored the importance of the recent discovery of the ‘Zohr’ gas field in Egypt’s Exclusive Economic Zone. They agreed to proceed expeditiously to negotiate the outstanding issues related to the delimitation of their adjacent maritime zones. They reaffirmed their unwavering support to the ongoing negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem that will reunify the island in accordance with international law …”
Petroceltic revenues halved, looks to maintain Egypt production levels
Petroceltic’s 1H2015 revenues more than halved to USD 38 mn due to lower production levels in Egypt and Bulgaria as well as the decrease in international oil prices. A reduction in exploration write-offs narrowed the company’s net loss to USD 27 mn from USD 57 mn one year earlier. “Maintaining production levels in Egypt and Bulgaria remains a key objective and we are naturally encouraged by Eni’s recent discovery directly adjacent to our offshore acreage in Egypt,” CEO Brian O’Cathain said. (Read)
Central Authority for Construction completes 13 projects worth EGP 200 mn
The Central Authority for Construction will inaugurate 13 projects during next month’s 6 of October celebrations at a total cost of EGP 200 mn. The projects include three roads in Dakahlia costing EGP 80 mn, four pedestrian bridges in Alexandria costing EGP 10 mn, an EGP 47 mn road in Beheira, EGP 29 mn projects in the Red Sea governorate, and an additional EGP 14 mn in Ras Sedr. (Read in Arabic)
BASIC MATERIALS + COMMODITIES
CPA allows Beyti’s apple juice production line to resume operations
The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has allowed Beyti to resume production at its apple juice line, Al Shorouk reported. Samples analyzed for harmful bacteria by the Health Ministry came back negative, and the CPA said the juice poses no health risks. The Industrial Control Authority also said it has no reservations on resuming operations on the line, suggesting that the reported change in the juice’s taste was likely due to poor handling or storage, as well as from potential adverse effects from the heat dome Egypt experienced earlier this year. (Read in Arabic)
CEA ends the 2014/2015 cotton season
The Cotton Exports Association (CEA) has officially called the end of the 2014/2015 harvest season, closing all exports for that year’s harvest. According to Mofrah El Beltagy, who heads the CEA, the association had extended dealing in the harvest for another month, which led to the sale of 95% of the stock earmarked for exports. He added that traders have begun contracting for the 2015/2016 harvest which is selling at EGP 903 per bail. (Read in Arabic)
Middle East Glass denies it has completed acquisition of Misr Glass Manufacturing
Middle East Glass denied it has finalized the acquisition of Misr Glass Manufacturing, in a statement(PDF, in Arabic) filed to EGX on Wednesday. The statement followed media reports that suggested Middle East Glass nearing an agreement to acquire 100% of Qalaa Holdings’ Misr Glass Manufacturing (MGM), a top producer of container glass, in a transaction that could be worth as much as EGP 800 mn. Middle East Glass says only the preliminary agreement announced last July has been inked.
HEALTH + EDUCATION
Universal healthcare law to be applied nationwide by 2017’s end, Health Minister says
Health Minister Ahmed Emad El-Din Rady presented a draft of a universal healthcare law to the President for his approval. Rady says the law will be applied gradually across Egypt, with plans to have it applied nationwide by the end of 2017. Egypt’s 2014 constitution outlined the need for universal healthcare coverage, Rady said. In a meeting with the committee drafting the law, the mechanisms to provide healthcare coverage and how the law could be applied practically were discussed, Ahram Gate reported. (Read in Arabic)
Tourism Ministry, JWT set to launch tourism campaign at WTM conference in November
The Tourism Ministry, in partnership with JWT, is in in the process of formulating a strategy for its planned campaign at the World Travel Market Conference in London, which is scheduled for the first week of November. Tourism minister Hisham Zaazou is scheduled to meet with the Egyptian Tourism Federation in order to discuss the details of the plan. JWT will to promote Luxor and Upper Egypt as prime winter destinations for European vacationers during the upcoming conference. (Read in Arabic)
AUTOMOTIVE + TRANSPORTATION
Transport Ministry appoints committee to evaluate outgoing minister’s port services fees
The Transport Ministry has formed a committee to evaluate and decide whether the outgoing minister Hany Dahy’s approved policy of increasing port facility fees—which were outlined only earlier this month—would remain in place. The study was hailed by Alexandria’s Shipping Chamber, which had opposed Dahy’s fee increases. Transport Minister Saad El Geyoushi said the committee will make a ruling on the issue early next week. The minister also signaled his disapproval of the price increases. (Read in Arabic)
El Geyoushi recommends ending contract with DEPCO to cabinet
The new Transport Minister El Geyoushi has had enough of the Damietta International Port Company (DEPCO) problem and recommended that the government annul the contract at yesterday’s cabinet meeting. The DEPCO concession to build and operate a 600 Km2 container terminal in Damietta’s port (a third of the port’s area) has been stalled since 2010, after the company sought to amend the contract and was subsequently charged with delaying the project by the government. The delay is said to cost USD 1.2 bn in investments. (Read in Arabic)
Transport Minister orders investigation into mysterious train car fires
Transport Minister El Geyoushi ordered an immediate investigation into recent and repeated fires in new railway cars. The appointed committee will only have today to make its assessment into the causes of these fires, which from El Geyoushi’s tone, seems to point towards arson. (Read in Arabic)
BANKING + FINANCE
Banque Misr in negotiations with Chinese Bank for USD 100 mn loan
Banque Misr is in the midst of negotiating with an as-of-yet unnamed Chinese bank for a USD 100 mn loan, says Banque Misr’s Chairman Mohamed El-Etraby. He adds that the three-year loan will be used to fund SMEs, and that the two banks are negotiating interests rates. Banque Misr recently signed a loan agreement with the Arab Banking Corporation for a USD 300 mn loan to cover projects that are in need of foreign currency. (Read in Arabic)
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE
Beltone to run two retail IPOs valued at a total of EGP 4 bn
Beltone is preparing to bring two IPOs to market worth a combined EGP 4 bn, said its chairman Alaa Saba. Stopping short of naming the companies, Saba said the two were in the consumer retail space, Al Borsa reports. Beltone is also working on a valuation for Ades Advanced Energy Systems and expects its IPO to take place either later this year or early next year. (Read in Arabic)
CIB launches competition to develop Giza Zoo
CIB has launched a competition across Egyptian universities to come up with a development plan for the Giza Zoo in partnership with Enactus Egypt, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The competition is aimed at coming up with a plan to develop the Zoo’s basic infrastructure to transform it into a national educational and recreational hub. CIB picked the plan submitted by the Mansoura Academy students as the winner. (Read in Arabic)
EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS
No loan negotiations with IMF, Dimian says
Egypt has not negotiated a loan agreement with the IMF, Finance Minister Hany Dimian told Al Mal. Dimian said reports of an ongoing talks are merely rumors. He added that he is not concerned about the possibility that the Federal Reserve will raise its interest rates, saying it will have a very limited impact on Egypt. Dimian also added, as we reported yesterday, that VAT will be applied before the year’s end. (Read in Arabic)
Health Minister visits Saudi Arabia; Cabinet satisfied with kingdom’s treatment of citizens
Minister of Health Ahmed Emad El-Din Rady arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to check on the status of Egyptians who were injured during this year’s Hajj, said Cabinet spokesperson Ambassador Hossam Quwaish. Rady was later joined by his Saudi Arabian counterpart on his visit to another hospital treating injured Egyptian citizens in East Jeddah, reports Al Mal. Cabinet expressed its satisfaction with the efforts exerted by the Saudi Arabian Government to provide high-quality healthcare to the injured Egyptians, Ahram reports. The death toll of Egyptians killed in the stampede rose to 78, according to Ahram Online, citing Al Ahram’s report on Tuesday.
Political parties and electoral coalitions complain over ignored campaign violations, perceived lack of impartiality on part of elections committee: A number of parties and electoral blocs of different stripes are lodging complaints of unfair treatment from the High Elections Committee (HEC), with Al Wafd accusing the committee of turning a blind eye to campaign violations. “The HEC formed committees of experts headed by court judges to monitor the practices of candidates nationwide, however we saw some candidates hanging up banners and exploiting public events to campaign,” said deputy chairman Hussein Mansour on Tuesday, according to Ahram Online. “The HEC lost its credibility and I’m not sure if it needs these elections to be fair … Some candidates were distributing meat and [cash] for voters and the HEC was just staring and didn’t react,” he added. The Egyptian Front Coalition has accused the HEC of being biased against them in favor of the For the love of Egypt bloc, Daily News Egypt reports.
Egyptian court upholds Sinai militants’ death sentence: Sinai-based militant Adel Habara, who allegedly has ties to Daesh-affiliate Wilayat Sina, received his second death sentence on Tuesday in a criminal court. Two other defendants were sentenced alongside Habara, with another five sentenced in absentia. The preliminary death sentence was first approved in February and forwarded to the Grand Mufti for his advisory opinion, which came back as endorsing the sentence. According to Ahram Online: “In December a Cairo criminal court confirmed death sentences against Habara and six others for carrying out an execution-style killing of policemen in an ambush in August 2013. Some 25 soldiers were killed in the attack.”
ON YOUR WAY OUT
Global Telecom Holding said that it is still studying alternatives to refinancing its second shareholder’s loan in the amount of USD 1.2 bn, in response to media reports on the matter, according to a company release sent to the EGX on Wednesday, (Read in Arabic, pdf).
The UAE is easing some restrictions on foreign workers, Bloomberg reported. The UAE’s Labour Ministry issued three decrees “that ban employers from changing terms of contracts without the consent of workers, allow the workers to terminate their contracts and ensure that they can pursue other job opportunities once they leave an employer” but “stop short of annulling a legal requirement known as kafala.”
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