A random thought before we get underway this morning: It is an honor to write each and every one of you. Thank you all for reading.
On to the news: Foreign policy and international headlines dominated the conversation on Egypt yesterday and look set to do the same today.
First up, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is in Cyprus today for a two-day trilateral summit with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The Nicosia summit is the fifth such gathering since November 2014. Talks will be econ-heavy and likely dominated by policy on natural gas along the exclusive economic zone, an extension of the Zohr gas field. El Sisi and Anastasiades will inaugurate the Egyptian Cypriot Business Forum and El Sisi is set to address the Cypriot parliament, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. Egypt and Cyprus are expected to sign three MoUs on joint security cooperation, and in healthcare and IT cooperation, said Egypt’s ambassador to Cyprus May Taha, according to Al Ahram.
The question on everybody’s mind is whether former (depending on who you ask — and where) Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri will be making a stop in Cairo this week before returning to Lebanon on Wednesday to address the confusion caused by his sudden resignation from Riyadh two weeks ago. A leader in Al Hariri’s Future Movement had told Reuters on Sunday that Al Hariri would visit Egypt on Monday. Al Hariri’s office followed up by announcing that he will be here on Tuesday to meet with El Sisi. Ittihadiya spokesperson Bassam Rady called in to Al Hayat Al Youm last night to deny that Al Hariri was coming on Monday (though he did not refute the Tuesday’s visit), saying that Al Hariri is welcome in Egypt. Al Hariri’s statement comes a day after President El Sisi spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron (who is currently hosting Al Hariri in Paris) on the Lebanon crisis, according to a statement from the Élysée palace. The chatter on Al Hariri stopping by for coffee came as Cairo was host yesterday to an Arab League meeting at which Saudi and its regional allies pushed to further isolate Iran and Hezbollah, Reuters reports.
Political overhang on your capital raise? Welcome to our post-2011 world, Dwellers of the GCC: Bloomberg’s Ruth David and Dinesh Nair take the view that Emaar Properties struggled to complete its USD 1.3 bn IPO as a result of the Lebanon fiasco and the Saudi USD 100 bn anti-corruption campaign, which nabbed investor Alwaleed Bin Talal among other royals and officials. “The shock-waves wiped almost USD 19 bn of value from exchanges across the six-member GCC countries last week,” they said. We noted yesterday complaints by foreign investors afraid to do business in Saudi in the wake of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s corruption crackdown.
Pharos Holding is participating in and sponsoring the African Securities Exchanges Association’s annual general meeting at the Nile Ritz-Carlton hotel. ASEA is the Kenya-based industry association for exchanges across Africa, representing over 32 exchanges. “Pharos is ready to advise companies and the exchanges to optimise their market positioning to attract capital and help in the continued goal to create long term, sustainable economic growth,” COO Angus Blair says.
A delegation from the UK Civil Aviation Authority will review security procedures for passengers and cargo on a flight from Cairo to London today, according to Youm7. The inspection will include passenger transfer through the terminal and how food is transferred onto the plane. Although most of the scrutiny has been on Sharm El Sheikh given the travel ban from the UK and Russia, the government has implemented reforms to security across the country’s airports and reports emerged earlier this month that the UK might consider lifting its ban in February.
We love Seattle. We love Amazon. And even from Cairo, there’s something to be learned on the economic and urban development front from the New York Times’ 5 Lessons Seattle Can Teach Other Cities About Amazon as the online retailing giant looks for a US home for its second headquarters.
Bloomberg is getting in on the holiday gift giving extravaganza with its 48 Most Luxurious Gifts for the Holidays, broken down into price point starting at under USD 100 and ranging as high as USD 5k and above.