It’s looking like Dabaa is finally happening this week: Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Egypt on Monday, according to a Thursday statement from the Kremlin. While the statement is vague on what he’s due to discuss with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, it seems almost certain that the signing of the USD 30 bn Dabaa nuclear power plant with Rosatom — which the Electricity Ministry said would be signed before the end of the year — will be on the agenda. Speculation is rife in the local media on the day of the actual signing, with Al Mal saying it is on Monday and Al Shorouk claiming it will take place on Tuesday. Both are citing ministry sources. A delegation from Rosatom also reportedly announced that work on the plant would begin this month, according to Ahram Online.
Putin is also expected to sign an agreement for a Russian Industrial Zone in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, said Mohamed Aboul Enein, who heads up the Egyptian-European Business Council, according to Al Shorouk. After hitting a roadblock this summer, talks on the RIZ have been going smoothly since October, with reports that the Russian government is willing to back companies investing in the zone to the tune of USD 9 bn.
Perhaps now Russian planes will be allowed to fly directly to Egypt once again?
Weekend news included plenty of announcements out of Sharm El Sheikh, where a who’s who of the Egyptian business community gathered for a “business with Africa” conference held under the auspices of the presidency. One thing we haven’t seen coming out of the conference: The investment map of some 600 projects the Investment Ministry said it would release in Sharm.
UN-backed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj is scheduled to meet President Abdel Fattah El Sisi today, an unnamed senior Libyan source tells Youm7. The two are expected to discuss the latest developments in the Libyan reconciliation process, including Egypt’s efforts to unify Libya’s military.
Generational divide on Jerusalem? For all of the barrels of ink used up anticipating fallout from The Donald’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and to say nothing of the late-night bloviating on the airwaves), Egypt’s streets were resoundingly chill from Thursday and through this morning. Protests attracted a few hundred people at most. Perhaps related, we’re picking up signs of a generational divide on the development. Anecdotally: Gen Xers and below are more (dispassionately) concerned with the regional implications of the move than they are outraged. Boomers, coming from a generation more invested in the Palestinian cause, feel much more strongly. Take this tweet from Mounir Abdelnour, the well-known businessman who served with distinction as minister of tourism and as minister of trade and industry: “What if EgyptAir cancelled its contract to buy Boeing planes, the Ministry of Trade suspended TIFA negotiation, the Oil Ministry withdrew its invitation for US companies to explore for oil here, and the government refused to receive US Vice President Pence,” who is due here later this month.
Pope Tawadros II and Al Azhar boss Ahmed El Tayyeb have both said they will not meet with Pence in protest of the decision (coverage here and here). Pence had made the state of Egypt’s Christian community a key talking point of his planned visit.
And speaking of The Donald: Inside Trump’s hour-by-hour battle for self-preservationmade its way to our inbox just about a dozen times, forwarded by friends and readers who thought it might be of interest. The epic piece in the New York Times is a fascinating portrait of The Donald, his psychology, and of efforts to bring structure to his day. It’s a portrait of a leader who tweets in his PJs, gorges on television, considers a 9am or 9:30am start to the workday ‘early’ and who some aides say has a “tenuous grasp of facts, jack-rabbit attention span and propensity for conspiracy theories.”
And while you’re reading the Times, check out After 7 years of job growth, room for more, or danger ahead?, out just after a better-than-expected US jobs report on Friday.
(Western) Christmas comes 10 days early this year as Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens this coming Friday, 15 December — and the iPhone X goes on sale here in Omm El Donia the same day. Read an interview with the cast of the next Star Wars flick, or head over to Apple’s Egypt site to confirm we’re not mistaken about the release date (scroll down a couple of times for the release date to appear).
So, young analyst, you think you’re a genius at Excel? Meet the 77-year-old Japanese miser who, in retirement, decided to teach himself to paint — and is now making art in Excel (watch, runtime: 2:28).