Mercedes quits assembly in Egypt. Petroleum companies to sell gas directly to industry. CBE leaves rates on hold. Abraaj prices IDH offering. Ikhwan reshuffle leadership. Revised Egyptian Accounting Standards announced. Backlash against Al-Azhar.
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY
We’re looking for any kind of response from the government in the wake of news that Daimler is exiting its assembly JV in Egypt because it’s more economical to import completely built-up vehicles. Daimler, owner of the Mercedes brand, confirmed on Friday it is selling its 26% stake in the Egyptian German Automotive Company, which assembles the C, E and S class as well as GLK models in Egypt. There was no immediate word on the number of assembly line jobs that may be lost. The company began importing fully assembled vehicles last year as the phase-in of preferential customs duties on European cars made locally assembled vehicles less economical.
A spokesman for the Egyptian Federation of Industries blames what he calls government’s lack of support to the automotive sector for the turn of events, saying that duties on European imports will plunge over the next four years, threatening local assembly capacity. GB Auto CEO Raouf Ghabbour had warned in the company’s full-year 2014 earnings that preferential treatment for European, Turkish and Moroccan automobiles would threaten domestic assembly (pdf, see page 2).
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING THIS WEEK
28 April (Tuesday): Deadline for prequalified developers to submit comments on proposed guidelines governing SPV incorporation in project participation for renewable energy projects under the feed-in-tariff scheme.
28 April (Tuesday): Next session in the retrial of former Al Jazeera English journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.
28-29 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): MESIA Renewable Energy Trade Mission, Marriott Palace Hotel, Zamalek, Cairo. Registration details may be found here.
LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS
The standard lineup of patriotic songs and documentaries honoring the Egyptian armed forces and their victory in Sinai dominated television screens last night as Egypt celebrated Sinai Liberation Day.
According to Amr Adeeb, it was Egyptian television that was doing the celebrating, not Egyptians. Adeebspent most of his program lamenting the 33 years of neglect that the Sinai Peninsula has fallen under since the withdrawal of Israeli troops in 1982.
“Kol sana wento tayebeen. Today is Sinai Liberation Day. How did you celebrate? Sadly its just another day off as far as most people are concerned. There’s nothing this country likes more than a long weekend,” saidAdeeb. “To be perfectly honest, the Israelis cared more about Sinai than we do. In the 30 years of Mubarak’s rule, nothing was done for Sinai outside of the development of Sharm El Sheikh, and even that was not done properly. And we wonder why there is terrorism in Sinai.”
Osama Kamal, also bemoaned the fact that news of our soldiers being killed or kidnapped in Sinai has become the norm, so much so that no one takes much notice of it anymore. “Why don’t people care? What happened to the patriotism that this country had in 1973?”
Kamal interviewed Hala Youssef, the Minister of Population, for a discussion on the government’s strategy to combat population growth. Youssef, who was formerly the coordinator of the National Population Council, said her ministry is looking to achieve qualitative results that will eventually lead to more families choosing to have less children.
“The average number of children born to each Egyptian family was brought down to three in 2008 as a result of the successful family planning campaigns. This number has recently gone up slightly to 3.5 children. We are a culture that values large families,” said Youssef. “We really cannot continue to grow at this rate. But rather than following the Chinese example and putting a limit on births — which would never work in a culture like ours — I want to make people understand the importance of education and the importance of keeping their children in school. If we get this message across, people in rural areas who are the ones having the most children will want to have less children so that they can afford to educate them.”
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Petroleum companies to be allowed to sell gas directly domestically; fuel subsidies expected to reach USD 10.5 bn in FY15-16: A new gas regulatory entity will allow producers to sell natural gas directly to the domestic private market, moving the burden of supplying industry to the private sector, said the Minister of Petroleum, Sherif Ismail, in an interview with Al-Borsa. Fuel subsidies are expected to cost the state USD 10.5 bn in FY 2015/16. he noted, saying that while the government is moving on with the phasing-out of fuel subsidies over five years, there is no intention to raise fuel prices in the time being. The interview notes that along with signed agreements to import LNG cargoes, the ministry is in advance talks with Shell and Total regarding extra shipments. Elsewhere in Al-Borsa, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker is quoted as saying the ministry’s emergency generation and overhaul plan is 65% complete. He expects the plan to add 3,632 MW to the country’s generation capacity to be completed by August. Shaker added that he is currently coordinating with the Ministry of Petroleum to ensure the power stations are receiving steady fuel supplies. To reduce the demand on natural gas, the Ain Sokhna power station, as well as others, will be running on mazut.
The CBE keeps benchmark interest rate unchanged: In its meeting on Thursday, 23 April, the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee decided to keep the overnight deposit rate, overnight lending rate, and the rate of the CBE’s main operation unchanged, according to the CBE’s release. “At this juncture, the MPC judges that the key CBE rates are currently appropriate given the balance of risks surrounding the inflation and GDP outlooks,” reads the statement. (Read)
CBE reduces commission on credit letters to facilitate imports: The CBE recently decided to reduce the commissions on opening letters of credit from 2.5% to 1.5% in a bid to help facilitate imports, Daily News Egypt reports. “The decision of reducing commissions of letters of credits of importers in banks is positive, but it is not enough; what is more important now is providing the dollar to meet importers’ needs and facilitate their works,” said Ahmed Shiha, Chief of Importers Division at Chamber of Commerce. (Read)
Abraaj’s IDH prices shares at USD 3.85-4.45. Integrated Diagnostic Holdings (website here) announced on Friday that its upcoming offering would see the company list with an initial market cap of USD 580-670 mn. The company, which is listing only on the London Stock Exchange, will go public as owners Integrated Diagnostics Group Lt. and HENA Holdings Ltd. sell c. 50% of the company’s share capital. Conditional trading is due to begin on 6 May. EFG Hermes and Deutsche Bank are joint global coordinators for the transaction and will be bookrunners alongside Citigroup Global Markets.
Speaking of Deutsche: The bank announced on Friday that it will be making cutbacks at the investment bank and split its Postbank retail business, the FT and Reuters report. The move came after the bank agreed to a record USD 2.5 bn fine in the Libor rigging scandal.
Egypt’s renewable FIT program gains traction: Guiliani’s law firm has released a brief write-up on the current situation regarding the feed-in-tariff, noting that “Egypt therefore appears to be moving forward with this programme with a great deal of seriousness. Developers and lenders will need to be equally serious — and move very quickly — if they wish to take full advantage of this opportunity.” (Read)
Ikhwan reshuffle leadership, filling majority of posts with younger members: A senior leader of the Ikhwan, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, acknowledged that his outlawed organization “made mistakes” in the past: “We were mistaken when we thought that a revolutionary course would restore stability to the country.” Abdel Rahman, in a recent interview with Al Jazeera, stated that he is the head of the Ikhwan’s newly-established overseas bureau (he didn’t state in the interview the country in which the bureau is based, but one can assume it’s either Qatar, Turkey or the UK). He said the Ikhwan “are in process of making substantial changes to the organization, altering its vision, leadership, and practices.” Abdel Rahman noted that the leadership has been reshuffled, with 65% of the group’s recently elected members have not held leadership positions in the past. In concluding his statements, he added that the Ikhwan was in contact with unnamed Egyptian political parties and movements. (Read in Arabic or in Ahram Online, or Watch in Arabic, running time: 48:31)
Tests from 52 samples at the Qena water treatment plant showed that the water there is untainted following the accidental dumping of hundreds of tons of phosphate into the water, Hossam Moghazy, the irrigation minister, said. The water remains safe for consumption, the minister noted, after travelling to Qena. The Minister of Environmental Affairs added that 90% of the dumped phosphate cargo has already been removed, according to Al Borsa.
In an effort to protect Egypt’s main source of fresh water from pollution and other violations, President Sisi signed the Nile Protocol on Thursday.
Revisions to the Egyptian Accounting Standards have been completed. A committee, headed by EFSA’s chief Sherif Samy was tasked to review the regulations that have not been amended since 2006 to ensure that Egyptian standards are in line with the international financial reporting standards. Once approved, the new standards will be adopted in 2016.
Egypt and the World Bank on Friday signed a USD 400 mn loan for the much-touted Takaful wa Karama [Solidarity and Dignity] initiative, whereby 1.5 mn Egyptian families will receive monthly cash allowances. The Takaful program is a conditional cash transfer to families with children with EGO 325 per month tied to children’s school attendance, with additional stipends available for families who enroll their children in preparatory and secondary education. Karama seeks to serve the elderly and disabled. (Read)
AfDB mulls financing solar energy project in Egypt: The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is considering a USD 50 mn loan to finance a solar energy project in Egypt, an AfDB source with knowledge of the matter told Amwal Al Ghad as reported by Egypt Oil & Gas. The financing will be part of the USD 450-500 mn total package from AfDB to Egypt for 2015. (Read)
Mondelēz International starts a new production line in Egypt: The owner of the Cadbury brand has begun operations at a new EGP 200 mn line at its Tenth of Ramadan plant. The new line is producing the Cadbury Marvellous Creations brand. Mondelēz Egypt said it began an EGP 35 mn marketing campaign to promote the projects. The company had exported USD 86 mn worth of products last year to 35 countries and controls 39% of the domestic chocolate market. (Read in Arabic)
Profanity-laced backlash on Twitter against Al Azhar following cancellation of controversial religious program calling for questioning and reform: There’s backlash on Twitter against Al-Azhar after Islamic researcher Islam El-Beheiry’s Al Kahera Wal Nas program was cancelled under heavy pressure from the central seat of Sunni learning. El-Beheiry had called for reform and reassessment of some religious interpretations. Most of the tweets trending under the hashtag برنامج_جديد_يرضي_الازهر# [#Programs_AlAzhar_would_approve_of] are filled with profanity and abuse; the two examples below convey the overall theme without any expletives:
@RrokaOosha: اخرسوا و اسمعوا [Shut up and listen] #Programs_AlAzhar_would_approve_of
@admeduc: ﻻ تجادل ..وﻻ تناقش [Don’t Argue and Don’t Discuss] #Programs_AlAzhar_would_approve_of
Ministry for Youth employment initiatives failed -minister: In a refreshing piece of honesty, Minister of State for Youth and Sport Khaled Abdul Aziz, in his opening statement at the ‘Work and Earn’ Conference organized by the Young Businessmen Association, said that all youth employment initiatives failed due to the government’s inability to communicate with the youth. “There’s a problem in the government’s communication with the youth. It ceases to match the youth’s aspirations for the future.” He added that, contrary to popular belief, the current labor market is geared toward public sector jobs as well as to those in the informal economy, not private sector jobs. (Read in Arabic)
‘Egyptian businessmen rattled by new regulations’: Ahmed Fouad at Al Monitor has a long piece relying heavily on unnamed sources both praising and criticizing a number of recent economic reforms, including the stock market tax and the limit on USD deposits. (Read)
Climate change in the Arab world will cause far more than extreme weather, warns the World Bank’s Arab Voices blog. “It will affect people and societies,” particularly noting the economic consequences: “Fast-growing populations, hotter summers, less rainfall, and less run-off from mountains covered in snow, are likely to disrupt agriculture—a sector employing more than 35% of MENA’s workforce.”
Princeton Israel-Egypt divestment referendum fails to pass by slim margin: A recent referendum at Princeton University calling for divestment from both Egypt and Israel failed to pass by a narrow margin on Wednesday, with 52.5% voting against and 47.5% voting for divestment, being defeated by only 102 votes. (Read) Israeli newspaper Haaretz offers some context on the divestment movement sweeping American campuses, noting, however, “No university administration or endowment investment committee has agreed to withdraw funds from companies whose products are used in connection with the occupation. Divestment resolutions “have no practical outcomes in terms of university investment policies,” said Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism. “They do have a divisive effect on the campus climate,” though, he told Haaretz. “We get complaints from students that there’s a tense atmosphere on campus, that they’re feeling pressured to choose sides.” (Read in Haaretz)
Armenian Genocide centennial commemorated in Egypt, Obama refuses to recognize the genocide: Egypt’s Armenian community gathered on Friday at Cairo’s Unknown Soldier Memorial to commemorate the hundred-year observance of the Armenian genocide in Turkey, Ahram Online reports. CNN notes that for the 7th year in a row, despite his campaign promise, U.S. President Barack Obama failed to acknowledge the Armenian genocide as a genocide, referring to it instead in an Armenian euphemism for “catastrophe,” presumably in response to Turkish lobbying. (Read in CNN, note that there is a video on autoplay embedded). This is despite the fact that the Russian and Iranian regimes have both acknowledged the genocide. While Pope Tawadros travelled to Armenia to honor the genocide’s victims, and while commemorations took place in Egypt as noted above, Egypt has yet to officially recognize the events of 1915 as a genocide.
Yemen crisis- U.N appoints new envoy as battles continue, Iranian flotilla turns away from Yemen trajectory, likely due to American naval presence: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as the organization’s new envoy in Yemen, with the UNSC approving the nomination on Saturday. Meanwhile, a flotilla of nine Iranian ships suspected of carrying arms intended for Houthi rebels turned away from their course on Friday, attributed to the presence of American naval forces in the area. “It is a welcome event because it does contribute to de-escalation and that’s what we’re trying to suggest to all the parties there, is the best course, and those parties include the Iranians,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday, as reported by Reuters.
Egypt wary of ground offensive in Yemen: The National writes on mounting Saudi criticism on social media regarding Egypt’s apparent reluctance at becoming more deeply involved in the Yemen conflict. “The criticism, traces of which are found in opinion pieces by Saudi analysts but not officially embraced, is built on several assumptions, including that a ground offensive in Yemen is part of the plan by the Saudi-led alliance, that it had been due to start sometime in the past four or five weeks and that Egyptian troops were supposed to take part in that operation … For Egypt, limited or surgical ground operations might be the golden middle ground that Mr El Sisi will seek, avoiding heavy casualties as well as discontent among Egyptians who are wary of foreign wars and more focused on what their new president can deliver on the economy.” (Read)
Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos: In the first-ever confirmed experiment following months of rumors, the science journal Nature reports that Chinese scientists, led by researcher Junjiu Huang, have successfully altered the human germline in human embryos in an attempt to find a cure for an often fatal blood disorder. A germline modification differs from current gene therapy in that the changes would be passed down to future generations. However, the experimentation is highly controversial, as there are calls in the scientific community for a moratorium on such research, as the experiment had a very low success rate and caused a number of unintended mutations. Huang’s paper was published in the journal Protein & Cell after Nature had refused to publish it over ethical concerns. The research was conducted on nonviable embryos that could not lead to a live birth as the eggs were fertilized with two sperm. “A Chinese source familiar with developments in the field said that at least four groups in China are pursuing gene editing in human embryos.”
The move to genetically modify human embryos is at least three orders of magnitude dumberthan the idiots who think we should resurrect the wooly mammoth, who got a shot in the arm over the weekend as it was announced that the mammoth’s genome has now been fully sequenced.
What’s a “no age” Scotch? The Wall Street Journal has a nice overview of Scotches that don’t carry age statements, a new trend sweeping the industry, with an infographic to help you choose. There’s a Macallan on the list — good enough for us.
The Pencil Is Mightier: “A small group of artists is racing to sketch every historic building in Alexandria before their demolition.” (Read / View slideshow)
Here’s what the social science says about countering violent extremism: Adapted from an address given at the UNSC Ministerial Debate on “The Role of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace,” anthropologist Scott Atran, after having studied and interviewed members of Islamist extremist movements, argues that governments need to offer a sense of greater purpose to their youth, just as extremists offer them. The first of his three recommendations: Offer youth something that makes them dream of a life of significance through struggle and sacrifice in comradeship. (Read)
WHAT YOU CLICKED ON LAST WEEK
The five most-clicked links in Enterprise during the week of 19 April were:
- Egypt’s top businessman Naguib Sawiris testifies at al-Jazeera trial (The Guardian)
- A pill for work and play (The Economist)
- Evil Boss (Saturday Night Live, video)
- Egyptian food firm’s GDR marks turnaround after Arab Spring (IR Magazine)
- Passport Power Index (Passport Index)
A MESSAGE FROM PHAROS HOLDING
Pharoslive Launches New Educational Platform for Investors
Pharoslive is proud to announce the launch of its “Education and Tutorials” page, which will include a comprehensive media library of fundamental and technical analysis tutorials. With support and sponsorship from the heads of both divisions, the new page will aim to enhance independent investors’ knowledge of the market and facilitate their investment decisions.
Explore Pharoslive, or click here to head straight to the Tutorials page.
Watch a preview of tonight’s new episode of Veep, where Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) learns that her daughter wants to work with an anti-bullying movement after having been bullied by Selina. (Watch, running time: 36 seconds)
Saturday – Tales of Mere Existence: A pretty accurate rendition of most people’s weekends. (Watch, running time: 1:51)
Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour is visiting Italy in May to negotiate the resumption of operations on a maritime line between Egypt and Italy, according to Al Shorouk. The minister will also visit Expo Milano 2015.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in New York campaigning on behalf of Egypt for a non-permanent seat on the UNSC, Ahram Online reports.
Egypt’s foreign policy worries mount after Yemen crisis: Dina Ezzat sums the near-entirety of the foreign policy challenges facing Egypt at the moment – from the fact that it’s reluctant stance on Yemen is pleasing neither Saudi Arabia on one side nor Russia and China on the other, to its increasingly solitary voice against a total rejection of all political Islam everywhere. (Read)
EGYPT IN THE NEWS
Egypt reforms school textbooks to counter extremism: Voice of America writes on Egypt’s current campaign of expunging extremist Islamist literature from school curriculum, largely painting the effort as negative, citing Salafist objections and referring to scholars who state that the efforts are piecemeal. (Read)
‘Sissi is no Pinochet’: Elliot Abrams, who was never charged for felony following his plea bargain and eventual presidential pardon for his role in the Iran-Contra affair, argues in this Washington Post op-ed that President Abdelfattah El Sisi should not be compared to Chile’s Gen. Pinochet, arguing that the President has been more repressive in his rule than was Pinochet in all of his years in office. (Read)
Egypt receives smuggled antiquities from US: Over 123 smuggled ancient Egyptian artifacts seized by U.S. customs have been returned to Egypt, in an operation dubbed Operation Mummy’s Curse. (Read)
The LA Times wades into judicial politics with an op-ed headlined ‘Egypt’s judiciary: a willing participant in repression’ by journalist and activist Sherif Abdel Kouddous. The story is less remarkable for its content than it is for being the latest illustration of the tension between Egypt and journalists over criticism of the judiciary, coming as it does in the wake of another government statement last week rejecting foreign criticism of the prison sentence handed former president Mohamed Morsi.
ENERGY, RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUBSIDY REFORM
Egyptian state company to present major solar power project -chairman
Aswat Masriya | 23 April 2015
A 100MW solar project in Aswan will be put forth by the state-owned Arab Organization for Industrialization, its chairman Abdel Aziz Seif el-Din said on Thursday. The project will involve companies from Egypt as well as Canada, France, China, Germany and the UAE. Seif el-Din added that the company has presented another solar power plant project with a capacity of 300MW. (Read)
Government begins energy-saving LED street light replacement project
Al Masry Al Youm | 22 April 2015
According to the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, the government’s installation of energy saving LED street lights could save the country EGP 1.5 bn annually and reduce energy usage by 600 MW. The Egyptian government recently allocated EGP 136 mn to execute the initial phase of its energy saving LED street light replacement project. This phase of the project entails the procurement and installment of 1 mn LED street lights, added the minister. This figure will rise to 3.98 mn LED street lights with the completion of the project, which will reportedly take 28 month. (Read in Arabic)
OIL & GAS
BP’s Atoll-1 well holds 1 tcf of gas
Al Ahram | 23 April 2015
BP’s deepwater Mediterranean well Atoll-1 contains an estimated 1 tcf of natural gas, a source at EGAS told Al Ahram. Operations and digging at the well began five years ago and have cost USD 260 mn to date. BP issued a press release in March about the well’s first gas discovery after the drilling rig reached 6,400 metres depth. The EGAS source said there are plans to reach a depth of 8,000 metres. (Read in Arabic)
BASIC MATERIALS & COMMODITIES
10 horizontal grain silos to be built over two years
Al Borsa | 23 April 2015
10 horizontal grain silos are going to be built over the next two years, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Khaled Hanafi told Al Borsa. The project is set to cost USD 16.5 mn and comes as part of a USD 45 mn debt swap deal with Italy. A second phase of the deal includes a project for wheat storage and a logistics centre to store fruits and vegetables. (Read in Arabic)
Accord reached with sugar producers on prices
Al-Mal | 25 April 2015
A source within the sugar industry revealed that Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab reached an accord with sugar producers to sell at EGP 4,250 / ton, while the Sugar and Integrated Industries Company will sell at EGP 5,250 / ton, with a subsidy of EGP 1,000 per ton for sugar cane growers. According to Al-Mal, the government will impose a temporary EGP 700 / ton tariff on white sugar imports. Sugar companies are going through a difficult period due to the market being flooded with an excess supply of 1.6 mn tons of sugar; with several producers having collectively about one mn tons in storage. Minister of Industry and Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour stated that the government is looking to stabilize the prices of basic commodities.
REAL ESTATE & HOUSING
Al Ahly Real Estate and Development set to begin work on Mostaqbal City
Al Mal 23 April 2015
Al Ahly for Real Estate Development plans to invest EGP 4.5 bn in the development of two parcels land, with a total area of 872,000 sqm in Mostaqbal [Future] City. The company plans to develop a series of high-end residential units throughout its land package, generating 1500 direct and 3000 indirect jobs, according to a source from the company. The project should be completed by 2020, the source concluded. (Read in Arabic)
TELECOMS & ICT
Egypt’s Draft Cybercrime Law Undermines Freedom of Expression
Atlantic Council | 24 April 2015
“Today, the government’s efforts to curb freedom of online expression, most notably a new draft bill under consideration set to limit that freedom, are being publicized as tools in Egypt’s war on terror. … In April, the government sent a draft cybercrime bill prepared by the ministry of justice to the State Council for review. According to Minister of CIT Khaled Negm, the draft law criminalizes insulting citizens or the state on the internet or on social media, as well as falsely attributing a website or email to someone else. The law, the minister said, will also be used to combat incitement, terrorism, religious intimidation, and the use of personal photos and videos for blackmail.” (Read)
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE
Matrouh Airport to begin operations in May, Nozha Airport next March
Amwal Al Ghad | 24 April 2015
Hossam Kamal, the Minister of Civil Aviation, met with the country’s airport managers on Thursday to discuss the most recent developments. Kamal said he expects the Matrouh Airport to become fully operational in May and Assiut Airport in July. Operations to repair and expand the runway at the Nozha Airport in Alexandria are underway and the airport is set to resume operations next March. (Read in Arabic)
EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS
Cairo-Cape Town Highway to be completed within two years, trade minister says
Amwal Al Ghad | 22 April 2015
The Cairo-Cape Town Highway will be completed in two years, Mounir Fakhry, the minister of trade and industry said. Fakhry stressed that Egypt has a prime opportunity to expand its presence in Africa. Egypt is seeking to increase its trade exports to Africa from the current level of USD 4 bn, which only accounts for 17% of total exports, according to the Minister. (Read in Arabic)
Loose cigarette sales to cost the state EGP 2 bn this fiscal year
Amwal Al Ghad | 25 April 2015
Loose cigarettes will cost the state EGP 2 bn in forgone tax revenues this fiscal year, representatives of cigarette sellers estimated. Loose cigarette sales used to only account for 1-2% of all sales, but now this percentage increased to around 15-20%. The sellers are putting the blame on the finance ministry after increasing the tax rates on tobacco. (Read in Arabic)
Saudi Arabia seeks to increase its agricultural investments in Egypt
Al Borsa | 23 April 2015
In an effort to reduce the Arab world’s food deficit, Egypt and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement to increase Saudi Arabian investments in Egypt’s agriculture sector, according to Al Borsa. For its part, Egypt also agreed to remove many of the legal obstacles that hinder investment in the sector. The countries also agreed to form a technical committee, which will play the role of designating agricultural land for investment. (Read in Arabic)
Hala Shukrallah ends her term as leader of Al Dostour Party
Ahram Online | 24 April 2015
Hala Shukrallah ended her term as leader of the liberal Dostour Party on Friday, having been the first Coptic woman to head an Egyptian political party. Internal elections for the party will take place on 8 May. Mohamed ElBaradei founded the party in 2012, but is no longer a member. (Read)
Shell’s BG acquisition could jeopardise the Leviathan deal
Natural Gas Europe | 23 April 2015
Shell’s acquisition of BG jeopardises the deal to export gas from the Leviathan gas field via BG’s liquefaction plant, Natural Gas Europe believes. “Shell’s takeover of BG has however raised the question of whether the deal will come to fruition for fear that Shell may not wish to work closely with Israel,” the piece expects. The potential production problems are compounded by antitrust inquiries by Israel’s antitrust commission. (Read)
ON YOUR WAY OUT
Journalism Syndicate condemns Al-Ahram’s threat to fire Editor in Chief of Al Masry Al Youm:Secretary General of the Journalists’ Syndicate Gamal Abdul Raheem said that Al-Ahram’s threat to fire Mahmoud Mosalam, Editor in Chief for Al-Masry Al Youm, is arbitrary, saying that Mosalam had legally taken a leave without pay just as hundreds of journalists working in national newspapers do. Abdul Raheem says he wished that Al-Ahram had handled the situation better. In a separate case, the Ministry of Interior is investigating a complaint against Mosalam and Al-Masry Al Youm tomorrow for a feature published April 19 that criticized Minister of Interior’s tactics. (Read in Arabic)
The government of Latvia will finance the repairs and development works of Al Andalus Park and Qasr Al Nil Bridge, the governor of Cairo told Al Borsa.
Old news of a EUR 120 mn from the EU’s Water Sector Reform Programme is making the rounds again in local media. The funds will be disbursed on the basis of a new set of jointly agreed reform benchmarks. The EU had issued a press release about the issue on 18 January (in PDF).
President El Sisi has approved a USD 500 mn loan signed with the World Bank to finance the expansion of natural gas delivery to households, Al Masry Al Youm reports.
The three-year ro-ro agreement between Egypt and Turkey expired on Friday, the Red Sea Ports Authority’s spokesperson told Al Shorouk.
Rowan Al Shimi from Mada Masr reflects on English as a literary language among elite circles in Egypt.
Planting the Egyptian flag at the North Pole, Omar Samra becomes the first Egyptian to complete the Explorers Grand Slam: Adventurer and travel operator Omar Samra became the first Egyptian to complete the Explorers Grand Slam by arriving at the North Pole on 21 April, after having reached the South Pole and climbing the world’s seven summits. Only 29 other individuals have ever completed the Grand Slam. (Read)
BY THE NUMBERS
USD CBE auction (Thursday, 23 April): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday, 02 Feb)
USD parallel market (Saturday, 25 April): 7.70 (-0.01 from Wednesday, 22 April)
EGX30 (Thursday): 8,731.29 (+1.18%)
Turnover: EGP 473.2 mn (16% below the 90-day average)
WTI: USD 57.15 (-1.02%)
Brent: USD 65.28 (+0.66%)
TASI: 9,614.6 (+0.4%)
ADX: 4,631.8 (+1.6%)
DFM: 4,088.1 (-1.1%)
KSE Weighted Index: 435.9 (+0.4%)
QE: 12,049.9 (+0.5%)
MSM: 6,360.3 (+0.2%)