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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

What we’re tracking on 13 September 2017

It’s a very busy day, folks, largely on the international affairs front: Topping the list of things we’re tracking today will be the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s ninth annual Global Policy Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, which we’ll be attending. This year’s event, the largest ever, will see international officials and central bank governors from 95 countries taking part along with leading local finance institutions. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, and CBE Governor Tarek Amer will all be attending.

The theme sounds like the usual development pabulum (“Exploring Diversity, Promoting Inclusion”), but look for it to have a long-term impact on the nation’s banking sector: The central bank has made financial inclusion its new refrain going forward, and has been rolling out policies designed to enhance access to the system.

Already, we know that more Egyptians than previously thought have access to the banking system — about one in three, not the one in 10 (or so) most of us thought was the case. We have more on that in Speed Round, below.

The gathering is expected to see the announcement of the Sharm El Sheikh Accord on financial inclusion and climate change, said AFI Executive Director Alfred Hannig. An Arab region strategy that also address refugees and migrants is also expected to be announced. Amer spoke yesterday on the state of financial inclusion and the economy on the whole yesterday (the highlights of which are covered in the Speed Round). You can catch the forum’s agenda here (pdf).

Meanwhile, seven banks will meet with more than 40 fund managers today at the Pharos Holding “Egypt Banking Day” event.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met with Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Dario Scannapieco to discuss strengthening ties with the bank, according to a cabinet statement. Ismail pointed out the aggressive set of reforms Egypt has undertaken to improve the environment for investments and economic growth. The talks came ahead of today’s EIB MED conference,where it is expected that the EIB will ink agreements for a loan of EUR 172 mn for wastewater treatment projects.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in London today for a six-party Arab League ministerial meeting on the situation in Libya. “The meeting will tackle coordinating regional and international efforts to end the division in Libya as well as to achieve national reconciliation … Foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, in addition to UN Secretary General’s special envoy for Libya Ghassan Salama, will take part.” Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid says, according to Xinhua. Shoukry met yesterday with his Libyan, Emirati, and Jordanian counterparts to discuss their countries’ visions on the crisis and other regional issues.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano is set to meet with Shoukry tomorrow on the sidelines of the meeting, ANSAmed reports. “Alfano will reportedly discuss with his Egyptian counterpart, among other things, the recent disappearance of Ibrahim Metwaly, the lawyer representing the family of Giulio Regeni, the Italian student tortured and murdered in Egypt last year.” This comes as new Italian ambassador Giampaolo Cantini will present his credentials to the Foreign Ministry today, according to Al Shorouk. He will also meet President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Israel names Egypt in travel warning: Meanwhile, Israeli counter-terrorism officials have reportedly issued a travel warning advising citizens to steer clear of certain destinations, including Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, if they plan to travel abroad during upcoming Jewish holidays, i24News reports. The Israeli National Security Council’s Counterterrorism Bureau has Sinai on a “Level 1” warning, the highest designation, and it is recommended that Israelis avoid all travel to the area due to the “very high concrete threat, according to JPost. The bureau also warned Israelis against travelling to western and northern European countries.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes arrived yesterday with a high-level delegation for bilateral talks. The diplomat is going to meet with a number of officials to discuss economic cooperation, investment and trade, renewable energy, tourism and regional as well as international geopolitical concerns, according to AMAY.

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