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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

What we’re tracking on 25 October 2017

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi wraps up his three-day visit to Paris today. El Sisi is expected to sign a number of MoUs with French President Emmanuel Macron that should see both countries cooperate in a number of areas, including renewable energy, transport, and culture. We have a full rundown on yesterday’s meetings in Speed Round, below. The highlight: No castigation on the human rights front.

Is China reaping the rewards from having included Egypt in its One Belt, One Road initiative? It’s hard not to come to that conclusion with reports in Chinese media that BYD and Sinohydro have won massive infrastructure contracts at the same time as a three-day Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Cairo. We have more in Speed Round, below.

The IMF delegation conducting a second review of the Sisi administration’s economic reform program arrived in Cairo yesterday, government sources tell Youm7. The delegation, which will be here until 7 November, will begin its visit by meeting with a technical team from the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank of Egypt, followed by the Cabinet economic group and officials handling trade and industry, investment, petroleum, and social welfare issues, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk said yesterday. The visit aims to unlock the next tranche of the IMF’s USD 12 bn extended fund facility for Egypt. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and CBE Governor Tarek Amer met earlier this month with IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, who “praised” Egypt’s reforms. El Garhy had previously said the government has completed 80% its work on the reform program.

Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit kicks off today in New York City, with some of the biggest names in global finance and business taking part. The only speaker from MENA at the gathering is our friend Hisham Ezz Al Arab, chairman and MD at CIB. Hisham will speak on “Banking in the Future” in what looks set to be a solo on-stage interview. He joins at the summit bold-faced names including CEOs and CIOs from BlackRock, Samsung, JP Morgan, the National Hockey League, Accenture and Aetna, among others. The conference starts at 8:00 am EDT (2:00 pm CLT) and will be live streamed. Hisham’s session takes place in the Midday Movers Show starting sometime around 5:45pm CLT.

Our friends at Al Masry Al Youm have brought their website back online after reportedly fighting off a hacking attack that began late Monday. AMAY staff confirmed the hacking in a statement yesterday that noted they had had to take the site down after fake news content was posted during the attack. A second statement later in the day said hackers continued to post the same stories to its website and social media pages throughout the attack, prompting them to take the site offline.

Washington, be warned: Egyptian MPs are inbound. The House of Representatives will be on break until 6 November while Speaker Ali Abdel Aal leads a delegation to Washington, DC, for meetings with members of Congress on 27 October. Before adjourning though, the House did refer four international agreements to their respective committees for approval.

IMF boss Christine Lagarde is warning of a “dark future” in as little as 50 years in which we’re “toasted and roasted” if the world fails to tackle climate change and inequality. Lagarde made the remarks at a gathering in Riyadh.

The UAE’s “Little Sparta” side is back in the spotlight this morning with the Financial Times’ “Big Read” taking a look at how our allies in the GCC are flexing both foreign policy and military muscles against a background of “the rise of Iran’s influence” and “frustration over US engagement.” The UAE, the FT writes, is “intervening in its neighbours’ affairs in pursuit of its own national security goals.” Because neither the US nor the UK have ever done that, right? We’re flagging this piece as “worth reading” if you have an FT subscription.

Speaking of Amreeka: DC politics are looking particularly interesting this morning. The rift in the Republican party between backers of The Donald and what the oldsters among us would once have considered “mainstream Republicans” is seen widening after a prominent GOP senator said he wouldn’t seek re-election. Jeff Flake said he was “unwilling to follow the lead of a president whose behavior in office is ‘not normal’ and ‘dangerous to a democracy.’ The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have great coverage. While you’re on the NYT, go read John McCain’s op-ed on why America must back the Kurds in Iraq. Also sure to get ink this morning: The US Senate struck down a measure that would have made it possible for consumers to launch class-action suits against US financial institutions including banks and credit card companies.

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