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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

2018 begins on a high note for Egypt

2018 begins on a high note for Egypt, with record number of tourists visiting Luxor, flights with Russia resumed, and the inauguration of the Zohr gasfield, Gavin du Venage writes for The National. “From a macroeconomic perspective, things are looking up for Egypt, and the reform programme it has embarked on seems to be paying off,” Mohamed El Dahshan, an economist with the Tahrir Institute, tells du Venage.

The Zohr gas field has signaled that the eastern Mediterranean has significant gas resources, but their development is being hindered by geopolitical rivalries, Andrew Ward writes for the Financial Times (paywall). A major part of the challenge is setting up the pipelines that would allow any gas developed in the region to reach international markets. Italy and Israel are considering a possibly unviable pipeline via Cyprus and Greece, in order to avoid setting up a pipeline via Turkey, which would have to pass through Lebanese and Syrian waters. Egypt, however, is going to have a much easier time exporting LNG to Europe and Asia through two terminals in the Suez Canal. “The incentives for co-operation are strong but so too are the barriers. As Egypt reaps the rewards of Zohr, its neighbours face difficult choices if they are to unlock the full energy potential of a region that has mixed commerce and conflict for millennia.”

Also worth noting in brief this morning:

  • Only President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is so far a potential contender in this spring’s presidential poll, Tarek El Tablawy writes for Bloomberg.
  • The best way to resolve the Nile issues is via co-operative development through the whole basin, Robin Mills writes for The National.
  • The UN condemned the hanging of 20 sentenced to death on terrorism charges, VOA reports. Their cases were tried in military courts.
  • An Egyptian national was arrested and detained in Ireland following the stabbing death of one man and injuries inflicted on two others, according to The Associated Press. The police say they have found suggestion the attacks were terror-related, according to RTE.
  • Rwandan outfit KT Press profiles an Egyptian couple who arrived in the country as doctors sent by the Egyptian government in 2009 and decided to stay and set up practice there.
  • The recently-enacted NGOs law has significantly affected cultural life in Egypt by restricting cultural NGOs, The Art Newspaper says.

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