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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Security cooperation between Israel and Egypt tops the conversation

The New York Times’ report on security cooperation between Egypt and Israel in Sinai continues to dominate the narrative on Egypt in the international press. The Egyptian military has denied the report, which is being rehashed by folks with nothing to add, including the Washington Times’ Ihsaan Tharoor, who regurgitates David Kirkpatrick’s piece without adding a single original opinion. The Jerusalem Post really just wants you to know that it knew all of this before and had reported on it. Welcome to a slow news day, folks.

Gaza’s electricity crisis ultimately falls on Hamas: While Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority bear a measure of responsibility over the insufficient supplies of electricity to the Gaza strip, a long-term solution to Gaza’s energy crisis can only come if Gaza has a government that is acceptable to all three of them, researcher Diana B. Greenwald writes in the Washington Post.

East African ride-hailing apps looking to compete with the likes of Uber are increasingly turning to more customized offerings that meet local challenges, Abdi Latif Dahir writes for Quartz Africa. Kenya’s Mondo Ride is bringing tuk tuks and boda boda motorcycle taxis to the ride-hailing apps-space, while in Egypt, Swvl is helping solve Egypt’s unique transportation issues by providing bus-hailing services. This strategy of localization and adaptation to market needs has prompted companies like Uber to change its products for the sake of affordability, safety, and convenience. In Kenya, the company launched a service that allows riders to go on short trips and run errands around the city center for just 100 shillings (USD 1).

Egyptian virtual assistant platform Elves still appears to be getting glowing press coverage, this time from Entrepreneur Magazine, which interviewed founders and couple Karim Elsahy and Abeer Elsisi. The startup, which raised USD 2 mn in seed funding last year from investors including Emaar Group, the Kauffman Fellows Syndicate, Dubai Angel Investors, was invited to Facebook’s F8 developer conference, as well as the World Economic Forum, where it was listed as one of the 100 most influential startups. Elves also won a shout-out from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on a Facebook post.

Other headlines worth noting in brief includes:

  • Facebook announced on Monday that it will be launching Marketplace in the Middle East, starting with Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco, according to Arab News.
  • Benny Ziffer writes a glowing book review on Alaa Al Aswany’s “The Automobile Club” for Israel’s Haaretz, where he notes the book’s take on women’s lib.
  • Turkey’s Anadolu Agency claims its twitter account was hacked on Thursday, during which tweets against political dissidents Ayman Nour were posted.

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