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Monday, 21 January 2019

Auto boycott, Macron and chocolate are on the minds of Egypt’s talking heads

“Let it Rust,” a social media campaign to boycott the purchase of new cars in protest against high prices, dominated the airwaves last night, albeit with variance in opinion. Car prices declined earlier this month after the country lifted customs on European cars, but activists calling for the boycott say prices are still too high.

Misinformation and the lack of a complete picture among campaigners is behind the stir, Alaa El Sabaa, member of the Federation of Egyptian Chamber of Commerce’s auto division, said on Hona Al Asema. El Sabaa pointed out that dealerships have to pay taxes and claimed customers are inflating their alleged profit margins. Auto industry analyst Mohamed Sheta disagreed with El Sabaa, however, saying the campaigners have every right to be upset about the prices. Sheta said the campaign’s main purpose is to raise awareness and not actually boycott car dealerships (watch, runtime: 30:20).

Dealerships actually only take home “modest” profits from each sale, since their profit margins are distributed among several other parties that are part of the process, vice president of the chamber’s auto division Noureldin Darwish told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 02:37).

El Hekaya’s Amr Adib boisterously praised the “increase in awareness” the campaign is indicative of, and urged traders to set “fair" prices (watch, runtime: 04:36).

Talks between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, which we cover in detail in Speed Round, below, also got some play on the airwaves last night (watch, runtime: 05:46). Coverage of the topic will likely pick up steam as French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Cairo approaches.

The Trade and Industry Ministry has ordered the formation of a technical team to oversee the new Mercedes-Benz project, Al Hayat Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr said (watch, runtime: 03:58).

Governorates will bear the cost of the campaign to paint red brick buildings, Assistant Local Development Minister Khaled Kassem told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 04:32).

A lack of ethics is behind the atrocity that is hugging on campus, House Rep. Amr Hamroush suggested on Masaa DMC. Hamroush suggested that imposing mandatory lessons on ethics at universities would help avoid to avoid incidents similar to one that stirred controversy earlier this month that involved two students hugging on campus (watch, runtime: 04:56).

And for your dose of strange (but very Egypt) news for the day: Apparently, an “armed gang” is running around Tagamoa, where they are robbing chocolate stores, El Hekaya’s Amr Adib said (watch, runtime: 02:04). Hide yo kids, hide yo chocolate.

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