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Thursday, 21 February 2019

What we’re tracking on 21 February 2019

Turkey-style migration agreement with the EU takes a step forward next week: The EU-Arab League summit is set to take place on Sunday, 24 February in Sharm El Sheikh. The summit’s agenda will heavily feature illegal immigration, terrorism and development, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said during yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting. The meeting is widely seen as a precursor for the EU and Arab League nations to develop a Turkey-style agreement that would see the latter hold back the flow of migrants and refugees to Europe in exchange for aid.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will be holding bilateral meetings with European leaders during the summit, an unnamed senior British government official tells Reuters. The meeting is not meant to be about Brexit, however, the official stressed.

To infinity… from Russia: The Egyptian data satellite Egypt Sat A will launch today, local press reported. The satellite, manufactured in Russia in cooperation with Egypt, will be launched from Russian spaceport Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

54 Egyptian border bases are bracing for potential locust attacks, according to Asharq Al-Awsat, in a coordinated effort with neighboring countries to contain agricultural damage from the flying insects. UN data suggests that a square-kilometer swarm of 40 mn locusts can eat the same amount of food as 35,000 people, 20 camels, and six elephants in one day. For more information, tune into Locust Watch.

CBE officials are in Bahrain today to join other Arab central bankers at the Middle East & Africa FinTech Forum, according to a press release picked up by Zawya. The one-day forum will convene leaders in fintech and AI to discuss financial inclusion, banking innovations, and the impact of AI on the financial industry.

Nasr to sign grant agreement today with AfDB country manager: Investment Minister Sahar Nasr will sign today a grant agreement for an unspecified amount with country manager of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Malinne Blomberg, according to a ministry statement (pdf). The bank will also present a report to Nasr and representatives of other international financial institutions on Egypt’s economic performance.

EM stocks rise on US-China trade hopes: The MSCI emerging-market stock exchange rose by 1.02% as traders sensed progress in the ongoing US-China trade negotiations, Reuters reports.

Lebanon nominated investment banker Ziad Hayek to lead the World Bank on Monday, issuing the sole challenge (so far) to senior US Treasury official David Malpass, The Donald’s chosen nominee. Bloomberg sees the move as indicative of the international push for a non-American pick due to the increasing strength of emerging markets.

The Trump administration is reportedly in a hurry to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia due to “strong commercial interests,” according to a new congressional report. A Democratic-led House panel will now lead an inquiry into whether this is actually a good idea. The BBC has more.

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