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Sunday, 16 February 2020

Egypt’s talk shows on Sunday, 16 February 2020

No particular topic was driving the narrative on last night’s talk shows. The discovery of Egypt’s first covid-19 case — which happened on Friday and which we recap in full in Speed Round, below — earned some airtime, but wasn’t a focal point.

The government wants you to know it’s not hiding more covid-19 patients: Al Hayah Al Youm's Lobna Assal phoned Health Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Megahed, who confirmed that no other cases of the virus have been detected in Egypt (watch, runtime: 15:23). Min Masr’s Amr Khalil also reported the news, calling on viewers to refrain from spreading rumors and dramatizing the matter (watch, runtime: 5:30).

GERD negotiations wrap up in Washington: Assal also had a chat with Irrigation Ministry spokesperson Mohamed El Sebai, who said Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have all had the chance to present their views on GERD during the US-sponsored talks that kicked off last November (watch, runtime: 5:26). The talks, which wrapped up on Thursday, are expected to culminate in a final agreement by the end of this month. We have more in this morning’s Speed Round.

Cabinet highlights record economic growth: The Cabinet’s Information Decision Support Center (IDSC) published yesterday an infographic showing that Egypt’s most recent annual economic growth rate on record, 5.6% in FY 2018-2019, is the highest in 11 years. Assal (watch, runtime: 5:04) and Khalil (watch, runtime: 1:58) both took note.

Egypt looks to AfDB for EGP 22 bn loan for Cairo-Cape Town connection: Authorities are in talks with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to borrow EGP 22 bn (c. USD 1.2 bn) to improve roads in upper Egypt as part of the plan to link Argeen on the Egypt-Sudan border to Khartoum for the proposed Cairo-Cape Town highway project, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 8:03). The accident-prone Idku-Aswan highway, which would be part of the pan-African, will be getting a complete overhaul, El Wazir said.

Post authorities have uncovered the country’s “largest money laundering operation,” and have placed five employees of the post office in Matrouh under investigation, Egypt Post boss Essam El Saghir told Assal (watch, runtime: 5:53). Newly installed “advanced systems and solutions” at the post managed to track down a total of EGP 1.75 bn transfer to 25 different accounts opened in Matrouh from several Upper Egyptian governorates, including Luxor, Aswan and Assiut, El Saghir said, without going into the fine details.

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