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Sunday, 23 August 2020

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade on 23 August 2020

Egypt among beneficiaries of USD 200 mn in EBRD financing to support agriculture: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provided Egypt and four other countries with USD 200 mn loan to strengthen agribusinesses and help local farmers adopt climate-smart agriculture practices, according to Minister Rania Al Mashat.

EBRD also provided a USD 200 mn loan to Olam International to strengthen the agribusiness value chain and trade in five countries, including Egypt, according to a press release (pdf). The funding will finance purchases of agricultural commodities such as hazelnuts, dry dairy products, grain, and onions, while allowing local subsidiaries of the company to take on the processing, storage, and distribution of these goods.

Who are Olam and what do they have to do with Egypt? Olam International is a food and agri-business based in Taiwan. They acquired Dehydro Foods Egypt in 2012, a leading producer of high quality onion dehydrates which supplies 15% of the EU’s requirements. The company’s subsidiary, Olam Spices, also has a strong customer franchise from Egypt and exports to many countries abroad.

Libyan factions call for ceasefire, El Sisi gives thumbs up: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi welcomed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord’s (GNA) call for a ceasefire on Friday, saying on Twitter the move is “an important step on the road to achieving a political settlement.” The GNA called for talks to demilitarize Sirte, according to the New York Times. The city of Sirte has become the central battleground for Libyan forces and foreign players, possibly due to its proximity to major oil terminals, according to Reuters. El Sisi had previously said that an attack on the strategic town is a “red line” and warned of military intervention.

Subsequently, Libyan warring factions also proposed lifting a seven-month oil blockade and placing revenues in a special bank account until a political agreement is reached, according to Reuters. Libya’s National Oil Corporation welcomed the proposal and called for all “oil facilities to be freed from military occupation.”

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit renewed calls for Israel to accept a two-state solution with Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders, saying this and a halt to illegally annexing Palestinian land are prerequisites to lasting peace between Israel and Arab countries, according to state news agency MENA.

Al Azhar and the Coptic Church sent two planes carrying food and medical supplies to Beirut yesterday, according to Youm7.

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