Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects for greater African integration. However, the agreement will still have to be ratified at a national level, and is only due to come into force in 180 days. The full list of countries which did...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/18)
Egypt's national carrier EgyptAir said Friday it would resume direct flights between Cairo and Moscow, three years after they were halted following the bombing of a Russian charter jet over the Sinai. The announcement came three days after Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot said it would restart flights between the two capitals from April 11. EgyptAir flights are set to resume the following day. Both companies suspended the route in October 2015 after an airliner operated by Russia's Kogalymavia, carrying holidaymakers from the south Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, crashed, killing all 224 people on board. The Egyptian branch of the Islamic State group claimed the attack. Safwat Musallam, head of EgyptAir Holding, said on Friday the carrier planned to operate...
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
Egypt is seeing a promising rebound in tourism following devastating jihadist attacks, in welcome news to the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he seeks re-election this month. In the eastern Red Sea city of Hurghada, tourists lounge on sunbeds on the beach or play volleyball as boats carrying divers pass by. Among them is Bent Skovboe from Denmark, a 77-year-old who says he has visited Egypt more than 75 times. "If there was only Red Sea for snorkelling,...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continued a visit to Egypt on Monday focused on economic cooperation, with Riyadh agreeing a $10 billion investment with Cairo for a futuristic mega city project. Prince Mohammed accompanied Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to review construction projects near the Suez Canal before boarding a boat with the president to tour the waterway. A Saudi government source said the two countries had agreed to set up a joint $10 billion fund to develop areas...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/18)
Traders at the textile market in Cairo's Al-Azhar district were once used to seeing their shops filled with customers, but soaring prices have driven many away. The reason for the spiralling costs -- drastic reforms that the government pledged would bring benefits to the turmoil-hit nation. But far from improvements, many Egyptians say they feel worse off, and the economic woes could present the major challenge for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he approaches an election essentially unopposed. "People who want to get married these days have to wait; there is no money for anyone to buy anything," said Shaimaa...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between...
(AFP (eng) 01/31/18)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday inaugurated the offshore Zohr gas field, aimed at making the Arab world's most populous country self-sufficient in natural gas by the end of 2018. "We are now entering into the self-sufficiency stage... and, God willing, by the end of the year we will have reached self-sufficiency," Petroleum Minister Tarek al-Molla said at a ceremony in the northern city of Port Said, broadcast live on state television. In December, the oil ministry said it was starting production from the field discovered in 2015 by Italian energy giant Eni with an initial 350 million cubic feet (10 million cubic metres) a day.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
(Reuters) - Egypt’s government plans to pour tens of thousands of new housing units onto the market in each of the next few years, but it’s not clear how easily the country can absorb them. The authorities say they want to reduce crowding in Egypt’s congested cities and provide homes for the poor but many analysts say the new residences are priced way beyond the means of most Egyptians and a good share of them will remain unsold. The government...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
The International Monetary Fund declared Egypt's economic outlook "favourable" on Tuesday after completing its second review of the country's reform programme. The IMF had approved in November 2016 a $12-billion loan to Egypt, which has been shaken by political and economic turmoil since longtime president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in the 2011 revolt. In order to obtain the IMF's approval for the three-year loan, Cairo has implemented a set of drastic reforms including the adoption of a value-added tax, energy...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/18)
Egypt's grand mufti has said that bitcoin is forbidden in Islam, warning the digital currency could be used for criminal purposes. Bitcoin, launched in 2009 and based on a peer-to-peer payment system, poses "high risks to individuals and states," Shawqi Allam said in a published ruling. It could provide "stable and secure financial resources for terrorists and criminal groups," said Allam, who acts as the country's official interpreter of Islamic law. Minting and issuing currency is an "absolute right" of monetary institutions and "one of the most specific functions of the state," he said. Bitcoin is a virtual currency created from computer code.
(AFP (eng) 12/30/17)
Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier on Friday announced the sale of 12 C Series aircraft to EgyptAir in a deal worth $1.1 billion. The company said it signed a letter of intent last month for the sale of the 160-seat CS300 planes, with an option for another 12, and that was converted into a firm purchase agreement. The deal would be worth nearly $2.2 billion if EgyptAir buys the additional 12 planes, according to a statement from Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. This...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday approved the third installment of a $12 billion, three-year loan for Egypt, bringing the total released to date to just over $6 billion. The IMF board approved the latest $2 billion disbursement under the deal signed in November 2016, after a fund team last month praised Cairo's progress on "bold" economic reforms. In order to obtain IMF approval for the loan, the country has implemented a set of drastic reforms, adopting a value-added tax,...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
The World Bank on Friday signed a $1.15 billion loan with the Egyptian government, a final tranche of funds to support economic reforms in the country, the international lender said. The deal was sealed on the sidelines of the "Africa 2017" investment conference which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated Friday afternoon in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in Sinai. The loans are provided to support "Egypt's home-grown reform program aimed at powering job creation, ensuring energy security,...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
In Egypt's eastern desert, roads are being carved across vast expanses of sand where the government is building a new administrative capital, a long-cherished project that has failed in the past. The city will be complete with luxury hotels, upscale residential districts, a modern airport and a 345-metre (1,140-foot) tower, touted as Africa's tallest. The work is being carried out about 45 kilometres (28 miles) east of Cairo, between roads connecting the metropolis to the canal city of Suez and...
(Reuters 12/11/17)
Russian state nuclear company Rosatom said on Monday a power station it will build in Egypt will cost up to $21 billion and is expected to be finished by 2028-2029. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will sign an agreement on the project on Monday, the Kremlin said. Moscow and Cairo signed an agreement in 2015 for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Egypt, with Russia extending a loan to Egypt to cover...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
The World Bank on Tuesday approved the latest loan for Egypt of just over $1 billion to support the country's economic reform program and reduce poverty. The loan is the last in a three-part package worth a total of $3.15 billion that started in 2015, the World Bank said in a statement. The loan will support "home-grown inclusive reforms" aimed at shoring up the economy and creating jobs, the bank said. "We are privileged to support the country on its...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/28/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s central bank removed caps on deposits and withdrawals of foreign currency for importers on Tuesday, lifting some of the last currency controls put in place after a 2011 uprising. The move is another sign that bank liquidity is improving as a result of Egypt’s $12 billion, three-year International Monetary Fund program and a currency flotation that halved the pound’s value and helped crush the black market for dollars. Egypt imposed strict controls on the movement of...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/14/17)
KIGALI (Reuters) - The global airline industry has $1.2 billion blocked in nine dollar-strapped African countries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday. The global commodities price crash that began in 2014 hit economies across Africa hard, particularly big resource exporters such as Angola and Nigeria. Low oil and mineral prices have reduced government revenue and caused chronic dollar shortages and immense pressure on local currencies. The fiscal slump has meant governments have not allowed foreign airlines to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/10/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt has reached a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund for an installment of about $2 billion more from a three-year, $12 billion loan program, the IMF said on Friday. The payment, still subject to IMF executive board approval, will bring total disbursements under the program to about $6 billion. Egypt is pushing through ambitious economic reforms under the loan deal. As part of a second review, the IMF said broad reforms, which included a floatation...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
As Egypt's mobile operators thrive, state-owned Telecom Egypt is entering the market in an effort to boost state revenues. In a country with more mobile phone subscriptions than residents, Egypt's only fixed-line operator is hoping to get in on the action with its new mobile service, WE. But some established players say they fear the state-owned firm, which already owns 45 percent of top existing operator Vodafone Egypt, will enjoy unfair advantages. Egypt, with around 96 million residents, had nearly...

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