Sunday 25 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Egypt began on Wednesday to deliver a million litres of fuel to Gaza, a Palestinian official said, in an attempt to ease the Palestinian enclave's desperate electricity crisis. The fuel, trucked in through the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza, will be routed to the territory's only power station -- closed since April due to fuel shortages. The deliveries come two days after Israel began reducing its electricity supplies to Gaza, following Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's decision to stop paying for them. Wael Abu Omar, the Rafah crossing spokesman, told AFP that eight shipments had entered, with a further 14 expected later in the day. "A million litres (220,000 gallons) of fuel for the power...
(The Associated Press 06/16/17)
Egypt has lifted a $100,000 annual cap for foreign currency transfers abroad in a move that signals progress toward easing a dollar shortage and potentially strengthening investor confidence. The decision, announced Wednesday, applies to individual bank transactions. Egypt set the cap in early 2011, after a popular uprising forced longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak to step down. Years of unrest since then have crippled the local economy, including the vital tourism sector, and weakened the Egyptian pound.
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/10/17)
Egypt's state-grain buyer GASC said on Saturday that a court ruling this week which is expected to scrap the country's new food inspection system will not reinstate a ban on the common grain fungus ergot. "The court ruling is procedural and administrative and has nothing to do with specifications ... We have taken this view after consultations with the Agriculture Ministry," GASC Vice Chairman Ahmed Youssef told Reuters. GASC said it remained committed to permitting up to 0.05 percent ergot...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
An Egyptian court has decided to re-instate a zero tolerance policy on common grain fungus ergot, lawyers on the case told Reuters on Tuesday, plunging trade with the world's largest wheat importer back into uncertainty. Egypt last year scrapped a ban on ergot in grain imports after it effectively halted purchase tenders because trading houses refused to participate, saying the ban was an impossible requirement. In its place, Egypt imposed a more internationally standard 0.05 percent tolerance threshold for ergot...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Egypt's Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said Qatari investments in Egypt are protected by law and Egypt respects its contracts, state news agency MENA said on Wednesday. "The Egyptian state respects its contracts and provides a safe environment for the investments of individuals and institutions on its territory," Nasr was quoted as saying. Egypt, in coordination with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. (Reporting...
(Bloomberg 06/01/17)
Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, sees two buying opportunities in Egypt this year after a commodity rout depressed prices in the region. The Washington, D.C.-based investor’s $700 million Sub-Saharan Africa Fund will spend between $30 million and $100 million on each, making the fund about 80 percent invested, managing director Eric Kump said in an interview. He declined to name industries or be more specific. “We are being more active in North Africa, specifically...
(AFP (eng) 05/30/17)
Sudan on Tuesday banned imports of Egyptian agricultural and animal products, state media reported, delivering a fresh blow to already tense relations between the two neighbours. Ties between Khartoum and Cairo have deteriorated in recent months after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egyptian intelligence services of supporting opposition figures fighting his troops in the country's conflict zones like Darfur. "Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh has issued an order banning Egyptian agricultural and animal products, and importing of seeds from Egypt," the official SUNA news agency reported. "The order also bans Sudanese businessmen from using Egyptian territories for importing goods into Sudan."
(Reuters (Eng) 05/30/17)
Private sector was urged to import agricultural and animal products directly from countries of origin, bypassing Egypt. Sudan's cabinet has approved a ban on importing agricultural and animal products from Egypt, according to Sudan's state news agency SUNA. The cabinet on Tuesday urged the private sector to import products directly from countries of origin, bypassing Egypt. A reason for the move was not publicised. Ahmed Abu Zeid, the spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry, said Cairo was told the decision was due to "a technical procedure". Sudan banned all Egyptian agricultural goods in March.
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
Egypt announced Monday a social welfare programme worth $2.5 billion to include increased subsidies and tax exemptions for the country's poorest as inflation reaches record levels. Prices have soared since the authorities in November floated the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound as part of drastic reforms to obtain a $12-billion International Monetary Fund loan. The value of the pound has since plummeted, with one dollar -- then worth 8.8 pounds at the official exchange rate -- now worth more...
(Al-Monitor 05/23/17)
Egypt has drafted a bill that would impose hefty fines on people who harass tourists as part of efforts aimed at attracting additional tourists to Egypt and reinvigorating the country’s struggling tourism industry. The draft law stipulates that a tourist harasser could receive a fine ranging from 3,000 Egyptian pounds to 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($166-$555), state television quoted Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anani as saying. “The draft law ensures that if tourists are annoyed, their harassers will get a maximum fine...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Egypt's central bank raised its key interest rates by 200 basis points on Sunday, citing stronger economic growth and falling unemployment, confounding the expectations of economists who forecast rates were unlikely to change. At a meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee, the bank hiked its overnight deposit rate to 16.75 percent from 14.75 percent and its overnight lending rate to 17.75 from 15.75 percent, it announced in a statement. This was the bank's first increase in rates since an aggressive...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored...
(Egyptian Streets 05/19/17)
The Egyptian Parliament’s Energy and Environment Committee is discussing a new law that aims to regulate nuclear plants construction in Egypt. The new nuclear law consists of 19 articles, which aims at creating “the executive authority on the supervision of the construction of nuclear power station projects.” Egypt is to establish its first nuclear power plant after signing an agreement with Russia in February 2015. The plant in Dabaa, 130km northwest of Cairo, would have a capacity of 4,800MW. The...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
Egypt expects inflation to remain above 20 percent next year, as authorities plan an aid package to help lower-income citizens cope with the price surge resulting from the steep weakening of the pound over the past seven months. The planned “social package” to be announced soon, will target public servants, low-income tax payers and recipients of food subsidies, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said in an interview in the resort town of El Gouna on Tuesday. Kouchouk said inflation will...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he expected that recently discovered gas fields would save Egypt about $3.6 billion yearly as they start coming into production, state-run newspapers reported on Tuesday night. Egypt wants to speed up gas production from newly-discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by 2019. Once an energy exporter, it has become an importer after domestic output failed to keep pace with rising demand in recent years, but the discovery of the 850 billion-cubic meter...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said his government will enact sweeping measures to help families struggling with rising prices as they brace for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with inflation already at the highest level in at least two decades. The measures include tax breaks and increasing subsidized food, El-Sisi said in an interview published in Wednesday’s edition of the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. Food prices usually increase in Ramadan, which starts later this month, with Muslims typically breaking their fast...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
The U.S. is getting a chance of selling wheat to Egypt as the world’s biggest buyer tenders today. For France, the outlook isn’t so promising. U.S. wheat represented two of the five lowest offers to Egypt including freight, according to two traders involved who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to the media. While French wheat was offered, a change in the protein specifications and higher prices due to the stronger euro makes a sale...

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