Monday 23 October 2017
(Middle East Monitor 09/26/17)
An Egyptian misdemeanours court sentenced prominent human rights lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali to three months in prison yesterday for “violating public decency,” which could disqualify him from running in the upcoming presidential election. In a press statement issued yesterday Amnesty International described the court ruling as “politically motivated”. Ali’s lawyer Nour Fahmy told Reuters that the sentence could prevent Ali from running in the presidential election, expected to be held in 2018, if the ruling is affirmed by a misdemeanour appellate court. Ali will file an appeal against Monday’s ruling, his lawyer added. The court ordered that Ali may pay 1000 Egyptian pounds ($57) in order not to serve the prison term. Ali’s court case dates back...
(Dw-World 09/26/17)
Police have detained seven people for allegedly raising a rainbow flag at a rock gig in Cairo. They have been charged with promoting homosexuality despite it not being an offense under Egyptian law. Egyptian authorities arrested seven people on Monday, who they accused of being gay and promoting homosexuality, according to officials who did not want to be named as they had not been authorized to speak to the media. The officials said the seven people arrested were responsible for raising the rainbow flag at a gig by popular Lebanese rock band Mashrou' Leila. They have apparently also been charged with "public indecency" and "inciting immorality among young people." The rainbow flag symbolizes the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)...
(Middle East Monitor 09/26/17)
Moroccan yesterday hosted a two-day workshop to discuss the establishment of a joint electricity network for North African countries including representatives from the Maghreb region and Egypt. Economic Affairs Officer at the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) Reda El Merini said: “The meeting aims to determine the current status of the electricity grid in North Africa, to get a clear vision ahead of implementing any regional networks to transfer power.” The size of trade in the field of electric power is very weak between North African countries and does not exceed five per cent of the volume of production annually. The North African countries vary in the production and diversification of electric power sources, but Libya is considered the weakest due...
(APA 09/26/17)
Egypt will pay $5.2 billion to the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) before the end of December, the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer said on Monday. Amer added that repaying the bank’s dues will highly contribute to decreasing foreign liabilities. The Afreximbank is cooperating with the CBE, National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr to provide $500 million in facilities to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their supply chains. The total portfolio of Afreximbank for Egypt is $5.2 billion. Egypt’s foreign debt leveled up 38.4 percent to $73.9 billion by the end of March 2017 from $53.47 billion in the year-ago period. Foreign reserves also increased to $36.143 billion by the end of August, up...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(AfricaNews 09/25/17)
A United Nations project in Egypt aims to enhance best agricultural practices among local farmers. The Food and Agricultural Organization project educates farmers on the best harvesting practices as well as promotes modern techniques. The programme mainly targets women and youth in five governorates. “The most important thing is the marketing. They have to guarantee to me as a farmer that my right is preserved. I do not want the big trader and exporter to take what is my right,” one of the farmers, Ali Zaki Abdelmotaleb said. In the past five years since its launch, it has reached 2,708 women and youth in cities where malnutrition accounts for 35% of the disease burden in children under five. According to...
(The Guardian 09/25/17)
Crackdown by education minister, which includes fine threat, prompts ridicule on social media. Egypt’s education minister has ordered students to respect the Egyptian flag or risk jail time. Students who mock or desecrate the flag could be fined 30,000 LE (£1,260) and sentenced to up to a year in prison, said the education minister, Tarek Shawki. The former president Adly Mansour criminalised desecrating the Egyptian flag with the same punishments in 2014, but Shawki’s order singles out younger Egyptians for the first time. This month students at Egypt’s public universities began their academic year by saluting the flag, after a decree by the Higher Council of Universities aimed at “boosting patriotic sentiment”. The ruling prompted a backlash on social media,...
(Euronews 09/25/17)
Egypt’s economy has started to improve but has yet to recover from the country’s 2011 uprising and the years of unrest that followed – according to the Ratings Agency… Egypt’s economy has started to improve but has yet to recover from the country’s 2011 uprising and the years of unrest that followed – according to the Ratings Agency Moody’s. One of the top reforms on the agenda concerns small and medium enterprises (SMEs). A new law is expected to come into effect before the end of this year. Under it SMEs will be taxed under a simplified system. It’s aimed at encouraging those firms to operate in the formal economy. Tareq Qabil, the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, said:...
(Xinhuanet 09/25/17)
Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) aspires to be a destination of Arab and international movie stars and filmmakers, GFF Director Intishal al-Tamimi said in an interview with Xinhua. Scheduled for Sept. 22-29 at the Red Sea resort town of El-Gouna under the slogan of "Cinema for Humanity," the GFF screens some 69 films from around 40 countries, including 16 feature films, 18 short films and 12 long documentaries, in addition to 19 films outside the official competition and four in a special program. "The town is brightened by the festival and the earnest, high quality work and preparation, as it aspires to make the GFF a fixed annual gathering of Arab and international movie stars and filmmakers," said the...
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the Global First Ladies Alliance (GFLA) and Facebook. Geingos credited the quota enacted by the ruling SWAPO party of her husband, President Hage Geingob. But she said a similar quota might be needed for Namibia’s private sector, where only 10 to...
(AFP (eng) 09/24/17)
An Egyptian court jailed two people for life on Sunday and 12 to between two and 10 years over violence that led to a deadly football stadium stampede in Cairo. At least 19 people died in the disaster after police fired tear gas at fans who tried to push their way into the stadium in February 2015. The defendants faced charges including murder, thuggery and vandalism, and were accused of clashing with police, leading to the stampede. Two received life sentences, three were given 10 years, five got seven years, three were jailed for three years each and one received a two-year sentence. Two people were acquitted.
(AFP (eng) 09/23/17)
Former Muslim Brotherhood head Mohammed Mahdi Akef, who helped turn Egypt's Islamist movement into a major opposition force, died on Friday in a Cairo hospital aged 89, his daughter said. Aliya Mahdi Akef made the announcement on Facebook, saying "my father is in the care of Allah (God)". Ten months before his death, Akef had been transferred from jail to the hospital in Cairo for cancer treatment, Brotherhood lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud told AFP. He had been arrested and jailed in 2013 after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and jailed his supporters...
(AFP (eng) 09/23/17)
Former Muslim Brotherhood head Mohammed Mahdi Akef, who has died in hospital aged 89, helped turn Egypt's Islamist movement into a major opposition force after spending much of his life behind bars. His last spell in jail began in July 2013, after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and jailed his supporters and fellow Brotherhood members. The Brotherhood's now dissolved Freedom and Justice Party once called Akef "one of the historical leaders of the Brotherhood", who served for more than 70 years. Born in 1928 -- the year Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood -- Akef became deeply involved in it at a young age. After leading its student section, the former physical education instructor joined the group's Guidance...
(Middle East Monitor 09/22/17)
Egypt’s General Authority of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) yesterday signed an initial partnership agreement with the UAE-based port operator DP World to develop the planned economic zone near the Suez Canal, the Anadolu Agency reported. The joint contract is a prelude to the final agreement which will be signed between the two sides “upon the completion of all procedures”. The partnership aims to establish a joint development company between the SCZone Authority and DP World to implement a sustainable and integrated economic zone in Egypt’s north-eastern port, including a free industrial zone and other development projects.
(Morocco World News 09/22/17)
A recent survey reveals some hidden gems for investors looking to put their money to work overseas. Botswana, Morocco, and Egypt are Africa’s best nations for foreign direct investment (FDI), according to a survey by an Africa-based economic research institute. Botswana is as close to an actual gem as a country can be; its economy is driven by its diamond mines. The southern African nation tops the list because of its stable democracy, improved credit rating, current account ratio, import reserves, and ranking in the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business index, according to the Africa Investment Index 2016. The Index was created by the Quantum Global Research Lab, the independent research arm of investment firm Quantum Global Group. The Quantum Global Research...
(Xinhuanet 09/22/17)
Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu on Friday asserted the need to strengthen the long-standing ties between Ethiopia and Egypt. In his meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Friday, Gebeyehu called for strengthening ties between the two African countries, according to a statement issued by the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs on Friday. According to the statement, the two foreign ministers discussed bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest and the areas of discussion revolved around strengthening cooperation and partnership to cement the ties between the two countries. Gebeyehu also invited Egyptian companies to invest in the east African country, it was indicated. The...
(Quartz 09/22/17)
Uber is set to launch a bus service in Egypt, the most populous Arab country with over 90 million inhabitants and notoriously heavy traffic. The national bus service will look beyond Cairo to include other major governorates. Uber currently operates in the capital, which the second most populous African city at over 21 million people, as well as Alexandria and Mansoura. Cairo is one of Uber’s fastest growing markets with more than 30,000 drivers in 2016. Other ride sharing apps such as Careem have also expanded significantly, to the consternation of local taxi drivers, investing in the new startup SWVL that offers modern air-conditioned buses along fixed routes. Uber is hoping to take on Careem by capitalizing on Egypt’s substandard...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
The United States will consider resuming some suspended military assistance to Eypt, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday. The U.S. government last month decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million over human rights concerns. Asked if he would restart military to aid to Egypt, Trump told reporters as he began a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi: “We’re going to certainly consider it.” On Aug. 27, sources said the Trump administration decided to “reprogram” $65.7 million in fiscal year 2017 Foreign Military Financing funds and $30 million in fiscal year 2016 Economic Support Fund funds.
(The Associated Press 09/21/17)
Egypt's economy has started to improve but has yet to recover from the country's 2011 uprising and the years of unrest that followed, an international credit rating agency said. Moody's hailed recent economic and fiscal reforms in its annual report released on Tuesday, saying they point to "improved government effectiveness and policy predictability." Weak finances, however, remain a "key challenge" for the government, it added. Egypt embarked on an ambitious economic reform plan shortly after President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014. The government has slashed subsidies, imposed a value-added tax and allowed currency devaluation in order to qualify for a $12bn bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund. The austerity measures have hit the public hard, however, with inflation...

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