Friday 23 June 2017
(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 develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(AFP (eng) 05/18/17)
Egypt's prosecution said Wednesday it has handed over to Italian investigators documents requested by Rome to help the probe into the kidnapping and murder last year of an Italian student. Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old Cambridge University PhD student, disappeared in central Cairo in January last year and his body, bearing signs of torture, was later found by the side of a road. "The Egyptian investigators gave their Italian counterparts the first bunch of documents requested by the Rome prosecution," said a joint statement released by the Egyptian and Italian prosecutions. It was released as a team of Italian investigators wound up a visit to Cairo. Egypt had previously dismissed as "unconstitutional" a request by Italy to retrieve thousands of phone...
(Xinhuanet 05/18/17)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and King Abdullah II of Jordan stressed the importance of fostering international efforts to fight terrorism in the region during a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, state-run Ahram Online reported. Abdullah arrived in Cairo earlier Wednesday for a short visit to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, according to Ahram. During the meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo, the two leaders praised the level of cooperation between the two countries in the face of regional challenges. President Sisi discussed ongoing development projects in Egypt, including the construction of the new administrative capital, as the two leaders discussed means of cooperation in infrastructure projects. On regional issues, Sisi and...
(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 as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(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 average 22.8 percent in the fiscal year starting July 1, a significant revision of the 15.2 percent he estimated in March. The rate will ease to 9.7 percent in the following fiscal year, he said. Rising consumer prices have emerged...
(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 Zohr field in 2015 is expected to change that. The gas fields Sisi referred to in an interview with heads of state-run newspapers included West delta and East delta and the second phase of Zohr field. Zohr field is expected...
(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 with daily feasts. With around half the population living near or below the poverty line, the measures are an attempt to ward off unrest fueled by an economic program authorities say is necessary to restore investor confidence and create jobs...
(CNN 05/17/17)
The Egyptian government is considering radical new proposals to restrict citizens' access to social media. A draft bill circulated in Egyptian newspapers would require users to register with the government to access sites including Twitter and Facebook. Successful applicants would receive a login linked to their national ID. Unauthorized use could result in prison sentences and heavy fines. The draft was authored by MP Reyad Abdel Sattar of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, the largest party in parliament with 65 of 596 seats. He told the Egypt Independent it would: "facilitate state surveillance over social networks in Egypt by making users enroll in a government-run electronic system that will grant them permission to access Facebook." Sattar said the reforms were...
(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 unlikely. "By raising the protein level, Egypt is narrowing its options and losing the French market and the government will have to pay a higher cost,” Hesham Soliman, president of Alexandria-based Medstar for Trading, said by phone. “I think GASC...
(Daily News Egypt 05/17/17)
It is a confusing question: Who is responsible for Egypt’s image? Perhaps the mystery lies in Egypt’s “important cards”, which are capable of producing a “wonderful image”, but the new image of Egypt is usually “temporary”. The investment conference in Sharm El-Sheikh created an “attractive atmosphere”, however the Egyptian government did not complete it. It is a confusing question: Who is responsible for Egypt’s image? Perhaps the mystery lies in Egypt’s “important cards”, which are capable of producing a “wonderful image”, but the new image of Egypt is usually “temporary”. The investment conference in Sharm El-Sheikh created an “attractive atmosphere”, however the Egyptian government did not complete it. The same thing happened with Lionel Messi when he came to Cairo...
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
Shaimaa Haridy smashed the Islamic Solidarity Games records as she cruised to women's +90kg victory in the final session of the weightlifting on Wednesday, while teammate Dina Barakat made it two for Egypt. Haridy won without breaking sweat with a record 275kg overall, before the -90kg clean and jerk record was broken twice as Barakat prevented Clementine Meukeugni Noubissi from claiming Cameroon's first ever gold medal at the Games. Haridy was always going to win the title if she could just make a good lift in both disciplines. The 26-year-old narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal last summer in Brazil as she finished fourth, but there was never going to be a repeat of that in Baku with only...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(The Associated Press 05/16/17)
Cairo airport is introducing emergency measures, including quarantine, to prevent the spread of a cholera outbreak in Yemen by flights arriving from the war-torn Arab nation. The Health Ministry said on Tuesday that incoming passengers and returnees would face screenings to ensure that they do not carry the illness, and airport and port controls would be tightened. Cairo is a main connecting point for Yemen, with flights to and from the capital, Sanaa, and other areas. However, the civil war in the Arab world's poorest country occasionally disrupts the flights. The U.N. says that Yemen's cholera outbreak has killed 124 people over the past two weeks. Less than 45 percent of Yemen's health facilities are fully functioning, and the flow...
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
Egypt boosted their hopes of increasing a disappointing medal tally at the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games as two of their boxers reached the semi-finals on Tuesday. Eslam Mohamed and Abdelrahman Abdelgawwad both overcame Algerian opposition to guarantee themselves at least a bronze medal in the light-welterweight (64kg) and light-heavyweight (81kg) categories respectively. Egypt have so far claimed just four gold medals in Baku, a far cry from the 26 they picked up at the 2013 Solidarity Games in Indonesia. Mohamed cut a much more imposing figure than Chemseddine Kramou in their 64kg quarter-final, but the Algerian belied appearances with a spirited performance. The Egyptian was always on top, however, and progressed on a split decision. It was a similar story...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
The International Monetary Fund said Friday it will release the second tranche of a $12-billion loan to Egypt, in a "vote of confidence" in the country's economic reform programme. The amount of $1.25 billion must still be endorsed by the IMF board following an "expert-level agreement" announced after a visit to Cairo, an IMF statement said. According to Egypt's finance minister, Amro al-Garhi, the tranche should be disbursed in the second half of June. "This agreement is a vote of confidence by the IMF staff in the continued implementation of the Egyptian authorities' programme" on economic reform, the IMF statement said. Ratings agency Standard and
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered 17 mummies in catacombs in Minya province, south of Cairo, the antiquities ministry announced on Saturday. "We found catacombs containing a number of mummies," said Salah al-Kholi, a Cairo University professor of Egyptology who headed the mission that made the discovery in the Touna el-Gabal district of the province in central Egypt. Burial shafts were found in the area and excavation work "revealed that these shafts led to a number of corridors inside a cachette of mummies", the ministry said. It said in a statement that the cachette housed 17 non-royal mummies. Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told a news conference held near the archaeological site in the desert that the discovery was "the first human necropolis...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
Nigerian Stanley Okawuchi scored a soft late goal to ensure Zamalek of Egypt made a winning start Friday in the CAF Champions League group phase. The five-time champions scored twice in the second half to overcome plucky CAPS United of Zimbabwe 2-0 during matchday 1 in Mediterranean city Alexandria. Several squandered chances and acrobatic saves from CAPS goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda kept the Group B clash goalless until half-time at the Borg Al Arab Stadium. But Sibanda was at fault for both goals with Basem Morsy giving 2016 runners-up Zamalek the lead on 56 minutes. The striker scored with a header off a "Shikabala" cross that Sibanda appeared to have covered but allowed to slip from his grasp. Slow-reacting Sibanda was...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 05/12/17)
An Egyptian Muslim cleric has been barred from preaching and is set to appear before a court for saying Christians and Jews followed corrupt religions and would not go to heaven. Salem Abdel Galil, a former religious endowments ministry official, had made the remarks on a television show he hosts, sparking a backlash in a country reeling from deadly church bombings by Islamist extremists. The endowments ministry, which controls the country's mosques, said Abdel Galil would not be allowed to preach Friday prayer sermons unless he retracts his comments. Naguib Gobrail, a lawyer and Coptic Christian activist, told AFP that a misdemeanor court scheduled a hearing for June 24 to look into his complaint against the cleric. "This is slander...

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