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[l] at 4/17/24 6:01pm
Egypts Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat, urged the World Bank Group to prioritize innovative financing solutions for climate action and debt relief during the G24 Governors and Ministers Meeting. The meeting took place at the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings alongside IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank Group President Ajay Banga. Al-Mashat commended the World Banks Evolution Roadmap for improved efficiency, but stressed the need for action. She endorsed the Banks goal of allocating 45% of financing to climate projects but cautioned against neglecting core development goals like poverty eradication. She emphasized the importance of supporting project structuring and bankability to ensure these projects are successful. Moreover, the Egyptian minister called for a financing model that incentivizes addressing all eight global challenges identified by the World Bank, including climate change, fragility, health emergencies, and food security. However, she underscored the importance of country ownership and a demand-driven approach to achieve a balanced effort. She highlighted the need for adequate funding for initiatives like the Global Solution Accelerator Platform (GSAP) and Livable Planet Fund (LPF) to meet these global development aspirations. Al-Mashat emphasized the need for significantly larger resources to address the economic challenges faced by developing countries. She called for a strong replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA), the World Banks fund for low-income countries, highlighting its role in providing concessional financing to the most vulnerable nations. The Egyptian minister highlighted the persistent gap between climate action commitments and actual funding. She stressed the need to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund, a mechanism to address climate impacts in developing countries. While acknowledging the positive discussions on innovative tools like debt-for-climate swaps, she urged for scaling up these initiatives to achieve both climate action and debt reduction goals. Al-Mashat called for stronger collaboration between Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to deliver a harmonized approach that aligns with national development strategies and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She emphasized the importance of country-led platforms to facilitate collaboration, attract private finance, and share knowledge. The rapid accumulation of sovereign debt in developing countries between 2013 and 2023 was another key concern raised by Al-Mashat. She highlighted the negative impact of high debt service costs and currency depreciation on domestic development programs. She supported the development of a comprehensive approach with concrete measures to help countries break the cycle of worsening debt and climate crises. Al-Mashat concluded by reiterating the G24s call for the elimination or significant reduction of IMF surcharges, a position previously adopted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during the New Global Financing Pact in Paris, in June 2023.

[Category: Business, debt at G24, Egypt's International Cooperation Minister calls for innovative financing to tackle climate change, G24]

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[l] at 4/17/24 5:55pm
This initiative aims to enhance rice productivity, reduce water usage, and ensure food security in Egypt. During a Wednesday meeting held to discuss the status of rice cultivation and innovative mechanisms to boost production, Madbouly emphasized the strategic importance of rice as a staple food for Egyptian citizens and a key economic crop. Moreover, he stressed the need to adhere to designated rice cultivation areas and prioritize the development of water-efficient, high-yielding rice varieties. In response, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation El Sayed El-Kosayer announced that the ministry has already successfully developed rice varieties that significantly reduce water consumption through innovative and technology-driven agricultural practices. These varieties require a shorter growth period, enabling them to withstand water scarcity and climate change. El-Kosayer noted that these modern rice hybrids have contributed to a 20% reduction in water requirements while simultaneously boosting productivity. This plan comes as part of the North African nations efforts to address water scarcity challenges and ensure sustainable agricultural practices. Furthermore, Madbouly emphasized the importance of bolstering Egypts fertilizer industry to meet the domestic markets requirements and boost export opportunities. This came during a separate meeting with Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla, El-Kosayer, and Minister of Public Enterprise Sector Mahmoud Ezzat. The Egyptian Prime Minister stressed the need to streamline fertilizer distribution mechanisms to safeguard the interests of farmers. Accordingly, he directed officials to assess the actual cultivated areas and future expansion plans. This information will be crucial in determining the precise fertilizer quantities needed for the domestic market, paving the way for identifying export volumes to maximize the benefits of surplus production. The Egyptian Minister of Agriculture presented a comprehensive report on the distribution system for nitrogenous fertilizers, the subsidized variety. El-Kosayer also outlined the status of subsidized fertilizer supply from companies to the Ministry of Agriculture. He elaborated on the distribution of fertilizers to farmers through the Kart Al-Falah (Farmer Card) system, adhering to the recommended fertilizer quantities for specific crops and actual cultivated areas.

[Category: Business, Rice, water]

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[l] at 4/17/24 5:40pm
In a roundtable discussion with African finance ministers during the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, Mohamed Maait, Egypt’s Minister of Finance, highlighted the decline in public health indicators across Africa. This downturn is attributed to global tensions and the resulting inflationary pressures, which have led to increased costs for basic goods and services, alongside funding and food shortages. Maait stressed the critical role of international financial institutions in offering innovative and accessible sustainable financing to bolster emerging economies. Such support is vital for enhancing healthcare quality in African nations and facilitating a transition to a green economy, leveraging clean energy sources like green hydrogen. At the high-level meeting in Washington, Maait asserted that advanced nations collectively bear the responsibility of providing healthcare in Africa. This collaboration is pivotal for fostering recovery and sustainable growth, introducing cost-effective developmental resources, and devising creative investment strategies in health, education, and food security. He noted Egypt’s significant efforts to improve comprehensive health insurance systems and healthcare services for fellow African countries. Maait called for coordinated action to tackle global economic challenges, proposing effective strategies to mitigate the impact of economic shocks on developing nations. Amidst global tensions that disrupt economic stability, developing countries’ budgets face extraordinary challenges, impeding their progress towards comprehensive and sustainable development. He advocated for the mobilization of affordable sustainable financing to reinforce public health systems in Africa, ensuring universal healthcare access and the provision of developmental resources at lower costs. The Minister underscored the necessity of creating a sustainable framework to boost private sector involvement in Africa’s healthcare network expansion. This initiative aims to maintain high-quality healthcare services, reduce poverty and disease, and establish robust systems that offer comprehensive health coverage at equitable prices. Maait expressed Egypt’s willingness to share its comprehensive health insurance model with other African states, emphasizing the delivery of integrated healthcare to all Egyptian families and the inclusion of the private sector as a key stakeholder in this innovative system. Private sector to spearhead growth Maait reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to bolstering the private sector’s role in the economy, with aspirations for it to contribute over 70% to the economic output. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to enhance local production and exports. The government has set a ceiling on public investments for the upcoming fiscal year, ensuring substantial opportunities for private sector growth, development, and the creation of one million jobs annually. Speaking with regional governors at the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, Maait outlined Egypt’s comprehensive economic reform agenda, which includes a new wave of structural reforms aimed at fostering stability and economic growth. He cited the Raseel Hakama deal as evidence of Egypt’s appeal for investment, bolstered by strong infrastructure and competitive sectors. The Finance Minister highlighted the government’s focus on fiscal discipline, targeting a primary surplus to reduce national debt and deficits amid falling interest rates. Plans are in place to use half of the proceeds from the offerings program to decrease the debt of budgetary authorities and to establish a public debt ceiling, while also extending the debt portfolio’s maturity. Maait emphasized the importance of investing in human capital and social protection as cornerstones of Egypt’s economic policy. The government intends to dedicate substantial budgetary resources to health, education, and social protection, aiming to elevate living standards and reduce poverty through more focused support for key demographics.

[Category: Business, health]

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[l] at 4/17/24 5:32pm
Bold Routes, a leader in real estate consultancy, marketing, and brokerage, celebrated the end of the first quarter of this year with a significant milestone. The company proudly announced the opening of its 10th branch, a regional office strategically located in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Regarded as one of the most successful and largest entities in its field in Egypt, Bold Routes stands out not only for its size but also for its unique business model. This model fosters a partnership with the company’s commercial franchisees, who are deemed as the company’s real, irreplaceable assets. Such an innovative approach has distinguished Bold Routes in the competitive market. AbdelRahman Badr, the CEO of Bold Routes, remarked that the company’s inception was marked by remarkable achievements, swiftly capturing the Egyptian market with sales surpassing EGP 30bn within just nine months. This remarkable performance has established Bold Routes as a trusted bridge between consumers and real estate developers, a dependable consultant, and a successful marketer of reliable real estate products in the Egyptian market. Badr emphasized that the new Dubai office is poised to become a pivotal gateway for marketing Egyptian real estate products in the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region. It aims to create a direct connection between expatriate Egyptians, as well as Arab and foreign consumers, with their real estate investments in Egypt. This initiative is in perfect harmony with the Egyptian state’s objectives to promote the export of Egyptian real estate products and to market them globally, supported by recent laws that foster real estate investment in Egypt and provide unprecedented advantages to buyers in the Egyptian market. Furthermore, the CEO announced that the Dubai office will actively engage in marketing real estate projects within the Emirates and the Gulf. This will cater to consumers looking to invest either from within Egypt or the region, ensuring that the new branch offers top-notch marketing and real estate consultancy services to one of the most dynamic and rapidly expanding real estate markets globally. In celebration of its first-quarter successes, Bold Routes has set an ambitious target of achieving sales of EGP 110bn for the year 2024.

[Category: Business, Bold Routes]

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[l] at 4/17/24 5:23pm
As a part of the “Decent Life” initiative by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population has initiated 90 free medical convoys across various governorates, from 16 to 30 April. Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, the spokesperson for the Ministry, stated that these convoys are aimed at border governorates and remote villages, adhering strictly to all precautionary measures. The convoys offer a comprehensive range of medical specialities, including internal medicine, paediatrics, ENT, orthopaedics, surgery, ophthalmology, dentistry, cardiology, dermatology, obstetrics, gynaecology, and family planning. Additionally, they provide radiology, medical analysis, and a fully stocked pharmacy. Cases necessitating surgery will be referred to associated hospitals. Abdel Ghaffar noted that each convoy operates for two days in designated centres or medical units within each governorate. Specifically, seven convoys are set for New Valley governorate and six for Gharbeya. “In Assiut, Red Sea, and Beheira governorates, we’re launching 15 medical convoys—5 in each. Moreover, 32 convoys are scheduled across Aswan, Giza, Qalyubeya, Menoufeya, South Sinai, Matrouh, Damietta, and Sohag, with 4 in each governorate,” Abdel Ghaffar elaborated. Mohamed Ghobashi, Director General of Medical Convoys, highlighted the deployment of 21 medical convoys in Sharqeya, Minya, Beni Suef, Fayoum, Qena, Kafr El-Sheikh, and Alexandria, with 3 in each governorate. Additionally, 8 convoys will serve Ismailia, Luxor, Dakahlia, and Cairo, with two in each, plus a single convoy in Suez.

[Category: Business, medical convoys]

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[l] at 4/17/24 5:12pm
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa pledged joint action to address the escalating crisis in Gaza and its repercussions on the region. In a joint press conference following their meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, the two leaders condemned Israels ongoing military operation in Gaza, describing it as a flagrant violation of international law and a blatant disregard for human life. President Al-Sisi reiterated Egypts unwavering support for the Palestinian cause and its commitment to a two-state solution as the only viable path to achieving lasting peace in the region. He called for an immediate ceasefire, the lifting of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, and the full implementation of international resolutions related to the Palestinian issue. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa expressed Bahrains solidarity with the Palestinian people and its support for their right to self-determination and an independent state. He also stressed the importance of international intervention to end the bloodshed in Gaza and prevent further deterioration in the region. The two leaders emphasized the need for a unified Arab response to the crisis, calling for concerted efforts to mobilize international support for the Palestinian cause and pressure Israel to end its aggression. The Egyptian President warned of the grave consequences of the ongoing conflict, highlighting the potential for wider regional instability and the escalation of violence. He urged the international community to take decisive action to prevent further deterioration of the situation. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa echoed President Al-Sisis concerns, emphasizing the need for urgent action to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. He called for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian enclave. The joint statement issued by the two leaders also addressed the broader regional situation, expressing concern over the growing tensions and instability in the Middle East. They called for dialogue and cooperation among regional states to resolve outstanding issues and promote peace and stability.

[Category: Business, bahrain, Egypt, Gaza]

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[l] at 4/17/24 5:03pm
City Farm, an Egyptian enterprise renowned for exporting frozen vegetables to the US, is embarking on an ambitious expansion strategy. This plan is set to broaden its market reach, starting with Kenya and extending into the European continent. The strategy includes diversifying its product range and increasing land reclamation efforts. Mahmoud Lamei, CEO of City Farm, revealed that the company’s push into European markets will be spearheaded by establishing representative offices in key countries such as Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Lamei reflected on the company’s significant achievements within the American market across various states in recent years. Building on this success, City Farm is now aiming to diversify its revenue streams and establish a presence in additional foreign markets, with a particular focus on Europe. The company has strategically chosen to initiate its European venture in markets with substantial Arab communities, including Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Following the attainment of set sales targets, City Farm plans to consider further expansion within Europe. Lamei is optimistic that this growth initiative could potentially boost the company’s overall sales targets by approximately 30% from the $50m forecasted at the year’s outset. He highlighted City Farm’s journey, which commenced in 2021 with the supply of products to the American market. The company’s annual sales have shown a steady increase, from $28m in its inaugural year to $35m in 2022, and reaching an impressive $50m in the preceding year. City Farm’s export catalogue features a variety of Egyptian agricultural produce, catering to states across the US, including New York, New Jersey, Florida, Chicago, Texas, and Michigan. The assortment includes molokhia, okra, taro, spinach, falafel, green beans, grape leaves, bottled juices, and peas. Lamei noted that the company’s export capacity from Egypt stands at approximately 1,300 tonnes annually. In alignment with government policies aimed at augmenting foreign currency reserves, efforts are underway to enhance this figure. The CEO also mentioned that City Farm’s total investments amount to $250m, encompassing annual sales and transportation assets. The company utilizes the ports of Alexandria and Damietta for shipping goods to the US, which are then received at the ports of New York, New Jersey, and Florida. The US market holds significant importance for Egyptian food products, ranking as the second-largest importer of Egyptian manufactured foods in 2022, with imports valued at $4.2bn. Lamei expressed confidence that the uptick in export volumes is attributable to the strategic exportation of surplus crops, particularly vegetables and fruits. The company is actively promoting its products in foreign markets and is exploring opportunities in the African, East and South Asian regions, as well as select Latin American countries.

[Category: Business, City Farm, Kenyan market]

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[l] at 4/17/24 11:49am
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic on Wednesday reaffirmed their strong historical ties and commitment to further strengthening bilateral relations. The two leaders spoke by phone, discussing a range of issues including regional developments, particularly the ongoing situation in the Middle East. Al-Sisi emphasized the urgency of an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, stressing the need for international cooperation to deliver humanitarian aid and protect civilians.  He warned of the dangers of continued escalation and the potential for a wider regional conflict. The phone call also addressed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and its global ramifications. Both presidents agreed on the importance of continued dialogue and coordination. Their conversation comes just over a year after Al-Sisis landmark visit to Serbia in July 2022, the first by an Egyptian leader in nearly five decades. The visit marked a significant step forward in bilateral relations, with the signing of several cooperation agreements and the launch of a strategic partnership between the two countries. Building on this momentum, Cairo and Belgrade initiated expert-level talks in 2023 to explore the possibility of a free trade agreement. This phone call underscores the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between Egypt and Serbia, a statement from the Egyptian presidency said.  The two leaders expressed their keenness to further enhance cooperation across all fields for the mutual benefit of both nations.

[Category: Politics, Egypt, Serbia]

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[l] at 4/17/24 5:37am
The Seventh International Conference of the Faculty of Media at the British University in Egypt (BUE), titled Media Economic Models in the Digital Age: Trends and Challenges, was inaugurated by prominent Egyptian journalist and media figure Karam Gabr, who serves as the Chairperson of Egypts Supreme Council for Media Regulation.  The conference brought together 25 researchers and experts from Egypt, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the United States to discuss the evolving landscape of media economics in the digital era. In his opening remarks, Gabr highlighted the significance of the conference in light of the ongoing digital transformation and the challenges facing both traditional and digital media industries. He emphasized the efforts of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation in developing innovative ideas and solutions to assist Egyptian and Arab media in their digital transformation journey.  He also stressed the importance of preserving Egypts national identity and culture while remaining open to global influences. Gabr advocated for positive and productive engagement with foreign cultures while upholding national and Arab identity through the production of Arabic content that respects the values of religion and Egyptian culture, and that effectively resonates with and influences younger generations. Mohamed Loutfi, President of the British University in Egypt, and Mohamed Shoman, Dean of BUEs Faculty of Communication and Mass Media, welcomed Gabr and underscored the importance of the conference. Loutfi aligned the conference with the universitys strategic commitment to Egypts sustainable development goals, emphasizing the centrality of students in the universitys educational and research endeavours, as well as in its various activities. He affirmed the universitys dedication to providing exceptional education and preparing a new generation equipped with knowledge and awareness to effectively contribute to development and progress in the context of the New Republic. Shoman, in his address, emphasized the significance of examining diverse media economic models and selecting those that align with the Egyptian societal context.  He cautioned against blindly adopting subscription-based models for accessing media content, as they might not align with Egypts national objectives of disseminating awareness and knowledge among citizens. Shoman advocated for negotiations with major internet companies like Google and Facebook to ensure that Egyptian media outlets receive a fair share of advertising revenue, as has been implemented in Australia and some European countries. Adel Saleh, Vice Dean of the Faculty, proposed exploring new employment opportunities for media graduates centred around digital media models. He also stressed the role of media faculties in contributing to the development and experimentation of innovative economic models in the real-world market. The conference featured presentations by 25 researchers and experts from six Arab and African countries, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy.  Prominent Egyptian participants included Ibrahim Abu Zeidri, President of the Arab Producers Union; journalist Saeed Abdel-Azeem, former Chairperson of Dar Al-Maaref; journalist Hussein Abd Rabo, Chairperson of the Alborsa and Daily News; content producer Nour Hassan; Nada Abdel-Allah; Sondos Adel; Nada El-Hadi; Daniel Batista; Mokhtar Deloni; Melissa Peroni; Joseph Oldham, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the Faculty of Media; Nicholas Sidoni; Angelos Zoni; Jason Lee; and Elki Wiesmend. The two-day conference concluded with the issuance of a set of recommendations to assist media outlets in addressing funding shortfalls, navigating the challenges of the digital age, and countering the dominance of social media platforms.

[Category: Politics]

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[l] at 4/17/24 1:51am
The CBE has disclosed the factors behind the decrease in inflation for March, despite the exchange rate liberalisation and the surge in fuel costs. In March 2024, the annual headline urban inflation rate fell to 33.3%, down from 35.7% in February 2024. This reduction is largely due to the subdued inflationary trends observed throughout March 2024, which saw minimal price rises across various sectors, coupled with a favorable base effect. This trend is propelled by the drop in annual food inflation, which stood at 45.0% in March 2024, the lowest since December 2022. This downturn may indicate a gradual mitigation of the food inflation spike that reached its zenith at 73.6% in September 2023. Moreover, the annual non-food inflation rate remained relatively stable at 25.7% in March 2024, a modest dip from 26.1% in February 2024. Annual core inflation also slowed down, registering 33.7% in March 2024 compared to 35.1% in February 2024. This slowdown reflects a lesser impact from core food prices and aligns with the monthly core inflation rate of 1.4% in March 2024, versus 2.5% in the corresponding month of the previous year. The monthly headline urban inflation rate hit a low not seen in over a year at 1.0% in March 2024, a significant fall from 2.7% in the same period last year and a stark contrast to the 11.4% recorded in February 2024. Notably, Ramadan’s seasonal effects led to modest price hikes in certain categories, such as core food items (notably poultry) and services (including Umrah trips). Additionally, slight price increases were observed in other service sectors like dining establishments, healthcare (both private and public), and cafes. The rural annual headline inflation rate decreased to 32.8% in March 2024 from 36.3% in February 2024. Concurrently, the nationwide annual headline inflation rate dropped to 33.1% in March 2024 from 36.0% in February 2024. Fresh vegetable prices saw a 4.8% reduction, while fresh fruit prices remained mostly unchanged. These contributed a negative 0.19% to the monthly headline inflation rate. Poultry and red meat prices rose by 3.3% and 1.0%, respectively, jointly contributing 0.28% to the monthly headline inflation rate. Dairy product prices increased by 2.2%, adding 0.10% to the monthly headline inflation rate. Market sugar prices went up by 5.1%, contributing 0.03% to the monthly headline inflation rate. Fish and seafood prices climbed by 1.2%, also contributing 0.03% to the monthly headline inflation rate. Conversely, prices for pulses and edible oils fell by 3.8% and 1.8%, respectively, collectively subtracting -0.04% from the monthly headline inflation rate. Other core food items, including eggs, market tea, coffee, dried fruits, and bread, experienced price increases, contributing 0.10% to the monthly headline inflation rate. Service prices rose 1.4%, accounting for 0.38% of the monthly headline inflation rate. This increase was primarily due to higher spending on restaurants and cafes, outpatient services, private healthcare, rental values, and the seasonal influence of Umrah trips. Retail item prices increased by 1.5%, contributing 0.20% to the monthly headline inflation rate. This was largely influenced by medical products, apparel, household cleaning items, and personal care products. Regulated item prices saw a 0.4% uptick, adding 0.07% to the monthly headline inflation rate, mainly due to medical products and public healthcare services. The Monthly Core Inflation experienced fluctuations due to the price variations in core CPI components. Core food items were significantly impacted, adding 0.66% to the monthly core inflation. Services also played a major role, contributing 0.50%. Meanwhile, retail items were responsible for a 0.26% increase in the monthly core inflation figures.

[Category: Business, CBE, inflation]

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[l] at 4/17/24 1:49am
The Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD) has entered into a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dongba Town of China. This agreement is aimed at the reciprocal exchange of expertise, advanced technology, and management practices to enhance the diplomatic quarter of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital (NAC) and Beijing’s fourth embassy district. This MoU is a testament to the growing cooperation between Egypt and China, further strengthening their bilateral ties across multiple sectors. The signing ceremony was graced by Khaled Abbas, ACUD’s Chairperson and Managing Director, and Wen Xian, the Head of Chaoyang District and a member of China’s ruling Communist Party. The event also saw participation from an official delegation and representatives from the Chinese Embassy in Cairo. Khaled Abbas underscored the significance of this collaboration, reflecting the mutual aspiration for enhanced cooperation and the establishment of a beneficial partnership. He pointed out ACUD’s extensive experience, particularly in developing the NAC and its diplomatic quarter, and expressed optimism that this MoU would pave the way for enduring collaboration. Abbas remarked, “ACUD upholds the utmost standards of quality in our services, spanning urban development to project management. We prioritize quality and believe in the power of collaborative and international efforts to foster development and craft a brighter future for our communities.” He proudly announced the near completion of the diplomatic quarter’s infrastructure, which includes 50 embassy buildings, a club, educational institutions, a hotel, religious sites, a United Nations facility, and exclusive residential units for diplomats. ACUD stands ready to deliver all necessary services. Wen Xian shared his delight over the agreement, noting that the NAC’s array of projects and state-of-the-art infrastructure surpassed his expectations. He is keen to draw from ACUD’s insights for the development of Beijing’s fourth embassy area. “I am honored to visit Egypt, the pioneer Arab and African nation to acknowledge the People’s Republic of China and forge diplomatic ties back in 1956,” he said. Wen Xian also invited Khaled Abbas and his team to China to commence the MoU’s activation and deepen the collaborative bond. The MoU’s objective is to foster shared learning and the exchange of expertise, harness cutting-edge technologies for embassy districts, elevate environmental standards, share knowledge and resources, engage in collaborative research, and innovate new technological solutions.

[Category: Business, ACUD, Dongba Town forge]

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[l] at 4/17/24 1:41am
Basil Rahmi, CEO of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA), has emphasized the agency’s commitment to national initiatives aimed at curbing illegal immigration among youth. This effort is in collaboration with relevant governorates and international development partners. Rahmi outlined MSMEDA’s dual-strategy approach. The first strategy focuses on launching projects to enhance infrastructure, health, and education services, thereby improving citizens’ quality of life. The second strategy employs labor-intensive methods in these projects, creating numerous job opportunities for irregular workers. This approach not only provides employment but also equips workers with new professional skills, fostering the establishment of small or micro enterprises aligned with their newly acquired competencies. Furthermore, Rahmi noted that MSMEDA’s involvement in infrastructure projects is designed to foster an environment conducive to the growth of nascent small businesses and the expansion of existing ones. This initiative aligns with the recent signing of a framework agreement between MSMEDA and Dakahleya governorate. The agreement, funded by a EGP 4m grant from the European Union, aims to address the root causes of irregular migration. It includes the restoration and maintenance of four health units across different districts within the governorate. Rahmi added that the development of these health units is expected to enhance services for approximately 99,000 residents. The projects will also generate over 5,000 daily job opportunities for irregular workers during their execution. It’s noteworthy that Dakahleya governorate has previously seen the implementation of numerous infrastructure projects, totaling EGP 185.2m in investment and providing more than 1.4 million daily work opportunities for the community. In its ongoing efforts, MSMEDA is dedicated to implementing projects that mitigate irregular migration among youth and create viable employment prospects. These projects are part of a broader agreement funded by the European Union to tackle the fundamental causes of irregular migration.

[Category: Business, MSMEDA]

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[l] at 4/17/24 1:37am
The Engineering Export Council of Egypt (EECE) has announced the participation of 18 Egyptian companies at the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China. This event, running from 15 to 19 April 2024, features sectors including household appliances, electrical devices, and kitchenware. This initiative aligns with the council’s strategy to penetrate international markets, boost exports, and stay abreast of technological advancements. May Helmy, the Executive Director of EECE, expressed the council’s commitment to expanding into global markets and pursuing growth opportunities in 2024. Helmy highlighted the council’s success in surpassing its $4bn export target in 2023. Helmy further emphasized the council’s goal to sustain yearly growth, contributing to Egypt’s national strategy of increasing exports to $100bn in the foreseeable future. The engineering sector stands out as a key driver of Egypt’s commodity and industrial export growth. To enhance export volumes, Helmy revealed that the EECE has formulated a strategy aiming for a 10 to 15% increase in 2024. This strategy capitalizes on the vast capabilities of Egypt’s engineering sector and is structured around several pillars. These include participating in global exhibitions—considering new regulatory guidelines—organizing trade missions, hosting international trade weeks, and meticulously analyzing market needs where Egyptian products hold competitive potential.

[Category: Business, Canton Fair, china]

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[l] at 4/17/24 1:25am
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly convened with Basil Rahmi, CEO of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (MSMEDA), to assess the agency’s progress in fostering projects and entrepreneurship, as well as to discuss future strategies. Prime Minister Madbouly began the meeting by highlighting the critical role of MSMEDA, especially considering the significant influence of small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMEs) on Egypt’s developmental goals. These enterprises are pivotal in increasing employment rates, nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit, generating innovative job opportunities, and driving the nation toward its economic growth objectives. CEO Rahmi presented MSMEDA’s achievements using key performance indicators from January 2023 to February 2024. He reported that the agency successfully created 319,100 job opportunities, supported 173,000 small and micro projects, and provided financing totaling EGP 6.347bn. Rahmi emphasized the agency’s comprehensive approach, detailing the non-financial services provided: launching 614 entrepreneurship training programs, conducting 622 seminars to promote entrepreneurial awareness, issuing 8,191 provisional licenses for new ventures, networking around 295 projects, training 1,819 individuals in e-marketing, facilitating the acquisition of 3,950 tax cards, 567 commercial records, and orchestrating 338 B2B integration agreements. In terms of financial services, Rahmi highlighted that, in addition to the EGP 6.347bn in financing, MSMEDA allocated EGP 141m in grants for infrastructure, community enhancement, and educational initiatives within the same timeframe. Rahmi reaffirmed MSMEDA’s dedication to the economic and social empowerment of women, with a substantial allocation of its services directed towards female entrepreneurs. Women represented 45% of the beneficiaries in small and micro project initiatives, 29% in one-stop services, 30% in marketing support, 54% in domestic exhibition participation, and 38% in international exhibition involvement. Concerning sectoral funding distribution from January 2023 to February 2024, Rahmi noted that the commercial and service sectors received 85% of the financing for SMEs, while the industrial and agricultural sectors each secured 7% of the total funds. He also shed light on the agency’s efforts to facilitate marketing for project owners through exhibitions, with 34 local expos in Cairo aiding approximately 2,514 exhibitors, 142 local expos across various governorates benefiting 1,574 exhibitors, and 8 international expos supporting 63 exhibitors. Addressing the National Project for Vehicle Conversion to Natural Gas from January 2021 to February 2024, Rahmi explained that MSMEDA provided funding for the conversion of 70,477 vehicles to natural gas, totaling EGP 602.5m. This accounted for 40% of all conversions in Egypt during the period. Additionally, MSMEDA played a role in transforming Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh, and Hurghada into eco-friendly cities, in collaboration with CARGAS and Gastec, by converting 1,798 vehicles to natural gas. From January 2021 to February 2024, the agency dedicated to the “Decent Life” presidential initiative has made significant strides in developing Egyptian villages. Rahmi reported that an investment of EGP 3.1bn supported 111,000 projects, which led to the creation of 202,000 new job opportunities. Additionally, the agency organized 318 entrepreneurship courses, trained 6,294 individuals, provided around 18,200 varied non-financial services, and facilitated the issuance of 4,376 new business licenses. In a recent meeting, Rahmi underscored the key actions taken in 2023 to align with Egypt’s Vision 2030 and outlined the goals set for completion by the end of 2026. He stressed the agency’s commitment to fostering an environment conducive to the growth of medium, small, and micro enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurship. This includes transitioning to the formal sector and acting as a catalyst for the provision of development services to these entities. The agency is also focused on expanding access to both financial and non-financial services, tailored to the unique competitive advantages of each governorate, with an emphasis on sectors with high growth potential. This approach is complemented by efforts toward institutional development and the acceleration of the agency’s digital transformation. Rahmi revealed that an integrated strategy and action plan for project development is in the final stages of preparation, with contributions from both international and local development experts, including those from the United Nations Development Programme in Egypt. The drafting phase of the action plan and strategy activation initiatives is complete, setting the stage for their effective execution. This will lead to the establishment of a detailed, transparent, and comprehensive action plan for the years 2024 to 2026. He also discussed the ongoing collaboration between the agency and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development to update the “National Strategy for MSME Development and Entrepreneurship,” originally crafted in 2018. Plans are in motion to launch a national project to boost the handicrafts and heritage sector—one of Egypt’s key economic pillars. The aim is to finalize a unified national strategy for the advancement of handicrafts and heritage industries within the year. Moreover, the agency is coordinating with the International Labour Organization to devise a strategy for integrating the informal sector into the formal economy, aligning with one of the agency’s primary goals. Regarding the enhancement of the agency’s workforce capabilities, Rahmi noted the development of a comprehensive training plan for all employees. The 2024 training agenda is designed to be in sync with the agency’s organizational and strategic aims, systematically identifying training necessities, executing specialized training modules, promoting a culture of lifelong learning, and organizing leadership development programs to groom employees for future leadership roles. Additionally, the agency is leveraging technology by employing e-learning platforms for employee training. The CEO of MSMEDA highlighted the ongoing digitalization of the agency’s operations and services. The agency is committed to fully implementing a digital transformation by enhancing its core infrastructure, digitizing workflows, and developing digital competencies. This includes bolstering the platform for small-scale enterprises and offering electronic payment options in line with the Electronic Payment Law, as well as leveraging AI technology to extend remote services. Rahmi announced a partnership with “E-Markets” to oversee the enterprise platform, with ongoing collaborations with telecom firms to create a comprehensive national platform for small businesses, encompassing a wide array of service providers and catering to both financial and non-financial needs. Reflecting on the agency’s strides in 2023 and its future direction, Rahmi underscored the importance of regular policy reviews to enhance the agency’s performance and expedite its mission to foster small business development. He also spotlighted the collaborative efforts to enact Law No. 152 of 2020, which focuses on nurturing small enterprises and delineates the responsibilities of involved parties. Moreover, Rahmi touched on the agency’s proactive engagement with partners and stakeholders, including signing agreements to broaden the reach of its services and promote awareness among the public, particularly the youth. Lastly, Rahmi emphasized the support extended to local producers to refine their offerings and penetrate international markets, exemplified by organizing events like the “Torathna” exhibition and providing global marketing platforms for exhibitors.

[Category: Business, MSMEDA]

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[l] at 4/16/24 4:41pm
In the heart of the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia, a never-ending flashpoint of consternation, once again stands on the brink of a catastrophic descent into chaos. The spectre of Yugoslavias tragic unravelling looms large over this ancient land (delete “ancient” because it builds into the myth of a grand old Ethiopia narrative), as ethnic tensions reach a fever pitch and the very fabric of the nation threatens to tear apart. Over the past year, internal conflicts have raged across Ethiopia, ripping apart communities and leaving a trail of untold devastation in their wake. At the forefront of this turmoil is the rise of ethnic militias, such as the very active FANO militia in the Amhara region. These armed groups, fueled by age-old ethnic grievances and historical animosities, have capitalised on the seemingly ever-widening vacuum of power and unleashed a wave of violence that threatens to engulf the entire country. In the largest federal region of Oromia, the most populous heartland, the situation has deteriorated rapidly from bad to critical. The loss of 18 out of 21 provinces to various armed factions has plunged the region into chaos, with the two main militias Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) as well as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) vying for control over the government and the many civilians caught in between. The once vibrant cities that lay on the road to Addis Ababa now echo with the sounds of gunfire and despair besieged by gunmen who have all but imposed a blockade on the capital, as ordinary Ethiopians cower in fear of what tomorrow may bring. At the centre of this maelstrom of chaos and despair stands Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, whose weak and incompetent leadership has only served to exacerbate the nations woes. Far from being a unifying figure, Abiy has proven himself to be little more than a vestige of vested interests, incapable of rising above the petty squabbles of ethnic politics. His narrow-minded antics and inability to grasp the gravity of the situation have left Ethiopia adrift, with no clear direction or purpose. Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad Ethiopias leaders have a history of stepping down during tough times, but current leader Abiy Ahmed remains in power despite the countrys deteriorating security and near-collapse. Abiy Ahmed, 47, came to power in April 2018 after his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned after more than three years of protest from the Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups, which were demanding political freedom and good governance. Abiy Ahmed is a member of the Oromo ethnic group, the majority in Ethiopia. This community has long felt marginalized, and his appointment, at the time was seen as a bridge to mend the growing rift among ethnic groups in the country. On May 21, 1991, Ethiopias then-president Mengistu Haile Mariam resigned and fled the country, ending his 14-year rule of the Horn of Africa nation. Mengistu resigned just two days after rebel groups led by Meles Zenawi captured two strategic towns, cutting the capital, Addis Ababa, to much of the country. Zenawi became president from 1991 to 1995 and was the second prime minister of Ethiopia until he died in 2012. These two resignations show how they saved Ethiopia from collapse and steered the country to relative peace and normalcy, even though Ethiopian leaders, typically have a history of ruling their population with an iron fist and deploying brute force against those who opposed them. A few months after his appointment, he launched reforms, releasing political prisoners, appointing more women as ministers, and signing a peace deal with Eritrea after decades of conflict. This led to Abiy being awarded what many have to classify as a premature and poorly aged Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. In November 2020, just a mere 390 days after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for a historic peace agreement with Eritrea, the Tigray Peoples Liberation Movement (TPLF) attacked the largest army base (Northern Command) in the Tigray region forcing Abiy Ahmed to respond with a military operation to restore security. The immediate former regime of TPLF which itself brutally ran Ethiopia from 1991 to 2018 miscalculated their chances and went into a costly war. Their overconfidence was in part due to the nudging by their many links & ‘friends’ in the West, primarily the United States of America, over their 3 decades in power coupled with the pilfering of the national coffers which they eventually used as a formidable war chest. As part of TPLF’s continued miscalculation, it expanded the war into other regions in Ethiopia, namely the Amhara and the Afar regions, and even launched over 100 rockets into the neighbouring country, Eritrea, in an effort to drag Eritrea into the conflict. This brutal civil war in the north of the country killed at least 600,000 people according to conservative estimates while 1.8 million more were displaced, according to the United Nations. The Ethiopian government eventually signed a peace agreement with TPLF which was forced to sue for peace as they had all but been defeated, this peace process came to be known as the Pretoria agreement, ending the two-year-old conflict. Experts argue that the TPLF was nudged to sign this “peace agreement” in an effort to avoid its total annihilation. Some also say that Abiy’s capitulation to the whims of outside influence, namely Mike Hammer of the United States, who was seemingly more interested in saving TPLF than finding a lasting solution to the war, is what led to the current catastrophic situation. As the peace agreement was holding up in the north, another rebellion quickly emerged in the Amhara region. The Amhara fought alongside the ENDF in the Tigray region but this alliance quickly collapsed after clear signs of betrayal by Abiy began to emerge immediately after the signing of the peace deal with the TPLF. The Amhara had felt that the “disarming” clause of the peace agreement was being unfairly applied to disarm them while leaving others, namely the TPLF, fully armed. Relations between Abiy and Amhara worsened, and the government immediately lost close to 75 percent of the Amhara territory to regional forces and militias. Compounding these internal fissures is the resurgence of the TPLF rebel group, which has reneged on the terms of the fragile peace agreement brokered in Pretoria. With their threats of secession looming large, the TPLFs defiance threatens to reignite the flames of civil war that nearly consumed the whole country. The wounds of that conflict are still fresh, and the prospect of a return to such bloodshed is a nightmare that few dare to contemplate. Abiy is also facing the biggest rebellion from ‘his’ own Oromia region as the Ethiopian government is simultaneously dealing with an armed uprising in three powerful regions: Amhara, Oromia, and Tigray, which increasingly says it would secede from the rest of the country. In these rounds of conflicts since November 2020, its estimated to have taken the lives of more than 1.5 million people. According to a recent study conducted by Addis Ababa University, more than 5,000 (five thousand) conflicts were recorded in the last five years, resulting in the loss of 1.5 million lives. When Abiy Ahmed is not fighting the most populous region and ethnic groups, his government is overseeing and supporting the inter-communal fighting between Afar and Somalis living in Ethiopia. Indeed, Abiys misguided policies have only served to fan the flames of ethnic conflict. His latest decision to deploy federal forces to intervene in the dispute between the Afar and Somali in the Sitti province has only served to further incense violence and deepen divisions. By taking sides in these age-old disputes, Abiy, once again has effectively alienated large swathes of the population and sown the seeds of further discord. These 2 regions were the only regions with relative calm among all of the Ethiopian regions. Ethiopias Somali region has accused Afar militias of massacring hundreds where the two communities fight over a long-running regional dispute, adding broader tensions and conflict in the horn of the African nation. Somalis accuse the federal government of being the encouraging hand supporting the expansionist Afar to their land. The dispute between these two ethnic groups was hugely felt by the Somali Issa clan, which lives along the border between Afar and Ethiopias Somali region. The Issa want to be part of the Somali region of Ethiopia while their ancestral land has been included within the Afar regional boundary. In 2014, the Afar and Somali regional governments agreed to give a special status known as Kebele for the disputed areas along its borders, but they have yet to resolve their differences. The Kebeles are predominantly inhabited by the aforementioned Issa clan. The land sits along the highway between Addis Ababa, Djibouti, and the Assab port in Eritrea. Some observers point to the continued fighting along that corridor as a long-term strategy of the regime to displace Somalis and use the Afar to take control of Djibouti and eventually, Ethiopia gets access to the Red Sea. Such is the unmitigated thought among Abiy’s regime. As if to compound all of this, Ethiopias economic landscape has also been marred by significant challenges, with recent years witnessing mounting debts and fiscal strain. Amidst this backdrop, Ethiopia defaulted on many loans which has strenuously added to its economic woes, signaling a critical juncture for the nations financial stability. Factors such as insufficient revenue generation, the COVID-19 pandemics aftershock and its impact on key sectors like tourism and exports have been cited, although these may very well make sense in explaining the countrys inability to meet its debt obligations, it also spends a hefty budget on defence, no need to ask defence against whom as the government is so concerned for its own survival that it has to defend itself from its very own citizens. The recent default on loans not only underscores Ethiopias immediate financial difficulties but also highlights broader systemic issues requiring urgent attention to navigate the country towards sustainable economic recovery and growth. Many people in the Horn of Africa are amazed by the United States continuous support for the Ethiopian regime under Abiy Ahmed even amidst his escalating violence and instability, this reflects a complex geopolitical calculus. Despite Abiys administration overseeing the largest surge in violence, including ethnic clashes and human rights abuses, the U.S. strangely supports Ethiopia as the ‘crucial ally’ in the strategically vital Horn of Africa region. However, it is open for all to see that the U.S. support for Abiy Ahmeds regime only seeks to exacerbate tensions and prolong conflicts, ultimately undermining long-term stability in the region. Abiy Ahmed, on January 1st 2024, signed a memorandum of understanding with the breakaway region of Somaliland to build a military base and give it access to the sea in exchange for recognition. Somaliland is internationally recognized as part of Somalia; Abiy Ahmed’s promise of recognition directly violates the African Union’s charter which incidentally is headquartered in Addis Ababa. Although this move was always bound to backfire badly, the resulting mass public condemnation of Ethiopia by local, regional and international bodies on the respect for Somalia’s territorial integrity & political independence was something that Ethiopia could have avoided if Abiy Ahmed had any foresight devoid of immature political expediency. The January agreement, signed in Addis Ababa between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland separatist figurehead Muse Bihi, has reasonably angered Mogadishu, which sees it as direct interference with its sovereignty and territory. The agreement has raised tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia. Somalias president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has till today refused to meet and discuss any issue with Ethiopia until it backtracks from the deal it signed with Hargeisa. Ethiopias unbridled appetite for a port is not going away, but it was his famous “We must get a seaport even if we have to use force” that made Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea wary of the madman Abiy Ahmed. Abiy Ahmed is not afraid to anger his neighbours. He was at loggerheads with Kenya over the presence of Tigray rebel group leaders, though Nairobi was trying to help ease the tension and conflict between him and the Tigray leadership. Kenya does not like his craze for Orommuma expansionism either; basically, Abiy has, in the past, expressed support for Oromo nationalism which lays claim to parts of Kenya. Ethiopia is locked in a land dispute with Sudan over al-Fashaga, a fertile borderland. Sudan, like Egypt, is not happy with Ethiopia over the construction and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), fearing the dam will reduce the Nile water that both countries heavily rely on for agriculture and other uses. Due to these fears, Abiy’s Chief of General Staff has accused Egypt and Sudan are arming elements in the regions of Gambella & Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. As the drums of war grow louder and the shadows of Yugoslavias tragic demise loom ever larger, the people of Ethiopia find themselves standing at a crossroads. The path ahead is fraught with danger and uncertainty, with the spectre of ethnic conflagration casting a dark shadow over the nations future. Yet, amidst the chaos and despair, there remains a glimmer of hope – a hope that the people of Ethiopia will rise above their differences and forge a new path towards peace and reconciliation. But time is running out, and the stakes could not be higher. Unless urgent action is taken to address the root causes of Ethiopias internal conflicts and to heal the wounds of the past, the nation risks being torn apart by forces beyond its control. The world must not stand idly by as Ethiopia hurtles towards the abyss – for the consequences of failure are too dire to contemplate. Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad is a research scholar who serves as the Founder and Executive Director at the Afro-Asia Institute for Strategic Studies.

[Category: Politics, Opinion, Region, ethiopia]

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[l] at 4/16/24 3:32pm
In response to the recent geopolitical shifts, the main index turned negative, registering a 0.73% drop at the close of Tuesday’s session, settling at 29,401 points. The EGX70 EWI saw a rise of 0.86%, reaching 6,754 points, while the comprehensive EGX100 climbed by 0.51% to 9,633 points. Conversely, the EGX30 Capped experienced a 0.75% decrease, concluding at 36,095 points. Bassem Atallah, head of Aman Securities, forecasts the EGX30 to fluctuate between 27,500 and 30,000 points towards this month’s end. Mid-week sessions often witnessed corrective movements; this was evident as certain stocks surged by approximately 7% following a recent slump, prompting profit-taking among investors. Atallah recommends that investors avoid margin buying, highlighting its proven ineffectiveness in the regional markets amid current events. Investors utilizing personal funds remain unaffected by downturns and can await market stabilization. In contrast, margin trading can lead to enforced sales by firms. The day’s trading volume reached EGP 4.5bn, with 1.3bn shares exchanged across 140,000 transactions. This activity followed the trading of shares from 207 companies. By the end, 89 stocks rose, led by the National Housing Company (NHC), which soared by 19.99%. Meanwhile, 70 stocks dipped, with “North Cairo Mills and Bakeries” facing the steepest fall of about 5.73%. 48 stocks remained stable, and the market’s total value was recorded at EGP 1.98 trillion. Financial analyst Doaa Zidan predicts the main index may test the 29,600-point resistance level and could potentially reach 30,500 points shortly. She also identified the initial support zone beginning at 28,500 points. Zidan attributed the previous session’s corrective trend to profit-taking, noting that while trading volumes were moderate, the petrochemical sector continued to outperform. Egyptian investors predominantly engaged in buying, with net transactions totaling around EGP 276m (86.37%), whereas Arab and foreign investors leaned towards selling, with net transactions of EGP 102m and EGP 174m (8.11% and 5.52%, respectively). Individuals executed 76.96% of trades, with Egyptians making net purchases of EGP 5m. Arab and foreign individuals favored selling, with net transactions of EGP 9m and EGP 246,000, respectively. Institutional trading accounted for 23.03%, predominantly selling, except for local institutions, which made net purchases of EGP 271m. Arab and foreign institutions recorded net sales of EGP 93m and EGP 174m, respectively.

[Category: Business, EGX30, stock market]

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[l] at 4/16/24 3:17pm
Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir has declared a 5.3% growth in Egypt’s merchandise exports for the first quarter of this year, reaching $9.61bn. This marks an increase from the $9.13bn reported in the corresponding quarter of 2023. The report highlights the primary markets for Egyptian exports during Q1, with Turkey leading at an export value of $874m, followed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at $792m, the United Arab Emirates at $586m, Italy at $544m, and the United States of America at $471m. Key export sectors shaping Egypt’s merchandise exports in Q1 included building materials at approximately $1.96bn, food industries at $1.55bn, chemical products and fertilizers at $1.44bn, and crops also at $1.44bn. Other significant sectors were engineering and electronic goods at $1.272m, ready-made garments at $673m, textiles and spinning at $273m, and the combined sector of printing, packaging, paper, books, and artistic works at $244m. Additionally, the medical industry exports stood at $156m, home furnishings at $141m, and furniture at $67m. Handicrafts contributed $52m, while leather goods, including footwear, added $34m to the export tally. The report further detailed that standout export items showing an uptick in Q1 of 2024 were fresh and dried citrus fruits valued at $625m, nitrogen fertilizers at $421m, insulated wires and cables at $339m, petroleum oils at $317m, and gold at $303m.

[Category: Business, Exports, merchandise]

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[l] at 4/16/24 3:13pm
The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE) are poised to present the Zafarana wind farm’s subsequent phase to investors for bidding in the latter half of this year. Insiders disclosed to Daily News Egypt that a multitude of firms have showcased their eagerness to lodge proposals for the Zafarana facility’s unallocated segment. These informants elucidated that the second phase’s tender is slated for assignment before this year’s conclusion, aligning with the government’s advanced stage of finalizing tenders for the “Siemens” and “Jabal Al-Zeit” stations, which are approaching a definitive agreement worth an estimated $350 million. The Sovereign Fund of Egypt has resolved to competitively tender stages five through eight to alternative investors for green hydrogen initiatives. The adjudication will hinge on the most advantageous technical and fiscal propositions tendered by consortia vying for the tender, stipulating that the aspirant must possess a green hydrogen venture to capitalize on the energy harnessed from the station for their project. The informants supplemented that the second phase’s introduction succeeds the financial scrutiny’s culmination of the farm’s initial segment, encompassing stages one to four, which were directly conferred upon the international conglomerate Maersk. They continued, asserting that after the financial appraisal’s finalization, Maersk is to remit the capital and refurbish the stations it now co-owns, following a 50% acquisition as part of the government’s 2023 divestiture initiative. A consensus has been forged between the Sovereign Fund of Egypt and the New and Renewable Energy Authority regarding a protocol to ascertain Maersk’s payable sum, to be appraised by a fiscal analyst. The informants signified that the stations’ overhaul will necessitate a duration and that Maersk intends to allocate the procured energy towards its green hydrogen scheme. Zafarana’s wind power facility, amongst Egypt’s pioneering wind farms, has been bifurcated corresponding to its octet of developmental stages, boasting a near 545-megawatt capacity. This agrarian complex is equipped with 700 turbines and was actualized via collaborative accords with nations such as Germany, Denmark, Spain, and Japan.

[Category: Business, NREA, TSFE, Zafarana]

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[l] at 4/16/24 3:10pm
A recent study by ABB Motion, titled “Circularity: No Time to Waste,” indicates that a staggering 91% of industrial companies are grappling with resource shortages. This has spurred nearly two-thirds of them to ramp up their investments in circular economy initiatives over the coming three years. The most acutely felt shortages are in raw materials (37%), closely followed by energy (34%), labor (32%), and electronic components (26%). These shortages have not only escalated costs for 37% of companies but have also led to supply chain disruptions for 27% and curtailed production capabilities for 25%. Interestingly, although energy is deemed one of the scarcest resources, it is also reported as the largest waste contributor by two-fifths of the businesses. This paradox underscores the critical need for enhanced energy efficiency in the industrial sector, a factor the International Energy Agency (IEA) deems vital for achieving Net Zero objectives. Conducted by Sapio Research in October 2023, this worldwide survey polled 3,304 industrial leaders from 12 nations, including the US, China, India, the UK, Sweden, Germany, and France. The participants spanned various sectors, such as energy, metals, chemicals, oil and gas, marine, mining, and utilities. Despite the general optimism surrounding circular economy investments, the survey pinpointed several barriers to immediate advancement. A notable issue is the lack of consensus on a universal definition of “circularity,” with only 8% of respondents viewing it as an organization-wide mandate. However, those who did adopt this perspective reported the most significant gains in key circularity metrics, including energy usage, recycling rates, and carbon footprint reductions. The findings also highlight that several pivotal circular practices are yet to gain widespread adoption, with only a minority of firms engaging in partnerships with waste management entities (41%), integrating energy-saving technologies (37%), and endorsing circular principles within their supply chains (32%). On a positive note, 67% of companies are incorporating recycled materials into their products to some degree. The shift towards circularity has yielded tangible benefits, most notably in waste minimization (46%) and the enhancement of energy efficiency (45%). While concerns about initial investments persist, many firms foresee long-term gains in operational efficiency and cost management. A robust 78% of those surveyed concur that a circular economy fosters innovation and enhances competitive edge. They also advocate for more stringent regulations and reporting standards (74%) and call for greater governmental support in adopting circular business models (77%). Tarak Mehta, President of ABB Motion, stated: “The urgency of transitioning to a circular economy is more apparent than ever. Our prevailing consumption patterns are rapidly depleting resources, exacerbating emissions, and intensifying climate change. Adopting circularity is crucial not just for environmental protection but also for bolstering business resilience.” He further emphasized: “This survey underscores the need for a comprehensive strategy, instilling a sense of accountability at every organizational tier, and leveraging novel technologies and partnerships. Despite the hurdles, companies that wholeheartedly commit to circularity reap substantial rewards, from cost savings to reputational enhancement. The time for action is now; we must make circularity a standard practice across global industries without delay.”

[Category: Business, industrial firms]

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[l] at 4/16/24 3:07pm
The government media office in Gaza said that the Israeli occupation army sought to empty the city of Beit Hanoun and the eastern region of Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip, through the military operation it launched last night, in which its bulldozers and tanks advanced towards the shelter centres in the town, before besieging the Mahdia al-Shawa School, where hundreds of displaced people were present. The office stated in a statement that the occupation army established a field investigation centre behind the school and asked everyone to leave at gunpoint, forced the women to take off their hijab, stripped the men of their outer clothing, and forced all the families present in Beit Hanoun to flee from them before arresting several young men. The office said: “This new crime was carried out under the cover of violent artillery shelling, warplane shelling, and heavy gunfire, and military vehicles are still present at this moment near the Abu Safiya area, east of Jabalia and Beit Hanoun.” In the meantime, Palestinian media reported that the occupation forces forced women and children to leave Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip after besieging shelter centres in the town detaining young men and abusing them. In a related context, the government media office announced the discovery of a mass grave of Palestinians buried by the Israeli army in the courtyard of the Shifa Medical Complex, west of Gaza City, during its military operation in the hospital. Late on Monday evening, the office published a recorded video clip of the mass grave that was discovered in the international courtyard of Al-Shifa Hospital, and inside it were found the bodies of 10 Palestinians who were executed by the Israeli army and buried there during its military operations in the hospital that continued for two weeks at the end of last March. A member of the Health Emergency Committee in the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Moatasem Salah, said: “The first mass grave was discovered in the Shifa Medical Complex after 10 bodies were found buried in front of the reception section of the complex (in the front yard of the hospital)”. Salah added: “The bodies that were found were partly decomposed, partly were body parts, and some were women.” The Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that the Israeli occupation committed 5 massacres against civilians in the Gaza Strip during the past 24 hours, including 46 deaths and 110 injuries to hospitals. Thus, the toll of the Israeli aggression on Gaza has risen to 33,843 deaths and 76,575 injuries since the seventh of last October. “After 193 days of aggression against Gaza, there is a great fear that the electricity generators that worked at full capacity around the clock in hospitals will stop, and evidence indicates that they may stop at any moment, which will lead to a health disaster,” the Ministry of Health said. The ministry called on all concerned institutions to provide new generators or work to restore power lines to hospitals.

[Category: Region, Politics, Beit Hanoun, Gaza, Jabalia]

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[l] at 4/16/24 2:57pm
Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat met with World Bank Group officials during the 2024 Spring Meetings to discuss development strategies and ongoing cooperation. The discussions centered on navigating regional and global challenges impacting developing economies. Al-Mashat emphasized the need to adapt the World Banks model to maximize its role in tackling poverty, promoting shared prosperity, and expanding development financing. The development policy financing program aimed at structural reforms was a key topic. This program focuses on enhancing economic competitiveness, strengthening macroeconomic resilience, and fostering a green transition. It aligns with Egypts Country Partnership Framework with the World Bank Group (2023-2027) and aims to implement the state ownership policy document and reforms that promote private sector growth. The two sides discussed technical cooperation with the World Bank including support for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), developing a national strategy for industrial development and trade promotion, and implementing the state ownership policy document. Moreover, the meeting also highlighted the World Banks role in supporting economic and structural reforms that encourage FDI, along with successful experiences from other countries that Egypt can learn from. Al-Mashat emphasized the World Banks vital role in social protection efforts through the Takaful and Karama program. This program provides $900m in soft financing to support Egypts lowest-income groups. A new $500m tranche was recently approved to further strengthen investment in human capital, a crucial aspect of social development. The meetings also addressed ongoing climate action cooperation. Al-Mashat highlighted Egypts leadership in implementing national climate platforms, such as the NWFE program and the Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) developed with the World Bank. Additionally, discussions touched on enhancing joint efforts in womens empowerment and increasing their participation in development. The Ministry of International Cooperation underscored its commitment to effective development cooperation. This includes regular monitoring of ongoing projects with various development partners, every three months. Technical support provided by the World Bank to the Ministry of Finance in areas like financial management, accounting, debt, and risk management was also discussed. The recently announced $6bn financing package from the World Bank Group to Egypt over three years was reiterated. This package aims to support the governments economic reform program and empower the private sector. It will focus on increasing private sector participation in the economy through initiatives such as the government asset monetization program, strengthening the governance of state-owned enterprises, and improving public resource management. The World Bank Groups current development portfolio in Egypt exceeds $8bn, encompassing various institutions like the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

[Category: Business, Egypt, World Bank]

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