Daily News Egypt Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English 2017-01-23T16:13:25Z http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/feed/atom/ Hossam Mounir http://www.dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Banque Misr, NBE receive definitive judicial ruling against head of Dreamland Group]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612256 2017-01-23T16:13:25Z 2017-01-23T15:54:45Z Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) said they obtained definitive judicial rulings to sell most of Dreamland’s assets, which is owned by Ahmed Bahgat, as well as other rulings obligating Bahgat, as head of Dreamland Group, to pay EGP 600m to both banks. In a press release on Monday, the banks accused …

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Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) said they obtained definitive judicial rulings to sell most of Dreamland’s assets, which is owned by Ahmed Bahgat, as well as other rulings obligating Bahgat, as head of Dreamland Group, to pay EGP 600m to both banks.

In a press release on Monday, the banks accused Bahgat of publishing false information.

“Until March 2011 and despite several settlements with Bahgat, he has not paid any of his arrears of EGP 4bn,” the statement read.

It added that when banks implemented the agreements, Bahgat resorted to objecting to rulings. However, the statement explained, the court found banks’ measures to be sound and allowed them to sell Dreamland assets, including all the free land plots, Hilton and Sheraton Dream—Helnan Dreamland Hotel—as well as Bahgat stores.

Moreover, the statement noted that Bahgat, his sons, and companies have filed four appeals before the Court of Appeals, which were all declined.

The banks also said that Bahgat moved suits in the United States against the Egyptian state and the NBE, calling for $5bn in compensation; yet, the motion was also denied.

The two banks confirmed they will remain in support of business, businesspeople, companies, and investors for the sake of the Egyptian economy, but shall not neglect their rights or depositors’ funds.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[IMF loan’s first tranche was not used to pay off debts: CBE governor]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612246 2017-01-23T15:49:56Z 2017-01-23T15:49:56Z The total imports in 2016 amounted to $76bn, of which $2.2bn were for maize and beans

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Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer said that the first tranche of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan was added to the bank’s foreign currency reserves, and it has not been used in the payment of any foreign debts so far.

The total value of foreign exchange reserves reached $24.3bn by the end of December 2016, with an increase of $1.2bn compared to November.

In November and December, Egypt had received the first tranche of the IMF loan estimated at $2.75bn, as well as $2.7bn from China within an agreement to swap currency between the two countries, in addition to $2bn of international bonds issued by the government in the Irish stock market.

Egypt had had about $36bn of foreign exchange reserves before the 25 Janaury Revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

The IMF has announced that Egypt received the first tranche of the agreed loan in mid-November, amounting to $2.75bn.

Amer said, during a meeting of the parliament’s Economic Committee, that the total imports in 2016 amounted to $76bn, while exports reached $19bn.

Parliamentary sources reported that Amer said that the imports volume is still large compared to the Egyptian export volume in the current period. Maize imports amounted to $1.7bn and beans imports amounted to $500m, which means that there is a need to develop the Egyptian agricultural sector to meet the consumers’ demand.

The IMF revealed on Wednesday the full details of Egypt’s economic reform programme for which the country obtained a loan of $12bn in three tranches. The details included the reduction of fuel subsidies by about 41% during the next fiscal year.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[We aim to reduce government investment as a share of GDP: El-Araby]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612234 2017-01-23T15:01:22Z 2017-01-23T15:01:22Z Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby said that the government aims to reduce government investment as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP) within its plan to control government spending and tackle the budget deficit. The government’s investment allocations amounts to EGP 150bn (equivalent to 4.4% of GDP) in the budget of the current fiscal year (FY), compared …

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Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby said that the government aims to reduce government investment as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP) within its plan to control government spending and tackle the budget deficit.

The government’s investment allocations amounts to EGP 150bn (equivalent to 4.4% of GDP) in the budget of the current fiscal year (FY), compared to EGP 69bn (equivalent to 2.5% of GDP) in the last FY. The allocations jumped to this level because of the social housing programme that the government plans to implement this current FY to build 500,000 housing units.

El-Araby said that the government does not aim to reduce the government’s investment allocations as a value but as a share of the GDP; however, Egypt’s economic reform programme published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week shows that the targeted allocation value in the coming FY will decline to EGP 94.4bn (equivalent to 2.3% of GDP), and is expected to remain near that rate until FY 2020-2021.

Egypt’s economic reform programme also shows that the value of government investments in FY 2018-2019 will amount to EGP 112bn and EGP 130.8bn in the FY that follows before it reaches EGP 147.4bn in FY 2020-2021.

He said during a press conference on Sunday that reducing government investments will be matched by an increase in reliance on the private sector to cover the difference.

On the other hand, he said that inflation rates will decrease in April.

He added that the inflation rates in the second quarter (Q2) of the last FY recorded 19.5%, and that the decline in inflation rates will be linked to the market’s response and flexibility to accept the recent economic decisions.

He also said that achieving a growth rate of 4% over the current year that was driven by an improvement in the trade balance and the growth of labour-intensive industries is better than achieving a consumer growth rate of 5%.

He pointed out that the expansion in foreign debt depends on the size of GDP and the ability to repay. There will always be a permanent need to borrow as long as there is a deficit on the state budget. External borrowing is less expensive than domestic borrowing.

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Mohamed Farag <![CDATA[Healthcare city contract worth €4bn at SCZone to be signed next month ]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612226 2017-01-23T14:53:27Z 2017-01-23T14:53:27Z 25.6m sqm total contracts at Ain Sokhna, price of square metre of land ranges between $1 to $3, says Darwish

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Ahmed Darwish, chairperson of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), said that the authority intends to sign a contract to establish the first healthcare city with an English-Spanish alliance next month, with investments worth 4bn.

Darwish explained that the authority is currently revising the legal provisions of the contract in preparation for its signing. Some observations on the contracts were amended and sent to the English-Spanish alliance.

He added that the city is located on an area of ​​4m sqm. The authority agreed to the English-Spanish alliance after competing with an Emirati alliance.

The authority also intends to allocate 4m sqm of land to one of the industrial development companies next month.

Darwish said that the authority has received investment applications from industrial development companies to develop 22m sqm in the coming period.

He added that the authority is looking for investors whose expansion plans align with the vision of the authority in the long-term.

He continued that the authority conducted settlements with a group of investors on lands in the northwest of Suez worth between EGP 4-5bn.

He pointed out that the authority is negotiating with several international companies, including Toyota Tsusho and MAK, to implement the largest pier in east Port Said area on ​​5,000 sqm.

He stressed that the work in the city of Ain Sokhna is established according to two axes. The first is to end any problems with investors by having four out of five settlements worth EGP 4bn in the city. The second axis is to attract new investments for the project.

He pointed out that the total contracts for Ain Sokhna amount to 25.6m sqm over 13 months, compared to 2m sqm over 12 years. This is besides the negotiations to attract more foreign developers and investments for the project.

He said that the city of West Qantara includes 197 acres dedicated to small- and medium-sized activities. The authority shall provide the city with the facilities necessary for investors to not carry additional financial burdens.

Darwish explained that all lands within the economic zone project meet all the procedures required to start working on them from all sides, such as the armed forces, which makes the lands viable for investment and development.

He said that the price of a square metre of land in the Suez Canal Economic Zone ranges from $1-3 with a usufruct right for a period of 50 years.

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Mohamed Farag <![CDATA[Electricity Ministry resolves contentious items with Toyota alliance to establish Gulf of Suez wind farm]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612230 2017-01-23T14:48:10Z 2017-01-23T14:48:10Z Ministry agrees to arbitration abroad, buys energy at EGP 0.46 per KW/H

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The Ministry of Electricity resolved the contentious items with Toyota-Orascom-GD France alliance to establish a wind farm in the Gulf of Suez to produce 250 MW. The contracts for the project will be signed in the coming weeks.

Sources at the ministry said that the ministry agreed with the alliance to move arbitration abroad with the consent from both parties. The location, however, has not yet been determined.

The source told Daily News Egypt that the ministry agreed to buy energy produced from the farm at EGP 0.46 per KW/H, making the price the cheapest for wind farm energy.

Moreover, the source added that the alliance has almost completed the financial aspect of the project and secured the necessary funding for the plant, noting that investments amount to €250m.

He pointed out that the alliance committed to the terms, regulations, and price set, even though they was proposed before the flotation; hence, the government agreed to move the arbitration’s location.

The Ministry of Finance had approved the government’s guarantee of payment in case of dispute over the establishment of the Gulf of Suez wind farm with a capacity of 250 MW.

Based on the ministry’s decision, the state will be responsible for providing official financial guarantees to pay the companies’ dues if the Ministry of Electricity fails to pay the price of energy produced. Such guarantees are always provided for projects agreed to be implemented by the private sector.

The Ministry of Electricity will buy energy produced from the station for 25 years at a price that was agreed upon in accordance with the offer made in the tender. Furthermore, the ministry will sell the produced energy to the distribution companies.

The Ministry of Electricity had negotiated with GD France, Toyota, and Orascom after its negotiations with Lekela Power-Actis, which presented the lowest prices, were stalled because the company did not complete the procedures and requirements announced by the ministry.

The ministry seeks to produce 20% of the total national electricity with new and renewable energy by 2020, as part of the ministry’s plan to diversify its sources of energy production and sustainable development in the sector.

The Ministry of Electricity announced that it would not contract directly with any company to build renewable power plants. Instead, it will propose competitive tenders and the company which offers the lowest prices will win the tender.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[50 lawyers call on general prosecutor to reopen “Coptic Minya woman” case ]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612224 2017-01-23T14:23:26Z 2017-01-23T14:21:31Z A petition addressing the general prosecutor criticised the suspension of the case, and called for investigations to be reopened

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Fifty lawyers and the head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Naguib Gobrail submitted on Sunday a petition to general prosecutor Nabil Sadek in which they called for the reopening of investigations in the case of the “Coptic Minya woman.”

According to state-run newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm, the petition asked for the cancellation of the decision issued by the Minya prosecution to suspend the case and to reopen investigations in it to achieve justice.

Two weeks ago, head of the Lawyers Syndicate Sameh Ashour ordered members of the defence team of the Coptic woman to get an official copy of the case’s suspension decision, according to a statement issued from Ashour’s office.

The statement asserted that Ashour needs a copy of the prosecution’s decision to appeal against it and save the case.

Recently, several local media reports indicated that the prosecution decided to suspend the case of 70-year-old Souad Thabet known in media as “Coptic Minya woman”, who was forced out of her home by an angry mob, dragged in the street, beaten, and had her clothes ripped off in May 2015, according to a statement by the archbishop Makarius of Minya.

The incident began when a rumour about an alleged affair between Thabet’s son, Ashraf, and a Muslim woman sparked tensions in Al-Karam village in Minya, leading to threats against Ashraf who subsequently left the village. A group of roughly more than 200 people later looted and torched at least seven homes belonging to Coptic families, according to a statement issued then by the archbishop.

Following the incident, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had instructed respective authorities to hold those responsible for the incidents accountable. He also instructed the Minya governor to coordinate with the armed forces to restore the damaged buildings in the incident within a month, adding that the state will pay for the expenses.

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Amira El-Fekki <![CDATA[Tunisian authorities agree to speed up trial of Egyptian fishermen]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612199 2017-01-23T14:15:42Z 2017-01-23T14:15:42Z A trial session scheduled for February will take place on 26 January

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday that it was able to convince Tunisian authorities to speed up a trial for detained Egyptian fishermen. The trial session was initially scheduled to take place on 16 February but has been rescheduled to 26 January.

The fishermen are accused of illegally fishing in Tunisian regional waters, the ministry’s spokesperson said.

Two Egyptian fishing boats with a total of 19 fishermen were detained in October 2016 near Sfax port.

According to the ministry on Sunday, only three fishermen are still detained in Tunisia.

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Hisham Salah <![CDATA[Establishment of National Center for Mines Action and Sustainable Development completed: Nasr]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612214 2017-01-23T14:08:39Z 2017-01-23T14:08:39Z The minister emphasised that the centre will also establish infrastructure after clearing the area of landmines

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Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, alongside a representative of the Ministry of Defence, announced the establishment of the National Centre for Landmine Action and Sustainable Development.

During a meeting held with the European Union (EU) and the United Nations development programme (UNDP) representatives on Monday, the minister said that the centre will begin clearing 150,000 acres in the northern coast.

She emphasised that the centre will also establish infrastructure after clearing the area of landmines.

The centre will also consult with all regional and international bodies related to the removal of landmines in order to guarantee it can achieve its goals. The Ministry of Defence will be responsible for locating mines and clearing them, Nasr added.

She added that the government with its development partners have previously cleared 120,000 acres.  Promoting landmine awareness for children, providing better living conditions for people injured by landmines, establishing a prosthetics centre, and supporting the people in starting small businesses are core to the centre and government’s plans, Nasr said.

Randa Abu Al-Hassan, deputy resident representative of the UNDP, stated that the UNDP has been a partner of Egypt since 2007, allocating approximately $1.2m for clearing previous areas in the northern coast.

She emphasised that the UNDP is looking for further cooperation with the Egyptian government.

On a different issue, Nasr announced that she will allocate 50% of all grants proposed to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for women.

She said in a meeting that youth represent 40% of Egypt’s population, adding that supporting them will accelerate development, because SMEs provide 60% of all jobs in Egypt, and represent 90% of all businesses.

The minister stated that youth can access grants through the Social Fund for Development (SFD), banks, and private associations that finance SMEs.

Nasr believes that supporting SMEs needs cooperation between the government, private sector, and civil society bodies.

She added that the government will work on establishing the infrastructure and roads that will help small investors start their own businesses.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Court adjourns Geneina’s trial in “insulting judiciary” case to 27 March]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612201 2017-01-23T12:38:58Z 2017-01-23T12:38:58Z Geneina was sacked from his position as the top auditor by a presidential decree in March 2016

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The Giza Criminal Court adjourned on Sunday the trial of former top auditor and former head of the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) Hesham Geneina and three journalists to 26 March, in the case known as “insulting the judiciary”.

The lawsuit against Geneina and the journalists was filed by former minister of justice Ahmed Al-Zind, as he said that Geneina insulted judges by claiming that several judges have illegally acquired state lands.

Geneina also filed a lawsuit against Al-Zind and TV host Ahmed Moussa for defaming him, as they accused him of being a “puppet” of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Geneina was sacked from his position by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in March 2016. Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree in July 2015 whereby he allowed himself to appoint, replace, or dismiss heads of regulatory bodies. This decree contradicts the Egyptian Constitution stipulating that the work of these bodies should be independent from the state’s executive branches.

The former top auditor filed a lawsuit against his dismissal decision, arguing that Al-Sisi issued the decision while there was no parliament; thus, it is unconstitutional.

Geneina is facing charges of spreading false information and disrupting security and public order, after he claimed that public funds amounting to EGP 600bn were wasted in 2015 as a result of corruption.

 

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Mohamed Alaa El-Din <![CDATA[Significant decline in quality of mobile voice services in November]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612195 2017-01-23T11:59:26Z 2017-01-23T11:59:26Z Improvement in mobile internet connection, says NTRA

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A recent report published by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) for November showed a significant decline in the quality of voice services provided by the three mobile operators in Greater Cairo.

According to the NTRA report, approximately 25,226 mobile calls were examined through the networks of the three main service providers in Greater Cairo during November 2016. Out of the total calls examined, 67 calls were dropped, compared to only 29 calls in October, while the number of blocked calls amounted to six.

The NTRA’s data showed that Vodafone performed best among the three companies in terms of voice service quality. The examination placed 8,466 calls over the provider’s network, only 12 of which were dropped.

The voice services of Orange were examined through 8,427 calls, three of which were blocked, while 24 calls were dropped.

Etisalat Egypt’s voice services were examined through 8,333 calls; one call was blocked, while 31 calls were dropped.

All three mobile operators—Orange, Vodafone, and Etisalat—did not exceed the 2% maximum limit for blocked calls that the NTRA had set for the providers, while Etisalat Egypt exceeded the maximum limit for dropped calls.

Regarding mobile internet services, the NTRA report showed that there was a significant improvement in quality during November compared to October.

The service was examined through 10,369 connection attempts through the networks of the three operators, of which only one attempt was blocked compared to 17 attempts in October.

The NTRA conducted 3,385 connection attempts via the Vodafone network, of which none dropped out or were blocked. Etisalat’s network had 3,417 internet connection attempts carried out on it, with no blocks or drops. Orange’s network had one blocked attempt out of 3,567.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Ghabbour Auto acquires 96.8% of Chinese sales]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612197 2017-01-23T11:54:09Z 2017-01-23T11:54:09Z The monthly report released by the Automotive Marketing Information Council (AMIC) of November revealed that the Chinese car market recorded sales worth EGP 1.8bn, with 12,000 sold units from January until February 2016. Ghabbour Auto took over the market of Chinese cars, representing 96.8% of the market’s sales. The two brands Geely and Chery sold …

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The monthly report released by the Automotive Marketing Information Council (AMIC) of November revealed that the Chinese car market recorded sales worth EGP 1.8bn, with 12,000 sold units from January until February 2016.

Ghabbour Auto took over the market of Chinese cars, representing 96.8% of the market’s sales.

The two brands Geely and Chery sold 11,500 units out of a total of 11,900 units sold by Chinese brands.

Chery Tiggo managed to stay in the lead with 4,322 units told for EGP 808m, followed by Geely Emgrand 7 in second place with 3,688 units for EGP 466m.

Chery Envy came in third place with 3,536 units worth EGP 472m, and Brilliance V5 with 355 cars sold for EGP 55.7m was followed by Brilliance S30 which sold six cars worth EGP 558,000.

Geely Emgrand had topped the list of Chinese sales from January until November 2015 with sales worth EGP 493m and 5,543 sold cars.

Speranza Tiggo and Envy had come in the second and third places without any sales during September, October, and November 2015.

Chinese brands had achieved sales worth EGP 1.18bn during the first 11 months of 2015, representing 3.8% of total sales of the passenger cars’ market in Egypt, which is estimated at EGP 30.6bn.

Chinese cars represent 6.8% of the number of total sold cars.

 

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Amira El-Fekki <![CDATA[Egyptian parliamentary delegation in Brussels for talks with EU Parliament]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612184 2017-01-23T11:35:41Z 2017-01-23T11:35:41Z Local state media has reported that the NGOs Law is up for discussion during the visit

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A delegation from the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by member of parliament Ahmed Saeed, headed to Brussels on Sunday to attend a conference at the European Parliament, state media reported.

The delegation will attend a hearing session on Egypt. Main topics of discussion will include the NGOs Law, as well as the Libyan and Syrian crisis. The delegation’s visit will last for two days, state media added.

The European Parliament’s scheduled meetings for Tuesday included an exchange of views with Saeed.

The NGOs Law sparked controversy among civil society workers and the international community including the European Parliament and the European Union (EU). The law raised concerns on restrictions facing civil society workers in Egypt since the 25 January Revolution and the “NGOs foreign funding” case, which was recently reopened to include more non-governmental organisations.

“The [European Parliament] delegation is alarmed by the recent court ruling in Egypt freezing the assets and funds of human rights defenders and independent human rights organisations, and calls upon the government of Egypt to comply with its constitutional and international obligations in relation to freedom of association and expression”.

The statement came in November 2016 following a three-day visit by six members of the European Parliament’s delegation headed by Marisa Matias in the framework of the 11th inter-parliamentary meeting between the European Parliament and the Egyptian parliament.

The Egyptian parliament passed the law by the end of November 2016, but the law is still pending ratification by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, as several political and social groups called on the presidency not to ratify the bill.

Moreover, on 12 January, the EU spokesperson expressed concern over “a worrying trend of restricting space for civil society to operate in Egypt as seen by the recent multiplication of travel bans and asset freezes imposed on prominent human rights defenders and organisations.” The statement came following the decision taken by an Egyptian court to freeze the assets of two prominent human right organisations and their directors.

The statement argued that civil society’s role is essential to democratic and economic development, highlighting that human rights defenders and civil society should be free to operate in a favourable environment.

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Taha Sakr <![CDATA[5 police conscripts killed in militant attack in central Sinai]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612188 2017-01-23T11:30:45Z 2017-01-23T11:30:45Z The attack has yet to be claimed by any group

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Five police conscripts were killed on Sunday evening in central Sinai when anonymous militants opened fire against them. The incident took place when militants stopped a minibus carrying the conscripts and killed them, a North Sinai based journalist told Daily News Egypt on Monday on condition of anonymity.

The conscripts were on their way back from their residences outside of the Sinai Peninsula to their camps in central Sinai. The militants ordered them to step out of the vehicle before opening fire, the journalist said.

“The militants followed the minibus when it left the bus station from Ismailia and then stopped on El Hasna highway in central Sinai and ordered the conscripts to get out of the vehicle before shooting them,” the source explained. “They left the driver and other passengers in the minibus unharmed and then fled the scene.”

The conscripts had been returning to their base after having been on leave.

The Interior Ministry did not publish any statement regarding the attack; however, army spokesperson Tamer El-Refaay released a statement to the families of the killed conscripts.

Moreover, security forces and other battalions affiliated to the army’s sa’ka forces began wide sweeping operations in the area where the attack took place, aided by helicopters.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack; however, the journalist believes the militants are members of Islamic State (IS)-affiliated group “Sinai Province” that frequently targets police, army, and civilians across the Sinai Peninsula.

Since 2013, state security forces represented in both the army and police have been engaged in violent clashes with “Sinai Province,” known previously as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. In 2014, the group declared its affiliation to IS and has launched deadly attacks on army and police checkpoints.

Over the course of the last two years, the Egyptian Armed Forces launched counterattacks against militant stationing points across the Sinai Peninsula where the group is based, particularly in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish.

 

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Egypt to allow Italy to examine footage related to Regeni’s death]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612186 2017-01-23T10:47:41Z 2017-01-23T10:47:41Z The Italian parliament launched the Giulio Regeni Scholarship for an Egyptian student earlier this month

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The Egyptian General Prosecution approved on Sunday the demand of Italy to send Italian experts to obtain and examine footage of Dokki metro station pertaining to the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Citing general prosecutor Nabil Sadek, a statement said that he ordered the quick finalisation to the investigations of security bodies in the murder case.

Regeni was a Cambridge scholar conducting a Ph.D research in Cairo on the nature of political and economic developments, and particularly on the conditions of labour unions in Egypt. He disappeared on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, according to his friends. On 3 February 2016, his body was found dumped on the side of a road outside Cairo, showing signs of physical torture, such as cigarette burns and bruises.

Meanwhile, a state-owned channel aired on Sunday footage allegedly showing Regeni speaking to one of the street vendors prior to the former’s death. The footage showed Regeni asking the vendor questions that pertain to the vendor’s work and labour union, saying that it was for his academic paper.

Earlier this month, the Italian parliament established a Giulio Regeni Scholarship for an Egyptian student.

In September 2016, a joint statement by Egyptian and Italian prosecution included an acknowledgment for the first time from the Egyptian side that Regeni had been traced by Egypt’s security forces prior to his disappearance.

Bilateral relations between Egypt and Italy have strained over the murder of Regeni. In April 2016, Italy decided to recall its ambassador to Egypt for failing to provide substantial findings in the investigations. In June 2016, the Italian side decided to further escalate and cut military aid to Egypt.

 

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Rana Khaled <![CDATA[Frustration and disappointment: Egyptian independent theatrical troupes fight for their art to see the light ]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611727 2017-01-22T16:25:54Z 2017-01-23T10:00:54Z In a country where theatre has always been one of the most important types of art that helped express the struggles and dreams of people’s everyday lives, independent theatrical troupes are chocking. With the limited available resources and the absence of governmental support, the number of theatrical artists is rapidly decreasing, shedding light on a …

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In a country where theatre has always been one of the most important types of art that helped express the struggles and dreams of people’s everyday lives, independent theatrical troupes are chocking. With the limited available resources and the absence of governmental support, the number of theatrical artists is rapidly decreasing, shedding light on a crucial problem that needs to be investigated.

“Al Helm” [The Dream] theatrical troupe started in 2013 with the self-efforts of 13 young enthusiastic theatre artists. It turned a number of successful novels into theatrical plays, including Al-Asyad [The Masters] by Hassan Kamal, Al-Feel Al-Azraq [The Blue Elephant] by Ahmed Mourad, Necrophilia by Shereen Hana’y and Ezaet El Aghany, and “Songs Station” by Omar Taher. Although the troupe managed to attract the attention of a large audience by its outstanding performance and remarkable presentation of daily struggles, it is still facing a lot of barriers and difficulties that threaten its sustainability.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

“We basically started as a group of theatre fans in the faculty of arts. When we graduated, we decided to start our independent troupe together,” said Ayat Magdy, the leader of the troupe.

“Because of the funding difficulties we encounter, the number of artists has decreased to nine because many members couldn’t afford paying money without gaining any profits in return. Many prominent writers and actors promised to provide us with support but none of them kept their promise,” she added.

Frustrated and disappointed, Magdy decided to ask for help from the Ministry of Culture. She wasn’t allowed to meet the minister in spite of her continuous trials to speak with officials since 2012.

“Finding a theatre has always been our biggest problem. You have to pay about EGP 40,000 to rent a private, equipped theatre to perform any play and you have to pay at least EGP 20,000 if you want to rent one of the theatres of the ministry. But in that case, you won’t be allowed to sell tickets,” she noted.

Alternatively, the troupe prefers to perform its plays in El Sawy Culture Wheel in Zamalek or the Hosaber theatre in Al-Azbakeya.

“I wonder how the government doesn’t pay attention to the potential of supporting independent theatrical troupes in Egypt. People are strongly drawn to attending plays nowadays. Thus, allowing young artists to create new troupes under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture would be a very profitable project over time,” she added.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

In her opinion, such a project will guarantee the sustainability of theatrical artistic works on one side, in addition to guaranteeing the quality of the presented plays on the other.

“None of us is fully devoted to the theatre because we have to earn a living from other jobs. This distracts us from achieving our dream to create innovative plays to amuse the audience because we don’t have enough time,” she said.

The absence of the crucial role the media must play in raising awareness about the importance of theatre is another factor that influences how the audience and officials react to the problems of independent troupes, from her point of view.

On the other side, Naglaa Younes, one of the members of “Al-Shanta” (The Bag) theatrical troupe, has experienced similar hardships over the past years.

“We are a group of 20 whose passion for theatre started in 2003, when we joined the workshop of Qasem Mohammed, one of the leading theatre pioneers in Egypt. Then, we decided to make an independent troupe to present the kinds of theatrical arts we believe in,” she said.

According to her, Al-Hanager theatre in Cairo Opera House used to provide a variety of workshops and training sessions for novice artists for many years. These workshops used to play a role in providing artists with the required knowledge and upgrade their skills and talents. However, this stopped in 2009 without any obvious reasons.

“Looking at the bright side, a number of places such as Emad Eddin studio, Al-Falaki theatre, and Jesuit cultural centre try to provide an alternative. Also, Cairo Contemporary Dance Center provides us with a stage for rehearsals,” she added.

Unlike Magdy, she believes that the government must not be asked to support independent troupes. “In order for the government to support any play or troupe, it will impose some restrictions and regulations on the artistic work which is not acceptable by any means. Instead, the country should contribute to the sustainability of some important troupes and experienced artists,” she explained.

Over years, the late Nehad Selaiha, a leading theatre critic and professor of criticism and drama, has been struggling to establish the first unit for supporting independent theatre in the Ministry of Culture. The unit was initiated two years ago; however, it hasn’t been activated until now.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

“Establishing this unit wasn’t an easy task at all,” said Rasha Abdel Moneim, a playwright and one of the founders of the independent theatre unit.

“We submitted a proposal with a clear methodology for supporting the independent troupes and organised meetings with a number of independent theatrical artists to listen to their suggestions which were coordinated in one vision. EGP 2m were allocated to help 50 troupes and support was planned to be given to provide workshops and training for artists,” she said.

However, the members of the unit were surprised that no bank account was opened to start the practical procedures as scheduled. They were informed that the Ministry of Finance refused to fund the unit.

“I totally understand the unstable current situation of the country and the political and economic problems it passes through; however, the government must understand that theatre is a more active weapon for fighting extremism and terrorism than any other way,” she noted.

In her opinion, theatre must be considered a priority to fight the extremist thoughts by reaching the villages, governorates, and informal housing areas, convey peace messages, and raise people’s awareness about the current circumstances of the country.

“Although I worked for national theatres for many years, I am always more biased to the independent theatre as it is the only way of salvation. It enables the artist to improve himself and provides him with the freedom of avoiding all kinds of bureaucracy,” she added.

Although the cabinet decided to support the cinema industry with about EGP 50m, she believes that the theatre will be able to host bigger human resources which creates an imperative need for allocating a similar budget for it.

“I will always say that EGP 2m is a small amount in comparison to some of the theatrical shows produced by the national theatres. We will never give up asking for our rights and pursuing our dreams,” she concluded.

 

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Alaa Moustafa <![CDATA[African teams hit by injuries amid pitch concerns in Afcon 2017]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611649 2017-01-22T16:52:19Z 2017-01-23T09:30:47Z Major players suffer from poor state of pitches in Gabon; CAF accused of delinquency 

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Many African players who participate in the Africa Cup of Nations held in Gabon are suffering from the poor state of the pitches which are hosting the 31st edition of the African tournament. The officials of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) came under suspicion of delinquency, as they did not consider the poor infrastructure of the countries that host the most important continental event. Despite the huge profits gained by the CAF from marketing its competitions and forcing advertisers and TV channels to compete over broadcast rights, officials do not allocate these gains to develop the infrastructure of African countries, especially those which suffer financially.

Ghana lost left-back Abdul Rahman Baba to a serious knee injury suffered in the first half of Ghana’s 1-0 win against Uganda on Tuesday. The Schalke’s international player will not be available for the rest of the cup as he is set to return to Germany for more examination.

Egypt’s national team also suffered from injuries, as the Pharaos lost goalkeeper Ahmed El Shennawy when he went off in their 0-0 draw with Mali. The third goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy has also been sidelined as he suffered an injury during training on 14 January and is undergoing intensive treatment in the hope he can recover to play if required. So Egypt currently has only one fully fit goalkeeper Essam El Hadary.

It is not a coincidence that all of these injuries happened at the same time, especially after frequent complaints from bad pitches. However, the CAF officials did nothing to solve the problem, and decided to move the warm-up sessions of the teams to the locker room instead of the pitch for the first time in the tournament.

Host Gabon has suffered another setback at the Africa Cup of Nations after key midfielder Mario Lemina was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a back injury. The Juventus midfielder had gone off injured in the opening game for Gabon at the weekend when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Guinea Bissau and missed Wednesday’s draw with Burkina Faso that left them on the brink of elimination.

Burkina Faso midfielder Jonathan Zongo was also injured in the last match with Gabon and left the pitch.

Egypt’s midfielder Omar Gaber was injured during a training session on Thursday, amid growing fears of more injuries which would affect the tournament as well as these players’ clubs.

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Alaa Moustafa <![CDATA[Egypt only to qualify for Afcon 2017 quarterfinals in four cases]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611759 2017-01-22T16:49:15Z 2017-01-23T09:00:26Z Egypt’s national team can finally take a deep breath after their last-minute win against Uganda 1-0 on Saturday in their second group D game at the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon. The Pharaohs occupied the second place in their group with four points, while Ghana secured its qualification for the next stage with …

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Egypt’s national team can finally take a deep breath after their last-minute win against Uganda 1-0 on Saturday in their second group D game at the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon.

The Pharaohs occupied the second place in their group with four points, while Ghana secured its qualification for the next stage with six points after beating Mali and Uganda. Mali came in third place with a single point, followed by Uganda at the bottom of the table with no points.

Egypt’s coach Héctor Cúper did not express happiness after his first win at the Afcon 2017 which was played at Port-Gentil, Gabon.

Cúper told the media after the match that the competition is very intensive in all groups, and that the teams win with a maximum of one or two goals.

He added that the Pharaohs need to make a big game against Ghana to honourably qualify for the quarterfinals, pointing out that Uganda was a fierce competitor. Although the Argentinean coach expected a better performance, he praised the players’ efforts and keenness to win until the last minute of the game.

On the other hand, the coaching staff was worried of the negative effects of high temperature and high humidity on the players, and started to think of a solution, especially as the Pharaohs aim to go further in the tournament.

The staff tends to give a rest to the key players who played against Uganda.

Director of the national team Ehab Leheta spoke about the regulations of the Afcon to be applied in case Egypt and Mali had equal points.

Egypt drew in the first game against Mali and won the second match against Uganda, scoring four points. Mali has a single point and will play against Uganda. In case Mali wins its last match and the Pharaohs lose to Ghana, Egypt and Mali will have four points each.

According to the 2017 Afcon regulations, in case of an equal amount of points between two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the other criteria. These are the greatest number of points obtained in the matches between the two teams concerned; the best goal difference in the matches between the two teams concerned; the goal difference in all group matches; or the greatest number of goals scored in all group matches. If a tie in points cannot be settled this way, the Organizing Committee draws lots to determine the qualifying team.

The Pharaohs can qualify for the quarterfinals in the following cases.

Egypt beats Ghana

In case Egypt beats Ghana, the Pharaohs would directly qualify for the quarterfinals regardless of the result of the game between Mali and Uganda. Egypt would lead the group with seven points followed by Ghana.

Egypt draws with Ghana

In case Egypt draws with Ghana, the Pharaohs would qualify for the quarterfinals, regardless of the result of the game between Mali and Uganda. Ghana would lead the group with seven points followed by Egypt.

Ghana beats Egypt and Mali wins against Uganda

In case Egypt loses to Ghana and Mali beats Uganda, the Egyptian national team’s chances of qualification would be complicated. Egypt and Mali will be ranked according to the greatest number of points obtained in the matches between them, the best goal difference in the matches between them, the goal difference in all group matches, the greatest number of goals scored in all group matches, or the number of red and yellow cards given to each team.

Egypt and Mali lose

In case Egypt loses to Ghana and Mali draws with Uganda, the Pharaohs would directly qualify for the quarterfinals as Ghana will lead the group with nine points followed by Egypt. Uganda will come in third place with three points, while Mali will be at the bottom of group D with a single point.

In case Egypt loses and Mali draws with Uganda, the Pharaohs would also directly qualify for the quarterfinals as Ghana will lead the group with nine points followed by Egypt with four points. Mali will come in third place with two points, while Uganda will be at the bottom of group D with a single point.

Quarterfinals

In case the Egyptian national team beats Ghana on Wednesday, occupying the first place, the Pharaohs will face the second team in group C. In case Egypt qualifies for next stage as the second, the Pharaohs would face the first team in group C.

On the other hand, the situation is still unclear in group C, as Congo leads the group with four points after beating Morocco and drawing with Ivory Coast. Morocco came in second place after beating Togo 3-1, while Ivory Coast has two points from two draws with Congo and Togo, which lies at the bottom of the table with a single point. In case the Moroccan national team draws with Ivory Coast, it would directly qualify for the next stage, even if Togo beats Congo, as Morocco leads its opponents in the head-to-head department, followed by Togo.

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Deutsche Welle <![CDATA[China’s online population growing fast]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612152 2017-01-23T11:21:05Z 2017-01-23T08:07:00Z The post China’s online population growing fast appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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The number of internet users in China has been rising by leaps and bounds. Those online in the world’s second-largest economy equal the entire population of Europe, with e-commerce the main driver of expansion.The number of internet users in China – already the world’s highest – reached 731 million people, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reported as it presented the latest figures for 2016.

It said total internet users rose by 6.2 percent from the end of December 2015 and equaled the entire population of Europe.

CNNIC pointed out that e-commerce had driven consumer demand across the Asian giant. The number of people who went online through cell phones reached 695 million last year.

The power of online shoppers

As of December 2016, the number of people in China using online payments reached 475 million, marking a 14-percent increase year on year.

Beijing is pushing its “Internet Plus” project that aims to expand the role of online technology in the economy. On the other hand, the government has been barring citizens from accessing major websites including Facebook and Google.

Nonetheless, online consumption has been contributing to GDP growth, with its role gradually increasing.

In one example of the growing power of China’s online shoppers, consumers spent $17.8 billion (16.7 billion euros) in e-commerce giant Alibaba’s biggest online shopping promotion on November 11 last year, more than twice the five-day desktop sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in the US in 2016.

hg/jd (AFP, LUSA)

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Hamada Ismail <![CDATA[CGP to sign construction contracts worth EGP 1bn in first 4 months of 2017]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611716 2017-01-22T16:44:46Z 2017-01-23T08:00:32Z Companies must search for new patterns of development to keep pace with pound's flotation consequences 

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Capital Group Properties (CGP) real estate development company aims to sign construction contracts during the first four months of 2017 worth EGP 1bn for implementing units within the first phase of the Borooj project. The company is considering large tracts of land development in a number of coastal and residential areas.

Chief projects officer at CGP and member at the Real Estate Development Chamber affiliated to the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) Amgad Hassanein said that the company plans to sign three tender contracts for implementing units within the first phase of the Borooj project. The value of contracts increased to EGP 1.3bn since the company’s founding.

The company also assigned construction projects worth EGP 300m to other companies in October 2016.

CGP assigned the implementation of 250 townhouses of the first phase of the Borooj project to Hassan Allam Contracting Company, which took over the site and began construction in October. Units are scheduled to be completed and delivered fully finished with utilities to customers within 30 months from the start date of the implementation of the project.

Borooj project is constructed on an area of 1,212 acres (5m sqm), in the area between Suez and Ismailia desert roads. It is an integrated urban project comprising of 28,000 housing units, as well as commercial, administrative, and recreational activities. The project will be developed in four phases over 10 years with investments worth EGP 50bn.

Hassanein explained that the company will decide on the first tender in the coming weeks. Three contracting companies are contesting within a limited tender.

The company is running behind schedule in assigning works that were planned to be done in the last months to companies, due to the difficulty of determining the financial cost of the work by contracting companies due to the volatility in prices of raw materials and the foreign exchange gap.

The negative consequences of the Egyptian pound’s flotation directly reflected on construction inputs, as did the value-added tax (VAT) and price hikes on oil products.

The company is seeking to increase its investments in the Egyptian market and is considering a number of investment opportunities that include large tracts of lands in the North Coast, Red Sea, and cities west of Cairo, especially Sheikh Zayed. Opportunities vary between partnership with government agencies and direct purchase of lands. The company is waiting on the Ministry of Housing to launch land partnership projects in the coming period.

He stressed that the market will see a change in companies’ ideas during the next phase after the liberalistion of the exchange rate, and CGP has started to notice that. The company has adopted a different ideology since it started to operate in the market in terms of designs and unit construction. It has hired European consultants to help the company achieve this.

The cost of construction rose by roughly 30-40%  following the flotation of the Egyptian pound, given the proportion of Egyptian components, which adds extra costs on companies.

Hassanein mentioned that the company has only signed one contract, but it considered the probability of the US dollar price increase against the pound, which was clearly expected. Therefore, the company wasn’t significantly impacted.

He pointed out that the company increased its unit prices by 20%, as well as extended repayment deadlines to comply with the customer purchasing power—which is measured by customers’ ability to repay the value of the instalment, not the total price of the unit. This requires companies to find financing alternatives to help them provide long repayment periods for customers.

The source added that the high value of the dollar reduced the value of the real estate market globally. Real estate has become very attractive, and companies must exploit that opportunity through external marketing. This should be organised by all Egyptian companies together, not individually.

Hassanein expected companies to increase their prices by 30% this year to reach 100% over four years amid the growing demand and the increased prices of construction inputs.

He said that the old way of thinking in the real estate sector and the reliance on cash flows from sale proceeds and customers’ monthly instalments in project development is no longer compatible with the new changes recently witnessed by the market. Companies are required to search for financing alternatives and to accelerate implementation works.

Hassanein added that the Real Estate Development Chamber presented an important initiative to the Ministry of Housing to ensure residence is granted to foreigners who buy property worth $250,000 or more. This will increase cash flows of foreign currency as well as improve market activity despite the global decrease in the value of real estate.

He stressed the importance of amending the Mortgage Law to include units under construction, in order to deal with major and serious companies and undisputed land, which allows many customers to own housing units in light of price hikes.

He added that the chamber is preparing an initiative to present to the Ministry of Housing and the cabinet for the development of small- and medium-sized real estate developers by providing lands in line with their development ability on areas of 5-10 acres at affordable prices. It also includes financing small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) projects at low interest rates, and providing technical support from major, experienced companies.

Hassanein said that the chamber has started holding meetings with SMEs to get to know their demands and problems, and to find an integrated mechanism for the development of SMEs. The chamber will submit its findings through a memorandum to the Ministry of Housing and the cabinet.

Hassanein also called on the state to resolve the tourism companies’ crisis, which obtained lands in dollars and are required to repay in accordance with current foreign exchange prices—which represents significant pressure and has led to losses. The chamber has received many complaints from tourism developers, and it seeks to study the problem as a prelude to communicate with the Ministry of Tourism to solve their problems.

He expects the real estate sector to achieve growth in the current period, due to the demand on housing units, particularly medium categories, in light of the accumulated deficit from previous years; along with an annual demand of 500,000-600,000 housing units per year according to marriage requests. This requires doubling what companies offer in order to cover these requirements.

Hassanein stressed that the Egyptian market is the highest in terms of investment returns, and that the current period is the best for receiving new Arab and foreign investments, despite some difficulties experienced by the companies.

He explained that the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030 prepared by the presidency aims to raise the proportion of developed land in Egypt from 7% to 13% over the coming 14 years, which requires major effort. The state can’t achieve this rate alone, which makes the private sector a main player.

He pointed out that the chamber is also interested in the problems of the industrial developer, and that four out of 11 companies operating with this system posses lands, while the other seven companies are facing the spectre of closure as the state has not offered lands to industrial developers in recent years.

He pointed out that the partnership between the Ministry of Housing and developers allows companies to inject capital into construction rather than paying the value of the land, which accelerates development and contributes to achieving the state’s strategic and development plans.

He stressed the importance of returning the general developer system, which obtains large tracts of lands of 5,000-10,000 acres without utilities to renovate them, then sell them to SMEs. Regions such as Heliopolis, Mokattam, and Nasr City implemented this system in order to eliminate monopoly and provide multiple alternatives for lands offering.

CGP ownership is distributed equally between Abu Dhabi Capital Group and Al Ain Properties. The parent company has implemented several projects in a number of countries around the world, including the Hard Rock Hotel in Dubai, New Scotland Yard in London, Capital Plaza in Montenegro, and Rowdat and Capital Bay in Abu Dhabi.

 

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Deutsche Welle <![CDATA[No end to Takata stock freefall]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=612155 2017-01-23T11:22:07Z 2017-01-23T07:03:00Z The post No end to Takata stock freefall appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Shares of troubled Japanese airbag maker Takata have continued their downward slide as the company braces for a drawn-out bankruptcy restructuring. The firm is at the center of the auto industry’s biggest recall.Takata shares tumbled again on Monday, diving nearly 18 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on fears of a protracted bankruptcy restructuring for the airbag maker.

The embattled stock, which had lost more than half its value within a week, fell by its daily limit and was untraded again after extending a losing streak to a sixth session.

Takata shares already plunged by 21 percent last Friday, with the Japanese firm at the center of the biggest-ever safety recall worldwide.

Competing proposals

The steep drop is linked to reports that two rival suitors will propose bankruptcy restructuring for the airbag maker that recalled more than 100 million inflators globally.

The recall came after the discovery of a defect in Takata airbags that could cause them to inflate with excessive force, sending metal and plastic shrapnel from the inflator canister hurtling toward drivers and passengers.

The problem has been linked to at least 15 deaths and scores of injuries worldwide.

According to media reports, Sweden’s Autoliv, the world’s leading airbag manufacturer, and a consortium led by US auto parts maker Key Safety Systems, are to present their bankruptcy restructuring proposals for Takata any time soon.

Tokyo shares in general fell Monday, with exporters hit as the yen rose sharply against the greenback after Donald Trump started his presidency.

The benchmark Nikkei index lost 1.29 percent. “If the market starts to focus more on concerns over Trump’s protectionist aspects, the yen is likely to temporarily shift toward strength,” Tokai Tokyo Research Institute strategist Shoji Hirakawa said in a statement.

hg/jd (AFP, Reuters)

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Abdel-Azim Osman <![CDATA[Is now a good time to buy real estate in Egypt?]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611753 2017-01-22T16:41:35Z 2017-01-23T07:00:06Z Since the flotation of the Egyptian pound, real estate prices have shot up. On average, real estate developers have increased their prices in Egyptian pounds by 15-20%. Of course, if you calculate the prices of real estate in US dollars, the prices have significantly decreased. We frequently get asked: is now a good time to …

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Since the flotation of the Egyptian pound, real estate prices have shot up. On average, real estate developers have increased their prices in Egyptian pounds by 15-20%. Of course, if you calculate the prices of real estate in US dollars, the prices have significantly decreased. We frequently get asked: is now a good time to buy?

That depends on several factors. If you are planning on buying a house in 2017, then buying now is better than buying later. Over the next quarter, real estate prices will continue to climb to make up for the loss in the US dollar value they exhibited since the devaluation. We expect that in the medium-term, prices in US dollars will not reach their pre-devaluation levels, but will be higher than they are today.

If you are buying for investment, then location and community are the most important factors to consider. The value of real estate will increase significantly in some locations. To take an extreme example, one of the hottest compounds in Egypt is Katameya Heights. Some villas are selling for $14m when they weren’t even worth a twentieth of that 10 years ago. Also, prices in Katameya Heights have maintained their value in dollar terms since the devaluation and in some cases, have actually increased. So if you pick the right location, then your investment will provide you with an excellent return. We’ve seen this happen over and over again—the price of units in the best compounds increases and the quality becomes clearer. Community is the key here. People enjoy living in communities with people that have similar lifestyle preferences. When a compound succeeds in developing a strong community, the value of the properties significantly increases.

As a similar example, in 2002, the nation of Argentina dropped its peg of the local peso against the dollar, and similar to Egypt, the peso quickly lost about half of its value. Although the peso price of real estate increased, most properties lost dollar-denominated value. The resale market was also in chaos, and it took several months for the market to clear and prices to stabilise. After the initial fluctuations, most properties increased in value in terms of pesos, but decreased in terms of US dollars. However, the best properties in Buenos Aires maintained their value in terms of US dollars.

If you are buying for consumption then pick the house that feels like home and honestly, nothing else matters. The house that feels like home can depend on many factors including the community and neighbourhood. In the long-run, real estate prices will always increase, as upwardly mobile Egyptians look for higher qualities of life during good times and savers look for inflation hedges during uncertain times. Any short-term gains or losses will balance out.

In general, buying a property today with relaxed payment terms is a good idea. No one can be certain how much more the pound will devaluate, but judging by the current state of the economy, and the lack of full capital mobility, we expect short-term fluctuations but medium-term loss in value. So if you buy a property today, with 5-7 years of payment terms, you are fixing the price of a unit in pounds. That unit’s price in pounds will increase significantly over that time period due to inflation.

If your basis is foreign currency, then real estate got much cheaper for you. So now would be the best time to buy with relaxed payment terms. Timing is key, and you should buy your new property before any further price increases. Any further devaluation will benefit you by making your future payments even cheaper in foreign currency terms.

In conclusion, there isn’t a yes or no answer to whether now is a good time to buy or not. If you’re buying to live, look for a location, community, and amenities that match your preferences.  If you’re buying to invest, it’s a matter of identifying which communities will prosper and be the cream of the crop.

Abdel-Azim Osman holds a BS in Economics from MIT, and is a Co-founder of CooingEstate.com

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Reem Hosam El-din <![CDATA[We are optimistic about 2017, we will continue to grow: Xerox Egypt]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611700 2017-01-22T15:35:57Z 2017-01-23T06:00:57Z We have over 30% share in the A3 printing and copying market, says Duffelen

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Amid the economic fluctuations in 2016, and the prospects of 2017, Xerox Egypt stands firm in its optimism about what the future holds for its business and the Egyptian economy. Mark Duffelen, vice president and general manager of Xerox Middle East and Africa, believes that Egypt will continue to expand in different sectors, considering it a major hub for Xerox in the entire region.

Duffelen sat down with Daily News Egypt in a joint interview with Haitham Abdou, the general manager of Xerox Egypt, and revealed the company’s strategy for 2017. They both shared their opinions and views about the current state of the economy as well as their expectations for Xerox Egypt throughout the few upcoming months, with a general state of excitement about what the future brings.

Haitham Abdou, the general manager of Xerox Egypt
Haitham Abdou, the general manager of Xerox Egypt

What business strategy will Xerox adopt in 2017?

Duffelen: First of all, it is worth noting that Xerox has been the top company in the sector worldwide in terms of revenues for seven years, for each quarter in a row with a revenue share of around 22%. We have a plan to continue to grow across the world in four key areas.

First, the A4 Multi-function printer, which we are already doing very well with here in Egypt, and marrying this with the managed print services, which we are number one in worldwide, will result in a great leap for growth.

The second area is the production market, which is growing by about 5%, and within that, inkjet printing is growing by about 10%. We have developed a range of inkjet devices to grow the size of the inkjet market, not just to grow our business in inkjet. This was especially true after we acquired IMPIKA company. We were able to take Xerox’s expertise in print outputs and marry that with the engines that IMPIKA has.

The third area is increased market coverage. We are doing a good job covering the market here but we are going to get even better at it. We are changing our distribution model here, and focusing on different product groups rather than a number of distributors. We will engage two major distributors, Raya and Aptech, who can cover two different product groups. We signed a contract with the two companies a couple of weeks ago to become one of our main distribution arms.

The fourth area is our document outsourcing proposition where we rationalise and control costs as well as create mobility and security.

Xerox has recently separated from Conduent Incorporated. In what way does this impact Xerox globally and in Egypt?

Duffelen: While this split had no impact on Xerox Egypt, we consider it very positive for Xerox in general, as it created two market-leading, publicly-traded companies. This allows Xerox to be completely focused on documents, workflow, and making the lives of our customers simpler, eventually enabling better workflows that drive down costs and improve processes. Now, there is a massive focus on Xerox technology. All the investments in Xerox will be directed towards Xerox technology and document outsourcing.

Mark Duffelen, vice president and general manager of Xerox Middle East and Africa
Mark Duffelen, vice president and general manager of Xerox Middle East and Africa

Where does Xerox Egypt stand in the region and on a global level?

Duffelen: With 89 countries in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Xerox Egypt is the only company directly operated by Xerox, while other Xerox companies in the region are managed by our distributors, so Xerox Egypt certainly stands out and is a strategic hub for the entire region. We always make sure that Xerox Egypt is well-prepared to support anything that happens in the MEA region.

In fact, the regions of Europe and North America are now copying the Xerox Egypt model. The way we operate here is now being replicated across the rest of the Xerox world, which is a testament to how successful we have been here.

Xerox Egypt has the number one market share across virtually most parts of the portfolio. It is the market leader in the digital printing and graphic communications sector. We have almost 74% of the market share with production printers, as well as almost 34% market share in the Egyptian industry for A3 devices for small- and medium-sized businesses. We have acquired the largest share of sales in the third quarter (Q3) of 2016, nearing 31%.

Abdou: Xerox Egypt also accounts for about 90% of the managed printing services in the banking sector; some of these banks include Emirates NBD and the Arab African International Bank (AAIB).

Duffelen: On a more general level, Xerox is leading multifunction printers (MFPs), which we plan to focus on more over the upcoming period, and get multi-function devices to become part of the process rather than an output device.

What is Xerox Egypt’s target growth rate for 2017?

Abdou: Xerox Egypt is targeting a growth rate of 10% in 2017.

What are the sectors that Xerox Egypt is currently present in and plans to expand in?

Abdou: Xerox Egypt is currently investing in new business solutions and applications that help improve productivity and simplify the work process for a number of sectors, focusing mainly on the banking, health, hospitality, telecommunications, and governmental sectors.

How does Xerox Egypt contribute to these sectors?

Abdou: In the banking sector, Xerox provides innovative solutions, which we call “smart paper solutions,” in order to facilitate banking transactions, including deposits, withdrawal, opening bank accounts, and credit card services.

In the health sector, Xerox introduced “radiology” which was a major success. Our solutions and devices can carry out very accurate printing of X-rays on paper rather than the traditional film, cutting down costs for laboratories and hospitals. We have sold over 50 of the machines that offer this in 2016, while the average is usually within the range of 10 to 15. We saw a tremendous growth in this area and we expect more growth in 2017. Xerox has also launched several other services and solutions for the hospitality sector, including the automation of admission processes, including patient files and content management.

In the telecommunications sector, we offer new solutions for securely automating the purchase of telecommunication services.

We have also invested in new Arabic user interface features, which mainly target the sectors that highly depend on the Arabic language in their business, such as the governmental sector and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Are there other sectors you seek to enter in the near future?

Abdou: Yes, in fact, Xerox Egypt is planning to launch 29 new products this year. We also have a new focus on a programme in 2017 in the education sector, whether for universities or schools. We also plan to expand our business in the oil and gas sector, as well as in the manufacturing business through some new solutions. We see a lot of potential for growth in these sectors. We will certainly continue to expand in the governmental sector as well.

How has the flotation of the Egyptian pound affected your business?

Duffelen: There was a growth in the number of units we sold and managed print services contracts, as well as a growth in the business supplies, but we are not immune to the currency flotation of course.

Our revenues in Egyptian pounds increased, but they get reported in US dollars because we are a US corporation. From what the corporation sees as a contribution from Egypt, it is less than it was a year ago. This is inevitable. However, we have a highly experienced team that is incredibly good at managing the issues of currency availability, serving customers, and making sure they are properly looked after. While there may be a financial impact as we go through this, we remain very well positioned, and we believe the storm is only temporary.

What does Xerox offer to its clients to cope with the current economic conditions in Egypt? 

Abdou: “Managed print services” is one of our main offerings, where we convert the upfront capital expenditure of large organisations into an operational cost, and that is perfect for such an economy. This is why we have the 90% market share in the banking sector for example. We manage bank’s printing environment over five-year contracts rather than upfront purchases. That has been very successful for us and has expanded in 2016 even in the turbulent economic environment.

Duffelen: Our proposition is generally designed to help people streamline their processes and reduce cost. Customers work with us because we enhance their proposition whether for their organisations or taking it to the market, so they may be willing to spend more money to find a better output to sell or use within their organisations. And of course, the currency rates here are clearly a challenge, but we are still optimistic.

How do you see the future of the Egyptian economy? 

Abdou: We are generally very optimistic about 2017 and the years after. It is a long journey, but we expect that starting from the second half of 2017, all the government initiatives will start to pay off and we will start to see an upside in the economy; perhaps because of many factors , such as the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) loan. We will start seeing an increase in inbound tourism, some stability in the dollar rates, and an overall uplift with the new investment law. We are very excited about 2017, especially after being able, as a business, to sustain and grow in 2016. This only leaves us expecting 2017 to be better. We strongly believe the new economic reforms were right decisions that should have been made years ago.

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Deutsche Welle <![CDATA[AFCON 2017: Gabon out as Burkina Faso, Cameroon advance]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611858 2017-01-23T11:23:21Z 2017-01-22T21:20:00Z The post AFCON 2017: Gabon out as Burkina Faso, Cameroon advance appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Hosts Gabon could not make it out of the group stage of the African Cup of Nations with their third consecutive draw in the tournament. Burkina Faso soared to the top of the group after beating Guinea-Bissau.Gabon 0-0 Cameroon

Gabon failed to get the win they needed to advance to their third knockout stage appearance in the African Cup of Nations, playing Cameroon to a scoreless draw in the Stade Angondjé in northwest Gabon. The result granted Cameroon, who entered the final matchday as the leaders of Group A, passage into the quarterfinals.

Gabon’s defeat was of the heart-wrenching variety as they failed to convert their best chance in the final moments. Didier Ndong set up a perfect chance for Denis Bouanga in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, but the shot from Gabonese midfielder clanked off the right post. Ndong jumped on the richochet, but his sliding effort was saved by Cameroonian goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa.

Gabon have now failed to get out of the group stage in two straight tournaments. Meanwhile, Cameroon will play their first semifinal in seven years.

Guinea Bissau 0-2 Burkina Faso
(Nakoulma 12′, Traore 58′)

Burkina Faso topped their group with a convincing 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau at the Stade de Franceville in central Gabon.

The opening goal came through Préjuce Nakoulma when a poorly placed headed back pass caught the Guinean goalkeeper by surprise, hit off one of the posts and then landed perfectly for the 29-year-old striker to tap into the goal.

In a tightly contested affair between both sides, Burkina were fortunate enough to put the game beyond doubt with a wonderful counter attack just before the hour mark. Nakoulma broke from deep to then play Bertrand Traore through for his first goal of the tournament.

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Deutsche Welle <![CDATA[France 2017: Qatar eliminate Germany in last 16]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611865 2017-01-23T11:25:00Z 2017-01-22T19:08:00Z The post France 2017: Qatar eliminate Germany in last 16 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Qatar saved their best handball for the end, completing their comeback against Germany with just over two minutes to go. Germany failed to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in three years.After coasting through the group stage, Germany fell at the hands of Qatar in the last 16 as the hosts won 21-20 in dramatic fashion.

Raffael Capote (pictured above, left) was the hero for Qatar, scoring nine goals in the game. His last was his best as it put Qatar up 21-20 with just over two minutes to go.

Germany had won all five of their group stage matches before the knockout stage, but they failed to continue their run of quarterfinal appearances at the handball world championship.

Dagur Sigurdsson’s squad had handled Qatar in the 2016 Olympics in Rio rather easily, winning 34-22 in the quarterfinals. But they couldn’t hold off Qatar this time, conceding three goals in the last five minutes.

“We didn’t score enough goals. There is no explanation for that,” said Paul Drux after the loss.

The loss for Germany leaves Sigurdsson medal-less in his three year stint with the German handball team. The former Icelandic handball player now hopes for better coaching success when he takes over Japan after the World Championship.

Qatar, who were runners-up in the World Championship in 2015, will face Slovenia in the quarterfinals.

dv/sb (SID, dpa)

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Mohamed Alaa El-Din <![CDATA[K5 Middle East announces construction of first manufacturing facility in Middle East]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611750 2017-01-22T16:33:13Z 2017-01-22T16:33:13Z K5 Middle East, a firefighting products, solutions, and technologies company, announced the construction of its first manufacturing facility in the Middle East in Amman. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the company’s participation in Intersec 2017, the trade fair for security, safety, and fire protection taking place from 22-24 January at the Dubai …

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K5 Middle East, a firefighting products, solutions, and technologies company, announced the construction of its first manufacturing facility in the Middle East in Amman. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the company’s participation in Intersec 2017, the trade fair for security, safety, and fire protection taking place from 22-24 January at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC). The construction of the facility is progressing with an estimated investment of $100m over the next few years.

The move complements a recent report by Frost & Sullivan that the GCC’s fire safety market is expected to grow at an average of 15% to touch $3.15bn by 2020. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) accounts for 34% or $476m of the GCC’s $1.4bn fire safety market, driven mainly by the local construction boom. Demand for fire safety systems and equipment is expected to get a major boost as World Expo 2020 draws near and as work on major construction projects progresses up to 2021. Sales of detection systems and equipment—including smoke and heat detectors and fire extinguishers—dominate the UAE’s fire safety systems and equipment market.

Alex Perfiliev, CEO of K5 Distribution, said that the company is highly excited with the construction of their first-ever manufacturing facility in the Middle East, which will address the growing demand for fire safety solutions in the region. “We foresee a high demand for innovative fire safety solutions in the UAE with Dubai Civil Defence’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021 to reduce fire incidents by 10% and the ratio of death caused by fire per 10,000 people by 15%,” he added.

Perfiliev noted that while the UAE remains their key market, the company will explore other potential markets in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman to bring their annual sales from this region to $100m per annum.

In a press release by the company, K5 Middle East stated it has very high expectations from the robust fire and safety market of the Middle East and particularly from the UAE which is a growing market. Alongside K5 SAFETY PATCH and K5 PATCHPAINT, the manufacturing facility will produce paints, foams, coatings, and construction materials.

“Our clients in the region include manufacturers of electrical equipment, developers, facilities management firms, and social care institutions. In the long-term, we have plans to enter India and China, which are large markets along with Europe,” Evgeny Gabov, director of K5 Middle East, concluded.

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Hisham Salah <![CDATA[Ministry of International Cooperation signs an agreement with Egyptian Steel, Orman to develop villages]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611720 2017-01-22T16:13:47Z 2017-01-22T16:13:47Z Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr signed an agreement with Ahmed Abou Hashima, head of Egyptian Steel, and Hossam El-Kabany, head of Orman charity association, to develop villages around Egypt. Nasr said that the agreement represents the true cooperation between the government, private sector, and civil society organisations. She stated that establishing sustainable development cannot …

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Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr signed an agreement with Ahmed Abou Hashima, head of Egyptian Steel, and Hossam El-Kabany, head of Orman charity association, to develop villages around Egypt.

Nasr said that the agreement represents the true cooperation between the government, private sector, and civil society organisations. She stated that establishing sustainable development cannot be done without cooperation between all segments of society.

Cooperation in the current period is a must, especially when the government exerts a lot of effort that has made Egypt one of the top 10 countries seeking sustainable development, she added. Nasr explained that the agreement gives the government the ability to cooperate with both Egyptian Steel and Orman to decide which villages need development the most, based on data collected by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

Abou Hashima said that developing a village costs approximately EGP 2.6m, adding that the development process includes rebuilding houses, creating jobs, and establishing whatever it needs to guarantee sustainable development. He added that the ministry would pay half of the development cost, explaining that the company allocated EGP 120m to develop 40 villages.

The money could be doubled after the agreement, and the number of villages as well, he noted. Abou Hashima said that the next village will be in Sohag, adding that the company is focusing on Upper Egypt and northern Sinai.

Currently, there are 13 villages being developed, according to Mamdouh Shaaban, managing director of Orman, who added that the association is working on developing 513 villages. He stated that the association developed 126 villages through cooperation with the Tahya Masr Fund, adding that he believes if donors or the government allocated enough money, there will be no poor villages in Egypt by the second half of 2018.

El-Kabany said that the development process provides reconstruction of the poorest areas, and also provides necessary items, such as refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines. He believes that such processes help the poor to establish a new way of living.

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Hossam Mounir http://www.dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Nestlé acquires Egyptian instant coffee company Caravan]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611718 2017-01-22T16:07:21Z 2017-01-22T16:07:21Z Nestlé SA announced on Sunday that it has signed an agreement to acquire Caravan Marketing Company SAE (CMC), an Egyptian instant coffee company owner of the Bonjorno brand. The acquisition reflects Nestlé’s ambition to invest in Egypt and foster the development of the rapidly growing soluble coffee segment which has been gaining popularity among Egyptians. …

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Nestlé SA announced on Sunday that it has signed an agreement to acquire Caravan Marketing Company SAE (CMC), an Egyptian instant coffee company owner of the Bonjorno brand.

The acquisition reflects Nestlé’s ambition to invest in Egypt and foster the development of the rapidly growing soluble coffee segment which has been gaining popularity among Egyptians.

Yasser Abdul Malak, chairperson and CEO of Nestlé Egypt, said that the agreement reflects the importance of the Egyptian market to the company.

He added that in the last five years, Nestlé has made investments close to EGP 1bn in manufacturing and distribution facilities, as well as skills development, noting that the company will continue to invest in the Egyptian market.

Abdul Malak also said that the acquisition will capitalise on the complementary strengths of the two brands Nescafé and Bonjorno, accelerating the development of the soluble coffee market in Egypt. “We are keen on ensuring a smooth integration process in the best interest of the business and all employees, where it will combine Nestlé’s strong marketing and innovation capabilities with Caravan’s distribution model and significant presence in retail,” he explained.

Caravan chairperson Amr Barakat said that the move is meant to complement Bonjorno’s success over the past year. “We are confident that Nestlé will ensure bigger investment opportunities to export Bonjorno products in the future,” he added.

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Hisham Salah <![CDATA[Trade relations between Egypt African countries must improve: Talaat]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611710 2017-01-22T16:03:05Z 2017-01-22T16:03:05Z At the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, country general manager of IBM Amr Talaat said that trade relations between Egypt and African countries need to improve. He said that African countries receive almost 3% of Egyptian exports, which is a small amount that must be increased. He added that so far, large economies in …

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At the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, country general manager of IBM Amr Talaat said that trade relations between Egypt and African countries need to improve.

He said that African countries receive almost 3% of Egyptian exports, which is a small amount that must be increased. He added that so far, large economies in Africa, such as Nigeria, consume 0.3% of Egypt’s exports.

He believes that Egypt has to use its resources in order to enhance its relations with African countries. This is the time to look at our neighbouring markets, he stated.

Talaat said that there is a lot of space for ICT investments to be established in Africa.

Anis Aclimandos, president of the chamber, said that Americans don’t consider Egypt an African country, which he says is incorrect because Egypt has the same development rate as sub-Saharan countries with large populations.

He stated that the Egyptian government has made plans to improve relations with African nations.

The private sector is growing, and looking to benefit by investing in Africa. He added that African investors believe that the Suez Canal area could be extremely helpful to them to increase imports and exports.

Aclimandos believes that Egypt could be the gateway to Africa for importing and exporting, adding that it is the way all goods enter the African markets.

He noted that African nations could benefit greatly from the Suez Canal area.

Carole Kariuki, CEO of Kenya Private Sector Alliance, said that when she saw the train that links China to London, she realised that it was time for African nations to deal with their problems and work to end any barriers that stop investors from establishing new businesses in different African countries. The African Union is the best way to improve the relationship between African countries, she noted.

She stated that agricultural businesses, infrastructure, energy, and manufacturing are the best sectors for investment in Kenya and all of Africa.

Wael Hamdy, vice president of Elsewedy Electric, said that one of the main challenges that his company faced during the establishment of its infrastructure in all African countries was financing.

He believes that the countries have to provide financing solutions, which would help them attract new foreign investments.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Chinese company to establish aluminium plating factory in Egypt]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611714 2017-01-22T15:58:46Z 2017-01-22T15:58:46Z The Chinese company has chosen to work in the Egyptian market to benefit from the competitive advantages

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Minister of Industry and Trade Tarek Kabil announced that a major Chinese company will establish a new factory in Egypt to manufacture aluminium plates that cover the facades of buildings through a joint Egyptian-Saudi-Chinese project with a capital of $100m in Ataqa industrial zone, north of the Gulf of Suez. The factory’s production would meet a large portion of the local market’s needs and a portion of its production would be allocated for exporting.

The announcement came during a meeting between Kabil and CEO of Goodsense and the accompanying delegation, which included Egyptian and Saudi investors.

The new factory is a Chinese-Saudi-Egyptian joint project; 16,000 sqm have been allocated in the industrial zone in Ataqa to start the factory’s construction, the minister added, according to a press release on Sunday.

Kabil also said that actual operations will take place within nine months from the start of constructions. The new factory will include four production lines in addition to a line for paint.

According to Kabil, the Chinese company has chosen to work in the Egyptian market to benefit from the competitive advantages, such as the large market which exceeds 90 million consumers and the ability to benefit from free trade agreements signed with a large number of countries and major economic blocs in the world, which enable the factories’ products to reach over 1.6 billion consumers at competitive prices.

He also said that the company is seeking to benefit from the COMESA agreement that would enable it to have access to the markets of a large number of African countries without customs fees. The company already produces in China, Russia, and Dubai and incurs very high custom fees when selling to the African market.

Kabil said that the Egyptian partner in this project is Well Bond company, an Egyptian-Saudi investment company that is currently operating in the Egyptian market in the free zone in Suez and is producing 600,000 sqm annually, about 8-9% of the Egyptian market’s needs. It also exports large quantities to the Saudi market.

The minister mentioned the importance of providing raw material for that industry from the factory producing aluminium in Naga Hammadi, and that Well Bond factory is currently importing the needed raw materials from China and Bahrain.

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Ahmed Farahat <![CDATA[Government raises GDP estimate to EGP 3.4tn following flotation]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611712 2017-01-22T15:50:23Z 2017-01-22T15:50:23Z Egypt's economy will grow by 4% during this FY, says Planning Minister

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The government raised its estimate of gross domestic production (GDP) to EGP 3.4tn, up from EGP 3.22tn estimated before for the current fiscal year on the back of the Egyptian pound’s flotation.

Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby told Daily News Egypt that the growth rate for fiscal year 2016/2017 is expected to be at least 4%, compared to 5.3% predicted in the budget.

He said that the government’s growth rates estimates with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were conservative, due to the continuous review with the IMF after signing the $12bn loan agreement.

He added that the contribution of the private sector to growth may be negatively affected, especially after the flotation.

He noted that the ministry has also formed a ministerial committee to review supply contracts to reconsider the price differences caused by the exchange rate difference before and after the flotation.

Moreover, he said that the government is penning a restructuring plan to the state’s National Investment Bank, which would come into effect beginning 2018, adding that it will include amending the statute of the bank and its law, which has not been reviewed since 1980.

El-Araby noted that the government aims to end financial intricacies worth EGP 56bn between the National Investment Bank, National Organization for Social Insurance (NOSI), and the Ministry of Finance before the end of fiscal year 2017/2018.

He said that the Ministry of Finance has issued sukuk worth EGP 222bn to the NOSI in order to settle funds of the same amount.

He pointed out that sukuk are a good mechanism, as they secure direct liquidity through interest.

Furthermore, he said that the GDP on the current market prices has reached EGP 841.6bn in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, up from EGP 710.5bn in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

He added that the size of total implemented investments during the first quarter amounted to EGP 102bn, up from EGP 80bn in the same period of fiscal year 2015/2016—a growth of 27%.

He noted that the private sector accounted for 69% of these investments, followed by the government sector with 16.2%, economic bodies by 9.6%, and 4.9% by general investments.

El-Araby said that the most important activities that accounted for investments in the first three months of the current fiscal year are constructions by 23.6%, excavation by 15.4%, then education and health by 15.4% collectively.

In a press conference on Sunday, El-Araby said that total investments in fields of transport and storage accounted for 10.3% of total investments, while conversion industries accounted for 10%.

He added that growth rates in the first quarter showed several positive indicators, including that investments contribution to growth rose from 1% to 1.8%, while consumption dropped from 6.2% to 2%.

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