Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/sf/ Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Thu, 13 Dec 2018 19:22:55 +0000 en-US https://www.dailynewsegypt.com Tourism Ministry likely to launch EIS’ promotional campaign H1 2019 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/tourism-ministry-likely-to-launch-eis-promotional-campaign-h1-2019/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:48:53 +0000 Hagar Omran https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/tourism-ministry-likely-to-launch-eis-promotional-campaign-h1-2019/
Minister of Tourism, Rania Al-Mashat, expected her ministry to launch Egyptian Influencers Summit (EIS) promotional campaign over the first half of 2019.
“Egypt is branding itself, yet few people knows facts about the country that is why we are keen on increasing our presence internationally and launch successful marketing and promotion campaigns to change Egypt’s stereotype abroad,” Al-Mashat added during her speech at an event organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham) on Thursday.
The tourism ministry will inaugurate the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in 2020, affirmed Al-Mashat, adding that GEM will be a fantastic place where many historical monuments will exist with the pyramids in the background.
Additionally, Al-Mashat said that her ministry is implementing a structure reform programme to push the sector forward, noting that this programme includes five main pillars which are institutions reform, promotion, infrastructure, tourism development, global tourism trends, and legislative reforms.
“Achieving the tourism sector’ success requires development of human resources and infrastructure,” Al-Mashat noted, adding that her ministry is cooperating with the education and higher education ministries to ensure that the tourism curriculum are updated and align with the tourism sector’s needs and ethics.
Al-Mashat said that her ministry is also coordinating with international institutions to fill the gab of the expertise in Egypt, including the World Committee on Tourism Ethics for increasing the sector competitiveness through an intensive programme.
The minister pointed out that the sector’s legislative framework needs to be updated as the law was approved since 1970, adding “we need to take a look in the current laws in cooperation with business community and parliament.”
Juliette Binoche appointed jury president of Berlinale 2019 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/juliette-binoche-appointed-jury-president-of-berlinale-2019/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:44:26 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/juliette-binoche-appointed-jury-president-of-berlinale-2019/ French actress and Oscar winner Juliette Binoche was named president of the international jury of the 69th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale).

Berlinale Director, Dieter Kosslick, said “I am very pleased that Juliette is 2019 jury president. The festival is especially connected to her and I am delighted that they are now coming back in this outstanding position to the festival.”

“Thank you for this great honor and an invitation to your last Berlinale, dear Dieter, that means incredibly much to me. I look forward to this special rendezvous with the entire jury and will tackle with much joy and care my job,” said Binoche.

Binoche is one of the glamorous international actresses. In more than 70 films, she enthused audiences and critics inside and received numerous awards and nominations. She was the first European actress who has been awarded at the film festivals in Berlin, Venice, and Cannes.

Her first film appearance was in 1983 in Liberty Belle Pascal. She had her first starring role in André Techine’s film Rendez-vous (1985) for which she was awarded the Prix Romy Schneider in the French press. Her first collaboration with Leos Carax was in Mauvais Sang (The night is young, 1986) played at the Berlinale competition.

Binoche had her international breakthrough in Philip Kaufman’s English-language literary adaptation The Unbearable Lightness of Being in 1988. Since then, she has worked internationally, both in the US and in many European productions. Binoche’s second collaboration with Leos Carax was Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (The Lovers on the Bridge, 1991), and was also screened in the Berlinale.

US warns Turkey against Syria operation targeting Kurds https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/us-warns-turkey-against-syria-operation-targeting-kurds/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:39:13 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/us-warns-turkey-against-syria-operation-targeting-kurds/ The US on Wednesday warned Turkey against launching an operation targeting Kurdish militias in northern Syria, saying such action would be “unacceptable.”

“Unilateral military action into northeast Syria by any party, particularly as US personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern,” said Commander Sean Robertson, a spokesperson for the Pentagon.

Robertson said Washington was committed to Turkish border security, but noted that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) remained a “committed partner” in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

“We should not and cannot allow IS to breathe at this critical point or we will jeopardise the significant gains we have made alongside our coalition partners and risk allowing IS to resurge,” Robertson said.

But Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and views its consolidation of territory in parts of Syria as a threat.

The Pentagon’s remarks came hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would launch an offensive against the YPG in the near future.

“We will start the operation to clear the east of the Euphrates from separatist terrorists in a few days,” Erdogan said during a speech at a defence industry summit in Turkey. “Our target is never US soldiers.”

Egypt to host AFCAC meetings on 19 December: Nassar https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/egypt-to-host-afcac-meetings-on-19-december-nassar/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:27:36 +0000 Shaimaa Al-Aees https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/egypt-to-host-afcac-meetings-on-19-december-nassar/ Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, announced that Cairo will host the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) meetings on 19-20 December, which will be preceded by meetings of the concerned technical committees on 17-18 December in the framework of the COMESA airspace integration project.

It came during a meeting between Nassar and the Secretary General of COMESA, Chileshe Kapwepwe, as well as trade ministers of Angola and Algeria.

Nassar also held a number of bilateral meetings on Thursday with senior officials participating in the African Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) negotiation sessions currently hosted by Egypt.

He pointed out that Egypt is looking forward to hosting the 22nd COMESA Summit, stressing that the state will provide all the necessary means to ensure the success of this summit so as to achieve the COMESA objectives of integration among the members states.

Nassar stressed the importance of the periodicity of COMESA summits to follow up resolutions and implementation of measures adopted by the member states.

Calls returned to omit religion from national ID Card in Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/calls-returned-to-omit-religion-from-national-id-card-in-egypt/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:00:35 +0000 Sarah El-Sheikh https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/calls-returned-to-omit-religion-from-national-id-card-in-egypt/ One year after the parliament has rejected a draft law to omit the religion field from the Egyptian national ID card, another parliament member, Ismail Nasr El Din, renewed the call to enforce the draft law to fight societal discrimination.

Two days ago, Nasr El-Din submitted a draft law calling on the government to omit the religion field from the national ID card and from all official state documents.

The move reflects the insistence of the parliament members to pass the law to the legislative and constitutional affairs committee, for referral to the government in order to be applied within the state institutions.

In 2016, about 63% parliamentarians rejected the proposal dubbed ‘citizenship’ that was submitted at the time by MP Alaa Abdel Moneim, member of the legislative and constitutional affairs committee. The proposal stirred a controversial debate among parliament members, some of whom supported it in the belief that identifying religion creates a discriminatory state between citizens while other saw it as important to mention it to determine the civic situation.

Nasr El-Din said that the constitution stipulates that there should be no discrimination among citizens and that all Egyptians have the same rights and duties.

“The constitution is set up to respect its provisions, and if we disagreed with it, there is a constitutional path that determines how to amend them, but as long as we deal with the current constitution, we must respect its provisions and apply them,” said Nasr El-Din.

The member continued that: “If we want to establish a genuine civil state with the values of citizenship, we must start with official papers. Just as we have eliminated the divorced title from the national ID, we must apply the same with the religion.”

Nasr El-Din asserted that he will insist on the bill and will submit it to parliament next week, and after the committee finishes reviewing the draft law, he will collect members’ signatures.

He pointed out that his move came after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi spoke before the entire world about the freedom of worship during the second World Youth Forum,  where believed that it is a sign for him to suggest the law one more time.

Al-Sisi said during the forum which took place in Sharm El-Sheikh last week, that each citizen has the right to worship or not worship, and that the state does not interfere in this matter. His statements came to justify that there exists no discrimination between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

Members and activists praised the proposal and called for its swift application starting from the beginning of 2019 in order to limit discrimination and enhance citizenship and its achievement among people, while others criticised it.

A group of people view the issue as a symbolic one since people’s names can indicate one’s religious identity, while others believe that every citizen has right to feel safe and should not be treated with any form of discrimination.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) believes that omitting the religion field from the National ID card is a positive step which will send an important message to citizens that the state is neutral towards religious beliefs, and that it’s not necessary to disclose your religion during one’s daily dealings.

Moreover, parliament member Mohamed Abo Hamed said that the constitution confirmed citizenship rights and the development of anti-discriminatory behaviours, and that abolishing the religion field entails details in social matters such as marriage and work, and that he supports the abolition of the religion field if it will not result in any legal default.

The head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Naguib Gabriel said the existence of religion field in the card is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by Egypt and the international covenants that the Egyptian Constitution requires respect and commitment to.

Gabriel added that existence of religion field in the national ID card is a form of discrimination between citizens on the basis of religion, which violates Article 53 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states that citizens are equal according to the law and the rights, freedoms and public duties, and that there is no distinction between them for any reason.

He suggested that the existence of religion field in the national ID led to sectarian congestion because some people have exploited the religion disclosure in acts which promoted discrimination, citing that businesspersons, and decision-makers can put regulations to not hire Christians in their vacant job announcements.

Meanwhile Hafez Abu Saada, member of the National Council for Human Rights, rejected in a televised interview the calls to remove the religion field from the ID at the current time, believing that it will stir social issues that will not help to solve the discrimination crisis.

In response to fears of marriage problems, Gabriel said that abolition of the religion cannot lead to Christian marriages to a Muslim, saying that this is untrue because Christians must obtain a certificate from the church to confirm their religion.

Professor at Al-Azhar University Mohamed Wahdan said that what is proposed is good, but the timing is not appropriate, as passing such bill needs a prelude period since there are some extremists, and first we need to conduct a community dialogue on the matter, and the presence of the religion field in ID cards does stir nor represent any discriminatory behaviour. As for his opinion on the draft law, he said that Islam respects religions and the freedom of others, both Muslims and Christians believe in God, and we are all Egyptians, and we do not walk in the street pointing out each other’s religions.

Religion is important only when we are burying deceased people, to differentiate between Muslims and Christians, he concluded.

Every citizen must hold at all times Egypt’s national ID card, which will include basic information about individuals including age, occupation, place of residence, marital status and religious affiliation.

According to Article 53 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution, citizens are equal before the law, possess equal rights and public duties, and may not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, belief, gender, origin, race, colour, language, disability, social class, political or geographical affiliation, or for any other reason.

Coptic Christians make up 10-15 percent of Egypt’s 104 million population. In the last several years, Coptic churches have been the target of several deadly terrorist attacks, which left tens dead and injured. In one of the latest attack, seven people killed in the terrorist attack against buses carrying Copts in Upper Egypt’s Minya a few weeks ago.

UEFA Europa League’s group stage draws to exciting conclusion https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/uefa-europa-leagues-group-stage-draws-to-exciting-conclusion/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:00:18 +0000 Alaa Moustafa https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/uefa-europa-leagues-group-stage-draws-to-exciting-conclusion/ The UEFA Europa League’s group stage will come to an end on Thursday as 48 teams in 12 groups compete to qualify for the round of 32.

At the head of the 24 confrontations, three matches may witness the appearance of Egyptian players,  Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal, Amr Warda of PAOK, and Ahmed Hassan koka of Olympiacos.

Ahmed Hassan koka

In Group L, BATE Borisov will host PAOK at 7pm (GMT) at the Toumba Stadium. PAOK announced freezing his player Warda and offered him for sale after his recent problem with coach Răzvan Lucescu. The guest team looks forward to retaliating the heavy defeat it incurred (4-1) against the Belarusian team back at home.

In the same group, Chelsea (15 points) has already secured qualification for the next round, having won all its matches. At the same time, the group’s other team will compete to qualify, while PAOK (3 points) is the least fortunate, ranking last.

PAOK lost four of their five matches, failing to score in all of those defeats, including a 4-0 loss last time out at group winners Chelsea, in which they played 82 minutes with 10 players. The only way they can still reach the knockout phase is if they beat BATE (6 points) and MOL Vidi (6 points) lose at home to Chelsea, as they would be guaranteed to finish first (on goal difference) in a three-way head-to-head with their rivals from Belarus and Hungary.

Olympiacos for which koka plays, will host AC Milan in the Group F’s last round at Karaiskakis Stadium. Olympiacos aims to achieve its third victory in the competition to qualify to the next round at the expense of Milan. Real Betis will also face F91 Dudelange on Thursday, however the Spanish team has already qualified to the round of 32.

Koka’s mates ranked third in the group with seven points. It needs to beat Milan, ranked second in the group with 10 points, to qualify for the next round.

In Group E, Arsenal for which Mohamed Elneny plays, will meet Qarabağ FK at the Emirates stadium. Elneny hopes to participate in the English team’s starting line-up after his long absence since the Spanish coach Unai Emery took helm of the team.

The previous clash between the two teams witnessed the appearance of Elneny in the starting line-up. Arsenal won the game 3-0.

Arsenal has already qualified for the knockout phase with 13 points collected from four wins. Sporting Lisbon also qualified with 10 points. Vorskla Poltava and Qarabağ FK have three points each.

Other games will include Celtic (2nd in Group B with nine points) against Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg, which tops the group with 15 points, at the Celtic Park Stadium.

Amr Warda

In Group C, SK Slavia Prague (seven points) will host Russia’s Zenit Saint Petersburg, which ranks first with 11 points, at the Eden Arena.

In Group G, four teams compete over the qualification tickets, as the Spanish Villarreal holding seven points will play against Spartak Moscow that tails the group’s ranking with five points. SK Rapid Wien in second place with seven points will host Rangers of Scotland, third in the group with six points.

Genk, that tops Group I with eight points, will play against Sarpsborg that tails the ranking with five points. The Swedish Malmö (six points) will face Beşiktaş, ranking second with seven points.

In Group J, Sevilla, the second in its group with nine points, will meet Krasnodar, that tops the group with 12 points. The Turkish Akhisar Belediye, tailing the group’s ranking, will clash with Standard Liège, that holds nine points and ranks third.

In Group K, the French team Stade Rennais (ranked third with six points) will meet FC Astana of Kazakhstan at the Roazhon Park.

Egyptian woman pioneers exposé of entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/egyptian-woman-pioneers-expose-of-entrepreneurship-ecosystem-in-egypt/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:30:43 +0000 Nihal Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/egyptian-woman-pioneers-expose-of-entrepreneurship-ecosystem-in-egypt/ Currently, most youth on a global on scale, especially in Cairo are taking the topic of entrepreneurship as a topic of interest, and subsequently they dream of funding or investment for their startups. Subsequently, the RiseUp Summit contributed towards turning this dream to a reality.

The Rise Up Summit is an annual event which connects both stakeholders and startups together, providing start-up owners with opportunities for exposure, resources, as well as advice.

The event was properly marketed worldwide to the extent that it witnessed for the sixth consecutive year a considerable representation from all over the world during the period from 7 to 9 December.

Thus, this took Daily News Egypt to ponder about this strong exposure of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt.

Digging further into the subject matter, DNE found that since 2013, the RiseUp Summit partnered with a Public Relation (PR) consultancy named Publicist inc. Noteworthy, this partnership helped propel the entrepreneurship ecosystem exposure in Egypt, but you might be surprised when you discover that the founder of this company is a female entrepreneur called Mai Abaza.

Hence DNE interviewed Abaza to learn more about her journey as a woman entrepreneur, her companys role in the RiseUp summit, and the obstacles that she faced during her journey in the PR field.

Also, the interview tackled the status of women entrepreneurs in Egypt, including their obstacles and opportunities, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

When and how did your journey in the PR field start?

I graduated from the Faculty of Mass Communication at the American University of Cairo, and specialised in integrated marketing communications; thus my education itself was in the field of the PR.

I was born and raised in Dubai, and after my graduation, I worked for seven years in a PR agency there. During these years I worked with clients across many sectors including the government, ICT, lifestyle, entertainment, retail, and healthcare. My work also included planning, driving, and managing campaigns in the UAE, Kuwait, and region-wide.

In 2009, I returned to Egypt, and worked in a multinational PR company dealing with the

General Authority for Investment (GAFI), where I was managing its global communication campaign in 10 countries around Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Then after the revolution this work stopped, so my friend and I thought about opening our own business in the PR field. Then we came to the conclusion to open Publicist Inc.

What services does your company offer?

Publicist Inc provides strategic communications advice to clients across diverse industries and delivers corporate communications, media relations, event management, and social media services.

What are the sectors or fields that Publicist Inc. deals with?

In 2011, the idea of using social media to promote products or services was very basic so we began with working in the restaurants field, but by time we grew to the extent that our work now spans the government, technology telecom, consumer market, entrepreneurship, health care, and many other industries.

What’s your company’s vision?

Our vision is to be a learning organisation where people come and learn the meaning of being a PR consultant, and to help organisations achieve their objectives through PR.

Who are Publicist Inc.’s most prominent clients?

RiseUp, Uber, Maged Al-Futaim group, Discovery Education, and Watanya association.

How many employees does the company have, and out of them how many of them are women?

I have 17 employees, only three of them are men.

The field of PR is highly controversial because some people think the PR is trying to overtake the press’s role, what is your opinion?

This is completely false. PR companies are considered facilitators, as they facilitate the work of the press, especially when journalists deal with the private sector, as the private sector’s employees and owners usually find it too hard to understand what the journalists specifically want to know.

For example, some clients came to us at Publicist Inc. asking that journalists publish an announcement for their company since it was launching a new product, but the journalist fond that this was something which was not newsworthy. This is where the role of the PR agency comes in order to meet the expectations of both the journalist and the client, through thinking with the client about the impact of his product on the society and the economy, thereby transforming the announcement the new product into a newsworthy article for both the journalist and the reader.

Could you elaborate on your company’s exact role in the Rise-Up summit?

We are RiseUp’s PR partner since the second year for the summit, providing PR consultancy. We also control the press centre, presenting all the press releases to the journalists, and subsequently dealing with all the conference coverage.

I want to underline that in the first three years of the summit, the company exerted substantial efforts in communicating with journalists and launched for them a two-day workshop to provide them with the required terminology used in the entrepreneurial community, in addition to elaborating on the real meaning of the entrepreneurship community.

As RiseUp mainly focuses startups and technology, what challenges do you think women face in these sectors?

In the technology field, women entrepreneurs face a lot of challenges as investors do not highly regard women-led start-ups, although statistics prove women-led startups are more successful than men-led-startups.

Did women’s representation in RiseUp increase this year compared to previous years?

Definitely yes, but still there is a lack in women’s representation in the technical side, including the developers and the engineers, despite the fact that we have women who are of qualified calibres in the technical side, although there is no focus on them.

Through your presence in RiseUp, what is the difference between female and male entrepreneurs?

I think that women always don’t seek to brag about their success, as they always focus on their work on the ground, but they rarely think about marketing their work. For example, throughout the six years of my work with RiseUp, only one woman entrepreneur came to ask about PR consultancy. Thus, this confirms that they are more focused on what they are doing.

Do you think there is enough support from the government towards the entrepreneur ship community and entrepreneurs in general?

It has come a very long way, but definitely there is considerable interest and focus. For example, in the Africa 2018 Forum there was a whole day for entrepreneurship. I think the link that Egypt lacks in order to provide full support for entrepreneurs is to raise awareness and focus in education. It could be, for example, part of the curricula for students to discuss technology, innovation, etc.

As an entrepreneur, what obstacles did you face at the beginning of your


On the personal side, the only obstacle is managing the time between my domestic affairs and the workload, but I want to highlight that I have a strong support system, including my husband and mother-in-law who both support me, in addition to that my work was beside my home which helped me to succeed in managing my time.

On the other hand, regarding large corporations and clients, the stereotypical concept that female entrepreneurs are not as qualified as men still exists.

I want to highlight that sometimes we as women put limitations on ourselves internalising the stereotyped image of women in the public’s mindset which places upon us the nuisance of trying to sever this stereotypical image.

I think there is a challenge that faces entrepreneurs whether female or male which is the lack of knowledge about the legal procedures to establish a new company.

What is your advice for women entrepreneurs?

Do not personally limit yourself.


How 2018 Africa Forum views women’s empowerment on continent https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/how-2018-africa-forum-views-womens-empowerment-on-continent/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:00:35 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/how-2018-africa-forum-views-womens-empowerment-on-continent/ At the Africa 2018 Forum held in Sharm-El-Sheikh on 8-9 December 2018, the role of women and young individuals in liberating Africa’s economic potential took centre stage.

Notably, the forum is an international event which aims to promote greater economic integration through increased investment flows into Africa. It links up over 1,000 leaders in business and policy from across Africa and the world, including a delegation from the African Development Bank headed by President Adesina. The first day’s events featured a Young Entrepreneurs’ Day and a discussion on Women Empowering Africa (WEA).

as for the founder and CEO of the Women’s Economic Imperative Margo Thomas, she stated that the gender inequality in Egypt leads to Africa losing about $95bn annually.

Thomas asserted the need to empower women in order for them to function in the right roles in leadership positions.

Meanwhile, Maggie Kigozi, investment expert and one of Uganda’s eminent businesspersons, said that women need to represent about 50% of the African states’ parliaments.

Notably, women in the current Egyptian Parliament represent about 30% of parliament members, according to Nabila Makram, the Egyptian minister of immigration.

Unfortunately, Kigozi declared that gender equality needs long years in order to be implemented in some African countries.

As for Egypt’s Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, she said that for five years, the ministry has adopted many programmes and policies to improve women’s health, pointing out that women represent 50% of the employees in the headquarters of the ministry of health.

Zayed said that 30% of the vital ministries in Egypt are headed by women, as many women in the country have the experience that qualifies them for leadership positions, in view of the political leadership’s readiness to support and empower women in all fields.

Concerning women’s health, Zayed revealed that the ministry has provided a health insurance programme for women, as Egyptian women are currently the main wage earners for about 35% of Egyptian families.

The African Union’s Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop said, “We need more women in corporate boards, governance, as funds managers, including a higher participation of women, and especially girls, in science and technology.”

“The African Union is committed to work with the African Development Bank, the United Nations, and other strategic partners to revert these trends.” She continued.

“We cannot address issues of culture, tradition, and mindset shifts without the support of men. For these to shift we need passion, patience, perseverance and strategic partnerships,” the chairperson of EFG Hermes Holding, Mona Zulficar said.

Finally, panellists agreed on the urgent need to work together with all public and private stakeholders to harness the potential of African women, in order to generate greater cohesion as well as greater economic growth for the benefit of society, and Africa by and large.

Aston Martin is preparing to launch its first SUV by 2021: brand manager https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/aston-martin-is-preparing-to-launch-its-first-suv-by-2021-brand-manager/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:30:54 +0000 Mohamed Al-Roubi https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/aston-martin-is-preparing-to-launch-its-first-suv-by-2021-brand-manager/ Aston Martin’s brand manager, Mohamed El Fakhoury, informed Daily News Egypt that the company is preparing to launch its first SUV in 2021, adding that they will also introduce two electric models by 2020, namely Rapide E and Lagonda Taraf.

Regarding the impact of the European partnership with Egypt on the company, El Fakhoury said that the agreement reflects positively in terms of increasing the number of luxury cars in Egypt, especially those of European origin, which were subjected to a heavy customs tariff which prevented the increase of this segment of cars in Egypt.

Aston Martin’s brand manager, Mohamed El Fakhoury

He stressed that Aston Martin cars will be noticeably affected by a reduction in tariffs, especially since all models operate engines with a capacity of more than 2,000CC, positioning them in the segment to most benefit from the European Partnership Agreement. He could not forecast the price cut until the final estimates of the import costs are finalised by the ministry of finance.

With regard to the Brexit, he said that the company will wait until the mechanism of Brexit is set, adding that the political aspect controls economic aspects, so the situation of the company is not a priority seen by the United Kingdom.

He added that the Egyptian market is one of the most promising markets for the English company, citing the arrival of the first Aston Martin DB11 to Egypt before many other countries, in addition to the Aston Martin Vantage which was introduced in the market 60 days ago.

He noted that the company will introduce its latest model Aston Martin DBS Superleggera in Egypt in 15 days. The DBS Superleggera is a super car with a 5.2 litre V12 turbine engine generating 715 HP and 900 NM of torque. The engine is geared by an automatic transmission of 8 gears to jump from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds.

He noted that the company puts the customer first in mind, as the company has an aftersales service, by shipping spare parts and car accessories through aircrafts, in order to reduce the repair time, which was stipulated by the parent company.

Moreover, that after-sales service has seen a jump in the classification to reach the C category up from E, after undergoing trainings to enable employees to paint any Aston Martin cars anywhere in the world, as cars can be sent to Egypt to be painted and returned again.

El Fakhoury confirmed that the company appreciates the customer’s precious time so they enhanced their aftersales service. The company provides the required transportation to the integrated service centre in the Abu Rawash area via a specialised crew to transport the car and complete the maintenance operations, and then returns it to the owner after completion. The company also performs a maintenance campaign in the summer in the North Coast area to serve all Egyptian owners.

Aston Martin landed in Egypt six years ago. The first vehicle arrived through the exclusive dealership, Aston Martin Egypt, five years ago. There are now 33 Aston Martin cars in Egypt, which is not a low number given the segment targeted by the company.

Insurance companies await propagation of electric cars https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/insurance-companies-await-propagation-of-electric-cars/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:00:01 +0000 Mohamed Azab https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/insurance-companies-await-propagation-of-electric-cars/ Insurance companies are waiting for electric cars to propagate in the Egyptian market in order to prepare their insurance documents in light of the state’s attention and encouragement for electric cars so as to limit carbon emissions and environmental pollution.

The ministry of industry has taken several steps to encourage consumers to use electric cars. One of the first steps taken by the ministry was opening 12 electric cars’ recharging stations earlier this year. In April, importing electric cars was allowed without custom fees. Cars that have been used for three years are also allowed to be imported. Ten electric cars have also made an appearance for the first time in the Automech Formula exhibition.

Amr El Kafrawy, head of cars management at Iskan Insurance Company, said that the spread of electric cars in Egypt together with gasoline-fuelled cars will lead to a variety of diversity in the protection programmes insurance companies offer to clients who have cars.

He added that there are two kinds of electric cars. The first are known as ‘hybrids’ which are powered by both gasoline and electricity. The second type is the pure electric car. They both have simple units that include batteries, specifically about 6,500 small batteries, a motor, and a cooling circuit, in addition to a group of small gears, and a computer to control the movement of the car in some models.

Furthermore, he explained that insurance companies fear these types of cars given the high price of their spare parts, especially the battery which represents about 40% of the value of the car. Additionally, the car itself is very expensive, reaching EGP 1m in some cases.

El Kafrawy said that the demand from insurance companies to cover these types of cars depends on ensuring there are qualified and sufficient agents and maintenance centres for them, in addition to the availability of spare parts.

The price required for insuring the car might increase by 1-2% compared to the average common price of traditional cars in the market where the average is 3% of the car’s price in their cases, indicated El Kafrawy.

Moreover, he pointed out that electric cars contribute towards creating another type of coverage, which is insuring charging stations.

Moustafa El Sawy, the general manager of cars at Arab Misr Insurance Group, said that insuring electric cars represents a new channel for insurance companies in order to increase the collected instalments.

El Sawy added that electric cars have many advantages providing such as a high degree of safety, unlike traditional cars, which reduces risks, on the condition that an inspection is conducted and a document is issued based on technical grounds.

El Sawy demanded that companies which import electric cars hold agreements with the Insurance Federation of Egypt (IFEgypt) in order to train employees in the field on how to properly inspect cars.

Ahmed Qatari, an inspection expert, said that electric cars are a technological leap after the automotive industry heavily relied on burning engines since humans knew cars as a means of transport.

He added that electric engines are a revolutionary development in the field of manufacturing cars, relying on electricity as a clean source and air cooling instead of water circuit cooling.

For all these reasons, the future is in favour of electric cars given their low maintenance cost. We expect them to spread within five years, and they might even travel longer distances with their reduced time needed for battery recharging.

Within the same context, Qatari said that electric cars are not different from traditional cars in the presence of the chassis and car body, in addition to brakes, ACs and other car components. He added further that insurance is usually against accidents regardless of the kind of car engine, which is usually the least impacted by accidents as it is in a space that specifically protects it.

Qatari pointed out that electric car inspections are not different from traditional car inspections as the inspection of an engine usually involves checking its performance and natural sound, however, in the case of an accident in the engine, the inspector must know the fundamentals of the car, the operational circuit, the speed reducers and its electronics, in addition to other essentials regarding resistance and other theoretical information.

Furthermore, he noted that the current inspectors in the market can be relied upon, in addition to using the services of an electrical engineer with experience in DC motors in case motors were damaged in an accident.

Qatari suggested that the IFEgypt and the Insurance Institute of Egypt prepare training courses in the sector to qualify employees in the field of car insurance.

Democracy in Arab world leads to civil wars, I refuse calls to amend Constitution: Dr. Abdelmoneim El Saeed https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/democracy-in-arab-world-leads-to-civil-wars-i-refuse-calls-to-amend-constitution-dr-abdelmoneim-el-saeed/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:00:17 +0000 Tamer Farhat https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/democracy-in-arab-world-leads-to-civil-wars-i-refuse-calls-to-amend-constitution-dr-abdelmoneim-el-saeed/ Dr Abdelmoneim El Saeed has worked in Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies since 1975 as an assistant researcher, then as a researcher, then head of the department of International Relations, and he has many writings concerned with the new international system, Arab affairs, the European partnership and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In addition, he has articles on security issues in the Middle East, Egyptian policy, arms control, as well as many articles which were published in the US, Asia, and Europe. Daily News Egypt interviewed Dr El Saeed, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How do you view journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s case and its developments?

The developments of the case cannot be separated from the reform which was launched in Saudi Arabia a year ago or more. The kingdom is turning from an oil state to one with industrialisation and development, and of course with such reforms, and quick measures, blatant mistakes take place, which is why the king started reforming security bodies.

Photo by Asmaa Gamal

Will this problem hinder reforms?

On the contrary, it may speed it up, and it all comes down to the way the government handles the situation. Almost all the truths were revealed except for who gave the order to kill Jamal.

How do you see Saudi Arabia’s future ruling after the repercussions of Khashoggi’s case?

I’m against analysis that believes this case will change the ruling system in Saudi Arabia. There are much bigger and more dangerous challenges in Saudi Arabia.

Will the reforms led by the crown prince survive this crisis?

Yes, because even though the incident is terrible, it should not waste the great geostrategic gains reached by far.

What are these gains?

A country as important as Saudi Arabia is starting to see all these major reforms in terms of women’s position in society, in addition to the change in Salafism, all of which are major changes. It is hard to sacrifice all of that despite the ugliness of the case.

As for the Arab situation, is establishing an Arab deterrent force becoming a reality?

The manoeuvres taking place regularly are a type of military alliance, and I believe that there could be a strong balance, which was the case in Europe after Napoleon’s defeat.

What about Kuwait’s reservations and the Qatari dispute in this alliance?

The alliance will include those who were present. If Europe waited to include all countries into its alliance, there would have been no alliance at all.

Do you believe there are signs for resolving the Arab-Qatari dispute?

Of course, there are signs for this seeing the positive way Qatar was mentioned by the Saudi Crown Prince and President Al Sisi. The problem with Qatar revolves around one point, which is opening media platforms to attack Arab countries and hosting groups which adopt violence and terrorism against Arab regimes.

Why does Qatar insist on this?

To be fair, some of the groups hosted in Qatar arrived with an American desire involved. Why you may ask, because America wants to keep them to cooperate with them whenever needed. For example, the Taliban are in Qatar. At the same time, the Qatari conflict embarrasses the US. Qatar has the largest US regional military base.

What is your opinion on the current situation in Syria?

The US and Russia are in control. They agree that they do not want Iranian presence in Syria because it would lead to a direct confrontation with Israel, which is a scenario that scares everyone, and will force the US to intervene in ways it does not want. During the current phase, there is more focus on fighting Da’esh in Syria.

How do you expect the situation to end?

With a US-Russian agreement for everyone, according to their interests.

Are the Russian and Egyptian viewpoints in Syria identical?

No, there is a conflict. Egypt does not prefer the Russian military presence in Syria continues, and sends clear signals concerning this. It appreciates the importance of the Russian role in the stability and transformation that took place in Syria, though.

Was the Russian role crucial in changing the situation in Syria?

To a great extent, yes. Before the Russian presence, Bashar controlled less than 30% of Syrian lands, and this has currently changed. Russia has also played a major role in the negotiations that prevented many battles and saved many victims.

Regarding Israel, do you believe that the truce with Hamas is a victory for it?

Saying that a truce between Hamas and Isreal is a victory for Hamas is erroneous. Isreal was in Gaza and executed operations. It found that further presence in Gaza costs human lives, and will irritate the international community and it does not want that, so it resorted to truces. As for Hamas’s rhetoric about victory in light of the starvation and siege its population is facing, it is absurd.

Do you believe that the status of the Palestinian cause has changed in the minds of Arabs?

Unfortunately, Arab countries are in a coma and do not realise the major changes that occurred. The US has acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and thousands of Palestinians enter Israel on a daily basis to work there. There is currently a significant integration of both countries and it is difficult to find a solution for that. Israel is the country in control of the entire situation, and there are 21% Arab Israelis and the majority of people in Eastern Jerusalem are Jewish. There are no constants in this case anymore.

What can Palestinians do now?

There 12 million there between the river and the sea, including six million Arabs. They must be helped to develop in order to prove they deserve a Palestinian state.

What is the US’s role in all of this?

It the biggest supporter and Trump is very biased towards Israel, and this is what he said before he took office.

What is your opinion of Trump now?

Trump is a new version of the US leadership, and there has not been that model of the US leadership since George Washington. Until this moment, some are still very worried because Trump is trying to change some constants in US trends, such as building barriers before freedom of trade. The US is the messenger of this freedom, but I believe Trump has a deal and only does that to improve the negotiation conditions with other countries. He does not rely on specialists we are familiar with in political and strategic sciences, but unlike previous leaders, he has no problem with authoritarianism.

How can the results of the recent elections in the US be analysed?

Both parties have designated their weapons in ideologies and propaganda but summoning Barack Obama to the elections has made the competition not only between two parties (Democratic and Republican), or between two ideologies (liberal and nationalist), but also between two presidents in a in a battle whose time is in 2020.

What are the most prominent conflicts between the two sides?

Both parties have considered the electoral battle historic because it is a chance to return to historical values and state defence against a minority of domestic liberals and the media, and countries abusing the US’s generosity abroad. This “critical mass” of politicians who agree that the US must run the universe has disappeared. It also believed that the free market is the essence of the US economic regime which is armed with a social protection umbrella. This was clear when Trump said that the names Barack and Obama come with Hussein in the middle, and that was not the sole hit below the belt, and Obama was not the kind of man to take more hits. He said that during his tenure, no one was presented to the judiciary, but in the tenure of Trump that followed, enough people for an American football stadium were presented to the judiciary.

Is the US at a crossroads?

That is right. This has been the case since WWII. Up until now, everything that’s happened has reflected Roosevelt’s new deal inside and the foreign alliances outside leading the world towards liberalism and capitalism founded by Truman and Eisenhower abroad. Now there is new path recalling history post WWI where there was isolation and selective interventions outside, and non-liberal capitalism inside.

What comes after the elections?

The elections are over, and perhaps their results were a lesson by the US to politicians. The Democrats are back to the political field by a majority win in the parliament, as for Republicans, they have kept the majority in the Senate.

Democrats have the highest number of state governors, but the majority remain Republicans. There is balance at a point that theoretically allows negotiations rather than conflict, and there is room for cooperation to build the infrastructure and the deal between building the wall with Mexico in exchange for giving legitimacy to the project of the “Dreamers”—the younger ones who came with their families to the US but have not yet obtained the nationality.

The room for deals is big, and maybe there is now a different political climate based on the belief that in democracy, everybody wins.

Obama still believes that the war continues but winning that war would happen through more than one battle as long as Trump is the ruler.

Is our relationship with America at its best?

Bilateral relations between the US and Egypt are going through a good stage. There is great confidence between the Egyptian and American presidents, even the trade war between the US and China gives a major chance for Egyptian products. Of course, there are conflicts, but this is healthy to have between countries.

Given the internal situation, how do you view the economic reform?

I support the economic reform plan, and there always the tendency to focus on the seas rather than the river, because now we see focus on the Suez Canal, the North Coast, and the Red Sea.

I believe what is currently happening answers the question “Where is Egypt headed?” I believe that Egypt is headed towards implementing the 2030 plan. The problem now is moving a country towards one which has a strong media that still allows a certain kind of opposition.

What about the experiences of the past period?

Unfortunately, they are all amateurish. There is not a single current Egyptian media expert that makes one optimistic. We either see the media as blind supporters or as a political platform and this does not benefit the community.

What about new media organisations?

I do not believe these organisations have succeeded. Sure, they are good people, but we have not become better in terms of the press and media institutions, and we obviously perceive an economic and intellectual crisis.

Is this why the state controlled media to a great extent?

It is not the only or main reason. Before, we could see a more balanced equation. I remember during the tenure of Mubarak when I presented a programme whose episodes solely focused on opposition.

How do you see the anticipated changes in media leaders?

I believe they are necessary because the nature of people creates a difference in the situation. A single person can make a change in an entire institution. Whoever comes after Supreme Media Council Head, Makram Mohamed Ahmed, must plan a new strategy and must have time to write the constitution. I was against the presence of such institutions because there is an international way to be followed to control media.

As is the case in media, do we need political reform?

Political reform is one of the most difficult things to be carried out in society. When globalisation appeared, we thought that countries’ experiences can be exchanged as they are with other countries, but it turns out that this is not true for many things, especially political reform. What works for a country may not work for another. Experiences like China’s, Russia’s and other countries in Asia have reinforced this trend because they have managed to succeed even though they did not follow the Western model.

In Egypt, the final result that is most suitable will be determined by the nature of the current community social and political interactions, rather than by a decision.

We must understand that democracy is good until it turns into ultra-nationalism. When this happens in the west, the most that happens is electing a Nazi party by 10-20% then it is not elected again, but in the Arab world, the result would be a civil war.

What concerns you the most for Egypt now?

Terrorism, water, and the deteriorating situation of the region. We have no control over them, but we must at least learn from the lesson of the Renaissance Dam. We have to have a “sea” policy not a “river” policy. This means that we must diversify our water sources, which is something we have already started working on. We must focus on water desalination plants, especially that modern technology has relatively reduced the cost and I’m optimistic about the path the president is taking.

How do you see the calls for amending the constitution?

I refuse these calls. At least not before the full constitutional session is completed.

Madbouly, Magufuli sign Stiegler’s Gorge dam’s construction contract in Tanzania https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/madbouly-magufuli-sign-stieglers-gorge-dams-construction-contract-in-tanzania/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:00:25 +0000 Mohammed El-Said https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/madbouly-magufuli-sign-stieglers-gorge-dams-construction-contract-in-tanzania/ Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, on behalf of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and Tanzanian President John Joseph Magufuli signed a contract on Wednesday to establish Stiegler’s Gorge dam.

Magufuli invited Al-Sisi to attend the laying of the project’s cornerstone ceremony in October. Egypt’s Minister of Electricity, Mohamed Shaker, and Mohamed Mohsen Salah, president and CEO of the Arab Contractors Company which is executing the project, were present during the signing ceremony.

The Tanzanian government has also allocated $307m for the construction of a 2,100 MW hydroelectric plant connected to the dam, with an expected reservoir length of 100 km, covering an area of about 1,350 skm. The whole project’s costs represent over 40% of the country’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2018/19 budget.

Stiegler’s Gorge dam is east Africa’s largest hydropower dam, located along the Rufiji River in the heart of one of Africa’s largest remaining wild areas, the Selous Game Reserve. The dam is expected to provide power for the country’s emerging industries, with plans to export the production surplus to other east African countries.

Working on construction of the dam will be launched in January 2019, and it is expected to take three years, with an estimated inauguration date in 2022.

Last week, President Al-Sisi discussed in a phone call with Magufuli the latest developments regarding the Stiegler’s Gorge dam. He pointed out that it will set a cooperation prototype in Africa.

Egypt and Tanzania have strong ties as both are Nile Basin states and are cooperating in several economic issues. In August 2017, President Al-Sisi headed to Tanzania as the first destination of a four-day tour involving four African countries, Rwanda, Gabon, and Chad, as part of Egypt’s sagacity to boost its relations with other African countries.

Egypt’s most googled words in 2018: ‘Salah’, ‘World Cup’ https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/egypts-most-googled-words-in-2018-salah-world-cup/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:30:41 +0000 Mohamed Fawzy https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/egypts-most-googled-words-in-2018-salah-world-cup/ Google issued its annual report on Egypt’s most popular searches in 2018, providing an overview of the most prominent topics that Egyptians have been searching for during the past year, on the popular search engine.

The results included the most popular searches in Egypt, in the categories of people, events, sportspersons, shows, songs, TV shows, and series.

The data was collected among trillions of searches and questions on Google in 2018.

After filtering out the spam content from the lists, and the frequently asked questions, results that reflected 2018’s reality and the Egyptian interests came out.

As was the case last year, ‘The final exams’ results’ topped the searches on Google, while football player ‘Mohamed Salah’ topped the list of people most searched for. Mohamed Salah is the top athlete whom Egyptians are most enthusiastic to follow   

Sports took over the search engine in 2018, due to the 2018 World Cup held earlier this year with the qualification of the Egyptian team. The most frequently googled matches in Egypt included, Egypt vs Russia, and Egypt vs Saudi Arabia.

The list of sportspersons googled in 2018, included Coach Ramon Diaz, and football player Abdullah Al-Saeed.

Local incidents such as find out ones’ polling station, and the Cairo Film Festival were the most frequently searched for by Egyptians. The World Cup and the French protests were the two most popular international events searched for by Egyptians on Google. As for the list of TV series, Nesr Al Sa’eed came at the top of the list, in addition to Masrah Masr (third season).

British Trade Commissioner visits Egypt to support entrepreneurs, African ties https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/british-trade-commissioner-visits-egypt-to-support-entrepreneurs-african-ties/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:00:08 +0000 Hagar Omran https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/british-trade-commissioner-visits-egypt-to-support-entrepreneurs-african-ties/ The British Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith, concluded a four-day visit to Egypt that focused on expanding the trade and investment links between the UK, Egypt and the whole African continent, as well as supporting young entrepreneurs.

It is Wade-Smith’s first visit to Egypt since she took office, which was created in June 2018, to foster the UK’s trade and investment links across Africa.

The UK is committed to supporting entrepreneurship in Egypt, through an EGP 47m programme to support social enterprise. Wade-Smith was a keynote speaker at Flat6Labs Demo Day in Cairo, where she highlighted the importance of small businesses in creating economic opportunities and jobs.

During her visit, she met with the Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El-Molla, as they discussed under-construction petrochemical and refinery projects financed by the UK. Wade-Smith was a keynote speaker at the Africa 2018 Forum and the Intra-African Trade Fair during her stay.

“The UK is proud to be working with Egypt and across Africa to invest in strategic and job-creating sectors that will let economies thrive. Investing in young people and enterprise is at the heart of this, and we have seen in Egypt how bringing together UK expertise and Egyptian talent has yielded fantastic results,” said Wade-Smith.

“Across Africa, we are working to build partnerships and collaborations between the UK and other countries, and between the public and the private sector, as we work towards our aim of becoming the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022,” she added.

Egypt close to ratify the AfCFTA: Nassar https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/egypt-close-to-ratify-the-afcfta-nassar/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 09:30:37 +0000 Shaimaa Al-Aees https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/egypt-close-to-ratify-the-afcfta-nassar/ Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister, Amr Nassar, said that Egypt is interested in supporting development efforts in the African continent, and to enhance African integration mechanisms to ensure a new location for the African continent on the map of world economy, which contributes towards ensuring economic and social justice for all the countries and peoples of the continent.

Nassar added, “The activation of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is the key step of desired economic growth among all African countries.”

During his speech at Meetings of the AfCFTA Negotiating Institutions held Wednesday, the minister announced that Egypt is close to ratify the agreement, which is currently being submitted to the parliament for ratification, praising the African political will for the success of this great agreement in terms of signing and ratifying it by the member states.

So far 49 countries have signed the agreement, and some African countries have ratified it, according to the minister.

He pointed out that the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement will strongly contribute to the development of the intra-African trade movement, achieve higher rates of African economic growth, after the removal of tariff barriers between sister African countries, as well as facilitate the movement of products and raw materials, thus increasing industrial growth rates, and achieving the desired technological development.

Elsewedy Electric, Arab Contractors sign $2.9bn contract for power plant in Tanzania https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/elsewedy-electric-arab-contractors-sign-2-9bn-contract-for-power-plant-in-tanzania/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 09:00:08 +0000 Ahmed Lamloum https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/elsewedy-electric-arab-contractors-sign-2-9bn-contract-for-power-plant-in-tanzania/ Elsewedy Electric announced the signing of its single biggest contract ever with Arab Contractors as a fully integrated joint venture with the Tanzanian government, to build a dam and a hydropower plant on the Rufiji river on an EPC basis (engineering, procurement, and construction), as a part of the government’s plan to lower the energy shortages in east Africa’s third-biggest country.

The contract is worth $2.9bn and is financed through the direct funding of the Tanzanian government. The entire project will be executed under one integrated project management organisation with the responsibility of the joint venture, in which Elsewedy Electric holds 45%, and Arab Contractors holds 55%.

The power plant will start producing energy by April 2022, with project completion expected within 36 months after a six-month mobilisation period, and it will have an installed capacity of 2,115MW, that is expected to more than double Tanzania’s power generation capacity.

In 2017, the Tanzanian ministry of energy issued an international tender for the power plant, which is located approximately 200 km south west of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial and administrative centre, where the signing ceremony was held on Wednesday.

Ahmed El Sewedy, CEO of Elsewedy Electric said, “The Tanzanian People can count on the Egyptian joint venture. This has been strongly committed by the Egyptian leadership, and it shall remain, as it has always been, the commitment of Elsewedy Electric in all its operations in its mother continent.” The statement came during the signing ceremony which was attended by Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, and the Tanzanian President John Magufuli, among many officials from both the Egyptian and Tanzanian governments.

Bayern Munich and Ajax deliver six-goal thriller on memorable European night https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/bayern-munich-and-ajax-deliver-six-goal-thriller-on-memorable-european-night/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 00:36:00 +0000 Deutsche Welle https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/13/bayern-munich-and-ajax-deliver-six-goal-thriller-on-memorable-european-night/ In a game between the top two sides that had already secured qualification, Bayern vs. Ajax ended up being one of the most entertaining games in Champions League history. The result saw Bayern keep top spot in the group.Ajax 3-3 Bayern Munich
(Tadic 62', 82' pen., Süle o.g. 90+5' – Lewandowski 13', 87' pen., Coman 90')

In one of the most entertaining games of the season, Ajax and Bayern Munich took a fixture that looked little more than a formality and turned it into a thriller.

Ajax enjoyed more of the ball in the early stages, but it was Bayern who struck first. Looking at their most dangerous on the break, Niko Kovac's side found a way through when the electric Serge Gnabry threaded the pass for Robert Lewandowski to tuck past Andre Onana.

Ajax enjoyed a few half chances thereafter, but it was Bayern who really should have doubled their lead. The visitors broke and Gnabry set up Lewandowski again, but this time Onana was well-placed to deny the striker.

Restored by the break, Ajax pressed again and soon found their equalizer. Brilliant interplay saw Hakim Ziyech flick the ball over the defense to put Donny van de Beek through on the right-hand side of the box. His low ball was tapped in by Dusan Tadic at the back post and Ajax were level.

Frantic finale

That goal sparked a sequence that ended in a crazy final 30 minutes. Onana made a spectacular save to deny Lewandowski and then Ajax's Maximilian Wober was sent off for a studs up tackle. Just minutes after Wober's red, Thomas Müller – on his club record-tying 105th Champions League appearance – also saw red for a high boot that cut Nicolas Tagliafico on the head.

With Bayern's possession percentage down below 30, the game remained wide open. Jerome Boateng went to ground too early and took out substitute Kasper Dolberg, which gave Ajax a penalty that Tadic converted.

Suddenly, the hosts were top of the group and Bayern were desperate. Off the bench, Thiago provided a spark, danced into the area and won a penalty that Lewandowski converted. That appeared to be that, but then Kingsley Coman curled a beauty into the far corner as the 90th minute ticked over to seemingly seal the win for Bayern.

And yet, in the fifth of seven added minutes, Ajax scored a third when Süle slid Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's cross into his own net. From red cards to penalties and own goals, the game had everything, and although it ended in a draw that kept Bayern top and Ajax second, it was truly memorable.

The draw for the knockout rounds will be held on Monday, December 17. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund finished top of their respective groups, while Schalke finished second in theirs. Hoffenheim was the only German side not to progress, finishing last in Group F.

As it happened:

And that's it! There's no more drama left! What a game!

90+5' GOAL! 3-3 Ajax (Süle o.g.) We hadn't had an own goal to be fair, but wow! A blocked shot loops into the box, Huntelaar has it on the corner of the six-yard box and, with Neuer closing, he squares it to Tagliafico. The defender does enough to force Süle into a tackle, and he ends up sliding the ball into his own net. Madness!

90' GOAL! 3-2 Bayern (Coman) A poor clearance by de Jong, Bayern get it on the edge of the box, work it to Kingsley Coman and he tucks it inside before curling beautifully into the far corner. What a goal. A worthy winner in a stunning match.

89' Sanches and Huntelaar are on for Bayern and Ajax respectively. Anything left in this one? Surely not…

87' GOAL! 2-2 Bayern (Lewandowski) The Pole hesitates, but then sends Onana the wrong way to stun the crowd. His celebrations are met with a host of middle fingers and a shower of bottles. The only thing that we haven't needed tonight.

86' PENALTY BAYERN! Thiago goes on a mazy run all the way into the box, and Tagliafico clumsily takes him down. Easy decision. This game has had everything!

86' Bayern look a bit shaken, understandably. Renato Sanches is coming on. Not long left. Is there one more twist in the tale?

82' GOAL! 2-1 Ajax (Tadic) Neuer stands still, Tadic goes top right and Ajax go top of the group. Madness. What a game.

81' PENALTY AJAX! Boateng is late on Dolberg (fresh off the bench) and that's a clear spot kick.

80' Well, for a game that didn't matter in the standings, this has been a thriller. Tagliafico dons a new shirt and is back on – blimey. Bayern are trying to find a winner. Rafinha does everything right, dancing into the box, but Goretzka can't control it and the chance goes.

75' RED CARD! Not a night for Thomas Müller to remember, despite the milestone. The forward leaps with a high foot for the ball and clatters Nicolas Tagliafico in the head. Another easy decision. Good night Thomas. Tagliafico gets the cut in his heads sown up on the pitch. Ouch.

71' Change for Bayern. Ribery off, Coman on. The younger Frenchman said this week that he would consider retirement if these injuries kept happening. What a shame that would be, given his talent. Can he be the game changer now? Bayern's possession down to 22 percent…

68' RED CARD! These last five minutes have had everything. Maximilian Wober clatters into Leon Goretzka and sees straight red. Studs into ankle. Ouch. No doubt. Bayern have a man advantage now. Oh and Thiago is on (for Gnabry).

66' SAVE! This game has burst into life again. Lewandowski leaps to head in a cross that Ribery had hung up for him, and Onana makes a superb save, moving against the direction of where his body was moving to keep it out.

61' GOAL! 1-1 Ajax (Tadic) And now Bayern have been burned! What a brilliant goal by the home side and no less than they deserve. Neat interplay eventually sees Ziyech flick a ball into the box that van de Beek squares for Tadic to tap in at the back post. A dream move. Game on! Ajax now need one more to top the group…

58' CHANCE! Ziyech dances into the box on the right, sets is back to Neres but he blazes over! Bayern playing with fire a bit.

55' Another one of those nearly but not quite chances for Ajax. Neres gets some space on the left, squares it but it flies past anyone and everyone.

50' Relatively slow start to the second half, but still a good tempo. Ribery gets Lewandowski through, but his shot is deflected which makes life easier for Onana.

46' Off we go in the second half. Oh, Leroy Sane scored a superb free kick to level the scores in Manchester by the way. Seems like not playing in Russia this summer has worked out.


Bayern have played it smartly, conceding lots of possession but looking stable and dangerous on the break. It should have been 2-0, but the lead is still there for Bayern who look intent on breaking records tonight. Ajax have been good and had some excellent moves, but not much end product. Hopefully more to come.

45' After that furious start, the game has slowed a bit, somewhat inevitably. Ajax try to force something, but Ziyech's corner comes to nothing, as does his long-range effort. That looks like that'll be it for the half…

38' Ajax want a handball on the edge of the box, referee Clement Turpin (what a name) says no. Looks a little closer to Rafinha's shoulder on second viewing, so good call. Bayern trying to spread the play around, but Ajax well positioned. Not easy. The air is coming out of this one, slightly.

Update: Over in Manchester, Hoffenheim have taken the lead thanks to an Andrej Kramaric penalty but with Shakhtar winning against Lyon the result would be in vain for Julian Nagelsmann's men.

33' Might be wrong, but it feels like there's going to be a red card in this one. Feels like there's something extra in them. Ajax continue to control the game, but Bayern still ready to pounce.

28' CHANCE! That should be 2-0. Müller breaks forward, Bayern are 5-on-3. He plays it to Gnabry wide right, who passes it to Lewandowski to tap in but Onana's head is in the perfect spot to keep the Pole's shot out. Kimmich hammers the rebound into the Amsterdam atmosphere, but was clattered by de Ligt in the process. Kimmich isn't happy and gets a yellow for his protests.

26' CHANCE! Great cross from the right by Neres, and van de Beek gets there first but his header is straight at Neuer. Can't help but feel there are more goals in this one…

24' Ajax's pressing is impressive, but it of course begs the question: how long can they keep it up? Goretzka hasn't played well so far, which is a problem for a Bayern midfield that also includes Kimmich. Ribery does it all down the left, but his shot is also comfortable for Onana. A really good game here.

19' CHANCE! Tadic does brilliantly in the box, and then works it around so that he can lay it off for Blind. His shot looks destined for the net, but it's blocked. The same is true of the rebound. Blind tries to get the ball back in, but is shoved to the ground by Boateng. A penalty? Not sure, but quite a strong shove from the defender. Corner comes to nothing, but it feels like Ajax are back in it now.

18' Ajax doing that thing where they try to find their feet again, but not easy against Bayern. Ziyech fires a long-range effort, but Neuer saves comfortably. Ajax come again, but Süle gets a foot in at the key moment.

13' GOAL! 1-0 Bayern Munich (Lewandowski) But not far enough! Gnabry, who started the attack, ends up with the ball after Ajax just hacked it clear and the 23-year-old sends a great ball through Ajax's defense to put Lewandowski through. He makes no mistake and that is how you quieten your hosts. Just like that, Bayern are ahead.

12' CHANCE! Ajax still threading the ball through the line superbly, but there's Gnabry again! The forward sprints forward with the ball but shoots perhaps a tad early. Onana makes a good save, but the corner is cleared…

10' One of those sloppy passes falls to Gnabry, he bursts forward into the box on the right hand side, but chooses to shoot rather than pass and that proves an error. Lewandowski was screaming for it in the middle.

8' A really good pace to this one. Ajax on the front foot, but Bayern look ready to pounce on the break. The home side with more of the ball so far, but both with the occasional sloppy pass.

4' Bayern get their first sniff at goal. Müller works hard to get space after a long ball, finds Lewandowski but his shot isn't hit cleanly and goes wide. The Pole is looking to add to his tally of six goals so far in this competition.

3' CHANCE! A lovely Ajax move gets them into the box. Neres has the presence of mind to lay it back to van de Beek after the midfielder originally laid it in his path, but van de Beek's shot is weak and easy for Neuer. Really flowing move though.

1' Off we go! Bayern in grey, Ajax in the classic white and red.

– Quite the atmosphere in the Johan Cruyff Arena for this one. Lots flags being waved and songs being sung. The players are out and now the magical music is being played. So many memories hearing that one. Few flares in the away end. Might be a fine there…

– It might not have been his season so far, but tonight marks yet another special moment for Thomas Müller. He makes is 105th Champions League appearance tonight, drawing level with Philipp Lahm for the most appearances in the competition made by a Bayern Munich player. Quite the achievement, when you think about it.

– Team news! Bayern opt for a strong team, with Kovac looking to make sure of the result. As expected, Kimmich and Goretzka hold in midfield. Hummels, Thiago, Martinez and Coman are also all on the bench. Ajax will have Frenkie de Jong in midfield to enjoy (perhaps for the last season at Ajax) as well as Hakim Ziyech. This should be good fun!

Bayern Munich XI: Neuer – Alaba, Süle, Boateng, Rafinha – Goretzka, Kimmich – Ribery, Müller, Gnabry – Lewandowski

Ajax XI: Onana – Mazraoui, De Ligt, Wöber, Tagliafico – Van de Beek, Blind, De Jong – Ziyech, Tadic, Neres

– Want more build-up on this one? Take a look at our preview. It's jam-packed with good stuff – promise.

– Good evening! Welcome to the DW live blog for Bayern Munich's final group stage game of the 2018-19 Champions League season. Top of the group with 13 points, Niko Kovac's team need just a draw against second-placed Ajax (who have also already qualified for the knockouts) to keep their spot at the top of the group. If Bayern do win tonight, they will have collected more points in a group stage (15) than any other German side ever. Sounds like the kind of record that Bayern collects, but Ajax will have something to say about that given how well they played in the 1-1 draw in Munich earlier this year.

Egypt’s military kills dozens of ‘dangerous’ militants, arrests hundreds in Sinai ‘18 operations https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/egypts-military-kills-dozens-of-dangerous-militants-arrests-hundreds-in-sinai-18-operations/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 22:06:38 +0000 Fatma Lotfi https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/egypts-military-kills-dozens-of-dangerous-militants-arrests-hundreds-in-sinai-18-operations/ The Egyptian armed forces announced its recent results of the comprehensive military operation ‘Sinai 2018’ on Wednesday. The operation aims to combat terrorism and confront militants in central and north Sinai, the Nile Delta region, and the Western Desert.

In statement No 30, the military said that three  “very dangerous militants” were killed in the Western Desert, adding that another 24 “extremist militants” were also killed in a fire exchange with security forces.

The military added that, “403 criminal elements, suspects, and criminally wanted by the police were arrested.”

Moreover, the air forces managed to target and destroy 61 4×4 vehicles in the southern and western borders,  as well as a 4×4 vehicles hiding in a remote farm, a storage of ammunition, and a vehicle with a group of terrorists in a hideout in the north of Sinai.

The armed forces pointed out that the military’s engineers succeeded in discovering and disarming 344 explosive devices, which were planted to target the security forces on the roads where the operations were carried out.

Meanwhile, the military discovered another 342 terrorist hideouts, where the forces confiscated large amounts of ammunition and explosive devices, motorcycles, and food in north and central Sinai. The statement added that another 27 vehicles and 83 motorcycles, used by terrorists, were also confiscated.

According to the statement, the naval forces are carrying out their planned missions in the Red and the Mediterranean Seas to secure the strategic targets and face challenges and threats.

The army concluded that large amounts of heroin, drugs, and hash were also appropriated, as well as thwarted infiltration attempts of over 2,800 people from different nationalities.

Since October 2014, a state of emergency has been declared in north Sinai. The governorate has been facing several terrorist attacks since 2013, targeting hundreds of security personnel, mostly carried out by the Islamic State terrorist group in Sinai.

World Darts Championship: Two women to make history at 'Ally Pally' https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/world-darts-championship-two-women-to-make-history-at-ally-pally/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:51:00 +0000 Deutsche Welle https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/world-darts-championship-two-women-to-make-history-at-ally-pally/ It’s extremely rare for women to be allowed to compete with men in professional sports. However, for the first time, two places have been reserved for women at the World Professional Darts Championship.Lisa Ashton (picture above) and Anastasia Dobromyslova will be among the 96 players involved when the annual PDC World Championship opens this Thursday in London's Alexandra Palace, known popularly known as "Ally Pally."

"We haven't done it to look good," Barry Hearn, chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) said of the decision to reserve two places for women in what until now had been a solely male arena.

"There should be no restrictions in a sport based on ability. We'll get to find out how good they are and some of these girls can really play."

"We live in a time of change," added Hearn, who has set out to reform the World Championship to make it less of a testosterone-charged event than it has traditionally been. That's why you won't see any scantily clad "walk-on girls" accompanying the players onto the Ally Pally stage at this year's event.

Multiple World Champions

The two players who are set to make darts history, Lisa Ashton of England and 34-year-old Anastasia Dobromyslova of Russia, are both multiple world champions in the women's game. The 48-year-old Ashton, the current women's world champion, has won the title four times, while Dobromyslova has won it three times.

However, while this is the first time that two spaces have been reserved for women, this won't be the first time that a woman has competed in the PDC World Championship. In 2009, Dobromyslova became the second woman to do so – after Canada's Gayl King in 2001. Both had been granted "wild cards" by the PDC. Still, competing against the men is far from old hat for the Russian.

"Personally I'm a bit worried as you never know how you'll be received and what you can do on the stage," said Dobromyslova, who hasn't had her best year in the women's game. "I know I played before but it was nearly 10 years ago so it's like starting all over again."

Dutch opponent 'can't win'

Ashton, on the other hand, has had a great year, having won her ninth women's tournament of 2018 just last weekend. Ashton conceded that when she takes to the stage on Thursday, it will be completely different though.

"I'm excited because it's the opportunity of a lifetime, a bit nervous because it's a lot different to what I'm used to, but I'm just really excited to get up there and enjoy it," the Bolton native said.

Ashton has been drawn against Jan Dekker, a two-time semifinalist in the BDO World Darts Championship in the first round.

"It's going to be really hard," the 28-year-old Dutchman said of his opening match. "It's a game in which I only stand to lose."

Dekker will remember the ribbing his compatriot, Vincent van der Voort, got from some of the other male players after he was defeated by Dobromyslova at the 2009 Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton.

Dobromyslova isn't in action in the Ally Pally until Monday, when she faces 33-year-old Englishman Ryan Joyce.

£500,000 for the winner

Just over a year ago, the 2014 and 2017 world champion, Michael van Gerwen was asked via Twitter whether he thought there would ever be a woman player who could compete with the top men. His curt response: "No."

Since then, though the 29-year-old Dutchman, who is regarded as one of the favorites to take this year's title, seems to have tempered his view slightly.

"Why wouldn't a woman be as good as a man? I wouldn't like to lose to a woman, but I don't like losing to anyone," he said recently.

Whoever wins the final at Ally Pally on January 1 will go home with a handsome £500,000 (€550,000, $633,000) in their pocket. By comparison, Lisa Ashton earned just £12,000 when she beat Anastasia Dobromyslova to win the BDO World Darts Championship last January – which is the same fee you get for winning a first-round match in Ally Pally this year.

And PDC Chairman Hearn will be more than happy to see either or both of the women go home with some cash in their pockets.

"The men that play the women in the World Championship this year are under the cosh," PDC chairman Hearn said. "I don't want to wish them bad, but if I put my commercial hat on, it would be an amazing result to see a woman beat a man on the Ally Pally stage. It would say to all these women out there that if you dedicate yourself there is a route to the top."

Prisoner exchange agreement takes place in Yemen https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/prisoner-exchange-agreement-takes-place-in-yemen/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:39:28 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/prisoner-exchange-agreement-takes-place-in-yemen/ An agreement between Yemen’s government and the Houthi rebels to exchange more than 15,000 prisoners by next month, has been announced by both parties, during UN-mediated peace talks in Sweden on Tuesday.

The government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, said it has provided an initial list of 8,200 prisoners, while the Houthi rebels, which are supported by Iran, gave a list of 7,487 detainees and prisoners.

According to AFP, UN officials at the talks in Rimbo, Sweden described the exchange of lists “very impressive.”

However, the officials noted that the large number of prisoners in both lists might extend the process of the exchange.

Despite the talks in Sweden, tensions remain present in the rebel-held Hodeida, a port city vital to the delivery of humanitarian aid, and Yemen’s third-largest city Taiz.

The conflicting parties are currently discussing methods to ease and stop hostilities in Hodeida.

Although Tuesday’s agreement marks a big step for the Yemen peace talks, both sides have warned that an agreement on a ceasefire is not likely to happen during this round, AP reported.

EDA signed MoU with ITFC to support cooperation in trade development https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/eda-signed-mou-with-itfc-to-support-cooperation-in-trade-development/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:35:04 +0000 Fatma Elkholosy https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/eda-signed-mou-with-itfc-to-support-cooperation-in-trade-development/ The Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program (AATB), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), hosted the second buyers/sellers meeting for pharmaceuticals and related industries in Cairo, where the potential of promoting the pharmaceutical industry was high, in addition to facilitating procedures for the registration of medical products in Africa.

The meeting was attended by high-profile officials from both the ITFC and the Egyptian Export Development Authority (EDA), in addition to numerous representatives from the regional and international development agencies including United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and African Association of Essential Drugs National Purchasing Centres (ACAME).

The event witnessed the participation of 35 African and 45 Arab pharmaceutical companies operating in the field of medicine manufacturing and distribution, representing a 50% increase in the stakeholders’ participation from the first meeting held in 2017.

The opening ceremony witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support cooperation in trade development and promotion, between the Egyptian Export Development Authority, represented by Dr Shirin Al-Shorbagi chairperson of the EDA, and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, represented by its CEO, Hani Salem Sonbol.

Sonbol mentioned in his speech that the total trade between the two regions has remained at very low level compared to the real potential estimated to almost $430bn. He also mentioned that ITFC through AATB programme, and in collaboration with financial institutions, will facilitate the intra-African trade and the Arab-Africa trade to reach financial solutions. Moreover, he added that the ITFC is not only the International Trade Finance Corporation, rather it is a corporation to develop trading in African and Islamic countries. Also, one of its targets is to develop countries in order to enter the market.

Furthermore, Sonbol said that these financing programmes are not limited to the private sector but it’s for both for private and public sectors, and the corporation is also working with a partnership strategy.

Dr Shirin Al-Shorbagi, chairperson of the EDA, mentioned that their export to Africa have been increasing with a very low profile in 2017 by 10% a year at between $1bn and $300m which is not really motivating for business opportunities, while the rate of exports to America, Asia, and Europe is doing well in the past two years. Furthermore, she added that minister of investment and international cooperation Sahar Nasr has achieved quite a substantial role in cooperating with them.    

10 Indian automobile companies participating in Autotech exhibition https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/10-indian-automobile-companies-participating-in-autotech-exhibition/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:28:08 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/10-indian-automobile-companies-participating-in-autotech-exhibition/ A delegation from the Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC India), comprising of around 10 Indian automobile components’ companies, is participating in the Autotech 2018 exhibition, which will be held at Cairo International Convention Centre from 14-16 December 2018, according to a Wednesday statement.

The Indian companies will showcase India’s original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) capabilities at the ‘Autotech   2018’ exposition, explore Egyptian and North African markets, and identify areas of mutual cooperation, said the statement.

The Indian auto-components industry is set to become the third largest in the world by 2025, noted the statement, adding that the exports from this sector grew by 23% in the fiscal year (FY) 2017/18.

Higher localisation by the OEM, higher component content per vehicle, and rising exports from India would be the key growth drivers for the industry, which is projected to register a turnover of $100bn by 2020. Exports of these products are likely to range between from $80bn to $100 bn by 2026.

Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent, mentioned the statement, noting that during the FY 2017/18, bilateral trade between India and Egypt was to the tune of $3.68bn.

India is Egypt’s 10th largest trading partner, 7th largest importer of Egyptian goods and the 11th largest exporter to Egypt, affirmed the statement.

Minister of Environment stresses need to achieve commitments of Paris Agreement https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/minister-of-environment-stresses-need-to-achieve-commitments-of-paris-agreement/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:24:57 +0000 Mohammed El-Said https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/minister-of-environment-stresses-need-to-achieve-commitments-of-paris-agreement/ Minister of Environment, Yasmine Fouad, stressed the necessity to commit to the principle of mutual responsibility, and instantly and fairly achieve the commitments of Paris Agreement in order to avoid any harm to the developed countries.

Fouad gave Egypt’s speech before the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24). She said that budgets of the developed countries including Egypt, bear high burdens for combating and adapting with the climate change impacts.

The minister pointed out that Africa is not among the highest emitters participating in climate change emissions, but unfortunately it is one of the most affected places by the harmful emissions, according to scientific and official reports.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was launched two weeks ago in Katowice, Poland. The summit aims to finalise the implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Holding the COP24 came following a year of devastating climate disasters around the globe.

Moreover, Fouad participated in the coordinating meeting of the Arab negotiators and partook in the COP24 during the summit. The meeting discussed coordinating the Arab positions regarding climate funding and adapting with climate change impacts.

She stressed that the Arab group, African group, and Group of 77 and China, share the same concerns, and Egypt will exert greater efforts to achieve the fair demands of the developed countries in the frame of the Paris Agreement.

Egypt is the current president of the 14th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP14), as well as the Group of 77 and China.

Furthermore, Egypt and Germany were elected by the presidency of the COP24, to lead the negotiations regarding the convention’s funding, after the failure the negotiations.

MP collects signatures of 200 members to omit religion from National ID Card https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/mp-collects-signatures-of-200-members-to-omit-religion-from-national-id-card/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:22:39 +0000 Sarah El-Sheikh https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/mp-collects-signatures-of-200-members-to-omit-religion-from-national-id-card/ About 200 parliament members signed a petition on Tuesday to express support for a draft law submitted by another fellow member, Ismail Nasr El-Din, in order to omit the religion field from the National ID card.

These signatures were collected by Nasr El-Din who previously affirmed that he will insist on the bill until the parliament’s administration approves its discussion in a plenary session.

Earlier in November, the member drafted a law to fight societal discrimination by calling on the government to omit the religion field from the national ID card.

In media statements on Tuesday, Nasr said that his move came to end “religious discrimination and to tell the whole world that all Egyptians are equal”. He also said that it is not appropriate to have a religion field in the National ID, but it is important to be included in birth and marriage certificates.

The bill requires the approval of 60 MPs at least in order to be referred to a specialised committee for discussions, in preparation to be forwarded to a plenary session, Nasr El-Din noted.

Previously, several public figures expressed their fears that the law would allow ‘manipulation in marriage’ as Christians would be married to a Muslim, but the members commented on this issue saying that: “we can rely on birth certificates to prove the individuals religion and we can also use death certificate in inheritance cases.”

Moreover, Nasr El-Din also said in previous media statements that he decided to re-initiate calls to omit the religion field again after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi spoke before the entire world about the freedom of worship during the second World Youth Forum held earlier in November.

The move came two years after a previous bill drafted by MP Alaa Abdel Moneim was rejected by 63% of all members in 2016. His bill also came to remove the category of religion from Egyptian IDs, in order to prevent discrimination against citizens.

Every citizen must hold at all times Egypt’s National ID card, which will include basic information about individuals including age, occupation, place of residence, marital status and religious affiliation.

According to Article 53 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution, citizens are equal before the law, possess equal rights and public duties, and may not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, belief, gender, origin, race, colour, language, disability, social class, political or geographical affiliation, or for any other reason.

Parliament’s religious affairs committee approves in principle draft law to regulate ‘fatwa’ https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/parliaments-religious-affairs-committee-approves-in-principle-draft-law-to-regulate-fatwa/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:19:09 +0000 Sarah El-Sheikh https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/parliaments-religious-affairs-committee-approves-in-principle-draft-law-to-regulate-fatwa/ The parliamentary committee of religious affairs and endowments, headed by Osama Al-Abd, approved in principle a draft law, submitted by committee member MP Omar Hamroush, on Tuesday, to regulate the issuance of fatwa (edict) in Egypt.

The committee also approved another draft law to regulate the work of Dar Al-Ifta, Egypt’s principal Islamic legal institution for issuing a fatwa, which was submitted by Al-Abd.

In a media statement, Al-Abd said that the committee will prepare reports on the two draft laws to be submitted to Ali Abdel Aal, the parliament speaker, for discussion in a general session.

Egypt has been attempting to regulate the issuance of edicts as it lacked verification from the concerned religious institutions. Most of these edicts were widely debated among scholars and citizens.

A fatwa is normally issued by a recognised religious authority or individual based on the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s teachings for guidance (Sunnah) on the routine of daily life subjects, such as marriage and inheritance.

In Egypt, Dar Al-Iftaa, under the ministry of justice, is the official institution devoted to issuing fatwas, along with Al-Azhar’s clerics, based in nationwide offices. For example, all court sentences of death ought to be approved in consideration with Dar Al-Iftaa.

The parliament’s move came to settle the division between Egypt’s top religious institutions Al-Azhar and the ministry of endowment, as each entity believes that it has the right to issue a fatwa.

Shoukry heads to Riyadh to partake in Red Sea’s riparian countries’ meeting https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/shoukry-heads-to-riyadh-to-partake-in-red-seas-riparian-countries-meeting/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:15:13 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/shoukry-heads-to-riyadh-to-partake-in-red-seas-riparian-countries-meeting/ Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, headed to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Tuesday to participate in a ministerial meeting of Arab and African countries bordering the Red Sea, according to the ministry.

The meeting is part of a series of sessions held to address strengthening the joint cooperation and coordination between the Red Sea’s riparian countries in different fields, the ministry added.

The countries’ representatives are also expected to address new methods in order to face the joint challenges and threats in the Red Sea, including countering terrorism and organised crime.

“Egypt’s participation comes within the framework of its interest in cooperating with the countries bordering the Red Sea, which was demonstrated through Egypt’s hosting of the first meeting of riparian countries, at the level of senior officials,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said in the statement.

Earlier last year, the first meeting was held on December 11-12 in order to boost cooperation in various fields including political, economic, and cultural cooperation.

At that time, Egypt launched a new initiative to establish a framework between the concerned countries, during a conference called ‘Peace, Security, and Prosperity in the Red Sea: Towards an Arab-African Regional Cooperation Framework’, which was held in Egypt.

Top representatives from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea attended the meeting.

Op-ed review: 2019 expectations, more on France https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/op-ed-review-2019-expectations-more-on-france/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:10:33 +0000 Amira El-Fekki https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/op-ed-review-2019-expectations-more-on-france/ Op-ed writers are saying goodbye to 2018 and speculating on local and foreign affairs for the upcoming year, while France continued to be a trending topic this week.

In state-owned daily Al-Ahram, Gamal Zaida outlined achievements of the year in Egypt from his point of view. They include success in countering terrorism, expanding the network of new roads including Suez Canal tunnels that would link Sinai to the rest of the country, and the development of the peninsula. He referred to reforms in the education and health sectors with increasing budget allocations. In 2019, Zaida expects that Egypt will begin seeing the results of economic reform policies and infrastructure development through boosting local production and the reduction of unemployment rates.

On the military comprehensive operation against terrorism in Sinai launched earlier in 2018, Mohamed Salah Al-Zahar argued that it did not just target militants in Sinai and the rest of the country, as those would have eventually failed and disappeared, but mainly aimed at making a statement to states and intelligence organisations supporting terrorism, and that the chaotic years between 2011 to 2013 are now in the past.

In the privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, Talal Salman called it a burdening year. Commenting on the regional situation, Salman lamented how Arab nations are no longer united, especially oil-rich Gulf countries and poorer African countries including Egypt, Syria, and Palestine. In that regard, he pointed out certain countries making closer relations with Israel. He further wondered whether Lebanon will eventually have a government, or if negotiations in Yemen would succeed. “The doors of hell are still open in Syria,” he added.

On France, Emad Adeeb opinionated in the private Al-Watan newspaper that the ‘Yellow Vest’ movement could be contagious, especially in countries with financial, political, and social troubles. To him, revolutionists often start with legitimate demands but end up being taken over by “conspiring evil power with destructive inclinations.” And so he argued that there is a plan that targets Arab countries with such uprisings in the near future.

In Al-Ahram, Salah Montasser assessed the response of French President Emmanuel Macron, arguing that perhaps it came too late in the face of escalating demands but also that perhaps the delay was caused by the large-scale violence witnessed during the protests in which thousands took part.

As for Al-Shourouk’s editor-in-chief Emad El-Din Hussein, he tried to compare Macron with former Egyptian presidents Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, the former having been able to partly regain control over the situation by submitting to protesters’ demands despite any chaotic incidents.

Al Ahly Holding signs $1bn deal with Al Ghurair Group, Murban to reclaim 180,000 feddan, establish world’s largest beet sugar factory https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/al-ahly-holding-signs-1bn-deal-with-al-ghurair-group-murban-to-reclaim-180000-feddan-establish-worlds-largest-beet-sugar-factory/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:07:12 +0000 Hossam Mounir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/al-ahly-holding-signs-1bn-deal-with-al-ghurair-group-murban-to-reclaim-180000-feddan-establish-worlds-largest-beet-sugar-factory/ Al Ahly Capital Holding, the investment arm of the National Bank of Egypt, successfully completed a $1bn deal with Al Ghurair Group and the UAE’s Murban, to reclaim and cultivate 180,000 feddan in south Minya, in order to establish the world’s largest beet sugar factory.

The agreement was signed by Hisham Okasha, chairperson of the company and the National Bank of Egypt, with the representatives of Murban company, and the Emirati investor Gamal Al Ghurair, who is the project’s founder, the chairperson, and the managing director of El Canal Sugar Co.

Al Ghurair allowed new UAE investors to enter, bringing the UAE’s contribution to 70% of the capital, worth EGP 5.4bn, while Al Ahly Capital contributes to 30%.

The project is an integrated agricultural and industrial project, which includes the reclamation of 180,000 feddan to cultivate beet, wheat, and maize. The project will also establish the world’s largest beet sugar factory, with a capacity of 1m tonnes per year, significantly contributing to bridging the consumption and production gap, which amounted to 1m tonnes in 2018. The project will also cut imports by $800m per annum.

According to Okasha, this deal confirms the ability and strength of the Egyptian economy to attract foreign investment in all fields, especially in the fields of agriculture and industry, after the implementation of the reform policy carried out by the state in recent years, stressing that the project is aligned with the government’s economic programme.

He added that Al Ahly Capital Holding’s contribution to the project comes within the framework of the National Bank of Egypt and its subsidiaries to continue their strategic role in support of major projects of economic feasibility, and policies aiming to reduce imports and increase exports, thus reducing the pressure on the state’s foreign currency’s resources, hence supporting the country’s economy.

According to Al Ghurair, the project will provide 2,500 direct and indirect jobs during the construction period, as well as 1,500 permanent jobs, and 50,000 indirect jobs through contractual agriculture. He noted that the project enhances opportunities for economic cooperation between the UAE and Egypt, and serves as an ideal model, for further joint investment projects between the two brotherly countries.

Al Ahly Capital Holding is the financial advisor to the project. The company is currently negotiating with foreign banks, as well as export credit agencies in several countries to finance the dollar-denominated needs of the project, which are 50% of the total cost, estimated to be $700m. The remaining financing will be covered by local banks.

France to launch campaign to promote investment in Egypt next March: ambassador https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/france-to-launch-campaign-to-promote-investment-in-egypt-next-march-ambassador/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:57:10 +0000 Abdel Razek Al-Shuwekhi https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/france-to-launch-campaign-to-promote-investment-in-egypt-next-march-ambassador/ The French ambassador to Cairo, Stéphane Romatet, said his embassy will launch a campaign in France to promote investment in Egypt next March.

“Egypt has exerted great economic reform efforts, helping it to be one of the biggest countries in the Mediterranean region in terms of growth rates,” the ambassador said in an exclusive statement to Daily News Egypt, during a ceremony held by Atout France, the national French tourism development agency, to launch france.fr the official Arabic website dedicated for France as a destination.

Romatet explained that the French embassy is coordinating with Egyptian partners to attract foreign investments in different sectors, especially energy.

He noted that the French investments in Egypt amount to about €4bn, and the number of French companies operating in Egypt are about 160 companies, while the trade exchange reached about €2bn at the end of last year. The ambassador revealed that French President Emmanuel Macaron will visit Cairo within a few weeks.

Romatet said that France supports Egypt and tells its European partners that the Egyptian government is on the right track in terms of economic and social reform.

Egypt used to receive more than 1 million visitors from France annually before 2011, but this number declined over the past years. The ambassador expected that French tourism will flourish again in Egypt following the political stability and security experienced in Egypt over recent years. The number of French tourists who visited Egypt so far this year reached about 150,000 people.

Karim Mekachera, regional director of Atout France in the Middle East, said France targets about 100 million tourists in 2020 from Arab countries.

He added that Arab tourists are characterised by a spending rate, especially those from Arab Gulf countries, with an average spending of about $3,000 per night.

The ambassador said that one of the French charter airlines will launch a flight line from Lyon to Hurghada as of next year.

Capital Economics expects Egypt’s inflation levels to decline over coming months https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/capital-economics-expects-egypts-inflation-levels-to-decline-over-coming-months/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:53:41 +0000 Nihal Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/capital-economics-expects-egypts-inflation-levels-to-decline-over-coming-months/ London-based research firm ‘Capital Economics’ predicted inflation levels will decline over the coming months.

Notably, Egypt’s annual core inflation rate declined to 7.94% in November from 8.86 % in October, exceeding analysts’ expectations, according to a report from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

The inflation does not include commodities like fruits and vegetables due to sharp price fluctuations.

Earlier in the day, the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) said that the annual consumer price inflation in cities fell to 15.7% year-over-year (y-o-y) in November, from 17.7% in October.

Inflation jumped to a record high in July 2017 after Egypt floated its pound currency in November 2016 but has gradually receded since then.

Egyptian inflation dropped back in November 2018 reaching 15.7%, thus the report expected that the consumer prices to continue to fall in the coming months.

Capital Economics assured that the current level of inflation within the target range of the CBE at (13 ± 3%) during 2018.

The report explained that this decline in November inflation was due to the lower rise in the food prices, especially after the big jump that was witnessed in October, as prices of crops such as potatoes rose.

Capital Economics also predicted that the inflation rate would fall further in the coming months as the effects of rising food prices continued to fall.

The report stressed maintaining the view that inflation in Egypt will eventually fall more than expected in the next two years.

Concerning the interest rates, Capital Economics pointed out that its estimates are aimed at keeping them unchanged at 16.75% at the next Monetary Policy Committee of the CBE meeting on 27 December.

“Given that the rise in inflation has been almost entirely due to higher food inflation rather than a broader strengthening of price pressures, we think that the CBE will decide to keep the overnight deposit rate unchanged at 16.75%,” Capital Economics said.

Notably, the CBE left its policy rate unchanged at its last meeting mid-November, keeping overnight deposit and lending rates on hold at 16.75% and 17.75%.

“If our expectations of a fall in inflation in the coming period become true, the CBE is likely to resume monetary easing cycle in early 2019,” the report said.

The report concluded that with most analysts expecting to cut interest rates in Egypt next year by only 50 basis points, Capital Economics estimates that the rate of cuts will reach 550 basis points by 2019.

Removing tariffs, developing services, main pillars of achieving African common market https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/removing-tariffs-developing-services-main-pillars-of-achieving-african-common-market/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:50:48 +0000 Shaimaa Al-Aees https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/removing-tariffs-developing-services-main-pillars-of-achieving-african-common-market/ Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives of the Republic of Uganda Amelia Kyambadde, and the head of the African Union’s (AU) ministers of trade conference, stressed the need to remove tariff barriers, and to improve the movement of goods and services for the liberalisation of African trade. This came during the meeting of the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Negotiating Institutions held on Wednesday.

Africa accounts for 30% of petroleum production, 9% of the world’s water resources, besides its wealth in its human resources, 85% of which is youthful, as well as its mineral wealth and agricultural land. Yet, 35 African countries are classified as poor.

Kyambadde noted that despite these possibilities, the volume of the intra-African trade does not exceed 10%, compared to 67% between European countries.

The minister stressed on the need to focus on the problems related to connectivity and communications, the investment in technology, as well as pointed out the loan portfolio and soft financing as they are big challenges, especially for entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, she declared that the current period is witnessing the focus on the ratification by some countries to enter the AfCFTA, and the evaluation of the continental treaties which support the economic cooperation between African people, helping them reach the objectives of the sustainable development strategy by 2063.

From his part, Benedict Oramah, president of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said that the bank is working with the AU on some issues related to the AfCFTA, noting that the bank supports this agreement.

Oramah pointed out, “The free trade area allows further progress consequences for the agreement so we try to discuss solutions to manage the difficulties facing this agreement.”

He further elaborated that Afreximbank is using a system to allow trade flows into Africa. He pointed out that payments’ settlement platforms will increase by three times in 2020.

Moreover, Oramah stressed that the bank is working on the necessary training and the gateway to improve the access of African companies to the opportunities of intra-trade, pointing out the importance of achieving the free trade area to fill the gap in the laws.

It is important to assist African entities in requesting online funding, and we are working on the establishment of a monitoring and follow-up centre in Nigeria, he finally declared.

TFTA is unique integration initiative: COMESA Secretary General https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/tfta-is-unique-integration-initiative-comesa-secretary-general/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:44:36 +0000 Shaimaa Al-Aees https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/tfta-is-unique-integration-initiative-comesa-secretary-general/ Secretary General of the COMESA Chileshe Kapwepwe said that the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), was launched in Egypt in Sharm-El-Sheikh in June 2015. Egypt therefore occupies a special place in the history of regional integration in Africa.

During the meetings of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)Negotiating Institutions held Wednesday, Kapwepwe added that at the time of its launch, three of the 10 annexes to the TFTA Agreements had not been completed. Several rounds of negotiations later, the TFTA is ready for implementation.

All the annexes to the agreement have been finalised. Some 61% of the rules of origin have been agreed and the exchange of tariff offers is near complete, with most member/partner states, opting to extend their respective Regional Economic Communities (REC) acquired in the TFTA, she elaborated.

She explained that the manual for implementation of the Tripartite Rules of Origin has been developed and the tripartite guidelines on implementation of trade remedies is ready for use.

“Tripartite trade facilitation instruments including certificate of origin and import, and export declaration documents are all ready, she pointed out. “This means that trading in the TFTA, can commence as soon as the ratification threshold is attained.”

Kapwepwe added, “The TFTA is a unique integration initiative. By bringing together countries that are already in the FTAs, the TFTA has allowed member/partner states to consolidate the gains achieved in their respective RECs but on a larger and more dynamic market space.”

The Secretary General disclosed that the TFTA is a complete developmental package, that is based on three pillars of market integration, industrial development, and infrastructure development.

For his part, Albert M Muchanga, African union (AU) commissioner for the Department of Trade and Industry, said that by the end of 2021, the full restructuring of the AU would be completed, leading to better work within the African continent at the level of commissioners.

Muchanga pointed out that in light of the efforts exerted to speed up the implementation of the TFTA (COMESA-SADC-ECA), it is expected to be completed in one year instead of 5 years in order to benefit from all the trade possibilities in the African continent.

He stressed the necessity of establishing African common markets, especially digital ones, as well as encouraging networking between investors, which opens the way for job opportunities for youth especially in the field of industry because of its importance.

He confirmed the need to pay attention to packaging operations in order to improve the quality of African products.

The TFTA would only be complemented by a common market, protection of individuals, the right to transfer, the protection of competitiveness, investment, and African intellectual property rights.

German band Kraftwerk gets boost on 'sampling' copyright case https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/german-band-kraftwerk-gets-boost-on-sampling-copyright-case/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:40:00 +0000 Deutsche Welle https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/german-band-kraftwerk-gets-boost-on-sampling-copyright-case/ After a decades-long dispute, an EU advocate general has said that sampling is only permissible when the author approves. The legal dispute spanning more than 20 years could soon come to end and set a precedent.In 1997, German rapper and hip-hop music producer Moses Pelham copied a two-second sequence from the pioneering electronic band Kraftwerk's 1977 track "Metall auf Metall" (Metal on Metal) without permission and placed it in an endless loop in the song "Nur mir" by rapper Sabrina Setlur.

Ralf Huetter and Florian Schneider-Esleben, founding members of Kraftwerk, sued Pelman, citing infringement.

"Sampling" is a technique that extracts bits of another work, such as a rhythmic sequence, and incorporates them into a new composition.

Copying and applying such excerpts interferes with the rights of the producer and, without permission, constitutes infringement, said Maciej Szpunar, an advocate general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), on Wednesday.

Striking a balance

First going through the rounds of German courts, in 2016, Germany's Federal Court of Justice referred the lawsuit to the ECJ.

Szpunar's conclusion that copyright holders must grant approval for sampling is in line with the European Union's fundamental rights, even though copyright and related rights "are likely to restrict the exercise of certain fundamental rights, in particular, the freedom of expression and the freedom of the arts," he said in a press release.

"Intellectual property is itself protected as a fundamental right to property," he pointed out. "It is therefore necessary to strike a balance between those rights."

An advocate general's opinion is not binding for ECJ judges, but they often adhere to it. A verdict is likely in the coming months.

als/eg (dpa, AFP)

Egypt, Saudi Arabia strengthen cultural ties through handicraft agreement https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/egypt-saudi-arabia-strengthen-cultural-ties-through-handicraft-agreement/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:30:58 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/egypt-saudi-arabia-strengthen-cultural-ties-through-handicraft-agreement/ For decades, the Egyptian heritage has been inseparable from handicrafts which are still a main source of income for thousands of Egyptians who do not consider handicrafts a talent, rather more of an inherited skill. 

Abdel-Dayem said at the signing, that the agreement is the start of enriching the cultural ties between the two countries, explaining that the programme aims to exchange handicraft skills and knowledge between Egypt and Saudi Arabia

In an attempt to enrich and exchange that heritage with Saudi Arabia, the Minister of Culture, Inas Abdel-Dayem, signed a cooperation agreement on Tuesday to exchange expertise in the field of handicrafts, with the Head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Prince Sultan bin Salman.

Abdel-Dayem said at the signing, that the agreement is the start of enriching the cultural ties between the two countries, explaining that the programme aims to exchange handicraft skills and knowledge between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The programme will encompass the exchange of information in all fields connected to handicrafts, whether economic or social, with a thorough discussion on the role of technology and science in that field.

It will also contain workshops for both partners, to follow-up on the latest updates, and the concerned institutions supporting handmade products.

From his side, Prince Salman emphasised the important role Egypt plays in culturally interacting with Arab states.

He stressed upon Saudi Arabia’s strong desire to benefit from Egypt’s long and rich history in creating handicraft products.

Two cemeteries renovated in Saqqara https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/two-cemeteries-renovated-in-saqqara/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:00:18 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/two-cemeteries-renovated-in-saqqara/ Following the intensive programme of restoring the time-worn, almost collapsing archaeological sites and cemeteries in Saqqara, which the ministry of antiquities has been adopting for the past couple of years, two veteran warriors’ tombs, dating back to the Old Kingdom, were declared restored on Tuesday. This came during a statement published by the ministry of antiquities.

The Saqqara Saite tombs, located at a stela of the Persian Period, belong to two of the most prominent warriors of the Old Kingdom, ‘Badd-y-Est’, and ‘Psamtik’. The tombs were restored as part of renovating the area of the Persian stela project, with the cooperation of a German mission from the University of Tübingen.

Gharib Sonbol, director of the Central Administration of Maintenance and Restoration, stated in the press release that the Saqqara Saite Tombs Project includes restoring three tombs belonging to historical warriors, two of which were renovated. The process is funded by the University of Tübingen, and carried out by an Egyptian mission from the ministry of antiquities.

Sonbol explained that the restoration process included erasing all of the minerals, and substances filling the gaps of the carved inscriptions—which were no longer recognisable—at the cemeteries.   

Furthermore, he added that renovating the tombs included strengthening their almost collapsing walls, as well as preserving their colours.

The missions are to start renovating the third cemetery, once they complete studying its condition in order to set an appropriate restoration plan. 

Earlier this year, the German mission unearthed a mummification workshop and several burial chambers, dating to the Saite-Persian period (664-404 BC),during excavation work at the same area.

The mission also succeeded in uncovering a gilded silver mummy mask in one of the burial chambers of the main shafts, attached to the mummification workshop. The mask belonged to a person who held the titles of ‘The Second Priest of Mut’, and ‘The Priest of Niut-Shaes’. The mask is the first mask to be discovered since 1939. Moreover, an embalming cache, holding a large collection of pottery vessels, bowels, and measuring cups were found, paving the way to reveal more about the oils used in the mummification process in the 26th dynasty.

Presidency of COP14 selects Egypt, Germany to lead funding negotiations https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/presidency-of-cop14-selects-egypt-germany-to-lead-funding-negotiations/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 16:30:16 +0000 Mohammed El-Said https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/presidency-of-cop14-selects-egypt-germany-to-lead-funding-negotiations/ The presidency of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change selected Egypt and Germany to lead the negotiations regarding the convention’s funding, after the failure the negotiations.

The two countries are requested to consider the importance of the issue of funding for developed countries, and should be aware of the necessity of reaching political solutions accepted from all the parties before the end of the conference.

According to a statement from Egypt’s Ministry of Environment, selecting Minister Yasmine Fouad in cooperation with the German side to lead the negotiations came after Egypt’s success in the presidency of the 14th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP14) which was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Egypt succeeded in reaching a compromise despite changes in positions between the parties.     

Last week, the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was launched in Katowice, Poland, with the goal of finalising the implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Holding the COP24 came following a year of devastating climate disasters around the globe.

During two weeks, the conference is expected to finalise the rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change under the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP). Discussions will include a number of high-level events, mandated events, action events, and roundtable discussions.

Revolution in cereal crops’ breeding: planting rice clones from its seeds https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/revolution-in-cereal-crops-breeding-planting-rice-clones-from-its-seeds/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 16:00:47 +0000 Mohammed El-Said https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/revolution-in-cereal-crops-breeding-planting-rice-clones-from-its-seeds/ Rice is a main food source for most of the world’s population, including Egypt, yet rice cultivation is particularly water intensive, using an estimated of 2,500 litres of water per one kg of rice produced.

However, almost half of the global rice crop is derived from rain-fed agricultural systems, where drought and high temperatures are predicted to become more frequent and damaging under climate change.

Recently, a team of researchers and plant biologists from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) have discovered a new way to make crop plants replicate through seeds as clones. The new way depends on asexual reproduction through seeds.

Asexual engineering in rice is totally new, as rice is a plant that normally reproduces sexually. According to the study published in ‘Nature’ journal, the findings demonstrated the feasibility of asexual reproduction in crops, and could represent a significant development in agricultural plant’s breeding.

The discovery, long sought by plant breeders and geneticists, could make it easier to propagate high-yielding, disease-resistant, and climate-tolerant crops, making them available to the world’s farmers.

The findings of the study suggested a major breakthrough for the world’s agriculture, through the ability to produce a clone, an exact replica of a plant, from its seeds.

The new technique gives farmers in developing countries an opportunity for replanting seeds from their own hybrid plants, deriving the benefits of high yields year after year, instead of purchasing expensive hybrid seeds each year.

According to the research, over 400 species of wild plants can produce viable seeds without fertilisation in a process called apomixis. This process seems to have evolved many times in plants, but not in commercial crop species, such as rice and wheat.

Asexual reproduction through seeds occurs naturally in many plant species, but not in the important crop species. Inducing asexual reproduction in crop plants could help promote desired genetic traits in breeding programmes, and enhance the so-called ‘hybrid vigour’—first generation hybrid plants with increased vigour.

Hybrids can result in higher crop yields due to greater genetic variety. However, the process that triggers the generation of embryos post-fertilisation is not well understood in plants. These hybrids can have superior qualities in areas such as yield or pest resistance. But the seeds of hybrid crops do not produce plants with the same qualities.

The process depended on several steps for reaching their target. The first step was identifying that the gene BABY BOOM 1 (BBM1), carried by sperm cells, is a key to the production of embryos, even in the absence of fertilisation. The authors then used CRISPR/Cas-9 genome editing, to eliminate meiosis, a cell division that produces reproductive cells, in rice strains that expressed BBM1 in egg cells.

These strains were able to reproduce asexually, and the so-called synthetic-apomictic (S-Apo) strain produced clonal, hybrid offspring with desired genetic diversity. The traits for asexual reproduction persisted through two further generations of S-Apo rice.

The research was conducted by Postdoctoral Researcher Imtiyaz Khanday, and Venkatesan Sundaresan, a professor of plant biology at UC Davis, as well colleagues from UC Davis, the Iowa State University, and the INRA in France.

Sundaresan described the findings of the study as “a very desirable goal that could change agriculture,” he pointed, “So we have a diploid egg cell with the ability to make an embryo, that grows into a clonal seed.”

According to Sundaresan, the process has an efficiency of about 30%, and he, along with his team, hope that it can be increased with more research. The technique could be applied in other cereal crops which have equivalent BBM1 genes, and in other crop plants.

Recently the Egyptian government decided to decrease the area of cultivated land of rice due to the shortage of water resources, amid the Nile river’s dispute with Ethiopia. The government justified its resolution, due to rice’s high water consumption.

Professor of Genetics at the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagazig University, Said Soliman, was working for a long time in progressing new species of rice that resist drought and use less amounts of water.

Soliman told Daily News Egypt that he has developed a species of rice named “Oraby”, after the political leader Ahmed Oraby who is the symbol of Zagazig university. The duration for that species of engineered rice takes about 120 days, comparing to 145 days for normal rice. He added that Oraby rice could be cultivated twice a year.  

Oraby rice could be cultivated in all kinds of land, as it was successfully cultivated in Tushka in sandy soil, as well as in clay soil.

According to Soliman, it is possible to cultivate two million feddan of the engineered rice with the same amount of water allocated to irrigate 1m feddan of normal rice, and the Oraby rice will achieve an increase in productivity by 2m tonnes of rice, meaning 1 tonne per feddan.

According to a new study by scientists from the University of Sheffield in England, the engineered rice has low stomatal density, uses just 60% of the normal amount of water, and is able to survive drought and high temperatures for longer than unaltered plants. The study revealed that the engineered rice plants have fewer stomata—tiny openings used for gas exchange—have more tolerance to drought, and resilient to future climate change.

The researchers of the study which was recently published in ‘New Phytologist’ journal discovered that engineering a high-yielding rice cultivar, reduces stomatal density, helps the crop conserve water, and survive high temperatures and drought.

Like most plants, rice uses microscopic pores called stomata to regulate carbon dioxide uptake for photosynthesis, along with the release of water vapour via transpiration. When water is plentiful, stomatal opening also permits the regulation of plant temperature by evaporative cooling. Under water-limiting drought conditions, stomatal closure normally slows down water loss. Low stomatal density rice conserves its water better under drought, and so has more water left to cool itself when necessary.

Lead author of the study and Professor of Plant Molecular Biology, Julie Gray, said that “Stomata help plants to regulate their water use, so this study could have a significant impact on other crops which are at risk under climate change. At the University of Sheffield, we believe in a sustainable future and work towards solutions to the most pressing global challenges.”

“Future predicted decreases in water availability, combined with increased frequency of extreme drought, and high temperature events, are likely to present particular challenges for farmers – resulting in substantial crop loss,” said Robert Caine, research associate from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, and principal investigator of the study.

Caine added, “Our study has shown that rice plants with fewer stomata are drought tolerant and more conservative in their water use. This means they should perform better in the future under climate change conditions,” explaining, “We found that the engineered rice crops gave equivalent or even improved yields, which means it could have a massive impact on our future food security which is threatened by climate change.”

According to the paper, the low stomatal density rice plants were able to survive drought and high temperatures of 40 °C for longer than unaltered plants, when grown at elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Philip Morris is building future on smoke-free products https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/philip-morris-is-building-future-on-smoke-free-products/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 15:30:00 +0000 Mohamed Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/philip-morris-is-building-future-on-smoke-free-products/ Philip Morris International (PMI) is a leading global cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company, with products sold in over 180 countries.

PMI is building a future on smoke-free products (also referred by the company as Reduced Risk Products or RRPs) that are a much better consumer choice than continuing to smoke cigarettes. In its 2017 Sustainability Report, PMI has stated the ambition that by 2025, at least 30% of its volume would come from smoke-free products.

“We would like to offer better alternatives to adult smokers in Egypt”, Managing Director Philip Morris Misr (PMM) and Levant, Vassilis Gkatzelis, informed Daily News Egypt in an interview at his office.

An INSEAD Global EMBA graduate, Gkatzelis has held key positions throughout his 15-year career at PMI, and enjoys a broad geographical exposure spanning Asia, the European Union, North Africa and the Middle East.

“Philip Morris Misr (PMM) is the number one international player in the Egyptian tobacco industry, with a 22% market share. The company provides numerous job opportunities, as it employs around 2,500 people, whether directly or indirectly, across its value chain, including manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution, among others. This comes in addition to over 100,000 retailers who sell PMI products on a daily basis,” Gkatzelis stated.

DNE interviewed Gkatzelis to learn more about their smoke-free products, the cigarette industry in general and its challenges, as well as PMI and PMM’s future plans, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Could you please give us a general brief about the tobacco industry in Egypt and how PMM perceives the country’s tobacco market and the manufacturing process, given that this industry is one of the key pillars of the economy, and the country is considered the largest tobacco market in the Middle East and Africa? According to Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics, the tobacco tax revenue represents over 8.5% of government tax revenues, and is considered the second largest income contributor to the Egyptian state finances, following revenues from the Suez Canal.

The industry has significantly evolved, and PMM has been playing a major role in its development. The Egyptian market is witnessing strong competition, thanks to the presence of international tobacco companies besides Eastern Tobacco Company (ETC). ETC manufactures a total of 86bn cigarettes annually for all tobacco companies operating in Egypt.

PMM is the number one international player in the industry with a 22% market share. The company provides various job opportunities, as it employs around 2,500 people, whether directly or indirectly.

Are all PMM products manufactured locally rather than imported from other countries? Are there any imported brands?

We manufacture all our products locally at ETC, with whom we have a strong, long-term partnership based on mutual benefits.

Import are a possibility; however, imported cigarettes currently available in Egypt are most likely part of illicit trade, which is regarded as a global major issue. Illicit trade represents 10% of the global tobacco industry and is known to fund illegal activities, negatively affecting tax revenues, and posing a risk to adult consumers, since illicit products’ quality are not regulated nor bound by internationally accepted standards.

What are the reasons behind the price increase of cigarettes? What is the difference between the price increase and the tax increase?

There are several factors that determine tobacco prices. For your reference, around 70% of the retail cigarette price is comprised of tax, which has multiple components. So, if the price of a cigarette pack is EGP 30, around EGP 21 would be tax.

The other critical factor relates to the import of raw materials, given that tobacco is not domestically grown in Egypt. Imported tobacco, which is bought with a different currency, represents an increased cost after the floatation of the Egyptian pound. The other expenses that have to be considered are the manufacturing and distribution processes.

Who takes the decision to increase the price? Is it PMM or the government or is it an agreement between both sides?

The market is governed by the price freedom principle, so tobacco companies may set their product prices as long as they are in compliance with the government’s rules and regulations. Sometimes, the price increase is triggered by a tax change.

Governments increase taxes as a tactic to help decrease the number of smokers. In your opinion, did they succeed?

Taxation is one of the tools that governments use to reduce the harm of smoking.

Smoking cigarettes causes serious diseases, and the best way to avoid the harm of smoking is never to start, or to quit. 

Smoking prevalence globally, which was estimated at 22.1% in 2010, has been in constant decline for several decades, and the World Health Organization forecasts it will continue declining by 0.2% per annum. At that pace, it will take almost 100 years until the world is smoke-free.

But much more can be done to reduce health risks for the world’s 1.1 billion men and women who would otherwise continue to smoke, thus transitioning faster to a smoke-free future.

If the price increase does not help as all the statistics proved, what else did PMI achieve in that area?

PMI built its reputation as a leading cigarette company, with the world’s most iconic brands in the category.

Still, many would be surprised to know that PMI began to explore the viability and product development of smoke-free alternatives in the early 2000s. And that, in recent years, we have hired over 430 R&D experts, among whom 300 are world-class scientists, and have invested over $4.5bn to ensure adult smokers have better options. In fact, our vision is that these products—which present less risk of harm than continuing to smoke but are still satisfying to smokers—will one day completely replace cigarettes.

And this is not just a theory. PMI’s diverse smoke-free portfolio includes heated tobacco and nicotine-containing vapor products. Our flagship heated tobacco product, the IQOS, is now commercialised in 43 countries.

So far, 5.9 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking cigarettes and switched to one of our alternative products. This number is growing, with approximately 10,000 smokers switching on a daily basis.

Also, the IQOS tobacco heating system has a very high conversion rate, with more than 70% of people purchasing the IQOS and using it exclusively or predominantly.

After a long history of manufacturing cigarettes, is PMI shifting its core mission to produce a different product?

PMI is transforming itself from a cigarette manufacturer to a science and technology-driven organisation. We have two state-of-the-art global R&D centres in Switzerland and Singapore.  Additionally, we have published over 250 peer-reviewed scientific papers since 2011, and have been granted more than 3,400 patents.

Smoking is harmful, this is a fact that is commonly known. But people often don’t know the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of this harm.  Though there is much misunderstanding, experts agree that nicotine, while addictive and not risk-free, is not the primary cause of most smoking-related illnesses. It is the burning process that creates smoke, which contains harmful toxicants.

Throughout years of testing and learning, we may now heat tobacco to release a satisfying aerosol without burning. This tobacco aerosol, which has dramatically lower levels of harmful toxins than cigarette smoke, still delivers nicotine at the same time as providing the taste and ritual that smokers demand. While heating tobacco is one possibility in developing alternatives to cigarette smoking, another approach is to produce a nicotine-containing aerosol without the use of tobacco.

How does your new the IQOS platform work?

Whereas the idea of heating tobacco, instead of burning it, has been around for over two decades, it is only now that we have finally managed to find ways to heat tobacco which results in products that satisfy adult smokers. The IQOS uses sophisticated electronics to heat specially prepared and blended tobacco. Furthermore, the IQOS heats the tobacco just enough to release a flavourful nicotine-containing vapor but without burning it.

Although the tobacco in a cigarette burns at temperatures in excess of 600°C, the IQOS heats it to much lower temperatures, below 350°C, generating a nicotine-containing vapor without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke. The lower temperature heating releases the true taste of heated tobacco. Because the tobacco is heated and not burned, the levels of harmful chemicals are significantly reduced, compared to cigarette smoke.

The IQOS experience has evolved over time based on consumer feedback. With our fourth and latest product iteration, the IQOS 3, which has just been launched in select countries around the world, we are not just delivering upgrades to the product’s design and functionality, but also to the way we engage with adult consumers. There are few products which revolutionise their sector and change holistically the consumer experience. We believe the IQOS is one of those products.

Do you have a certain criteria which countries must meet to qualify for the IQOS to be launched in?

PMI has made a public commitment to pave the way for a smoke-free future as soon as possible. The shift will take time, given that convincing 1.1 billion adult smokers is a very challenging task on its own.

The science shows that these smoke-free products are a better choice for smokers and those around them. When we can reach a critical mass of men and women who have switched, we can deliver a broader reduction in population harm. Innovation, therefore, has the power to change lives for individuals, and, collectively, the future of public health.

However, innovative products do nothing if people do not know about them. Getting the word out is difficult without support from regulators, public health experts, NGOs, and all those who care about smokers. This support is a key criterion to prioritise investments in countries, so that the related investment pays off not only financially, but also in terms of positive impact on society.

What is keeping you from launching the IQOS in Egypt? What do you need from the Egyptian government in order to introduce the IQOS into the Egyptian market?

From our end, we are committed to offer a portfolio of better alternatives to adult smokers while being transparent in our research and findings. But we can’t do it alone. Governments have a unique opportunity to help facilitate informed choices.

We are working together with the government and our partners to turn this into a reality.

Actually, when I go out, I see numerous adult users of the IQOS who have already stopped smoking cigarettes. Although the product has not been launched in Egypt yet, incoming travellers still manage to bring it into the country.

Are there other tobacco companies that produce alternatives? Why doesn’t the entire industry move together towards achieving one common goal?

We believe that the entire industry will ultimately move in the same direction. PMI has taken a global leading role with regards to the harm-reduction approach, and we will be glad if the industry’s key players follow suit, in order to ensure a sustainable smoke-free vision.

Did you choose Egypt to be PMI’s cluster hub because it is considered to be the biggest regional cigarette consuming country?

We trust the Egyptian economy and its potential to grow and prosper. The capabilities and talents of the Egyptian organisation serve as strong testimonies. We are proud that our people from Egypt have undertaken management roles of increased responsibilities in 12 different countries. The newly established Management Hub for Egypt and Levant in Cairo adds regional accountabilities in key areas like finance, marketing, IT, and human resources.

I am also happy to say that we have been certified for the third year in a row as a ‘Top Employer in Egypt’, in line with our global certification.

Dallied exports https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/dallied-exports/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 15:00:05 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/dallied-exports/ Tracking the export journey of Egyptian products for 23 years, from 1995 to 2018, the CEIC, a pioneer entity in markets studies all over the world, highlighted that Egypt’s total exports dropped by 8.6% year-over-year (y-o-y) in August 2018, compared with an increase of 16.3% y-o-y in the previous month.

On the other hand, Egypt’s total exports growth data is updated on a monthly basis, available from July 1995 to August 2018, with an average rate of 10.1%.

According to the CEIC indicator which is based on official data, exports reached an all-time high of 146.6% in June 2008, and a record low of -60.7% in August 1995.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s total exports registered $2bn in August 2018; while total imports recorded $5.9bn in the same month of the year, which saw an increase of 8.2% y-o-y. In addition, Egypt’s trade balance recorded a deficit of $4.0bn at the same time.

Exports to exceed $3bn by 2020: Trading Economics https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/exports-to-exceed-3bn-by-2020-trading-economics/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:30:26 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/exports-to-exceed-3bn-by-2020-trading-economics/ In Egypt, according to Trading Economics-a remarkable US-based company which provides over 2m economic indicators for nearly 200 countries-exports account for about a quarter of the GDP. The major exports are oil and other mineral products which occupy 32% of total exports, chemical products shape12%, while exports of agricultural products and livestock and others fats factor together 11%, and textiles make up10.5%.

Meanwhile, other exports including base metals, machinery, electrical appliances, foodstuff, beverages and tobacco do not exceed 15% of the export volume.

Major export partners are Italy, Spain, France, Saudi Arabia, India and Turkey, which are considered the top ranked destinations for Egyptian exports.

Exports in Egypt increased to $2.3bn in September from $1.983bn in August of 2018.

Egyptian exports are expected to reach $2.7bn by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics’ global macro models and analysts’ expectations.

Looking forward, it estimates exports to stand at $2.240bn in 12 months.

On the long-term, Egyptian exports are projected to drift around $3.400bn in 2020, according to its econometric models.

Government must take action steps to deal with challenges, says chairman of EFEC https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/government-must-take-action-steps-to-deal-with-challenges-says-chairman-of-efec/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:00:04 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/government-must-take-action-steps-to-deal-with-challenges-says-chairman-of-efec/ Chairperson of the Egyptian Furniture Export Council (EFEC), Ihab Derias, affirmed that the export sector is facing considerable challenges especially after the implementation of the new economic reforms two years ago.

He informed Daily News Egypt that the hardest challenge the sector is currently dealing with is the government’s delay in releasing exporters’ debts which stand at EGP10bn. These receivables should have been retrieved two years ago, and the delay increases the burden on exporters due to increases in the prices of raw materials and production components.

“The new regulations which manage the organisation of overseas exhibits Egypt are also harm the entire sector in general, and the furniture sector in particular. These regulations were imposed without considering the export councils, so they do not meet the demands of exports. These regulations also forced many companies and manufacturers to not participate in exhibits abroad,” Derias explained.

For its part, according to Derias, the EFEC prepared a new strategy to increase the sector’s exports three times its current supply over 10 years. The new strategy focuses on achieving eight goals, including increasing the industrial growth rate from 5% up to 8%. In addition, the plan is to decrease the import supply from 70% to about 40%, as well as increasing the domestic feeding industries in the final product from between 5% and 10% to between 15% and 20%.

The strategy also aims also to increase furniture exports from $350m to $800m per annum, in parallel with increasing the number of exporters in the sector by 50%.

“Depending on the new strategy with action steps taken by the government to deal with all the problems we are facing, the sector could offer about one million job vacancies, and attract about $1m new investments, in addition to increasing the export volume by $4m over the coming five years,” elaborated Derias.

The sector includes about 120,000 establishments with a workforce of one million employees, which make the sector one of the most promising divisions in the Egypt overseas.

Exporters’ debts hit EGP 10bn, says EBA https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/exporters-debts-hit-egp-10bn-says-eba/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 13:30:40 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/exporters-debts-hit-egp-10bn-says-eba/ As the export sector is passing through a critical situation due to the government’s delay in releasing exporter’s debt payments, several concerned bodies have declared their support of the sector against the government’s lack of action.

The Egyptian businesspersons’ association (EBA), sent its remarks on how this delay is harming the sector to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

According to the EBA’s remarks, the Export Development Fund, still insists on not releasing export debts since October 2015 which are currently EGP 10bn. In addition, it has yet to pay the value-added tax refund for products which already were exported, which reduced Egypt’s competiveness, as well as many stopped many production lines from working, increased unemployment rates, and declined foreign exchange earnings.

The EBA stressed that the government is contradicting itself, as it has announced that it will provide all facilities and incentives to investors and exporters, while the ministry of finance has not allocated any funds to release exporters’ debts. This situation represents a negative message to all importers, exporters, and the entire global markets, which affects both the economy and investment atmosphere.

Chairperson of the EBA board, Ali Eissa, revealed to Daily News Egypt that the EBA and export councils called for a meeting with the prime minister to discuss all the troubles that export sector faces. Moreover, Eissa added, to urge the government to take positive steps for the sake of the sector such as allocating funds to release their overdue payments.

“The situation became very critical. In addition, it is negatively affecting our economy and its reputation. The government should take positive action steps to boost the sector, especially since it is considered one of the top three sources of the national income along with tourism and investments,” Eissa concluded.

Egyptian exports still lack international quality standards, which require us to reconsider all our regulations related to product quality censorship https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/egyptian-exports-still-lack-international-quality-standards-which-require-us-to-reconsider-all-our-regulations-related-to-product-quality-censorship/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 13:00:02 +0000 Doaa A. Moneam https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/egyptian-exports-still-lack-international-quality-standards-which-require-us-to-reconsider-all-our-regulations-related-to-product-quality-censorship/ According to the Head of the Chemical and Fertilisers Export Council (CFEC), Khaled Abo Elmakarem, economic reforms affected the exports sector positively and negatively similarly.

In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Abo Elmakarem unveiled the details of the government strategy which aims to boost the sector, and his CFEC plan to a improve performance within coming three years, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How was the exports sector affected by the economic reforms?

Although the reforms affected all the economic sectors in the domestic market, but all current divisions including exports are reaping the rewards. Even the performance of imports in the three quarters of 2018 prove the improvement of the Egyptian economic climate.

What evidence do you have which proves your perspective?

According to the General Authority for the Control of Exports and Imports (GOEIC), exports performed better from January 2018 to September 2018 in 13 export sectors exceeding $18bn compared to about $16b in the same period in 2017, with a raise average of 11%. This means that the sector is successfully following the growth rates which were set by the ministry of trade and industry that aims to reach an annual growth average of 10%.

Can you elaborate?

New export sectors performed better in this period and achieved growth, such as handicraft industries which recorded a growth rate of 10% compared to the same period in 2017, and ready-made garments with a growth rate of 9.2%, textiles with a higher growth rate by 10.3%, in addition to pharmaceutical industries which achieved a growth rate of 13%.

So, how is the new strategy of boosting exports going to work?

By heading towards promising markets, especially African markets. The exports boosting strategy set 18 African countries to become the new destinations of our exports including Kenya, Sudan, Zambia, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Angola, Gabon, Senegal, Cameron, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic republic of the Congo, South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Somalia, and Côte d’Ivoire. These new destinations will be entered by most the exporting competitive sectors including building materials, food, pharmaceutical, engineering, and chemical industries.

And what about other proposed procedures?

The new proposed strategy is to establish a new exports body to maximise the benefits of all potentials that all concerned bodies are experiencing, and to become the only link between exporters, industrial sectors, companies, and the government in a frame of integration to develop exports which is the basic goal of the strategy itself.

The export sector is facing significant challenges, do you agree with that?

Indeed, the exports sector is generally affected by challenges of the Egyptian industry. These include the spread of the informal sector and its negative effect on the competitiveness of the formal sector, as informal entities do not bear any financial expenses such as taxes, duties, and fees. In addition, the government does not offer yet offer any incentives for the sake of integrating this sector to the formal one.

What about the aftermath of the economic reforms?

They caused a big raise in production costs due to raw material and inputs price increases. Moreover, there were increases in service prices related to exports such as stockpiling, shipping, and transportation. Additionally, there were higher prices of energy resources which were raised from July 2014 to date, as natural gas prices increased by 133%, and electricity consumption prices were increased by 40% until now. In addition, there were petroleum resources’ prices hikes, which, ultimately, led to dramatic increases of the final product.

How do you evaluate the government’s performance in dealing with this serious situation?

Unfortunately, the government does not allocate any funds to support export shipping to global markets, including East Europe, Central Asia, Russia, and MERCOSUR regional groups. These ones are considered the only alternative markets Egypt can depend on to compensate markets which exit our export destinations due to political instability. On the other hand, Egyptian exports still lack international quality standards, which require us to reconsider all of our regulations related to product quality censorship.

In your opinion, what should be done now?

The government must take active steps to cope with all challenges I discussed. In addition, economic reforms and their useful achievements over the coming years will guarantee good performance for the sector. Furthermore, the MURCUSOR agreement is going to be applicable soon, and interest rates will be decreased. All these conditions will push the sector to achieve the required 10% growth rate, hence reaching a volume of $25bn.

For the chemical sector, what does your council plan to do to boost its exports within the state’s strategy?

We aim to achieve an annual growth rate of 20%, and to double our chemical exports within the coming three years.

What mechanisms does your strategy include?

Expanding our activities to include small, medium, and micro enterprises, and eliciting new exporters to the sector. In addition, enhancing the transition towards exports of high value-added quality products. Furthermore, heading strongly into the African market, increasing the logistics areas to guarantee the availability of our products. This will be accompanied by offering beneficial training courses for exporters in order to enhance human resources in both the quality of marketing and products.

Back to exports sector in general, how can it overcome its troubles?

The rules of the subsidy payment to exporters who pay in cash should be reconsidered, by offering 50% of the subsidy, while offering 50% by the end of the year by virtue of verifying their financial statements and tax returns, claiming for a concession to hand the worth of these subsidies to exporters through an offset from their property taxes or other tax sources. In addition, we need to set some procedures which help manufactures to reduce imported raw material costs through a new technique of group purchasing through specialised companies and receive the benefits from global tenders.

Are there any other procedures to propose?

To set a new unexpected risk insurance programme to help exporters enter global markets without fearing unexpected risks such as buyers’ bankruptcy or political troubles in case of wars or uprisings in heated countries. Furthermore, compliant financing programmes should be considered to suit the nature of industry characteristics in the Egyptian market, and accrediting the Egyptian trademark promoting Egyptian products in global and regional markets. 

Exports among challenges against country’s promising opportunities https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/exports-among-challenges-against-countrys-promising-opportunities/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:30:43 +0000 Doaa A. Moneam https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/exports-among-challenges-against-countrys-promising-opportunities/ Although the budget of the Exports Development Fund, a state-owned authority, offers subsidy funds to the export sector, has been increased in the fiscal year 2018/2019 up to EGP 4bn, the new increase will not meet exporters’ demands.

Actually, the government owes exporters about EGP 10bn in overdue payments, which have been delayed since October 2015. This situation impeded all state efforts towards doubling export rates as it is an important source of national income.

However, other perspectives expected that the sector can achieve an annual growth rate of 10%, based on actual procedures which have taken by concerned bodies.

It is worth notably that minister of planning Hala Al-Saied announced that government seeks to increase Egypt’s exports up to 15 per cent annually.

She added during her meeting with governor of Central Bank of Egypt CBE, the Council of Governors of Islamic Development Bank IsDB, and representatives IsDB Islamic Corporation for he Insurance of Investment and Export Credit ICIEC that it comes in response to the need for increase foreign currency amount

EFG Hermes launches 3rd Egypt Day Conference in Cairo https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/efg-hermes-launches-3rd-egypt-day-conference-in-cairo/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:00:50 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/efg-hermes-launches-3rd-egypt-day-conference-in-cairo/ EFG Hermes, a leading financial services corporation in frontier and emerging markets (EMs), launched its third Egypt Day Conference on Tuesday in Cairo, with the participation of 27 investors from 22 companies and financial institutions with $5.5tn of assets under management. The three-day event will also host a group of high-level government officials and CEOs from Egypt’s top companies to discuss the stability and steady growth of the local economy following the recent reforms.

“EFG Hermes is committed to supporting efforts to attract foreign capital to Egypt as we continue to play our role as the bridge between foreign capital and investment opportunities in Egypt, and frontier and Ems. The impressive turnout at the Egypt Day Conference from global investors, Egyptian companies, and government representatives reflects Egypt’s position as a key part of the regional market that offers compelling opportunities to the global investment community,” said EFG Hermes Group CEO, Karim Awad.

“The consistent success of this gathering is a testament to the positive outlook on the local market and the global perception of Egypt as a growing economy in a region that is in constant flux,” Awad asserted.

The last edition of the conference held in January saw representatives from 27 global institutions from the US, the UK, Germany, South Africa, and the GCC who met with c-suite executives from top-listed Egyptian companies. The conference acted as a catalyst to reinvigorate the performance of the Egyptian exchange market between February and May 2018.

Beltone expects stable interest rates in upcoming meeting on 27 December https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/beltone-expects-stable-interest-rates-in-upcoming-meeting-on-27-december/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:30:01 +0000 Nihal Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/beltone-expects-stable-interest-rates-in-upcoming-meeting-on-27-december/ Beltone Financial announced in a recent report that it still maintains its view of a stable interest rates environment in the upcoming Monetary Policy Committee meeting of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on 27 December.

“Treasury yields are persistently elevated, above the pre-interest rates cut, disregarding the interest rates policy direction,” the report stated.

Beltone expects yields to remain above 19%, which will keep Egypt’s fixed income market attractive amidst the tightened monetary policy environment in the emerging markets.

In terms of inflation, the November annual headline inflation decelerated to 15.7%, down from October’s reading of 17.7% and below Beltone`s estimates of 17.5%.

“This was driven by a lower rise of 18.7% in food prices, down from 20.2% in October, which we attribute to the slowed rise in fruits and vegetables prices, 47.9%, down from a peak of 52.7% in October. Food inflation was coupled with the slowdown in tobacco and alcohol prices with a rise of 10.2% against 22.9% in October. Annual core inflation eased as well to 7.94%, down from 8.86% in October,” according to Beltone.

On a monthly basis, the headline inflation rate declined by 0.8% in November, against an increased of 2.6% in October and Beltone’s estimates of an increase of 0.8%. Likewise, core inflation saw a slowed increase of 0.46% month-over-month, against a rise of 1% in October.

This was driven by a decline in food prices by 1.8%, against a rise of 3.5% in October with the 5.8% decline in fruits and vegetables prices.

“We believe the ease in inflation levels confirms the CBE’s view of contained inflationary pressures

bringing the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2018 average inflation reading to the CBE’s target zone upper bond (16%),” the report forecasted.

Africa is on threshold of new phase of economic integration: Afreximbank’s President https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/africa-is-on-threshold-of-new-phase-of-economic-integration-afreximbanks-president/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:00:31 +0000 Shaimaa Al-Aees https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/africa-is-on-threshold-of-new-phase-of-economic-integration-afreximbanks-president/ Professor Benedict Oramah, President of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said that Africa is shaping history at the beginning of a new cooperation era, and thanked President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for sponsoring the first Intra African Trade Fair (IATF 2018).

Oramah added that the bank looks forward to further progress under this interrelationship and cooperation.

During the inauguration of the IATF on Tuesday, Oramah noted that the fair is the first of its kind to benefit from the African continent’s wealth, which colonialism prevented its people from achieving the full benefit from, explaining that Africa is on the threshold of a new phase of economic integration.

He pointed out that the Afreximbank seeks to achieve a common market in Africa for the purpose of independence.

“The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement is a gateway to benefit from resources and products from the African continent,” he elaborated. “There are many agreements of partnership between African countries and Egypt to support the implementation of the CFTA.”

For his part, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and Chairperson of the IATF 2018 Advisory Council called on African countries to activate the African Free Trade Area Agreement.

The agreement requires the ratification of 22 countries to represent a shift in African economic relations, noted Obasanjo.

IATF delivers message Africa ready for economic cooperation in all fields: Madbouly https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/iatf-delivers-message-africa-ready-for-economic-cooperation-in-all-fields-madbouly/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 10:30:18 +0000 Shaimaa Al-Aees https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/iatf-delivers-message-africa-ready-for-economic-cooperation-in-all-fields-madbouly/ Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly inaugurated Egypt’s first Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) on Tuesday held in Cairo.

“Welcome to this important event, the first of its kind in the African continent. On behalf of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, I would like to thank you all for your participation in this exhibition,” Madbouly said.

This fair comes following an important milestone event in the African joint work, which is the Africa 2018 Forum, hosted by Egypt in Sharm El-Sheikh. It also coincides with the 7th African Ministers of Trade Meeting (AMOT) that will take place on 12-13 December.

Madbouly pointed out that the IATF is an important step in the process of supporting economic integration among African countries, and it sends a message to the whole world that Africa is ready and welcomes cooperation at all levels and fields.

He noted that the world is currently paying considerable attention to Africa as a destination for business, especially after most of the continent’s countries have been able to make significant progress in modernising their infrastructure and legislation.

“The number of participants in this fair is the utmost proof of our urgent need for integration, as it exceeded 1,000 exhibitors from over 35 countries,” he stated.

The Egyptian prime minister expressed his hope that this fair can contribute to fulfilling the aspirations of African people.

The African Union (AU) Commissioner for the Department of Trade and Industry, Albert M Muchanga, said that the IATF is a biannual fair held regularly in an African country, stressing that they are moving closer towards activating the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

“The AU considers all the agreements which can enable us to achieve progress in Africa,” Muchanga added.

He called on all member countries to sign the CFTA, urging different African trade ministers to cooperate towards achieving what Africans want.

The IATF is scheduled to last until 17 December, with the participation of 1,055 African companies, as well as 34 countries.

Additionally, Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, said that the fair is a strategic opportunity to promote and develop means of intra-African commerce in order to increase trade exchange, to transfer information and experiences related to trade, investment, and local markets with decision-makers, as well as to discuss and identify solutions to the challenges facing the continent in this regard. 

Nassar pointed out that Egypt is forging strong efforts to strengthen trade relations and achieve economic integration among all African countries, by supporting multilateral agreements including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). 

He noted that the African Continental Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a major step towards regional integration, which is expected to increase trade opportunities among African countries by 52% close to 2022.

Bahaa-Eldin Law Office, BonelliErede hire four experienced lawyers https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/bahaa-eldin-law-office-bonellierede-hire-four-experienced-lawyers/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 10:00:39 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/bahaa-eldin-law-office-bonellierede-hire-four-experienced-lawyers/ Bahaa-Eldin Law Office in cooperation with BonelliErede strengthened its Egyptian team in Cairo by hiring four additional experienced lawyers: Mostafa Moussa; Mohamed Hossam El Ehwany; Ahmad Farghal and Nayera Sherif.

Ziad Bahaa-Eldin said that following the establishment of the new law firm and the cooperation with BonelliErede, it was important to consolidate the team with professionals with vast local experience and an international background. “The combination of new expertise with the quality of our lawyers in Cairo allows us to serve our clients with a team second to none in the Egyptian market,” he added.

BonelliErede’s President Stefano Simontacchi said that BonelliErede’s international growth is also based on the expansion of professional profiles within the firm. “Following Ziad Bahaa-Eldin joining up with us, we have further strengthened our presence in Egypt with new hirings. I believe that the integration of the team by means of professionals with experience and training in different legal areas is the most suitable model for the continuation and consolidation of our internationalisation process. These new arrivals follow the hiring of our American partner Laurence Shore into the International Arbitration Focus Team and the integration of the Middle Eastern law firm Tribonian Law Advisors,” he added.

The local team is led by Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, an Egyptian lawyer, economist, and writer, former head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, chairperson of the Egyptian Investment Authority, and deputy prime minister and minister of international cooperation.

BonelliErede and Bahaa-Eldin Law Office’s partnership is coordinated by Milan partner Gianfranco Veneziano, along with Cairo-based Francesca Secondari; Riccardo Bicciato and Lorenzo Melchionda.

2019 to be year of Egypt’s graceful IMF programme exit https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/2019-to-be-year-of-egypts-graceful-imf-programme-exit/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:30:22 +0000 Ahmed Lamloum https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/12/2019-to-be-year-of-egypts-graceful-imf-programme-exit/ Derived by stable performance of its economy, Egypt has recently announced it will not ask for further funding from the IMF, when its $12bn loan programme expires in June 2019, after undertaking tough economic reforms which included slashing energy subsidies, imposing new taxes, and floating its pound currency.

BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research expects in its outlook for the global markets and economy in 2019, that Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, to go through a Post-Programme Monitoring framework in order to guarantee a smooth exit from the three-year IMF deal.

MENA Economist, Jean-Michel Saliba, sees macro stabilisation in the country continuing and the government’s reform momentum is intact, and should be maintained into the second half of 2019. Egypt’s current account deficit narrowed sequentially by $1.3bn to $0.6bn and stood at $5.9bn, a which equals 2.4% of Egypt’s GDP on a trailing basis in the second quarter of 2018, from a peak of $20.1bn in 2016.

In September, foreigners held $13.1bn of treasury bills (T-bills), due to $8.4bn in outflows. Foreign holdings represent a large 18% of the outstanding T-bills stock and 25% of Net international reserves (NIRs) including CBE deposits not included in foreign-exchange (FX) reserves.

The 2011 uprising which toppled long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak hit the Egyptian economy hard, driving tourists and foreign investors away, drying up foreign reserves. NIRs drowned to $17.5bn in June 2016, but have slowly increased to reach $44.5bn in October, which covers 7.8 months of country’s imports. The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) holds $7.8bn in deposits not reported in reserves.

The CBE commented that it could intervene if the pound weakened beyond its comfort zone. The country floated its currency in November 2016. Saliba forecasts the outlook for the USD-EGP relationship to be relatively stable as T-bills are likely to remain high enough and FX reserves are still high. He also warned of reforms and rollovers of crowded T-bill positions.

Inflation has increased after energy-subsidy reforms, but base effects are likely to bring it to within the CBE’s target of 13+/-3% by end-2018. The CBE’s gradual data-dependent easing stance and a focus on month-over-month seasonally-adjusted inflation figures suggest the CBE could remain on pause for the next several months.

According to Saliba, the budget for fiscal year (FY) 2019 is key to anchor debt dynamics. A primary surplus of 0.2% of the GDP this year has been achieved due to energy subsidy reform and the value-added tax (VAT) hike, excluding the CBE recap costs. All fuel subsidies—except liquid petroleum gas—are likely to be eliminated by the end of next year.

“An automatic fuel price indexation mechanism is likely to be introduced by December. The target is to bring the primary surplus to 2% of the GDP in FY 2019 and keep it there. The FY 2019 reforms include fuel subsidy reforms, wage bill control, and improved tax mobilisation,” Saliba concluded