Chairperson of United Bank of Egypt Ashraf Elkady said that the banking sector is an integral part of the national economy, and directly affected by everything that affects the economy. He added that the more improvement occurs in the national economy, the less risks are likely to face the Egyptian banking sector. Elkady noted that at this important stage of building the economy, Egypt needs strong banking entities, pointing out that Egyptian banks are strong and attractive to local and foreign investments, in addition to enjoying good profitability indicators. “Economic reform measures have started.” He noted that there have been major national projects under construction across Egypt. With regard to the United Bank of Egypt’s activity in the new year, he said that the bank aims to implement a strong expansion plan, especially after the Central Bank of Egypt increases its [United Bank] capital.
Vice chairperson of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) Yehia Abu ElFotouh said that he expects a major breakthrough for the economy and the activity of the banking sector in the second half (H2) of 2017. He explained that some challenges may continue in the first half (H1), but added that those will turn with the beginning of H2. “This would reflect on the activity of banks, as any growth in an economy impacts banks,” he said. Furthermore, Abu ElFotouh said that the NBE will not limit the amount of funds it channels to support these sectors, but will put in as much money as possible. The bank aims to develop a strategy through which it could boost the size of SMEs financing to EGP 72bn over four years, according to Abu ElFotouh.
He noted that 2017 will witness a real start for attracting many foreign investment flows which will allow banks to finance more national and investment projects. “The sectors of transportation, logistics, building, construction, industry, and basic commodities will top the sectors which Banque du Caire plans to finance in 2017,” El Zahid said. He explained that the bank aims to inject more than EGP 1bn into these sectors during 2017 in order to support economic growth. El Zahid said that his bank is keen on financing these sectors in order to support economic and social development projects. It also pays attention to labour-intensive projects and activities, as well as projects that are characterised by innovation, in addition to value-added projects,” El Zahid noted.
He told Daily News Egypt that the communications and information technology (CIT) sector plays a big role in different aspects of implementing the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030, pushed forward by the political leadership to turn the Egyptian community into a digital one. This comes as part of the ministry’s plan to attract foreign direct investment, localise technology and innovation, improve communications services, develop efficiency of public services, and provide them through Egypt Post offices. The third aspect of the ministry’s plan, according to Al-Qadi, is training, as the Information Technology Institute (ITI) has been securing training opportunities for youth interested in the information technology sector, both during university years or after graduation. In terms of supporting innovation and information technology, he said that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology aims to establish an innovation centre in all technological parks. “There are a number of incentive programmes launched by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) to support start-ups through innovation and entrepreneurship centres,” he pointed out.
Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that the ministry’s plan in 2017 is based on grants for development projects from international financial institutions. Nasr said that the ministry is moving this year to provide direct funding to several provinces, including ones in Upper Egypt. She pointed out that demand on development projects has increased from 10% early 2016 to 60% by the end of the year. Nasr said that this year will see the inauguration of many development projects that had received funding in the past two years. As for cooperation with Arab funds, she said that the Ministry of International Cooperation is working to open permanent channels of cooperation and negotiation with Arab financing funds to contribute to funding development projects in Egypt.
“The bank is considering 2017 to be the year of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” said Hany Seif El-Nasr, chairperson of the Arab Investment Bank (AIBK). Seif El-Nasr noted that the initiative posed by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), which encourages banks to expand in financing SMEs, will push banks towards investing in this direction. It will also generate more jobs, increase domestic production to replace imported products, and increase exports of SMEs. Seif El-Nasr continued that as part of the AIBK’s interest in financing SMEs, it adopted a geographical expansion strategy. Seif El-Nasr emphasised that the focus of the new branches will be financing SMEs.
Chairperson of Banque Misr Mohamed El-Etreby said that there are strong expectations for banks to increase the size of financing to major projects, as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2017. “2017 is the year of opportunities for banks, but it will also be a year of challenges,” he said. Regarding the opportunities, El-Etreby said that more foreign direct investment will flow into Egypt following the approval of the new investment law, which would raise demand on borrowing from banks. “This means that 2017 will see an influx in the size of financing to SMEs,” he added. Asked about Banque Misr’s plan in 2017, El-Etreby said that the bank will boost financing channeled to SMEs and expand in mortgage financing to serve low- and middle-income citizens.
Housing Minister Mostafa Madboly said that his ministry is committed to support the real estate sector through providing large and medium-sized areas of land with basic facilities. He added that the ministry seeks to attract foreign investment, especially from Arab countries, to participate in the establishment of new real estate projects, including the New Administrative Capital, New El Alamein City, and East Port Said City. Madboly explained that the new real estate regulations of the New Urban Communities Authority imply clear measures of offering land and contracts, which preserve the state’s right in dealing with only serious investors. A higher committee for compensation will be formed and its permanent headquarters would be at the Ministry of Housing. The compensation committee would present a report to the cabinet for approval every three months.
Minister of Investment Daila Khorshid revealed her expectations and vision about the Egyptian economy through 2017 during an interview with Daily News Egypt, stressing that the Egyptian economy is on the right track. Recent economic reforms were necessary, but harsh, and their inflationary consequences were significant. The new investment law grants authority over real estate allocation to the state’s agencies. Adopting the new investment law is a new legislative and procedural philosophy that serves the investor and preserves the right of the state. The economic decisions recently taken by the government will contribute to the increase of direct and indirect foreign investment andill generate foreign currencies in the coming period.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Kabil added that his ministry is designing an ambitious strategy to boost Egyptian exports in the coming year. The government has taken serious steps towards applying real economic reform to achieve sustainable growth, which will positively reflect on creating more jobs and attract direct and indirect investments. Additionally, the new industrial development plan targets to increase private investment rates from EGP 43bn to nearly EGP 100bn in 2020. What about the ministry’s plan to increase exports? The ministry’s plan also targets Eurasian markets, which includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, and Kazakhstan.
Adolescents who were born extremely premature are much more likely to have chronic health problems than their peers who were delivered at full term, a Swedish study suggests. The study focused on extremely preterm infants, delivered at 23 to 25 weeks gestation. Farooqi’s team studied 134 youngsters ages 10 to 15 who were born extremely preterm, plus 103 children who were full-term infants but otherwise similar. Roughly 64 percent of the teens born preterm needed routine care from a physician or specialist for a chronic health problems or special services like physical or occupational therapy, nursing care or special school arrangements. Complications that are common in extremely preterm infants, such as central nervous system injuries, lung disease, eye problems and infections, “have been shown to be related to many of the chronic health problems” Farooqi noted.
Paul Smith has managed to combine business and pleasure with his newly redefined PS by Paul Smith line. The British designer turned to his love of cycling for the line’s Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, which debuted at the Italian trade show Pitti Immagine Uomo 91 recently. The series, which first launched last May, was heavily influenced by sportswear, designed with the “everyday pursuits of the modern man” in mind. The latest collection sees the brand’s signature colourful details and prints teamed with technical fabrics, ergonomic tailoring and “life-proof” features to make the pieces more durable and hardwearing. Drawstring waists, tear-proof and shower-resistant materials feature throughout, as do design accents such as a playful and sporty “cycling stripe”.
Restoring economic stability is not easy, as Egypt’s President Sisi has said many times. The country faces three interlinked problems: an urgent balance of payments problem—which means more foreign currency has been going out the door than coming in—rising public debt, as well as low growth and high unemployment. With help from the IMF, Egypt has …
I have presented a five-year plan to attract foreign investments and establish solar energy plants over the upcoming period. How many solar energy plants does the country need? Egypt has all the ingredients for success in order to achieve a leap in the field of solar energy, but it lacks the will to begin implementation. We need to launch 100 solar energy plants with capacities ranging between 20 MW and 50 MW per plant. We must work on local manufacturing of standard solar energy plants with capacities ranging between 20 MW and 50 MW.
Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said that the most prominent challenges for the electricity sector is developing and expanding the transmission and distribution electricity grids to accommodate the most recently added capacities, as the total investments needed for transmission projects amount to EGP 18bn, while distribution projects require EGP 37bn. He explained that several transmission and distribution projects are underway, including the implementation of 1,210 km of electricity lines and cables in cooperation with the Chinese State Grid Corporation, while Elsewedy Electric and NCC are implementing an electricity transmission line from Samalout to Naga Hammadi at a cost amounting to EGP 4.187bn. Furthermore, four transformer stations will be built in Benban, Aswan within two months to carry the output of solar projects, according to Shaker. The Ministry of Electricity will now continue constructions of the new plants, including the South Helwan plant, which would produce 1,950 MW. He stressed that new and renewable energy projects are not delayed.