FILE - Finance Minister Amr el-GarhyCAIRO – 18 March 2018: Egypt selected 23 state companies for the first phase of the state IPO program, with total shares value of LE 80 billion, a statement from the Finance Ministry said Sunday.Market value of the soon-to-be-listed companies stands at LE 430 billion, the statement said, adding that the government intends to float about 15-30 percent of the companies in the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).The program is expected to be implemented in a period that ranges between 24-30 months.This comes as part of the state program to float some state-owned companies on the Egyptian Exchange under a five-year program announced in 2016 to attract investment and invigorate the stock market.It also aims to increase funding to Egyptian companies and maximizing benefit from state assets.The first phase of the program will include five companies in the petroleum sector, including Enppi, Assiut Oil Refining Co (ASORC) and Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC), six companies in the petrochemicals sector, including Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Co and the Egyptian Ethylene And Derivatives Company and three companies in the logistics sector.As for financial services, the listing will include the Housing and Development bank, Bank of Alexandria, Banque Du Caire, e-finance and Misr Insurance companies, according to the statement.The real estate sector will have two companies listed, while the customer services and Industry sectors will each have one company listed.The state IPO program comes in light of the economic reform program adopted by Egypt. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has directed the government to quickly implement the IPO program and make it a success.
March 18, 2018 15:33 UTC
FILE - The Egyptian ExchangeCAIRO – 18 March 2018: Egypt plans to offer shares 20 state companies in the next 1.5 years, 10 of which are already listed on the stock exchange, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on Sunday.This comes as part of the state program to float some state-owned companies on the Egyptian Exchange under a five-year program announced in 2016 to attract investment and invigorate the stock market.Ismail added that state companies’ investments in the stock market stand at 23 percent, aiming to increase them to 45 percent in the coming three years.The Prime Minister said that the initial public offerings (IPOs) of state-owned companies will yield positive results.
March 18, 2018 15:22 UTC
The United Nations logo is displayed on a door at U.N. headquarters in New York February 26, 2011. REUTERS/ Joshua LottCAIRO – 18 March 2018: Egypt and the United Nations (UN) signed the Strategic Framework Agreement for the Partnership with the United Nations 2018-2022, with a total value of $ 1.2 billion, an official statement said Sunday.The Strategic Framework Agreement is based on four axes: comprehensive economic development, social justice, women's empowerment and sustainable management of natural resources.The agreement was signed by Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, and United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt Richard Dictus.The agreement aims to support the Egyptian government on its quest towards achieving national development plans in Egypt, the statement said.Nasr said that the overall economic development of the agreement will be based on achieving the agreed goals of comprehensive and sustainable economic development, job creation, and training.This will be achieved through more effective use of public resources and incentives, support for entrepreneurship, creation of an environment conducive to sustainable investment, and increased access of young people and women to employment as well as the expansion of the SME sector, Nasr added.The minister clarified that the area of social justice will support national efforts to control population growth and ensure access to public services for all, including social protection and health, nutrition and education services.As for women's empowerment, Nasr said that the agreement aims at increasing women’s capacity and participation in leadership positions and in many other economic activities, in addition to their access to education and employment.“We have launched today a new chapter in the rich UN history in Egypt. We welcome this achievement and look forward to its successful implementation for the benefit of the people of this country, one of the global leaders of the Sustainable Development agenda,” Richard Dictus said.Dictus added that throughout the implementation of this partnership, the UN family in Egypt is fully committed to make use of the combined knowledge, expertise and experience of its members to contribute to giving shape to a much more sustainable future for Egypt and its people
March 18, 2018 15:00 UTC
FILE- Prime Minister Sherif IsmailCAIRO – 18 March 2018: Egypt’s Cabinet approved on Sunday the new state budget for fiscal year 2018/19, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said, adding that it will be referred to the Parliament.Ismail said in a press conference at the Cabinet headquarters that the new budget targets expenditures of LE 1.41 trillion, GDP growth of 5.8 percent, 88 per cent public debt and achieving a primary budget surplus.He added that the budget targets a budget deficit of 8.4 percent of GDP and investments worth LE 100 billion, up from LE 70 in the previous budget.The Prime Minister confirmed that the Egyptian economy is going in the right direction.An initial outline presented by Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy to Ismail earlier this month shows that the Finance Ministry is targeting a budget deficit of between 8.5 and 8.8 percent.Garhy projected that revenues for the year would reach LE 1 trillion for the first time in the country’s history.
March 18, 2018 14:37 UTC
Member of the Egyptian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Tarek El Kholy told local media that a recent request by British parliamentarians to visit former President Mohamed Morsi in prison represents an “unacceptable interference in Egypt’s internal affairs”. Morsi has been in custody since he was ousted from power in July 2013 after mass protests led to a military intervention by the Egyptian army. Kholy further explained that former chief of the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Crispin Blunt, the one who officially demanded the visit, has a long history of supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, a group from which Morsi hails. He further explained that upon the authorization by Morsi’s family, a group of lawyers has formed a committee to review the circumstances of Morsi’s imprisonment. As such, the purpose of visiting Morsi would be to review his living conditions in prison.
March 18, 2018 14:15 UTC
Egyptian Community in Germany after casting their votes in the 2018 presidential polls- Egypt TodayCAIRO – 18 March 2018: Egyptian communities in Europe have demonstrated their keenness to participate in the political life of Egypt as they registered a huge voter turnout in the 2018 presidential election.In Germany, of the 77,000+ Egyptian expats living there, roughly 3,600 voters are registered to cast their votes in three ballot stations across Germany; in Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt. Yet, even though the Egyptian community in Germany exceeds 77,000, most of them are ineligible to vote because they hold foreign citizenships.“I’m proud of being Egyptian,” said Alaa Thabet who has been living in Germany for over 20 years. Thabet has been going to the embassy on all three days of voting; describing the atmosphere at the embassy as a “ceremony of love for Egypt.”Thabet affirmed that he didn’t face any kind of problems while casting his vote. He praised the efforts exerted by the Egyptian diplomatic mission in France to ease and assist the voters during casting their ballots throughout the election.“I’d like to thank the Egyptian Embassy’s media counselor Rasha Ali for the sincere efforts she has been exerting to support the Egyptian community in France during the 2018 presidential polls,” Shokair added.Maram el-Sobky, an Egyptian expat living in Paris, saw another Egyptian expat crying because she was not registered as an eligible voter in the polls. The final results of the first round will be announced on April 2.
March 18, 2018 14:03 UTC
Egyptian expatriates at Egyptian embassy in Ukraine to vote in the presidential election - Egypt TodayCAIRO – 18 March 2018: Egyptian expatriates in Belgrade, Germany, Roma and Ukraine continue to cast their votes on the third and final day of the Egyptian presidential election.Egypt’s Ambassador to Belgrade Amr al-Wigely said that extending the election period provided the Egyptian community in Belgrade with an opportunity to exercise their constitutional right.Also, Egypt’s Ambassador to Germany said that Egyptian voters went to polling stations in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt to cast their votes on the third and final day of the 2018 presidential election.Despite the cold weather and snow covering the roads in Ukraine, the Egyptian expatriates are keen to participate in the election, said Egypt’s ambassador to Ukraine.Egypt’s Ambassador to Rome Hisham Badr said, “Today, there was an increase in voter turnout at the embassy in Rome because it is the weekend in Italy.” Badr added that the festive atmosphere prevailing during the voting process encouraged many voters to take their children to the embassy.Egyptian expatriates worldwide visited 139 polling stations early Saturday in embassies and consulates to cast their ballots on the second day of the 2018 presidential election, which is scheduled to last abroad until Sunday.The Egyptian embassies in New Zealand and Australia inaugurated the second day of voting earlier, starting at 10 p.m. (Cairo time), while consulates and embassies across the world were to officially open their doors Saturday at 9 a.m. local time in each country.In 2017, the government estimated the number of Egyptians living abroad to be 9.4 million.The National Election Authority (NEA), headed by counselor Lashen Ibrahim, announced on February 24 the final list for Egypt’s upcoming presidential election including President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Moussa Moustafa Moussa, head of al-Ghad Party.Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election beginning March 26 until March 28 in Egypt, while expatriates have begun voting on March 16 and will continue to do so until Sunday at 139 polling stations located in embassies and consulates in 124 countries, Ibrahim said in a press conference.The primary results of the first round of the election will be announced on March 29, where decisions on appeals submitted by candidates, if any, will be made. The final results of the first round will be announced on April 2.
March 18, 2018 13:52 UTC
Egypt’s Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered on Sunday five additional hard-line fans of the al-Ahly Club (Ultras Ahlawy) to be detained for 15 days pending investigations over their alleged participation in riots that erupted after a match against Gabon’s CF Mounana at the Cairo Stadium on March 6, making the total number of suspects detained climb to 17. Some of the fans reportedly shouted offensive slogans, and clashes broke out, which resulted in substantial damages to the stadium, making the prosecution open an investigation into the events. The Ultras Ahlawy group issued a statement apologizing for the trouble which it said was caused by individuals who do not represent Ahly fans. According to the preliminary investigations, some Ultras Ahlawy supporters went to a part of the stadium not reserved for spectators and clashed with security personnel there. Investigations said some of the fans included members of the Muslim Brotherhood and planned to attack security forces.
March 18, 2018 13:18 UTC
Egypt’s Minister of Oil Tarek El Mula stated on Saturday that Egypt will resume natural gas transfers to Jordan in early 2019 after it had been suspended in 2014 following a bombing of the gas pipeline in the Lahfan area in al-Arish city of Egypt’s North Sinai. During meeting with Jordan’s Energy Minister of Oil Saleh Kharabsheh in Amman, Mula discussed developments of the Egyptian government’s plans and strategies concerning the new explorations of natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea, notably the Zohr field. Mula hailed the Egyptian-Jordanian cooperation in the energy field asserting the “importance of the Jordanian experience in reducing the cost of importing energy and the price of the oil bill through renewable energy projects and power-saving industries such as using electric vehicles.”Mula added that Egypt is ready to enhance cooperation with Jordan in the field of natural gas supplied to industries and homes. Mula and Kharabsheh visited the al-Hussein thermal power station with a capacity at 115,000 cubic meters as the project increased a number of power stations linked with al-Arabi gas pipeline of the Egyptian-Jordanian Fajr Company to 11 in Jordan. According to Jordanian governmental statements, costs of cutting Egypt’s natural gas amounted to US$6 billion due to a shift to the use of heavy fuel and diesel to generate electricity
March 18, 2018 12:22 UTC
Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies swept into the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin on Sunday, raising their flags in the town center and declaring full control after an eight-week campaign to drive out Kurdish YPG forces. A spokesman for the rebel fighters said they entered Afrin before dawn, meeting no resistance. A war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said pockets of YPG fighters were defying orders to withdraw, but Turkish forces were in control. “Afrin city center is under control as of 8:30 this morning,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told a rally commemorating the World War One Gallipoli campaign, adding that Turkish and Free Syrian Army flags had been raised in the town center. “Maybe it will be cleared by the end of the day — it’s empty of (YPG) fighters, they cleared out”.
March 18, 2018 11:48 UTC
FILE- Egyptian currencyCAIRO - 18 March 2018: The US dollar exchange rate was relatively stable at Egypt's major banks on Sunday morning.The dollar rate stood at LE 17.55 for buying and LE 17.65 for selling at the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Du Caire.At Banque Misr, the dollar price dropped one piaster to register LE 17.53 for buying and LE 17.63 for selling.The dollar exchange rate recorded LE 17.56 for buying and LE 17.66 for selling at the Arab African International Bank.At Bank of Alexandria, the dollar price reached LE 17.56 for buying and LE 17.66 for selling.At the Commercial International Bank (CIB), the dollar price shaved off one piaster to record LE 17.55 for buying and LE 17.65 for selling.The dollar price stood at LE 17.56 for buying and LE 17.66 for selling at the National Bank of Greece.The dollar exchange rate recorded LE 17.59 for buying and LE 17.69 for selling at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.
March 18, 2018 11:37 UTC
Zimbabweans celebrated the swearing-in of Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe's successor - AFPHARARE - 18 March 2018: Zimbabwe's first presidential and parliamentary elections since the end of former strongman Robert Mugabe's long rule will take place in July, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Saturday.The polls will be the first major test of the new leader, who took power in November after a de facto military coup forced the 94-year-old Mugabe to resign.They will also be the first without Mugabe's name on the ballot since independence from Britain in 1980. "As a nation, party and government, we are looking forward to very peaceful, transparent and harmonised elections in July this year," Mnangagwa told reporters after a meeting with South Africans President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday night.Mnangagwa, 75, said the elections would be free of the violence that gripped previous polls and which was one of the reasons for strained relations between Zimbabwe and the West. "I have already invited all political parties in Zimbabwe to a roundtable where we all commit ourselves to non-violence," he added.Mnanaggwa will have to announce a date in an official notice. He has said he would invite Western observers, who had been banned under Mugabe's rule.The state-owned weekly Sunday Mail said a European Union pre-election team was expectewd in Harare on Monday.The EU head of mission in Zimbabwe, Phillipe Van Damme, told the paper it would meet the president, political party leaders, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.Mugabe, in his first comments since he stepped down, said last week that Mnangagwa's rule was "illegitimate" and a "disgrace".
March 18, 2018 11:37 UTC
Egyptian expatriates at Egyptian embassy in Oman to vote in the presidential election - Egypt TodayCAIRO – 18 March 2018: Egypt’s Embassy in Oman garnered a huge presence from the Egyptian community abroad who went to cast their votes in the 2018 presidential election on Sunday.Egypt’s Ambassador to Oman, Mohamed Ghoneim, added that the voting process for Egyptians abroad is proceeding smoothly on the first and second day, thanking the Omani authorities for facilitating the election procedures.A number of members of the Egyptian community in Oman confirmed that they are happy to participate democratically in choosing their president with integrity and transparency.Hussein Siam, who has special needs, said he was keen to participate in the presidential elections despite it being difficult for him to reach the embassy, calling all Egyptians around the world to participate.Egyptian expatriates worldwide visited 139 polling stations early on Saturday across embassies and consulates to cast their ballots on the second day of the 2018 presidential election, which is scheduled to last abroad until Sunday.The Egyptian embassies in New Zealand and Australia inaugurated the second day of voting earlier than other embassies, starting at 10 p.m. (Cairo time), while consulates and embassies across the world officially opened their doors Saturday at 9 a.m. local time in each country.In 2017, the government estimated the number of Egyptians living abroad to be 9.4 million.The National Election Authority (NEA), headed by counselor Lashen Ibrahim, announced on February 24 the final list for Egypt’s upcoming presidential election including President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Moussa Moustafa Moussa, head of al-Ghad Party.Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election beginning March 26 until March 28 in Egypt, while expatriates begun voting on March 16 and will continue to do so until Sunday at 139 polling stations located in embassies and consulates in 124 countries, Ibrahim said in a press conference.The primary results of the first round of the election will be announced on March 29, where decisions on appeals submitted by candidates, if any, will be made. The final results of the first round will be announced on April 2.
March 18, 2018 11:32 UTC
Southeast Asian countries and Australia said on Sunday they held “grave concerns” about escalating tension caused by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and urged “irreversible” denuclearization. North Korea is pursuing its weapons programs in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions and has boasted of its plans to develop a missile capable of hitting the US mainland. “We strongly urge the DPRK to immediately and fully comply with its obligations under all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia said in a joint declaration, using the initials for North Korea’s official name. Tensions have eased in recent weeks, coinciding with North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics held in the South last month. US President Donald Trump also announced surprise plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before May, after Kim “committed to denuclearization”, according to South Korea’s National Security Office.
March 18, 2018 11:26 UTC
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shakes hands with Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong during their media conference during the one-off summit of 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Sydney, Australia - REUTERS/DavSYDNEY - 18 March 2018: The leaders of Australia and Singapore closed a regional summit on Sunday with a stand against protectionism, arguing in favor of multi-nation trade deals as fears mount that U.S. plans for new tariffs could stoke a global trade war.“We strongly believe that a free, open and rules-based multilateral trading system is key to the region’s growth and prosperity,” Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at a news conference to mark the end of a summit between Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).President Donald Trump announced the tariffs on March 7 to protect domestic steel and aluminum producers on national security grounds. The United States is also looking at tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of Chinese imports, targeting technology and telecommunications sectors.Lee and Turnbull urged ASEAN to speedily agree to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a China-backed alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact that Trump withdrew the United States from last year.“If we secure a good agreement, this would be, as one of our colleagues said this morning, an antithesis of protectionism, it would ensure, on the back of the TPP-11, that the Indo-Pacific continues to be the fulcrum of open and free trade,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.Officially, the summit was focused on fostering closer economic ties among the members of ASEAN and Australia, and countering the threat of Islamist militants returning to the region from the Middle East.Australia hosted the weekend meetings despite not being a member of the 10-nation bloc, aiming to tighten political and trade ties in the region amid China’s rising influence.In a joint communique issued at the conclusion of the summit, ASEAN and Australia also called for “self-restraint” in the South China Sea, where aggressive Chinese expansion has irked ASEAN members.“We emphasize the importance of non-militarization and the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint...and avoid actions that may complicate the situation,” the communique said.ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, also have claims in the important trade waterway that is mostly claimed by China, which has been building artificial islands on reefs, some with ports and air strips.“This is a security and stability question in Southeast Asia which will affect all ASEAN countries if it goes wrong,” Lee said.ASEAN also called for the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and urged all U.N. members to strictly apply Security-Council sanctions on North Korea.Earlier in the summit, ASEAN and Australia announced new measures to co-operate on counter-terror intelligence.
March 18, 2018 10:52 UTC