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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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 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. 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. Furthermore, she added that minister of investment and international cooperation Sahar Nasr has achieved quite a substantial role in cooperating with them.
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. Egypt has been attempting to regulate the issuance of edicts as it lacked verification from the concerned religious institutions. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
The French ambassador to Cairo, Stéphane Romatet, said his embassy will launch a campaign in France to promote investment in Egypt next March. 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. 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.
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. Kyambadde noted that despite these possibilities, the volume of the intra-African trade does not exceed 10%, compared to 67% between European countries. 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. 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.
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). Capital Economics assured that the current level of inflation within the target range of the CBE at (13 ± 3%) during 2018. 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.
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. Several rounds of negotiations later, the TFTA is ready for implementation. “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.
December 12, 2018 15:45 UTC
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. 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.
December 12, 2018 15:33 UTC
Afreximbank - Photo courtesy of bank websiteCAIRO – 12 December 2018: The seventh meeting of African Union Trade Ministries kicked off on Wednesday in the presence of delegations from 55 countries, representatives of various African economic blocs' secretariats and representatives of international organizations interested in African affairs.Coordinator of the Center for Trade Policy in Africa David Luke said that the member states need to face the problems and obstacles of removing customs constraints.Luke clarified that the member states agreed to liberalize 90 percent of trade movement.President of the African Export – Import Bank (Afrexim bank)Benedict Okey Oramah said that they are working with the African Union on several files, including the African Continent Free Trade Agreement.Oramah noted that the bank supports the agreement according to available resources, pointing out that the trade area allows more progress.He added that the intra-trade fair in Egypt is considered a development event in Africa, noting that the Afreximbank will provide $25 million as a trade support and that it will work on providing services to more than 500 banks until 2020 to support regional trade.“We currently have 300 banks in this project and will offer it $8 billion,” Oramah stated.He pointed out that the African bank is using a digitalized system to allow trade flows in Africa, adding that the trade platforms will increase by three folds in 2020, and that the bank will provide more than $50 billion as an informal trade, and will facilitate payments in national currencies.
December 12, 2018 15:11 UTC
Orascom building- REUTERS- Mohamed Abd El-GhanyCAIRO – 12 December 2018: Orascom Development Egypt (ODE) announced signing the final agreement with the New Urban Communities Authorities (NUCA) to co-develop a 1,000 feddan integrated community project in 6th of October City, West Cairo, based on a revenue sharing model.Orascom clarified in a filing to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) that NUCA's share of the total residential sales is 26 percent for the first eight years.As per the agreement, NUCA is entitled to a total cash payment of LE 11.4 billion over eight years and a primary in-kind residential BUA of 130,000 square meters delivered in the eighth year, which implies a land cost of LE 1,580 per square meter on a net present value basis.The statement added that NUCA will also be entitled to another in-kind residential BUA of 150,000 square meters divided equally on years nine and ten.“Through this agreement, ODE will be responsible for all construction, development, internal infrastructure, marketing and sales activities. While, NUCA will be contributing with the land alongside all associated external infrastructure to the boundaries of the project,” the statement read.The statement added that the project is expected to comprise over 19,000 units with a residential built-up area (BUA) of approximately 3.2 million square meters, generating an estimated total residential sales value of approximately LE 77 billion over a period of eight years.According to the statement, the integrated community is a complete residential complex offering dwelling apartment buildings and standalone units complemented with all necessary functions for a full-scale town such as commercial, educational district, sports club, medical and leisure facilities.“It is a milestone for the group to witness its first foray in the first home market, Egypt. We are very happy that we were able to successfully execute our strategy that we have communicated in 2016. I am pleased to say that the level of customer interest and demand have been very positive, exceeding our expectations,” CEO of Orascom Development Khaled Bichara.Orascom Development Egypt operates within the consumer services sector focusing on hotels, resorts and cruise lines with 52 subsidiaries operating across Northern Africa, Middle East and southern Europe.
December 12, 2018 15:11 UTC
FILE - Egypt Beach Soccer teamCAIRO – 12 December 2018: Egypt lost 7-6 to Nigeria on Wednesday afternoon at the 2018 Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations (BSAFCON) semi-finals; the game was held at Laguna Vista BS Stadium, Sharm El-Sheikh.Egypt needed to reach the final to appear for the first time at the World Cup as only the winner and the runners-up will represent Africa at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay.Nigeria, who reached the semi-finals as runners-up in their group, had a great start in the game and scored two goals by Azeez Abu and Victor Tale but Egypt decreased the gap by Mostafa Sasa’s goal seconds before the end of the first period.At the second period, Haitham Costa equalized for Egypt but minutes later Emeka Ogbonna and Abu added two goals to make the score 4-2 for Nigeria. Mostafa Samir scored the third goal for Egypt to make the score 4-3.At the third period, Abu added the fifth goal for Nigeria to make Egypt’s mission harder but two goals from Mostafa Samir and Mohamed Abdelnaby made the score 5-5.Two minutes later, Abu added the sixth goal for Nigeria and his own fourth in the game but Egypt’s Abdel Naby equalized from a penalty.Everyone was expecting the game to go to the additional time but a late goal from Ogbonna sent Nigeria to the final and secured their spot at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.Nigeria will face the winner between Senegal and Morocco at the final, while Egypt will face the loser to decide the third place winner.Egypt hosts the championship at a stadium designed especially for this tournament from December 8 to 14.
December 12, 2018 15:00 UTC
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 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. 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.
December 12, 2018 15:00 UTC