Issue  No.159
22 January 2018

This report is designed to give you a snapshot about the MENA region tackling multiple issues:


        68.42 USD         1,332 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Housing Minister Moustafa Madbouly announced that Egypt is carrying out two water desalination stations and one sewage plant in El-Dabaa city, 295.9 km from Cairo on the North Coast. The first water desalination station is currently being executed at a capacity of 12,000 cubic meters per day, costing 6 MM EUR and 57 MM EGP, while the second water desalination station with a capacity of 2,000 cubic meters per day will cost of 65 MM EGP. The project will be completed by Arab Contractors at the end of September 2018.
  • Qatar Rail Company has set ambitious goals for 2018 on the Doha Metro project aiming to complete more than 90%of the work, including the remaining mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) and architectural fit-outs during 2018.
  • Yemenis living in Saudi Arabia have expressed their gratitude to King Salman for the 2 BN USD donation to Yemen Central Bank in an attempt to bail out Yemen's struggling economy. This will bring the kingdom donations to Yemen up to 3 BN USD which is expected to bolster Yemeni riyal against the dollar.
  • Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met his Saudi counterpart Khalid Al Falih in Oman where they both expressed their satisfaction with the way oil market has been rebalancing as oil prices have almost reached 70 USD per barrel.
  • The interest rates in UAE which are aligned with the US Federal Reserve, are expected to increase reaching 2.25% in 2018 compared to 1.25%. Hence the cost of borrowing will also increase in the Emirates in addition to increases in the interest rates on credit cards, personal, car and housing loans.
  • The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) announced that tourism revenues in 2017 have increased by 12.5%, reaching 4.6 BN USD compared to 4.1 BN USD in the same period in 2016. This increase was mainly due to an 8.7% rise in the total number of tourists compared to the same period last year.
  • Kuwait government has signed agreements worth 44 MM KWD (143 MM USD) for the construction of five water tanks in the Al Mutlaa area of the country as part of increasing the water supply in the region by 275 imperial gallons. The project will be completed within the next three years.
  • Kuwaitis still continue to prefer working in the public sector as shown by the recent statistics which indicate that 80.2% of local manpower work in the public sector. Meanwhile, the private sector continues to have more than half of the total manpower, as its capacity increased to 60.7% compared to 60.4% in 2016. Currently the Kuwaitis' share of manpower from the private sector is 4.3% of the total number of workers.
Political Events
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged not to let differences over a dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile river ruin relations with Addis Ababa. Ethiopia hopes the hydroelectric Grand Renaissance Dam will make it Africa's largest power exporter.
  • Egypt President Abdel Fattah al sisi has announced that he will run for a second term in election in March 2018.
  • United Arab Emirates has submitted a note to the President of the UN Security Council following Qatar threat to the lives of civilians through its interception of two UAE aircraft on a routine flight to Bahrain via internationally accredited airlines, and with all necessary approvals and permits.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has set up a major showdown over presidential powers, agreeing to decide on the legality of President Donald Trump's latest travel ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries; Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
  • King Salman bin Abdul Aziz issued a royal decree in coordination with the Ministry of Justice that requires all government bodies and authorities to limit the requirements for issuing case closers in the courts. The mechanism is expected to be ready within 90 days to limit the overflow of proceedings and disputes at the court.
  • Prominent Saudi Arabian businessman Khalid Bin Abdullah al-Mulhem has been released after being detained for more than two months in a corruption crackdown conducted by a new royal anti-corruption committee.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co (Masdar), Japanese investment firm Marubeni Corp. and Egyptian manufacturing company Elsewedy Electric have agreed to develop 800 megawatts (MW) of wind power in Egypt. Egypt aims to generate 42% of its electricity from renewables by 2025.
  • UAE National Bonds Corporation, a Shariah-compliant saving and investment company in UAE will offer nearly the same profit rate for 2017 as they offered up to 4% in annual returns for 2016 to bondholders. The company will invest 900 MM AED to develop real estate projects in 2018.
  • Orascom Development Egypt (ODE) announced its net sales which increased by 87.5% y-o-y reaching 1.46 BN EGP in 2017 compared to 781 MM EGP in 2016. The boost is attributed to the strong sales momentum in El Gouna which has a premium location among Egyptian tourism attractions.
  • Dammam witnesses the opening of the 143rd branch of LuLu group. The LuLu Saudi Hypermarkets chain has 10 hypermarkets, 8 Saudi Aramco commissionaires and 2 Express Fresh markets.
  • For the second consecutive year, Al Babtain Group in collaboration with INJAZ Kuwait recently welcomed eager new Kuwaiti students to the 2018 Internship Program. The program aims at integrating the students into areas of the group sales, finance, service, customer management, marketing and human resources for a wider and intricate understanding of internal operations.
Sports and Culture
  • After 35 years, Saudi Arabia lifts ban on cinemasSaudi Arabia began screening feature-length animated children films in a makeshift theater.
  • In honor of the UAE founding father, the emirate is celebrating 2018 as the Year of Zayed. The Abu Dhabi event "Sheikh Zayed Corner" is aiming to raise the community awareness of sustainability, bring in crowds with food trucks, live entertainment, and educational games and activities. The different experience zones include a Souk selling local and organic products as well as an innovation hub filled with high-tech gadgets.
  • Top seed Dominic Thiem and Russian Andrey Rublev progressed to the Qatar Open semi-finals in Doha after grinding out victories over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Borna Coric.
Cairo Office:
Z epter Office Building  S5-6 ,  Area 5, District 1, 5th Settlement,  New Cairo, Egypt.  P.O. Box:  1147
Dubai Office:
Office No. N 415, North Tower, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, P.O Box 506726, Dubai, UAE.
Tel:  +97142820301

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