Issue  No. 254
2 December 2019

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


       62.43 USD         1,458 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Starting from 1st December, UAE residents will have to pay more for sugary drinks and electronic smoking devices. Under the new law, sugary drinks will be hit with a 50% tax, while the cost of vaping devices and fluid will be doubled. Authorities added that this will prevent chronic diseases linked to sugar and tobacco, and to enable consumers to make healthier choices.
  • Egypt parliament approved Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) governor Tarek Amer for a second and final four-year term on Thursday. Noting that the Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly is expected to finalize the list of changes by this week and ship it to parliament for approval.
  • Egypt Ministry of Finance issued on last Thursday a decision that allows non-residents to pay taxes on yields from Egyptian treasury bonds and bills at the rate stipulated by a dual taxation agreement with their country of residence.
  • Egypt oil exports reached 2.42 BN USD in Q1-2019/2020, compared to 2.87 BN USD in Q1-2018/2019. Despite a 2.1% increase in the volume of oil exports, the decrease in global oil prices dragged down the value of exports during the July-September period.
  • The Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities stated that its plan for urban development is considered as one of the most important steps to support the Egyptian economy, with evidence of pumping nearly 4 TR EGP (248.2 BN USD) in infrastructure.
  • The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has signed an MoU involving five parties to raise Saudization rates and stimulate the private industrial sector to create around 35,982 jobs in the industrial sector by 2021.
  • Saudi Arabia is seeking to attract building technology suppliers at the Big 5 exhibition. It also aims to stimulate the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to build 340,000 housing units by 2023.
  • Qatar is aiming to lift production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 64% to 126 million tons per year by 2027. The expansion of Qatar's LNG facilities is the world's largest and one of the energy sector's most lucrative projects.
Political Events
  • A French naval base in Abu Dhabi will serve as the headquarters for a European-led mission to protect Gulf waters that will be operational soon. France is the main supporter to build a European-led maritime force to ensure safe shipping in the Canal of Hormuz.
  • Singaporean companies seek to improve investment and trade relations with Egypt. Current Singaporean investments in Egypt stand at 500 MM USD, while the trade exchange recorded 1 BN USD in 2018, noting that the main sectors of Singaporean investments in Egypt are food processing, shipping, and logistics as well as oil and gas.
Major Companies Transaction
  • The board of directors of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has proposed the acquisition of Noor Bank through a strategic investment and approved a share swap ratio of 1 new DIB share for every 5.49 shares of Noor Bank through the issuance of 651,159,198 new DIB shares.
  • Ajman Free Zone (AFZ) has signed an agreement with LinkedIn, which will see it benefit from an enhanced profile on the global business networking platform and enable targeted communications with key business sectors on a global scale.
  • Coded Minds, a Dubai-based global education company, has announced that the company acquired an EdgeMakers STEM Learning Lab, an innovative education company in the US and Canada.
  • Mountain View started construction works at Egypt "first international business hub", coming as part of its project in New Cairo, called "iCity,". The 100-acre business complex will be built over three phases, the first of which will span across 30 acers.
  • Six of October Development and Investment (SODIC) reported an 18% decline in its profits to reach 504 MM EGP (31.26 MM USD) in the first nine months of 2019, compared to 612.9 MM EGP (38 MM USD) in the prior-year period.
  • Emaar Misr for Development and the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) inked on November 27 deals to establish two integrated urban projects in west Cairo's Sheikh Zayed Extension.
  • The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US EXIM) is committed to support new projects in Egypt with 2 BN USD over the next years. The bank has no limitation for offering future funds or preference for a certain type of projects to support, however, his main focus is on the role of women in business.
  • SAMINavantia Naval Industries, a joint venture between the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and the Spanish company Navantia, has launched an on-the-job Training (OJT) program, on the sidelines of the first Saudi International Maritime Forum (SIM 2019), in Riyadh.

Sports and Culture
  • Former Aswan governor Ahmed Ibrahim received on Friday the 2019 UNESCO Learning Cities Award after choosing Aswan as one of the best 10 cites for learning in 2019. Aswan has 20 schools that implement the UN's SDGs. Aswan developed a strategy that integrates a variety of projects, including gardening and water-conservation programs in schools, as well as diverse entrepreneurial training opportunities for all groups of society.
  • Qatar will charter two cruise liners to help accommodate football fans during the 2022 World Cup, as the Gulf nation of about 2.7 million people looks for ways to host an expected 1 million visitors.
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