Issue  No. 247
14 October 2019

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


       60.51 USD         1,490 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Egyptian Cabinet approved a 500 MM USD loan from the World Bank to support Egypt social safety net for three years to expand the Takaful and Karama cash subsidy programs.
  • Egypt annual headline inflation rate decreased for the fourth consecutive month to 4.3% in September from 7.5% in August, its lowest recording in nearly seven years, according to CAPMAS data released on Thursday.
  • The International Monetary Finance (IMF) released its fifth and final policy review of Egypt economic reform program stating that the country macroeconomic indicators have improved markedly, driven by the government's strong ownership of their reform program and decisive upfront policy actions.
  • Egyptian Modern Education Systems will invest up to 65 MM EGP (3.98 MM USD) to establish an American school as part of efforts to upgrade its listing from the Nilex to the EGX.
  • Abu Dhabi Consumer Price Index contracted by 0.9% on a y-o-y basis from January through September 2019, reaching 110.9% compared to 111.9% in September 2018.
  • The UAE government provided 13.33 BN AED (3.6 BN USD) in grants across all seven emirates in H1-2019, a growth of 23.4% on the comparable period in 2018. The grants are provided by the Federal Government and other local governments to ensure social cohesion and integration.
  • Sales prices and rental rates in UAE have seen a marginal decrease in Q3-2019, with the average apartment sales price decreasing 1%, while rental rates for villas remained steady.
  • Saudi Arabia key objective ofits Vision 2030 reform plan is to make SMEs an economic driver. The government plans to raise the contribution of SMEs from the current 20% of GDP to 35%, mainly by facilitating their access via different initiatives and encouraging financial institutions to allocate up to 20% of overall loans to SMEs.
  • In Saudi Arabia, the Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi stated that the number of job opportunities is expected to reach three million by 2030.
  • Bahrain will host the 18th Arab Businessmen and Investors Conference (ABIC) and the 3rd edition of the World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum 2019 (WEIF 2019), with the slogan: "4th Industrial Revolution: Shaping the future - Digital disruptions for a better tomorrow", from November 11th to 13th 2019.
Political Events
  • President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia has "very friendly personal relations" with Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman. He added that Russia was studying new investments in Saudi Arabia. Russian company Sibur Holding was looking at building a petrochemical complex in Saudi with investment worth more than 1 BN USD (3.7 BN SAR).
  • Egypt and Cyprus signed an agreement to renew their bilateral double taxation treaty during the trilateral summit that was held in Cairo. The new agreement will help deepen economic ties between the two countries while expanding the network of double taxation conventions.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Egyptian startup Tekeya, launched by the Pharmacist and entrepreneur Menna Shahin, is seeking to reduce food waste and offer affordable meals to people living below the poverty line. The platform allows charitable organizations to purchase food that would otherwise go to waste from food providers, including supermarkets, restaurants and hotels, at reduced prices.
  • Hive, a Cairo-based ride-hailing app for children, has secured a 400,000 USD investment from Abdelmoneim Al Adawy, one of the application's earliest customers. The investment will be used to improve the application's safety and scale up the company.
  • Amer Group has launched its 3 BN EGP (184 MM USD) Porto Heliopolis project which include 27k sqm of residential, commercial, and administrative areas as well as serviced houses, a shopping mall, and a promenade.
  • ADIB Capital is considering arranging and marketing a 1.1 BN EGP (67.51 BN USD) loan for El Ezaby Pharmacies. The loan will be Sharia-compliant comply and aim to restructure the company's USD debt.
  • The Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH) and, an innovative artificial intelligence company, signed an MoU to collaborate in developing advanced artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for the healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi.
  • The Saudi Egyptian Construction Company (SECON) has signed a 1 BN EGP (61.38 MM USD) loan agreement with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) to finance works at its SECON Nile Towers project.
  • United Electronics Company's (eXtra) fully owned subsidiary has obtained a preliminary approval from Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to provide credit card financing service.
  • National Company for Learning and Education (NCLE) has signed a non-binding MoU with Al Khwarizmi Company for Education to acquire 100% of its shares. The deal is renewable and will be effective for 30 days as of the signing date, 10 October.
  • Moody's Investors Service upgraded Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation's (APICORP) long-term issuer and senior unsecured rating to Aa2 and changed the company's outlook to stable from positive.
  • Total, Qatar Petroleum and Petronas won the exploration and production rights for an offshore block near Brazil, agreeing to pay the government a signing bonus of 978 MM USD.
  • Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf's largest lender, reported a 4% increase in nine-month net profit reaching 11.2 BN QAR (3.1 BN USD). Noting that QNB's total assets had grown 7% from a year earlier, driven by an 8% increase in loans and advances.

Sports and Culture
  • Coco Gauff 15-year-old from Florida becomes the youngest tennis titlist since Nicole Vaidisova in 2004 when she downed 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in Linz, Austria, on Sunday.
  • Zahi Hawass has uncovered an ancient industrial area complete with 30 workshops in Luxor at the southern city's West Valley, also known as the Valley of the Monkeys. A tomb was also discovered in the Valley of the Kings containing the tools used in making tombs.
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