Issue  No.165
05 March 2018

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


        64.72 USD         1,327 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, agreed to supply Egyptian refineries with crude oil for six months, starting from January 2018. Aramco will supply 500,000 barrels per month of crude oil to Egyptian refineries.
  • Egypt has announced its plan for a 15.5 BN USD urban development project in the Sinai Peninsula. The project will include 14 new schools and 4,572 residential units, as an attempt to combat terrorism by improving the lives of Sinai's impoverished residents.
  • Almost 50% of private schools and Kindergartens (KG) in Qatar have applied to raise tuition fees for the academic year 2018/2019. However, only 18% of the schools were given approvals from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Moreover, the ministry has received 44 applications for opening new schools for the coming academic year.
  • Saudi Arabia is expanding the refinancing of a 10 BN USD international loan to raise 16 BN USD due to strong demand, making the loan one of the largest syndicated loans ever extended in emerging markets. It is worthy to mention that the kingdom raised the original 10 BN USD loan from 14 core banks in 2016, in what was its first jumbo transaction after a slump in international oil prices forced it to begin borrowing to cover a huge state budget deficit.
  • Real estate prices in Oman have already started to fall in Q1-2018 as developers and agents prepare for slow business due to new visa rules. Leasing companies and property owners in Muscat are lowering prices as a response to the visa ban.
  • Dubai Chamber's investments aimed at raising awareness about trade opportunities in Latin America are expected to reach 100 MM AED over the next ten years.
  • Indian investments in private and public free zones in Jorden have amounted to 420 MM JOD. The Indian investments in the free zones were in a variation of industrial and chemical enterprises, noting that the Jordan India Fertilizer Company is the largest Indian investment in the Kingdom with a capital of 320 MM JOD.
  • The Central Bank of Jordan announced that the total Jordanian expatriate remittances increased by 4% reaching 308.2 MM USD in January 2018 compared to 296.3 MM USD in January 2017.
Political Events
  • Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman has arrived in Cairo yesterday on his first foreign visit since being appointed crown prince last June. He was welcomed at the airport by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who has launched ambitious economic development projects with the help of Saudi financial assistance and is seeking endorsement of his policies in presidential elections this month.
  • Egypt presidential election campaign has started last week. The election, in which President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is running against Mousa Mustafa Mousa, head of opposition party Al-Ghad, will take place on March 16, 17 and 18 for expatriate Egyptians in 124 countries and in Egypt on March 26, 27 and 28.
  • A train crash occurred in Egypt northern province of Beheira. At least 15 people were killed, and 40 others were injured. Two passenger carriages separated from one train and collided with a cargo train.
  • Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir  has welcomed his Costa Rican counterpart Manuel Gonzalez Sanz and signed an MoU to invest in agriculture, tourism and mutual investment.
  • The Ministry of Education (MoE) in Kuwait has started preparations to hand termination letters to hundreds of expatriate teachers and employees this month. The employees include supervisors and heads of departments whose service exceeded 34 years.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Mars Wrigley Egypt is looking to increase its exports to 100 MM USD by the end of 2018. About 80-90% of Mars overall production from its 6th of October factories will be exported as part of the plan to transform Egypt to a regional industrial and exporting hub in the AMEA region through supplementing two new production lines worth 750 MM EGP of investment. The company will launch its second production line in six months.
  • Egypt Catalyst Real Estate Consultancy Company is planning to launch by the end of 2018 its flagship residential project "First Home" in the new City of Galala that is located between Ain Sokhna and Zafarana. The project is targeting a return of around 6 BN EUR (339.2 MM USD) and initial investments of 5 BN EUR. The First Home will boast 3,000 housing units spread over a 360,000-sq-m area.
  • Vodafone had agreed to sell its stake in Vodafone Qatar to its joint venture partner, the Qatar Foundation, for 301 MM EUR (371 MM USD) but keep its red brand present in the country under a future partnership deal.
  • Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has signed MoU with Huawei to launch 5G tests for the first time in Saudi Arabia. The MoU was signed at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.
  • Jabal Omar Development Co., one of Saudi Arabia's largest listed property developers, is expected to finalize its merger deal with Umm Al Qura Development and Construction in 2018. The deal, announced in November 2017, is key to strengthening Jabal Omar's presence in the real estate market of the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
  • The Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO) has signed agreements to support small and medium-sized industrial companies in cooperation with the International Trade Centre.
Sports and Culture
  • Al Ahly volleyball team edged closer to the league title after they earned a 3-1 victory over Zamalek last Saturday. The match was held at the Suez Canal Authority Hall in Ismailia.
  • The Commission for Audio-Visual Media has approved regulations for licensing cinemas in Saudi Arabia. The regulations specify three types of licenses: Setting up a cinema hall, license for operating cinemas, and license for operating both kinds of mobile and fixed cinemas.
  • A new era of road safety begins in Oman as 52 new traffic laws and 13 new penalties issued by a Royal Decree come into effect.
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