Issue  No. 210
21 January 2019

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


       62.70 USD         1,282 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Egyptian government has prepared a plan to relocate 51,000 state administration employees from 31 ministries and sectors to the New Administrative Capital.
  • In Egypt, The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) has managed to develop 375 real estate projects in different cities with investments estimated at 5 TR EGP, distributed over 15 cities in 2018, including 23 projects in the New Administrative Capital.
  • Saudi Arabia Islamic banking industry has shown a high level of resilience than conventional banking represented in 56 countries by 1,389 Shariah-compliant financial firms, worth 2.4 TR USD in assets in 2017, and it is expected to reach 3.8 TR USD in assets by 2022.
  • Saudi Minister of Labor and Social Development, Ahmad Al-Rajhi, announced the initiative of the government contribution to the wages of Saudis employed in the private sector, in order to motivate the hiring of nationals and increase their participation in the labor market.
  • UAE is ranked the world's 4th best place for expatriates, for the third year in a row while Germany topped the list, followed by Bahrain and the UK. Almost 75% of expats working in UAE earn more than they could in their home country.
  • UAE has a keen interest and focus on promoting the healthcare industry by keeping the basic and preventive healthcare supply at a zero rate of VAT. But healthcare cosmetic services are subject to 5% VAT.
  • Qatar Central Bank (QCB) issued five-year sukuk, or Islamic bonds, worth 4 BN QAR (1.10 BN USD) and offering a 4.25% profit rate. Earlier on Thursday 17th of January 2019, QCB announced an additional sale of 5 BN QAR (1.37 BN USD) in five-year treasury bonds offering the same yield.
  • Kuwait investments in Egypt have amounted to 2.8 BN USD (849 MM USD) reflecting a business of 1,247 companies. Kuwait has invested in several sectors, such as services, tourism, construction, industry, agriculture, petroleum and banking.  
Political Events
  • Algeria will hold a presidential election on 18th of April 2019, although it is not announced yet if Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the president of Algeria, would stand as a candidate or not.
  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and stressed on the importance of dealing with refugee flows and all forms of displacement, through a comprehensive approach which is fundamentally related to development, security, and political stability.
  • Results for the initial admission of female students to join military service at the General Directorate of Prisons have been announced by the Ministry of Interior. 
Major Companies Transaction
  • Arabian Cement Company (ACC) announced signing an agreement with Solariz Egypt to establish a SPV (Solar Photo Voltaic) solar energy plant at its plant in Suez Governorate financed by QNB Al-Ahli under EBRD-Green Economy Program.
  • Egypt signed a 1.2 BN USD (21.49 MM EGP) agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) for financing an electric train of 68 km long linking connecting the 10th of Ramadan city to the new administrative capital.
  • Vicat Group, the main developer and partner of Sinai Cement, is planning to invest 30 MM EUR (615 MM EGP) in the Egyptian market over the coming period covering the market's demand for cement.
  • Tafawuq Facility Management, a subsidiary of the UAE-based Eltizam Asset Management Group, and a leading provider of integrated facilities management services, announced that it has been awarded a significant facilities management services contract by the World Trade Center Abu Dhabi for three years.
  • Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Al Ansari Exchange, a leading UAE-based foreign exchange and worldwide money transfer company, have signed an agreement to facilitate payments for a range of tourism and travel-related services.
  • The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Kuwait Business Council in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, signed an MoU to create opportunities for developing Kuwaiti projects managed through social media websites, in addition to exploring business opportunities in Dubai.
  • Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Qatar largest sharia-compliant lender by assets, reported a 19% rise in Q4-2018 net profit worth 750 MM QAR (206.0 MM USD) compared to 630.2 MM QAR (173.08 MM USD) in Q4-2017.
  • Qatar National Bank (QNB) reported an increase in Q4-2018 net profit worth 3 BN QAR (800 MM USD), compared to 2.88 BN QAR (790 MM USD) in Q4-2017, benefiting from strong lending growth as Qatar has pushed ahead with spending on the 2022 soccer World Cup and other infrastructure.
  • The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported a net profit of 370.7 MM KWD (1.2 BN USD) by the end of 2018, which increased by 15.0% on 2017, with total assets increasing by 5.4% reaching 27.4 BN KWD (90.4 BN USD).
Sports and Culture
  • Egypt defeated Argentina 22-20 to achieve their first victory at the 2019 World Men's Handball Championship held in Denmark and Germany. Argentina ended the first half leading the game 9-8 but the Egyptian team dominated the second half to win the game 22-20.
  • A Beijing-based volunteer, Cao Da Fo,traveled to Riyadh as part of his mission visiting 194 countries and promote the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which are being held in the Chinese capital.
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