Issue  No. 192
17 September 2018

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


       78.09 USD         1,196 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt Prime Minister, Mustafa Madbouly signed a protocol of cooperation between the Internal Trade Development Authority and the Egyptian Tax Authority. The protocol purpose is establishing national IDs for economic enterprises in order to link them within the government services system. In addition, it aims at achieving an integrated government system that includes accurate information about companies that is easily accessible through a unified national numbering system.
  • The Egyptian government announced additional import tariffs on various goods. The charges include an additional 20% tariff on machinery and equipment imported by tourist establishments, as well as increases to fruit juices and baby formula. However, the same decree reduced tariffs on production materials used by companies that assemble goods locally.
  • Egypt monthly inflation rate recorded at 1.7% in August 2018, compared to 2.5% in July 2018, while its annual inflation rate fell to 13.6% in August 2018, compared to 33.2% in August 2017.
  • Central Bank of Egypt data showed that five and ten-year treasury bond sales worth 3.5 BN EGP (195.4 MM USD) were canceled after banks and investors demanded high interest rates. This is the second time in a row that Egypt has canceled sales for bonds due to demand for high interest rates between 18.4% and 18.6%.
  • Swiss investments in Saudi Arabia amounted to more than 10.7 BN SAR (2.91 BN USD) through 94 firms. The large Swiss firm operating in the rich-oil nation is Dhurom company for electricity with total investments of 7.7 BN SAR (2.09 BN USD).
  • Saudi Arabia has started marketing U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, with the issue expected to be around 2 BN USD in size and with an initial price guidance of around 145 basis points over mid-swaps. This is the second international sale of sukuk after a 9 BN USD transaction in 2017
  • The value of awarded contracts in Saudi Arabia construction sector is expected to surge to 44.1 BN USD in 2019 compared to 26.3 BN USD in 2018. The total value of Saudi construction-related projects, comprising buildings, industrial, power and water, oil and gas, and infrastructure, is estimated to be worth 1.4 TR USD in 2019.
  • As part of Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources organized a forum to explore investment opportunities for the exploitation of mineral resources in Sudan. The aim is to restructure the sector and raise the GDP from 17 BN USD to 64 BN USD and create 160,000 job opportunities by 2030.
  • In Kuwait, the mortgage law is urgently required for the real estate sector, stressing that the Kuwait Credit Bank will not be able to provide the required loans especially after the distribution of large number of plots in the housing projects of Mutlaa, South Saad Al-Abdullah and Abdullah Mubarak. The draft provides long period for repaying real estate loans and allows commercial banks to offer such kind of loans instead of just Kuwait Credit Bank.
  • The Kuwaiti Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) signed six contracts, four in Mutlaa, one in Sabah Al-Ahmad and one in Abdullah Al-Mubarak, with the total value of 99 MM KWD (330 MM USD) to design, execute, install and maintain four main transformer stations. PAHW and the qualified companies are committed to building 20 residential buildings including 390 apartments within 730 days, in addition to public service facilities in West Abdullah Al-Mubarak within the same period.
  • Qatar Biobank, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), recently marked a major milestone with the screening of its 15,000th participant, as part of its medical health research initiative to improve the health of the local population through personalized medicine. Through providing biological samples and information, volunteer participants help Qatar Biobank enable medical researchers and healthcare professionals to form a clearer picture of the prevalent health-related issues in Qatar and the region.
  • Batelco, the leading digital solutions provider in Bahrain, and the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) have signed an agreement in support of the National Health Insurance Program (Sehati) with the aim of carrying out health related projects. Under this agreement, Batelco will contribute 850,000 BHD (2.23 MM USD) to support Bahrain health sector initiative, as well as connect the health authorities with the National Health Insurance Program.
  • Tunisia will offer public private partnership projects for the energy, transport and other sectors worth 13 BN TND (4.7 BN USD). The partnerships include a deep-water port and subway in the eastern city of Sfax as well as water, environment, logistic and technology projects.
Political Events
  • UAE passport has moved up the ranks again among the most powerful in the world. It has just been ranked as the 9th most powerful passport with visa-free entry to 157 countries worldwide. A bilateral visa agreement between the UAE and Russia earlier in July 2018 had seen the Emirati passport become the 10th most powerful in the world. The agreement with Russia has taken UAE visa-free score to 155, while Russia has a visa-free score of 115
  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will address the general debate of the 73rd session for the UN General Assembly, held from September 18 to October 5 at the UN Headquarters in New York. The president will discuss the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen and the importance the US holds in reviving peace talks between Palestine and Israel, along with combating terrorism. Sisi will also explain Egypt efforts in encouraging Islamic tolerance and promoting democratic values.
  • The Egyptian red Sea resort city of Sharm al-Sheikh will host the Africa Forum 2018 under a theme titled "Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: Enhancing African Environmental Investments", running from 7 to 9 December. Egypt emphasizes its role in Africa through hosting the forum, which is considered one of the largest investment gatherings in the continent to provide available investment opportunities; which contributes to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, establishing major projects, improve standards of living, and eliminate problems such as poverty.
  • Iran government stated that 15 Kurdish activists attacked its embassy in Paris, burning the Iranian flag in front of the embassy, breaking windows, and has accused French police of arriving late on the scene. Tehran has accused France of supporting opposition groups which seek the overthrow of the Islamic Republic and are classified by Tehran as terrorist organizations. France has rejected Iranian accusations.
  • Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has warned that scammers may be approaching several subscribers through WhatsApp and mobile calls claiming to be employees in the TRA who are giving out cash prizes. The TRA has advised consumers to not engage with these scammers and report all suspicious communication immediately to The Ministry of Interior's General Directorate of Anti-Corruption & Economic & Electronic Security.
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Major Companies Transaction
  • KarmSolar, Egypt fastest growing solar energy solutions company, has signed an agreement with Attijari Finances to act as KarmSolar's global adviser and coordinator for the company's equity fundraising process. During the first phase of the agreement, KarmSolar aims to raise approximately 500 MM EGP of equity to operate the first batch of its solar powered stations.
  • The United Bank of Egypt aims at increasing its credit portfolio to 12.8 BN EGP by the end of 2018. The bank also plans to expand in financing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the next three years, and to pump 20 MM EGP by the end of 2018. The goal is to increase the SMEs portfolio from 2.5 BN EGP to 2.8 BN EGP, representing 21% of the total bank credit.
  • British oil giant BP; London-based company is looking to invest 2 BN USD into developing its oil and gas fields in Egypt in 2019. BP has pumped nearly 4 BN USD and 2.5 BN USD in the most populous Arab country during 2017 and 2018, respectively. The company is expediting production from the second phase of the West Nile Delta five-field gas development.
  • In Saudi Arabia, the Company for Cooperative Insurance "Tawuniya" won the Best Islamic Insurance Company Award for 2018, which was granted by World Finance (WF). The award has been granted to Tawuniya for its adopting Islamic insurance concept through offering insurance products, financial services and investment activities in accordance with Islamic laws and adhering to Sharia'a standards, innovation, sustainable growth, governance and social responsibility.
  • Flynas, the Saudi national air carrier and leading low-cost airline in the Middle East announced that it will open employment applications to young Saudi men and women for the "Future Pilots" and "Flight Attendants" programs. It aims to recruit 200 male and female pilots over the next five years, while the "Flight Attendants" program aims to attract 300 Saudi male and female flight attendants within two years.
  • The Saudi British Bank (SABB) is the first bank in KSA that joined enterprise software firm R3's global blockchain ecosystem.  SABB has always been at the forefront of offering value added digital solutions to its clients.Moreover, SABB has been named by Global Finance magazine as the "Best Trade Finance Bank" in Saudi Arabia for the 10th consecutive year and Best Supply Chain Finance Bank in the Middle East for 2018.
  • In Dubai, Emaar Development's board of director has proposed the distribution of 1.04 BN AED in cash dividends to shareholders, accounting for 26% of share capital. The company aims to distribute a total dividend of 6.24 BN AED within 2018/2019 and 2019/2020, with relatively equal payments. Emaar Development, the real estate development arm of Emaar Properties, previously posted a 68% y-o-y net profit hike in H1-2018, recording 1.82 BN AED (496 MM USD).
  • In Abu Dhabi, Al Hilal Bank is set to complete a 500 MM USD sukuk sale, or Islamic bonds, offering investors 148 basis points over mid-swaps. The bank received over 1.1 BN USD in orders for the issue.
  • The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed an MoU with the Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce (SFIC) which aims to facilitate bilateral trade and investment, build bridges between the UAE and Chinese business communities and encourage knowledge sharing.
  • In Dubai, Colliers International, the global leader in real estate advisory services, was awarded Best Adviser Overall in the MENA region at the prestigious annual Euromoney Real Estate Awards 2018. Colliers International MENA has been honored with this award for seven consecutive years; with another win this year of a total of 18 awards including Best Overall Adviser in MENA and UAE.
  • QINVEST, Qatar leading private investment group and one of the region's most prominent Islamic financial institutions, has been named the Best Investment Bank in Qatar at the Euromoney Middle East Awards for Excellence.
  • Qatar Petroleum (QP) has concluded a 3-year sale agreement to supply India Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. (HPL) in West Bengal, with a total of 600,000 tons of Light Naphtha starting in 2018. This long-term supply agreement is the first naphtha feedstock sale of Qatar Petroleum for the Sale of Petroleum Products Company (QPSPP) to an end-user in India, highlighting QPSPP push for more direct sales with established end-users.
  • QPAY International, Qatar largest financial technology company and a member of NEXXO Network, has been crowned 'The Best Technology Company in Qatar' at the Qatar IT Business Awards 2018. It is a recognition of its exceptional work in delivering the latest and most efficient fintech solutions for more than 12,000 small business.
Sports and Culture
  • Serena Williams has insisted that she did not receive coaching during her US Open final loss and maintained female players should receive the same treatment as their male counterparts. Speaking for the first time since the controversial final won by 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, in which her row with umpire Carlos Ramos divided opinion, Williams said her coach Patrick Mouratoglou did not send any signals from the stands.
  • "Fantasy or realism" that is the question at the Emmy Awards in 2018 as voters choose whether to reward television dramas and comedies that provide comfort and escapism, or bleaker fare that echoes troubled times.
  • Britain Prince William offered his sympathy to victims of recent disasters in Japan as he officially opened a new Japanese cultural center in London. The center bills itself as a new home for Japanese creativity and business in Britain, where more than 1,000 Japanese companies operate. Other Japan House centers are in Los Angeles and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
  • Emirates airline First-Class Private Suites has been awarded gold by Future Travel Experience (FTE) in the "Up in the Air" category. The FTE Global Awards celebrate the outstanding efforts of organizations that have gone the extra mile to improve the passenger experience both on the ground and in-flight.
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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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