Issue  No. 177
28 May 2018

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


       75.28 USD         1,298 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Ministry of Finance allocates 61 BN EGP for the health sector during the next fiscal year, 2019/2020, compared to 54 BN EGP this fiscal year. The government promised to apply the comprehensive healthcare insurance law in five governorates in the coming fiscal year and all over Egypt within 15 years, which requires increasing allocations to enable the activation of the law within eight years.
  • Egypt is on track to execute 11,232 housing units in New Mansoura City, 128 km (79.5 miles) north of Cairo in the Nile Delta, among Dar Misr middle-income residential flagship. The country is executing 4,704 new homes, including 196 buildings in the city as part of Iskan Misr project, adding that the accomplishment rates reached 52%.
  • Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil announced that the value of trade exchange between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) achieved an increase of 6.9 BN USD, with imports at 6.9 BN USD and exports at 573 MM USD in 2017. The EAEC includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.
  • Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak are discussing raising OPEC and non-OPEC oil production by 1 mb/d (million barrel per day), after U.S. President Donald Trump complained about artificially high prices. Riyadh and Moscow are preparing to ease output cuts to calm consumer worries about supply capability. Raising production would ease 17 months of strict supply limits, since oil price hit its highest since late 2014 at 80.50 USD a barrel by this month.
  • The UAE, represented by the Ministry of Finance (MoF), has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Tax Evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital. The agreement demonstrates the efforts applied by the nation to promote the free movement of factors of production, increase investment opportunities, encourage imports and exports, and facilitate the free flow of trade and investment.
  • The Ministry of Tourism in Oman launched a major marketing campaign in partnership with the UAE-based travel website -Holiday Factory to promote the Sultanate's tourism portfolio. Oman is targeting to shift attention to other economic sectors such as tourism, in a bid to diversify their economies and generate new sources of income after being badly hit by the economic slowdown following the sharp fall in oil prices that started in 2014.
  • Net foreign assets at Bahrain Central Bank reached 779.4 MM BHD (2.07 BN USD) in April from 533.2 MM BHD in March. It is an indication on how Bahrain central bank can defend its currency against any market pressure. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Bahrain budget deficit stands at 11.6% of GDP this year and forecasts a current account gap of 1.20 BN USD, caused by a surge in oil prices in recent months.
  • Al Khaliji Commercial Bank launched the state of the art humanoid robots for the very first time in the state of Qatar. "Jassim" and "Noor", the humanoid robots have already begun interacting with both customers and employees on diverse subjects ranging from products and services to general knowledge and fun aspects.
Political Events
  • Deadly Cyclone Mekunu strokes Oman and Yemen with flooding and high winds. Cyclone Mekunu made landfall on the Arabian Peninsula, leaving six people dead in Oman and 30 others missing. Landfall occurred around midnight local time about 40 km west-southwest of Salalah, which is Oman's third-largest city. Mekunu became an extremely severe cyclonic storm with winds equal to a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic or East Pacific Ocean prior to making landfall. At least 600 people took shelter at local schools during the storm.
  • After two years of negotiations, Egypt and Russia signed an agreement to establish the Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal area. It will be built on 5.25 million square meters. The cost of the first phase will be 190 MM USD and is planned to attract a 7 BN USD investment. The two parties will manufacture competitive products that meet the domestic market and overseas market demand for high-quality technological products, penetrating all world markets, particularly the Middle East and Africa.
  • More than half of Lebanon members of parliament nominated the Sunni politician Saad Al-Hariri to become the country PM for the third time elected by President Michel Aoun, in an expected move following a parliamentary election held earlier this month.
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that accusations of fraud in national elections held last week will be investigated. The electoral list of Moqtada al-Sadr, a populist Shi'ite cleric, unexpectedly won the biggest number of seats. The fraud claims have centered on the city of Kirkuk and focused on the tabulation system in electronic voting machines that were used for the first time during the election.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Dubai Arabtec construction wins in Egypt a 157 MM AED (755 MM EGP) contract for the construction of 128 villas, as well as road and infrastructure within the framework of Phase III and IV of Village E "Levana" in the Uptown Cairo Master. The company had reported a 261% y-o-y increase in net profit in Q1-2018, recording 63.6 MM AED compared to 17.6 MM AED in Q1-2017. Revenues grew to 2.42 BN AED in Q1-2018, compared to 2.18 BN AED in Q1-2017.
  • Cairo-based Arab Contractors, one of the largest construction firms in the Middle East, will sell 4% of its shareholding in El Mostakbal for Urban Development to two local banks, Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) worth 2.53 BN EGP. Banque Misr and NBE already own 40% and 4.98% respectively of El Mostakbal and the remaining shareholders constitute of the National Investment Bank (34.42%) and Misr Capital Investment Company (5.65%).
  • Telecom Egypt has declared that its 50% subsidiary, the Egyptian International Submarine Cables Company (EISCC), has completed an agreement with Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) for the purchase of OTMT's shareholding in Middle East and North Africa Submarine Cable System (MENA-SCS) for a total value of 90 MM USD.
  • StarLink, the fastest growing "True" Value-Added-Distributor (VAD) in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region announced signing of distribution partnership with Acronis for Middle East, Egypt and Libya. Acronis is a global leader in hybrid cloud data protection and storage through an integrated set of solutions, including backup, storage, disaster recovery, and file sync and share.
  • Al Khobar city in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia has become the first city in the MENA region to benefit from a pilot project on the fifth-generation wireless network, or 5G network. The project was implemented on the first week of Ramadan, a move welcomed by a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for addressing issues concerning information and communications technology worldwide.
  • A Kuwait Petroleum Corporation-owned firm plans to borrow up to 2.6 BN USD from banks and export credit agencies to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal. Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC) will use the money raised to develop the terminal at Kuwait's Al Zour complex, which also has a refinery and a petrochemical facility.
Sports and Culture
  • Liverpool stated that Mohamed Salah is doubtful for next month World Cup after suffering a shoulder injury in 3-1 Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid. Salah left the field in the 31st minute after falling heavily under a challenge by Real captain Sergio Ramos. Salah tried to continue after receiving treatment on the pitch but was forced to leave the game. However, Egypt's FA were optimistic that Salah would be fit for the World Cup.
  • Egypt is the second most popular destination for Swedish tourism outside Europe. There are 10 or 11 flights coming in every week, Swedish tourists are travelling not only to Cairo, but also to Hurghada and other areas of the Red Sea coast.
  • DP World, UAE Region's flagship Jebel Ali Port has underlined its position as the leading port in the region by winning the "Best Seaport - Middle East" award at this year's Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Awards in Shanghai, China. This is the 24th consecutive year Jebel Ali Port has won the coveted honor, a record achievement in the history of AFLAS Awards.
  • Bahrain has asked its nationals to avoid travelling to India Kerala until an occurrence of the rare Nipah virus spread by fruit bats, is under control. The virus can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage, and the epidemic has already killed 10 people in southern India, with at least nine more being treated.
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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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