Issue  No.150
20 November 2017

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


        62.33 USD         1,294 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt Central Bank has reached terms for a one-year 3.1 BN USD repurchase agreement with international banks after paying back the same consortium of banks a similar 2 BN USD agreement. The transaction was provided by the banks against most of the amount of newly issued Egyptian dollar-denominated sovereign bonds with maturities of December 2018, November 2024 and November 2028
  • Russia largest oil producer "Rosneft" will invest more than 2 BN USD in Egypt Zohr gas field in the next four years. It is worthy to mention that the production plateau at the field, where Rosneft may increase its stake to 35%, is estimated at 29 billion cubic meters of gas a year.
  • Egypt is expected to finalize the contracts by the end of the year with local and foreign companies which were awarded five gold mining concessions. It is worthy to mention that Egypt has started to accept bids in January 2017 for the five concessions, which were offered in the country's first tender for new gold exploration since 2009.
  • Egypt unemployment rate has declined slightly in Q3-2017, reaching 11.9% of the total workforce, compared to 11.98% in Q2-2017 and 12.6% in Q3-2016. This decline was due to an influx of large numbers of graduates from universities, higher institutes, and medium and technical diplomas to the labor market, who were outside the workforce in Q2 as students.
  • Difficult economic environment is expected to weigh on the prospects of the real estate sector across the GCC, especially Qatar as it faces continuing trade and economic sanctions. Qatar's real estate market is suffering as a result of the blockade by its neighbors. The country experienced a decline in its population in June-August, but saw a recovery in September to the same levels as before the blockade.
  • General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) has said that about 500,000 Saudis have left the private sector at a daily average of 1,881 employees.
  • Dubai will see a major supply of hotel keys in coming years as the emirate has the highest number of rooms under contract at the end of October followed by the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and Africa region.
  • Cargo traffic at Dubai World Central (DWC) has grown 9.1% during the first nine months of the year. DWC handled a total of 704,735 tons of freight since the beginning of the year till September, compared to 645,698 tons during the same period in 2016.
Political Events
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Lebanon Maronite Christian Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai in Riyadh.  Al-Rai met earlier with Saudi King Salman on the second day of his first visit to Saudi Arabia. He also held talks with Saad al-Hariri, who announced his resignation as prime minister of Lebanon from Riyadh on the 4th of November. 
  • The leader of Egypt Muslim Brotherhood movement, Mohamed Badie, lost his appeal last Wednesday against a life sentence for his role in violent clashes during political turmoil in 2013.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Uber, the world's leading ride-sharing app and Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry, have announced an exclusive alliance that will provide Mastercard holders with free Uber rides. Cardholders in UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be able to enjoy a complimentary journey on Uber when they ride frequently and use their Mastercard card as a method of payment on the app.
  • Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production LLC (OOCEP) and Eni Oman BV, a subsidiary of Eni, have entered into an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) for Block 52, located offshore Oman.
    Block 52 is an underexplored area with hydrocarbon potential located offshore in the southern region of Oman.
  • Qatar First Bank (QFB) stated that one of its units had sold its stake in United Arab Emirates healthcare and education investment firm Amanat Holdings, the latest sign of an unwinding of business ties between Qatar and the UAE. It is worthy to mention that the stake was sold by QFB's subsidiary Astro AD Cayman Ltd for 150 MM AED (40.8 MM USD). QFB did not disclose the size of the stake or the buyer, but said the deal value did not exceed 10% of the bank's total assets. 
  • Japan SoftBank Group Corp plans to invest 25 BN USD in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years.  Softbank plans to deploy around 15 BN USD in a new business and industrial city called NEOM and its Vision Fund would invest around 10 BN USD in state-controlled Saudi Electricity Co.
  • Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) will pay 1.35 BN USD to buy a further 12.1% stake in Kuwaiti telecoms company Zain in a deal that will expand its reach to nine Middle Eastern and North African countries.
Sports and Culture
  • UAE is among one of the world's safest countries in being protected from terrorism, not just regionally but globally, according to the 2017 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report, it is rated 115 out of 134 countries. In the MENA region, the UAE was rated among the safest countries along with Morocco and Qatar. Regionally, Bahrain was rated 55, Kuwait 50 and Saudi Arabia 26, says the GTI report.
  • The Abu Dhabi Police has announced that it is planning to establish a large, smart project in outer space by its centennial year 2057, ushering in a new "golden age" of policing. Abu Dhabi Police will send police officers to Mars on a UAE-built spaceship and setting up the first ever police center on Mars, among the long-term goals.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI) in Saudi Arabia has approved the teaching of yoga as a sports activity. The MCI has listed the teaching of yoga under "sports activities" for business registration.
  • Saudi women holding master's degrees will be employed as social researcher, Shariah researcher, legal researcher and administrative aide in the Ministry of Justice. This is the first time in the history of the Ministry of Justice that Saudi women will be allowed to work officially in such positions fields.
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

     Like us on Facebook  View our profile on LinkedIn Find us on Google+ Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube View on Instagram