Issue  No. 220
1 April 2019

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


       68.39 USD         1,291 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt will maintain the price of 95-octane petrol at 7.75 EGP (0.4485 USD) per liter in Q2-2019 as it linked the cost to international fuel prices for the first time. The government is further expected to announce mechanisms to float prices for other gasoline products in June 2019.
  • Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has raised the country's minimum wage to 2,000 EGP (116 USD) a month from 1,200 EGP. The raise would apply to all Egyptian workers and he added that pensions would rise by 15%, with pensioners receiving a minimum increase of 150 EGP to take the minimum pension to 900 EGP.
  • Saudi Arabia plans to issue 118 BN SAR (31.5 BN USD) in debt in 2019 to help finance the national budget deficit.
  • Saudi Arabia foreign reserves went down 0.5% y-o-y, or 9.98 BN SAR (2.66 BN USD), reaching 1.817 TR SAR (484.3 BN USD) in February 2019 compared to 1.827 TR SAR in February 2018.
  • In Saudi Arabia, the Housing Ministry "Sakani" program has announced an interest-free loan of 140,000 SAR (37,319 USD) to finance citizens working in government and military sectors, retired military personnel and private sector employees who are 50 years old or above.
  • Dubai crude oil increased in March 2019 to an average of 66.934 USD a barrel, which is the highest in five months.
  • In UAE, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has signed an MoU with a number of federal and local government entities as well as private sector entities to implement the "OneApp OnePortal" project, in cooperation with the signatories.
  • Qatar held the International Biobanking Conference 2019 which was organized by Qatar Biobank aiming to highlight the role of biobanking and medical research in advancing healthcare and improving clinical outcomes.
Political Events
  • President Donald Trump will host Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House on April 9 for talks on strengthening their strategic partnership and working on shared priorities in the Middle East.
  • The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) and Aman Shelter for Women and Children (AMAN) signed an MoU for cooperation in receiving and providing shelter and psycho-social services for victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and child abuse.
Major Companies Transaction
  • beIN media group, the home of sports and entertainment in Qatar, has launched WhatsApp for business to provide its viewers with instant technical support, customer and sales enquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across 23 countries in MENA.
  • The Egyptian Competitive Authority (ECA) has published several social media questionnaires asking drivers and passengers to give their opinions on Uber 3.1 BN USD acquisition deal of its competitor Careem. Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, operating as an independent company under the Careem brand and led by Careem founders.
  • Progate Development launched its first project at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) called Zavani with 2 BN EGP (115.4 MM USD) investments.
  • In Egypt, Al Ahly for Real Estate Development Sabbour (Al Ahly) is expecting sales to increase by around 9% in 2019reaching 6 BN EGP (346.6 MM USD), up from 5.5 BN EGP (317.5 MM USD) in 2018.
  • S&P Global Ratings sees Saudi Aramco's acquisition of a majority stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world's fourth largest chemicals company, as a strategic move by Saudi Aramco to expand its downstream operations
  • In UAE, the digital real estate investment platform, Smart Crowd, has won "Fintech of the Year" at 2019 Arabian Business Technology Awards.
  • Dana Gas, UAE largest regional private sector natural gas company, has received a payment of 19 MM USD from its operations in Egypt.
  • In 2019, 2GIS is proud to introduce an updated release of an independent map application which will now cover across UAE. Residents and tourists can now enjoy all the benefits of 2GIS across anywhere within UAE.
  • Seef Properties, a leading real estate development company in Bahrain, announced a net profit of 11.12 MM BHD (29.49 MM USD), and endorsed the Board of Directors' recommendation for a cash dividend of 15%, equivalent to 6.9 MM BHD (12.29 MM USD) at 0.015 BHD per share.
Sports and Culture
  • Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool's winning goal against Tottenham according to the fans. Salah had another average game, but his 90-minute header was crucial at the end, as it led to Alderweireld's own goal.
  • In Qatar, Hamad International Airport has been ranked as the 4th best airport in the world at the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2019, which took place during the Passenger Terminal Expo 2019 in London, United Kingdom.
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