Issue  No. 189
27 August 2018

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


       75.82 USD         1,204 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Qatar and Turkey central banks have signed a currency swap agreement to provide liquidity and support for financial stability, days after Qatar guaranteed 15 BN USD in support to Turkey; approving a package of economic projects, investments and deposits for Turkey. The aim is giving a boost to the battered lira currency, which has been hit by a widening currency crisis.
  • Egypt Minister of Transport, Hesham Arafat, announced that Egypt is executing seven major bridges over the Nile in Upper Egypt governorates. The planned bridges are aimed at connecting the main roads on the Nile east and west banks, decreasing the cost of fuel and transportation, and saving time. The new projects include the construction of the first and second phases of Tama Bridge in Sohag at lengths of 6.6 kilometers and 34.5 kilometers, with total costs of 550 MM EGP and 1 BN EGP, respectively.
  • Egypt Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform, Hala Al-Saeed, plans to attract 11 BN USD in foreign direct investment in FY 2018/2019, up from 7.9 BN USD in FY 2017/2018. Under a medium-term development plan to 2022, the minister hopes to create about 750,000 jobs in 2018/2019 FY which ends in June 2019.
  • Egypt economy is expected to reach 5.3% by the end of 2018 and Egypt GDP is forecasted to stand at 5.5% during the coming two years by 2020. Moreover, interest rates in Egypt are expected to decline to 13.25% by the end of 2018 and would continue to decline towards 11.25% by late 2019, and 10.75% in 2020.
  • Egyptian government has set the total value of a plan to modernize the state-owned textile sector at 24 BN EGP, which may still increase. The plan includes modernization of the Cotton and Textile Industries Holding Company and more than 30 other affiliated companies, under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Enterprise Sector.
  • Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund has raised an 11 BN USD loan from banks, as it seeks to finance KSA economic transformation plans. This is the first commercial loan for the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is in charge of helping to deliver the Vision 2030 reform plan announced by the government in 2016 with a reform aiming to diversify the kingdom's economy away from oil dependence.
  • Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has forecasted that KSA inflation would rise during Q3-2018 on the back of economic reform measures. Measures include imposing a 5% value-added tax (VAT) on products and services, a correction in oil prices, and imposing higher fees on expats and their dependents.
  • Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has increased the capacity of the water pumping station in Dubai 5 to 36 million gallons of water daily at a cost of 45,516 MM AED to meet the growing need for water across Dubai.
  • Investor confidence in Dubai remained strong despite several global and regional challenges. This was on the back of a string of investor-friendly reforms and regulations initiated by the authorities. Among the most effective decisions taken by the UAE cabinet were to raise global investors' ownership of companies to 100% and the launch of an integrated system for UAE visas.
  • In Kuwait, OPEC and other oil exporting producers are expected to agree on a mechanism to monitor their crude production before the end of 2018. The production numbers of OPEC and countries outside OPEC will be reviewed at a meeting in Algeria before the end of 2018, where there will be an agreement on a mechanism to monitor the total production output of 2019.
  • Work contracts for 3,140 non-Kuwaitis serving in the public sector have been cancelled, as part of the state policy of replacing expatriates with nationals in the government sector. These workers have been laid off in line with the state policy of "Kuwaitizing" jobs in the sector, which essentially exempted jobs in the medical and health sectors.
Political Events
  • President Abdelfattah El-Sisi has approved a draft law that aims at fighting internet crimes. The law allows authorities to block websites if it published any materials that could harm the country's security or economic stability. It also forbids publishing information regarding the army or the police movements, as well as promoting radical or terrorist ideas. Any blog or social media account with more than 5,000 followers is considered a media platform, and thus shall abide to relevant laws and regulations.
  • Saudi Arabia government inaugurated an electronic identification tracking system for victims of accidents and disasters. The government gives each victim a serial number and barcode and takes their pictures and fingerprints and links them to all Interior Ministry databases.
  • Saudi Arabia Minister of Health, Dr Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, announced that the Hajj season was free of any epidemics or public-health emergency. The ministry focused on three main areas in its Hajj health plan: heat strokes, communicable diseases and compliance with the directives of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah regarding transfer plans and crowd management.
  • Bahrain Ministry of Interior announced that it would stop issuing new visas to Qatari nationals, escalating measures against Qatar more than a year into a diplomatic row. However, Qatari students studying in Bahrain and other Qatari citizens with existing visas would not be affected.
  • Australia has banned Chinese telecoms firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network, citing risks of foreign interference and hacking which Beijing dismissed as an "excuse" against the Chinese firm.
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Major Companies Transaction
  • Dubai Parks and Resorts, the largest multi-themed leisure and entertainment destination in the Middle East, has signed a strategic partnership with leading Chinese payment gateway UnionPay to provide marketing services and facilitate payments for cardholders visiting the UAE. With six billion subscribers globally, the company has the largest cardholder base in the world. The cards are accepted in 170 countries around the world and the brand partners with over 1,800 institutions globally.
  • Dubai Government Workshop (DGW) has revealed the signing of a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Arabian Automobiles. Under the terms of the newly signed agreement, maintenance services will be provided to Nissan vehicles at the DGW's workshop facilities in collaboration with Arabian Automobiles.
  • UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways have been rated among the world's top 20 most family-friendly airlines as amenities offered onboard help families and children travel with ease and in comfort. Emirates was rated second while Etihad eighth.
  • Vimana Global, a Dubai-based flying taxi firm, has completed a prototype trial of its autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) before its launch. Vimana is collaborating with authorities in Dubai to undertake and deploy blockchain aerospace platform prior to its launch in 2020 in the emirate and other emirates across the UAE.
  • The Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA) plans to upgrade the railway infrastructure in Upper Egypt during the coming period by purchasing around 1,300 railcars. The new railway line connecting Ain Sokhna to Al Alamein will be extended for 550 kilometers and is expected to be completed by 2021. It is worthy to mention that this deal would be the largest deal in the authority's history, indicating that the tender includes 500 air-conditioned third-class railcars.
  • Egypt Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El-Molla, announced that the American oil giant Apache plans to increase its investments to 1 BN USD annually in Egypt. Apache investments in Egypt exceed 12 BN USD in 23 concession areas, including 20 production regions. Apache desires to set up a joint working group to prepare an action plan for the next five years, including exploration and drilling programs, investment volume and expected production.
  • Saudi Arabia Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and Chairman of Saudi Aramco, Khalid Al Falih, dismissed the cancellation speculations of the IPO of Saudi Aramco. To prepare for the listing of Saudi Aramco, the Government issued a new income tax law as it relates to hydrocarbons activities; reissued a long-term exclusive concession; and appointed a new Board of Directors, amongst other measures to safeguard its interests and those of the company's future private shareholders.
  • Qatar Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has begun work on A-Ring Road project to boost traffic flow and ease congestion in the center of capital Doha. The project is being implemented in five phases. It is aimed at enhancing the capacity of A-Ring Road by increasing the number of its lanes from 2 to 4 lanes in each direction along the road length of about 6.7 km.
  • In Kuwait, the Minister of Finance, Nayef Al-Hajraf, revealed that the Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) contained the losses resulting from the maintenance process suspension on planes. The national carrier maintained the agreements with  the contracting companies. There were no negative impacts on the purchase of spare parts from other companies when required.
Sports and Culture
  • Mohamed Salah's first-half strike was enough to earn Liverpool a 1-0 win over Brighton and give them an early top spot in the Premier League with three wins out of three. Salah has now scored two goals and provided one assist in his first three appearances of the campaign. Since joining Liverpool last summer, Salah has scored 29 goals in 29 games for Liverpool at Anfield.
  • Egypt will be establishing a district in the New Administrative Capital that would resemble downtown Cairo Garden City area, located on an area of about 1,000 acres, and scheduled to include 23,000 housing units, varying between apartments and villas in addition to a number of luxury units. The architectural style that will be followed is the old French style, similar to the architecture implemented in Cairo Garden City.
  • UAE athletes have gained seven medals including two golds, four silvers and one bronze in the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia. Faisal Alketbi won the gold medal in the men's 94kg competition while Omar Alfadhli got the men's 62kg silver medal and Saeed Almazrouei bagged the bronze medal.
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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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