Interviews – Daily News Egypt Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Tue, 20 Nov 2018 21:09:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Only 4% is share of Egyptian medication in exports, says head of ECPI Fri, 16 Nov 2018 14:05:51 +0000 Our medication exports reached $678m in 2005, representing six times current volume, says George

The post Only 4% is share of Egyptian medication in exports, says head of ECPI appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Amid the current controversy, Maged George, head of the Export Council for Pharmaceutical Industries ‘ECPI,’ highlighted that the Egyptian medicine exports sector is going through a serious situation.

He informed Daily News Egypt that this sector is the only one that is not provided with any financial support, especially from the Egyptian Exports Support Programme, and unveiled that many foreign companies have started to decrease their activities due to the Egyptian pound floatation and its aftermath. DNE interviewed George to find out more about the sector’s challenges, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How could you evaluate the situation of drugs exports?

Well, I can say it is very bad. There are many reasons which led to a complicated situation which the sector is going through but the government does not take any step towards finding solutions.

What about these reasons?

All in all, countries which were considered as top ranked for our medication exports, occupy 45% of Egypt’s drugs exports volume, including Iraq, Libya, and Yemen who are currently suffering from instability in all aspects of life. These countries are facing political, economic, and social turmoil, therefore we lost these market. Indeed, the Arab Spring revolutions and the aftermath deeply affected the pharmaceutical sector.

Is there an estimate of our medicine exports volume to these countries before 2011?

It was between 70 and 90% of the total exports, so it is considered as a great loss that is affecting the Egyptian economy and market.

And what other obstacles is this sector currently facing?

Unfortunately, since the Central Bank of Egypt has taken the decision to float the Egyptian pound the situation became worse. There is an implemented rule, several years ago, which allows Gulf countries to sell medications that are imported from Egypt according to the price set in the country of origin, which means that these medications are available in the Gulf countries at the same price of those in the local Egyptian market. This condition harmed our exports, especially the floatation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016, as prices influenced by the rising of the dollar hit the roof. Otherwise, the costs of raw materials have tripled since then. In the meantime, the government does not support the pharmaceutical sector at all.

What do you mean by government support?

It is financial support. As opposed to other export sectors, the government does not offer any financial support, or even any intensives for the medication exports sector. For instance, the sector is not enrolled in the list of industries that receive funds from the Egyptian Exports Support Programme “EESP”, even though medication exports are estimated at EGP 112m in 2018 out of about EGP 800m out of the total volume of pharmaceutical sector exports.

What is the share of medicine exports in the Egyptian exports volume?

It does not exceed 4%.

Do not you think it represents a poor percentage that discourages the government from supporting it?

That is correct, but the situation is influenced by the instability that Egypt faced during the 25th January revolution 2011. Official data reveals that our medication exports had reached $678m in 2005, which represents about six times the current volume.

How many factories already are producing medications in the local market? And are there any new investments attracted to this field, or any investments that have had to exit the Egyptian market?

We have about 120 factories, 20 of them are following both the public business sector and private sector. In addition to up to 30 factories are waiting to obtain licenses to work. Meanwhile, there are about 12 foreign plants. All foreign investments are still working, and did not leave the market, but they eventually had to, due to the aftermath of the floatation of the Egyptian pound, as it decrease some of their activities. For instance, all foreign companies cancelled their industrial improvement programmes a few years ago, as they found that they would not make any profits. On the other hand, all proposals that have been introduced by these companies to cope with this complicated situation and to overcome all troubles that these companies are facing were refused by the ministry of health.

Then, why is the Egyptian market facing a lack of medications and obstacles in exporting while we have this large number of factories?

Because of the rise in production costs, as well as the unfair prices, especially for the exported medications. This situation is forcing production companies to depend on the production of its factories that are located in other countries such as Turkey and Jordan, at the expense of its counterparts in Egypt, for exporting. Indeed, these countries are selling medications according their actual costs, and they make five times their profits from their enterprises in Egypt. Even the step that the ministry of health has taken in 2017 to increase the prices by 50% did not help companies to compensate their losses due to increasing costs that the producers faced because of dollar price hike.

What are the procedures you can propose to deal with the current situation based on what you previously clarified?

First of all, the ministry of health must be not be involved in medication pricing. Pricing policy should be set by an independent authority, and it must consider the real costs, in addition the current price of dollar before the Egyptian pound. Moreover, we need to head to alternative markets as a step to overcome our top markets in the Middle East.

The ministry of health has already announced the African market as the new destination of our medication exports, what do you think?

Actually, as head of the Council of Pharmaceutical Industries ‘CPI’ and its members, we attended several meetings with the Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, to discuss this issue to find solutions. Yet, these meetings meant nothing without taking real actions on the ground. I can say that the government does not intend to enter the African market and lacks a clear vision related to this point.

Does it mean that you are not going to work on this issue especially since your council is the representative of medications exports sector?

We already took serious steps towards establishing a new firm in alliance with 26 firms in the sector belonging to the private sector to work on the African market. This step is not just for exporting our productions, but also for constructing factories there. This market is promising and has many incentives that can be tapped such as cheap labour, and it needs cures that treatments for the endemic diseases there. Moreover, the production costs in this market are the cheapest.

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Egypt’s aviation security shows progress, yet requires continuous efforts: US embassy in Cairo Wed, 14 Nov 2018 13:13:28 +0000 We are working with government on education as main component of country's infrastructure

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Egypt’s aviation security showed some progress and American experts periodically meet with Egyptian counterparts to exchange experience, Deputy Chief of US mission in Cairo Dorothy Shea said.

“Aviation security is not an area where we can say ‘it is okay we do not have to worry!’ It requires continuous efforts. We are happy that we were able to [provide] Egypt with some scanners,” Shea said.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Shea, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Can you explain the cooperation level between Egypt and US in aviation?

We provided Egypt with very well-trained dogs which can perfectly identify smells. We also trained some Egyptian security employees in the US to handle these dogs. Some American trainers may be sent to Egypt to follow-up on the dogs’ performance. We aim to get the optimum use of this cooperation.

About 45 US companies visited Egypt in October, what are the initial outcomes of the visits in terms of investment?

Only one company has made a public announcement about their new investment in Egypt following the visit, which is PepsiCo. They announced injecting over $500m, which is going to create many jobs. Many of the companies that participated in the US business mission came to Egypt to explore investment opportunities.

I felt a lot of enthusiasm among that mission, especially during their meeting with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. They heard him directly saying that he wants to give companies the chance to thrive in Egypt. Al-Sisi instructed the ministers who attended the meeting to remove any obstacles or challenges facing US companies to pave the way for new investments and a better business climate.

On 23 October, PepsiCo announced that it plans to inject $515m worth of investments in Egypt over the coming four years until 2021. It came during a conference held to mark PepsiCo’s 70th anniversary in Egypt. The conference was attended by Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham), in coordination with the US-Egypt Business Council (USEBC), organised the visit of an US business mission to Egypt between 23 and 25 October, according to a statement by AmCham Egypt.

The government issued a New Investment Law, what specifically did you discuss in terms of improving the regulatory framework?

Each company has a different area of focus. I think a lot of them wanted to know the executive regulations of such laws and how they can be applied. Some of the new laws have not had any regulations yet, which are very important.

I think the parliament should listen to companies to take their concerns into consideration when creating new regulations. Some businesspersons are worried about the application of the Value Added Tax (VAT).

The mission also discussed applying US standards to agricultural and automotive spare parts’ exports to Egypt. In the US, we always ensure that US standards are accepted as similarly as we accept world standards.

When we create a regulation, we take into consideration all the standards that companies comply with, rather than creating new different standards. This process will increase US companies’ confidence.

In December, Egypt and Israel will hold a joint convention on the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ). Will they discuss increasing the Israeli component?

Actually, I did not hear that they were talking about increasing the Israeli component in the QIZ agreement. I think what would be more interesting is to branch out from the traditional areas of textile, towards manufacturing and agriculture, and activating other sectors. However, the governments only encourage businesspersons, as it is a business decision, not a government one.

The QIZ concept was introduced by the United States in 1996 with the aim of reinforcing peace in the Middle East, through regional economic partnerships which benefit both Arab countries and Israel. To this end, the US issued the decree 6955, in December 1996, which authorised duty-free entry into the US for industrial products originating in Egypt and manufactured jointly with Israel, in compliance with the international rules of origin, according to the ministry of trade and industry’s website.

During your speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Week’s (GEW) inauguration, you mentioned important words about the US’s support for this sector. Can you elaborate about the US’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship in Egypt?

Initially, we were very happy to be gathering in the Maadi Public Library for the 11th GEW’s inauguration. GEW is a worldwide phenomenaWe are happy that we were part of this worldwide energy entrepreneurship week.

In Egypt, we need to create about 800,000 jobs a year to accommodate all job seekers. As I understand, the required jobs already exist, and are just waiting to be filled. What we do is to help the young people find the resources that they need, and develop plans to have their own jobs. Once start-ups succeed, they will help in creating job opportunities for other people. 

Entrepreneurship is a multi-approach. At the US embassy, we organise events like GEW. Every day, we provide training, workshops, and meetings with motivational speakers. For example, we host some successful entrepreneurs to share their experiences. It is very important to let them talk about their successes and failures, because other people are afraid to start their own business due to failure possibilities. Sometimes failure is not the last result. It can be a step on the way of success and make the people learn.

Is there any financial allocation from US to Egypt to support entrepreneurship?

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has dedicated $42.8m for entrepreneurship activities in Egypt so far. The USAID is also very engaged in the entrepreneurships’ scholarships and we are also working with the government of Egypt to create new regulatory infrastructure frameworks that can be more convenient for start-ups in particular.

The focus of the US activities regarding entrepreneurship aims at developing the young peoples’ skills that are needed in the today’s market: strengthening entrepreneurship training and enterprises’ development.

The USAID’s entrepreneurship investment is the easier to count. However, we are also doing many other activities to inspire the youth through educating the needed skills that can help them to turn their ideas into real projects. The young people need somebody that believes in them and we do so.

What about future entrepreneurship programmes?

Now we have lots of exchange programmes that target specific sectors. We have sent several people to trade fairs in the US to boost their skills and enter the job market.

Our exchange programmes also target Egypt’s women entrepreneurs. Many Egyptians had the chance to visit Silicon Valley to focus on software development, high-tech, and information and communications technology fields that are needed in today’s market.

What are the main Egyptian entrepreneurship organisations supported by the US embassy?

I hesitate to mention them by name as they are so many, and I may not be able to mention all of them, However, Injaz-Egypt is doing very good work with the young people. They help youth to step their skills forwards and create their own companies. We work with a group of the young visionary social entrepreneurs for better planning. We also have partners, such as Flat6Labs and the Greek Campus.

We are really doing a lot with the American Centre Cairo on virtual reality, 3D paintings, and boosting super technical capabilities. We are providing very specific trainings. I am amazed with the trainings we offer, I have never seen that in a US embassy.

What are the pros and cons of the Egyptian entrepreneurship market? How do you assess it?

The first part of the question is an easy one, It is the human capital. You have very bright, well-educated and motivated people. You can say that Egypt exports about 10% of its population to the world. They are even successful when they work inside their country.

We are working with the government on education as a main component of the country’s infrastructure to create jobs in today’s and tomorrow’s market.

For the cons or let us say the areas where we can focus more, I hesitate to be too critical because we are all human and make mistakes, which means that institutions are also imperfect. However, we would like to have a more conducive regulatory environment, so that it can be easy for start-ups to develop further.

Start-ups have to work with different ministries. We aim to have a streamlined approach to simplify the process of launching businesses. Some countries have done better than Egypt did with regards to entrepreneurship, so we have to learn from other countries’ positive experiences in attracting businesses.

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Parents @ BAT: new policy to help new parents at a time when they need it most Wed, 14 Nov 2018 11:25:06 +0000 With the goal to simplify their lives as new parents and support them at a time when they need it most, British American Tobacco Egypt (BAT Egypt) has launched the Parents @ BAT, a new policy for fresh parents, which facilitates what is considered the hardest year of being a parent. The policy, which will …

The post Parents @ BAT: new policy to help new parents at a time when they need it most appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

With the goal to simplify their lives as new parents and support them at a time when they need it most, British American Tobacco Egypt (BAT Egypt) has launched the Parents @ BAT, a new policy for fresh parents, which facilitates what is considered the hardest year of being a parent.

The policy, which will be applied effective 1st of January 2019 offers the following:

16 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave to mothers with a guarantee to return to their existing job or a suitable alternative.

It also offers employees flexible working options following mothers’ return to work during the first year, which includes reduced working hours and working from home. While fathers get days of fully paid paternity leave to fathers.

Moreover, the policy includes online parental coaching platform for mothers & line managers to support and manage career discussions and ease the transition to & from maternity leave.

Daily News Egypt met Human Resources Director of BAT Egypt, Hesham Helmy, and asked him about the details of the new policy applied across BAT globally, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Why did you decide to apply this programme in BAT worldwide?

At BAT, we always strive to build a pool of diverse leaders. A diverse workforce brings variety of ideas, new ways of thinking and decision making to the table which reflects our consumer base and gives us a competitive advantage. We recognise that our leaders are progressing through different life stages and in addition to providing our employees with challenging and exciting careers, we are committed to supporting working parents to optimise their work and family responsibilities, especially in those critical early years. Our working environment acknowledges and supports parental responsibility, modern family dynamics and work-life balance. In line with this framework, BAT launched several initiatives; one of them is Parents @ BAT policy.

What was the criteria the programme pillars were decided upon?

BAT conducted an internal research globally to understand existing supporting tools offered to parents across different BAT end markets. Based on the research outcome Parents @ BAT guidelines were introduced and establish what we recommend as a minimum standard to provide support to new parents at all BAT entities. We intend that all new parents should be eligible to participate in the Parents @ BAT programme, regardless of how long they have been employed by the company.

As BAT Egypt management, we supported going beyond local regulations, specifically when it comes to maternity and paternity leaves to help new parents in their early parenthood.

Would you please elaborate about the five days paternity leave for fathers your programme offers?

We believe that providing fathers with five fully-paid days off is essential for them to support both new-born and mother throughout this critical period.

Are there any plans to increase that period of time for fathers?

This leave is not covered by Egyptian labour law. Nevertheless, as BAT Egypt we lead by example through introducing such an extra benefit to our employees.

If we identify a need for extending the leave beyond 5 days, we will put this into discussion as it will still serve the overall objectives of Parents @ BAT policy.

What other services do you provide children of your employees with?

We offer our employees’ dependants including their children a competitive medical insurance scheme which includes inpatient, outpatient, dental and optical coverages.

It’s worth  mentioning that BAT Egypt covers new-borns from day one which is considered a competitive advantage when compared to other companies, where new-borns coverage usually starts 2 weeks post the delivery date.

What is the content of Parents @ BAT online platform?

BAT will provide access to Parents @ BAT Online to all new parents and their line managers as needed, to ease transition into parenthood, maternity leave and return to work. Toolkit is available to new parents and their line managers until up to 6 months after returning from leave.

Parents @ BAT offers the following:

Online coaching & learning modules to mothers and line managers which support throughout the full journey, designed in three stages: preparing for leave, preparing for return and post-return.

It also offers access to related policies and procedures.

Adding to that, networking opportunities through communities. Each community is made of three elements:

News & Knowledge: gets the latest updates & join newsworthy discussions on gender diversity, wellbeing, inclusion and women’s leadership. On top of that, top tips & recommendations from world class coaches on related topics.

Shared Communities: Browse and join online shared communities for peer support and moderated discussions on topics of special interest.

Private Communities: where you can post secure documents, host Q&A sessions and moderate closed discussions

What are the languages these platforms are offered to employees in?

The global Parents @ BAT site is accessible in English. Since a pre-requisite for BAT Egypt selection process is to have at least basic understanding of English, therefore it is convenient for us.

It is worth mentioning that other BAT End Markets can translate the content to their local languages if there is a need.


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Dr. Anisa Hassouna: leader of charity work, cancer conqueror: “Love saved me” Mon, 12 Nov 2018 12:46:03 +0000 “You need two years of treatment and a surgery, and still the illness might return. In that case, the illness will take you down”.

The post Dr. Anisa Hassouna: leader of charity work, cancer conqueror: “Love saved me” appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

That is what Anisa Hassouna was told, but she insisted on  fighting and travelled to receive her treatment then returned – much stronger and fresher this time.

Having told her story in a book and on TV, she became an icon and an idol.

Anisa Hassouna is a writer, a political researcher, and a member of the Egyptian parliament. She was the executive director of Magdy Yakoub’s foundation for heart illnesses and research. She was also the director general of the Egypt International Economic Forum, as well as member of the American Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Anisa is the first woman to be elected as a secretary general of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs. She was chosen by Arabian Business in 2014 on its annual list for the 100 strongest Arab women in the world.

Daily News Egypt interviewed her to discuss with her politics, economics, and parliament affairs as well as her journey fighting against cancer, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How did you start in charity work?

It started in 2009, and I greatly benefited from it. It was by mere coincidence. When I was working at Magdy Yakoub’s Heart Centre in Aswan and I met Dr. Magdy Yakoub, he asked me about my experience in the medical field. I told him that I get sick a lot and that this is my experience, but I learned so much later and enjoyed the work a lot.

What are the requirements for charitable work?

Honesty and sincerity. When you are sincere, people feel that, and they even offer you help. You must have transparency and allow people to understand how their money is used.

Do you think that the lack of transparency is the cause for 57357 hospital’s issue with writer Waheed Hamed?

Certainly, and the ministry of social solidarity should have announced all the facts with transparency so that people understand everything, but unfortunately that is not what happened.

I demanded that the committee formed by the ministry announce the results of the investigations immediately, and prohibit using the money of donors in wrongful ways.

How is Dr. Magdy Yakoub now that you have worked with him for years?

He is a man of great morals and is only concerned about his patients and their health, therefore I never had a grudge or was mad at him when I left the foundation.

How did you receive the news of your cancer diagnosis?

I was a shocked and I started denying it. I had an infinite number of questions in my head and not a moment of peace. I kept wondering: Why me? What I did I do to deserve this? Will I leave my children, grandchildren, husband, home and all the things I love? Why do people not feel that I am a cancer patient? Was my feeling of weakness a reason why my immunity got weak too?

All these questions remained unanswered, and I was close to breaking down, but I saw spiritual proofs that life would go on normally even after someone leaves or gets sick, and that I must fight alone for my life, to stay in my children and grandchildren’s lives, for my husband, and the moments of victory and breakingdowns. I documented my experience in my book “Without a Warning”.

What made you write the book?

First, my husband who kept encouraging me from day one and reassured me that I will be okay again. Second, my grandchildren who were keen on understanding what is going on with me, and third, my youngest daughter who recommended I write the book for others to learn from me and help others conquer their illnesses.

What was the book’s message?

It was a message of gratitude and thanks for my family because they helped me beat my illness. My husband travelled with me to Germany for the surgery and when I returned to Cairo he looked after me himself with so much attention and care; he refused that a nurse would do that for me.

Another important message of the book is warning readers from the effect of psychological stress. Cancer viciously attacked me after I was fired from the Heart Foundation where I worked as an executive director, right after I was appointed in parliament. I felt very sad because I had never failed to do the duties required from me, and I believed in what I did for the patients. Drowning in grief may easily result in negative consequences on health level, as was the case with me.

There is also an awareness message in the book. There are many wrong health habits we practice, such as eating lots of processed meat and not doing any sports. I wanted also to stress that family communication and support are just as important as medications and surgical procedures.

Have you tried to help patients more after your illness?

Of course. The illness opened my eyes to so much, including the absence of periodic examinations for women, and I still demand providing women in Egypt with at least a free examination once a year. Lots of women die with cancer without even knowing they had it because they do not have the funds for a medical examination. I am also working on donations  from businesspersons to build hospitals specialised in cancer treatment which attacks only women. In Egypt there is only one hospital for treating women with cancer. There must also be hospitals for uterus cancer because now there are several cases that are on the waiting list to get into the Oncology Institute. In order for me to get the treatment I needed, I had to sell the flat I inherited from my late father, but many other people would not have any money to receive treatment, therefore, more hospitals must be available.

What is your advice for cancer patients?

There is hope. You could get very lucky. You must hold on to that hope and enjoy all the moments that may never come back, because only God knows what tomorrow brings.

What is the difference between health care in Egypt and Germany?

In Germany, there is so much accuracy at everything. You would not -for example- find a phone with a patient or a doctor, and they find no shame in saying “I do not know” if they really do not have an answer to your questions. Also, everyone there is very specialised. The nurse taking the blood sample from you is different from the one helping you with taking medications, and it is impossible to find a nurse who takes money from you, because they receive high wages and do not need to resort to such ways. This is why, since my return, I have been demanding increasing the wages of nurses.

Do you remember the moment you were chosen by Arabian Business as one of the 100 strongest Arab women in the world?

Of course I do, because it was a surprise. When I received the email, I thought it was sent by mistake, but then I was very happy and proud, and I know it is all thanks to my work in charity.

Were you expecting being in parliament?

No, and I saw predictions in newspapers and just looked at them the way all regular readers would.

How do you evaluate the parliament’s performance so far?

The parliament has lots of competent individuals, but the government does not pay attention to them. Some laws were approved, and I support them, such as the investment, women, and civil service laws, even though they have not been activated until now.

How do you see the laws of economic reform?

I  completely support them even though they are very difficult. I understand they are the accumulations of long decades that someone should have done something about, which is what president Al-Sisi is doing now.

What about the personal status law which is creating controversy especially in hosting?

We have not seen the law until now, but I have stressed before that the hosting law protects children and their dignity as a humane right for them  and their  parents, but this must happen without affecting the child’s need of his mother, according to the law.

The personal status laws are inherently problematic, with so many details that require looking at the reality first in order to solve them. The only reference to consider is the child’s best interest.

Now, the parliament has more than a single draft law regarding personal status, and they are all concerned with equality. I do not advocate a certain law, but I look at the child’s best interest as the top priority.

I will certainly not allow children to be used as a means of pressure between two parties. Children are the future of this country, so we will always work on making sure they are brought up in a healthy environment between parents after the divorce.

Do you like the parliament’s role in this phase?

What I do not like is the parliament’s waiting for government projects. The parliament’s right is to propose laws, and like the rest of my colleagues, I proposed three laws, but they were not discussed or approved yet. It is not acceptable that a parliament awaits government projects only.

In my opinion, legislations must also be passed  from the parliament not only the government.

What is the reason for that?

I do not know, but parliament is named  through elections and represents Egyptians, and this must be respected. A simple example is a project I submitted requiring all shops to install surveillance cameras. This is necessary, especially that we are fighting terrorism and for security reasons, as all countries of the world apply this system now. I found out that the government has submitted nearly the same project then withdrew it later, and I do not know why. I do not know why the law I proposed was not issued, despite the approval of the legislative committee.

Is the political situation affecting the role of the parliament?

Yes, the parliament needs different voices that work for the country’s best interest even if they come with different views. Where are political parties like Al Wafd and Free Egyptians?

How do you see the case of Jamal Khashoggi?

The issue has many dimensions. He is a human being at the end of the day, who entered the consulate of his country, which is supposed to be the safest place for anyone who is Saudi Arabian. Aside from any political views, this case is shocking and terrifying.

Does the case have other dimensions?

Of course, it has a very opportunistic political dimensions for political reasons and any parties trying to make strategic, political and economic gains from something like that. These dimensions seem to never end, and this does not go with the scarcity of a human life. Qatar has also played a shameful role exploiting a human’s life for political purposes. As someone who worked in diplomacy, I am particularly sensitive to such a crime.

How do you evaluate the Turkish stance?

I was shocked to hear Erdogan’s speech, when everyone waited for him to reveal the truth and he disappointed everyone and said nothing. The news blackout is mainly Turkish.

Would this case make some changes in the region?

Yes, but quietly, not dramatically. There is already talks about the need for change and reform in the Arab region.

Regarding foreign affairs, how are relations between Egypt and America?

The Egyptian-American relations are not steady nor are they at their best. I believe more visits are required, as well as dialogues. The relations are strategic and neither parties can let go of the other. American investments also must increase in Egypt, because our country needs that, and economic stability will affect the peace, and security in the region.

What about the talks about American pressure on Egypt?

This will just continue to happen. Egypt is always under pressure given its position by all parties because it is such an important number in all equations. As for Egyptian-American relations, I always blame the American side. Egypt has offered so much to the region’s stability, and plays a major role in the surrounding issues.

How can you create balance between your work in parliament, your writings and your family with your illness?

Family comes first, and then work comes second. Even though Friday is my only day off during the week, I am always keen on going with my grandchild to her practice on this day. Also, the pride of my husband and daughter in what I do always helps me in balancing  my responsibilities.

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What constitutes good leadership is changing, as expectations, demands, of followers alter: Gordon Tredgold Sun, 11 Nov 2018 10:00:40 +0000 Leaders do not need to have all answers or to be heroes

The post What constitutes good leadership is changing, as expectations, demands, of followers alter: Gordon Tredgold appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Undoubtably the importance of leadership for any organisation’s success, as it is what dictates the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to lead, guide, and influence other groups of people or an organisation.

Leadership entails, having a clear vision, an ability to communicate the vision to team members, an ability to organise in an effective and efficient manner, inspiring subordinates towards the fulfilment of the organisation’s goals, and balancing the conflict of interest of all subordinates and stakeholders.

Leadership encompasses all spheres of life: family, political, management or economic.

To understand leadership and its importance, Daily News Egypt interviewed Gordon Tredgold, CEO of Leadership Principles LLC.

With over 25 years of experience in senior leadership positions, for Fortune 100 companies, successfully delivering $100m projects, running $300m departments, and leading teams of 1,000 staff, Tredgold has helped companies reduce costs by $350m, increase performance by 50-500%, and helped entrepreneurs triple their revenue in just 12 months.

Now Gordon speaks, writes, and consults on Leadership and Business. He has written 3 books, over 1,200 articles, contributed to Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Fortune, Addicted 2Success, and he is also a visiting professor at Staffordshire University.

“People are not afraid of hard work, they are afraid of failure, and by giving them simple plans they believe you help build their self-confidence, which is key to success,” Tredgold told Daily News Egypt in an interview.

Tredgold was one of the speakers of ‘The Narrative PR Summit 2018,’ which first started in 2016, organised by CC Plus, to become the first of its type of public relations events for the Egyptian market.

The summit was attended by ministers, global professionals, policymakers, as well as community leaders, to discuss their distinct stories, lessons, and experiences that can create a bank of first-class knowledge, available for everyone and anyone in Egypt.

Following ‘The Narrative PR Summit 2018,’ DNE interviewed Tredgold, to get a better understanding of how the basic concept of leadership has evolved, and his participation in the summit, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What motivated you to take part in ‘PR Narrative summit’?

I was approached by CCplus, who has been following me on Twitter for some time, and they asked me if I would be interested in speaking at the ‘Narrative’ to give some insights on how leadership could be best used to help promote Egypt.  I immediately said yes, as I love Egypt. I have visited it many times, including doing the Nile Cruise twice. I also have lots of friends and followers in Egypt, so to have the chance to help promote Egypt was an opportunity for me to give something back, and I felt compelled doing it. It was an amazing event, and the warmth and friendliness of the people really touched me. I created a Facebook live session talking about my visit which has now been viewed and shared over 35,000 times.


Gordon Tredgold, CEO of Leadership Principles LLC

What inspired you to write a book on leadership?

I thought that by helping the next generation of leaders become better ones, it would help increase the positive impact that I could make on the world. The more ‘great leaders’ that we have, the better the world would be, and I found that my approach to leadership not only allowed me to generate great results, but was also appreciated by the people who I led, so why not share it.

I also believe that leadership is a lot simpler than we think, and I wanted to help share those simple things which I found worked, so that others could benefit. 

What advice do you have for those pursuing leadership roles, and entrepreneurs?

Obviously the first thing I would say would be to read my book ‘FAST’ – 4 Principles Everyone Needs To Achieve Success, which is all about improving your Focus (the What), Accountability (the Who), Simplicity (the How), and Transparency (How Far). It is poor performance in one of these areas, that account for practically all failures.

For potential leaders I would add that they should take any opportunity to lead, as it will help build their experience and understanding. These opportunities could be within their communities, in sports, as well as in business, and they will all help them improve.

How can leaders maintain employee engagement?

Employee engagement, according to Gallup, is around 30%. Interesting leadership involvement is also around 30%, which I think is a major cause of employee disengagement, as it is hard to enlist people if you are not.

So, to create engaged teams, it starts with you as the leader being committed. Then you have to provide clarity of focus, so that your teams know what the goals are, and give them a plan for how they can be successful. When you do that, not only do you have engrossed teams, but also enthusiastic teams which can achieve amazing results.

People are not afraid of hard work, they are afraid of failure, and by giving them simple plans they will believe you, help build their self-confidence which is key to success.

How do you view the state of leadership in business of the past decade?

I think leadership is going through a fundamental change. It is not that what constitutes good leadership that is changing, it is that the expectation and demands of followers are changing. They are insisting that more people exhibit good leadership. We live in a hyper-connected world, and teams want to feel connected to leaders.

The days of command and control, where leaders just issue orders are disappearing. Teams want to communicate directly with their leaders and they are expecting to be informed and inspired.

With the increase in distributed virtual teams, leaders need to be able to inspire remotely, without having physical presence, which requires much better, and much more frequent communication, often via social media tools.

From your perspective, what differentiates a good leader, from a bad one?

Bad leaders make it all about them, their success, and their results.  They think that leadership is about being served, but in reality, it is about serving.

Great leaders, on the other hand, put their teams first. They look to put them in a position where they can succeed, and then they look to recognise that success. Leadership is about creating the vision for your teams, setting them off on a journey, and then focusing on clearing any roadblocks that appear or hinder progress.

Leadership is not about being first across the finish line, it is about ensuring that everyone gets over the finish line.


What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

We are moving from a central command and control style of working and leadership, to a central command but distributed control. This requires leaders to give up some of the control, to delegate it to others, to be more involving of their teams and more trusting.  This can be difficult, especially for those who got into leadership for the power, but real leadership is about empowering their teams, not hoarding power.

What advice would you give someone assuming a leadership position for the first time?

Do not assume you know everything, and if you need help ask for it, even from your team.  Do not constantly remind people you are the leader, they know, and bragging about it just makes you appear lacking in confidence.  Leaders don’t need to have all the answers or need to be the hero. Leadership is about getting the best out of your team, not being the best on your team.

If you insist on being the best, then you become the limit of what can be achieved. The more you can leverage your teams, the higher up the leadership ladder you can go.

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I trust in the ability of Egyptian companies to get a share of Chinese market: Nassar Wed, 07 Nov 2018 14:08:55 +0000 Exchange of presidential visits between Egypt, China is great proof of strength of their bilateral relations

The post I trust in the ability of Egyptian companies to get a share of Chinese market: Nassar appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Four months after he assumed office, Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar’s approach became more obvious: focus on exploiting the available resources internally, and intensify the domestic industry in order to boost industrial growth and increase the local product’s competitiveness. Nevine Kamel met with the minister in Shanghai during the opening of the China International Import Expo between 5 and 10 November, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Egypt is currently participating in the first China International Import Expo and has been selected as a guest of honour from among 10 other countries, with approximately 150 countries participating in the exhibition.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar

What is the significance of Egypt’s special presence of in this exhibition?

For the very first time, there is a Chinese imports exhibition, whereas we always talk about imports from China. China’s import exhibition is new, and reflects several aspects: the beginning of China’s passageway to the world. This is because China’s social level has improved, and income is rising owing to its economic upsurge. Hence, the decision was taken to start importing, which is a new approach to China’s international policy. The fact that Egypt is participating in this exhibition is normal, because China’s market size is a huge opportunity for any country. If any country succeeds in gaining a share in this market—even up to half a percent of it— then we have succeeded in achieving a real increase in exports, especially with the country’s substantial population, estimated at 1.5 billion.  Egypt has an excellent chance of getting a share in this market, but it is related to the producers’ abilities and their efforts in achieving this. I am confident in their ability to succeed in this task, due to the quality and competitiveness of the Egyptian product. In short, Egypt’s choice as a guest of honour reflects its political and economic value on the ground, the amicable relationship between Egypt and China, and the prospects for positive economic cooperation between the two sides.

What is the importance of the Chinese market for Egypt currently, and how is our interest in this market reflected presently?

The Ministry of Trade and Industry affords immense importance towards supporting the Egyptian-Chinese relations, especially as the commercial cooperation and industrial investments between Egypt and China constitute an intrinsic foundation in the joint relations between both countries. Therefore, the ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, is coordinating with all relevant ministries to enhance cooperation with the Chinese side, especially concerning priority projects agreed upon between the two countries in the scheme of the technical committee to increase production capacities— an important instrument towards supporting Egyptian-Chinese investments. The exchange of presidential visits between Egypt and China is a great proof of the strength of their bilateral relations and their desire to develop this relationship. These visits have resulted in remarkable outcomes and helped to develop the joint relations between the two countries in various fields, including trade and investment. In terms of trade, Egypt started to direct more exports towards the Chinese market, especially Egyptian exports of agricultural crops, where many steps were taken to enable Egyptian agricultural crops more accessible to the Chinese market. In November 2017, grapes became the second Egyptian agricultural crops after citrus to enter the Chinese market as a result of signing a cooperation protocol between the two countries. Egypt’s citrus exports to China witnessed a considerable development last year, rising from $23m in 2016 to $78.3m in 2017, an increase of 240%, a significant increase reflecting the status of Egyptian citrus in the Chinese market, and it provided an opportunity for further exports of other Egyptian agricultural crops into the Chinese market. Further exports of Egyptian agricultural crops are expected to enter the Chinese market during the coming period, especially from dates, which are currently being prepared for.

China is not the only destination for the Egyptian government now, there is also a special approach towards Africa. What is the significance of this long-neglected market for Egypt?

We look at Africa with a lens different from all the other world countries. We view it as a partner with whom we share our experiences, not just as a market we want to sell or export to, or as a source of raw material. We aim to cooperate with African partners in a mutually beneficial manner. Why not manufacture their raw materials through Egyptian factories and investments? This is an ideal form of cooperation between the two sides, and this is what we are aiming for. We want to deliver a message to the entire world, that those who want to invest in Africa will only do so through us. Egypt will be the strong and stable gateway into Africa for the coming period. Here, I should highlight the importance of enhancing the role of the Egyptian and African private sector in playing an active role towards developing the foreign trade operations, and attracting more Arab and foreign capital to invest in both Egypt and African countries, as well as the need to move from bilateral cooperation to begin active continental cooperation.  The continental free trade area of the three major African blocs, with a purchasing power exceeding $1.3tn, is expected to contribute significantly towards boosting economic cooperation among a large number of African countries as the first phase of the Comprehensive African Free Trade Area, especially with the possibility of implementing  joint Egyptian industrial projects in the fields of transport, logistics, infrastructure, and electricity, major projects, food, engineering and leather industries. In this context, we decided to head into Africa through a group of African countries in the East and West, initially reaching 10 countries, instead of working on 40 countries. We will work on 10 countries simultaneously. Africa has tremendous untapped wealth.

In recognition of Africa’s importance, we will host three events in Africa in December, the African Investment Conference from 8-9 December, the Inter-African Trade Fair from 11 to 17 December, and the African Trade Ministers Conference in Egypt on 12 and 13 December. At the end of the events, Egypt will start the new year with the chairmanship of the African Union headed by President Al-Sisi.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has adopted a new industrial approach selected by your excellency since your assumption of the ministry. What is the most important programme of this approach and what has been achieved in this regard?

The ministry’s plan during the last period targeted a number of axes, the most important of which is to exploit the existing capacities in the current factories, before expanding and establishing new factories. If I want to achieve rapid industrial growth, I must focus on what I have in a manner which achieves the best results. While I was in China, I met with a Chinese company that was running 3 shifts and a half, and that is what we are trying to follow, before expanding any new plants. However, that does not mean we will not develop new factories. Identifying industries that can be competitive is also in one of our new approaches. It is impossible to manufacture everything, but the main objective is to identify the country’s available resources and to exploit them appropriately.

Regarding the export sector, what are the current challenges facing it and how does the ministry  address them?

Before I mention the challenges, I want to talk at the outset about some important points that we are focusing on in order to boost exports. We currently focus on two points: Egyptian products with a competitive advantage, and the most attractive markets for Egyptian products. This is what we are trying to focus on to demonstrate the result of our target. The ministry then identified export sectors in which Egypt has fine experience, as well as markets which can be opened soon. The target markets are concentrated in 3 regions, Africa in the first place, and these markets are also looking for industrialisation, so we suggested exporting materials that will help African countries in the manufacturing process, which helps us to penetrate them even more. After that, the countries of Central Asia and then some of the countries of Eastern Europe, are countries that want premium products at reasonable prices. That does not mean that we export to Europe. We have very important exports, but we are talking here about the regions that are rapidly contributing to the export value. The real challenges we face are the fierce competition from exporters playing at the same level— China, India, Turkey, and Morocco. This is a very stiff challenge, as the exports subsidy they receive from governments are very high, which places Egyptian exports in the middle of a very strong competitive market.

What about Egyptian export subsidies, what is our position on paying arrears so far?

The problem with export subsidies is that with the flotation of the pound, some of the arrears doubled in value, thereby increasing the value of arrears. Meanwhile, the allocations for the subsidies have not increased, therefore their value have been halved for exporters. We are trying with the state to refund arrears as soon as possible in order to encourage exporters, and to increase their ability to compete with external products. This is one of my tasks and the country has shown its full readiness to pay, and is expected to do so as soon as possible because export subsidies are part of basic export incentives.  The ministry is currently working to solve exporters’ problems, and delay the serious delay of export subsidies because this problem represents a negative point for investments, not only for exports. We should not just set targets but more importantly commit ourselves to give a message to investors and exporters.

What about faltering factories? Shouldn’t this file be resolved to boost confidence?

The distressed factories’ file is a complex one. If we analyse these factories, we find that the reasons for the failure of each group of them is different from the other. Most of them have defaulted financially; while others conducted wrong feasibility studies. This was the reason for the loss of money, and if we solve the problem and give them money, they will lose it again. A third group has a management problem, and if we exclude these cases, the remaining number will be very few. This remaining group, the ministry is working with them to form a team of the Industrial Modernization Centre (IMC) which is working to solve their problems, but without the support of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

What is the Ministry’s plan to push industrial growth in the coming period? 

The state focuses heavily on industries that have high added values. We do not want to create a product where most of its raw materials are imported, and this is clear to us as we analyse the industrial sector with the Minister of Planning and the Minister of Finance. We are not a rich country and if we have better resources, we should give them to sectors that rely more on domestic products, and then encourage local industries. Hence the importance of the ministry’s focus on the industrial intensification programme, which aims to increase production inputs with good added value in Egypt. This is aimed at reducing the import bill, as the proportion of imports of components alone reaches 40%, and if we can reduce this, it will make an enormous difference in the trade deficit.

For exhibitions, does the ministry consider participating in international exhibitions to contribute to increasing exports?

For exhibitions, we are interested in choosing to participate in those that our customers participate in, and therefore not all international exhibitions are important to us. Today’s exhibitions, with e-commerce, are no longer the only way to increase exports. The issue is complex, but with the Export Development Authority (EDA), we want to put in place a plan that will make us become more effective. Hence, we aim to attract some international exhibitions into Egypt in the coming period. Thus, we allow the participation of a larger number of exhibitors who do not have the possibility to participate externally, and on the other hand, we allow the revitalisation of tourism. There are negotiations with some countries and international exhibitions such as Big Five, InterTabac in Germany, and Premier vision to attract their exhibitions into Egypt. This is the policy of exhibition’s new direction in the coming period. We have the infrastructure which allows us to host these exhibitions, such as Al Manarah Conference Hall and Sharm El Sheikh Hall. We want to tap what it available.

If we talk about the Free Trade Agreement (FTA)with Turkey, what is the current position of the Ministry of this convention?

The FTA with Turkey, like all FTAs, is periodically reviewed and has no exceptional status. The FTA with Turkey is currently being evaluated, and, according to the results, our position will be determined. If it is in the interest of Egypt, we will not approach them. To say, if it could attract 10 times the Turkish investment to Egypt, I would not be deterred from doing so. Trade has no direct relationship to politics.

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Al Ahly achieves EGP 5bn in sales end-October Wed, 07 Nov 2018 08:00:22 +0000 Company launched The RIDGE project with EGP 2.5bn investments

The post Al Ahly achieves EGP 5bn in sales end-October appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Al Ahly for Real Estate Development (Sabbour) managed to achieve EGP 5bn in sales at the end of October, compared to target sales of EGP 7.5bn by end of 2018.

Over the course of 30 years, the company has successfully developed 57 projects in diverse fields, including residential, retail, office buildings, tourist, and social and sports clubs across Egypt on total area of 12m sqm, Managing Director of Al Ahly, Ahmed Sabbour, said in an interview with Daily News Egypt, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How much is the value of RIDGE’s investment?

The RIDGE project was launched with a total investment of EGP 2.5bn. It is the second residential compound following Alaire, to be developed within Odyssia’s project, implemented by the company in El Mostakbal City, East Cairo. The project, built on an area of 220 feddans (1m sqm), included 1,400 units ranging from villas, townhouses, and twin houses, with an approximate built-up area of 400,000 sqm. The delivery of the project’s first phase is projected in 2023. The first phase was planned in different spaces with targeted sales of EGP 3bn. Al Ahly aims to achieve EGP 2bn in sales within two months.

When will the company complete the project’s marketing?

Marketing of the first phase will be completed by the beginning of 2019, while marketing of the whole project will be concluded by 2020. Odyssia was built on an area of 578 feddan in El Mostakbal city, close to New Cairo, with a total investment of EGP 32bn. It will provide about 15,000 jobs, and sales of EGP 2.3bn, only in the first phase.

What are the total sales of Al Ahly in the third quarter of 2018?

The company has achieved EGP 5bn in sales at the end of October, compared to target sales of EGP 7.5bn by end of the year, driven by new offerings and high demand.

Can you tell us more details about the company’s new project in West Cairo?

We are currently preparing designs of a new project in the Sixth of October City, on an area of 144 feddan, obtained by the company in a land offering by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), after a competition with two big real estate developers. The company intends to launch there an integrated residential project that includes villas, townhouses, and twin houses. The project’s plan will be officially announced next year, and we will begin construction work before the end of 2019.

Have you obtained the ministerial approval for the project?

No, we are still awaiting the ministerial approval.

What of the developments of Green Square project?

The company has completed 45% of the construction works of Green Square project in El Mostakbal City. We plan to finish 70% of the project by the end of the year, and deliver the whole project by the end of 2020. We have succeeded in marketing 75% of the project’s units, and aim to market 90% before the end of the year. The project includes 1,027 units with construction costs of EGP 1bn.

Speaking of the company’s projects in El Mostakbal city, what are the developments of L’Avenir?

About 25% of the L’Avenir project has been implemented, with plans to execute 50% by the end of the year. We have marketed 90% of the project. Its construction costs reached EGP 1.8bn.

What about Gaia North Coast?

We launched the first phase of Gaia in the North Coast on an area of 285 feddan. The company has completed the project’s designs, and currently we are awaiting construction permits. We expect to start construction next year, at a total cost of EGP 5bn. The project’s sales reached approximately EGP 1.25bn in only one month.

Are you planning to apply for the first investment offering in New Alamein and New Mansoura cities?

We will buy the booklet of conditions of the new offering for a total of five plots of lands in both areas. We will study the conditions and see whether to apply or not. However, we have a great interest in acquiring lands in these cities to diversify our land bank, as we want to launch new projects in Nile Delta and Upper Egypt. The company is currently negotiating with the Minya governorate to obtain a piece of land for developing an integrated residential project.

Does the company plan to launch projects in New Administrative Capital?

We are interested in investing in the New Administrative Capital for its national and investment importance, distinguished location, and high demand. We will consider investment opportunities there next year.

What are the opportunities and challenges of Egypt’s real estate sector?

The speed of granting ministerial approvals for real estate projects compared to previous times is one of the important achievements which contributed to boosting investment and speeding up construction. One of the main challenges facing the real estate market currently is the presence of non-professional companies which threatens the field. These companies do not have a strong technical or financial solvency to face the challenges and market fluctuations. The government is also trading, not offering lands for development purpose, since they are means of development, not a commodity to be traded.

Do you think the real estate sector is facing a deceleration?

The market has witnessed a relative downturn during the last period, but it will be temporary until the rebalance of the purchasing power of target customers returns as regards to housing prices. This places the spotlight on the mortgage finance law for reconsideration, in order to activate its items so as to increase the amount of sales in the real estate market.

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Egypt can bring investments worth $6bn in renewable energy until 2022: Amen Tue, 06 Nov 2018 08:00:25 +0000 Policy stability, ease of regulating legislations, highlight what investors need most

The post Egypt can bring investments worth $6bn in renewable energy until 2022: Amen appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Adnan Amen’s visit, the director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), to Egypt, shows that Cairo is still attractive for investments and has many promising opportunities to achieve a breakthrough in electricity and new and renewable energy production.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Adnan Amen in order to talk about his view of the investment climate in Egypt, and the way he sees new and renewable energy projects currently implemented, as well as the requirements needed during the upcoming period in order to expand projects.

He believes that the MENA region has been taking slow steps in the field of renewable energy, however, the developments were quick. Egypt is one of the quickest countries to develop in the region at the present time, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How do you assess new and renewable energy projects in Egypt?

Egypt is a very promising market for investments thanks to the political leadership which has adopted an ambitious plan for electricity production from renewable sources, and reduced the reliance on traditional fuel in production plan— a trend that many countries have adopted in order to achieve sustainability.

Is Egypt successful in the new and renewable energy sector?

The solar energy projects implemented in Benban, Aswan, have been implemented with investments worth $2bn. They are important steps and Egypt can double these investments up to $6bn by 2022. The investments may exceed that as the number of projects increase.

Egypt enjoys abundant sunshine in many areas and has substantial potential, which enables it to reduce the cost of producing electricity, and providing millions of dollars with its ability to take energy production to 53% of the total electricity produced from renewable energy sources by 2035. The Egyptian government is working hard to meet the growing demand on electricity, as the total installed capacity from renewable sources is estimated to be 3,900MW of wind, solar and hydropower energy up until now.

What measures does Egypt need to take to become a regional energy centre?

Egypt’s potential of renewable energies is enormous, and the government is moving quickly towards accelerating its utilisation. Based on the achievements already made, Egypt would have a chance to increase its ambitions and become a regional centre for energy as well as increase investments.

Attracting these investments requires stable policy frameworks, in addition to simple regulations that provide clarity and confidence. Additionally, investments in renewable energy not only meet the growing needs for energy, but also help enhance economic growth, generate jobs, and develop local manufacturing.

What are the latest developments of the ‘Clean Energy Centre in Africa’?

I discussed with President Al Sisi the ‘Clean Energy Centre in Africa’, and the results of this trend are deemed huge, and can serve as one of the central concepts of Africa’s economic transformation towards the future, relying on clean energy, whether solar, wind or earth-core energy.

Right now, the world is seeing great and rapid changes in the field of electricity and energy. This change will have a great impact on the production, distribution and trade of electricity in the future.

Currently, we are looking at the geopolitical changes in terms of pipelines, oil shipping and related strategic issues. In the future, the focus will be more on generating, producing and distributing energy, through the border via clean corridors, all of which would have a positive impact on all the cooperating companies, with Egypt being the most prominent.

How do you see the reduction in the prices of components and costs of renewable energy?

The significant decline in renewable energy costs in recent years has encouraged governments around the world to reconsider energy strategies so as to better reflect the new economics of renewable energies.

The main reason for the low costs is due to the huge development of the technology used to manufacture solar cells and wind turbines.

Why was IRENA established?

IRENA was established in 2009 by 75 countries, with 170 member countries. It is an intergovernmental organisation to encourage the reliance on renewable energy worldwide. IRENA aims to support countries in their transformation to a sustainable future for energy, as well as a main platform for international cooperation and a centre for policies, technology, financial resources, and knowledge in the field of renewable energy. It provides a group of services, including annual reviews of renewable energy employment, statistics, cost studies, and readiness assessments conducted in partnership with governments and regional organisations to help promote renewable energy development which is country-specific.

What is your vision of the renewable energy sector?

We seek to achieve sustainable development and reach energy security as well as low-carbon economic growth, in addition to facilitating the exchange of knowledge and technology transfer in order to provide clean and sustainable energy. IRENA aims to be the main driving force in promoting the rapid transition and sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale.

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Sayed Ragab: representative of simple citizen in Egyptian cinema Mon, 05 Nov 2018 11:00:04 +0000 Married twice, jailed twice, fame arrived after his 50th birthday

The post Sayed Ragab: representative of simple citizen in Egyptian cinema  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Sayed Ragab was born in 16 November 1950. His career began as an engineer at Nasr Company, before he resigned and segued to acting.

He graduated from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts and then worked for several years in the field of experimental and improvisational theatre. He performed in Egypt and abroad and won the Best Actor award in the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre in 1992.

He married a woman from outside the art scene and gave birth to Amira and Zeyad. However, the social gap between the couple finally broke the marriage apart after 13 years. He then got remarried to an American woman. The couple fell in love as she was funding the band he was acting with. She encouraged him to continue his acting career.

Sayed Ragab, an educated and well-informed artist by virtue of his participation in the political work of the Tagamoa Party for some time. He said politics never hindered him, but rather expanded his thoughts. He stressed that working in politics was not because he liked it, but because it was a duty to him. Yet, when he had to choose between art and politics, he went with art.

Sayed Ragab did not forget being tortured in prison during the era of Mubarak. He still thinks it was the hardest time in his life before he retired politics.

He has participated in nearly 50 works of art, the most famous of which are films such as: Welad Rizk, The Big Night, Lion Heart and series such as: “Sunset Oasis, Ramadan Karim, and Afrah Al Kubba”, as well as Nesr El Saeed and Abou Al-Arousa.

Ragab is the representative of the simple citizen as he is called, perhaps because of his appearance, which is very similar to the simple street man who suffers from the pressures of life.

Better late than never applies to the great actor Sayed Ragab, whose fame only started after his 50th birthday, and on this occasion Daily New Egypt interviewed Ragab to learn about his roots and his path to fame, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How did Sayed Ragab start?

I graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, the department of Automotive Technology, and worked for a period in one of the companies specialised in this field. This company included a team specialised for all kinds of arts, from sport and art, and theatre and poetry. This was how I became more interested in art.

I participated in the theatre team in small performances, and we performed a theatre performance called “Omna Al Ghoola”. It was attended by Hussein Al-Gritli. He proposed I join a new band that he founded named El-Warsha (the Workshop). I agreed. Through this workshop, I met directors and became even more interested in acting, especially experimental theatres. We were amateurs but we travelled the world to represent Egypt in international festivals. Every year, I won more awards—it made me happy.

Why did your sudden fame develop recently?

This was my fate. I did not seek fame. Some actors died before they become stars, but they died happy as they did what they liked. This is my goal in life.

How do you evaluate your participation in the Gouna Festival?

Organisation, management, and selected films were all excellent. I was happy with the Italian film. The festival is a good chance to view international cinema, exchange expertise, which would reflect on Arab and Egyptian cinema, and boost cooperation between artists around the world. By time, maybe we can even compete with international festivals.

When will we see you in international cinema?

I worked in a French film called “Dawn of the World” with an Iraqi-French director a few years ago. Gharabeeb Soud (Black Grows) was also a different Arab experience. I am waiting for a special role or an opportunity that deserves the adventure.

Hitler was positively and successfully received, why did you choose it, and was it difficult?

Hitler is a new and distinctive character which attracted me because of the constant conflict between good and evil. I love diversity in my work. The character was different from my other roles, and it was the first time to play the Upper Egyptian man. Part of the reason why I agreed to play it was the producer: El-Adl Group.

Apart from the character of Hitler, any character performed by an artist needs to be studied to understand its dimensions. It also needs preparation and reading to learn all its aspects. We all need to work hard to give the audience a believable performance.

Were you not surprised by Hitler’s name, which is almost non-existent in Egypt?

This is wrong information. This name does exist in Egypt, but it is rare. Recently I met someone who wanted to take a picture with me. He told me that he loved me very much as the name of the character is the same as his nephew in Upper Egypt. The name was more common in several shows following World War II, and became a title for a lot of people, like Gamal Abdel Nasser, for example.

In the series, it is a description of the character not just a name. The character portrays sadism, Nazism, fascism and violence.

Did you find difficulty with the Upper Egypt dialect?

Of course not. Everything is easier with effort for us as actors, on the level of character, acting, or dialect. As long as you can see and hear the dialect and follow the instructions, your performance will be good. I hope audiences liked my performance.

After Nesr El-Saeed some people thought you have Upper Egyptian roots?

I was born in Cairo, my father was born in Alexandria, and my grandfather is from Upper Egypt. I am Egyptian, but I consider myself to be a Cairean because I lived my whole life here.

You have been associated with many works of Mohamed Ramadan. How do you see him?

Mohamed Ramadan is diligent and talented. Our relationship is only a business one, and I enjoy working with him as he is dedicated to his efforts. I worked with him four times in total. We always agree and meet, as well as exchange views that concern work.

How do you view the success of Abu Al Arousa series, and what about its second part?

I’m preparing to shoot the second part this month, for the winter season. I expect the second part of the work to be a great success.

It is a social work and it is important for Egyptian families. It deals with issues that everyone suffers from, as well as the romantic situations witnessed by the events.

I am happy with my role in this series, because it revived my performance after I was limited to the evil character roles, which audiences now believe so much.

I took off the evil mantle, and in its place wore a new mantle in this series. I did not expect the public to accept my role as a good and simple man, suffering like millions of Egyptians trying to live their daily lives.

Why did you refuse to participate in the White House series?

The schedule conflicted with the second part of “Abu Al Arousa”, and also because the two series are considered long social series, and will be playing at the same time, so I could not work in both of them. In 2013, I appeared in several works at once, but I decided not to repeat that again.

Why did you appear in advertisement?

Of course, it was beneficial. For me, it was a chance to rap. There is also the financial side, as well as working with new directors and exploring more characters.

What character do you think is closest to the real you?

This is a difficult question, because I leave my mark on all my characters. Every character I represent is part of my personality.

If we went to your primary home, theatre, what does it mean to you?

Theatre is my first teacher, which gave me the drive to work in cinema and television drama.

How do you see our theatres now?

I am unsatisfied about the current condition. I hope it improves. We should not leave this to artists, as they see the quality of the theatre through the audience. When a new play appears, and people go watch it, some talk about the revival of theatre in the play, which is unrealistic.

If this is the real theatre, I hope it never recovers. Theatre has left Egypt 30 years ago. We should follow the theatre abroad and learn the techniques and technologies it uses, and how it impacts people and we should try to imitate it here.

Who is responsible for the theatre’s decline?

The theatre crisis is primarily the responsibility of the state, not the producers, because the producer in the end is only looking to profit. They call this weekly play theatre, as audiences attend and producers benefit. But real theatre needs a future vision in its form and impact on reality and as an economic subject that can benefit the state. But I do not know what they want.    

Have you been saddened by your work in experimental theatre for years getting famous?

I did not feel sad at participating in experimental theatre at all, as I learned a lot. I still work in theatre. Most recently, I participated in a play called “Last Supper” with director Ahmed Attar, and it was shown at the theatre of the American University in downtown, Italy, France, Germany, Singapore, and Belgium. I will soon travel to participate in another play. A real actor never stops learning and awaits a role that can give him an Oscar.

Why have you written any films after El-Shawq?

I wrote mini scripts and trained in writing then wrote this film. I took it to many workshops and acted in the film. I did consider trying this again, but, honestly, I am a lazy person. Even though I have good ideas, my time does not let me follow through with them, which is just an excuse to justify my laziness.

Have you left politics forever?

I think so. After two times in prison, during which I was tortured in the era of Mubarak, I decided to leave. Combining politics and art is very difficult. However, I still follow political events and have my own point of view. Politics, to me, is a duty, not love.

The post Sayed Ragab: representative of simple citizen in Egyptian cinema  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Energy sector has lion’s share of Schneider Electric’s investments in Egypt: Sheta Sun, 04 Nov 2018 10:00:50 +0000 Company works on desalination, bringing sea water capacity to 2.5bn cubic metres a day

The post Energy sector has lion’s share of Schneider Electric’s investments in Egypt: Sheta appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The country aspires to have an energy sector which meets national sustainable development requirements, while maximising the efficient use of various traditional and renewable resources contributing to economic growth, competitiveness, achieving social justice, and preserving the environment.

To find out the sector’s latest updates, Daily News Egypt interviewed Walid Sheta, Schneider Electric’s Regional Cluster head of North East Africa and Levant, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What are the new megaprojects the company is participating in, in Egypt?

Schneider Electric Egypt is working together with the Egyptian government in several major national projects. We have offered our smart energy management solutions in two power plants in Assiut Governorate.

Schneider Electric is effectively contributing to achieving the country’s strategy to meet 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. We have been part of building wind farms in the Gulf of Suez and the Solar Benban complex in southern Egypt.

Schneider Electric is also taking part in the construction of the New Administrative Capital, east of Cairo, a key national project to turn 1.5m feddan of desert area into agricultural land, the giant Zohr gas field, as well the development of an industrial and logistics hub in the Suez Canal area.

We are also participating in the strong desalination effort to bring the desalination of the sea water capacity of to 2.5bn cubic metres a day. We contributed through supplying state-of-the-art control systems, and electrical distribution equipment to main desalination plants in the country.

We have offered smart energy optimisation solutions at a number of water desalination plants.

Additionally, Schneider Electric Egypt has been working to develop a national charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, by setting up charging points at a few state-run gas stations countrywide.

What are the new products the company intends to launch in Egypt soon?

The most important set of new products are mainly linked with digitisation of our industry, through the comprehensive EcoStruxure platform, which aims to obtain the most from each installation, factory, building, city, making it more efficient, safe, green, and reliable.

I am proud to say most of the products are developed or adapted by our Egyptian engineers.

Schneider Electric considers Egypt its regional hub in North Africa and the Levant. We have offered a range of our latest energy and automation solutions in Egypt in recent months, and soon plan to launch high-quality gas insulated switchgears which are entirely manufactured in Egypt by applying quality standards adopted in France.

What are the company’s expansion plans in Egypt?

We have embarked on a plan to scale up our business in Egypt to catch up with an ambitious development drive by the Egyptian government, which involves several national megaprojects. We increased the capacity of our production in Badr City, that is currently doubling its capacity. We also moved our distribution centre to a brand-new facility that is already working, which will be formally inaugurated before year’s end.

Do you plan to expand the production capacity at your plants in Egypt?

We aim to double the capacity of our regional plant in Badr City. It is Schneider Electric’s largest electric distribution panel plant. This mirrors the confidence we have in Egypt’s economic growth rates in the near future.

Are you in any discussions with the government to provide technology for the New Administrative Capital?

Taking part in the construction of the New Administrative Capital marks the beginning of building smart cities in Egypt. Schneider Electric is providing energy management and automation solutions to integrate smart technology within the city. 

Schneider Electric has been working together with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to build a Knowledge City at the New Capital east of Cairo. Schneider Electric is providing its innovative IoT-enabled EcoStruxure operating technologies to build smart, sustainable and efficient buildings, and enable implement city digitalisation strategies.

The Ministry of Housing intends to work together with Schneider Electric in the seawater desalination and sewage treatment plants. What are the developments regarding this issue?

We have been working together with the Housing Ministry in a number of seawater desalination and water treatment projects. Schneider Electric was involved in building the Yosr seawater desalination plant in Hurghada, which is the biggest in East Africa, as well as a number of stations in Al-Jalala City and the New Alamein City.

Do you have plans to invest in the Suez Canal development project?

We have been part of a number of projects in the Suez Canal Economic Zone megaproject. This includes the digging of new tunnels in the cities of Port Said and Ismailia.

How many electric vehicles’ charging points has the company installed to-date? What are the expected number of charging points by 2020?

Schneider Electric is planning to build 65 charging sites across seven Egyptian governorates, with the figure estimated to double over the next few years. The drive is aimed to boost local charging infrastructure which would encourage drivers to switch to electric cars, and promote mainstream acceptance of these types of vehicles.

Regarding Schneider Electric’s participation in the Benban Solar Park project, are there any short-term plans to increase the company’s investments in the renewable energy sector?

The energy sector has the lion’s share of our investments in Egypt. We are effectively contributing towards achieving Egypt’s strategy to meet 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 through offering multiple solutions to transfer energy from renewable power stations, and linking them to power grids, including wind farms in the Gulf of Suez and the Solar Benban complex in southern Egypt.

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ABE to offer global tender in 6 months to develop its technological structure: Chairperson Sun, 04 Nov 2018 08:30:55 +0000 We addressed 26,000 defaults in EGP 1.5bn debts, settled 2,700 worth EGP 175m, says Elkosayer

The post ABE to offer global tender in 6 months to develop its technological structure: Chairperson appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE) is set to offer a global tender within six months to companies specialised in electronic banking systems, in order to develop the bank’s technological infrastructure, according to Elsayed Elkosayer, chairperson of the ABE.

This comes under the umbrella of the plan’s restructuring of the bank, initiated by Elkosayer since he took charge in March 2016, along with the new board.

In a previous interview with Daily News Egypt, Elkosayer said that developing the bank’s technological infrastructure would cost over EGP 1bn, and could take up to three years.

The ABE has 1,210 units across Egypt, including 20 Islamic branches, and it aims to increase these Islamic branches to 30.

The development of the bank differs from its restructuring plan, which costs more than that. The bank is seeking funds from international financing institutions, including the World Bank. DNEW interviewed Elkosayer to discover the ban’s latest development, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What is new about the bank’s development plan?

Ernst & Young has been our consultants for about six months, in cooperation with one of the country’s sovereigns entities, to assess the bank’s current state. This could take six more months, after which, we will offer a global tender to choose the company that will electronically develop the bank.

The development process aims to provide the best modern banking services, and expand the electronic services system to better satisfy its customers, farmers and their families, especially in the payroll, payments, and remittances, as well as developing the ATM network and electronic points of sale (POS).

You started the bank’s restructuring process since you assumed responsibility in March 2016, what has been achieved so far in that process?

The restructuring of the bank is carried out through several stages and consists of several axes starting by supporting the capital base of the bank, through the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), which has injected a support deposit worth EGP 10bn for 20 years.

We have also established several new regulatory departments, and separated some existing departments from one another, such as the internal control from the inspection department.

Additionally, we surveyed the bank’s assets, and improved their efficiency, while eliminating other assets so as to use the proceeds in the development of the bank’s branches.

On the other hand, there is a plan to completely restructure the human resources department. and review of the bank’s organisational structure, in order to raise the employees’ efficiency through the human resources development programmes. Over 8,000 training opportunities were granted to the employees, in addition to the recruitment of experts  and specialists from other banks.

The bank has contracted with international banks to implement its development plan. Rabobank, one of the largest agricultural banks in the world, is supporting the ABE’s comprehensive reform and development plan, including the development of human resources management, as well as risk and product management. We also obtained training opportunities in cooperation with the USAID, Germany’s SANAD, and Ernst & Young.

The bank is also in the process of contracting with a specialised external offices to study its aptitude to implement the International Accounting Standard IFRS 9, which evaluates the bank’s  internal control, separates jurisdictions, and implements risk management.

ABE focused on achieving agricultural and rural development through small, medium and micro enterprises

What about the technological development plan within the bank?

The restructuring plan also includes the development of information technology and business systems within the bank, and the implementation of the core banking system, which qualifies the bank to achieve its objectives required during the coming period.

Consistent with this plan, we have provided our branches with electronic services. We added 100 new ATMs, and equipped all branches with POS, in cooperation with e-finance and Fawry.

All of the bank’s branches are expected to be equipped by ATMs through three phases, each by 400 ATMs.

Moreover, the bank will develop and modernise about 250 branches to befit the banking sector’s developments, so that the customers feel that there is a convenient place and that they provided with first-rate banking service, in addition to reviewing the bank’s geographical spread, given that some of the branches are in the same areas.

A strategic plan for the bank’s operations has been developed. What are the main features of this plan?

The bank’s strategy has been developed for the first time, in a long time. There is a strategic direction and objectives we are working to achieve, including attainig annual growth rates of at least 15% across all banking activities, such as deposits, loans, or the total return of the bank’s activity.

One of the first results of this plan was an increase in the volume of bank deposits to EGP 50bn, up from EGP 35bn in March 2016. Loans have also grown to EGP 26bn, despite real settlements with defaulting clients.

How did the bank increase its loan portfolio, while many reconciliations are occuring for insolvent customers?

During the past period, the bank participated in joint loans for the housing, oil and energy sectors.

At present, the bank is focused on achieving agricultural and rural development through small, medium and micro enterprises, by financing plant and animal production, as well as and funding the packaging and feed projects throughout all its branches within the country.

The volume of small finance has reached EGP 598m of 955 projects included in the CBE’s initiative.

The bank’s cooperation with the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDA) has reached EGP 3.037bn through funding 156,000 projects. We also signed a new agreement with SMEDA worth EGP 50m.

The amount of funding in the Ibdaa Masho3ak ( Start Your Project) initiative, has also reached EGP 1.257bn for 22,000 projects. The ABE is ranked third among the participating banks in this initiative.

I would like to emphasise that the ABE aims to achieve rural and agricultural development. Regarding this, our primary concern is farmers, fish farms, livestock and poultry production, exporting agricultural products, fertilisers, pesticides and all activities related to agriculture, such as feed production, livestock development, meat manufacturing, dairy products, and agricultural equipment and machinery.

The foundation is the agricultural and rural development, the farmer and the Egyptian farms, and to revive the agricultural field, provide funding for all stages from production to consumption, and assist in the marketing of agricultural commodities and all related activities. The bank has an effective role in this regard, especially that we have the bank’s commercial division, the Egyptian Company for Agricultural and Rural Development.

What has been done concerning the defaulting problem?

We have managed to reduce the proportion of non-performing loans (NPL) from 20% of the total loan portfolio in March 2016 to a current 12%. Plus, we aim to cut the ratio to 10% by the end of 2018, and then lower in the coming years.

Likewise, we have already treated 26,000 defaulting cases with debts amounting to EGP 1.5bn. Conjointly, we settled loans with 2,700 further customers with debts worth EGP 175mm during the CBE’s initiative to settle debts of defaulters and individuals whose debts are less than EGP 10m.

What about covering the provision gap for other NPLs?

Recently, we have obtained the CBE’s approval to compensate the provision gap within the bank over the coming five years.

What is new about the smart farmer card that the bank is issuing?

The Smart Farm Card is one of the projects of the Ministry of Agriculture, in coordination with the ministries of military production and planning, which is being implemented via e-finance. This the real alternative to agricultural tenure, and will contribute to the assembly of agricultural policies and benefit from in-kind support.

We have printed 2.2m cards to far, but distribution was delayed until the finalisation of the infrastructure of agricultural associations, so that farmers can use and benefit from the card. Fayoum and Gharbiya will witness the pilot programme before we apply it for all other governorates.

The post ABE to offer global tender in 6 months to develop its technological structure: Chairperson appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Presentation won Al Ahly sponsorship after difficult negotiations, new Zamalek contract worth EGP 450m: Wahby Thu, 01 Nov 2018 10:00:29 +0000 Egyptian league broadcast worth EGP 500m

The post Presentation won Al Ahly sponsorship after difficult negotiations, new Zamalek contract worth EGP 450m: Wahby appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Amr Wahby, the director of Presentation Sport, the exclusive sponsor of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) and the league, talked about sponsoring Al Ahly, Zamalek contract, and the company’s journey in the football sponsorship in Egypt, during an interview with Daily News Egypt, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How did Presentation win after the dispute between Sela and Al Ahly?

In fact, they were very difficult negotiations. We had to offer over EGP 500m. Hours before the contract’s announcement at the press conference, Al Ahly did not reply to the offer we presented. This is a great breakthrough for us and for Al Ahly as well. I Hope the quality of service we provide will be adequate for both parties.

What about your contract with Zamalek?

Zamalek’s previous contract with the company was for EGP 86m for our years in 2014. As the club gained the league and the cup, they hiked it to EGP 140m. The current contract could reach EGP 450m if the team wins all championships.

But the club announced the termination of the contract with you. What is your comment?

No comment. We have offered much to the club, and have we were very attached to it. It is an honour for us to be sponsors of the two largest clubs in Egypt. We carefully study any deals away from emotions.

Do you see a gap between Al Ahly and Zamalek’s sponsorship contracts?

There is no gap between both teams in terms of the worth of contracts which could almost be double. Zamalek is not doing itself favours in terms of marketing, due to lack of long-term stability and the presence of appointed boards, unlike Al Ahly, which was chaired by Hassan Hamdy.

How many clubs do you sponsor?

The company owns the exclusive rights to television broadcasts of all the Premier League clubs. And in terms of commercial rights, we owns those of 14 clubs, and 50% of Wadi Degla’s, which preferred to keep half the rights to market its products. Only Al Ahly, Pyramids, and Gouna did not contract with us. We also have the commercial rights of the EFA.

How do you evaluate clubs to determine the amount of responsibility?

The way we evaluate clubs in terms of the value of their commercial and broadcast rights depends on the points system, through the popularity and history in the Egyptian league since 1948, its achievements, and ranking in the past five years. The points are then converted into financial transactions. Out assessment is always correct. We work on promoting clubs by offering incentives for their achievements.

Amr Wahby, the director of Presentation Sport

How much do you think the Egyptian league is worth?

The Egyptian league championship, in terms of television broadcasts in the current season, is estimated at about EGP 500m. This could double if six things happen: fans return to stadiums, raising the efficiency of stadiums, improving television broadcast rights, improving the performance of referees, imposing strict regulations, and announcing dates of matches earlier. These could all have a major impact.

Do you have specific plans for that?

We established Estadat-Stadiums to raise the efficiency of pitches, and improve them to match the value of the Egyptian league. The same goes for Live, which we aim to use to reach the best means of television broadcasts, and provide HD quality for viewers.

What are the damages caused by Sela terminating the broadcast television contract with you?

The termination of the contract caused a crisis, given the contract’s high value, after which the cost of broadcasting games hiked, along with sponsorship contracts, which caused huge losses. We are now trying to offset this by looking for alternative funding resources to avoid pressuring clubs.

What is the secret of not having a strong competitor?

We entered at the right time and managed to win the confidence of the clubs in terms of dealing with credibility. We had a vision and entered seriously at a time when others were worried about this, which enabled us to gain the confidence of these clubs.

How much is your investment in Egyptian football?

The company, with its launch in 2013, was aiming to reach EGP 1.2bn in 2018. We went even further with EGP 250m.

Is it possible to set up a network of subscription channels?

No, it is not possible that the company establishes a network of subscription channels to broadcast the league games, because of the high costs. I am surprised that some ignore the establishment cost of subscription-based platforms. We are a commercial rights company and we sell and broadcast.

And what about buying the rights to broadcast major tournaments?

With regard to the purchase of the rights of major tournaments such as the World Cup and the CAF tournament, they also require huge funds and investors that trust the company. More importantly, there are rights up for sale. The African Nations tournament was sold until 2028 and the World Cup until 2026.

Can you buy or establish a club?

The company cannot think of buying or establishing clubs unless it changes the activity, so that there is no conflict of interest which is not legally or morally permissible.

What is the positive impact of football on the sponsors?

Football’s positive influence on the sponsors is tangible through SAIB Bank, which was present since 1976. The bank’s ranking was 24th before signing the contract with Zamalek. Now the bank has managed to become the 6th top bank.

Do you face any difficulties with sponsors?

The difficulties in marketing sponsors are with the clubs of associated with institutions and companies, not popular clubs. We want to distribute sponsorships across clubs so that everyone can get a good financial return.

What do you think of the new sports law?

The new sports law will not affect the sports movement. It is for the benefit only for the concerned bodies, but it is not in favour of sports in terms of investment.

Can you tell us about the company’s start?

In 2013, I presented the matter to Mohamed Kamel, who is now the company’s CEO. It was then specialised in outdoor marketing. We seized the commercial and broadcast rights for six clubs. Out first deal was worth EGP 4m with Al Ittihad Alexandria Club, then Ismaili, ENPPI, and Petrojet. We aimed to contract with 16 clubs, which we failed to achieve in the first season. Then, we contracted with MBC in the following season for $15m. The number of clubs reached 13, including Zamalek.

You faced a major crisis following MBC’s withdrawal from broadcasting the league in 2015. How did you overcome this?

The biggest crisis we have experienced after the Air Defence Stadiums incident was the termination of the MBC contract. We received support from the SAIB Bank. The clubs supported us by waiting for their dues. The broadcasting of the league on Nile Sport only was one of the solutions, even though we were paying EGP 64m for broadcasting rights. Yet, we concluded the season and paid all the clubs’ rights.

Did things settle down after that?

In the following seasons it stabilised with the entry of ON channel and their purchase of the rights to broadcast the games for EGP 250m for two seasons. The contract was then renewed for EGP 320m. The current season is one of the rights, on which basis the partnership with Al-masryeen media was signed.

You have substantial experience in the EFA. Tell us about this?

I was a former football player in Zamalek and the Egyptian National Team. I suffered an injury and travelled to England to play in a third-class club. There, I looked at football differently. I gained some experience. When I came back to Cairo, I met with Ahmed Shobeir, through whom I entered the EFA with several marketing ideas.

What are your most important contributions?

I contributed in 1998 with the first prospectus to be put in the association to sell the rights. I started officially working in 2000. My most prominent contribution was the proposal to play the Super Game in 2001. The association’s rights increased to EGP 4m in 1998. After adding some products, such as friendly games, the value increased to EGP 16m in the 2002-2006 contract, then to EGP 32m in 2006-2010. Following that, came the contract, which was not finalised, with Promo Ad, worth EGP 52.25m. Afterwards I left the association in 2013.

That was in terms of commercial rights but what about broadcast rights?

I contributed a project similar to Presentation to the association. It was listed in the council of Samir Zaher’s electoral programme in 2008. At the time, I was in charge of this programme, but the clubs did not all agree on collective selling, which caused the programme to fail. When the broadcasting rights of Al Ahly, Zamalek, and Ismailiy were sold for EGP 1m to ART, OSN, and Dream in 2006, the collective selling happened. Then the sale took place for EGP 3m to Modern, Dream, and AlHayah. We then reached an idea for collective selling. We had a problem in convincing the administrations of Al Ahly and Zamalek. The biggest problem was the instability of Zamalek. Eventually, we formed a seven-party committee, which was the core of the clubs’ committees in 2009. We hit the bylaws at the time, as the EFA was selling for the benefit of the clubs to match the bylaws. I managed to bring in an offer from EMG for EGP 180m in 2010 when Anas ElFeky was Minister of Media and aborted this decision to support private channels. The games were broadcasted on nine channels, which devaluated the product. The league was sold to all of them for EGP 100m. Clubs agreed on commercial and broadcast rights’ marketing through a company to be established when Hassan Sakr was the Minister of Sports. The decision was aborted through officials in the association who believed it was better for them to keep the situation as it was. When Taher Abou Zeid took over the Ministry of Sports, Hassan Hamdy left the committee. I was thanked in 2013.

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Partisan politics dead, new alliance between military, NGOs needed: Badrawi Wed, 31 Oct 2018 09:00:45 +0000 ‘We need $100bn investments to create million jobs, to cover the foreign debt’, says veteran politician

The post Partisan politics dead, new alliance between military, NGOs needed: Badrawi appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

During a long journey of service in the public sphere, Hossam Badrawi, the prominent politician and physician, has engaged in many vital roles in the fields of politics, education, writing and NGO activities.

The 65-year old statesman is the founder of both the Union Party and the Egyptian Council of Competitiveness ENCC. He also serves as ENCC honorary chairperson.

Badrawi, known for his reformist stances, chaired the defunct National Democratic Party (NDP) a few days before it was dissolved in April 2011, during the 18 days of the January 25th uprising which toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

When he was a Parliament Member and chairperson of the Education and Scientific Research Committee from 2000 to 2005, he launched several education initiatives aiming to improve Egypt’s educational system, both within the NDP and the parliament.

Additionally, he proposed many policy documents and reform plans for high school and university education, which, according to his personal website, “constitute the core of all current strategies of education nowadays.”

Daily News Egypt interviewed Hossam Badrawi to discuss the current Egyptian political scene, the status of NGO activities, and the new educational system. He also contemplated the country’s economic situation, the long-awaited local municipal elections, as well as the preparations of the Union Party which he chairs. The transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Hossam Badrawi, the prominent politician and physician

Considering your expertise in education development, how do you view the new educational system?

It is very early to judge the new system. I am an optimistic person by nature, and I believe it is a promising plan on a theoretical level, regarding the concept of the digitalising the whole structure. I think this is just a part of the new educational method.

The scheme allows students to rely on technology in the educational process, which is good. But, it is still just an idea. When it is actually applied in reality, then I will praise it, but not before witnessing real measures or results.

The Ministry of Education’s efforts to offer high quality and equal opportunities for all students, as well as building their characters, are also still unclear for evaluation.

Parents are concerned about improving the school curriculum, but the point is not about the curriculum, it is about teachers themselves, and whether they are well-prepared to deliver knowledge to students. Teachers [should be] able to create a satisfactory atmosphere for students in order to build their characters.

You can have a doctor who will turn out to be a criminal or a terrorist. So, building the personality is more important than the curriculum, as it is the teacher’s responsibility.

Additionally, to help students being creative and innovative, the ministry must reach a balance between setting up a plan and opening the door for creativity. The more the state controls the educational system, the less innovation and creativity there will be.

Ahead of the expected local municipal elections, is your party ready to compete?

We are waiting for the local administrative law to be issued. But there are two points I would like to clarify. First, there is a constitutional pillar to transform from centralisation to decentralisation in five years. This decentralised administration means every governorate must have its own budget, elected local council, as well as rules.

In order to attend to health-care, education, transportation and sanitation, there is a need for social responsibility, and for local authorities to be held accountable.

Second, given the experiences of other countries, this transition to decentralisation takes time. In France, it took 20 years. I am very concerned that we might ruin the whole process of decentralisation if we do not prepare well for the election.

The election is not the solution, it is a part of a process which should be processed and followed by efforts. Regarding my party’s preparations, we are not ready. Nobody is ready if there is no law yet.

How is the absence of local municipal councils affecting political life in the country and the status of local neighbourhoods? Also, do you have any remarks on the local law?

Of course, the absence of local councils for the last 10 years has affected services. Moreover, the expected new councils might include young members without experience in dealing with such issues, but in any case, elections do no bring the best-qualified people into office. However, democracy requires elections, and we have no other option.     

Concerning the law, I think it missed identifying authority roles, and it should stipulate that governorates must have fiscal and economic decentralisation.

How do see the current parliament’s performance? Given the number of independent MPs, do believe partisan politics is gradually disappearing? 

I can’t evaluate the current parliament’s performance as I am not well informed of all that is going on inside it. Maybe there are good steps taken that I do not know about. 

Traditional partisan politics are gradually disappearing in Egypt and in the whole world. These types of politics cannot be found anymore amid the rise of the social media effects, which offer direct communication between authorities and people.

In the past, this direct communication was only through a political party. Now, US President Donald Trump communicates with Americans via Twitter. Similarly, Egyptian officials do so.

Therefore, recycling the same policies and practices of needing to have a political party such as Al-Wafd Party and the NDP are no longer efficient. It is like taking the same action hoping for different results. Therefore, politicians need to discuss the balance of forces.

The world is currently ruled by four powers: the armed forces, theocratic ideologies, strong economic powers, or political ideologies such as communism. Such political ideologies collapsed, and we rejected theocratic ideologies. The armed forces, economic powers, and the civil society are what remain.

In the West, the three harmonised, however, in developing countries, civil society is weak, and not taken into consideration. The economic power [represented in businesspersons and corporations] is rejected, hence we do not have another option but the military.

Yet, the country’s management by the military is not sustainable. We need consistency between the military and civil society leaders, so we can apply a new democratic formula. I named it “the fourth generation of democracy”.

Because of the previous failed experiences, and the fact that democracy in the West is heading towards the far-right wing, political parties have lost their influence in convening people.

Hossam Badrawi, the prominent politician and physician

Do you not believe it is important for the next president to have a political party or organisation which supports him or her?

At first, you need to know what the president’s ideology before you elect him or her. I believe whatever the adopted ideology is, it should be left as soon as the president assumes office.

Eventually, I hope the current government is evaluated based on their application of Egypt’s Vision 2030 objectives. I suggest launching two monitoring initiatives, one for education and another for health-care. They will track tracking the efforts of ministers. This is the role of civil society.

The government is takes ambitious steps to reform the economy, are you optimistic or concerned?

I believe that the Egyptian government took brave steps in saying the truth about the status of the current economic situation. Later, they started with lifting subsidies and improving infrastructure, measures that contributed to the economy’s recovery.

But I have some reservations. The investment atmosphere is not attractive for financiers. Moreover, repeated changes in the taxing system repels financial backers.

Additionally, the Egyptian state is investing on its own projects [via state-owned national projects], a measure which brings the public sector back to the scene. However, this has [previously] failed in Egypt, and in the Soviet Union.

I am very concerned over the amount of foreign debt, which almost equals the revenues, according to the statements issued by the Minister of Finance. This means we will not have enough money to invest in infrastructure.

Therefore, we need to investments of at least $100bn annually to create a million job opportunities, and to exit the current situation.

Finally, the general atmosphere is not encouraging for the private sector, which has been repeatedly accused of corruption.

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World focuses on Egyptian female graphic designer: Ghada Wali Mon, 29 Oct 2018 10:00:21 +0000 I gained global recognition for works which especially portrayed my identity, says award-winning graphic designer

The post World focuses on Egyptian female graphic designer: Ghada Wali appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The graphic design industry, like other industries, was historically dominated by men. In the 20th century, the world began to witness the emergence of female graphic designers. Gradually, the number of female graphic designers started to increase. However, there is still a stereotype when it comes to hiring video editors or graphic designers, as most companies prefer to assign men for the job, believing that they are more efficient. A pioneering graphic designer in Egypt, Ghada Wali, showed the entire world that female graphic designers can be just as successful as men, and that they should not be judged according to gender, as talent and qualifications are what really count.  Wali also proved that Egyptian women are an extremely resilient, hardworking and profound workforce in the world. 

Based on Wali’s remarkable works, she was the only woman selected to represent Egyptian youth at the 2017 World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh’s opening ceremony, where she was honoured by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, as the first Egyptian in the graphic design-visual communication field to receive recognition and award for her work.

Wali was selected among the 2017 Forbes “30 Under 30” list. The Society of Typographic Arts in Chicago perceived the young artist as one of the best 100 graphic designers in the world.

During her speech at the Sharm El-Sheikh conference, Wali highlighted the importance of visual communication in promoting world peace, and finding plausible solutions for the ongoing refugees’ dilemma.

“Graphic design does not only facilitate our lives, but can also change the fate of nations, because the effect of one picture can be stronger than that of words,” Wali stated.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Wali to learn more about her graphic design journey, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Can you give briefly introduce yourself and how you started your career in graphic design?

I am 28-year-old Egyptian artist, illustrator, and graphic designer based in Cairo. I received a BA degree in graphic design from the German University in Cairo. I was one of the first graphic design graduation batch, and then I received an master’s degree from Istituto Europeo di Design in Italy. I started my journey with graphic design since I was in college through several freelancing jobs. I worked with Mi7 Cairo, Fortune Promoseven, and J. Walter Thompson. I also taught graphic design in the German and American universities in Cairo.

Which graphic design direction or approach do you prefer?

There are many graphic design directions. I love to try different styles and approaches.

What obstacles did you face as a female designer at the beginning of your career?

Cairo is a male-dominated city. I face difficulties in leading teams that involve young men because they do not accept a female leader. Globally, you are automatically seen as ‘terrorist-danger’ being an Arab citizen. It is even worse for female Arabs. Women get through a million battles in Arab societies which they have to resolve before starting to focus on their careers. There are layers of gender inequality, peer pressure, religious and race conflicts. If a woman manages to get through these obstacles, only then can she be free to fight her own life battles.

You were part of 7UP Egypt’s campaign, can you tell us more about it?

Each artwork has its own story, and I wanted to give customers a special experience in each 7UP tin inspired by our culture and history with a modern flavour. My design had a customised feel rather than a generic one, establishing a connection between the different designs of 7UP tins. This was a very challenging task, especially since I was restricted to a limited number of colours. I tried hundreds of colour combinations until I reached the final design that we see in the Egyptian market today.

It took many hours of research and scientific studies to come up with a powerful unique design.

I am influenced by the amazing Egyptian artist Hussein Bicar, and by cubist guru Pablo Picasso, and the Egyptian patterns collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. I was also inspired by the Nubian culture and local truck drivers in Cairo, who are artists by nature. Inspiration has no distinctive limit. It can be extreme, complicated, simple, or generated from absolute infinite and unpredictable sources. All places, people, and things inspire me.

The 7UP campaign aimed to document the chronological graphical evolution of Egyptian visual culture. Each tin features a different era and illustration technique.

You were the youngest speaker in Sharm El-Sheikh, can you tell us about your experience there?

First of all, I was honoured to be part of this conference. It was the biggest youth event in Egypt, and it exceeded my expectations, not just in terms of topics and how well organised it was, but also the incredible number of Egyptian youths who for months dedicated their time and effort to deliver that enormous event.

I would like to thank them for inviting me, and giving me the chance to talk about my passion and graphic design. They made me feel like contributing to my country and career. I felt I was among my larger family.

It is incredible to discover how much we love this country, and have the continuous ability to keep falling in love over and over again. For me, this is the conference’s true essence.

You worked with several significant advertising companies inside and outside Egypt, and participated in over 360 advertising campaigns worldwide. How do you evaluate the status of female graphic designers now?

I am sure that there are many successful stories that did not make it to the public. If my work could truly inspire at least one person, this beats anything else that anyone can ever experience.

Forbes recently selected you among its “30 Under 30” list for 2017, and you were also named as one of the top 100 graphic designers in the world by the Chicago Art Society. What do these honours mean to you, and is there a hidden message in your work?

I always believe that those who do not have a history will not have a future. I create work that is relevant to who I am and where I come from. I have gained global recognition for the works that specifically celebrate my identity. My aim is to add Arab and Egyptian flavours in my work, and merge them with global trends. The Egyptian ancient civilisation has been abused with commercial clichés. A graphic designer’s role is fostering cultures, scripts, history, and finding innovative ways to preserve history while keeping up with modern trends. Exploiting historical civilisation with a contemporary approach is my objective, so our beautiful Egyptian and Arab identity can be proudly showcased to the world.

What are the main awards you received?

In 2018, I received the silver award from the A’ Design Award and Competition in Milan in 2018, the 100 Women OkayAfrica award, and was selected among the top 50 most influential women in Egypt. In 2017, I got the World Youth Forum Presidential Award, the Aiap Women in Design award, and the Adobe Design Achievement award. In 2016, I won the Granshan Design award, and the STA Design award from Chicago.

The post World focuses on Egyptian female graphic designer: Ghada Wali appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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New mega petrochemical projects to be launched soon: El-Gabaly Mon, 29 Oct 2018 09:00:01 +0000 Petrochemical industry’s development leads to manufacturing establishments’ fibre, plastic, related manufacturers’ progress

The post New mega petrochemical projects to be launched soon: El-Gabaly appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

New mega petrochemical projects will be launched in the coming period that will create an upswing in the sector, including a project for Phosphate Misr Company, according to Chairperson of the Chamber of Chemical Industries at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), Sherif El-Gabaly.

El-Gabaly, is also chairperson of the Egyptian exporter’s association at the Federation of Egyptian Chamber of Commerce; chairperson of Africa committee at the FEI; chairperson of Egypt-Korea Business Council; chairperson of Egypt – Malaysia Business Council; chairperson of Egypt – Indonesia Business Council; board member of Egypt – China Business Council; board member of Egypt – Ethiopia Business Council; board member of Egypt – Spain Business Council as well as board member of the industry committee.

El-Gabaly sat down for an interview with Daily News Egypt to discus the latest industry developments, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

First of all El-Gabaly revealed the establishment of a joint venture between Phosphate Misr—proprietor of Abu Tartour Phosphate project— and Abu Qir Fertilisers Company is underway, with total  investments ranging between $500 and 600m. The project includes phosphoric acid production units in its first phase.

The plant’s first phase with a maximum production capacity of 250,000 tonnes whereas the sulphuric acid unit production capacity is about 750,000 tonnes.

In addition, the plant’s production capacity’s second phase includes 250,000 tonnes of phosphoric acid, 750,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid,525,000 tonnes from the granulation unit to produce SSP, TSP, and complex phosphate fertilisers. Furthermore, the ammonia unit will produce 330,000 tonnes.

El-Gabaly added that Ain-Sokhna Phosphatic Fertiliser Complex project is under construction for El Nasr Company for Intermediate Chemicals. The project will include two sulphuric acid units with a maximum production capacity of 570,000 tonnes per year; two phosphoric acid production units with a capacity of 180,000 tonnes annually; a diammonium phosphate, (DAP) production unit with a capacity of 400,000 tonnes per year; the construction of a TSP production unit with a capacity of 225,000 tonnes per year; a Monoammonium phosphate (MAP) and a DAP with a capacity of 180,000 tonnes per year.

Additionally, El-Gabaly indicated that one of the most important recent projects in the field of nitrogen fertilisers for the Egyptian Chemical Industries Company – KIMA. The project includes an annual production capacity of 396,000 tonnes of urea and an ammonium nitrate with a production capacity of 240,000 tonnes per year, with production set to begin in 2019.

“The second project, which is under review, is for Delta Company for Fertilisers and Chemical Industries. The project includes two production lines for ammonia with an annual capacity of 396,000 tonnes, and a urea production line of 650,000 tonnes per year,” El-Gabaly disclosed.

In addition, he explained that the petrochemical industry’s development leads to the downstream manufacturing industries’ development for fibre, plastic, and other related industries.

He declared that one of the most important future petrochemical projects is the Tahrir Petrochemical Complex in Ain Sokhna, which will produce ethylene with an annual production capacity of 1.4m tonnes, and propylene with an annual production capacity of 960,000 tonnes, in addition to butadiene with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes per year.

Furthermore, Aromatics Complex project to produce paraxylene will soon be launched with an annual production capacity of 350,000 tonnes, in addition to producing gasoline with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes per, according to El-Gabaly.

He elaborated that one of the important projects is Naphtha Refinery-Integrated Petrochemical Complex for the production of ethylene, propylene and potadine and their compounds, as well as benzene and xylene.

Likewise, El-Gabaly noted further that the Double Complex for Olefins project will be set up for the production of ethylene, monoethylene glycol, and polyethene terephthalate PET, with a total annual production capacity of 600,000 tonnes.

The chairperson of the Chamber of Chemical Industries declared that a new project for converting gas to olefins to produce polypropylene, will be established with an annual production capacity of 600,000 tonnes, and polyethene with a production capacity of 400,000 tonnes per year.

Fuel price hikes will impact chemicals industry within three months

Regarding the impact of the government’s decision to increase the price of gasoline in June, El-Gabaly said that the impact of the fuel price increase has not yet resonated in the chemicals industry, as it takes time to affect production inputs. However, this increase could have an impact on the transport sector, which increased by about 20%.

He explained that the impact of the increase may appear three months after the government’s decision to raise gasoline prices.

On 16 June, the Egyptian government raised the prices of petroleum products by 17.4% to 66.6%. The government raised the price of gasoline 92 to EGP 6.75 per litre from EGP 5, an increase of about 35%, and raised the price of gasoline 80 to EGP 5.50 from EGP 3.65, up 50%. The price of gasoline 95 increased to EGP 7.75 per litre from EGP 6.60, up 17.4%, and the price of diesel to EGP 5.50 per litre from EGP 3.65, up 50%. The price of the domestic LPG cylinder was also raised by 66.6% to EGP 50, and EGP 100 for commercial use.

Egypt’s local component in the chemicals industry extremely sufficient

El-Gabaly remarked that the percentage of local components in the chemicals industry vary from one industry to another. For example, the fertiliser industry depends on 60 to 70% on the local components, and sometimes even 80%. In the petrochemical industry, local components comprise 60%, and reach 40 to 70% in plastics and manufacturing industries, while in the detergent industry it is about 60 to 70% in local components, however, in the paint industry, the Egyptian component decreases to about 40%.

He denied access to 100% Egyptian products, as this never occurred anywhere in the world, stressing that the chemicals industry is one of the most widely-used industries for local components, noting that local components are sufficient in most chemical industries.

Chairperson of the Chamber of Chemical Industries at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), Sherif El-Gabaly

License for industrial establishments’ law, one of most important legislative reforms

El-Gabaly said that one of the most important legislative reforms that took place in the last period in favour of the Egyptian industry, especially the chemical industry, is the issuance of Law 15 of 2017, which of facilitates the procedures for licensing industrial establishments.

In May 2017, former Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil issued a law to simplify industrial licensing procedures, and to facilitate procedures for obtaining approvals and industrial licenses, operating licenses as well as overcoming bureaucracy. The law provides a reduction in the licence receival period from 634 days to only seven days for low-risk industries, and 30 days for high-risk industries.

Into the bargain, El-Gabaly added that there are several other complementary laws required for the development of the industrial system, including the Labour Law and the Mineral Resources Law.

He announced that a number of joint proposals between the Chamber of Chemical Industries and the Chamber of Mining Industries will be presented to parliament in the event they discuss the Mineral Resources Law.

Meanwhile, El-Gabaly expressed that there is still no current discussion concerning developing cities for some industries such as the plastics city in Margham, Alexandria, observing that some of the most important industries that need the establishment of their own complexes are the paints and glass industries, two of the most important industries whose raw materials are available in Egypt, in addition to the detergent industry.

Lack of serviced industrial land considered most important problem hindering Egyptian industry

He maintained that the lack of industrial lands which are connected to services and utilities is also a problem facing other industries in general, not just the chemicals industry, as well as stumbling factories.

“Likewise, some chemical industries suffer from high gasoline prices, such as basic chemical industries, glass, and highly-priced raw materials. However, the Industrial Development Agency is working seriously on developing available employment within the next three years,” he explained, adding, “problems related to customs clearance of paint factories are being solved.”

African market promising, however, several issues need solutions

With regard to the African market, he said it is a very promising market, but there are a number of issues to be worked on. The first is the Egyptian presence in these markets, such as presence during visits or the presence of Egyptian companies in African markets as well as participation in exhibitions and opening new branches.

With that, he stressed the FEI’s interest to send promotional missions to open new African markets, imparting that a delegation of 10 companies visited Rwanda, and that a few FEI members met with a Ugandan delegation.

A visit to Tanzania is scheduled in early November, with at least 30 companies anticipated to participate in the Egyptian delegation to Tanzania, he mentioned.

Subsequently, El-Gabaly highlighted that Egypt’s exports to Africa need to be stimulated and supported by the government to exporters, noting that total Egyptian exports to Africa amount to $2bn.

One of the government’s incentives was to provide 50% support for shipping costs to Africa, while the Export Development Authority would provide some logistical incentives to African countries’ promotional missions, he divulged.

Upper Egypt is very promising in terms of chemical industries, due to the availability of the industry’s most raw materials in that area, according to El-Gabaly.

$40.13bn total production of chemical, petrochemical industries in 2017

On the production of chemical and petrochemical industries, the chairperson of the Chamber of Chemical Industries said that Egypt has great potential to promote its chemical industries. In fact, the chemical industry sector is a promising sector for foreign and Arab direct investments in Egypt in the next 10 years, and they clearly indicated that in the master plan of the Holding Company for Pharmaceuticals.

He unveiled that the total production of chemical and petrochemical industries reached $40.13bn in 2017.

“The value of paper and cardboard companies’ production reached about $4.18bn, while detergent companies recorded $4.29bn, and paints and resins accounted for $9.68bn. Miscellaneous chemical and fertiliser companies recorded a production value of $12.3bn, while plastics and rubber companies’ production registered $9.68bn.

6,559 companies registered in Chemical Industries Chamber

The number of companies registered in the Chamber of Chemical Industries according to industrial activity is 6,559—460 of which are in the paper and cardboard sector, 513 are in the detergent sector, 689 are in the paint sector, 1,410 are in miscellaneous chemicals and fertilisers sector, 3246 are in plastics, rubber and petrochemicals sector, and 241 in waste recycling sector.

On the geographical distribution of the member companies for 2018, Sharkya ranked first with 1,119 companies, followed by Qalyubia with 1,058 companies, Giza with 965 companies, Alexandria with 815 companies, and Cairo with 751 companies.

Menoufia registered 579 companies, followed by Dakahlia with 320 companies, while Gharbiya registered 301 companies, while the number of companies in Beheira reached 239 companies.

In Upper Egypt, there are 170 companies in Assiut, followed by Sohag with 142 companies, Beni Suef with 115 companies, and 100 companies in Minya. The number of companies in Fayoum reached 76 companies, followed by Qena with 39 companies, Aswan with 12 companies, and Luxor only has four companies.

The Red Sea governorate has only five companies. New Valley, Matrouh, and North Sinai each have three companies, while South Sinai has only one company.

The post New mega petrochemical projects to be launched soon: El-Gabaly appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Hinderance to female entrepreneurs worldwide is existing bias in finance community: Baduel Sun, 28 Oct 2018 09:30:30 +0000 Evidence shows gender pay gap, long way to go to ensure equality opportunity, says CEO of Curzon PR

The post Hinderance to female entrepreneurs worldwide is existing bias in finance community: Baduel appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Many women around the world and currently in Egypt especially, have proven themselves as successful entrepreneurs. The number of women globally that are starting up their own businesses is increasing daily. However, women still face several obstacles in the workplace and elsewhere.

Hence, Daily News Egypt interviewed Farzana Baduel, founder and CEO of Curzon PR, and Co-Chair of TiE Women, to learn more about her journey as an entrepreneur, the obstacles she faced, in addition to her evaluation of the status of the female entrepreneurs in Egypt.

Notably recognised for her accomplishments, Farzana has won: Businesswoman of the Year at the Muslim Awards 2016; Entrepreneur of the Year at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2015; Women of Colour Achievement Awards 2015 presented by the Women Presidents’ Organisation and the Media Professional of the Year at The Asian Media Awards 2014. Farzana was also a judge for the CIPR awards, the leading industry body for PR in the UK. The transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Tell us when and how your journey with Curzon PR started and where the idea came from?

My love for public relations (PR) developed during my work in the political arena, specifically when I was vice chair of business relations for the British Conservative Party. Working for a political party provides one of the most challenging environments, and drove me to understand the importance of managing, measuring, and influencing public perception. It stimulated a deep curiosity in me about the value, and impact that professional PR has, to influence and persuade.

My time with the Conservatives inspired me to devote my career to understanding and mastering the art of public relations, so I founded Curzon PR in December 2009. At the time, I had a one-year-old daughter and it gave me the flexibility to create a schedule which allowed me to be both a mother and an entrepreneur.

What are the obstacles that you faced in your journey with Curzon PR?

The largest initial obstacle I faced was my lack of experience in specific sectors, which sometimes hindered our ability to win clients. To overcome this, we developed a portfolio of case studies in the early years of the business, and now we have extensive experience across the corporate, government, and arts and culture sectors which are our core specialisms.

My current challenge is team resource planning. Most projects we work on are strategic, accompanied by tactical services, so it is essential that we have a balanced team working across each client and every campaign.

Assembling the right team members to ensure we always deliver optimal service is a fine art.

You are always known as a passionate advocate of equal opportunity within the workplace. In your opinion, what are the challenges that women still face in Egypt, either in workplace or outside it?

I have never worked or lived in Egypt, so I do not have a first-hand experience of the challenges that Egyptian women face in or outside the workplace. My perception has been largely shaped by the media coverage during the Arab Spring. That period was characterised by stories of sexual harassment and patriarchal prejudices. I’m unable to discern how much of that is true – and how much is exaggerated. My personal experience is that there are great examples of successful women in Egypt, and many pioneers in generating equal opportunities for women.

In depth, tell us more about the services of the TiE Women?

TiE Women is an international network of entrepreneurs, with chapters around the world providing resources to empower women. I co-founded TiE Women, gathering professionals in London at events with topics and themes relevant to female entrepreneurs. These meetings have turned into a vibrant community where women swap ideas, network, and encourage and inspire one another.

What are the problems that face female entrepreneurs in Egypt and what are your suggestions to overcome them?

A large stumbling block to female entrepreneurs around the world is the unconscious bias that exists amongst the finance community – including angel investors, venture capitalists, and the world of private equity. This creates a major obstacle to women who want to start businesses. Statistics show that it is easier for men to raise finance for their businesses in the start-up and expansion process, putting women at a clear disadvantage during the initial stages of business development.

A second challenge faced by women in Egypt and the West is that they often share greater responsibility for childcare and housework than their husbands. This naturally leaves them at a disadvantage in having reduced time and energy to devote to the set-up and running of a business.

The third key challenge is the lack of female role models, particularly businesswomen. It is crucial that young girls growing up have visibility of successful women across the spectrum, to empower them to explore the different avenues available, and to make informed choices about their careers.

What is your advice for new entrepreneurs?

It is crucial to carry out research in order to increase your knowledge and understanding of a market, in order to be successful in your business development activities. It is also important to provide a specialised and differentiated offering, which will drive profitability. Understanding who else is in the market, their unique positioning, and how you establish sustainable competitive advantage is key to ascertaining how you can bring something distinct and compelling to consumers.

What do you think are the differences between male and female entrepreneurs?

There is one stark and shocking difference: male entrepreneurs have increased ability to finance their businesses, because they are more likely to have earned more than their female colleagues. They also have fewer domestic responsibilities and duties. These two factors create a gulf between the ability of men and women to get a business off the ground.

The deficit in female entrepreneurs is also explored in the world of psychology. Dr Jordan Peterson, a Canadian professor, is an expert on the character differences between men and women. One of his observations is that women are more likely to be ‘agreeable’ than men. He believes that women’s tendency to follow rather than lead is a trait stifling career progression. The perceived differences in leadership abilities between men and women forms an interesting debate on whether the gap is based on gender conditioning in society, or on psychological differences.

How do you evaluate the status of female entrepreneurs today? Are they successful?

Evidence shows that there is still a gender pay gap, and that there is a long way to go to ensure genuine equality of opportunity. Having said that, I believe that women are disproportionately successful, in light of the many hindrances they face.

Can you tell us about your contribution to the book #FuturePRoof, on the business case for diversity, and the message you sent through this chapter?

#FuturePRoof is the brilliant idea of the current president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Sarah Hall.

She crowdsourced expert content from leading PR practitioners, asking each one to contribute a chapter about an issue they were particularly passionate about and had expertise in. I contributed a chapter on the business case for diversity, as I believe that diversity and inclusion across all areas breeds better thinking and offers unique perspectives. This is not just an ethical goal, but there are also strong commercial reasons why companies should prioritise developing diversity and inclusion policies and practices.

You have received numerous awards. Which are you most proud of, and why?

I have been incredibly grateful and excited to receive all of the awards I have won. However, being recognised as Media Professional of the Year at The Asian Business Awards in 2014 moved me the most, because it was the first time I had received public recognition for my efforts. This was a great feeling, as it can be a very lonely and self-critical journey being an entrepreneur, and the constant juggling of multiple tasks and issues can sometimes feel like you are taking one step forward and two steps back.

Finally, what are your aspirations?

My current aspiration is to complete and publish the book I am writing on PR and personal branding. Ironically, PR has not been able to communicate its importance in society outside of the industry, and so I would like to write more books expressing my passion for PR, so that readers outside of our arena develop a better understanding of the profession.

I am also very enthusiastic about my position as the resident PR expert at the University of Oxford’s

entrepreneurship centre, The Foundry. I mentor aspiring young entrepreneurs and meet with them every month. It is incredibly inspiring and energising to work with talented people who will be the leaders of tomorrow – and I learn from them as much as I hope they learn from me.

My vision for Curzon PR is to continue in my quest to build a strategic communication consultancy that balances the needs of its clients and the talent within its team.

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Women empowerment is definitely a topic we tackle, through showcasing success: Lamia Kamel Thu, 25 Oct 2018 19:11:00 +0000 Capitalising on partnerships to brand Egypt, Narrative Summit as core initiative

The post Women empowerment is definitely a topic we tackle, through showcasing success: Lamia Kamel appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

“Egypt’s Soft Power” is the slogan of the third edition of the Narrative PR Summit, powered by CC Plus, a corporate communications and media consultancy agency, aiming to forge a new domain for experts and market leaders to talk about the unified front this nation needs in order to enhance its advancement opportunities and communicate a positive brand to the world.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Lamia Kamel, the chairperson of CC Plus, and the political communication Guru, to speak about this year’s edition, the communication industry’s latest, and how soft power and content specialists can be just as powerful as government officials in impacting a nation-wide development. The transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What’s different about this year’s edition of the Summit?

The Narrative Summit is an initiative that is supposedly targeted towards building a brand for a country, and in order for you to build a brand for a country, you need an identity, a purpose, and you need to communicate the purpose of this identity.

So, to do so we had to capitalise on partnerships, therefore, from year one, we built partnerships with the American University in Cairo (AUC),  the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the oldest public relations institutions based in the United Kingdom, and others as well such as the Oxford Business Group.

The idea was to bring the best calibres in the country, and to discuss growth, leadership, and similar issues, around PR, that would support the notion of nation branding, as we continued to the second and third edition, we grew in terms of partnerships.

This year we have the Prime Minister’s office, the US embassy, the UNFPA, and basically what these platforms serve, is that they take your story, they drive it through their social media platforms, and their speakers, so they shed light not only on the government initiative but also on your society’s initiative, what the business represents across different industries, what we are doing in terms of civil society, entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, and they get to see with their own eyes, your capabilities, what you are able to do, not just from the content point of view, but from a logistics’ point of view, they come, they see the organisation, they see the speakers, and they get inspired enough to share your story.

So this year we have been able to – with the support of speakers who believed in us – have Mahmoud Mohieldin, who is a senior vice president at the World Bank Group, responsible for the 2030 Development Agenda, UN Relations and Partnerships. It’s amazing, as we are just a group of young people who are trying to communicate something to the world, and he helped us a lot, just by confirming his attendance and speech, he is saying that this is a good initiative, and through him we were able to get Natalia Kanem, UN under-secretary-general and executive director of UNFPA, who will be in Egypt for only one day to meet the president, and come to the Summit.

Also, we got two amazing ministers, Ghada Waly minister of social solidarity, and Rania Al-Mashat minister of tourism.

All these speakers come for free by the way, we were able to do that by positioning Egypt, and the summit, as a core and a very important initiative, not only for the countr,y but for the entire region, and we try as much as possible not to commercialise the event, until now it is self-financed, the sponsors cover about 70% of the cost, and we cover the rest, so it’s a cost platform, not a revenue one, that way we are able to protect the content, and what it represents.

We can see that this year’s line-up is filled with amazing female leaders, is that was your own focus, to hammer on female empowerment?

Yes, that is on purpose. It’s definitely one of the topics that we want to tackle, but we want to do it differently, not only by talking, the way you tackle an issue from my perspective is to show more than tell, much like what the president did, in the year of women in 2017, he made it happen by properly representing women in the cabinet, and we try to do the same, if we try to talk about women’s empowerment rhetorically, it looks like there is none and we are trying to get it, versus if it is there and we are celebrating it, I don’t feel that women are weak, or secondary, I don’t feel that we should fight for our rights, we are people, just like men, we compete in the same field, I have been sitting in meeting where I am the only women, and yet they chose me, because we work hard and add value, not because we are women.

I am against the whole notion that we are women please give us a chair, I am for giving women an equal chance to compete. This year, the ministers are women, and the one coming on behalf of the Prime Minister is Randa Al Menshawy, deputy minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, who is a female-leader in a very tough field, for a woman to be there and handle such hardcore field, is so inspiring.

We also wanted to bring the soft power of arts and culture as well, such as Alia Abaza who is a local fashion designer who represented Egypt in Milan, Dina Saoudi, who is Jordanian, and she is communicating the power of nations, through a cookbook, and someone like Dina El-Mofty who works in entrepreneurship, and is the CEO of her organisation, and many others.

This is how we talk about women, this is what we have done, the country, and the region has done. I feel it’s a very rich topic, we are not here to celebrate success, because we are not there yet, not as CC Plus or as a country, but obviously, we are on the right track.

How many of previous edition’s recommendations have been implemented?

Last year the recommendation revolved around creating a unit, under the name of “The National Apparatus For The Development Of Egyptian Identity,” and it was supposed to be a partnership between the government and private sector, and it aimed to look over different files such as human rights, media, tourism, and investments.

The idea was is that you have this unit, which is centralised, so you communicate one voice for Egypt, across these files, and each of these files has a number of organisations reporting to it, and that way you combine all the concerned parties’ initiatives under one direction, and this direction is based on one of the 13 indices of development.

Such ambitious initiatives take time, but the president’s office investigated the idea, the prime minister’s office received the idea and liked it, so there was progress, but we were very realistic in terms of expectations.

The event was not just an event, but a tool to serve a purpose, and transfer it into something meaningful, imagine with this unit what Mohieldin could do, if he was an advisor, or on the board, we have so many successful Egyptians, and international people who are very interested in the country, and if you create the right space, and organisation, you can have a voice in international arenas.

We do have a political voice, some economic, but we need more, you can’t put the burden on the government to do everything, first they don’t have the time, they may not see it as a priority, or lack the right people to do it, that’s why we are here, to fill the PR void in the country.

Egypt is a country that has so much history, influence, heritage, and futuristic approaches, we have a great file in entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment, sports etc.. someone must talk about it, and that’s the whole point.

How do you evaluate Egypt’s PR and communication industry?

The industry in Egypt is quite embryonic in comparison to the rest of the world, and the reasons behind that is that it is still trapped in media, as a media relation part, media itself is eroding, PR is very strategic, but in Egypt its considered tactical, it is about understanding your brand, and communicating it through different channels, through media, influencers, social media, government, social media, etc.

How can the industry impact society?

Communication is a very interesting notion, too much or too little communication is very dangerous, you need to have the message first, I am totally against talking without actually adding value, as it should definitely have a direct relationship with actual on ground operations, to support it, whether it’s a government initiative, UN development goals, etc, whatever it has to reflect on actual value, and achievement.

Look at the United Arab Emirates for example, they communicate a lot and they have this amazing social media network presence, to showcase their success stories, because they have something to share, which reflects on their tourism, finance, real estate sectors.

Nation branding, how can this help in achieving Egypt’s potential, in terms of tourism development, attracting investments,  etc?

In 2016, when we initiated the narrative summit, we created a panel about Nation Branding, and at the time we asked Andrew Bone from Hill+Knowlton Stratégies, as a foreigner who lived in Egypt for some time about the gap between him, in the country, and the global perspective.

He said that nation branding isn’t the responsibility of the government nor the private sector, but it is the responsibility of every walking person in the country when you wake up in the morning, everything you do is an ambassadorship of the country.

We need to focus on this person, on his education, understanding, and development, for him to feel he is engaged with his country, and wants to properly represent it, we had this before, we always had it, until there was a gap that was created between the state and the people, and when a person feels that there is a gap, he loses focus.

Nation Branding is an idea. Beneath this idea is a number of projects; you break down the idea of nation branding, and then you have projects that can be handled by private companies and other forms of institutions. But the idea must be interpreted and enforced by everyone in the nation. No one is excluded from crafting and implementing the ideology.

What we are seeking is to illustrate is a benevolent image about Egypt on all levels through local and international narrators who narrate their victories in their fields such as investment, entertainment, technology, economy, and then export as a model for successful Egyptian calibres.

Such conversations and growth-friendly environments will open more doors for lucrative investment opportunities to enter the nation and concoct recommendations that layout compelling content and create communication channels between the state and foreign media.

However, we can’t do everything, you need to focus on something, we chose to focus on the Narrative Summit, to become an Egyptian product that would be able to communicate Egypt’s identity.

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Egypt tell its story to world via incredible array of iconic literary, film, artistic figures: Mahoney Wed, 24 Oct 2018 13:17:18 +0000 Students eager to find platforms from which they can engage their audiences face to face

The post Egypt tell its story to world via incredible array of iconic literary, film, artistic figures: Mahoney appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The American University in Cairo (AUC) has been playing a large role in Egypt since its foundation in 1919 by Americans devoted to education and service in the Middle East.

Throughout its history, the AUC has balanced a strong commitment to liberal arts education with a concern for the region’s needs for practical applications and professional specialisations.

In the wake of his participation in the Narrative PR Summit 2018, Daily News Egypt sat down with Haynes Mahoney, advisor to the President of the AUC for Cultural Outreach and Campus Animation, to talk about the Egyptian cultural scene, and the AUC’s role in the country.

Mahoney, advisor to the President of the AUC for Cultural Outreach and Campus Animation, has served most of his career in the Arab world. His first post was in Amman, Jordan, from November 1981 to June 1982. Haynes continued in the region, serving in Syria, Yemen, and Egypt in various public diplomatic and cultural positions, with additional assignments in Washington D.C., Istanbul, Lahore, and Bonn.

He was Public Affairs Consular at the US. Embassy in Cairo from 2005 until 2011.

Mahoney believes that Egypt’s people enjoy a unique character, as the oldest ancient civilisation, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What are the highlights of your participation as the AUC’s Cultural Outreach at this year’s edition of Narrative Summit?

I’ll be giving a presentation on how Egypt can tell its story to the world through its incredible array of iconic literary, film, and artistic figures, the likes of which include Naguib Mahfouz, Hoda Lutfy, Yusuf Chahine, and others who managed to transcend cultural and linguistic differences, and capture the world’s imagination.

From your point of view, what is the role such summits play in enhancing cultural interaction between Egypt and foreign countries?

They raise awareness that Egypt is about much more than tourism or commerce.  Egypt’s people enjoy a unique character as the oldest ancient civilisation.  Its ancient culture lives on, not in lifeless stones in Giza or Luxor as beautiful as they are, but in the soul of the ordinary Egyptian whatever he or she is about.  And that soul is captured and conveyed by art and culture.  So, the summit points to that richness, which I believe accounts for a huge proportion of what motivates people to visit or work here. I believe humans make decisions 95% with their hearts.

The AUC plays a prominent role in enriching Cairo’s cultural scene, how do you think the latest cultural centre, planned to open next year, will help with that?

Um Kulthum and Edith Piaf performed at Ewart Hall, which is the biggest venue of the Tahrir Cultural Centre, the TCC—which will be officially opened in February.  The opening will launch the year-long celebration of the AUC’s centennial.  We aim to revitalise the Centre, which also has several other venues for performances, exhibits, and of course classes in art and culture.  The Tahrir Centre and the New Campus in the Fifth Settlement will be twin culture hubs in Cairo, supporting each other by trading artists and other cultural resources, to connect with audiences and artists among their respective neighbours, the region, and the world.

What are the main cultural scenes the AUC pays attention to invest into? 

We try to participate in all of them: theatre, cinema, music, visual arts, and lifestyle courses which raise awareness and support lifelong learning.

Are there any exchange of cultural programmes that the AUC offers its students?

Well, of course, we bring lots of artists to the AUC, like the 14 foreign bands that played at the Cairo Jazz Festival 11-14 October. And the AUC students travel on many cultural tours are organised by the university.  For example, there is a contest co-sponsored by the AUC and the Tameer real estate and construction company, to see who can come up with the best design for a water tower near the New Campus, which needs to be made more attractive.  The winning team of students will visit Beirut, and be hosted by the Solidere company, which will explain their work in reconstructing downtown Beirut.

What are the modern cultural icons you find best represent Egypt’s heritage?  

There are so many:  Omar Sherif and Faten Hamama in film, Abdel Halim Hafez, Syed Darwish or Mohamed Mounir in music, Nazli Madhkour or Mohamed Abla in art.  You get into trouble when you single out individuals but what they all have in common is a unique Egyptian character that reflects the pulse of this civilisation.

How do you see the current Egyptian cultural scene?  

There’s a huge amount of creativity among young playwriters, novelists, actors, and other artists. They are eager to test out new media, especially social media.  But they are also very eager to find platforms from which they can engage their audiences face to face.  So that is what we are trying to provide in the AUC’s old and new campuses.

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“We certainly see Egypt playing an important role in many regional issues”: Werberg Wed, 24 Oct 2018 13:16:20 +0000 Egypt-US relationship is strategic partnership, politically, economically, culturally, educationally, militarily, scientifically, security-wise

The post “We certainly see Egypt playing an important role in many regional issues”: Werberg appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

A special relationship between Egypt and the US has been established in the wake of the 1973 war, as a result of late Egyptian president Anwar Al-Sadat’s decision to gradually shift from the Soviet side, sign the 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel, and establish stronger ties with Washington, in return for various types of support, whether economic, military, or political.

Ahead of the Narrative PR Summit 2018, Daily News Egypt interviewed Sam Werberg, the Press Attaché at the US Embassy in Cairo, to get a better understanding of where the Egypt-US relationship currently stands, and his participation in the summit.

The Narrative PR Summit 2018 which first started in 2016, organised by CC Plus—the multi-disciplinary corporate communications firm— to become the first of its type public relations event for the Egyptian market.

The summit is attended by ministers, global professionals, policymakers, as well as community leaders, to discuss their distinct stories, lessons, and experiences that can create a bank of first-class knowledge available for everyone and anyone in Egypt.

Sam Werberg, the Press Attaché at the US Embassy in Cairo

Sam Werberg is a career Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State and is currently the Press Attaché-Embassy Spokesperson at the US Embassy in Cairo. Previously, Sam studied Arabic in Cairo from 2016 to 2017. Before coming to Cairo, from 2014 to 2016, Sam served as the Press and Public Diplomacy Officer in the Office of Iranian Affairs, in the Near East Affairs Bureau of the US Department of State in Washington DC. In that job, Sam worked closely with colleagues in the interagency on all messaging and outreach related to the nuclear deal with Iran. He also supervised the Virtual Embassy Tehran team, the USG’s primary means of two-way communication with the Iranian people inside Iran. Prior to that, Sam was the Deputy Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Rabat, and studied Arabic in Rabat for one academic year before that assignment.

Since joining the Department in 2004, Sam has also served as an Economic Officer in Kuwait, a Consular Officer in Thailand, and an Economic Officer in Iraq. Sam also served in the US Peace Corps as a volunteer in Fes, Morocco, from 1997 to 2000. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hamilton College in New York, and a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Sam is accompanied in Cairo by his wife and two children.

Werber emphasised Egypt’s role in many of the regional issues and the US’s stance in support of Egypt’s notable efforts regarding the economic reforms, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Why are you participating in the Narrative PR summit?


I am participating in the Narrative PR Summit because I attended last year, and I found it very well organised, with a very informative discussion platform. For all of us, we need to think about the issues raised at this summit: how do we brand ourselves as nations?  How can we better communicate our values and interests to others?  Within the US and certainly within the US State Department, we think about these questions every day.  So, it is great to be able to share our thoughts on this with others through this Summit.


What are your expectations for this year’s edition?


I expect to hear the same high level of conversation and great ideas that I heard last year when I attended.  And I expect that the conversation will expand with new participants and new ideas.  I am also excited to hear more from the Egyptians who participate as to how they believe that Egypt can brand itself and tell its story in order to attract greater investments and tourism to the country.


What are the programmes which the US embassy implements in Egypt to promote peace, and support prosperity?


We do exert tremendous effort in these areas, and I will be mentioning some of the areas in which we work during my presentation at the Summit.  On the issue of peace, we certainly see Egypt playing an important role and having an important voice in many of the regional issues, so as a government, we continue to consult with Egypt and listen to Egypt to understand Egypt’s vision for peace in the region.  On supporting prosperity, we engage in a variety of programmes, training courses, exchanges and events which all aim to support Egypt’s notable efforts of its economic reform, and to assist the development of skills that Egypt’s labour force will need in the future.  At my presentation at the Summit, I’ll be giving specific examples of how we do this.


How do you assess the current cooperation between both Egypt and the US in various levels of political, economic aspects?


We believe that we have tremendous cooperation in a variety of areas, and not just the political and economic aspects.  As I will be addressing in my talk at the Summit, the US has a narrative or a “brand” around our relationship with Egypt.  We refer to our relationship as a “Strategic Partnership.”  So, I will be talking at the Summit about what that actual means, and what it includes.  It includes cooperation in not just the political and economic realms, but also the cultural, educational, military, security, scientific and personal realms as well.  But we also do not want to just sit back and rest on our achievements.  We believe that the partnership with Egypt could be even stronger still, and that is what we work on at the US Embassy in Cairo every day.

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Egyptian market hungry for Islamic financing tools that can guarantee success of first experience: Samy Wed, 24 Oct 2018 07:30:44 +0000 Sukuk accounts for 24% of total debt floated in Gulf during 2017

The post Egyptian market hungry for Islamic financing tools that can guarantee success of first experience: Samy appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Sherif Samy, chairmanship of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, to find out more about the Sukuk financial tool, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

During the period of your chairmanship of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA), you worked hard to enable companies and the government to access various forms of finance. In March, you issued an amendment to the Capital Market Law, including financing instruments that were not familiar to the market, including Sukuk, short-term bonds, unclassified bonds, financial derivatives, stock and commodity exchanges, etc.

Before digging into financial issues, we want to know what you are doing now after the EFSA. What is your line of work now, given that the period stipulated by law for your employment to prevent conflict of interest has passed?

I am working in multiple places in both the public and private sectors, and rarely return to my home before 8 pm. I am currently a non-executive chairperson of a consultancy company that works in maximising the value of real estate and asset investment. I perform several advisory tasks financed by international institutions, and I am a member of the Board of Directors of the National Investment Bank, and a number of companies, including Orange Telecom, GB Auto, Egypt’s largest education companies, a company of direct investment operating in Africa, and another company in the field of entrepreneurship. This is in addition to my membership in the international consultancy council of the Securities and Commodities Authority in the UAE, the investment committee of Egypt’s social insurance funds, and the Faculty of Commerce’s council in the University of Alexandria. I also devote a part of my time to supporting young entrepreneurs and owners of small projects through the Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies and the Alexandria Businessmen’s Association.

How can the new financial instruments affect the yield curve? Are they affected by interest rates, or can their presence push interest rates downwards?

The rise in interest rates does not help companies and financial institutions that aim to expand in borrowing, or recourse to the bond market or non-banking financial instruments.

The yield curve is certainly influenced by the expectations of monetary policy and the return on public treasury issuances because of their overwhelming relative weight in comparison to any bonds, securitisation bonds, or even Sukuk issued by companies and bodies.

I believe that the sovereign bond system issued by the public treasury lacks the quality of variable-yielding bonds linked to inflation rates. That is, they do not distribute a fixed return as they used to, but instead the yield that is paid periodically to the bond-holders changes according to a formula linked to inflation rates. These bonds in the UK are called index linked bonds, where the coupon is traded according to the UK retail price index (RPI) up and down. In the US, they are called Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). The main advantage here is that they help governments obtain financing at reasonable maturities therefore avoiding the risk of paying a high return, even when inflation rates fall, hence interest rates also. Conversely, they protect the investor when buying bonds for five or seven years, for example, when inflation and interest rates are relatively low followed by a hike one or two year later, thus incurring losses. The price of bonds fall so that the coupon is linked to the bond price in the market and achieves the new rates of return that have occurred.

I also believe in the necessity of completing the work on activating the bonds market issued by companies, and encouraging public bodies, such as the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), ports, Egyptian National Railways, and others to issue bonds and securitisation in order to diversify debt instruments and not rely entirely on banks, as is the current case/ The National Investment Bank may have a role to play in this regard, because it is considered an important financing institution for those entities in respect to Chapter 6 of the general budget (investments).

This is linked to facilitating liquidity on the stock exchange. I worked on this issue closely with Mohamed Omran when he was the chairperson of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), therefore I do not doubt his interest in it. I know that the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has a work team to consider this file in cooperation with some international experts.

I do not want to miss mentioning the importance of studying the development of index funds for bonds, which depends on the creation of an index of the proceeds of the issuance of bonds at different terms.

Sukuk were the most controversial financing instruments in recent years, how do you see them as a financial instrument which can create a new kind of financing system in Egypt?

With regard to the Sukuk that can be issued by companies, financial institutions, and government bodies, long-awaited amendments to the Capital Market Law were made early this year, which included an integrated regulation for issuance and floating of Sukuk. We expect now the issuance of the necessary amendments to the executive regulations of the Capital Market Law. I do not know how much progress has been made in this regard. Since the amendment of the Constitution in January 2014, the competent minister shall submit the draft amendments to the State Council for review. To the best of my knowledge, since the last cabinet reshuffle in this summer, the prime minister has not delegated any minister in his prerogative, as was the case in previous governments, and thus he is the minister responsible for all the laws that the EFSA supervises in their implementation.

As for the sovereign instruments, i.e. issued by the public treasury, which the minister of finance stated that there is a tendency to issue some of them in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, they require a new legislation to regulate them. Thus, unless a law is passed regulating the Sukuk, it cannot be issued in Egypt. We all know the legislation process in Egypt, including drafting, community discussion, then presentation to the legislative committee in the ministry of justice. The bill is then referred to the cabinet for approval, then the state council and the parliament, where it will be discussed in the economic committee, and then approved in a general session by the parliament. Finally, the president has to review it, and publish it in the Official Gazette.

However, the government may see, in light of its priorities and needs, that international sovereign instruments can be issued similar to the international instruments we have issued several times (eurobonds). In this case, there is no need for an Egyptian law to regulate them, since they will be subject to the rules in force of the market from which they will be issued, such as Luxembourg, Dubai, etc.

For example, the largest number of international Sukuk and bonds offerings conducted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries took place in Dublin, Ireland’s capital, with 42 offerings worth $55bn, followed by London with 30 offerings worth $15bn, then Taiwan with six offerings worth $3bn.

The decline in Sukuk offerings in the Arab Gulf states impacted their global offerings in 2018. What is the relation between Sukuk offerings and the economic cycles experienced by their issuing countries?

The resort to financial markets, whether in the form of bonds, Sukuk, or stocks, is certainly influenced by the economic and political conditions in the concerned country. Economic activity, expansion of projects and growth rates affect dependence on the value of funding required, regardless of the tool. We know that emerging markets have been volatile this year, and we have seen money coming out of some markets for a number of reasons, including the return on dollar which rose more than once during the year. Sukuk are mainly issued in emerging markets, and the Arab Gulf region is part of these markets.

Given the volume of economic activities in the GCC countries in 2017, we find initial Sukuk offerings worth $22.8bn, and bonds of $81.4bn. About 63% of total Sukuk and bond offerings were by government agencies, 21% by financial institutions, and the rest distributed among companies working in the fields of energy, real estate development, industry, and public utilities.

Sukuk accounts for 24% of the total outstanding bond balances and instruments worth $425bn issued by the GCC until the end of 2017.

Will the crises experienced by emerging markets be an obstacle to the nascent attempts of Egyptian companies to issue Sukuk?

I do not think so because the market is hungry for Egyptian Sukuk provided they are viable projects with reasonable returns and acceptable risks. We will not issue Sukuk of high values in the beginning, and the desire of Egyptian banks and nine Takaful insurance companies – that operate in accordance with the provisions of Islamic law in Egypt – to be involved are all factors that enhance the chances of successful offerings. However, it is necessary to increase awareness for all parties in the market about the issue because it is an innovative tool that we are not yet accustomed to.

What are the short-term bonds and their advantages for companies, and the difference between them and the lines of credit (overdraft)?

In 2016, the EFSA, in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), embarked on a study on commercial papers and developed their executive frameworks with the aim of updating the system of available securities and financial instruments.

The reason behind this move was that the Egyptian capital market is currently regulating bonds and securitisation bonds, with maturities of 13 months or more. Hence, there was a need to study short-term financing instruments available to companies along with bank financing. There was also a need to find bonds or other financing tools for periods of less than one year to serve the financing requirements for factoring companies and microfinance, in addition to seasonal needs characterised by a short capital cycles compared to other establishments, especially industrial.

To the best of my knowledge, the study ended in the following year.

The amendments to the Capital Market Law issued in February included a reference to it, and I think the board of directors of the EFSA is currently working on organising it.

I believe that those operating in the field of microfinance, including companies and NGOs, can benefit from short-term bonds, provided that the associations and private institutions are allowed under certain conditions to establish companies operating in the field.

At the end of the interview, Samy wondered: Why do we not benefit from investment banks that were assigned within the general propositions programme, which are certainly studying the conditions of the companies they are assigned to? They can extend their scope to review the possibility of offering bonds or other instruments. For example, Heliopolis Company for Housing and Development and Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC) are among the cases that should receive attention in this regard.


We need urgent legislation for sovereign instruments, government can resort to international markets if it wants to speed up issuance

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Egypt succeeded in scaling up family planning, can do it again: UNFPA representative Tue, 23 Oct 2018 10:00:52 +0000 Awareness against FGM, family planning, early marriage should be included in Egypt’s educational systems

The post Egypt succeeded in scaling up family planning, can do it again: UNFPA representative appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Ahead of the 3rd Narrative Summit 2018, taking place on 28th October, Daily News Egypt interviewed one of the panellists, UNFPA Representative in Egypt Aleksandar Sasha Bodiroza, responsible for leading the entire team and driving all elements of UNFPA operations in Egypt.

The Narrative PR Summit 2018 is the first conference of its kind to take place in Egypt.

It first started in 2016 when, CC Plus—the multi-disciplinary corporate communications firm— decided to take a leap and organise an unprecedented public relations event for the Egyptian market. Ministers, global professionals from various fields, and opinion-makers are participating in the event to discuss their distinct stories, lessons, and experiences that can create a bank of first-class knowledge available for everyone and anyone in Egypt.

For over 20 years, Bodiroza’s pioneering work focused on youth empowerment as well as women’s sexual and reproductive health in developing countries. He is a tenacious and vocal advocate for inclusive reproductive health, the empowerment of women and young people, and ensuring that no one is left behind.

During the interview, Bodiraza explained the relation between public relations and social development, and he also discussed social challenges of Egypt, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:


First of all, can you tell us why it was important for you to participate in PR Narrative summit 2018?

The summit is very important. I am not a PR expert but as  a physician and development expert so I can talk a lot about social issues, from where my motivation came to participate.

You know when you think about Egypt. Some people will remember pyramids,  Luxor, few will remember Aswan, others will think about the beautiful beaches of Sharm El-Sheikh or Hurghada. I personally throughout my life was impressed with Naguib Mahfouz and Egyptian literature. 

Very few Egyptian in the world will remember that Egypt had a central place in development. Almost twenty-five years ago, Egypt hosted a landmark International Conference on Population and Development  (ICPD). ICPD Programme of Action was remarkable in its recognition that reproductive health and rights , as well as women empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes.    So, that why I really want to remind  everybody that there is much more for Egypt to be proud of and to promote.

In 2018 we will celebrate the 25 years from ICPD conference  which was held here in Cairo and that is exactly my motivation to basically remind everybody that at late time Egypt was a leading the entire world in telling importance of – women empowerment, human rights, family planning, focusing on choice. Choice that can rapidly improve the well-being of women and girls, transform societies, communities, families and accelerate global development. 

Since the summit is focusing on PR which business-oriented, how will you address social issues of Egyptian society through it?

Right, PR is mostly  business-oriented. PR helps you to sell a product, but it has a role, not only PR, there is a space for everybody to contribute to Egypt development.

The agenda that Egyptian government put forward for 2030, this beautiful document vision 2030, is very ambitious, that aims to help  Egypt transition ionto group of the most advanced countries in the world. 

That is not going to be possible if people believed that it is an exclusive job for the government only, Everybody,  even private sector has a role to play by  contributing to development towards the vision of 2030. That way they will also make Egypt better place for their business and by promoting investment in the PR  in corporate responsibility they will also invest in their own business.

So it is very simple. Yes, they are using PR to sell products but they also can use it to change the attitudes, address social norms, to help the company to open the door for workers to change their norms especially that the challenges Egypt is currently facing are serious and cannot be easily addressed.

How can PR expert can make social development awareness?

Using his skills, creativity, and talents. Instead of selling or promoting the products, they can switch and sell the ideas of development. For example, tell people why Female genital mutilation (FGM), should be banned or tell people why early marriage is a threat. They are so many talents in PR industry in Egypt and they are really excelling when it comes to selling touristic and historic products of Egypt, thus they can do the same by selling the idea of development; promoting the well-being of women and girls, their enjoyment of their rights and full equality and the life choices that they are free to make. 

Is there any agenda for youth empowerment during the summit to engage in PR?

Yes. the core of our mandate is youth. 62% of the Egyptian population are below the age of 29. We do have separate pillar about adolescent and youth and through strategic partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports we are helping to transform the lives of those young people by promoting consistent messages : No to FGM, NO to early marriage and Yes to Family Planning. Just this summer together with the Ministry of Youth and sports we trained above 7,300 young people from both genders about FGM and early marriage across 27 governorates. Currently, we are launching with ministry a project called Egypt destination 2030 that aims to reach over 11 million young people in all 27 governorates of Egypt. This new initiative will be conducted under the auspices of His Excellency, Minister Dr. Ashraf  Sobhy.

Moving to one of the main duties of your organization, family planning which is also currently on the top of the government’s agenda. Can you tell us what is the best way to apply success family planning projects?

When they ask me what kind of country model similar to Egypt we can use in order to address high fertility rates, and replicate family planning programs, I answer how about you look at Egypt? Not that lo9ng ago, Egypt did something extraordinary by reducing fertility rates from 5.3 to 3.0. That was extraordinary by any measures.  And how you did it? By putting together family planning programme that had the CHOICE at its core. Government was fully committed and scaled up family programme through the entire country.

Family planning is all about  making real choice by individuals and couples whether and when to have children, and how many children to have.  Where people are able to make these choices for themselves, they tend to choose smaller families. 

Looking at the CAPMAS and NPC (National Population Council) figures you can see that the situation in upper Egypt is more challenging with higher fertility rates  than in lower Egypt. SO we need to localize our responses to ensure success.

Some parliament members suggested on drafting a bill to prevent the third child from receiving government support to limit population growth, what do you think?

As I already mentioned its all about choice. Transition to lower fertility rates began with individuals and their right make choices about number, timing and spacing of families. And thats what we are doing together with our partners in Ministry of Health and Population. I am afraid that penalizing families with already large families can push them even more below the poverty line.

From your experience in Egypt, do you believe that tradition and religion played a role in hindering the progress of any social programs?

So actually this question answered the previous one. The legal framework  cannot effectively address social norms.

How can social media and education help in addressing major social issues?

Social media has a power in mobilization and making a change but I don’t find it as the only  medium for dialogue because we have to connect with the community about empowering women, early marriage and family planning

These issues cannot be solved through social media only, we have to go from village to village to talk to people. Social media can engage and help but it still has its limitation

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Exporting occupies around 20% of Carina’s total sales: Al Kasm Mon, 22 Oct 2018 10:00:03 +0000 Firm targets at least 30% growth by end of 2019, says chairperson

The post Exporting occupies around 20% of Carina’s total sales: Al Kasm appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

In 1996, an Egyptian brand named ‘Carina’ was founded, providing innovative and creative bodywear solutions for many women. Since then, Carina has grown tremendously, and has currently become one of the most competitive clothes brands globally. Also, it became one of Egypt’s leading fashion retailer.

The company was able to achieve such progress under female leadership, as the CEO and chairperson of Carina is a woman named Halla Al Kasm.

Hence, Daily News Egypt interviewed Al Kasm, to learn more about Carina bodywear, where the idea for it came from, the expected sales growth, the markets it export to, in addition to Carina’s expansion plans in the next period. The transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Would you please tell us about Carina Egypt’s expected revenues by end of 2019, as well as sales, and operations markets by end of 2019, in addition to the last results?

Carina considers 2018 the “year of development” as on a brand-level, Carina has planned and executed an upgrade in quality, a variation of product lines, introduced new designs, and many other developments. All these developments aim to take the brand to a whole new level and overtake the opportunities created after the pound floatation. Accordingly, we expect at least a 30% growth by the end of 2019, and expanding to at least 20 countries.

CEO and chairperson of Carina Halla Al Kasm

You sais you overtook opportunities after pound floatation, could you please tell me your opinion about the effect of pound floatation on the clothing industry, and how did it affect Carina bodywear? Also, in your opinion, what are the challenges or obstacles that the clothing industry faces nowadays in Egypt?

The challenges we all face nowadays in the clothing industry are actual opportunities for us. I don’t call them obstacles, I believe they are challenges. I always believe that there is an opportunity in every challenge. 

For example, the pound floatation has enabled Carina to create new paths and pursue them on various levels. On the brand level; Carina has increased its product lines and enhanced its fabrics to compete with international standards. On the corporate level; Carina has increased its employees to contribute to future developments and plans. We believe that looking at the right side of the coin is the key.

When people think about Carina, they always ask where Carina bodywear’s idea came from? Could you please tell us more about the story of establishing Carina?

Carina came to life when a girl who had a dream decided to become a businesswoman. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of having my own boutique; I was passionate enough to turn it into a business. It really came to life when I had the idea of making a bodywear that would fill the untapped needs of women and it really made a breakthrough. The brand’s real start began when we started fulfilling the market gaps that women had. Every woman wants to feel stylish and wear the latest trends feeling comfortable and confident.

What about your market share in Egypt?

We have seen an increase in our market share, especially after the pound floatation. Local business on a general note started acquiring a bigger market share simply because they offer more affordable products than international brands.

How many factories, does Carina have in Egypt? And what are their production capacities? And how many distribution centres does Carina have in Egypt?

Concerning the factories, we have two, meanwhile, we reached 120 stores in Egypt. Furthermore, we participated in two franchising events this year; the first was the Franchising Expo in Saudi Arabia and MAGIC in Las Vegas in order to introduce Egyptian-made products and achieve a presence in the global market.

Does Carina have any expansion plans in its factories in Egypt?

Carina always has future plans to expand its product lines. Ever since the pound flotation, we have been able to capture every opportunity.

How many employees does Carina have?

We have around 2,000 employees, 70% of which are women, as we are a brand made by empowered women to empower women. 

Where do you get raw materials?

We are an Egyptian business. Thus, we have a mission to support other Egyptian businesses and make sure that the majority of our raw materials are local. Some minor materials like threads are imported to ensure that we maintain the quality and standards that people expect from Carina.

What are the main products that contribute to the firm’s annual sales?

Our bodywear category dominates our sales as it became an essential item in every Egyptian woman’s wardrobe. It helps women be more confident as it completes their outfits.

 Are there any plans to introduce a new line of products to Carina in Egypt?

We recently introduced a cotton wear line that is both comfy and stylish. The pyjama line was a huge success among our customers and we’re currently working on introducing more lines.

To what countries does Carina export its products? The company’s exports account for how much of the firm’s total sales?

Carina currently exports to over 10 countries, and we are working on various product lines especially when it comes to the cotton product category. Exporting occupies around 20% of the firm’s total sales and that’s just the start.

Do you intend to enter more export markets?

Yes! Carina has a plan to flourish in around 12 more countries in 2018.

What is the firm’s target in Egypt within a five year strategy?

My dream is going global with the brand, to have a strong e-commerce platform, and to turn Carina to an intimate friend of every woman and girl and be with her, supporting her whenever she needs support and confidence and making her happy.

How many CSR projects do you implement, and what about future projects in this regard?


Because our main mission is to empower women, we are always keen on implementing CSR activities. The latest was our collaboration with the Food Bank Foundation and the Lebanese designer Aisha Ramadan, to develop sleeping bags for refugees, and providing work opportunities for struggling women. In the future, Carina will be developing a CSR project in Aswan, to create work opportunities for women, to be able to support women across Egypt, and empower them to lead their lives.

What is your advice for new entrepreneurs?

Have a dream, be persistent, be confident, and don’t let anyone stop you from achieving your dream.

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Dow Chemical reiterates support to Egypt’s infrastructure development goals Thu, 18 Oct 2018 11:30:39 +0000 Company accounts for 50% of polyurethane production systems in Egypt, says country manager

The post Dow Chemical reiterates support to Egypt’s infrastructure development goals appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Dow Egypt is considering expanding in Egypt to meet the needs of the local market amid the country’s ongoing support towards national mega projects in both the public and private sectors, the Country General Manager of Dow Egypt, Momen Adel, told Daily News Egypt (DNE).

Egypt is experiencing a resurgence in the infrastructure sector owing to the government’s 2030Vision, Adel added.

DNE interviewed Adel to find out more about the company’s expansion plan’s, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What is the company’s expansion plan in the Egyptian market?

Driven by the high demand in the Egyptian market, Dow Chemical started to consider expansion plans, and we are currently studying all options. We are comparing between establishing a new plant, and expanding the existing one to meet the local market’s needs. It came amid the country’s ongoing support towards national mega projects in the public and private sectors.

The company started operating in the local market in the late 1990s, and built a factory in the 10th of Ramadan city to produce polyurethane systems and thermal insulation. Establishing another factory is still on the table among other options, but the final decision will be taken in coordination with the parent company.

Polyurethane is heavily used in the Egyptian industrial sector as it is involved in the production of refrigerators, heaters, cars, furniture, footwear, thermal insulation of surfaces, and other products.

Who are the company’s main customers in Egypt?

Dow produces about 50% of Egypt’s polyurethane systems. The company deals with real estate developers in the New Administrative Capital and the North Coast, in addition to the industrial sector.

We also agreed with the ministry of antiquities to apply heat insulation systems in the Grand Egyptian Museum. Dow also participated in the renovation of the parliament building. We aim to expand in new real estate projects implemented outside Cairo, such as the New Administrative Capital, the North Coast, and Ain Sokhna.

Country General Manager of Dow Egypt, Momen Adel

What are the major opportunities you spotted in Egypt’s construction sector?

Over the last few years, we have seen substantial development across Egypt through the launch of several key projects by the government in various sectors. Egypt is experiencing a resurgence in the construction and infrastructure sectors owing to the government’s 2030 Vision. Since Dow operates mainly in infrastructure, there is a great opportunity for the company to increase its activities in the immediate future. The heat insulation systems can be used to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings, and ensure protection against fires. Dow’s thermal insulation systems can absorb the changing needs of the construction sector, such as increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, reducing carbon footprints, and meeting stringent fire performance requirements. The demand for heat insulation extends to the infrastructure, industrial and energy sectors, where there is a growing demand for pipeline insulation.

We are seeing a growing interest in our solutions and technologies, and we are committed to partnering with the public and private sectors to fulfil the government’s vision.

In your opinion, what are the major growth drivers in Egypt?

With the Egyptian economy undergoing transformation, there are multiple factors which can contribute to the country’s growth. Expanding in megaprojects is one of these factors, namely the New Administrative Capital, the New Al Alamein city, the renovation of the parliament building, and the Grand Egyptian Museum. We can already see how these projects are boosting the economy, through attracting investment in infrastructure and creating new employment opportunities.

The rise of consumerism is another growth driver in Egypt. This requires the upgrading of the country’s logistics and road networks’ system, to transport goods across the country, and meet consumers’ needs. At Dow, we are witnessing a growing demand for our solutions, and technologies of insulation, as manufacturers and retailers need to improve their refrigerated transport so that perishable goods can be moved safely throughout Egypt. Dow’s polyurethane systems are found in refrigerated trucks, walk-in coolers, and commercial refrigerators, creating lightweight and thermally efficient insulation for cold storage, hence keeping products fresh.

The Egyptian government has recently increased restrictions on imports to stimulate local production. The government’s incentive schemes for local manufacturers, such as providing lands in Upper Egypt, have also contributed to the local economy’s growth. We have seen these policies’ effect on the local home appliances and footwear industries for which Dow provides polyurethanes technologies and solutions.

What makes your products stand out in the Egyptian market?

Dow started operating in Egypt in the late 1990s, through applying the first local polyurethane system at a house in the 10th of Ramadan city. Polyurethane is a key input of several industries, specifically refrigerators, heaters, cars, furniture, footwear, thermally insulated pipes and roofs. Dow solutions for thermal insulation have also been utilised in a number of high-profile projects, such as the Grand Egyptian Museum, and the renovation of the parliament building. Our intimate knowledge of Egypt’s market, spanning over four decades, coupled with our world-class technologies, gives Dow a unique position in Egypt.

Why did you participate in The Big 5 Construct Egypt exhibition?

The Big 5 exhibition presents the best-in-class solutions and technologies for the construction business, and we were excited to take part in it. We believe The Big 5 Construct Egypt is a strong platform to showcase innovations, and share the best construction solutions, allowing companies to learn and collaborate with one another. During the exhibition, we were enthusiastic to demonstrate our expertise, and engage with the industry’s main players to brainstorm on innovative solutions which can solve the sector’s challenges, particularly in insulating real estate projects.

What are the innovative products you presented at the exhibition?

We presented several applications at The Big 5 Construct Egypt. Dow experts showcased the company’s industry leading portfolio of high-performance technologies in insulation, interior and exterior coatings, waterproofing systems, and fire-safety solutions. Our main products include:

Structural Silicone Glazing: Only silicone sealants possess the unique combination of strength, flexibility, and weather resistance required for structural glazing applications. The benefits delivered include ease of use, reliable adhesion to a variety of surfaces, greater UV stability, temperature and weather resistance, and it lasts longer than organic sealants.

Expansion Joint Sealants: Effective for sealing transverse contraction and expansion joints, longitudinal, centre line, and shoulder joints in Portland Cement Concrete (PCC).

Energy Efficient Insulation: Metal panels insulated with Dow VORATHERM polyisocyanurate and VORACOR polyurethane systems for insulated panels and boards bring excellent performance and light weight properties which can meet the most demanding industry requirements, improve longevity, and increase energy efficiency. Dow’s latest innovation in spray foam, VORACOR OZO, delivers exceptional thermal protection with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. VORACOR OZO SPF has zero Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) and Global Warming Potential (GWP).

Insulation enhanced for Fire-protection: Polyisocyanurate (PIR) rigid foam offers the best-in-class insulation performance of polyurethane (PUR), but with greatly enhanced fire performance properties. Dow’s family of PIR products – VORATHERM polyisocyanurate – offers a wide index of fire-performance levels that are further customised to your specifications, allowing you to compete with changing market requirements.

Cool Reflective Roof Coatings: Cool Reflective Roof Coatings (CRRCs) are designed to decrease the amount of heat which can penetrate buildings, reducing ambient air temperatures, and therefore the need for air conditioning – which can in turn reduce the cost of cooling a building by as much as 20%. PRIMAL EC 4642 Acrylic Emulsion Polymer is Dow’s latest binder development, the answer for requirements for cool roofing technology that performs reliably in harsh environments by delivering long-term protection against environmental degradation.

Latex powders for drymix formulations: DOW Latex Powder (DLP) is a free-flowing, redispersible powder, rapidly dispersible in water, VAE or VAE-VeoVa based, offering a range of benefits for dry mix formulations. Redispersible latex powder combines the benefit of liquid latex modifiers with the convenience, reliability, and handling or storing advantage of one component dry mix systems.

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21% increase in Cairo exports to Sao Paulo, 14% in imports: CEO of Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:30:35 +0000 Brazil's expected exports to Arab countries by end of 2018 amount to $14bn, says Halabi

The post 21% increase in Cairo exports to Sao Paulo, 14% in imports: CEO of Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce expected Sao Paulo’s exports to the Arab region to reach $14bn against $13.59 bn in 2017, at a growth rate of about 4%.

Michel Halabi, secretary-general and Chief Executive Officer of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC), said in an interview with Daily News Egypt that the chamber will open membership door for Arab companies in December, to boost trade between the Arab region and Latin American countries.

He pointed out that there are currently negotiations to bring the two countries of Jordan and Tunisia to the preferential free trade agreement Mercosur, after activating the agreement between Egypt and South American countries. Michel Halabi interview with DNE follows, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What are the main areas of cooperation between the ABCC and the Arab states in general, Egypt in particular?

In order to further increase the cooperation between the two regions, the ABCC has projects across the following areas: food security, sustainability, investment prospecting, business missions, sectoral fairs, and purchasing projects.

What is the vision of the ABCC in intensifying cooperation with Arab countries in the coming years and the volume of trade targets next year?

In 2017, Brazilian exports to the Arab world reached $13.59bn, positioning the Arab countries as the 5th partner for Brazil. For 2018, the ABCC estimates a 4% increase that will likely reach $14bn.

For 2020, the ABCC forecasts that exports to Arab countries will reach $18bn, reflecting an increase of 32%, as compared to Brazilian exports to those countries in 2017. These forecasts clearly upon the assumption of an improvement of commercial agreements, Brazilian logistics infrastructure, among others.

What is the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Brazil during the first nine months of this year, and expected by the end of the year?

Among the Arab countries, Egypt was the second largest destination of Brazilian exports from January to September 2018 – only behind Saudi Arabia. During this period, Brazil exported $1.4bn, representing a decrease of 14% as compared to the same period in 2017. The country was the 8th supplier of Brazilian imports from Arab countries in the same period, with acquisitions of up to $157m, which increased by 21% in value and 32% in weight.

Is the role of the chamber limited to trade only, or is there a plan to support the increase of Brazilian investments in the Arab region and Arab investments in Brazil?

For 2019 and the following years, the ABCC will continue to maintain its attention to the investment subject, increasing the relationship between these two regions, and bringing together corporations and government interests.

The Chamber focuses on the export of Brazilian products to the Arab and Egyptian markets in particular. Are there opportunities for Egyptian products exported to the Brazilian market, and if so, what are those products?

Brazilian exports to Egypt are mainly sugar, bovine meat, maize-corn, iron ore, poultry, soy beans, live bovine-meaning the products are mainly from the foodstuff sector. On the other hand, Brazilian imports from Egypt are mainly fertilisers, prepared or preserved vegetables, petroleum, and cotton yarn.

What are the main obstacles facing the trade movement between the Arab countries and Brazil, and how can they be addressed?

The main challenges we see are double taxation, investment security guarantees, unprepared investment attraction (need for clarity and objectivity in projects), the lack of reciprocal knowledge of the Arab and Brazilian markets, protectionist barriers, few bilateral agreements between Brazil and Arab countries, and tardiness in signing and ratifying extra-regional agreements.

To address these issues, we are looking at formulating agreements that protect Arab investments and prevent double taxation, creating a committee to discuss best practices in attracting investment, health agreements for the opening of the meat market in Morocco, Algeria, and Sudan; facilitating the process of registration of Arab products together with Brazilian regulatory bodies; fostering the discussion of the port sector; promoting official visits by the executive in order to increase investments and trade flows; facilitating business visas for entrepreneurs; bureaucratising the certification of Brazilian exports; working on the Brazil-Arab Countries National Food Security Plan; the free trade agreements, and furthering the Mercosur agreement.

What are current statistics about the products exported by Brazil to Egypt and the share of each product, and the products exported by Egypt to Brazil and their share of the volume of trade?

In 2017, the main Brazilian products exported to Egypt were sugar at $592.32m, bovine meat at $518.83m, the second larger importer from Brazil, maize-corn worth $501.04m, iron ore for $254.59m, poultry for $224.21m, soy beans worth $39.5m, live bovine worth $28.98m-meaning the products are mainly from the foodstuff  sector. The main Egyptian imports from Brazil were fertilisers worth $78.15m, petroleum for $18.81m, prepared or preserved vegetables at $14.41m, and cotton yarn for $7.73m.

Among the Arab countries, Egypt was the 3rd main destination for Brazilian exports and the 6th main supplier for Brazilian imports.

What is the volume of exports of Brazilian meat (beef and chicken, statistics for each product) in the first nine months of this year to Egypt?

In the first nine months of 2018, the volume of bovine meat exported from Brazil to Egypt increased 19%, reaching 23,000 tonnes and $363,44m. In the same period, the exports of chicken meat reached 1,060 thousand tonnes and $42,777m.

Until the end of 2018, we forecast that exports of Brazilian bovine and chicken meat, will reach the same value of 2017, as a result of external issues regarding the quality of Brazilian production and the implications of the strike that occurred in that country.

What is the current size of Brazilian investments in Egypt, and is there a plan for its development in the coming period?

To date, there are two Brazilian companies in Egypt, Marcopolo (automotive sector) and Camargo Corrêa (construction sector), and on the other hand, Kapci coatings from Egypt has a trade office in Brazil.

The distance between Arab countries and South America is one of the most important obstacles to the development of trade. Is there a scheme to facilitate the movement of transport and the presence of direct lines?

Based on a report conducted by the ABCC regarding the logistics among South American countries and the Arab countries, we believe that the advance in trade between Brazil and Egypt, whether for sale to the country or through the country (seeking re-export ), tends to stimulate other service providers in the production chain, such as logistics and transport companies, customs services to develop, thereby further contributing to the development of foreign trade between these countries.

What are the most important results of the Arab-Brazilian Business Forum, which was held last April in Sao Paulo?

The event, which was organized by the ABCC in São Paulo, was attended by over 700 people, plus it included lectures by Brazilian and Arab ministers and the Brazilian President Michel Temer.

The President of the ABCC, Rubens Hannun, said that the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum achieved its goal, especially in terms of activity relating to integration between Brazil and the Arab countries. Brazil and the Arab countries have not yet successfully achieved uninterrupted cooperation, especially when we consider all the opportunities available in fields such as technology, renewable energy, logistics, and tourism. We have opportunities to invest in infrastructure both in Brazil and in the Arab countries, including via privatisations. Brazil and the Arab countries could collaborate more by scheduling missions, attaining shows, and promoting other initiatives. New trade agreements can be signed between Mercosur and the Arab countries, and the Arab region could become a platform to re-export products into Asia, Europe, and Africa. More Brazilian exporters are seeking halal certification for food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

As Mercosur becomes more stable, new agreements can be signed with other regions, like the ones Mercosur signed with Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia. Brazil’s experience with renewable energy could have leveraged to invest in this field in the Arab world. The main themes were economic scenarios Brazil and Arab countries, innovation and technology, food security and logistics, investments, Halal, image branding and tourism, building the future. The event also hosted Egyptian authorities and for 2019, ABCC is planning to execute parallel events in the Arab world to deal with these themes.

How did the two countries benefit from the Mercosur agreement after its entry into implementation last year?

According to the preferential FTA Mercosur-Egypt, approximately 9,800 lines of the tariff universe have benefited from complete or progressive liberalisation of trade. The goods classified in category A already benefit from bilateral free trade. The ones in category B had tariffs reduced by 50%, while those in category C had tariffs reduced to 25%, and those in category D had tariffs reduced by 20%.

There is also an initiative to register new Egyptian products in Brazil, for example grape, garlic. and citrus.

Is there a negotiation to add other Arab countries to the Mercosur agreement in the coming years, and if so, what are those countries?

Yes, there is. The preferential FTA Mercosur-Palestine is currently in the process of ratification, and negotiations between Mercosur and Jordan have been resumed, as well as between Mercosur and Tunisia. The South American trading bloc also has established the Framework Agreements with GCC, Tunisia, Morocco and Lebanon in order to implement preferential FTAs ​​in the future.

What is the definition of the ABCC and how can one obtain membership?

Although the ABCC has always provided services for Arab companies, membership for Arab companies is expected to open in December 2018.This membership programme will help bring Arab and Brazilian companies together and present opportunities for businesses and incorporate the ABCC vision for next decade.

The post 21% increase in Cairo exports to Sao Paulo, 14% in imports: CEO of Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Mintra opens first sports shoe factory in Middle East by end of 2018 Mon, 15 Oct 2018 10:24:45 +0000 The factory’s first phase will produce 20m shoes annually, with EGP 1bn investments, says Qesses

The post Mintra opens first sports shoe factory in Middle East by end of 2018 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Misr for Industry and Trade (Mintra) will establish the first integrated factory for sports shoes in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, specialised in producing shoe materials and final product, before the end of this year.

Hany Qesses, the managing director of Mintra, said that the factory has been under construction since April. The first phase will be opened with investments worth EGP 1bn as a paid-up capital, on an area of 75,000 sqm at the free zone in Nasr City. Five floors of the factory have already been built on an area of 15,000 sqm. Daily News Egypt interviewed Hany Qesses to find out more about the interesting project, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What is the production capacity of the factory’s first phase?

The average production capacity of the factory’s first phase is estimated at 20m pairs of shoes annually. The company plans to increase this amount to 100m pairs of shoes after completing all the factory’s phases, providing 50,000 job opportunities.

The factory will be producing all kinds of footwear except for leather products. The factory will expand in the products that are expected to be met by a great demand from the customers over the upcoming periods.

Did the company rely on self-funding or loans to finance the project?

In most of its projects, the company relied on self-funding, but we borrowed EGP 100m to finance the first phase.

The company also plans to address the ministry of investment to obtain a new land for the shoe factory due to future expansions. The shoe industry requires significant female labour, which is available in the factory’s area.

Hany Qesses, the managing director of Mintra

Why did the company decide to manufacture sports shoes?

The company decided to invest in the sports shoes sector because Egypt imports 85% of its needs of these products. Additionally, there is no integrated factory specialised in producing sports shoes in the Middle East, although consumers cannot do without them.

All the outputs of the new factory will be 100% Egyptian, as all the feed-in industries will be manufactured in Egypt through providing production inputs from abroad.

Egypt also has several promising investment opportunities as a result of the country’s orientation towards industrialisation.

Will the factory’s production be directed to export or the local market?

The trade agreements between Egypt and America, such as the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) agreement, and other agreements with Africa and European countries will give a privilege to the new factory which will direct part of its production to exporting, and the rest to the local market. Meanwhile, the company held several foreign visits to open new export markets.

We will not limit our production to certain markets, and will open several distribution outlets in foreign markets, especially the African market which recently attracted European producers, unlike the previous years.

What is the company’s expansion plan over the upcoming period?

Mintra is planning on diversifying its investment activities to include home furniture, plastic, and textile sectors.

The company purchased 100,000 sqm in the industrial developer zone in Sixth of October city to establish an indoor and outdoor modern home furniture factory. Currently, we are in the blueprint phase, in preparation for the construction phase, given that the company already owns a production line, and added 37 new production lines.

Additionally, a new home appliances factory will also be established as an expansion of the current factory, built on an area of 20,000 sqm in the free zone in Nasr City. The factory’s machines will be increased to 200 against 50.

The factory’s construction phase will start in the next month and will be completed by the middle of next year.

The company also purchased 200,000 sqm in the Al Robeky industrial zone at 10th of Ramadan city to establish a factory for ready-made clothes.

Does Mintra seek to increase its capital to cover the announced projects?

Mintra seeks to increase its capital by $10m in the upcoming period to cover the new projects.

Does the company plan to offer its shares on Egyptian Exchange (EGX)?

We exclude offering the company’s shares on the EGX over the upcoming period because it is a family company that mainly relies on self-funding. The company regularly injects all of its revenues into new investments.

Do you plan to open new offices or storehouses in the coming period?

The company has a plan to open storehouses in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and England over the next two years, alongside the existing ones in the US and Poland to facilitate distributing the company’s exports.

The post Mintra opens first sports shoe factory in Middle East by end of 2018 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Solution for Salah’s image rights dispute to see light soon Thu, 11 Oct 2018 10:30:51 +0000 Meeting between all involved parties to reach a solution is proposed, says EFA marketing manager

The post Solution for Salah’s image rights dispute to see light soon appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Marketing Manager of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), Mohamed Samir Zaher, spoke to Daily News Egypt regarding several issues related to Egyptian football, especially the ongoing dispute between Liverpool’s winger Mohamed Salah and the EFA over the unauthorised use of the player’s image for advertising, as well as marketing and investment contracts of the EFA., the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Can you tell us about the latest developments of Mohamed Salah’s dispute with the EFA?

The crisis erupted basically late March between Rami Abbas, Salah’s agent and lawyer, and the EFA, after the player’s photo appeared on the EFA’s private plane accompanied with an advertisement for the telecommunications company “WE” which competes the player “Vodafone” sponsor company. Salah’s sponsors, signed a contract worth over £90m, could seek compensations from him for that incident. The problem lies in neglecting Salah’s sponsorship rights and not obtaining his permission to participate in certain advertising campaigns. After I assumed the responsibility of the EFA’s marketing affairs, I contacted Salah and told him that I will keep in touch with his agent, to solve all the commercial rights disputes following the World Cup, but he sometimes prefers to contact Hani Abu Reda, head of the EFA, in this regard.

How will you solve this dispute?

There is a clause in the EFA’s contract with the advertising and sports marketing agency Presentation Sports, which has the association’s sponsorship rights,  giving it the individual and collective commercial rights of the national football team. However, FIFA, the world football governing body, recently announced that only the player has the right to sign or contract his own economic rights. Therefore, I suggested holding a meeting between all involved parties to reach a solution that suits everyone.

What are the most important files on which the marketing department is working on currently?

There has been no real marketing management inside the EFA in the past period, and this led to a poor follow-up with the sponsoring company, and the professional players. Since the new department was formed in June, we are cooperating with the sponsoring company to implement all agreements in a professional way.

Are there any problems regarding the EFA’s contract with Adidas?

There were problems concerning displaying Adidas’ ads in some matches, and on the official social networks of the EFA. The national team also overconsumed large quantities of sportswear in the last period, but we managed to solve this issue. I knew that the EFA met with the company in April, when they complained that their sales of the national team’s kit did not exceed 8,000 pieces.

How do you see this sales rate?

I believe it was very low. Egypt’s qualification for the World Cup should have pushed sales to at least 30,000 kits. I contacted the company’s officials and told them that the kit was sold in Egypt at EGP 1,850 which was very expensive in the local market. However, over 30,000 Egyptians went to Russia during the World Cup and at least 60% of them bought the kit, but unfortunately the Adidas’ stores had a shortage of the national team’s sportswear, which forced the fans to buy unoriginal kits.

Did you receive any other kit sponsorship offers?

The EFA and Presentation are negotiating with three companies: New Balance Athletics, Italian Kappa, and Spanish Joma. The Boston-based New Balance, sportswear sponsor of Liverpool and Porto, expressed their interest through their agent in Egypt, and the parent company’s officials came to Cairo, where they met with Karim Kordy, the EFA’s board member. We told them our terms of contracting, which are actually the same with Adidas. We asked for a gradual payment from €150,000 to €250,000 annually, sportswear supplies to all national football teams with an annual value of €1.15m, and special rewards in case of achieving positive results in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations and qualification for the 2022 World Cup.


The Marketing Manager of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), Mohamed Samir Zaher

Did they have any concerns?

They were concerned in the beginning about the EFA’s relationship with Salah, as the meeting was held during the peak of the sponsorship, knowing that Salah has nothing to do with the negotiations. They also wanted to know the number of our future matches and the teams to be sponsored, as well as the required annual sportswear supply.

How much does the EFA target from its future sportswear sponsorship contract?

We aim to receive €6m from our future sportswear sponsorship, which will be determined in a public tender to be held in November. Unfortunately, the national team’s world ranking declined recently, which affects its marketing value.

Have you suggested any development ideas to the EFA’s management board?

We suggested to contract with an e-marketing company to manage the EFA’s pages on different social networking platforms, and we have already received several offers. Presentation wanted to play this role, but we refused. We are also negotiating with the sponsor to open commercial stores to sell the national team’s sportswear, as is the case all over the world, a step should have been conducted a long time ago. We are awaiting the EFA’s board to approve the move, so that we can prepare a feasibility study for the project. We aim to open a sportswear store at the EFA’s new headquarters in the Sixth of October City, after getting the required approvals from the neighbourhood and the governorate. We will have a clear vision of the project two months from now. We also contacted different Egyptian football teams to participate in the new Egyptian Premier Futsal League, scheduled to launch in the next 2019/20 season. The existing clubs in the Egyptian Premier League can participate automatically in the new league. The EFA will be responsible for marketing the new tournament’s commercial and broadcasting rights, because it was not included in the EFA’s contract with Presentation.

How do you see the criticism of the lack of unified ball for the Premier League?

We are working with the sponsoring company to market the Premier League’s official ball. It is unacceptable to play the country’s main football tournament with different balls.

Are there any plans to collaborate with other football federations across the world to benefit from their expertise?

About a month ago, a representative from the Spanish National Professional Football League (LFP) visited Cairo as a part of their plan to develop football all over the world. He offered to cooperate with the EFA on the development of local football for women, and training coaches. There may be a possible cooperation soon.

What are the latest developments of the application of video assistant referee (VAR) system in the Egyptian Premier League?

The EFA’s sponsoring company has decided to bear the costs of applying the VAR technology, and will finance the purchase of required equipment. We are currently putting a plan to implement this move.

When will Egypt have its professional football clubs’ association?

This is unlikely to happen, perhaps only after the end of the EFA’s contract with Presentation in 2022, because the main role of the professional football clubs’ association is to market the premier league’s broadcasting rights in the whole world.

What is your plan for the next sponsorship contract?

I hope the EFA’s coming sponsorship contract, which will start after the 2022 World Cup, will reach EGP 1bn. The current contract is worth EGP 405.5m, and it was good then.

Do you think this is possible?

This will only happen if fans returned to the stadiums in full and adequate capacity, and applied professional standards in the local clubs. I believe we can do that within the next three years.  

How can the fans return to stadiums?

We have to take quicker procedures in this regard. The absence of fans has a negative economic impact on Egyptian football. I called for the Minister of Youth and Sports to adopt the idea of the “Fan cards” system which enables fans to attend any game for their club. This system allows the state to investigate the criminal record of fans, so that we can avoid riots in stadiums. We have organised two workshops about the return of fans, and we developed a plan, but it has not been ratified for security concerns.

How do you see the Pyramids FC experience?

It is a very good experience. We hope it can be repeated in other clubs. I just wish to put some controls in place so that we can maintain the Premier League’s stability, and secure these investments. We have to admit that this experience has increased the marketing value of the tournament.

The post Solution for Salah’s image rights dispute to see light soon appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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FAIR expects insurance contribution in Egypt’s GDP to reach 2.5-3% in next 5 years Wed, 10 Oct 2018 09:00:51 +0000 FAIR to hold first convention of its kind in Middle East, for health insurance, health management in July 2019, says Mounir

The post FAIR expects insurance contribution in Egypt’s GDP to reach 2.5-3% in next 5 years appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Egyptian insurance market is one of the oldest in the region. it has shown a welcome degree of resilience in recent years. Despite of its long history, the market remains at a relatively nascent stage of growth, compared to those in more advanced economies.


Hence, the contribution of insurance in the total growth domestic product (GDP) is still very limited. For that purpose, Daily News Egypt interviewed Adel Mounir, the secretary general of the Federation of Afro Asian Insurers and Reinsurers (FAIR), to learn more about the reasons beyond this limited contribution.

The interview also touched on the opportunities of growth in Egypt and the Middle East, in addition to important issues that nowadays affect insurance in Egypt, including the establishment of an Egyptian reinsurance company, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:


In your opinion, why is the contribution of insurance in the  GDP still very limited at 1.1%?


The GDP itself, as a productive factor in the country, is very limited, when compared to the Egypt’s population size.


Additionally, there is a lack of insurance awareness, which is, in my opinion a result of the fact that all industry bodies have not paid efforts to raise public awareness about the benefits of insurance to citizens, before corporations, and institutions.


Hence, we could say that the most important driver for increasing the limited contribution of insurance to the GDP is the spread of insurance awareness among Egyptians.


I think that when the strategy and projects of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) are completed, the contribution of insurance in the GDP may rise to reach about 2.5-3%, in the next five years.

You mentioned that the FRA has projects that will increase the contribution of  insurance in the GDP, can you tell us what are these projects?


The FRA is currently working in developing law number 10, which was issued in 1981. It is a comprehensive law for all individual laws that affect insurance, such as compulsory insurance, private funds, takaful insurance, micro, and medical insurance.


Thus, all of the aforementioned types of insurance will remain under the umbrella of one law, which is the comprehensive law number 10 of 1981, and this will lead to having a strong insurance platform.


In terms of the FRA’s projects, there are several projects, such as insurance on students, who represent 18 or 20 million in Egypt, in addition to insuring governmental buildings.


All these will double the premiums, and of course the contribution of the insurance to the GDP.

In your opinion, what was the effect of the pound floatation on the insurance industry in Egypt?


We should mention that the decision of the pound floatation was an important decision in improving the economy in Egypt. The decision had a semi-temporary effect on the insurance sector, as the values of insured items increased, while the insurance amounts were very small, when compared to the value of insured items, so people during that period should have re-evaluated their insurance amounts.

The Insurance Federation of Egypt (IFE), in cooperation with the FRA, and insurance companies played an important role, to ensure people were aware about this point, other people quickly re-evaluated their insurance amounts, while others waited until the renewal date of their premiums came, In all cases, this re-evaluation attained a high growth rate in premium values in Egypt for two consecutive fiscal years (FY), as each year there was about a 30% increase.

Adel Mounir

How can you evaluate growth opportunities in the Middle East, and what chance does Egypt have .in these opportunities?

There are great opportunities in the six Gulf countries, as they developed a medical insurance law through their insurance companies and not through their ministries of health. I mean to say that they have huge growth opportunities, which cannot be compared with Egypt, due to the compulsory insurance.

Having said that, the compulsory insurance on Gulf countries is represented in vehicles and medical insurance, as they make up 70% of their insurance.  

Meanwhile, our health insurance law is now out of the international insurance statistics, while if we put it in the international insurance statistics, we might be ranked as the first, or second country.

But we could compare Egypt with Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. We are in second place after Morocco, and this is also because Morocco’s insurance statistics include compulsory insurance, while in Egypt, medical insurance is not included, in addition to that private funds are also not included, bearing in mind that private funds is a type of life insurance with a separate law, and represent half of the life insurance in Egypt.

For example, if we estimate that the premiums of life insurance in Egypt are worth EGP 8bn, we will find that we have other EGP 8bn in insurance of private funds.

In brief, the size of the market is remarkable, and the growth potential is enormous.

Having said that, in Egypt the life insurance grows faster than non-life insurance, also life takaful insurance grows more than that of the commercial takaful insurance.

The normal growth rates achieved every year is about 10% in non-life insurance, and 15% in life insurance, but I think if companies introduced new insurance products, used good marketing methods, paid more attention to customers and benefited from technology, these growth rates could be doubled.

How can you evaluate insurance progress in Egypt?

Measuring insurance progress is by increasing life insurance in countries, and Egypt is increasing life insurance from time to time, and it was 30% in the past, while non-life insurance was 70%.

I expect that it will soon reach 45%, compared to 55% of non-life insurance.

I forecast that within three years, life insurance in Egypt will increase to reach 60%, in comparison with only 40% of non-life insurance.

We heard news of you thinking of establishing an Egyptian reinsurance company, what is your opinion?

According to our studies, we found that the establishment of the company requires a capital of $200m, and company must be present in more than one country to obtain a credit rating.

Then, the matter was presented to the Egyptian market, which paid only about 20% of the value of the capital, and foreign partners refused to participate in the capital of this company.

Bear in mind that the Insurance Holding Company was the one who wanted to manage the new reinsurance company, so foreign investors were not eager to enter into a partnership with the government.

But, in my opinion,  if the IFE takes the initiative to establish this company, and follow-up with the local insurance market that consists of 36 companies, this company could be established. 

Is it possible to revive the old Egyptian Reinsurance Company again?

No, it is impossible as now after it’s a merger with Misr Insurance Company, and all its documents, premiums, and even the customers, are mixed with Misr Insurance, and cannot be easily separated.

Is the idea of merging Al-Sharq Insurance Company, the National Insurance Company, the Egyptian Reinsurance Company with the Misr Insurance Company, would benefit the insurance industry in Egypt?

The idea of integration exists all over the world. There are small companies that are asking for docking with large companies, because it is difficult for small companies to compete in the market with bigger companies.

And mergers lead to increases in the share price of the small company, as they merge with the shares of the large company, and this was the thought at the time of insurance companies’ merger, where there were two companies, Misr and Al-Sharq, competing for the insurance portfolio, and the competition was based on lower insurance prices.

Notably, the owner of both companies is the same, which is the Egyptian government represented by the Ministry of Finance, so the government prefers to merge companies together, with the aim of increasing net profits, and maintaining the insurance portfolio.

Concerning the merging of the Egyptian Reinsurance Company, the government only considered the economic return, and did not consider the social return, or the economic power of Egypt in the case of that company’s existence, as its existence was breaking the global monopoly for reinsurance, and provides an Egyptian cover for insurance companies in the country.

It helps in achieving balance when negotiating with reinsurers companies on prices.

IF we go back to 1956, during the “tripartite aggression” against Egypt, and the withdrawal of both England to cover the reinsurance on Egyptian ships, which led to an economic blockade, and the ships were unable to navigate. Without the intervention of Russia, at the time to cover the reinsurance, the ships would not have been allowed to navigate. Thus, this event led to the Egyptian government conclusion about the importance of the existence of an Egyptian reinsurance company.

Adel Mounir

What is FAIR’s plan in the next period?

The FAIR is a regional union, that has 270 members from 53 countries globally, and it provides them with networking opportunities, and we conducted reinsurance conventions, to increase reinsurance deals between countries in Africa and Asia, and this is considered an important economic target.

Moreover, the idea of these conventions is similar to the idea of the Egyptian reinsurance company, but on a broader African and Asian context.

Notably, the FAIR conducted four conventions which achieved premiums worth $125m.

Also, the FAIR is currently working on developing a health insurance and medical care worldwide reference, thus it is expected to launch a congress named FAIR health insurance and health management congress for the first time in July 2019.

It will be first of its kind in the Middle East, and it is expected to be attended by about 120, 150 either medical companies, companies that offer medical services, and by medical insurance companies worldwide. 

The union will also establish an academy for training and education, in which a certificate will be given by the FAIR to the trainees who graduate from the training courses, and this certificate will be a recognised in the countries of Africa, and Asia.

These training courses will be held in Egypt, or online, for African, and Asian countries. The academy will search for the specialisations required by the countries, to offer training courses in them.

Having said that, this academy will be an important shift in insurance in the Asian and African countries, and will promote the insurance industry globally.

Considering new development governmental projects, do you expect an increase in the insurance portfolio in Egypt?

Of course, because development projects lead to increasing the income, and thus increase the amount spent on insurance along with increase insurance awareness.

In that context, I hope that insurance becomes essential in the lives of people, and not additional thing, or a luxury.

In addition, new development projects will need insurance, and new insurance types have been introduced, such as home insurance, and commercial credit insurance.

Notably, I think that the new generation become more aware about the benefits of insurance and its importance, so I think this will lead to increasing the insurance portfolio in Egypt.

By what percentage do you expect an increase in the insurance portfolio?

Now, Egyptian people spend about $15 or $20 on insurance, I think within five years the Egyptian citizen could increase his spending on insurance to reach about $40 or $50.

I also forecast, that the contribution of the insurance to the GDP could increase to reach 2.5% within a period of three to five years, instead of 1.1% nowadays.

How can you evaluate the Egyptian insurance market in Africa and Middle East?


Egypt is ranked the third in Africa after South Africa and Morocco, and Egypt is followed by Nigeria.


Meanwhile in the Middle East we were ranked fourth before the pound floatation, then after it we were downgraded to become fifth, among the Middle East in the insurance industry. 

What will be FAIR`s role in the Sharm El Sheikh Rendezvous for Insurance and Reinsurance that will kick off on 28 October?

We have a cooperation protocol only for helping, but we are not involved in organising the Rendezvous.  Meanwhile, we support the IFE and Arab Union for Insurance. We hope for a successful conference because it is considered a very good promotion opportunity for the Egyptian insurance industry. I expect that the Rendezvous will be attended by about 400 or 500 company, 50% of which are international companies.

What are your hopes for the Egyptian insurance industry?

In terms of insurance, I hope to see insurance contributing to the GDP by about 3 or 4%, and to see Egypt as a leading country in the insurance market.

The post FAIR expects insurance contribution in Egypt’s GDP to reach 2.5-3% in next 5 years appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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NASA’s activities rise above international political disagreement, focus on societal purposes Tue, 09 Oct 2018 07:00:04 +0000 Egypt's visit was great opportunity to meet young Egyptian scientists, researchers, says Miller

The post NASA’s activities rise above international political disagreement, focus on societal purposes appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration agency (NASA) is a civil space agency focusing on science and technology to serve the society, regardless of the political disagreements between major countries, affirmed both James J Miller, deputy director of the Policy and Strategic Communications Division with the Space Communications and Navigation Programme at NASA, and Lisa Mazzuca, NASA Search and Rescue (SAR) mission manager.

“When you look at the larger political environment, yes, of course, there are many disagreements between the US, Russia, and China, recent trade disputes is one perfect example. However, we focus on the technological impact on the society, rather than the disagreements,” said Miller.

“We were able to form a partnership with Russia even during the cold war through my programme, dating back for more than 40 years, to make sure that we have international rescue efforts, to save lives no matter where the citizens are from,” noted Mazzuca.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Miller and Mazzuca during their latest visit to Egypt last week, to get a hold of the aim of the visit, meetings they had in the country, and the latest developments in regards to the cooperation between NASA and Egypt, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Lisa Mazzuca

Initially, what is the main reason for your visit to Egypt? Can you elaborate on the meeting you held during the duration of the visit?

Miller: the Arab Institute of Navigation’s (AIN) president, Refat Rashad, invited us to participate in a conference held in Cairo in early October which is “ The 9th Melaha 2018 International Conference & Exhibition”.

AIN is a Nongovernmental, Non-profit Professional Society established in 1978 in Egypt, gathering international members for navigation and its related science. it is also an active member of the International Association of the Institute of Navigation (IAIN), and a remarkable institute among operational international and local bodies in the field of maritime industry, working closely with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO), and the International Labour Organization (ILO), in order to foster human activities at sea, in the air, in space, and on land, that may benefit from the development of the science, and practice of navigation, according to AIN’s website.

Rashad is serving in the US National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board, so he has been conducting Global Positioning System (GPS)-related activities in Egypt for many years, while I manage NASA’s activities overall, so my work is related to GPS signals, which is very well-known for using for cars, phones, as well as in space, to understand the environment, as it helps in weather forecasting, and to predict if there is an earthquake or Tsunami, making it a useful tool to serve the society in different ways.

Participating at the aforementioned conference is a very valuable opportunity for us to get the Egyptian perspective on what the US can do better to serve this region of the world. As an example, what Egypt is doing to benefit from the GPS for water management and precision agriculture (PA), which is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring, and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.

I came to AIN’s latest conference in Cairo to maintain the information exchange, and keep the partnership at a very good level.


Mazzuca: for me, I am responsible for the Search and Rescue (SAR) programme, so I am working on how to develop technologies to help victims around the world,  in case of emergency, to help with citizen relocation, and assist rescue forces. For example, aircrafts use our products to transmit signals in helping rescue forces to relocate passengers and planes when they crash.

How do you assess the outcomes of your visit to Egypt?

Miller: Egypt’s visit was a great opportunity for us to meet the young Egyptian scientists and researchers and to build these kinds of relationships. We will be glad to meet them again in other countries and international conferences; we are very keen to build long-term relations with Egyptian scientists.

Egypt is full of the young people with a passion to learn, and the most important thing is that they have the opportunity, for us to be here, and interact and provide them with the knowledge and information was a very good experience. We view Egypt as a very growing country in the global community. I visited Egypt six years ago and now I can notice the development of GPS infrastructure, all that I noticed is a positive change.

I was happy to know that Egyptian scientists have the same concerns that NASA has regarding GPS developments, like space weather for example. Overall, Egypt’s visit was mostly an academic one, we didn’t have any governmental meetings. However, several governmental officials attended the AIN’s latest conference.

Mazzuca: I just want to add that there is an understanding that advanced education is needed to improve society. I was very happy to see Egyptian women participating at the AIN’s latest conference, and asking how they can become an engineer, or scientist at NASA, and other reputable agencies. I believe women everywhere can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Would you please elaborate if there are any programmes planned in collaboration with Egypt and future plans?

Miller: AIN’s president is a member of the NASA sponsored advisory board, so we sponsor him to come and provide his guidance, as he is working with the Egyptian government.

Mazzuca: I would like to affirm that we want to maintain communication with Egypt.

How do you deal with some countries’ fears of GPS as a security issue?

Miller: GPS is very important for serving the society, as it opens the world for free. We are trying to cooperate with the Russians to make sure that that the systems are open and transparent, as the US has been with GPS. It is not a two-way communication system like a cell phone, but the GPS satellites are broadcasting the signals whether you receive it, or you don’t, but if you receive it you gain the benefits. Reporting such GPS-generated important information to the responsible ministries will help the government to use the data to help the society. We are cooperating with the GPS systems of Russia, Europe, and China to build strong relationships.

Mazzuca: I want to affirm that the GPS doesn’t hear or listen to anything, on the contrary, it actually transmits the signals, enabling the society to become more efficient, and helps people to use technology, to plant suitable crops more efficiently.

We know that NASA is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2018; how did NASA enrich the American economy over the years?

Miller: NASA has an annual budget of $20bn, this year we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the agency’s founding by Congress in 1958, and we are very excited because we are moving forward towards putting astronauts back into space on US-built rockets.

We are witnessing a new evolution of space exploration with the retirement of the International Space Station (ISS) in the 2020s, and the start of the long-term efforts to visit Mars. I think the government realises that we stayed away from the moon for quite some time, now we understand there is water, ice, as well as numerous minerals and resources, which will require an extensive international partnership to exploit their benefits.

For six decades, NASA has led the peaceful exploration of space, making discoveries about our planet, our solar system, and our universe. At home, NASA’s research has made great advances in aviation, helped to develop a commercial space industry, enriched the US economy, created jobs, and strengthened national security. Outside the US, our international partnerships shine as examples of diplomacy. Space exploration has brought together people of diverse backgrounds, working for the good of all humankind, according to NASA’s website.

As we celebrate NASA’s first 60 years of achievement, we honour the sacrifice that came with it: the tragic loss of lives including aviation pilots, and the crew members of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia. Sacrifice has also come in the countless hours of dedicated NASA personnel—on the ground and in space—spent away from families, to plan and execute missions. The next decade is poised to be full of adventures that only science fiction writers dream of, and only NASA, along with its partners, will accomplish.

Mazzuca: From the very beginning, NASA has been trying to invent, and rethink, of a new way to tackle existing problems.

Since NASA is working with China and Russia, how do you deal with political differences?

Miller: NASA is a civil space agency, we are focusing on science and technology that serves society. When you look at the larger political environment, yes, of course, there are many disagreements between the US, Russia and China, such as the recent global trade disputes, but we keep political disagreements away.

Mazzuca: We rise above political disagreements. We managed to form a partnership with Russia during the cold war, through my 40-year-old programme, to ensure that we have international rescue efforts, to save lives no matter which country the citizen belongs to.

Miller: a little friendly competition is always good because it prompts growth.

What about space tourism programmes?

Miller: Eight years ago, when NASA began to push the commercial section I was sceptical, but now it is different, as we collaborate with the private sector on the commercial front, so we can send people to space regardless of their nationality, for example there is a US company planning to fly a Japanese millionaire into space.

Would you please elaborate on NASA’ scholarships?

Miller: My organisation offers internship programmes every summer, mostly for the undergraduates and sometimes for the graduate students. Participating in those types of programmes is open for non-US citizens.

Mazzuca: Students can participate at NASA scholarship programmes, and other reputable programmes, such as the ones offered at Space Telescope Science Institute, where all that students need to do is purely scientific research.

Do you have any programmes tackling global warming?

Miller: NASA does a lot of research on climate change, which we all agree is happening to the degree that we can monitor, and take steps to mitigate it. We are committed to the environment, and work with other nations to share information.

Mazzuca: We are always trying to get data that helps the environmental aspects, and data does not lie.

The post NASA’s activities rise above international political disagreement, focus on societal purposes appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Meet Caroline Maher: first Arab woman MP inducted into Taekwondo Hall of Fame Mon, 08 Oct 2018 11:30:23 +0000 I drafted a law to amend penalties for sexual harassment, rape, fortify penalty for female circumcision, all of them have been approved

The post Meet Caroline Maher: first Arab woman MP inducted into Taekwondo Hall of Fame appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Caroline Maher is the youngest female member of the Egyptian parliament, and a world taekwondo champion, who ranked fifth globally in 2011. Maher is the first Egyptian, Arab, and African female player to be honoured in the Taekwondo Hall of Fame in the US, the most prestigious event for martial art athletes worldwide.

She spoke to Daily News Egypt about her achievements, and how she won 130 medals in international, regional, and Arab competitions, competing in 40 different countries.

She told us how she played taekwondo by chance, as she was 10-years-old when she saw her friend playing taekwondo in the Egyptian Shooting Club, and liked the game.

Maher said that her love of taekwondo did not distract her from her studies. She rather excelled in both and received a Bachelor of Journalism and Media from the American University in Cairo in 2009 with honours, and then received a grant in Switzerland to study administration.

She quit taekwondo after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointed her in the Egyptian parliament, within the president’s quota, in December 2015, to become the youngest MP in Egypt, at 29.

Maher is a member of the Social Solidarity Committee in parliament. She is currently the director of human resources management at an international company. She was also the only Egyptian to be honoured in 2015 as part of the world celebration of women achievements.

She told us how she benefited from her presence in parliament. by proposing important laws addressing harassment, kidnapping, orphanages and shelter centres, and all of which were approved. DNE interviewed Caroline Maher about her remarkable achievements at such a young age, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

Who is Caroline Maher who surprised everyone?

I am an Egyptian woman who holds several positions. I graduated from the American University in Cairo, and received a grant for a master’s degree from the University of Victoria in Switzerland. I excelled academically, even though I was busy with taekwondo. I joined the national team of taekwondo when I was 12-years-old. At the age of 15, I played in the World Championship and ranked fifth. I ranked third globally, with a total of 130 awards, from 40 countries.

In parallel with sports, I chose human resources as a career, and improved myself through obtaining a number of diplomas in this field. I held the position of human resources manager, for the Cairo for Development and Cars Manufacturing (CDCM) sole proprietor, at Peugeot in Egypt, before my 30th  birthday.

I have also been volunteering for years. I contributed to establishing Helm, a non-profit organisation for people with disabilities, and now work as a human resources consultant for them. At Helm, we work on vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities. We focus on creating an entire environment which suits the disabled, not just financial aid. We also managed to provide many jobs for them. Moreover, I worked in administration consultancy.

In 2015, I was surprised by the presidency requesting information about me. I thought they wanted to benefit from my human resources expertise, but I was appointed in the parliament, to become its youngest member. Most recently, I was chosen to be the youngest member of the African Taekwondo Federation (ATF).

Why did you choose taekwondo?

I did not choose it, it was purely by chance. My friend was playing taekwondo, and she invited me to attend her training. I was less than 10-years-old. At the time, I thought about joining the taekwondo team in the Shooting Club. I did just that. And shortly after, I took part in the German International Championship and won the silver medal. Since then, I was determined to follow this path, and represent Egypt in the Arab, African, and international championships.

What was the reason behind your legal dispute with the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)?

The ITF prohibits athletes from doping. The World Anti-Doping Agency regularly asks for samples from athletes to ensure they are not taking any drugs. I did the necessary tests but was told by the Egyptian Taekwondo Federation (ETF) that my results were positive. I had never done that. I later learned that my sample’s serial number was different from that of the positive result. I told the ETF about this mistake, and they informed the ITF, and then they apologised about that.

I thought the problem was over, and I was preparing for the Arab and African championships. But I was not invited to train with the team. I found out that the ITF had banned me from playing taekwondo for two years, because I was doping, and that they had informed the ETF about the decision. It meant that the problem was still there, even though the ETF had told me then that it was over.

Later, the ETF informed me of the ITF’s decision without giving me an opportunity to defend myself, or to help me prove that the positive results were not mine.

Hence, I decided to defend myself, and began proceedings to sue the ITF before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

It ended with me winning the case. The court also ordered to compensate me $20,000 for litigation fees, which was the highest compensation for a player.

Did your family support you from the beginning in your taekwondo practice?

My family has been supportive of me. I understand your question as many families refuse that their daughters play martial arts. But all new ideas related to females were rejected at first. For example, women in the workforce were discouraged in the beginning, but now 33% of households are supported mainly by women.

Several female players have made achievements, such as Hedaya Malak winning the bronze in the Olympics. This changes ideas. Women’s appetite for taekwondo is growing noticeably. Even if families refuse at first, it will be out of fear, but girls must be granted trust.

Did you abandon taekwondo after retirement?

After retiring as a player, I worked as a referee for a while, but I was too busy to continue. I decided to take a break from the game until I was appointed at the African Taekwondo Federation. I focus now on spreading the game in Africa, and developing the para-taekwondo—taekwondo for athletes with an impairment. I see it needs a lot of work, especially in Africa. I also aim to increase women’s participation in the game.

Why do we not have many achievements in individual sports?

The surrounding conditions in Egypt are not supportive for athletes. In Europe, the athlete’s only job is practicing his sport. They receive suitable salaries, so they do not need to do additional work. In Egypt, the athletes’ salaries are very low. Egyptian students who play sports may be dismissed from their universities due to absence, even though they represent Egypt abroad. The state should be more supportive, and there should be more coordination between the ministries of education and sports, as there are hundreds of athletes who retire to complete their studies, or to find a job with a good salary.

Foreign athletes are excited about what they do because they are financially and morally appreciated by the state. We have many talents that lack support.

Why did you not run for the ETF presidency?

I thought about running the last election, but I postponed this step because it would be difficult to reconcile working in the ETF with my job in the parliament, the ATF, and human resources.

How was your experience in the parliament?

It was a very nice and useful experience so far, but also exhausting. Representing women has helped me a lot. In the beginning, it was difficult because the appointed members were informed of their positions only a week before the parliament met, unlike elected members who have been preparing themselves for two years, and have plans and ideas.

This makes us feel a step behind. But over time, these challenges are disappearing.

As for my age, other MPs were worried in the beginning, but I proved myself in the sessions. In the beginning, I used to enter the parliament and other MPs had no idea that I am their colleague.

Do you find the youth representation in the parliament satisfactory?

It is very satisfactory. There are many young members, and about 90 female MPs. I think it is unprecedented step.

How do you see the current criticism of the parliament’s performance?

I think the media does not properly cover the parliament’s achievements. The current parliament has provided the largest number of ministers’ summons in Egyptian history. So, it has practiced its supervisory role well.

In terms of legislation, it has passed several laws, addressing the establishment of Churches, health insurance, sports, and people with disabilities.

I drafted a law to amend the penalties for sexual harassment and rape, and fortify the penalty for female circumcision. All of them have been approved.

What is new in these amendments?

The new laws imposed severe penalties for the rape of children and persons with disabilities, especially in light of the spread of such cases in many places.

These new amendments aim to address sexual crimes in society, and preventing their psychological and physical effects on the victims, and society.

The Egyptian law now differentiates between sexual harassment, molestation, and rape, which was not clear before. It also provides equal legal protection for men and women, as sexual crimes are not only directed towards females.

Has the parliament been supportive of women?

Yes, the current parliament approved a law to help women receive their right to inheritance, by punishing people who prevent women from their financial rights. We still lack awareness though. Women who do not get their rights normally do not sue their families, because the traditions in Upper Egypt and rural areas defame women who sue their families. We also aim to allow women to become judges. I think we will soon see this happening.

Do you intend to run in the next parliamentary election?

I was shocked by the size of MPs’ responsibilities when I entered the parliament, and I thought I will never do it again. But over time, I realised the importance of my work, and how I can make a difference. The idea is definitely on the table, but I still have to yet make a decision.

You are interested in youth issues. What are the topics you think will be discussed in the upcoming World Youth Forum (WYF)?

The WYF, scheduled in November, will address all the problems facing young people in Egypt.

The main topics to be discussed will be education, and how to develop the educational curriculum and make it better fit the labour market. It is also important to address the small and micro enterprises, and to showcase real success stories in this field. There will also be a discussion about the role of NGOs in helping youth to establish their small, and medium projects.

The post Meet Caroline Maher: first Arab woman MP inducted into Taekwondo Hall of Fame appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Egypt gained trust of investors, continuity of reforms is vital: Citibank Country Officer Thu, 04 Oct 2018 07:15:15 +0000 First reform steps was removal of energy subsidies, significant move in right direction, says Abdel-Khader

The post Egypt gained trust of investors, continuity of reforms is vital: Citibank Country Officer appeared first on Daily News Egypt.


Dubai – Much More Remains to Be Accomplished with Egypt’s Reforms .Reforms that took place led to microstability, procedures taken by government for

future growth sustainability are correct Citibank Country Officer, Mohamed Abdel-Khader, told Daily News Egypt during an interview that, in general, Egypt’s situation looks promising, but it needs assurance of continued sustainability.

Egypt has adopted its economic reform programme in November 2016, which included the currency flotation, the gradual removal of subsidies, as a condition for a $12bn deal Egypt signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2016.

“If we look at Egypt’s situation, we will find that the current account, and the balance of payment is performing quite well, in addition, the budget direction is moving in the right course. We are getting below 9% hopefully in FY 2018/19, and the unemployment decreased to 9.8% from 12.5%,” he emphasised.


In terms of the reforms that have been adopted by Egypt, Citibank Country Officer, Mohamed AbdelKader noted that they were essential and critical, noting that the presence of the IMF in the reforms, has given Egypt a good opportunity to gain the trust of investors, and that the continuity of the reforms is very vital.

All the reforms that took place led to microstability, and all the procedures taken by the government for future growth sustainability are the correct procedures, but perhaps Egyptians will discern the benefits in the long term, as those benefits will materialise on the long-term, according to the Citibank country officer.

Abdel-Khader elaborated further that during the period from 2004 till 2011, Egypt’s economy was booming, however, starting from 2011, due to the ‘Arab Spring’ revolution, and several other reasons, the economy began to decline in all sectors, then almost in 2018 Egypt’s economy began to recover one once.

Egypt witnessed many cycles through which the economic condition of the country fluctuated up and down for many reasons, either a financial crisis, the ‘Arab Spring’, and more. So he asserted that Egypt needs to maintain better sustainable growth.

In terms of what the government has undertaken in order to ensure more sustainable growth for Egypt, Abdel-Khader explained that the first steps of the reforms was removal of the energy subsidies, describing it as a significant move in the right direction.

When each subsidy was removed, the government received the oil indexation, which means that there will be no fixed cost for fuel prices in Egypt, thus this will remove several burdens from the government’s responsibilities, he explained.

Notably, cutting subsidies to reduce pressure on government spending is one of the country’s main goals, as it further enhances the reforms to revive an economy which has been struggling since the 2011 uprising.

Earlier in June,  fuel subsidies were cut for the third time since November 2016, when Egypt adopted its ambitious economic reform programme supported by the IMF, and the fourth time since President Al-Sisi took office in mid-2014.

Moreover, the Egyptian government aims to cut petroleum subsidies by about 26%, and electricity subsidies by 47%, in the draft budget for fiscal year 2018/19 recently approved by the parliament.

Returning to the substantial measures taken by the government in order to ensure the sustainability of the economic growth, Abdel-Khader pointed out to the new gas discoveries, such as the Zohr field, is quite positive, as many international companies are currently attracted to Egypt once again, to conduct refinery projects, and discoveries in the country, which can also lead to Egypt’s self-sufficiency for a rather sometime, enabling Egypt to continue its discoveries of additional gas fields.

He explained why he said for ‘sometime’, stating that if Egypt become self-sufficient, any increase in its population, it can cause it become wanting again, so it needs to obtain more gas discoveries.

Notably, the Zohr field was discovered in August 2015, and it received the investment authorisation after just six months, in February 2016. It is the largest gas discovery ever in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea, and it will be able to satisfy a segment of Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades to come.

Egypt Wins Big

Tourism represents 15% of total sources of income for national economy, says Al-Mashat

Moreover, he stated that the third decision that the government took which was in the right direction, is the development of the infrastructure, including roads, and power plants.

In that context, several development projects are taking place in the power sector, as it is one of the most important sectors that investors study, he noted.

“So, the development that are taking place in the energy and the power sectors are essential for Egypt’s future,” he added.

Discussing the pound flotation and its impact on Egypt, he compared the situation before and after the decision, stating that before the pound flotation, the currency had two markets, as the Egyptian pound was a commodity itself, for the encapsulation of people, and it was not helping the investor to recognise if the market had the correct value for investment or not, and if devaluation occurs, half of the investments may be lost.

He continued that after the pound flotation, its value depreciated, but simultaneously it became more attractive, adding further that he does not think increased depreciation will take place.

“The tourism sector is one of the main sectors which benefited from the cheaper value of the Egyptian pound,” he underscored.

In that regard, during the press conference on the side-lines of the Arabian Travel Market exhibition that took place in Dubai last month, the Egyptian Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat announced that the number of tourists visiting Egypt has jumped by 30% during the first quarter of 2018 compared to last year.

She added that tourism now represents 15% of the total sources of income for the national economy.

Abdel-Khader said that Egypt must become a manufacturing country, explaining that in line with the pound floatation, and the reforms, Egyptian consumer patterns have changed, and their behaviours as well, thus saving energy, reducing excessive consumption, which will of course make a difference.

Talking about the bank’s future plans, he asserted that Citibank is not interested to operate in the retail market in Egypt again, “but we will focus in the next period on custody services, continuing to attract investments to the country on the fixed income front, as well as the equity front.”

Abdel-Khader stated that if the government entered the indexation or the Euroclear, this will give room for the bank to expand in that area, and see what opportunity it can occupy to operate with the government in those affairs.

“We will also focus on expanding and growing our portfolio of local corporates on a selective basis, as after the 2011revolution, our portfolio decreased in terms of local corporates,” he said, continuing further, “in addition, our target is to attract increased multinationals to operate in Egypt, which is our core business, as we are present in the Egyptian market with various specialties,” Abdel-Khader highlighted.

Citibank is a custody services provider in Egypt, and the bank accounts for about 60 to 65% of the custody services’ business in the market, hence the bank is interacting extensively with investors who invest in treasury bills, explained the Citibank Country Officer.

“Hence, Citi conducted several roadshows alone without the government, in order to attract increased investor demand towards Egypt, and we managed actually to attract 60% out of $21.5bn that were invested in Egypt in the form of treasury bill and bonds, in Egypt untill April,” he stated.

“But starting from April, the emerging markets began to be the reason why investors have been reducing their capital, noting that Egypt was their last choice to investment in,” he continued. In an attempt to assure investors that Egypt is attractive and an attractive market to invest in, as it provides the right level of interest rates, and continues to offer a low currency, however, it was quite apparent that the loses which could be incurred by investors in other emerging markets, make them decide to reduce their investment portfolio in Egypt, in order to reap some profits, rather than sitting on losses.

Citibank’s Role in Egypt’s Economy

Expectations of issuance of $5bn euro denominated bonds next year, as per Ministry of Finance, and I assume Citibank will be part of this mandate, says Citibank country officer

He explained that Citibank’s presence in Egypt dates back to 1954, then he continued that following the nationalisations in the late 50’s and 60’s, Citi re-introduced itself in the market in 1974, through its branch in Cairo, with a license to operate in foreign currency.

“During the period from 1974 till 1998, our main operation was always in the cooperate sector. Starting from 1998, we introduced in Egypt the consumer retail business, hence Citi is one of the pioneers in the consumer retail business,” he said.

He explained that, in line with Citi’s global strategy of focusing on markets with the greatest growth potential, Citi sold the consumer banking business to the Commercial International Bank in 2015.

“Since then, we have returned to the cooperate field, which has been our traditional business, and our major portfolio is full of global subsidiaries, and we serve them through various products including cash managements, trade, and markets products,” declared Citi’s Country Officer.

He also stated that Citi serves multinationals and global investor clients active in the Egyptian market, and fully supports their banking, investment, and credit requirements.

The second major segment that Citi works with is the government, and the public sector, noting that Citibank works with the government through various means, including the treasury level, and the markets level, he mentioned.

At the treasury level, “we buy treasury bills from our balance sheet; hence we have our own local treasury bills portfolio in Egypt,” he remarked.

“The second issue is that we cooperate with the Egyptian government, and we were the bookrunner and major organiser of the Egyptian euro denominated bonds, that was issued during the last four years,” he announced.

He expressed that Egypt has issued the euro denominated bonds during the last four years, worth $16bn, noting that Citibank was the major bookrunner and organiser of $15bn out of these.

He affirmed that Citibank did not participate in the rest $1bn issuance, as the government wanted to reach European banks to issue euro bonds in European channels.

“There are expectations of issuance of another $5bn euro denominated bonds next year, as the Ministry of Finance declared earlier, and I assume that Citibank will be a part of this mandate,” he disclosed.

What Citibank provides to the Egyptian government is within the field of their expertise, the greater client base, the network, the atypical solutions, according to Abdel-Khader.

“What distinguishes Citibank, is its globalism and its specialised projects, and products, so the government is benefiting,” he concluded.

The post Egypt gained trust of investors, continuity of reforms is vital: Citibank Country Officer appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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