Below please find a summary of news you may have missed in the last week about Egypt, the Egypt-U.S. partnership, and other relevant issues. In this issue:
- President El Sisi Begins “Story of A Nation” Event
- Reuters: Tourism Revenues Jump 123.5% in 2017
- Parliament Approves the Appointments of Four New Ministers in Limited Cabinet Shuffle
- Fitch Upgrades Egypt Outlook to ‘Positive’, Moody’s Expects 5% Growth by 2019
- Egypt Assumes Presidency of the Group of 77
- President El Sisi Calls on International Investment Funds to Contribute to Egypt’s Development
- President El Sisi Signs Universal Healthcare Act into Law
- Egypt Restoring Kom El Shoqafa Catacombs
We hope you enjoy. Please let us know if the Embassy can be a resource.
PRESIDENT EL SISI BEGINS “STORY OF A NATION” EVENT
On Wednesday, 17 January, President El Sisi delivered a televised address as part of the “Story of a Nation” event, which will be held through Friday at the Cairo Masa Hotel. Al Ahram reported that President El Sisi “presented a balance sheet on the achievements and projects implemented during the past four years and the challenges facing the country.” He also noted that “was able to survive the dangers of falling into civil war and strife through the unity of its people.”
REUTERS: TOURISM REVENUES JUMP 123.5% IN 2017
Reuters reported this week that Egypt’s tourism revenues jumped 123.5% to $7.6 billion in 2017, with the number of visitors increasing by 54% to 8.3 million. Egypt’s tourism industry continues to see robust growth in advance of the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, expected later this year.
PARLIAMENT APPROVES THE APPOINTMENTS OF FOUR NEW MINISTERS IN LIMITED CABINET SHUFFLE
Early this week, Egypt’s parliament approved a limited cabinet reshuffle with four new ministers named to lead the Ministries of Local Development, Culture, Tourism and the Public Business Sector. The new ministers include Abu Bakr El-Guindy as Minister of Local Development; Inas Abdel Dayem as Culture Minister; Rania Mashat as Minister of Tourism; and Khaled Al-Badawy as Minister of the Public Business Sector. The appointment of two new female ministers also means that for the first time in Egypt’s history there are six female ministers serving simultaneously in Cabinet, an all-time high.
FITCH UPGRADES EGYPT OUTLOOK TO ‘POSITIVE’, MOODY’S EXPECTS 5% GROWTH BY 2019
Rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch both expressed positive sentiment about Egypt’s economy this week. Fitch revised Egypt’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’ and affirmed the rating at ‘B,’ while Moody’s issued a report saying that the rating agency expects that growth will accelerate to 5% by 2019. Moody’s estimated in the report that Egypt’s growth rate will accelerate from 2.4% in 2017 to 5% by 2019, and then to 5.5% by 2021.
EGYPT ASSUMES PRESIDENCY OF THE GROUP OF 77
This week, Foreign Minister Shoukry accepted the Presidency of the Group of 77, a coalition of nations designed to promote collective economic interests & enhance negotiating capacity, in New York City. In his address accepting the Presidency, Foreign Minister Shoukry identified youth unemployment, the Sustainable Development Goals, harnessing technological change and economic empowerment of women as some of Egypt’s top goals for its time as President.
PRESIDENT EL SISI CALLS ON INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT FUNDS TO CONTRIBUTE TO EGYPT’S DEVELOPMENT
Egypt’s State Information Service reported that President El Sisi stated he is looking forward to the contribution of regional and international investment funds in pushing forward economic development efforts in Egypt. President El Sisi’s statements came during a meeting this week with a delegation of regional and international funds currently visiting Egypt. The meeting was attended by Tarek Amr, the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, as well as the Ministers of Investment and International Cooperation, Trade and Industry, Finance, Planning and Economic Business Sector.
PRESIDENT EL SISI SIGNS UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE ACT INTO LAW
On Monday, President El Sisi signed into law the Universal Healthcare Act. The legislation will establish a national EGP 600 billion health coverage plan, which will be funded by premiums for employers of 4% of each employee’s monthly salary, while employees will pay premiums of 1% of their salary. It also levies a 0.0025% tax on sales revenues for companies operating in Egypt to fund the system. Highlighting the passage of the new law, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that the legislation will attract investment in the medical sector and that her ministry plans to actively promote the sector. Implementation of the law is expected to begin in July.
EGYPT RESTORING KOM EL SHOQAFA CATACOMBS
The Ministry of Antiquities announced this week that it is working to restore the Kom El Shaqafa archaeological area, and will open the area to the public as a museum once complete. According Daily News Egypt, “the area holds historical importance due to its catacombs which are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World.” This restoration is part of a larger campaign by the Ministry of Antiquities to renovate and spark public interest in abandoned archaeological sites.