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:
- Egypt’s Parliament Approves Historic Bankruptcy Law
- Egypt Launches New Scans of Tutankhamun’s Tomb
- Foreign Ministry Welcomes U.S. Terrorist Designation for Hasm, Lewaa Al-Thawra
- NEA Extends Registration Deadline for Election Observers
- President El Sisi Attends Inauguration of Zohr Gas Field
- IMF Increases Projected Growth Rate for Egypt, Praises Egyptian Handling of Economy
- Egypt Works to Make Ancient Sites More Accessible
- Egyptian Researchers Discover Massive Dinosaur Remains at Dakhla Oasis
We hope you enjoy. Please let us know if the Embassy can be a resource.
EGYPT’S PARLIAMENT APPROVES HISTORIC BANKRUPTCY LAW
This week, Reuters reported that Egypt’s Parliament approved a groundbreaking new bankruptcy law to facilitate business in Egypt and spur new investment. Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister for Investmentsaid that “the law would support employees, especially in the small- and micro-scale businesses and would ease the entry and exit of individuals or companies from the business market.” The law is expected to improve Egypt’s standing in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report.
EGYPT LAUNCHES NEW SCANS OF TUTANKHAMUN’S TOMB
CBS News reported this week that Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has launched a second round of scans in the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, searching for previously undiscovered rooms behind the burial chamber. The scans will last a week; previous scans carried out on the chamber were inconclusive.
FOREIGN MINISTRY WELCOMES U.S. TERRORIST DESIGNATION FOR HASM, LEWAA AL-THAWRA
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement this week welcoming the United States’ decision to officially designate Hasm and Lewaa Al-Thawra as foreign terrorist designation. According to Ahram Online, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry stated that “hat the US decision is a real-world demonstration of solidarity with Egypt against terrorism, and an important step forward by the international community in adopting a comprehensive strategy to fighting terrorism and eradicating its roots.”
NEA EXTENDS REGISTRATION DEADLINE FOR ELECTION OBSERVERS
Egypt’s National Elections Authority (NEA) announced on Thursday, 1 February, that it extended the deadline for NGOs to register as election observers to Thursday, 15 February. Ahram Online reported that as of Saturday, 28 January, the NEA had granted approval to 48 NGOs to monitor Egypt’s presidential election from 26-28 March.
PRESIDENT EL SISI ATTENDS INAUGURATION OF ZOHR GAS FIELD
President El Sisi attended the formal inauguration ceremony for gas production this week, along with senior leaders from Eni, which has led work to bring the field online. Egypt’s State Information Service reported that Eni CEO Claudi Descalzi praised Egypt’s cooperation with Eni, as well as Egyptian companies which worked with Eni on the field. Separately, Egypt’s Petroleum Minister Tarek El Mollastated this week that Egypt will complete the development of the Zohr field by the beginning of 2019, a year ahead of schedule.
IMF INCREASES PROJECTED GROWTH RATE FOR EGYPT, PRAISES EGYPTIAN HANDLING OF ECONOMY
Jihad Azour, the Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said this week that he expects Egypt’s economy to grow by 5% in 2018, higher than the IMF had previously estimated. Egypt Independent also reported that Azour stated that Egypt’s “economic reform program contributed to the improvement of the financial situation significantly by raising foreign exchange reserves, addressed the chronic problem faced by the foreign exchange market, increased investment and capital flows, and improved the sovereign rating of Egypt.” SIS also reported that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde stated this week that Egypt “made a hard decision” to liberalize its currency, but that the decision increased Egypt’s foreign reserves and “contributed to an increased flow of foreign direct investments.”
EGYPT WORKS TO MAKE ANCIENT SITES MORE ACCESSIBLE
Cairo Scene reported this week that Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities launched an initiative to make historic and tourist sites more accessible to individuals with physical disabilities. The Ministry is beginning by making improvements at the Luxor Museum and the Luxor and Karnak Temples, some of Egypt’s most popular tourist attractions. Cairo Scene noted that improvements “will include specialised pathways and ramps measuring 1.5 metres in width for individuals with wheelchairs, as well as improved information boards that are more easily accessible to those who are hearing or vision impaired, as well as sign language incorporated into documentary films at visitor centres.”
EGYPTIAN RESEARCHERS DISCOVER MASSIVE DINOSAUR REMAINS AT DAKHLA OASIS
This week geologists discovered the remains of a Titanosaur, a dinosaur which lived between 68 and 80 million years ago, and weighed as much as five tons. The find is particularly notable because discoveries of this type of dinosaur have been rare in Africa. Matt Lamanna of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History told Cairo Scene, “When I first saw pics of the fossils, my jaw hit the floor…This was the Holy Grail—a well-preserved dinosaur from the end of the age of dinosaurs in Africa – that we palaeontologists had been searching for a long, long time.”