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 Meets with U.S. Evangelical Delegation in Cairo
- Operation Sinai 2018 Update: 13 Terrorists Killed, 86 Wanted Criminals and Terrorists Arrested
- Fitch: Egypt Rate Cut Made Possible by Macro Stabilization
- Mars to Double Egypt Investment and Increase Exports this Year
- U.S. Embassy Welcomes U.S. Investment in Egypt with Mars Expansion
- Egypt Building World’s Largest Solar Energy Park
- Cabinet Approves Law Adjusting the Legal Status of 53 Churches
- Egyptians Sweep Windy City Open Squash Championships
- Parts of Ramses II Statue Discovered in Aswan
We hope you enjoy. Please let us know if the Embassy can be a resource.
PRESIDENT EL SISI MEETS WITH U.S. EVANGELICAL DELEGATION IN CAIRO
President El Sisi met with leaders of a U.S. Christian evangelical community delegation in Cairo.According to Al Ahram, the group discussed recent developments in the war against terrorism, and exchanged views on how the United States and Egypt can “advance the battle against extremism by way of international collaboration.” The US delegation also expressed their appreciation for Egyptian president’s role in fighting terrorism, as well his policies on economic development and reform in Egypt.
OPERATION SINAI 2018 UPDATE: 13 TERRORISTS KILLED, 86 WANTED CRIMINALS AND TERRORISTS ARRESTED
Egypt’s Ministry of Defense reported that the Armed Forces have killed 13 terrorists and arrested 86 wanted criminals and terrorists in Operation Sinai 2018, a comprehensive counter-terrorism campaign launched to eliminate terrorism from the Sinai Peninsula. Combat groups from the Armed Forces and Interior Ministry also continue to operate over six hundred security patrols and setting up checkpoints across the country. The statement reiterated the military and police’s determination to eradicate terrorism and achieve security and stability for the Egyptian people.
FITCH: EGYPT RATE CUT MADE POSSIBLE BY MACRO STABILIZATION
On Tuesday, 27 February, ratings agency Fitch published an article stating that “Egypt’s first interest rate cut since the exchange rate liberalization (had) been made possible by an improvement in macroeconomic stability, underpinned by more orthodox policy settings under the country’s IMF programme.” The statement added that “these factors were reflected last month in [Fitch’s] revision of the Outlook on Egypt’s ‘B’ sovereign rating to ‘Positive’ last month.”
MARS TO DOUBLE EGYPT INVESTMENT AND INCREASE EXPORTS THIS YEAR
The Mars Wrigley Confectionary Company announced its intention to double its investment in Egypt to LE 2 billion (approximately USD $114 million) by the end of 2018, with a goal to grow its exports out of Egypt to $100 million. The announcement was made at the inauguration of the first phase of Mars’ $42.6 million factory expansion, in a ceremony attended by Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil and Mars Wrigley Confectionary President Martin Radvan. In a statement, Minister Kabil said that “Mars’ investment expansionary plans are positive results of Egypt’s economic reform program, emphasizing the government success in creating an attractive and encouraging environment for international corporations to invest in the Egyptian market.” Mr. Radvan stated, “Our expansions reflect Mars’ confidence in the Egyptian economy, as Mars is committed to long-term investments in the places it operates in. We came to stay in Egypt, and our commitment towards the Egyptian economy is firm.”
U.S. EMBASSY WELCOMES U.S. INVESTMENT IN EGYPT WITH MARS EXPANSION
In conjunction with an announcement by the Mars Wrigley Confectionary company that it will double its investment in Egypt, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger stated that it “is an outstanding example of a U.S.-Egyptian partnership that benefits both our countries… America’s and Egypt’s commercial and economic ties are an integral part of our strategic partnership; they complement and support our strong security and political cooperation as we work together to eradicate terrorism and to make the world a better, more peaceful and prosperous place.” According to a release by U.S. Embassy Cairo, Goldberger noted that “American companies want to be part of the growing momentum in the Egyptian economy, a momentum clearly evidenced by Mars’ choice of Egypt as a location to expand its production for the Egyptian market and for export.”
EGYPT BUILDING WORLD’S LARGEST SOLAR ENERGY PARK
Electrek reported this week on the world’s largest solar park, which is currently under development in Egypt. The Benban Solar Park near Aswan aims to produce between 1.6GW -2.0GW of solar power by the mid-2019. According to a press release issued by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a project partner, “Egypt’s reforms in its energy sector opened the door to private sector investments.” Philippe Le Houérou, the CEO of the IFC, said that “[Egypt’s] reforms and our innovative financial tools have helped attract a number of investors and financiers into the country for the first time,” and that “this will create jobs for many Egyptians and provide clean and reliable energy for people across the country.”
CABINET APPROVES LAW ADJUSTING THE LEGAL STATUS OF 53 CHURCHES
According to the State Information Service, Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouli said on Wednesday that the Cabinet has approved a decision to begin legalizing 53 unlicensed churches and church-affiliated community service buildings in a number of governorates. “The Cabinet decision comes in light of the rights granted by the 2014 Constitution to the followers of the Abrahamic religions to practice their religious rites at places of worship,” a statement by the Cabinet reported by Al Ahram said. In 2016, the government passed a law that streamlined the licensing process for building Christian houses of worship, and in January 2018 Egypt’s Ministry of Housing issued an order to allow Christians to practice their religious rites at unlicensed churches pending the legalization of their status.
EGYPTIANS SWEEP WINDY CITY OPEN SQUASH CHAMPIONSHIPS
Congratulations to Egyptians Nour El Tayeb and Mohamed Elshorbagy, who won both the women’s and men’s titles at the Windy City Open squash tournament this week in Chicago. After winning the tournament, Elshorbagy said, “After last season – I worked really hard, set new goals that I wanted to achieve, and it just shows that nothing can stop anyone achieving their dream if they work hard for it.
PARTS OF RAMSES II STATUE DISCOVERED IN ASWAN
The Egyptian expedition working on the groundwater treatment project at the Kom Ombo Temple in Aswan discovered parts of a previously undiscovered statue of King Ramses II. The discovered head showed King Ramses II wearing the white crown of pharaonic Upper Egypt. According to Al Masry Al Youm, the importance of this discovery lies in the fact that it serves as new evidence of the existence and use of the Kom Ombo Temple for longer than archaeologists had previously realized.