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:
- Vice President Pence and President El Sisi Reinforce Strong Partnership Between Countries
- President El Sisi To Be Sworn in on 2 June
- Giza Becomes First Egyptian Governorate to Establish ‘Safe City’ Community Hub for Women and Girls
- Q1 Tourism Revenues Up 83% To $2.2 Billion
- HSBC Remains ‘Fundamentally Optimistic on Egypt’s Near-Term Outlook
- Ministry of Trade and Industry to Adopt Strategy to Upgrade Egyptian Cotton Cultivation, Textiles
- Mobile App ‘7keema’ Named Best Egyptian Startup At 2018 Seedstars World Competition
- Egypt Organizes ‘Africa Week 2018’ At UNESCO
- Tourism Minister Rania El Mashat Delivers Spring 2018 Commencement Address at University of Maryland
- Egyptian Red Sea Resort Listed Among TripAdvisor’s Best Destinations
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE AND PRESIDENT EL SISI REINFORCE STRONG PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN COUNTRIES
This week, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had a call with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
“President El Sisi affirmed the strategic relations that Egypt and the U.S. share, which are considered one of the pillars for stability in the Middle East,” a spokesperson for the Egyptian Office of the Presidency said in a statement. The leaders also discussed the need to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza, along with other domestic and regional issues. “Vice President Mike Pence spoke today with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El Sisi to reinforce the strong partnership between the United States and Egypt,” the White House said in a statement.
PRESIDENT EL SISI TO BE SWORN IN ON 2 JUNE
Following President El Sisi’s victory in Egypt’s 2018 presidential election, he is expected to take the oath of office for a second term on 2 June. This will be President El Sisi’s first oath of office before Parliament, which is required under Article 144 of Egypt’s Constitution. According to Egypt Today, Article 140 of the Constitution stipulates that “the president of the Republic shall be elected for a period of four calendar years, commencing on the day the term of his predecessor ends,” while Article 231 reads that Sisi’s first presidential term started on 3 June 2014, when the presidential election results were declared. President El Sisi will also deliver a speech on his goals for the second presidential term.
GIZA BECOMES FIRST EGYPTIAN GOVERNORATE TO ESTABLISH ‘SAFE CITY’ COMMUNITY HUB FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS
Giza is the first governorate in Egypt to introduce a community hub dedicated to empowering women and girls and protecting them from violence and harassment. The initiative is part of the United Nations Safe Cities project, which aims to create cities free from violence. The community hub, which includes a girl’s park, is funded by the United Nations Women’s Authority, the Egyptian National Council for Women, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Earlier this week, Giza Governor General Mohamed Kamal El Daly joined U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Dorothy Shea for the project’s inaugural event in the Giza neighborhood of in Imbaba. “The United States is committed to supporting the Government of Egypt’s efforts to ensure that women and girls are socially, economically, and politically empowered in public spaces” said Deputy Chief of Mission Shea.
Q1 TOURISM REVENUES UP 83% TO $2.2 BILLION
Reuters reported that tourism revenues jumped 83% to $2.2 billion in the first quarter of 2018, according to a government official, who noted that the number of visitors to Egypt also jumped 37.1% to 2.383 million. Last month, Tourism Minister Rania El Mashat announced plans to continue to attract more tourists and investors by focusing on developing sustainable cities, untapped locations and regulatory reforms. In an interview with Bloomberg, Minister El Mashat said that Egypt has “areas that are untapped along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts [that the government] wants to open up for international bids,” and that Egypt is seeking investors for the development of upscale tourism projects in those areas. “We have a number of laws that govern the tourism sector that have not been touched since 1970, so regulatory reforms could attract investments to hotels and tourist facilities,” she told Bloomberg.
HSBC REMAINS ‘FUNDAMENTALLY OPTIMISTIC ON EGYPT’S NEAR-TERM OUTLOOK
Earlier this month, HSBC expressed their optimism “of Egypt’s near-term outlook” to over 100 clients and partners at the HSBC Economist Roadshow in Cairo on Monday, 7 May. According to a releaseissued by HSBC, Simon Williams, HSBC’s Chief Economist for Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA), said that “the gains delivered by the IMF-anchored reform process that began in late 2016 are impressive and have momentum, and will, in [HSBC’s] view, see the domestic and external imbalances that had become so damaging to economic function continue to narrow over the remainder of this year and into 2019.” Williams further noted that “[HSBC is] optimistic that as inflation falls and confidence in the new, more stable economic environment gains, growth will trend upward boosted by an increase in consumption, investment and exports.”
MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY TO ADOPT STRATEGY TO UPGRADE EGYPTIAN COTTON CULTIVATION, TEXTILES
The Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that the government of Egypt hopes to upgrade the country’s cotton cultivation and textile industry, in order to enhance exports and better meet the demands of local markets. In a meeting of the Supreme Council of Textile Industries, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil stressed the importance of the national strategy outlined by his Ministry, which would expand production and solve other problems. He hopes this strategy will also help lure foreign investments and maximize the value of Egypt’s highly acclaimed cotton.
MOBILE APP ‘7KEEMA’ NAMED BEST EGYPTIAN STARTUP AT 2018 SEEDSTARS WORLD COMPETITION
Egypt Independent reported this week that Egyptian mobile application 7keema has been named the best startup in Egypt at the 2018 Seedstars World Competition. Seedstars World promotes, connects and invests up to a million dollars in emerging market startups through its exclusive startup competition in more than 60 countries. The 7keema app is owned by HealthApp Group and provides safe, instant and high-quality home nursing services through registered and licensed professional nurses. The 24/7 service is currently operating in Egypt and its owners have plans to introduce it to other MENA countries soon. 7keema will represent Egypt at the global Seedstars Summit in Switzerland in April 2019, where 7keema will have a chance to win up to $1M in equity investment.
EGYPT ORGANIZES ‘AFRICA WEEK 2018’ AT UNESCO
The State Information Service (SIS) reported that Egypt’s permanent delegation to UNESCO kicked-off Africa Week 2018 at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters with an event, “Intangible Heritage: Joy and Pride of Africa.” In opening remarks, Ambassador Ihab Badawy, Egypt’s Ambassador to France and permanent delegate to UNESCO, noted that the African Weeks at UNESCO have become a key cultural event not only to highlight African treasures, but to further raise awareness of the other UNESCO groups and get them to know more about Africa. According to SIS, Ambassador Badawy also expressed hope that more African files would be put on UNESCO’s agenda in the coming years, so Africa is better represented in heritage preservation efforts. During the opening ceremony, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay visited the Egyptian pavilion to see Pharaonic souvenirs, traditional customs and handicrafts.
TOURISM MINISTER RANIA EL MASHAT DELIVERS SPRING 2018 COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
This week, H. E. Rania El Mashat, Egypt’s first female tourism minister and youngest currently serving cabinet member, served as commencement speaker for the University of Maryland’s Department of Economics. According to the State Information Service (SIS), Minister El Mashat is an alumna of the University of Maryland where she earned a PhD in economics. After completing her PhD, Minister El Mashat worked as an economist at the IMF in Washington D.C., before returning to Cairo where she served as Sub-Governor for Monetary Policy for 12 years at the Central Bank of Egypt. “Coming from a developing country, I was fascinated by how countries interact with each other and how those relationships contribute to their economic development. The University of Maryland was a fantastic place to get access to these institutions and first-hand expertise,” Minister El Mashat told the University of Maryland.
EGYPTIAN RED SEA RESORT LISTED AMONG TRIPADVISOR’S BEST DESTINATIONS
Egyptian Streets reported this week that Hurghada was listed among the world’s best destinations as a part of TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards 2018. TripAdvisor lauded Hurgahda’s “stunning coral reefs and turquoise waters perfect for windsurfing,” noting that Hurghada is a relatively easy beach escape for Europeans and that some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling sites are just offshore.