- Saudi Arabia has been named as one of the world’s most transformative nations for advancing the economic role of women in society. The World Bank’s annual “Women, Business, and the Law” report has ranked Saudi Arabia top among 190 countries for its progress in applying reforms related to female involvement in economic development and entrepreneurship.
- Saudi Arabia has approved projects to build nearly 134,000 new houses in various areas within an ongoing program to increase house ownership by citizens. About 57,000 houses will be built in the Western Makkah city while nearly 28,000 units will be constructed in Riyadh and the rest in other cities.
- The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) General Authority (Monshaat) has begun refunding government fees to some small and medium enterprises as part of a government fee recovery initiative after the service was previously limited to companies only.
- The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) left interest rates unchanged when it met on last Thursday. The CBE cited domestic factors such as inflation accelerating in December on the back of the dissipating favorable base effect and unemployment increasing slightly in Q3-2019, combined with macro headwinds such as volatility in international oil prices.
- Egypt GDP is expected to grow at 8% in 2020 and 5.3% in 2021, one of the highest in North Africa, according to the United Nations’ 2020 World Economic Situation and Prospects report.
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai announced new 2 TR AED (544 BN USD) target for Dubai non-oil foreign trade by 2025.
- Globally, Dubai is ranked 17th most expensive city, more affordable than Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, London, Zurich, Bangkok, Paris, Vienna, Sydney and Rio de Janeiroetc. Dubai offers a good consumer value for certain high-end goods and services, such as luxury jewellery, business class travelling and wedding banquets, according to Swiss bank Julius Bär's Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2020.
- Qatar dismissed the restrictions on leaving the country for nearly all migrant workers as part of its reforms answering accusations of exploitation especially in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup.
- Saudi authorities detained a billionaire global investor and the head of the National Guard as part of an anti-corruption purge that consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's hold on power. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained. Analysts said the goal of the purge went beyond corruption and aimed to remove potential opposition to Prince Mohammed as he pushes an ambitious and controversial reform agenda.
- A Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed 29 people at a crowded marketplace in northern Yemen last Wednesday.
- Prince Mansour bin Muqrin; the deputy governor of Asir province and 7 other regional officials were killed in a helicopter crash in the southwestern mountains of the kingdom after returning from a regular inspection tour in the province.
- For the first time since July 2007, the Palestinian government resumed control on of the Rafah crossing with Egypt in the south of the Gaza Strip marking a new chapter in the Palestinian reconciliation.
- Bahrain would impose entry visas on Qatar nationals and residents in what it called a security measure.
- The US government has approved a 1.1 BN USD (4 BN AED) deal to service Qatar's F-15 fighter jets as the Gulf crisis enters its fifth month.
- .EGX30 banking sector has slightly increased led by Commercial International Bank (CIB).
- .KWSE banking sector has declined led by National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and Kuwait Finance House.
- .ADI banking sector has increased led by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). On the other hand, telecommunication sector has declined led by Etisalat and real estate sector led by Aldar Properties.
- .DFMGI real estate sector has declined led by Emaar Properties.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- EgyptAir Holding Company has started negotiations with 25 state-owned and private banks to secure the required funding to buy and lease 45 planes with a value of 5 BN USD.
- Leading French energy company"Engie" has been granted a contract by the Egyptian government to develop a 250 MW wind farm in Rhas Gharib area on the Gulf of Suez together with its consortium partners Toyota Tsusho Corporation/Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation (40%) and Orascom Construction Limited (20%). The total investment of the project will hit 400 MM USD and the financing will be through Japanese Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) in coordination with commercial lenders SMBC and Sociéte Générale.
- Kuwait Petrochemical Industries Co (PIC) has signed a contract with U.S. firm Jacobs Engineering to carry out engineering and design work for a planned polypropylene plant it co-owns in Canada.
- Ahlibank total assets have increased by 6% to reach 2 BN OMR (5.1 BN USD) for the first time, while loans and advances and financing for the period increased by 6.2% to 1.65 BN OMR (4.29 BN USD).
- Doha Bank has entered into an agreement with Centrum Wealth Management Limited, to offer its customers wealth management services in India.The partnership in Qatar and one of its kind in Kuwait, will enable Doha Bank's high net-worth customers to invest in various asset classes in the Indian markets under the specialist guidance of Centrum.
- Saudi Arabia has awarded a major contract worth 985 MM SAR (262.3 MM USD) to Turkey's Mapa Construction and Trade Company for the development of the Arafat-Taif Water Transmission System project. The project will consist of a 45-km pipeline from Arafat to Taif as well as pumping stations and 12.5-km tunnels, it is set to be supervised by Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC).
- Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) has reported a 10.7% increase in Q3-2017 net profit and is expected that Q4 will perform better than Q3.
Sports and Culture
- Farida Othman, the first Egyptian to win a medal at the swimming World Champions, has been named as the best athlete in Africa at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Awards 2017 for the past year accomplishment.
- Zamalek will host Ahly in their Egyptian Premier League derby on 8th of January 2018 at Cairo Stadium for the first time in over three years, the Egyptian Football association (EFA) stated on Monday.
- The world's first "Hunger Games" theme park opened on 20th of October 2017 at Dubai Parks and Resorts, the region's largest integrated theme park destination. The World of the Hunger Games features rides and attractions from the blockbuster movie franchise, and is the latest addition to the Hollywood-inspired theme park.