- Egypt is getting a nuclear power plant with Dabaa. The project is massive, with a maximum capacity of 8 GW of nuclear power and built by Russia nuclear giant Rosatom at a cost of around 25 BN USD. Close to 85% of the project’s financed by a 25 BN USD loan from Russia, with Egypt scheduled to begin repaying the 3% interest in October 2029. Construction is expected to begin around H2-2020, and the first 1.2 GW nuclear reactor of four will begin operations in 2026.
- The World Bank Group and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are launching the second phase of an advisory program to improve access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in MENA countries including Egypt. The program will also be implemented in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Palestine.
- Egypt new unified digital tax payment system is set to be fully implemented by the end of 2020. The new system will provide businesses with a single online system for filing and paying income tax, stamp tax and VAT, in an effort to streamline procedures and encourage informal businesses to go legit.
- Saudi Arabia startups attracted 67 MM USD worth of investments in 2019, an increase of 35% compared to 2018. Noting that 2019 for entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia witnessed 71 investment deals, which represents an increase of 92% compared to 2018.
- Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed highlighted the significance of increasing the volume of trade between Saudi Arabia and India crossing66 BN USD. It is worthy to mention that Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest trading partner of India, and its major source of energy.
- The Sharjah FDI Office, Invest in Sharjah, operating under the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, has been named the ‘Best FDI Agency 2019” in UAE by International Finance, a premium business and finance magazine published by the UK’s International Finance Publications Limited.
- UAE has posted a 32 BN AED (18.06 BN USD) surplus for the first nine months of 2019. The surplus was 0.04% higher than in 2018, when the country posted a 66 BN AED (17.96 BN USD) surplus for the same period.
- The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) is aiming to recruit 50 UAE nationals by the end of 2020 noting that 78% of the Central Bank's senior positions are held by Emiratis, a statement by Emirates News Agency showed.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Kuwait financing needs will amount to some 180 BN USD over the next six years given the Gulf state's "modest" fiscal measures and expectations of lower oil prices.
- UAE confirmed on Wednesday that they have detected the first case in the Middle East of the coronavirus. According to UAE Ministry of Health statement, the virus was diagnosed in a Chinese family. The family is in stable condition and under medical observation. Sudan health authorities have also confirmed on Wednesday, recording two cases suspected of Coronavirus. The two Sudanese people were visiting China recently.
- Saudi-Egyptian joint maritime training exercise ends with organizers hailing it a great success. The joint training concentrated on naval self-defense measures, wireless communication, electronic warfare, and search and rescue operations for stricken aircraft and ships.
- Investment bank CI Capital announced that it has 4 EGX IPOs in the pipeline for execution in 2020, including minority stakes in two state-owned firms. The investment bank also plans to manage the listing of a 1 BN EGP private sector food company, and an unnamed education firm.
- Markets are slumping amid worries about the global economy as the Wuhan coronavirus is increasingly looking like a virus. Chinese markets tumbled this morning, with benchmark Shanghai Composite off more than 8% and the Shenzhen Composite plunging nearly 9% as the world’s second-largest economy is effectively shut off from the rest of the world.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- Saudi Telecom (STC) signed a non-binding agreement to acquire Vodafone Group's 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt in a 39 BN USD (37.83 BN EGP) all-cash transaction. The sale values 100% of Vodafone Egypt at 4.4 BN USD (69.65 BN EGP). If executed, the transaction would give STC a 42% share of Egypt telecoms market and be the largest-ever M&A in Egypt.
- The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has given the go-ahead to First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) to conduct due diligence on Bank Audi’s Egypt arm ahead of a potential acquisition. FAB requested approval to begin its formal evaluation earlier this week.
- Real estate investment firm Emerald will make its EGX debut within 10 days, making it 2020’s first IPO. The company will sell 28% of its shares planning to raise 203 MM EGP from the sale.
- Four Egyptian companies are gearing up to issue 82 MM USD (5 BN EGP) in sukuk on the EGX. Noting that CIAF Leasing will offer 50 MM USD while Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) will issue 126.3 MM USD before the end of March. The two unnamed companies, one of which is a real estate holding company and the other a hospitality company, will offer 63.16 MM USD and 94.74 MM USD respectively.
- Cisco has today announced the appointment of Reem Asaad as its new Vice President for its Middle East and Africa region. As digital transformation continues to change and evolve the business landscape at a rapid pace, Asaad, will be responsible for our Middle East and Africa business, growing its position as a leading technology company in the region.
- Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has entered into a strategic partnership with LinkedIn to promote its presence on the professional social network. The partnership will enable KFH to utilize the network’s large-scale suite of benefits, including an easy job search and an effective CV screening process.
- Dubai Alcazar Energy is bidding for two renewable energy tenders, one wind plant and one solar plant, in the West Nile region with a combined capacity of 450 MW. The company completed last year four solar power plants in Aswan Benban park with a combined production capacity of 200 MW.
Sports and Culture
- Hydrogen will be used for the first time to power the Olympic torch during its journey through Japan, as part of Tokyo 2020's efforts to hold an environmentally friendly Games. Organizers aim to offset all carbon emissions generated during the Games and also use the Olympics to boost awareness of environmental issues in Japan.
- UAE National Judo Team won 13 medals at Kuwait Arab Judo Championship, held at the Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex in Kuwait. Ten Arab countries participated in the championship, including UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, Qatar and Kuwait.