- Egypt Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said was selected as the best minister in the Arab world. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced the winners of the Arab Government Excellence Award, which aims to recognize leading Arab ministers and ministries for their outstanding work.
- Egypt economy is expected to grow between 8-4% in 2021/2022, according to the Finance Minister Mohamed Maait. However, the World Bank last month forecasted 5.8% growth rate for Egypt economy over the same period.
- Saudi Arabia is looking to adopt the electronic invoicing model implemented by Egypt which managed to be the first country in the MENA region to require taxpayers to issue electronic tax invoices.
- Saudi Arabia non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to decrease by 7% in 2020 compared to 3% previously, according to Jadwa Investment report. Meanwhile, the country’s overall GDP in 2020 is predicted to fall by 3.6%.
- A total of 6% of Saudis working in the private sector will benefit from the recent government decision to increase minimum monthly wage of Saudis for Nitaqat program to 4,000 SAR (1066 USD) from 3,000 SAR (800 USD).
- In UAE, the pharmaceuticals industry has been steadily expanding, while the utilities market has remained buoyant and the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) continue to sustain the economy. The e-commerce sector is also on a growth trajectory, with both start-ups and established firms announcing new deals, launches and investments.
- Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has approved a grant of 250 MM AED (70 MM USD) provided by the UAE government to fund the development of more than 2,000 residential housing units that is part of the urban redevelopment of one Albania’s leading economic centers that sustained major damage from recent earthquakes.
- UAE has stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Syria and Somalia. The visa ban also applies to citizens of Algeria, Kenya, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia and Turkey.
- Sudan walked away from negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) scheduled to take place last Saturday, calling the previous rounds of talks “useless” and urging the African Union to step in to mediate the process.
- Amid market volatility due to concerns over a second wave of COVID-19 infections, pharmaceutical stocks on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) reported strong performance ahead of potential mergers and acquisitions. Over the last three months, Kahira Pharmaceuticals jumped by 32%, while Alexandria Co. for Pharmaceuticals and Chemical Industries and Glaxo SmithKline (GSK Egypt) advanced by 23% and 22%, respectively.
- The Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) extended its gains on Thursday for the 5th consecutive session after inching up by 05% to 8,693.47 points. A total of 487.460 million shares were traded via 502,971 deals at 13 BN SAR (3.46 BN USD).
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- Amoun Pharma could be the target of a joint acquisition bid by the Emirati and Saudi sovereign wealth funds, who are said to be eyeing Bausch Health’s unit in Egypt as part of a larger, longer-term partnership. Noting that the price tag could be worth of 700 MM USD.
- Palm Hills plans to securitize 6 BN EGP (102.3 MM USD) of its portfolio in an issuance handled by the Arab African International Bank (AAIB). AAIB, CIB and Al Ahli United bank will guarantee the issuance, while ALC Alieldean Weshahi & Partners will act as legal counsel and Grant Thornton Mohamed Hilal as financial auditor for the issuance.
- The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is getting 100 MM EUR credit facility from the French Development Agency (AFD) to finance green projects in Egypt and Egypt could see the establishment of its first green industrial zone under a partnership between the Trade Ministry, Suez Canal Economic Zone, and UNIDO.
- Amazon recruited 2,000 people in 2020 for various roles in UAE and it is creating more jobs in key regional markets such as Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. E-commerce companies in the UAE have witnessed a boom following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, recruiting for several jobs, especially in the delivery and operation sections.
- Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has celebrated the listing of 1 BN USD Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai. With a profit rate of 625% per annum, the Sukuk was oversubscribed 5.7 times for attracting over 150 high-quality investors from the Middle East and the world.
- Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the ratings of Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to A1 from A2 due to increased government support. The outlook on all ratings is negative, reflecting the negative outlook on Saudi Arabia sovereign rating and the significant credit linkages between SEC and the government
- The Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp (SPIMACO) has signed a non-binding MoU with Germany CureVac biopharmaceutical company to provide the COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia.
- Agthia Group has penned a sales purchase agreement to acquire Kuwait's Al Faysal Bakery and Sweets. In 2019, Al Faysal Bakery and Sweets recorded revenues of 92 MM AED (25 MM USD) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of 27 MM AED (7.35 MM USD).
Sports and Culture
- His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2021 for their contribution in reaching the historic peace accord between the two countries.
- In Egypt, it was a massive weekend for football fans. Al Ahly went home with their 9th Champions League title on Friday after beating Zamalek 2-1 in Cairo. Moreover, Egypt jumped three places in the FIFA November world rankings to no.49, putting us 4th in the regional pecking order after Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.