Top News: Egyptian Cabinet Expected to be Sworn in by Saturday

Egypt’s newly appointed cabinet is expected to be sworn in and replace the government of outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab next Saturday, state-run Al-Ahram reported. Anonymous sources told Al-Ahram that the ministers of defense, justice, and sports and youth will remain in their positions, stating that no other potential ministers have been contacted to fill in their positions. A cabinet official reportedly revealed that a few ministries will merge in Prime Minister Sherif Ismail’s new cabinet, for a total of thirty-two ministries, instead of thirty-six. The Urban Development Ministry will merge with the Housing Ministry, while the Scientific Research Ministry will merge with the Higher Education Ministry. The Population Ministry may also be merged with the Health Ministry, said the source, although the final decision for all mergers lies with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Ismail and Sisi met Thursday to review the nominees for the incoming cabinet. [Ahram Online, 9/18/2015]

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IMF staff concludes visit to Egypt
A delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded its visit to Egypt on Thursday, led by IMF Mission Chief for Egypt Chris Jarvis. The delegation recommended that Egypt adopt flexible a exchange rate, implement a value-added tax (VAT), and further cut energy subsidies. The IMF also approved of measures taken by the government to reduce the deficit and by the Central Bank to curb the currency parallel market, according to a press release issued on Thursday. “There have been positive economic developments since the mission’s last visit in Egypt,” the press release read. However, the mission highlighted several challenges facing Egypt’s economic growth, including high unemployment, a large fiscal deficit, and high domestic public debt. “The mission welcomes the authorities’ plans to pursue fiscal and structural reforms in order to put public debt on a downward-trending path and encourage private sector credit, thereby supporting growth and employment. Lower fuel and electricity subsidies, combined with the implementation of the VAT, would go a long way toward improving the strength of the budget,” the mission said. [Ahram Online, 9/17/2015]

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  • Egypt’s central bank keeps interest rates on hold in September | Ahram Online, Reuters
  • CBE fixes its basic return rates | DNE
  • Egypt’s GASC receives offers in wheat purchase tender | Reuters
  • Egypt’s economic growth slows in 2015 | Al Bawaba
  • Arab Monetary Fund reports decline in Egypt growth rate to 3 percent in Q1 2015 | Aswat Masriya


Egypt’s ‘zero schoolgirl’ demands independent inquiry into exam results
Schoolgirl Mariam Malak was determined to contest the results of a second forensic committee that ruled against her on Wednesday, meaning that her results will stand despite her allegations of corruption. In July the star pupil from Minya contested her high school exam scores, claiming that her answer sheets were switched with another student’s. During a solidarity protest on the steps of the Journalists Syndicate, Malak appealed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to intervene in her case. On Thursday her lawyer Ehab Ramzy demanded the formation of an independent committee of university professors to examine the sheets for the third time, adding that “the truth can be seen with the naked eye.” [AFP, Aswat Masriya, 9/17/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Graffiti wall in downtown Cairo to be removed in part | Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, AMAY
  • Egypt ranks second in Most Powerful Arab Women in Government for 2015 says Forbes Middle East | DNE


Seventeen militants killed, sixty-two suspects arrested in North Sinai major operation
Egyptian security forces killed seventeen militants and arrested sixty-two suspects on Thursday, September 17, Military Spokesman Mohamed Samir said. This comes on the eleventh consecutive day of the Martyr’s Right operation, Samir added. The spokesman also announced the killing of six militants and the arrest of twenty-two suspects on September 16. The ongoing operation in North Sinai focuses on the cities of al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah. [MENA, Aswat Masriya, 9/18/2015]


Egypt denies reports Mexico demands compensation for attack victims
Mexico’s government reportedly demanded that Egypt compensate tourists mistakenly attacked by Egyptian security forces in a deadly incident that left eight Mexican nationals and four Egyptians dead. According to AFP, the demand was made in a diplomatic note delivered by Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos de Icaza to Egypt’s Ambassador to Mexico, as survivors and families of victims were flying home with Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu. A Mexican news outlet also reported Thursday that Mexico summoned its Egyptian ambassador. Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, however denied the claims saying Egypt did not receive any demands, nor was the ambassador summoned. Abu Zeid explained that he was not officially notified of the ambassador being summoned. Meanwhile, Susana Calderon, one of the Mexican survivors, told Mexican newspaper El Universal their convoy was bombed around five times over a period of three hours, even after local security forces on the ground had stopped them twice and cleared their passage. [Ahram Online, AFP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 9/18/2015]

EU technical aid program for Egypt to be launched in October
An EU technical aid program worth 20 million euros for Egypt will be launched in early October, Minister of Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said Thursday. The program aims to provide technical services to develop the mechanism for foreign trade, trade agreements, industrial development and quality infrastructure, Abdel Nour added. Abdel Nour’s comments were made during a meeting with Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt, Ambassador James Moran. [SIS, 9/18/2015]

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  • Egyptian chief of staff meets British counterpart for military cooperation talks | SIS
  • Luxor to host international conference on religious discourse in November | Cairo Post