Contributions worth $72.5 billion were pledged over the course of Egypt’s Economic Development Conference, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said in his closing speech on Sunday. The contributions were divided between investments, aid, and loans, $33 billion of which had been signed and were ready to be implemented. 


Prime Minister says parliamentary elections to be held in May or June
Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has said that elections for the House of Representatives will be held in May or June, two weeks after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that some clauses in the laws regulating the process were unconstitutional. Mahlab made the remarks in an exclusive interview with BBC on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Elections Observatory, a local-international joint mission to observe parliamentary elections, has stressed the necessity of involving politicians and NGO representatives in the government committee created to amend the law on electoral constituencies, as well as taking into account the political parties’ response to the amendments. [Egypt Independent, 3/16/2015]


Egypt’s Socialist Popular Alliance files legal complaint after police raid Alexandria office
Egypt’s Socialist Popular Alliance Party filed a legal complaint against the interior minister and top police officials after officers stormed its office in Alexandria on Friday. The party announced in a press conference Saturday that it is demanding an investigation into the incident. Members said on the  party’s Facebook page that police ransacked the contents of the office, which it had rented only two days earlier. When the police stormed its space, the party was set to hold a meeting to plan a commemoration event for its late member Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, who was killed on January 24 after she was hit with bird shots as police dispersed a memorial march for the victims of the January 25 Revolution in Downtown Cairo. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 3/15/2015]

Disciplinary committee forces forty-one judges into early retirement
An Egyptian disciplinary court ordered forty-one judges into compulsory retirement on Saturday for supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, judicial sources said. The Disciplinary Council headed by Nabil Zaki, a judge, did not immediately release the reason for its decision, but the judicial sources said thirty-one of the judges were sent into compulsory retirement for signing a statement condemning ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s removal. Another ten are accused of belonging to the “Judges for Egypt” movement within the judiciary that is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. The disciplinary council turned down the case against twenty-five other judges. The judges were referred to the disciplinary board on charges of engaging in political work, forming a judicial movement in violation to the laws and customs of the judiciary and siding with a political faction at the expense of the state. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 3/14/2015]

Court ruling compels government to unfreeze NGO funds
The State Council’s administrative court issued a ruling Sunday compelling the government to unfreeze the funds and assets of the NGO al-Jamia al-Shariya. The ruling revokes the decision to freeze the assets and funds of 138 local branches of the NGO by the Justice Ministry’s committee entitled to review Muslim Brotherhood assets and funds.  In December 2013, the committee announced freezing al-Jamia al-Shariya’s funds, claiming its affiliation to the Brotherhood. The NGO has contested the decision and earned a ruling from the administrative court to revoke the ban. However, the government did not implement the court’s ruling, instead appealing before the court of urgent matters, which ruled against the administrative court’s decision. The administrative court stated Sunday that its ruling is binding to the cabinet, and that the urgent matters court is not entitled to decide on this case. [DNE, 3/16/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Court adjourns Ahmed Ezz’s appeal on election ban to April 22| DNE
  • Detention of policemen accused of killing lawyer extended | Egypt Independent
  • Photojournalist Gamal Ziada attends trial in ‘Al-Azhar University clashes’ case | DNE
  • Juvenile court to retry girl in cabinet clashes case | Ahram Online
  • Morsi’s “espionage for Qatar” trial postponed to Wednesday | Aswat Masriya


Over $70 billion pledged at economic conference says Prime Minister
Contributions worth $72.5 billion were pledged over the course of Egypt’s Economic Development Conference, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said in his closing speech on Sunday. The contributions were divided between investments, aid, and loans, $33 billion of which had been signed and were ready to be implemented. Several agreements were signed in oil, gas and mining sectors were signed, valued at a total of $23.5 billion, including BP signing an agreement Saturday worth $12 billion. British energy company BG agreed to invest $4 billion in Egypt over the next two years, while the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation signed a $3 billion deal with Egypt. MOUs worth around $22 billion were signed by Egypt’s Electricity Minister, with German industrial giant Siemens agreeing to invest $10.5 billion in Egypt, with projects to build power plants that will boost the country’s electricity generation capacity by up to a third. Egypt’s Housing Minister signed four MOUs worth a total of $13.5 billion. Meanwhile, Egypt’s central bank governor said on Monday that the deposits pledged in assistance to Egypt by Gulf countries are set to be delivered within days. The Egyptian government also launched on Saturday its sustainable development strategy on the sidelines of the conference. In his closing speech at the Economic Development Conference, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt needs no less than $200-300 billion “in order to be built” and “so that there is real hope” for the Egyptian people. Sisi also announced that Egypt will hold a similar economic conference annually and invited all attendees to visit again next year. [Aswat Masriya, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, AFP, Ahram Online, 3/16/2015]

Egypt set to start work on new capital city in as little as fifty days
Egypt’s government announced Friday plans to build a new capital adjacent to Cairo, in a massive new project that in its first phase would cost $45 billion and take up to seven years to complete. Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced the plan at the opening of the three day international economic conference. The aim, he said, is to alleviate congestion and overpopulation in Cairo over the next forty years. The new capital would include 490 kilometer square of land available for urban development, to provide 1.1 million housing units and house 5 million citizens Madbouly said. The capital would also include 10,000 roads and a new airport. Egypt has agreed to start work on the new capital city within the next fifty days with Capital City Partners, the private real estate investment fund in charge of developing the project, Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman said. [AP, Aswat Masriya, The Guardian, 3/16/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Prime Minister lays out Egypt’s plan for economic reform | Aswat Masriya
  • Suez Canal head says zone development can bring in billions | AP, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt’s Sawiris to diversify Orascom, invest $500 million in Egypt | Reuters, AP
  • Alexandria public beaches up for auction | DNE
  • Egypt aims for tourism revenue of up to $9.5 billion in 2015 | Reuters
  • VISA: 30 million Egyptians carry out financial transactions outside legal channels | Egypt Independent
  • Minister: Egypt state oil company signs deal to help develop Iraqi fields | Reuters
  • Banks offer Orascom Construction $1.95 billion for power plant development in Egypt | Aswat Masriya
  • Final signing of housing units deal with Arabtec within days | Aswat Masriya
  • $9 billion in UAE and Saudi investments for new power stations | Egypt Independent
  • UAE’s Majid al-Futtaim says to invest $590 million more in Egypt | Reuters
  • Transport Minister says ministry is preparing list of investment projects worth $13.5 billion | Egypt Independent
  • Top Egypt businessman says Cairo should fire slack civil servants | Reuters, Egypt Independent


Endowments Ministry bans clerics allegedly belonging to Muslim Brotherhood
The Ministry of Religious Endowments has announced a ban on any cleric affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood  from giving sermons at mosques. The ministry decided to ban those belonging to groups who participated in the pro-Morsi Raba’a al-Adaweya sit-ins, or any other kind of sit-ins that “go against the nation’s interest.” The ministry said in an official statement, “We will announce the list of names of the scholars who were banned soon.” Meanwhile, hundreds of workers of the religious endowments department in downtown Alexandria resumed on Sunday their strike for the second consecutive week, demanding permanent contracts and disbursal of their salary dues, which should have been paid six months ago. The protesters called for solutions and warned against further escalation against the department. They also raised banners demanding the dismissal of Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa. In a press statement issued on Sunday, Gomaa said that atheism and terrorism are two imminent dangers facing the Arab World, stressing that both were the byproduct of imperialism. The minister said “invisible powers” have been feeding atheism in the Arab region with the aim of breaking down the military, economic and intellectual structures of Arab societies. He added that those “powers,” whom he did not name, resort to atheism to achieve what they fail to accomplish through backing terrorism. [DNE, 3/16/2015]

Fayoum University students enter strike’s fifth day following student arrests
Students at Fayoum University are entering the fifth day of boycotting classes in protest at the imprisonment of fellow students. The boycott follows violence that erupted when security forces stormed the campus last Monday to clear a protest resulting in the detention of fifty students. Twenty-nine students has since been released. On Tuesday, it was reported that a Fayoum court jailed twenty-one for violent activities, including: a teacher and twenty students. Meanwhile, a 17-year old high school student from Fayoum was allegedly arrested in his home March 6, but police deny he is detained. His family have submitted several reports to the Prosecutor General and local police stations in Fayoum, but so far no trace of him has been found. [DNE, 3/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt undermines labor rights to attract investment: Rights campaign | DNE
  • Minya gives out subsidized bread in garbage trucks, citing lack of alternatives | Egypt Independent
  • GUC students boycott exams, oppose administration | DNE, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • Student in hiding after prison sentence for atheism | DNE
  • State-run, party and independent newspaper prices increase | DNE
  • At least thirty-three deaths in Egypt from bird flu in 2015 | Ahram Online
  • 674 violations against Egyptian journalists in 2014: Watchdog group | Ahram Online
  • Concerns over human rights, civil society situation in Egypt before UNHRC | DNE
  • Steel workers protest in Suez | Egypt Independent


Five injured, one killed in bomb attacks in Alexandria, Mattariya
Egyptian security officials say a garbage collector and his donkey were killed when an improvised explosive device exploded on Saturday evening in the Mattariya district. The bomb detonated on the tram line as they passed by. Another bomb on Saturday night injured a police officer near the court complex in Alexandria. Meanwhile, Egyptian security officials say a bomb exploded next to the local branch of an international bank in Alexandria, wounding four people on Saturday morning. Another blast was also reported at the Kom al-Dekka district in central Alexandria, leaving no injuries yet destroying a number of vehicles, shops and buildings nearby. In Cairo, an explosion went off in Hadayek al-Qoba, where the explosion targeted a Vodafone branch – no injuries were reported. [DNE, Ahram Online, AP, 3/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Forty-five militants killed, ninety-seven others arrested: Armed forces | DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Suspect in High Court explosion reportedly seen on tapes planting bomb | DNE
  • Pharmacist held hostage released after twelve days in captivity | Egypt Independent


Kerry expects release of US military aid to Egypt ‘very soon’
US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a press conference Saturday that he expects a decision on the release of US military aid to Egypt “very soon.” Meanwhile, a US Congress delegation met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday evening, to discuss bilateral relations between Egypt and the US, efforts to combat terrorism, and regional issues. The delegation noted its support for Egypt, adding that it will provide all assistance, including militarily, to support Egypt’s fight against terrorism, both in Sinai and along the western border. [Ahram Online, AP, Aswat Masriya, 3/15/2015]

Strong Egyptian economy ‘lynchpin of stability in region’, says British envoy
A strong Egyptian economy is the mainstay of democracy and stability in the region, British ambassador to Egypt John Casson said on Sunday at an international investment conference in Sharm al-Sheikh. The ambassador said that the global investor summit is a “golden opportunity” for Egypt to show the business opportunities it has for investors as a “huge central economy to the region” and to set “clear reform plan” to create a better investment climate. [Ahram Online, 3/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Hamas seeks to turn over new leaf with Egyptian government | DNE
  • Egypt seeks strong relations with international community | DNE
  • Shoukry meets world leaders at Economic Summit | DNE
  • Merkel invites Sisi to visit Germany | DNE, Reuters
  • 285 Egyptians return home from conflict-stricken Libya | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian expats to return from Libya on first flight from Algeria | DNE
  • Summit on Ethiopia dam in Khartoum on March 23: Sudanese FM | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Consultancy firm to be selected by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in days – state agency | Aswat Masriya
  • Shoukry, Saleh discuss Egypt-Eritrean relations | DNE
  • Italy, UK, EU express wish to join Sisi’s Libya counterterrorism efforts | DNE
  • Syrian opposition leader in Cairo to prepare for April conference  | DNE
  • Israeli report: Egypt’s shift away from the US not in Israel’s interest | Egypt Independent