Top News: US Contributes $45 Million to Entrepreneurship and Employment Programs in Egypt

The US Embassy in Cairo announced two new programs with a total investment of $45 million that will promote small businesses in Egypt and train students to help them successfully compete for jobs. Provided through the Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Ministry of International Cooperation, the new programs seek to fulfill the needs of thousands of entrepreneurs and vocational school students over a four-year period. The Strengthening Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED) program will receive funding of $22.9 million. Over the coming four years, SEED will provide technical assistance to small businesses throughout Egypt to help them qualify and gain access to bank loans, develop new business ideas, and conduct market research. Aligned with the Government of Egypt’s economic growth strategy, SEED will benefit a number of business sectors, especially woman-owned small businesses and sectors that can potentially employ large numbers of women and youth. The remaining $22.1 million will fund a new educational program called Workforce Improvement and Skills Enhancement (WISE). This program will support quality education at Egyptian vocational schools, especially by partnering with manufacturing and service companies to develop the technical skills of students and future job-seekers. Together, the two programs form a comprehensive package of technical assistance designed to stimulate job creation, economic recovery, private sector growth and a stronger trade and investment environment throughout Egypt. [Cairo Post, 10/29/2015]


Electoral committee to announce results Friday
Egypt’s High Elections Committee (HEC) has said that the final results of the recently concluded first stage of parliamentary elections will most likely be announced on Friday. HEC Spokesman Omar Marwan said that the results of the expat vote will be announced Thursday. He added that the HEC will adjudicate sixteen challenges to results in the runoffs Thursday. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said that around 20,000 voters out of 680,000 eligible voters cast their ballots, with more than 10,000 of those in Kuwait alone. In the first round, 30,531 eligible expat voters took part. Turnout for the runoffs in Egypt was also reportedly lower than the first round. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail declared Wednesday a half day for state employees in an attempt to encourage voters to cast their ballots on the last day. Further violations were reported Wednesday including electoral bribes, illegal campaigning, and attempts to influence voters’ opinions. Four Nour Party members were arrested in Beni Suef for allegedly violating the laws regulating the promotion of candidates during the vote. A woman wearing a niqab was also caught trying to vote using another citizen’s national ID in a polling station in Kerdasa, Giza on Tuesday. Meanwhile, preliminary results trickled in on Thursday. The Nour Party announced it had secured ten seats out of the twenty-five it was competing for in runoffs. Preliminary results also show the Free Egyptians Party securing thirty-six seats, Mostaqbal Watan securing thirty, the Wafd Party fifteen, and the Egyptian Congress five. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, 10/29/2015]

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Zohr discovery to make Egypt’s status as LNG importer short-lived
The huge Zohr natural gas field discovered by Italy’s Eni off the coast of Egypt could reverse the country’s status as an importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Egypt entered the LNG market with a burst of imports earlier this year after leasing a floating storage and regasification unit from Norway’s Hoegh LNG for five years in April. Eni’s discovery, which came at the end of August, could turn Egypt into a net exporter. “We felt comfortable in Egypt’s demand for LNG over a five-year period and we still feel that there’s a good chance Hoegh will serve for longer, but it all depends on how quickly local reserves are developed,” said Chief Executive of Hoegh LNG Partners Richard Tyrrell. Offshore gas fields typically take several years to come on stream, but Egypt already has some of the infrastructure in place, which could accelerate the process. A source at Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum said the government expects production at Zohr to begin at some point in 2018. The ministry said Egypt aims to cease importing LNG by 2020. Meanwhile, Egypt’s cabinet approved a law regulating the natural gas market that establishes a new authority to oversee the market. [Reuters, 10/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s GASC receives offers in wheat tender | Reuters
  • Egyptian bonds under fire as economy struggles | FT
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  • Economists divided on Central Bank of Egypt’s next interest rate decision | Ahram Online
  • After weathering the revolution, Egypt’s real estate sector slows | Mada Masr
  • Government borrows EGP 8 billion in T-bills Thursday | Cairo Post
  • Long halted Suez-Jeddah navigational line to re-operate says Transport Minister | Cairo Post


Revolutionary Socialists say seven striking Mahalla workers to be investigated
Workers in Egypt’s largest public sector textile company in the city of Mahalla, north of Cairo, continued to strike on Wednesday, despite the expiry of a 48-hour ultimatum by the labor minister. The strike in the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company is in its eighth day, as workers demand a 10 percent social bonus promised by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in September to be paid retroactively starting July. According to a statement by labor rights advocates, the Revolutionary Socialists, seven workers have been suspended, and will be investigated for their role in encouraging the strike. The statement could not be verified. [Aswat Masriya, 10/28/2015]

Arab League hosts youth counterterrorism seminar in Sharm al-Sheikh
More than 200 youths from over a dozen Arab states attended the seventh iteration of a counterterrorism seminar organized by the Arab League for university students in Sharm al-Sheikh on Wednesday, according to an al-Azhar statement. Many Muslim youths are “brainwashed by false interpretations” of texts in the Quran and Sunna, al-Azhar stated, adding that scholars and intellectuals must help those youth by promoting the “correct understanding” of Islamic texts and conceptions so they do not “fall prey to violence.” A number of ministries are participating in the seminar, working to educate the youth on their role in addressing extremism, which will include a number of round table discussions meant to facilitate a conversation on conceptions of extremism, militancy, and how to prevent terrorism.  [Cairo Post, 10/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • First Egyptian candidate astronaut for NASA-sponsored space mission | Ahram Online
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  • How do refugees actually fare in Egypt’s education system? | Mada Masr
  • TeN TV channel employees strike | DNE
  • Child beatings occur ‘daily’ in Egyptian schools, says lawyer | Aswat Masriya
  • Alexandria neighborhood starts removing rubble | Cairo Post
  • Tourism minister to inaugurate Hibis Temple | Cairo Post


Security forces arrest twelve alleged Brotherhood members
The Ministry of Interior announced in a statement Thursday the arrest of six leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and another six members of what it described as a Brotherhood-led terror cell targeting military and police forces, as well as vital facilities. The statement did not specify where the arrests took place, saying only that they were part of nationwide efforts by security forces. The statement added that the men were referred to prosecution for investigation. [EGYNews, 10/29/2015]


Sisi in India for India-Africa Forum Summit
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday to attend the third India-Africa Forum Summit, where presidents and representatives of forty African countries will discuss means of developing economic cooperation and mutual investments between India and African countries. The visit marks Sisi’s first visit to India since he was sworn into office in 2014 and Egypt’s participation comes amid efforts to strengthen Egypt’s economic ties with various developing powers, especially economically developing countries such as India. The Egyptian leader will discuss possibilities of Indian investments in Egypt, especially the new development projects in areas around the Suez Canal, such as the planned industrial and logistics hub as well as a bolstering of overall Indian-African ties in order to help developing countries. Sisi is expected to meet with Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom he will discuss a number of issues including bilateral relations and developmental opportunities. Meanwhile, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini will visit Egypt and meet Sisi next week to discuss bilateral relations and developments in the region, including conflicts in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine. [Ahram Online, DNE, SIS, 10/28/2015]

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  • Egypt chairs third session of ICLM | SIS
  • Chief of Staff returns to Egypt after official visit to Madrid | SIS