Trade exchange between Egypt and member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) hit 2.952 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, up 32.2 per cent year on year, Egypt’s statistics agency said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics said that exports to COMESA countries amounted to 1.908 billion dollars in 2018, up 17.2 per cent from 2017.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s imports from COMESA countries reached 1.44 billion dollars in 2018, an increase of 72.6 per cent year on year, it added.
Egypt’s economy has been battered by years of turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
However, the country has recently shown signs of economic improvement amid strict economic reforms, including tax hikes and energy subsidy cuts recommended by the International Monetary Fund that supports Egypt’s economic reform plan with a 12-billion-dollar loan. (Xinhua/NAN)
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)
Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume talks on disputed dam
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have resumed negotiations on the filling and operation of a controversial dam being built by Addis Ababa on the Blue Nile.
The online meeting on Monday between the three Nile basin countries is the second of a new round of talks brokered by the African Union to resolve the years-long dispute about the hydroelectric Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, fears that the dam will reduce its water supply and is seeking a legally binding deal that would guarantee appropriate flows of water and a legal mechanism for resolving disputes before the dam starts operating.
Ethiopia wants the dam to boost its power exports, whereas Egypt relies almost exclusively on the Nile for farming, industry and domestic water use.
During Monday’s meeting, Egypt’s Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty expressed his country’s rejection of Ethiopia’s “unilateral measure” of starting the filling of the dam without consultation and coordination with Egypt and Sudan, which both lie downstream, according a statement issued by his spokesperson.
The minister said the move “gives negative indications that Ethiopia does not want to reach a fair agreement and runs counter to a previous agreement of principles.”
The three countries agreed that the legal and technical committees will discuss the contentious issues during the next two days. The results will be presented at a ministerial meeting on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of Ethiopians celebrated the first filling of the dam on Sunday, flooding the streets of the capital Addis Ababa in support of the project.
In July, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the country had completed the first filling of the dam thanks to seasonal rainfall.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
African Champions League final to be played in October
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has abandoned plans to play the semi-final and final matches of the 2019/2020 African Champions League in a single venue.
The continental football ruling body has now set a date of Oct. 16 and Oct. 17 for the continental decider.
Cameroon had been earmarked to host the final stages of the competition.
Both semi-finals feature Moroccan clubs against Egyptian opposition as Raja Casablanca take on Zamalek, while Wydad Casablanca meet Al Ahly.
The first legs of both ties will be played in Morocco on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26, with the return legs in Egypt on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3.
Should the two winners be from the same nation then the final will be in that country in mid-October.
But, if not, CAF has asked member associations to bid to host the decider at a neutral venue, setting a deadline of Aug. 17 for interested parties.
CAF has also confirmed the dates for the African Confederation Cup’s closing stages that will be played in Morocco.
Pyramids of Egypt meet Horoya from Guinea in Casablanca on Sept. 22, while on the same day there is an all-Moroccan clash between RS Berkane and Hassania Agadir in Rabat.
The final will be staged at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on Sept. 27.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Roundup: Egypt achieves positive economic indicators despite COVID-19: statement
Egypt has achieved positive economic indications in the fiscal year 2019-2020 compared to the previous year amid the COVID-19 impact, said Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly in a statement on Wednesday.
The fiscal year in Egypt begins in July.
“The country also achieved a primary surplus of 1.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019-2020, compared to a target of 2 percent before the outbreak of COVID-19,” Madbouly said.
Egypt’s overall budget deficit narrowed to 7.8 percent of the GDP in the fiscal year 2019-2020, down from 8.2 percent in 2018-2019, despite the impact of the pandemic, he added.
Madbouly pointed out that though the targeted indications have not been fulfilled, the numbers of the initial surplus and the overall deficit are better than last year.
The county’s GDP growth is expected to stand at 3.8 percent of the fiscal year 2019-2020, down from a budget initial projection of 6 percent, the cabinet statement quoted Finance Minister Mohamed Maait as saying during the weekly government meeting.
Maait added that the country’s debt ratio is expected to decline to 86.2 percent of GDP at the end of June from 90.4 percent a year earlier.
The state budget debt has declined to 86.2 percent in the GDP in June 2020 compared to 90.4 percent in the same period in 2019, the minister added, deeming it as a big accomplishment that implied the government’s good and balanced plan in controlling the impacts of the pandemic.
The country’s economy was hit sharply for several years in the aftermath of 2011 and 2013 uprisings. To boost the economy, Egypt has adopted a reform plan in 2016 that included float of the currency, increase of taxes, and lift of the subsidy.
In the last three years, the economy was boosted by a recovery of tourism and strong remittances from Egyptians working abroad, the main sources of hard currency.
On Tuesday, Fitch Ratings has maintained Egypt’s B+ ratings with a stable outlook, supported by the country’s commitment to furthering the reform program.
According to Fitch, the COVID-19 shock is negatively affecting Egypt’s external finances, GDP growth, and fiscal performance, but Egypt’s economic reforms have provided the country with a degree of flexibility to deal with the pandemic impacts.
The report also expected the growth to recover up to 5.5 percent in fiscal year 2021-2022 and to be maintained at just 5 percent in the medium term assuming a gradual return of tourists.
Madbouly hailed Fitch report as a message that asserts the confidence of the international financial institutions in the national economy and in the reform measures that have been implemented by the government.
Thailand to resume repatriating stranded Thais overseas after student dies from COVID-19 in Egypt
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday said that he had ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to quickly organize flights to pick up Thais stranded overseas after a student died of COVID-19 in Egypt.
“Repatriation flights would be provided on an ongoing basis and would bring back tens of thousands of Thai people now waiting to return home from overseas,” said Prayut.
A Thai student passed away on Tuesday in a hospital in Cairo due to a lung inflammation caused by the coronavirus, the ministry announced.
The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Thailand said that 325 Thais who returned on a repatriation flight earlier from Egypt, were tested for COVID-19.
Also, three Thai monks at a Buddhist temple in Las Vegas of the United States had been infected with the virus and two of them were taken to hospital and required the use of a respirator, according to the CCSA.
Meanwhile in Uzbekistan, 27 of the Thai workers have been found to be infected with COVID-19, raising concerns amongst other Thais there that they may be contracted with the virus.