amwalalghad :: Blogging

Your English Portal To Arab Economy

Telecom Egypt   11.48        GMC GROUP FOR INDUSTRIAL COMME   1.29        El Arabia for Investment & Dev   0.34        Modern Company For Water Proof   1.03        Ismailia Misr Poultry   2.45        Pioneers Holding   2.84        Ezz Steel   7.86        Egyptian Real Estate Group   6.85        Rakta Paper Manufacturing   4.39        Orascom Telecom Holding (OT)   3.92        Naeem Holding   0.19        Egyptian Iron & Steel   6.87        Universal For Paper and Packag   4.94        Northern Upper Egypt Developme   4.93        Canal Shipping Agencies   7.39        Misr Chemical Industries   5.65        United Arab Shipping   0.43        Egyptians Housing Development    1.94        Egyptian for Tourism Resorts   0.69        Modern Shorouk Printing & Pack   7        Upper Egypt Contracting   0.8        Egyptian Financial Group-Herme   7.42        Orascom Construction Industrie   240.82        Heliopolis Housing   21.65        Raya Holding For Technology An   4.57        United Housing & Development   8.93        International Agricultural Pro   2.1        Gulf Canadian Real Estate Inve   18.08        Alexandria Pharmaceuticals   45.71        Arab Cotton Ginning   2.46        National Real Estate Bank for    11.84        Egyptian Chemical Industries (   7.26        Six of October Development & I   15.03        National Development Bank   6.72        Oriental Weavers   20.66        Arab Gathering Investment   16.29        Egyptians Abroad for Investmen   2.75        Credit Agricole Egypt   9.04        Palm Hills Development Company   1.61        Remco for Touristic Villages C   2.13        Commercial International Bank    29.87        El Ezz Porcelain (Gemma)   1.9        Egyptian Starch & Glucose   5.4        Arab Real Estate Investment (A   0.41        South Valley Cement   3.12        Citadel Capital - Common Share   2.5        Ceramic & Porcelain   2.88        Rowad Tourism (Al Rowad)   5.05        Union National Bank - Egypt "    3.25        El Nasr Transformers (El Maco)   4.78        Egyptian Media Production City   2.31        GB AUTO   27        Sharkia National Food   3.78        Egyptian Transport (EGYTRANS)   7.85        El Kahera Housing   4.97        El Shams Housing & Urbanizatio   2.45        Egyptian Kuwaiti Holding   0.7        Cairo Poultry   8.32        ARAB POLVARA SPINNING & WEAVIN   2.11        Egyptian Financial & Industria   8        T M G Holding   4.03        Asek Company for Mining - Asco   10.66        Misr Hotels   27        Egyptian Electrical Cables   0.56        Medinet Nasr Housing   22.51        Mena Touristic & Real Estate I   1.21        ELSWEDY CABLES   18        Prime Holding   0.91        Al Arafa Investment And Consul   0.17        Alexandria Spinning & Weaving    0.74        Gharbia Islamic Housing Develo   8.41        General Company For Land Recla   16.6        Alexandria Cement   8.9        Arab Valves Company   0.94        Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals   12.4        TransOceans Tours   0.09        Egyptian for Developing Buildi   6.43        Egyptian Gulf Bank   1.24        Kafr El Zayat Pesticides   18.19        Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt -   35.1        National company for maize pro   11.86        Delta Construction & Rebuildin   4.03        Zahraa Maadi Investment & Deve   48.25        Samad Misr -EGYFERT   3.52        Egypt for Poultry   1.41        Cairo Development and Investme   11.7        Cairo Pharmaceuticals   20.1        Maridive & oil services   0.9        Suez Canal Bank   3.75        Nile Pharmaceuticals   15.81        The Arab Dairy Products Co. AR   73.85        National Housing for Professio   14.39        El Ahli Investment and Develop   4.87        Egyptian Saudi Finance Bank   10.79        Ismailia National Food Industr   5.16        National Societe Generale Bank   25.52        Acrow Misr   19.16        Alexandria Mineral Oils Compan   63.63        Paper Middle East (Simo)   5.59        Egypt Aluminum   12.31        Giza General Contracting   13.12        Middle Egypt Flour Mills   5.82        Extracted Oils   0.6        Assiut Islamic Trading   4.56        Engineering Industries (ICON)   3.95        North Cairo Mills   15.3        Arab Pharmaceuticals   11.88        Grand Capital   5.38        El Ahram Co. For Printing And    10.68        Minapharm Pharmaceuticals   25.49        El Arabia Engineering Industri   13.52        El Nasr For Manufacturing Agri   9.71        Naeem portfolio and fund Manag   1.7        Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt -   6.76        Natural Gas & Mining Project (   68.26        Housing & Development Bank   13.95        East Delta Flour Mills   31.5        Orascom Development Holding (A   3.22        Memphis Pharmaceuticals   11.12        Abou Kir Fertilizers   134.23        Delta Insurance   5        Cairo Investment & Real Estate   12.18        Cairo Oils & Soap   12.98        Egyptian Arabian (cmar) Securi   0.36        Egyptian Real Estate Group Bea   15.56        Alexandria Containers and good   85.51        Upper Egypt Flour Mills   45.78        Development & Engineering Cons   9.94        Sinai Cement   15.18        Medical Union Pharmaceuticals   28.01        Torah Cement   24.2        Alexandria New Medical Center   46.55        Export Development Bank of Egy   5.04        Egyptian Company for Mobile Se   92.02        Middle & West Delta Flour Mill   32.7        El Kahera El Watania Investmen   4.18        Mansourah Poultry   12.41        Delta Sugar   11.04        Misr Beni Suef Cement   41.21        Egyptian Satellites (NileSat)   6.14        Cairo Educational Services   17.75        Lecico Egypt   7.55        Sharm Dreams Co. for Tourism I   5.3        General Silos & Storage   10.77        Al Moasher for Programming and   0.66        UTOPIA   5.28        Arab Ceramics (Aracemco)   25.4        Barbary Investment Group ( BIG   0.98        

Citizen Journalism - Blogging

Therese Raphael - 2017-10-02 08:35:10
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stuck stubbornly to his script Sunday night while the rest of the world watched an entirely different movie unfold in Catalonia. "There was no referendum. What we have seen was a mere dramatization," Rajoy insisted. He sounded a little like a Kremlin spokesperson brushing aside a separatist uprising in, say, Chechnya. Nothing to see here, folks. Only there was plenty to see and cameras everywhere to document riot police firing rubber bullets into crowds of peaceful protesters, dragging voters by the hair and using truncheons. The injury estimates were continually revised higher; more than 800 were reportedly injured in clashes with Spanish police. Spanish authorities downplayed those reports. Regardless, the videos that went viral were damning. It's hard to imagine anything in recent years that could do more to bolster the cause of Catalan separatism. Spain has now been plunged into its deepest crisis in decades; the 1978 constitutional settlement that granted Spanish regions various degrees of autonomy looks to be in tatters. In the early hours, Catalonia's government announced that it had counted nearly 2.3 million ballots that hadn't been seized, and 90 percent were for independence. It hardly matters that turnout was a low 42 percent; Catalonia's leaders got exactly what they wanted -- victory in the court of public opinion and widespread international condemnation of Madrid. As clashes with police were broadcast, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, a former journalist and mayor of Girona, nimbly recast the narrative as "truncheons versus the ballot box." For Catalan separatists, Rajoy's law-and-order mantra conjured images of General Franco, whose legacy still casts a long shadow over Spain. Puigdemont is completing his transformation from accidental revolutionary to human-rights champion. He must keep promising steps toward independence to keep his movement going. The problem is that Rajoy and Puigdemont each have firmly committed to a path of escalation. A declaration of independence would be the next stage in a rapidly intensifying standoff; Puigdemont says Catalans have earned that right, though it remains to be seen whether parliament would back such a move. Separatist leaders have called for a general strike for Tuesday, threatening to paralyze a region that makes up a fifth of Spain's gross domestic product and produces a quarter of its exports. Catalans gathering in Barcelona's central square Sunday evening jangled keys, a reference to the local schools that, in defiance of Madrid, turned over their keys to separatists so that ballots could be cast there. The mood in the square was described as funereal rather than celebratory. Catalans may not have the will to take up arms against the Spanish government, but that is not the same as loyalty; the emotional link to the rest of the country will have been severed for many by Sunday's violence. That Rajoy managed to accomplish this was some feat. Approval for the referendum barely cleared Catalonia's own parliament in September; it had nowhere near majority support in polls. Support for independence peaked in 2013 after the Spanish government refused Catalonia's demands for more autonomy over its finances. A nonbinding vote in 2014, also held in defiance of the Spanish courts, saw 80 percent back a split from Spain on turnout of under 40 percent. In a recent poll, only 35 percent of respondents said the region should become independent. That's not surprising: Catalans enjoy a relatively good life; whatever their grievances with the Spanish government, many were wary of the economic uncertainty that life outside Spain -- and initially at least outside the European Union -- could bring. Rajoy was in a difficult position as Spanish leader, but he had cards to play. He had the support he wanted from his EU counterparts. He had support from his country's highest court, which declared the vote illegal. He had Catalan opinion, Spanish national opinion and fair economic winds all on his side. And while separatist leaders like to paint their movement as a historically fated and united front, the truth is messier; a motley mix of anarchists, anti-capitalists and center-right parties with different agendas and conflicting worldviews had used the cause to build their power base and rally support. From that high ground, Rajoy might have sought to appease centrist Catalans with concessions such as infrastructure spending and eventual discussions on enhanced autonomy. There were some token promises, but as the independence vote loomed, he instead chose to escalate tensions, arresting officials and seizing control of Catalonia's finances and security apparatus. Rajoy unleashed a barrage of investigations and prosecutions meant to frustrate the vote. Catalonia's high court -- which operates separately from the Generalitat, Catalonia's government -- launched investigations of the Catalan cabinet, on charges of disobedience and misuse of public funds, which is punishable with a prison sentence. There are investigations of regional lawmakers and others connected to the vote. Spain's own high court submitted a complaint on charges of sedition against some of the protest organizers on grounds that they disrupted the work of federal authorities by calling on protesters to surround buildings where raids were being conducted. Some 700 Catalan mayors have also been placed under preliminary investigation. Writing in Britain's Guardian newspaper, Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau -- who supported the referendum but not independence -- lambasted Rajoy's government for seeking a judicial solution to what is essentially a political problem: There are many non-separatists such as ourselves, who, while critical of the unilateral path taken by the Catalan regional government, are calling for a negotiated solution in accordance with the feelings of 82 percent of the Catalan population, who support the holding of an agreed referendum, like the one conducted in Scotland. That is why it is a mistake to think the Catalan question can be resolved by taking legal action against its political representatives: following that path will only help to raise social tensions and block any possibility of finding a way out of the conflict. Rajoy gave Catalan separatists exactly the coup de theatre they needed for a campaign that only a short time ago looked quixotic. Whatever happens next, pro-independence forces in Catalonia have received a powerful boost, while Rajoy's government has lost legitimacy in the eyes of many. It has also angered the Basque Nationalist Party, on which Rajoy's weak minority government relies for votes (it had to withdraw the 2018 budget last week for lack of support). “Stop this escalation of radicalism and disobedience once and for all,” Rajoy ordered protesters recently, sounding like an exasperated parent addressing offspring who have grown up, left home and no longer need to obey. He may be right on the principles; as the head of the democratically elected Spanish government, he has the law on his side. But he will get nowhere with those tactics. More»
Lionel Laurent - 2017-10-02 08:29:29
Saudi Arabia's boycott of Qatar is playing havoc with Western markets and businesses, which for years depended on deep-pocketed Gulf investors to heal the scars from the financial crisis. The longer it drags on, the worse it's likely to get. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-09-28 11:02:08
I watched President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s address at the United Nations last week from the DMC TV studios in Cairo. Along with Dalia Youssef, a member of the Egyptian parliament; Mamhoud al-Said, former ambassador and assistant foreign minister; and Ahmed Abou Ali, vice president of the AmCham Egypt, I was a guest of Ossama Kamal’s, a well-known television anchor in the country. In my view, the address served to reassert Sisi’s leadership on the global stage and was an indication of Egypt’s return to a regional and international role after an exasperated period of revolts and political and economic instability. In his address, Sisi rightly highlighted that Africa is not only “at the heart of Egypt’s foreign policy” and where “[our] historic roots lie,” but considering the free tax agreement Egypt has with the continent, it is also an appealing destination for Egyptian businesses. He was correct to contrast the security threats in Africa as similar to the ones faced in the Arab world. In Egypt’s uncompromised fight against terrorism and efforts to eradicate terrorist groups in Sinai and those that daily attempt to infiltrate to Egypt from Libya, Sisi talked about the need to eliminate its root cause, but not only through military means. Egypt could swiftly emerge as an example of bold religious reforms, which Sisi launched with the Grand Mufti of Egypt and Al Azhar, one of the world oldest Islamic University based in Cairo.   The effort includes newly established communication channels of Islamic authorities in Egypt with the young generation through social media, and Dar-el-Ifta (the Egyptian State-run Islamic Institution) now has over 6,200,000 followers. The institution has established offices in 35 countries, where it regularly monitors websites and mosque prayers in order to identify those who interpret the Quran in ways that incite violence and encourage Islamic radicalism. Dar el-Ifta also opened phone lines to promptly communicate with people who provide religious guidelines in moderate interpretations of the Islamic teachings. They observe international and local religious preaching in mosques and engage with those who misinterpret the Muslim Holy Book in radical ways. Elements of the banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are trying to undermine the religious reforms by calling Sisi a secular detached from Islam — which is certainly not the case — but Egyptians are seeing through the fog and lies of the Muslim Brotherhood and it is unlikely that they will ever be tricked again. Muslim Brotherhood efforts — mostly through social media — to instigate sectarian division between Egyptian Muslims and Christians have been unsuccessful and clearly show the true nature of their organization. At the U.N., Sisi also talked about the importance of empowering youth through the economic reforms Egypt has undertaken. In creating a “new Egypt,” education reform is perhaps the most fundamental, and this is a field where Egypt faces many challenges: From the need to modify school curricula, reduce the number of teachers (from 1,350,000 to an optimum of 850,000), restructure classroom structures (where now up to 70 students share one classroom), and train teachers so that they uphold high educational standards. Egyptian thinkers and politicians are keen to open more channels of communication to improve mutual understanding and cooperation. The warm relationship between U.S. President Trump and Egyptian President al-Sisi is important, but people-to-people connections are vital and must be improved significantly. For example, it took nine years for an Egyptian parliamentarian delegation to visit Washington D.C., which happened last June. A dire lack of such communications created serious gaps that need to be bridged. This burden cannot only rest on Shafik Gabr, a brilliant example of a true visionary and beacon of the people-to-people ties between the U.S. and Egypt through youth exchange programs and fellowships within his “East – West Dialogue” foundation. Egypt needs a strong partner in the United States. The country is going through difficult structural reforms to modernize and balance its economy, while still healing from the destructive legacy created by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, along with fighting terrorism and keeping its citizens safe. The country is managing to bring its foreign policy back on its feet, but with respect to diplomacy and overall reforms, it will take time to move ahead from “Nasserism” and the outdated socialist political mentality. We need to understand this and reassure the Egyptian society that we stand together in this journey. Criticism from the U.S., especially on human rights issues, is important and healthy. After all, Sisi himself acknowledged that there are issues in this respect and that Egypt is addressing them in manner and ways that will not hamper security efforts to bring lasting stability. This is vital not only for domestic security, but for the tourism sector, the Egyptian economy, but also regional stability. However, criticism alone won’t do much. Building stronger connections between Egyptians and Americans on all levels, fostering better understanding of each other, and being there for each other is the only way forward if we are to start a new area of U.S.- Egypt relations. This relationship is in and of itself important to both countries, but it also strategic, having in mind the crucial role that Egypt could play in any peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. The meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President al-Sisi that took place at the U.N. Assembly can attest to that. There can be no doubt that, despite its problems, Egypt is moving in the right direction. More»
Michael Ivanovitch - 2017-07-24 10:32:03
Last week's U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue could mark the beginning of a more constructive and balanced bilateral trade relationship. Both countries realize that the existing trade imbalance is unsustainably large and disruptive for their more stable political and security ties. In the case of China, the current state of economic exchanges with the U.S. runs counter to Beijing's fundamental foreign policy doctrine — "win-win cooperation" — enshrined in documents of the country's highest executive and legislative authorities. The solution path, however, will be long and will require major structural adjustments in both economies. Over the last three decades, the U.S. has helped to set up China's large-scale manufacturing operations at the cost of impoverishing entire regions of American goods-producing industries. China got American direct investments, technology transfers and a liberal access to intellectual properties. More»
Mudassir Sheikha - 2017-07-05 12:59:49
What is a true indication of a successful company? One that creates value is a common definition, but value in terms of what: economic, innovation, job creation, sustainability? Why not all of the above? Careem is a home-grown brand; from the region, for the region. In just five years since its inception in 2012, Careem has launched its service in more than 70 cities across MENA, delivering millions of rides with an ever-increasing fleet operated by 250,000 captains in the region. Taking the lead in markets other companies shy away from, Careem has moved from one success to the next. As the largest mover of people across the MENA region, the company’s top three markets in terms of growth are KSA, Egypt, and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia was one of the first markets in which Careem expanded outside of the UAE, launching service in Riyadh in October 2013, Dammam one month later and Jeddah two months after that. Now, Careem serves a total of more than 40 cities across Saudi Arabia, employing nearly 60,500 captains, providing over 67% of their rides to women, and doubling growth rates every quarter. Overcoming the initial challenges in KSA was no small feat. As the first car-hailing app in Saudi Arabia, public infrastructure was still developing and the quality of both public and private taxis was lacking. With that in mind, Careem also faced the challenge of finding quality Captains to meet the company’s exacting standards and, similarly, convincing the public that their Saudi captains were capable of offering superior service. Careem is a local job creator with a difference. The company’s immersive and comprehensive Captain training programme ensures the best and brightest Captains are given the green light as Careem representatives. Careem’s business model is built on the quality and consistency of the customer experience it delivers. As such, the company’s stellar customer service, Careem Care, has also played a significant role in ensuring customers receive top-quality service every single ride. Careem launched its operations in Egypt in 2014, starting in Cairo before moving into Alexandria and across the country. The company currently serves 10 cities in Egypt with more in the pipeline. With more than 50,000 captains already working in Egypt, Careem has set an extremely ambitious goal to reach a total of 100,000 captains in the country by the end of 2017. At an annual growth rate in Egypt of 1,000%, Careem directly employs more than 500 team members in the country including the company’s call centre agents based in Cairo. Launching any business in Egypt requires a certain level of finesse, which is something Careem recognized in its local operations. The company is recognised for its bold, innovation-focused approach to redefining the future of the transportation sector in the region and Egypt is certainly no exception. The company opted to integrate preexisting white taxis into its Egypt operations, providing 42,000 drivers of white taxi cabs the opportunity to be part of Careem’s fleet by joining the app in accordance with Careem’s global criteria and standards. By integrating white taxis, Careem’s network caters to the needs of an even wider group of Egyptians by providing a safe, reliable and efficient means of transport. This cooperative arrangement is a clear reflection of the ways in which Careem’s ecosystem is equipped to upscale the business and open new opportunities in the Egyptian market. In fact, the company has played a crucial role in helping formalise the industry by tracking the entire ride-hailing cycle, contributing to economic development and transparency. Careem kicked off its Pakistan service in Karachi in Islamabad in March 2015, quickly followed by Lahore and Islamabad. Today, the company serves nine cities in Pakistan with 28% growth month to month. In their mission to create more than 100,000 jobs, Careem Pakistan is halfway there. Careem operations across the region are customized to suit every market’s specific needs and cultural sensitivities. Specific to Saudi Arabia, Careem is the region’s only ride-hailing company to offer a dedicated cab service – ‘Careem One ‘– for people with special needs. Careem launched its delivery service to pick up and deliver orders and purchases, as well as Packages, the solution to everyday rides, which includes purchasing a different packages or sets of KMs for a discounted price. Careem is driving local innovations to turn the region’s most pressing challenges into opportunities. In Egypt, the company launched toktok service to serve Hurghada and North Coast users, cooperated with the preexisting white taxi service (and orange taxi in Hurghada), launched the Careem Water Taxi in collaboration with the Water Taxi company to serve commuters from five ports along the banks of the Nile River. The company also launched a road safety campaign across Egypt in partnership with Total and has trained and hired 50 people with disabilities to work at its regional call centre in Cairo. In Pakistan, Careem launched a market-specific female Captains programme and launched Taxi in Islamabad to support local cabs. More»
Steve Cox - 2017-04-20 13:45:48
If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that making predictions is an inexact science. There is much that has happened over the past 12 months that we would have been hard pressed to predict this time last year. The outcome of the Brexit vote in the UK caught many of my fellow citizens off guard, and I’ve heard from many of my American colleagues that they were similarly surprised by the results of their presidential election. In this new year, the first thing we should predict is unpredictability. It is not a failure of planning to admit that we don’t always know what we’re planning for. Many factors will always be beyond our control; planning to make the best of any situation is just good business. Yet not everything will come out of left field in 2017. Companies are already planning for new finance regulations such as IFRS 15, which will be fully in force next year. Increased scrutiny on multinational companies’ tax arrangements, accounting and transparency, will all increase in 2017. And digital transformation will continue at an ever-accelerating pace; change will continue so rapidly that 12 months will be a very long time in any business. With that, here are my personal predictions for finance leaders and professionals in 2017. More»
Ashraf Sheet - 2017-03-05 11:34:09
The constant creation of malicious domains has proved a cat and mouse game for threat researchers and cybercriminals. Across the world, new malicious domains are constantly being created from which cybercriminals can launch attacks against businesses’ Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure. During what is known as the ‘planting’ phase, the Infoblox DNS Threat Index, which monitors the creation of such domains, shows a significant increase in the number of malicious domains associated with malware and exploit kits. In the second ‘harvesting’ phase, the attackers begin to reap the bounty from these newly created malicious domains, launching attacks on organisations’ DNS to exfiltrate data or just to wreak havoc on their victims. More»
John Sfakianakis - 2017-03-05 11:19:00
Most Egyptian businessmen are finally giving off an air of optimism these days, thanks to the three-year, $21 billion IMF loan program signed in November. The loan is the largest of its kind on record in the Middle East, and came just days after Egypt allowed its pound to float freely in a bid to end a crippling currency crisis that cut the currency's value by more than half and prevented imports of consumer goods that even included food staples such as sugar. Egypt made the right decision. Investors are again assessing the country’s prospects positively. Since November, the pound's appreciation has been faster than most expected, pointing to a more balanced and efficient market. External flows are helping instill stability in the foreign exchange market. The successful sale of Eurobonds has encouraged carry-trade investors who have invested more than $2 billion since the float, as per the Central Bank of Egypt. Egypt's stock market is one the best performers in emerging markets and the best in Africa. Egypt has battled to resuscitate its economy since the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule and his Islamist successor two years later. Bolstering confidence by following up with reforms will help attract direct investment that in turn creates jobs and reverses declining living standards. Although the economy is in recovery mode, growth is slower than expected at less than 3.5 percent. That's healthier than many of Egypt's export-reliant peers in the Gulf region, but not enough to address unemployment. Exports should get a boost given the cheaper currency, but perhaps more importantly tourism should be a beneficiary of a more affordable currency. The industry has suffered from Russia's travel ban that suspended all flights to Egypt. Britain and Germany suspended flights to specific tourist destinations and resorts. Tourist arrivals plunged 38 percent to 558,000 in November from a year earlier, according to the official statistics agency. There are reports that some British tourists are starting to come back despite sterling's steep drop in the wake of Brexit. Remittances from Egyptians working abroad rose 11.1 percent to $4.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, and have become one of the most important sources of foreign-exchange inflows. There are some obvious consequences to allowing the currency to weaken. The inflation rate reached 28.1 percent in January on an annualized basis, its highest level since December 1989 and eroding consumers' purchasing power. The spike was largely propelled by a 37.3 percent increase in food prices. Anchoring inflation expectations remains a key challenge for the CBE, especially as subsidy cuts, value-added-taxes and an expanding money supply continue pressure prices. The cost of capital is rising after the 300-basis-point hike delivered by the CBE in November. Inflation will also test the government's willingness to carry through with the painful reform and rebalancing process. In part because of faster inflation, automobile sales have collapsed to the lowest in more than three years. Businesses are complaining about reduced domestic demand. The good news is that Egypt’s large consumer market and strong logistical network ties to Asia, Europe and Africa makes it a good manufacturing destination. Over time, manufacturing can help the economy’s export base, while creating desperately needed jobs for its 90 million inhabitants. Egypt’s automotive industry has become one of the largest in Africa, producing more than 100,000 vehicles a year and employing 75,000 workers. A move into greater local content production could lessen the reliance on intermediate imports (which have become pricier), produce better-paying jobs and develop a sustainable production chain. Manufacturing is expected to be a key piece in the government’s ambitious target of reaching a 7 percent GDP growth. Authorities have set an annual growth target of 9 percent for manufacturing, increasing its share of GDP to 25 percent by 2020. Under these plans, the sector will create at least three million jobs by the end of this decade. However, the industrial sector has to overcome the growing energy challenges, and value investors will wait for a pull-back before diving in. More»
Ronnie Toerien - 2017-02-23 14:27:40
If you want to build a skilled workforce, give all employees access to relevant learning and training.  The past ten years have seen a seismic shift in the workplace. Widespread automation and an increasing reliance on data have touched virtually every industry and changed job descriptions across the board. Some have speculated this will result in many jobs being lost. For instance, 47% of workers in the financial services sector fear technology is putting their job at risk. In reality, the situation is much more nuanced. Some jobs will indeed be taken over by automation technologies, but we will also see new roles created in an automated world. With some of the more mundane and admin-heavy tasks off their plate, workers can focus on more innovative value-driving activity. There are jobs out there – EY’s US operation has said it plans to hire an astonishing 15,200 new employees in 2017. The bigger struggle organizations face is to find and nurture the talent they need. According to ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey, 40% of employers admit to having talent shortages. I’ve seen this for myself in South Africa, which is transitioning from a mineral resources based economy powered by low-skill workers to a service-based one that must be built on a broader base of skills. At present there are too few “high-value” employees to meet demand. This limits South Africa’s pace of innovation and has bred a hard fought talent war. Talented staff can leave an employer that doesn’t fulfil their expectations knowing they’ll quickly be picked up by a competitor. So how can companies square this circle of having posts to fill but not enough skilled people to fill them? In the words of Virgin CEO Richard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” For me this boils down to one thing: ensuring employees feel supported when it comes to their career development. Staff will rarely leave their job if they feel valued. Pay plays a part, as do non-salaried perks like gym memberships and flexible working, but companies need to show a deeper commitment to their people. A focus on training and learning is equally important, and this goes for employees at all levels. Organizations hire their young digitally-savvy talent in the hopes they will develop and become the managers of tomorrow, but Oracle research reveals they are coming up short. Just 21% of non-managers feel they can advance their career with their current employer, and just 39% see a long term future with their company. This is largely due to a perceived lack of learning opportunities. Educational programs, courses and training must be personalized and relevant, but just one quarter of non-managers feel their learning and training are linked to their development plan, compared with 60% of senior managers and directors. Employees also want online and collaborative tools such as webinars, whiteboarding and enterprise social networking. However, Oracle also found that just 22% of non-managers have access to these resources, compared with nearly three quarters of their more senior colleagues. HR leaders are feeling the pressure as they work to keep high-value employees on board in the face of a worsening skills shortage. Competitive salaries and attractive growth opportunities are two major parts of the equation, certainly when it comes to attracting new recruits, but a focus on modern and relevant training is crucial to addressing the skills shortage from the inside out. Skills will become increasingly scarce and employees increasingly fickle as automation technologies continue to reshape the job market. Traditional HR approaches are being turned on their head under these conditions, and HR teams must take the lead in finding ways to strengthen their workforce and secure the company’s future success. More»
Ahmed Fouad - 2017-02-15 12:01:22
The World Bank Group's global growth forecast for 2017 has something for everyone — from doubt, to caution, to cautious optimism. And while not mentioning US President Donald Trump by name, the report makes it clear his policies could change things substantially for much of the world, including Egypt, for better or for worse. On Jan. 10, the bank slightly downgraded its 2017 global growth forecast from the 2.8% predicted in June 2016 to 2.7%. Yet the predicted growth is still an improvement over last year's 2.3% and is equal to 2015's. According to the World Bank, the new US administration and Britain's pending exit from the European Union are responsible for much of the suspense. “Lingering uncertainty about the course of US economic policy could have a significantly negative effect on global growth prospects,” the report said. The same uncertainty could be why the bank trimmed Egypt’s real gross domestic product growth to 4% this year from 4.3% in 2016. It also said, however, that "significant fiscal stimulus in major economies — in particular, the United States — could support a more rapid recovery in global activity in the near term than currently projected, and thus represents a substantial upside risk to the outlook." Especially concerning for Egypt, which is already suffering an economic crisis, is the potential effect of Trump’s decision on Jan. 23 to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a trade deal aimed at fostering economic ties among 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the United States, Singapore and Vietnam. The agreement is expected to reduce custom tariffs among member states, or cancel them in some cases. It's also designed to boost investment flow among these countries. The TPP was signed but has been awaiting ratification by the signatories. To be brought into force, each member state needs to approve relevant legislation. Egypt, although not a TPP member, does not seem safe from the potential repercussions of the US pullout. The Suez Canal — one of the main sources of foreign-exchange flows into the Egyptian treasury — is one of the fundamental trade corridors between North American TPP members on the one hand, and Australia, New Zealand and the Asian TPP members (Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan) on the other. Medhat Nafi, who heads risk management at Egypt’s Stock Exchange, told Al-Monitor, “Of course the Suez Canal would benefit from the growth in trade between Asia, Australia and North American countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Cutting or lifting custom tariffs would encourage export, import and investment, which are key drivers to the Suez Canal, whose main income so far is based on transit fees on cargo imported and exported between these countries.” On the impact of the US withdrawal he said, “The US is the biggest market among TPP member states, and its withdrawal may mean a slip in the trade growth sought by the TPP. This would lead to a dip in potential trade-movement upsurges between the TPP member states through the Suez Canal. But this does not preclude the expected positive trade outcomes for the Suez Canal" once the deal is implemented. He added, "But in this case I think the Panama Canal might be the biggest beneficiary." The 2015 statistics issued in February 2016 by Trade Map, a web-based, trade-flow analysis tool, showed that US exports accounted for 89% of the North American total to Australia, New Zealand and the Asian TPP countries. They also showed that US exports to those countries reached $139.2 billion. In turn, the US is the most important export market for Australia, New Zealand and Asian TPP member states, accounting for 91% of their total exports to North America. These countries’ export values to the US in 2015 reached $301.7 billion. Trade Map statistics also show that the United States accounted for almost 91% of total 2015 exports and imports ($441 billion) between North America and those seven countries — Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Australia. That also means that, as a result of the US withdrawal from the TPP, the Suez Canal could lose its biggest opportunity for trade growth and would benefit only from 9% of the trade among those countries. Yet this is not the worst-case scenario for the Suez Canal. Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said in statements Jan. 24 that his country has consulted with TPP member states to find an alternative to the United States after its withdrawal. Also in press statements that day, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it's possible China might join the TPP. If China or any other East Asian country were to join the TPP as an alternative to the United States, trade movement between the East and West would be significantly affected, which would constitute a loss for the Suez Canal. Ahmad Darwish, head of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, did not respond to Al-Monitor's request for comment. The Suez Canal saw a 3.3% decline in its total revenues in 2016 compared with 2015; experts have different views on the cause. Some believe it was the result of ships sailing through the Cape of Good Hope rather than the Suez Canal, because the overall decline in global oil prices made that cheaper than paying canal tolls. Other experts say the revenue drop was due to decreasing global trade rates. Faraj Abdel Fattah, a professor of economics at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor, “The presence of the US as a party to the agreement was supposed to be beneficial to the Suez Canal, as it should have led to a breakthrough in trade exchange, since it has the biggest share of trade movement among TPP countries. However, Trump’s general policies, namely the expanded policies in fighting terrorism and supporting Egypt to this effect, could have a major impact on the stability of Egypt and the world’s economy, especially after the major losses as a result of terrorist attacks. Therefore, we should not jump to conclusions that Trump’s policies would negatively affect the economy of Egypt and the world.” More»