Breakfast Wrap: Egypt Must Play The Game, Citadel Capital In Uganda, Iran Rial

It all started in a small story in the Arabic newspaper Al Borsa, but it has now been confirmed by the wires and it’s official – the International Monetary Fund has delayed its visit to Egypt to give the government more time to draw up its economic reform programme, Reuters reported.

Egypt had been due to receive the IMF team at the end of September to discuss terms of a $4.8 billion loan.

“The authorities are working on their economic programme and have indicated that they need some additional time to advance their preparations and be ready to receive a mission,” IMF spokeswoman Wafa Amr said in emailed statement to Reuters.

The IMF is not the only international bank that is waiting for Egypt to sort out its political problems.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development may start investing in Egypt in November, following a delay due to a lack of clear political structure in the country, the bank’s officials said yesterday.

The bank, which invests mainly in the private sector, announced its first investments in Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia last month.

As a result of the uncertainty, Egypt’s stocks tumbled 3%, the most in the world, to 5,650.07 at the close in Cairo.  

The problem is that Egypt’s politicians are new to the game.  They don’t know how to reconcile their political standing with the needs of the country and that means arguments are rife and egos are inflated.

The disagreements within political factions in the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists mean that it is not just Party VS Party but individual VS individual.

It’s time for these so-called politicians to set aside their differences and stop dithering before Egypt ends up with a sliding pound and no money left for imports. 


Egypt’s Citadel Capital could be an investor in Uganda’s proposed $2.5 billion oil refinery project, the Egyptian private equity firm’s managing director said.

Uganda, east Africa’s third-largest economy, has said it intends to build a refinery once it starts producing crude oil, and it recently raised its estimated oil reserves to 3.5 billion barrels from 2.5 billion barrels.

Citadel secured $3.7 billion in financing for an Egyptian petroleum refinery project in June, and the firm’s managing director Karim Sadek said the company is now looking at refining potential deals in sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda.

Citadel is playing ball when it comes to Egypt’s energy needs.  This refinery project will allow the company to refine domestic oil for domestic needs rather than rely on expensive imports.


Banking for Egypt’s unbanked  

The nation launched its first electronic bill payment service, Fawry, in 2010.  But a staggering $10 billion in cash is paid every year by consumers for services such as mobile and fixed line communications, electricity, water, personal loans, insurance and education, Ashraf Sabry, head of Fawry tells the Financial Times.


Egypt bank for sale 

Dubai’s Emirates NBD and Morocco’s AttijariWafabank have bid to buy BNP Paribas’ Egyptian retail arm, four banking sources told Reuters, as regional banks pick up assets being shed by European lenders.

BNP, the top French bank, put its retail banking business in Egypt on the block in June, seeking to shore up its capital base and exit non-core operations.
The sale is expected to generate as much as $500 million for the French lender, said one banking source speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

Egypt’s banks and stock exchange will remain closed next Sunday (October 7th) to mark the anniversary of beginning of the nation’s 1973 October War against Israel.


Important story from Iran that sheds light on how the currency is a vital barometer of economic health: 

Iran’s rial plunged against the US dollar in open-market trade on Monday, taking its loss in value over the past week to more than a quarter in further evidence that Western sanctions are shattering the economy.

The freefall suggests sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear program are undermining its ability to earn foreign exchange and that its reserves of hard currency may be running low.

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