Actis buys into CIB
THE COMMERCIAL International Bank (CIB) has received a new shareholder. Actis, a leading private equity investor in emerging markets for 60 years, has purchased 9.33 per cent of the bank at an investment of $244 million, making CIB "an anchor investment" for the Actis Emerging Markets III Fund, said Paul Fletcher, Actis senior partner in a press release. CIB boasts assets worth $11 billion.
Actis is acquiring 50 per cent of the shares owned by the consortium lead by Ripplewood Holdings. The Ripplewood consortium, which held 18.7 per cent of CIB, includes Ripplewood Holdings, Eton Park Capital Management and RHJ International.
In the press release, Fletcher also said that, "Actis is committed to the financial services sector as one of our core investment strategies within emerging markets where Egypt stands out for its excellent growth potential."
Trade development in Helwan
HELWAN governorate announced last week the launch of its Trade and Services Zone, hosting a series of projects to serve internal trade development in Egypt.
The projects are expected to reach LE25 billion worth of investments by the year 2013, creating tens of thousands of job opportunities.
The Trade and Services Zone, the first and biggest internal trade project of its kind in Egypt, is launched by the governorate of Helwan in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, along with Egyptian and foreign investors.
Out of 14 projects planned, four were announced during a signing ceremony and are to be built on 5,000 feddans: Avenues Egypt, Traders City, Helwan International Medical Park and Degla Safari Park.
Avenues Egypt, owned by Al-Shaya Group in Kuwait, is a commercial city with expected LE10 billion worth of investments. Avenues Egypt will include a business district, a shopping mall, commercial and recreational areas and hotels.
Another project announced, Traders City, is a joint cooperation between the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the governorate of Helwan, and the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, with LE15 billion in expected investments.
Traders City aims to develop and enhance already existing markets in Greater Cairo, as well as offering logistical services for traders to facilitate their businesses.
Helwan International Medical Park was a third project introduced in partnership with ISL. According to Walaa Bakry, managing director of ISL, the goal of this project is to restore the image of Helwan as a destination for healthcare, create a modern healthcare community, and promote social responsibility by providing medical care for general health insurance for citizens of Helwan.
The medical park, to be built on 500 feddans, will encompass a medical zone, wellness and leisure areas, education and research zones, as well as business and commercial centres.
The fourth and final project announced is Degla Safari Park, an LE4 billion 800- feddan project located in Wadi Degla and expected to be the world's largest open zoo.
"The Ministry of Trade and Industry is targeting an increase from four per cent in the rate of growth in internal trade to eight per cent in three years," said Sahar El-Sallab, assistant to the minister of trade and industry. El-Sallab added that the ministry is working on reaching the LE25 billion internal trade level of investments, rather than just LE2.4 billion at present.
THE INDUSTRIAL Modernisation Centre (IMC) last week launched a national competition aimed at helping to document Egypt's traditional handicrafts with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Competitors are required to submit research papers on traditional industries, artisan works and artefacts. Research papers should document many details about the product, such as its historical, social and geographical roots as well as its cultural value, production sites, how its production is financed, raw materials needed, the number of those who can teach the craft, and threats to the continuity of the craft. The targeted product list includes everything from pottery, clothes, rugs and jewellery to traditional food and beverages, palm industries, papyrus and bamboo. The competition is being organised in tandem with the Egyptian Society for Popular Traditional Handicrafts and Artisans chaired by Ahmed Mursi, who is also Egypt's representative at the WIPO. According to Adham Nadim, IMC executive director, the competition will boost local communities where artefacts and crafts are present, helping them socially and economically.
Still on the move
DESPITE a challenging economic environment, international tourism remains resilient, according to a recently published "Tourism Outlook: USA" report.
The report indicates that US visitors to Egypt contributed $144 million in tourism revenues in 2008, up 24 per cent from 2007, while Egyptian travellers to the US spent $60 million on their visa cards during the same period, a 40 per cent increase over 2007.
Tourism Outlook also analyses travellers' attitudes and intentions, based on a survey of 11 key source markets for international tourism. Among the findings is that only one in four are less willing to travel now compared to one year ago due to the socio- economic climate. Twenty-three per cent are more likely to travel abroad, 83 per cent may adjust their international travel plans with 52 per cent opting for travelling during off-peak seasons and 33 per cent choosing less costly destinations.