Saturday,23 June, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1360, (14 - 20 September 2017)
Saturday,23 June, 2018
Issue 1360, (14 - 20 September 2017)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

Positive BOP

THE FLOATATION of the pound has had a positive effect on Egypt’s Balance of Payments (BoP) for fiscal year 2016-2017, data released by the Central Bank of Egypt this week showed. The BoP saw an overall surplus of $ 13.7 billion compared to an overall deficit of $2.8 billion the previous fiscal year. Almost 90 per cent of that surplus was realised after the floatation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016.

The current account deficit fell by 21.5 per cent to $15.6 billion. The trade deficit declined by 8.4 per cent to $35.4 billion due to a $3 billion rise in merchandise exports and a $265 million decline in merchandise imports, the CBE said.

The services surplus picked up by 4.3 per cent to $6.8 billion due to an increase in tourism receipts by 16.2 per cent to $4.4 billion.

Suez Canal receipts declined slightly to $4.9 billion compared to $5.1 billion the year before. The CBE attributed the decline to a drop in the value of Special Drawing rights (SDR) versus the dollar by an average of 1.9 per cent and not due to lower tonnage. In fact, the net tonnage of transiting vessels increased by 0.8 per cent.

Workers’ remittances, meanwhile, registered a net inflow of $29 billion in FY 2016/2017 compared to around $21 billion the year before.

Net inflows of FDI in Egypt increased by $1 billion to $ 7.9 billion. Portfolio investment, meanwhile, witnessed a net inflow of $16 billion, against a net outflow of $1.3 billion, the CBE said. This was attributed to the rise in foreign investments in Egyptian treasury bills, recording net purchases of $10 billion.

Protectors of Friendship 2

EGYPTIAN paratroopers have engaged in an exercise drill with Russian landing forces. The joint military training, dubbed Protectors of Friendship 2, is taking place in the Russian city of Novorossiysk from 9-22 September, Ahmed Eleiba reports.

The military drill first took place in Egypt in October 2016 and is considered an important exercise for Egypt’s paratrooper forces. Besides exchanging expertise between the Russian and Egyptian teams, the drill includes activities such as soldiers recovering safely from a jump, equipment and armoured vehicles, special combat skills and countering terrorism according to state-of-the-art methods.

Protectors of Friendship 2 is part of the Armed Forces’ plan to boost military cooperation and exchange expertise with other countries.

Seventh in peacekeeping

EGYPT is currently the world’s seventh largest contributor in peacekeeping operations, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri stated this week during the inauguration of the 23rd annual conference of the International Association on Peacekeeping Training Centres (IAPTC).

The conference comes at a time when Egypt is increasing its contributions to UN peacekeeping, Shoukri said, adding that Egypt plays a pivotal role in shaping peacekeeping policies and doctrine, particularly through its present membership in the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, in addition to its role as rapporteur of the UN special committee on peacekeeping.

Shoukri pointed to the role of the Cairo International Centre for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA) which hosted the African review of peace building throughout 2014, UN high committee regional consultations with regards to the Middle East and North Africa in 2015 and a workshop held to discuss peacekeeping and peace-building operations in 2016.

Shoukri hailed the role of the CCCPA, which has trained some 11,000 experts in peacekeeping, in conflict resolution and peacekeeping.

IAPTC is organised by the CCCPA in collaboration with the ministries of foreign affairs, defence, interior, civil aviation, tourism, antiquities and culture.

Under the theme “Integrated Peacekeeping Training for Complex Environments” the four-day conference was held for the first time in the Middle East and the first time since 2008 to be hosted by an African country.

It brought together 300 participants from the world peacekeeping and crisis management community, including senior government officials, high-level representatives from the UN and other regional organisations, leading training and research centres, as well as scholars and practitioners.

The IAPTC is a voluntary association of centres and institutions working on peacekeeping research and training. Since its inception in 1995, more than 90 institutions have contributed to its work. It aims to promote better understanding of peacekeeping, its means and ends, and the various types and mechanisms used for peacekeeping training. Holding an annual conference was one of the association’s ways of achieving that end.

Is e-commerce ready?

EGYPT must be prepared for future negotiations on trade in services especially where electronic commerce is concerned, Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, director of the trade in services division at the World Trade Organisation cautioned this week. If trade in services is being discussed, then by default this includes electronic commerce, he said. Purchasing software online or sending for medical consultations are examples of e-commerce services. Speaking at a seminar organised by the Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies (ECES), Mamdouh stressed the need for policy coherence and consultations among bodies dealing with e-commerce as a whole, be it e-commerce in tangible goods or in services. This is needed for any global negotiations such as those taking place with the WTO or in regional negotiations. Mamdouh pointed out the increasing use of the Internet in the daily life of people. Half the global population are connected, he pointed out. $750 worth of shopping takes place every minute and 4.1 million videos are watched online per minute according to world Economic Forum data, he showed. This is a potential that small and micro enterprises in developing countries can capitalise on to reach international markets, he pointed out. While this transformation is due to technology, governments need to provide rules and regulations for safe payment transactions, the necessary infrastructure and consumer protection regulations as well as privacy and confidentially of information regulations. Those enabling factors help domestic trade, not only global trade, Mamdouh said.

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