Country FilesNorthCountry Profile 2014: EGYPT

Thu,23Nov2017

Country Profile 2014: EGYPT

Implacable pressure on the Islamists

Going into 2014, the government appears intent on continuing its massive crack down on Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, a campaign that left many of the Islamist movement’s leaders in prison, and killed more than 1,000 people in its first four months. Although weakened, the Brotherhood presents a dilemma to the government through its regular protests that sometimes descend into violent clashes.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

TOP EGYPTIAN COMPANIES

TOP EGYPTIAN BANKS

 

ar-infographie-egypt-2014Implacable pressure on the Islamists

Anti-Brotherhood candidates will dominate parliamentary elections in 2014

Financial aid from Gulf states has helped avoid unpopular economic reforms

Going into 2014, the government appears intent on continuing its massive crack down on Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, a campaign that left many of the Islamist movement’s leaders in prison, and killed more than 1,000 people in its first four months. Although weakened, the Brotherhood presents a dilemma to the government through its regular protests that sometimes descend into violent clashes. The government has responded to its grievances with even more repression, as the police arrest activists on charges like “insulting the military”. This heavy handedness may feed into a militant insurgency in Sinai that has spilled over to the Suez Canal and even the capital, posing a real threat to an economic recovery.

Since the military overthrew Morsi on 3 July, the government has laid out a timetable to elect a new president and parliament by mid-2014, and has spent a $3.2bn stimulus package it likens to the Marshall Plan to shore up the battered economy. The government will also try to lure back tourists and investors, after three years of turmoil in which two presidents have been over thrown and thousands killed in street violence.

THE GULF TAKES SIDES

The interim government, headed by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, a former World Bank economist, has been propped up by $12bn in aid from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, all of which viewed Morsi as a troublemaker. The aid has so far enabled the government to avoid undertaking the unpopular measures required for a $4.8bn loan from the IMF under discussion since 2011. When EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton first visited Egypt after Morsi’s overthrow, government officials assured her they were still interested in the IMF loan. But, with the Gulf aid on the one hand, and the seemingly endless Islamist protests on the other, the government has now decided against undertaking any reforms that could antagonise citizens. It has phased out cuts to exorbitant fuel subsidies over several years, and deferred tax hikes and cuts to government expenditures. Instead, the government will pump funds into closed factories, social services and the tourism sector.

Much of the government’s plan rests on the assumption that the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood will eventually force the movement to sue for peace. Initially, the Islamists had demanded nothing less than Morsi’s reinstatement, the release of prisoners and the restoration of the suspended constitution. Until the police decided to disperse protest camps in Cairoon 14 August, the Islamists had counted on European and US pressure on the military-installed government. Western mediators had appeared on the verge of reaching a tentative deal in which both sides would offer concessions, a head of fully fledged negotiations.

NEGOTIATIONS FALL APART

The government was to release some detained Islamists, while the Brotherhood would gradually thin out the number of protesters at the main sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque. But under pressure to move against the Islamists, the government decided to confront them rather than negotiate. It announced the failure of the mediation efforts and within days the police moved into the protest camps in an operation that killed hundreds of protesters and at least five police.

The operation sparked a wave of violence across the country lasting for several days, in which Islamists attacked police and dozens of Coptic Christian properties. Police arrested more than 2,000 Islamists between August and November, including the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and administrative operatives, in a bid to end the almost daily protests.

Despite the complaints of Western countries, and the suspension of some US military aid, both Washington and the EU have come to terms with the military-installed government, and according to the Brotherhood, have begun pressuring the Islamists to take what they can from the interim authorities.

The government chose to enact a court order to seize and manage the assets of the Islamist movement, whose leaders face a range of charges including incitement to murder. Morsi himself,detained in a secret location, was charged with involvement in the murder of protesters outside his palace in December 2012. Once the Islamist leaders were under the court’s jurisdiction, there was little chance of their release in a political deal. The government says the best it can do is allow Brotherhood candidates not facing charges to run in the elections–most likely as independents.

The Brotherhood, meanwhile, has retained a semblance of a hierarchy scattered across several countries, but mainly Egypt and Britain. In the days following the dispersal of the Raba a protest camp, a senior official who acted as a liaison between the Brotherhood in Egypt and its London office said members of its voting council decided in a ballot on a three-part strategy of “pushing forward no matter the arrests or crackdown; stern insistence on non-violence; and delegation to regional offices for mobilisation.” The official, who was arrested shortly after giving the email interview, said the ballot was taken over the phone, with members of the Brotherhood’s Shura Council calling in their votes. “We can take the hit, and they don’t have enough prisons to lock up all the MB members,” he said.

ar-infographie-egypt-2014-2SUSTAINED PROTESTS

On the eve of the protest-camp dispersals, another Brotherhood official said the movement envisaged an “Iranian revolution scenario”which could stretch on for more than a year through a constant state of turmoil fuelled by protests. But one factor the Brotherhood had been counting on has been absent: domestic and sustained international outcry over the killings of protesters. Egyptian media has uniformly sided with the new government, showing images only of police casualties and portraying the Brotherhood as aggressors. Internationally, key powers like the US have realised they have very little leverage over the military.

Attempts at finding a common ground have so far failed. The government believes its crack down will work, while the Brotherhood believes sustained protests will pay off. The Islamists have floated, through British interlocutors, several concessions including letting go of Morsi as president, according to a Brotherhood official in London. A British diplomat played down his government’s role,saying it was conducting “routine diplomatic contacts”. Egypt’s government does not believe the Brotherhood has the upper hand, and so it is not obliged to make any concessions.

The stalemate lays an explosive groundwork in the year ahead. Parliamentary elections, scheduled for after a constitutional referendum, will result in a house packed with anti-Brotherhood politicians.There are no clear candidates for president, but Colonel General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew Morsi and now acts as defence minister, has left open the door for a presidential run. While majority opinion seems against the Islamists at the moment, it has proven to be fickle and tempestuous in the past.

In the meantime, Sinai-based militants will continue with their determined insurgency. They have proved capable of striking both in Cairo and in the resort-rich south Sinai, with car bombs targeting the interior minister and police headquarters. A Sinai militant group also targeted a ship passing through the Suez Canal with rocket-propelled grenades. The potential for large-scale attacks aimed at the government’s economic interests, particularly in the tourism sector, is real, as are fresh recruits frustrated by the futility of peaceful protests.

HOW SINAI BECAME AN AL QAEDA RECRUITING GROUND

AFTER THE OUSTING of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, the resulting security vacuum was felt most in the Sinai Peninsula, which had long been a haven for drug runners and smugglers. The new threat came from Al Qaeda-inspired militants mounting exceedingly brazen attacks on both neighbouring Israel and the Egyptian security forces. To root out the militants, the military has launched its largest offensive in decades, but with only mixed results.

The surge in attacks in Sinai is due to several factors. First, Bedouin tribesmen, arrested in the days of Hosni Mubarak in connection with a spate of tourist-resort bombings between 2004 and 2006, were released after his overthrow. Then an influx of weapons from Libya, including heavy machine guns and rocket launchers, found their way into the militants’ hands. While most of the known groups, such as the Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Beit al Maqdis, had focused their attacks on Israel, they increasingly began to see the Egyptian military as a primary foe. Militants have also received help from Palestinians in neighbouring Gaza who think their Hamas rulers are too moderate.

Eventually the military will target them more effectively, but they will also have to ensure that there can be improvement in economic conditions in the peninsula.

 

TOP EGYPTIAN COMPANIES

Rank 2012Rank 2011CompanySectorCountryTurnover (Thds $)Turnover changeNet profits
2536SUEZ CANAL AUTHORITYPORTSEGYPT5,540,00021.97%0
2632ORASCOM CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIESCONSTRUCTIONEGYPT5,405,67414.53%665,574
3999MIDDLE EAST OIL REFINERIES (midor)REFININGEGYPT3,825,000NA201,500
4343ORASCOM TELECOMTELECOMSEGYPT3,570,633-3.32%658,487
5254EZZ STEEL CO.STEELEGYPT3,074,4987.98%33,436
6370EL SEWEDY CABLESELECTR. CABLESEGYPT2,505,95213.39%84,106
6565EGYPTAIR HOLDINGS*DIVERSIFIEDEGYPT2,314,141NA91,324
6647THE ARAB CONTRACTORSCONSTRUCTIONEGYPT2,293,802-33.09%170,652
7489AL EZZ DEKHEILA STEEL CO.STEELEGYPT1,985,15417.06%0
8683EGYPTAIR AIRLINES*AIR TRANSPORTEGYPT1,745,319NA22,374
8878MOBINILTELECOMSEGYPT1,682,063-7.15%-51,244
9381TELECOM EGYPTTELECOMSEGYPT1,634,637-7.51%483,874
114107ALEXANDRIA MINERAL OILS CO.PETROLEUMEGYPT1,332,188-3.56%173,402
123122GHABBOUR AUTOAUTOMOBILEEGYPT1,225,0064.04%31,492
139132AL EZZ ROLLING MILLS*STEELEGYPT1,062,060NA0
167153TALAAT MOUSTAFA GROUPREAL ESTATEEGYPT842,207-7.92%95,404
171133SUEZ CEMENT CO.CONST. MATERIALSEGYPT796,336-24.44%93,940
181191ORIENTAL WEAVERS FOR CARPETSTEXTILESEGYPT761,3979.49%40,148
186233EGYPTIAN ALUMINIUM PRODUCTS CO.ALUMINIUMEGYPT732,35631.55%89,797
189186EASTERN COMPANYTOBACCOEGYPT722,5850.46%104,396
267273EGYPT KUWAIT HOLDING CO.DIVERSIFIEDEGYPT499,2518.84%182,011
269257OLYMPIC GROUP*DIVERSIFIEDEGYPT493,098NA21,894
273289ABU QIR FERTILIZERS & CHEMICAL IND.CHEMICALSEGYPT488,00615.21%222,316
281309EGYPTIAN IRON & STEEL CO.STEELEGYPT461,02516.38%-55,699
291281RAYA HOLDING FOR TECH. AND TELECOM.ELECTRICAL equip.EGYPT437,119-0.08%5,908
304288SIEMENS EGYPT*ELECTRICAL equip.EGYPT424,108NA0
316351SIDI KERIR PETROCHEMICALS CO.PETROLEUMEGYPT393,64721.53%146,977
318353MARIDIVE AND OIL SERVICESPETROL. SERVICESEGYPT391,30621.42%42,112
331356JUHAYNA FOOD INDUSTRIESBEVERAGESEGYPT370,64416.24%30,717
350342CAIRO POULTRY*AGRIBUSINESSEGYPT336,022NA39,793
363298ALEXANDRIA PORTLAND CEMENTCONST. MATERIALSEGYPT323,930-20.80%85,992
365232SOC.EGYPT. DENT. - MOKHTAR IBRAHIMCONSTRUCTIONEGYPT323,017-42.12%13,492
389380AMREYAH CIMPOR CEMENT CO.*CONST. MATERIALSEGYPT300,322NA91,051
437-MISR LIFE INSURANCE CO.INSURANCEEGYPT251,465NA3,108
448428EGYPTIAN INTERNATIONAL TOURISM CO.HOTELSEGYPT242,725-2.21%19,729
451441AL EZZ FLAT STEEL*STEELEGYPT239,820NA0
453329ORASCOM FOR HOTELS AND DEVELOPMENTHOTELSEGYPT236,240-34.31%-26,070
464450DELTA SUGARAGRIBUSINESSEGYPT228,116-3.01%64,724
469494MISR NATIONAL STEELSTEELEGYPT224,1688.94%2,930
478-UPPER EGYPT FLOUR MILLSAGRIBUSINESSEGYPT218,12716.85%16,907
494492EGYPTAIR MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING*AIR TRANSPORTEGYPT210,350NA20,942
496387TOURAH PORTLAND CEMENT CO.CONST. MATERIALSEGYPT207,916-28.45%32,544
 

 

TOP EGYPTIAN BANKS

Rank 2012Rank 2011Bank nameCountryTotal assetsNet interest incomeLoansDeposits
66NATIONAL BANK OF EGYPTEGYPT50,618,767760,91114,031,75843,132,068
99BANQUE MISREGYPT29,314,806353,2427,492,15625,519,231
1615COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANKEGYPT14,130,246649,9586,855,73211,806,503
2222NATIONAL SOCIT GNRALE BANKEGYPT10,333,626514,9925,798,3608,542,441
29-HSBC BANK EGYPTEGYPT7,980,681431,6483,315,2906,970,770
3126ARAB AFRICAN INTERNATIONAL BANKEGYPT7,436,505162,6393,476,6445,495,040
3638BANK OF ALEXANDRIAEGYPT6,246,413246,7053,201,8345,085,042
3840FAISAL ISLAMIC BANK OF EGYPTEGYPT5,793,620170,4103,807,1595,307,988
4039PRINCIPAL BANK FOR DEV. AND AGR. CREDIT*EGYPT5,686,415118,5822,382,8114,875,966
5150CRDIT AGRICOLE EGYPT*EGYPT4,342,854131,9191,847,9193,611,091
6361BARCLAYS BANK EGYPT*EGYPT3,043,125170,828986,4672,469,554
65-BANK AUDI EGYPTEGYPT2,939,81794,1571,307,7732,655,068
6766ALWATANY BANK OF EGYPT*EGYPT2,923,062128,4901,227,0202,212,040
74-BNP PARIBAS EGYPTEGYPT2,683,036122,1561,157,9872,118,401
7681AL BARAKA BANK EGYPT*EGYPT2,360,00033,00000
7762HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT BANKEGYPT2,317,426107,2151,100,3971,248,416
80-NATIONAL BANK FOR DEVELOPMENTEGYPT2,274,84628,682254,2671,990,938
8775EXPORT DEVELOPMENT BANK OF EGYPT*EGYPT2,119,80896,3991,292,3431,596,119
8987SOCIT ARABE INTERNATIONALE DE BANQUEEGYPT2,006,17771,304714,8831,602,362
9188PIRAEUS BANK*EGYPT1,963,793000
102108AHLI UNITED BANK EGYPT*EGYPT1,715,1150932,5550
10697MISR IRAN DEVELOPMENT BANKEGYPT1,628,46233,770633,6171,018,870
141-EGYPTIAN GULF BANK*EGYPT989,74015,908626,411739,810
160-UNION NATIONAL BANK EGYPTEGYPT746,92620,757333,321548,296
 


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