Expat remittances to Egypt nosedive

Updated 26 November 2013

Expat remittances to Egypt nosedive

Remittances of Egyptian expats working in the Kingdom have plummeted this year owing to the political turmoil in Egypt and the ongoing labor inspection campaign, which has triggered the exodus of almost 300,000 Egyptians back to their homeland since the start of the amnesty period in July this year.
Taha Kosbah, an Egyptian economist, told Arab News: “The political crisis and the fragile Egyptian economy have played a big role in slashing Egyptian expats’ remittances.” Expat remittances stood at an estimated SR1 billion in 2013, which is a steep decline from the SR6 billion in 2010.
“The high cost of living in Egypt has also contributed to the reduction in remittances, as many Egyptians in the Kingdom are now unable to transfer large amounts of money to help their friends and relatives back home,” he added.
Moreover, the total number of Egyptians living in the Kingdom is now less than one million, which is another factor accounting for decreased remittances.
“Foreign remittances of Egyptians living abroad represent one of the most important sources of revenue for the country.”
Tosbah maintained that despite the crisis, foreign currency reserves in the Egyptian central bank now ranges between 16 billion and 18 billion Egyptian pounds.
The World Bank Migration and Development Brief released a report in October which said that Egyptian remittances had tripled since 2009, reaching $20 billion this year. According to the report, Egypt ranked first among the Arab countries and sixth in the list of the top recipients of remittances transferred to developing countries.
That said, foreign reserves have fallen by almost 60 percent since the revolution which toppled Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. In June of the same year, the central bank registered only $14.9 billion in foreign reserves — the equivalent of just three months of imports.


Snap happy: Every face tells a story for Saudi photographer

Updated 58 min 50 sec ago

Snap happy: Every face tells a story for Saudi photographer

  • “There is something majestic about people’s faces, their expressions,” says Abdullah Al-Joghiman

DHAHRAN: Saudi portrait photographer Abdullah Al-Joghiman has a message for everybody: You are beautiful just the way you are.

If you don’t believe him, let him take your picture.

“Even if you’re not photogenic, or think you look bad in pictures, I can always turn your frown upside down,” he said.

Al-Joghiman is a full-time financial analyst for the Saudi Electricity Co., but allows plenty of time for his work as a freelance portrait and event photographer on the side.

“I started off doing landscape photography, but I love portrait photography more. Landscape photographers have to travel a lot, and I wasn’t able to commit to that lifestyle for many reasons. But since I was a child I’ve always loved taking pictures of people. There is something majestic about people’s faces, their expressions,” he told Arab News.

The 34-year-old was born in Al-Hofuf and now lives in Dammam, but his passion for photography has taken him all over the Kingdom and to other areas of the world.

Al-Joghiman at the 2018 Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai. (Supplied)

Al-Joghiman has been asked to shoot for local events such as Gamers’ Con and internationally at conventions in Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE. In 2019, he was commissioned to photograph the World Cosplay Summit in Japan, traveling with a Saudi team competing at the event for the first time.

“It was amazing, I met people from around 20 countries who came to take part,” he said. “It was a great experience.”

Completely self-taught, Al-Joghiman caught the photography bug at college and has been training himself ever since. “I’ve been dabbling in photography since high school, but I started taking it more seriously in college. I’ve been shooting professionally since 2012 or 2013,” he said.

Al-Joghiman started off humbly, with a camera-centric smartphone, but has since expanded his collection significantly, and now shoots with a variety of high-tech cameras from Sony. Now he is attracting interest from both local and international sponsors, especially in the gaming and cosplay areas.

“Cosplayers are kind of difficult to shoot because they can be perfectionists, but I love seeing the joy on their faces when they see the final pictures. That makes it worthwhile,” he said.

Al-Joghiman is happy that social restrictions on photography in Saudi Arabia are easing, allowing him to find more opportunities to do the work he loves.

“It’s difficult to take pictures of people here, especially strangers, but I can’t really blame them, considering that they are not really used to that in our culture. But things are changing and it’s much easier to be a photographer in Saudi Arabia now,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

Abdullah Al-Joghiman has been asked to shoot for local events such as Gamers’ Con and internationally at conventions in Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE. In 2019, he was commissioned to photograph the World Cosplay Summit in Japan, traveling with a Saudi team competing at the event for the first time.

He is grateful for the Ministry of Culture’s efforts to revive the Kingdom’s art scene, and has long hoped that photography will become more regulated in the country.

“The market for photography and videography really needs to be regulated. It’s hard enough putting a price on one’s work without scoping out the competition and finding that someone else is charging thousands for just a headshot when I’m doing shoots for two or three hundred,” he said.

“I love my work, and I’d love to be able to do it for free, but at the end of the day I still need to eat,” he said.

Al-Joghiman doesn’t want to limit anyone else’s opportunities but simply wants the playing field evened out a little.

“As a photographer, I just want a fair chance for everyone. More importantly, a client should know exactly what they are paying for,” he said.

His advice to young Saudis looking to become photographers is this: “If you pursue photography, don’t worry. Just do what you love, and if people tell you that they don’t look good in pictures, convince them by taking a picture of them.”

AlJoghiman’s work can be found on Instagram and Twitter (@finalecco), and on his website, https://www.eccofantasyph.com