Calls for new Japanese industrial zones in Egypt, Africa

A cargo vessel container ship passes through Suez Canal, with the Al Salam Bridge behind it. (Shutterstock photo)
Updated 30 August 2019

Calls for new Japanese industrial zones in Egypt, Africa

  • Egypt-Japan ties at an exceptional phase in the history of relations

YOKOHAMA: Plans to establish new industrial zones in Egypt and Africa were on Wednesday unveiled at the opening of a high-profile business meeting in Japan.

Delegates attending the three-day Egyptian-Japanese Business Forum were told of the commercial importance of setting up a zone in the Suez Canal economic area, along with a Japanese bank in Egypt.

The forum, being held on the sidelines of the seventh session of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), in Yokohama city, was attended by Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Amr Nassar, Japan’s Ambassador to Egypt Masaki Noki, Chairman of the Egyptian Arab Contractors Co. Mohsen Salah, along with Egyptian and Japanese business leaders and investors.

Mohamed Abou El-Enein, vice president of the Egypt-Japan Business Council, stressed that new projects and increased Japanese investment in Egypt would play a major part in further boosting relations between the two countries.

Abou El-Enein said the “great support” received from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated the high level of cooperation taking place between the nations.

FASTFACT

Egypt and Africa are seeking to emulate Japan’s experience in 12 countries and its big successes in Cambodia, India and Malaysia.

The business leader pointed out that Japan could reach Africa, Europe and the Middle East via Egypt’s unique geographical location, and he called on Japanese investors to establish an industrial zone in the economic area of the Suez Canal. He also suggested the establishment of a Japanese bank in Egypt.

Egypt and Africa were seeking to emulate Japan’s experience in 12 countries and its big successes in Cambodia, India and Malaysia through the presence of Japanese industrial zones in Africa, Abou El-Enein added.

He said that cooperation between Egypt and Japan was currently at an exceptional phase and that there was huge potential to achieve much more.

Thanking ministers Nasr and Nassar for their support of the Egypt-Japan Business Council and bilateral relations in general, Abou El-Enein added that he was pleased with the expansion of Japanese companies in Egypt.

Egyptian businessman, Ibrahim Al-Araby, said: “The road to development and progress in Africa starts from Egypt as it is the gateway to the continent. We have to utilize tax-free zones and establish a Japanese industrial zone, especially now with the Silk Road stretching across the Middle East.

“Egypt is not only a gateway to 100 million Egyptians but 1.2 billion people in the African market.”


NMC Health removes CEO amid investigation of UAE firm’s finances

Updated 27 February 2020

NMC Health removes CEO amid investigation of UAE firm’s finances

  • Chief Executive Prasanth Manghat was dismissed with immediate effect
  • Chief Operating Officer Michael Davis was appointed as interim CEO

NMC Health has removed Chief Executive Prasanth Manghat with immediate effect and granted its finance chief extended sick leave, as more details emerge from an investigation into the UAE health care firm’s finances.
Abu-Dhabi based NMC said after Wednesday’s market close that it had appointed Chief Operating Officer Michael Davis as interim CEO to succeed Manghat and said Chief Financial Officer Prashanth Shenoy had been placed on longer leave.
Manghat had been with NMC for about 10 years in various roles, including deputy CEO and CFO, and had seen the company through its 2012 listing on the London Stock Exchange.
The moves are the latest blow for the firm whose shares have lost about two thirds of their value since US-based short-seller Muddy Waters late last year questioned its financial statements.
NMC had said at the time that the report was “false and misleading,” but had opened its own investigation into company finances. The review is being led by Louis Freeh, who was director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States from 1993 to mid-2001.
NMC on Wednesday said the investigation committee had identified supply chain financing arrangements that were entered into by the company and “which are understood to have been used” by entities controlled by founder BR Shetty and former vice-chair Khaleefa Butti Omair Yousif Ahmed Al Muhairi.
Reuters was unable to reach Manghat, Shetty and Muhairi for comment outside business hours on NMC’s latest statement.
The company, which operates clinics and hospitals, specialized maternity and fertility clinics, and long-term care homes in 19 countries, said the committee was reviewing a drawdown of its facilities that had not been disclosed or approved by the board.
Its shares closed 6.6% higher before Wednesday’s statement.
NMC also said it had suspended a member of its treasury team over possible discrepancies in its bank statements and ledger entries, and said it would be unable to publish its annual results till at least the end of April.
Indian billionaire Shetty resigned as NMC’s co-chairman this month, after British regulators said they were looking into NMC following a disclosure that he had misstated the size of his stake.
Shetty had said this month that his NMC shareholdings were under a legal review looking into a large portion of his shares signed to two of NMC’s top investors in 2017, while some of his other stock had been pledged as security against loans.