Egypt, Morocco in FTSE Russell’s new frontier market bond index

Egypt, Morocco in FTSE Russell’s new frontier market bond index
Egyptian bonds are set to join JPMorgan Emerging Market Bond Indexes by October. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 June 2021

Egypt, Morocco in FTSE Russell’s new frontier market bond index

Egypt, Morocco in FTSE Russell’s new frontier market bond index
  • New bond index tracks debt from 13 countries
  • Inclusion will attract $4 billion to its debt market, Egypt minister says

CAIRO: Egypt and Morocco are among 13 countries included in the new FTSE Russell Frontier Emerging Markets Government Bond Index Series, which tracks local currency bond markets.

The other countries included in the index at launch are Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and Vietnam, FTSE Russell said in a statement on Tuesday.

The market value of bonds in the index at the beginning of June was $414.8 billion and with a weighted average coupon of 9.98 percent, it said. Market inclusion will be reviewed semi-annually in March and September.

Egypt’s inclusion in the index will attract about $4 billion in new investments into its government securities market, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said in a statement.

The nation has 80 bonds represented in the index, for a maximum 10 percent weighting allowed for each country, said Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kujok.

In April, Egyptian government bonds were added to a watch list to join JPMorgan Emerging Market Bond Indexes within the coming six months.

Egypt may issue the first sovereign sukuk in its history at the beginning of the new fiscal year, with a value of up to $2 billion, Maait told Al Arabiya on Wednesday.


Aramco’s Wa’ed invests in online gifts marketplace Joi Gifts

Aramco’s Wa’ed invests in online gifts marketplace Joi Gifts
Updated 15 sec ago

Aramco’s Wa’ed invests in online gifts marketplace Joi Gifts

Aramco’s Wa’ed invests in online gifts marketplace Joi Gifts
  • The funds will be used to drive short-term growth, with initiatives including awareness campaigns and product development

DUBAI: The entrepreneurship unit of Aramco, Wa’ed, was one of the investors in Joi Gift’s recent funding round that gained $2.5 million in proceeds.

Joi Gifts is an online marketplace for gifts, which operates in eight countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, and Egypt.

Dubai-based Knuru Capital also participated in the Series A funding round, the startup said in a statement.

The funds will be used to drive short-term growth, with initiatives including awareness campaigns and product development. The company is also planning further regional expansion, after it announced its eighth country market earlier this year.

“We are thrilled with this investment, which enables Joi Gifts to further enhance and improve what is already the MENA region’s leading online one-stop shop for gifts,” Rami Kahale, Joi Gifts chief, said.

The company said the UAE and the Kingdom had some of the highest average spend on gifts globally, which contributes to its success.


Huawei to pump $15m into Middle East’s cloud computing market

Huawei to pump $15m into Middle East’s cloud computing market
Updated 11 min 39 sec ago

Huawei to pump $15m into Middle East’s cloud computing market

Huawei to pump $15m into Middle East’s cloud computing market
  • The investment, to be deployed over the next three years, will benefit more than 100 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing their cloud capabilities

DUBAI: Technology giant Huawei announced a $15 million investment to promote the use of cloud computing in the Middle East.

The investment, to be deployed over the next three years, will benefit more than 100 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing their cloud capabilities.

“The Huawei Cloud Oasis Program will thus provide truly unique and rewarding offerings to local businesses, while safeguarding the region’s digital future through extensive training opportunities in the cloud arena,” Eric Wan, vice-president of cloud marketing, ecosystem, and partner development at Huawei Middle East said.

Around $7.6 million will be allocated for partner development, more than $2.5 million to be put behind credits and other cloud resources, and more than $4.5 million in marketing support.

The program was announced at a virtual event last week where Huawei gathered key industry players to explore collaboration in building a high-tech ecosystem.

The move comes as the UAE implements a number of initiatives to boost the country’s digital capabilities – similar to many other countries in the Gulf.


Dubai-based ZENIQ to launch platforms that turn assets into digital tokens

Dubai-based ZENIQ to launch platforms that turn assets into digital tokens
Updated 54 min 35 sec ago

Dubai-based ZENIQ to launch platforms that turn assets into digital tokens

Dubai-based ZENIQ to launch platforms that turn assets into digital tokens
  • The first of these platforms, ZENIQ Art NFT, will facilitate the authentication, sale, and transfer of digital artworks in a “safe and secure” environment

DUBAI: A Dubai-based provider of blockchain-based applications is launching a tokenization project to better facilitate the trading of digital assets.

“The project will see the establishment of non-fungible token (NFT) platforms for real estate, gold and precious materials, gemstones, and digital art,” ZENIQ Technologies said in a statement.

The first of these platforms, ZENIQ Art NFT, will facilitate the authentication, sale, and transfer of digital artworks in a “safe and secure” environment.

“We are convinced that the ZENIQ Art NFT, used in conjunction with our secure blockchain platform, will stimulate uptake from artists, buyers and dealers alike and grow the market for digital artworks both in Dubai and internationally,” Erwin Dokter, founder of ZENIQ, said.

Dubai plays an integral role in digital art investments, he said, explaining why the emirate is the perfect place for the project.

“We believe that Dubai will be the focus for the sixth era of world creativity,” Dokter added.


Saudi seeks partners for water pipeline project

Saudi seeks partners for water pipeline project
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 19 September 2021

Saudi seeks partners for water pipeline project

Saudi seeks partners for water pipeline project
  • The winning bidder will provide the entire transmission capacity to SWPC under a 35-year water transmission agreement
  • The Saudi government aims to achieve its goals of ensuring sustainable development of the country’s water resources while providing affordable high-quality services

The Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) for the Riyadh-Qassim Independent Water Transmission Pipeline (IWTP) project, which, on completion, will have a transmission capacity of 685,000 cubic meters per day, according to TradeArabia.com.

Through this program, the Saudi government aims to achieve its goals of ensuring sustainable development of the country’s water resources while providing affordable high-quality services, SWPC said in a statement.

According to SWPC, a competitive process will be held to select the developer/developer consortium for the 1,392-km-long pipeline project which will be implemented on a build, own, operate and transfer  basis. The deadline for bids has been set at October 31, stated the utility company.

It will develop the necessary potable water transmission systems network comprising pipelines and interim/terminal storage facilities within the Eastern Supply Group to provide critical connectivity between the consumption centers and the upcoming desalination plants.

The winning bidder will provide the entire transmission capacity to SWPC under a 35-year water transmission agreement in bid to boost the Eastern Supply Group, it added.


UAE central bank sees COVID-19 increasing money-laundering risks

UAE central bank sees COVID-19 increasing money-laundering risks
Updated 19 September 2021

UAE central bank sees COVID-19 increasing money-laundering risks

UAE central bank sees COVID-19 increasing money-laundering risks
  • The use of unlicensed money service providers for money laundering has increased during the coronavirus crisis last year
  • The number of so-called "money mules" - people who receive illicit funds into their bank accounts to hold or withdraw and wire elsewhere who take a commission - increased

The UAE central bank sees increased risks of illicit financial flows emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, including money-laundering and terrorism financing, it said in a report published on Sunday.


The use of unlicensed money service providers for money laundering has increased during the coronavirus crisis last year, the report said, as well as the use of e-commerce to launder money.


"Widespread lockdowns have resulted in a significant surge in e-commerce. Due to limited ability to move funds and goods during the pandemic, illicit actors are turning to e-commerce as a money laundering tool", it said.


The number of so-called "money mules" - people who receive illicit funds into their bank accounts to hold or withdraw and wire elsewhere, taking a commission for their services - increased, the bank said, with accounts in the majority of cases belonging to low income individuals from Africa and Asia.


The bank identified fraud risks linked to the pandemic such as companies or individuals submitting false claims to qualify for government stimulus support measures.


“We have recently observed heightened external fraud threat, especially with cyber criminals exploiting both traditional and digital channels, to remotely perpetrate cyber-enabled fraud attacks at scale in a rapidly evolving environment”, the bank added.


The report comes as the central bank steps up efforts to combat illicit financial flows.


The Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental anti-money laundering monitor, said last year that "fundamental and major improvements" were needed to avoid it placing the UAE on its "grey list" of countries under increased monitoring.