Egypt Independent: Business-Main news en EgyptAir achieves 'positive' results in Star Alliance inspection <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>EgyptAir has announced &quot;positive&quot; results in a recent inspection of key sites at Cairo International Airport by the Star Alliance group</p><p>Inspectors from the group of major airlines toured Terminal Building 3 and the administrative building of EgyptAir, taking notes on the facilities and procedures in place.<br /><br />The process is part of the annual inspection by Star Alliance of all member companies, aimed at ensuring their commitment to service quality and new projects.<br /><br />The fields reviewed included: passenger service in departures and arrival halls; lounges; ground services; baggage reclaim; advertising; and the communications center.<br /><br />Safwat Mesallam, chairman of EgyptAir Holding Company, said that his company is keen to implement the highest international standards in the field of passenger services. It was the dedication to passenger service that won EgyptAir membership of the Star Alliance in 2008, said Mesallam.<br /><br />He said the company is committed to implementing the measures compatible with the alliance&#39;s policies, confirming the status of EgyptAir within the global aviation industry.</p> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:15:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2471401 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/07/05/505021/egyptair_flags.jpg Egypt signs exploration deals with US and Cyprus firms <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Egypt&#39;s minister of petroleum and mineral resources has signed two agreements for oil and gas exploration in upper Egypt with U.S. company IPR and Cyprus subsidiary Mediterra, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.<br /><br />The agreements include the drilling of three exploration wells located in sectors 7 and 8 in the country&#39;s southern Al-Baraka field in Aswan, investments worth a minimum $4.3 million and a one-off fee for the licence called a signature bonus, totalling $200,000.<br /><br />The contracts were signed between Egypt&#39;s Ganoub El-Wadi Petroleum Holding Company (GANOPE), IPR and Mediterra.<br /><br />Minister of Petroleum Tarek al-Molla said the deals will help increase oil production to meet local needs.<br /><br />Al-Molla added that the new agreements will intensify research activities in the southern area of the country which has promising petroleum prospects.</p> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 11:32:00 +0000 Reuters 2471396 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/12/06/1755/petroleum_minister_tarek_al-molla.jpg 27.8 percent of Egyptian population lives below poverty line: CAPMAS <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Egypt&rsquo;s official statistics agency said on Tuesday that the Egyptian poverty line stands at an income of LE5,787.9 annually and LE482 monthly, 48 per cent higher than in 2012/2013.<br /><br />About 27.8 per cent of the Egyptian population is currently living below the poverty line, according to a Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) survey addressing income and expenditures in 2015.<br /><br />The poverty line is defined as the minimum income deemed adequate for an individual to meet his basic needs. The poverty line in Egypt differs from one area to another depending on the cost of living in each area.<br /><br />The Egyptian poverty line was raised from LE326 monthly in the 2012/2013 survey to LE482 in 2015, an increase of 48 per cent, said Professor of Statistics at Cairo University Heba al-Laithy who took part in preparing the CAPMAS survey.<br /><br />The annual rate of inflation in consumer prices reached 14.8 per cent in June.<br /><br />The data from the survey indicates that 2015 saw the highest poverty levels since 2000. Poverty rates have hiked to 27.8 per cent in 2015 compared to 26.3 per cent in 2012/2013 and 25.2 per cent in 2010/2011.<br /><br />The current poverty line means that a family made up of 5 individuals needs LE2,372 monthly to float above the line.<br /><br />Laithy believes there is a direct correlation between the increase in family members and the vulnerability to poverty. That is in addition to the role played by illiteracy. She said that &quot;the illiterate are usually the poorest.&quot;<br /><br />She added that &quot;Across all age groups, the poor are less likely to enroll in education, which means that poverty is inherited and the poor will remain poor. However quality education is able to eject citizens from poverty.&rdquo;<br /><br />The increase in food prices also contributed to an increase in poverty rates, according to the professor.<br /><br />The CAPMAS survey pointed out that the urban population is richer than the rural one but the former suffers higher levels of income inequality.<br /><br />Rural areas, on the other hand, witnessed increased levels of inequality and poverty during the past two years compared to the urban areas where inequality levels decreased and poverty levels stabilised.<br /><br />Higher poverty levels were seen in the rural areas of Upper Egypt where poverty reached 56.7 per cent, while the poverty level in lower Egypt was recorded at 19.7 per cent.<br /><br />The governorates of Assiut and Sohag ranked the highest in terms of poverty levels at a rate of 66 per cent. Poverty in Cairo, on the other hand, reached 18 per cent of its inhabitants.<br /><br />The survey&rsquo;s results signified that food subsidies protected 4.6 per cent of Egyptians from falling below the poverty line, according to the data.<br /><br />The results also indicated that 77 per cent of the 10 per cent of Egyptians with the highest spending used subsidy cards in 2015. This is more than previous years, which shows inefficiency in Egypt&rsquo;s subsidy system supposedly tailored to benefit lower income groups.</p> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:08:00 +0000 Aswat Masriya 2471393 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/06/16030/poverty.png Egypt's central bank keeps pound stable at 8.78 per dollar <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) kept the pound stable at 8.78 per dollar at its weekly foreign currency auction on Tuesday, the state-owned MENA reported.</p><p class="p-description">The CBE devalued the pound by about 14 percent to reach EGP 8.78 against the dollar in March&nbsp;in an effort to close the gap between the official and parallel rates but the move failed to boost dollar liquidity or close the gap.</p><p class="p-description">The widening gap between the official and the unofficial dollar rates persists despite the central bank&#39;s attempts to narrow it.&nbsp;On the black market, the pound had weakened to unprecedented levels near 13 to the dollar on Tuesday.</p><p class="p-description">Tuesday&#39;s decision came amid expectations of further devaluation of the pound, after Tarek Amer, the governor of the CBE, said earlier this month that the central bank&#39;s attempts to fix the price of the Egyptian pound against the dollar were a grave mistake, according to three different publications.</p><p class="p-description">Amer&nbsp;stated they&nbsp;would start adopting a more &quot;flexible&quot; exchange rate policy with the aim of &quot;restoring regular and sustainable&nbsp;foreign exchange trading within the banking system.&quot;</p><p class="p-description">Foreign currency inflows have been severely hit in import-dependent Egypt after the 2011 uprising, which ended the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, drove away tourists and foreign investors, two major sources of hard currency.</p><p class="p-description">Egypt&#39;s foreign reserves inched up at the end of February by 56 million dollars reaching 16.533 billion, still less than half of the foreign reserves Egypt had before Mubarak&#39;s removal when they were almost US$36 billion.</p> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 11:33:00 +0000 Aswat Masriya 2471380 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/04/26/505021/918070601457980977.jpg