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Edmund Bower

Reporter

Edmund Bower is a freelance journalist based in Beirut who has been reporting from the Middle East since 2014. He covers Lebanon and Egypt for AGBI and also writes for titles including The Economist, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Edmund Bower
An orange vendor in Cairo. The country will export 2 million tonnes of oranges this year

Egyptian agricultural exports hit record levels

Egypt exported a record 7.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce last year, compared with 6.4 million tonnes in 2022 and 5.6 million in 2021. The total value of agricultural exports in 2023 was $8.8 billion, according to minister of agriculture and land reclamation Al Sayed Al Quseir. Egypt’s total number of export partners has increased […]

The number of ships traversing the Suez Canal has almost halved and Egypt expects a substantial revenue fall

Red Sea crisis could drop Suez Canal revenue by 60%

Suez Canal revenues may decrease by up to 60 percent due to elevated tensions in the Red Sea, according to assessments cited by Egyptian finance minister Mohamed Maait. Speaking at a ministerial event at Cairo University on Monday, Maait said the revenue fall would further exacerbate the state’s budget deficit which has grown to EGP120 […]

A construction site in Cairo. Egypt received the final tranche of ADQ funding for Ras El Hekma last week

Work on ADQ-backed resort in Egypt ‘to start this year’

ADQ will begin building the infrastructure for its Ras El Hekma development on Egypt’s north coast before the end of this year, according to housing minister Assem El Gazzar. The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund had said it would break ground in early 2025, but it has yet to announce the names of contractors or […]

Almost all of Lebanon's visitors in the first quarter came from the Lebanese diaspora

Tourist numbers drop as Western visitors avoid Lebanon

Inbound tourism to Lebanon fell 13.5 percent year on year in the first three months of 2024, mainly as a result of Western tourists staying away, data released by the country’s Ministry of Tourism shows. It is the latest indication of damage to Lebanon’s post-crisis economy caused by the ongoing border conflict between Hezbollah and […]

The presidents of Egypt and the UAE, Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Egypt receives second tranche of UAE’s $35bn investment

Egyptian authorities have received the second tranche of a $35 billion investment from the UAE, local media reported on Tuesday. The payment secures the right of Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ to develop the land of Ras El Hekma on Egypt’s north coast. The $20 billion tranche consists of $14 billion fresh money and […]

CIB profits Commercial International Bank branch

Abu Dhabi-backed Egyptian bank doubles profits

Commercial International Bank, the Egyptian lender backed by Abu Dhabi, has doubled its consolidated net profits for the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2023. In an earnings release published on Sunday, CIB posted a net income of EGP11.9 billion ($253 million) at the start of this year, up from […]

Israel Lebanon damage

Israeli bombardment costs Lebanon at least $1.5bn

Israel’s bombardment of southern Lebanon in response to the Hamas attacks on October 7 has caused more than $1.5 billion of damage to buildings and infrastructure, the country’s Southern Council says. The president of the council, Hicham Haidar, told AGBI that damage to residential and commercial buildings stands at $1 billion, with 1,700 buildings destroyed […]

A worker arranges vegetables to be displayed at a market in Maadi, a suburb of Cairo, Egypt, February 26, 2024. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egyptian businesses yet to feel effect of $60bn new funding

The close to $60 billion in new funding announced for Egypt in recent months has yet to trickle down to average business people in the country, according to the results of a new monthly survey. Difficult market conditions in Egypt continued in April as the monthly S&P Global Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) slid from 47.6 […]

Tourists stop for a breather at a cafe in Cairo's Khan el Khalili souq. About 14.9m people visited Egypt in 2023

Tourists keep flocking to Egypt as conflict rumbles on

Egypt’s visitor numbers rose 27 percent in the first four months of 2024, according to its vice minister of tourism and antiquities. The tourism ministry aims to increase inbound visitors by 25-30 percent this year, as it chases a target of 30 million visitors a year by 2030. Tourists from Arab countries accounted for the […]

Lebanon-restaurants

Lebanon’s diners defy both slowdown and spectre of war

It is a cliché in Lebanon that people will always find the money for restaurants, even with war and conflict once again threatening its southern borders. “No matter what, Lebanese people want to go out,” says Christian Ghosn, CEO of Ghia Holding, which operates 25 restaurants in Lebanon, the Middle East, and Europe.  When Ghosn’s […]

A subsidiary of Banque Misr will open the first digital-only bank in Egypt this year

Egypt to open first digital bank later this year

Misr Digital Innovation will open Egypt’s first digital bank towards the end of the year, as it looks to appeal to the North African’s country’s younger and unbanked demographic. MTI, a subsidiary of Banque Misr, is the first bank to have received approval to establish a digital bank by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) […]

Lebanon EU aid

Lebanon to receive $1bn in financial aid from the EU

A financial aid package for Lebanon from the EU valued at more than $1 billion was announced on Thursday by the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.  The money, most of which will be grants, will be made available over the next three years. Some will go towards helping to control the flow of […]

The 2020 explosion caused $15bn of damage and reduced the port's capacity

Beirut bids to reclaim its regional shipping crown

The ruined grain silos that absorbed much of the Beirut Port blast still stand as a monument to Lebanon’s misery during the past four years.  Much of the debris, scattered across the old port and lying on the seabed, remains unmoved from where it fell on 4 August 2020, when 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate […]

A square in Cairo

‘Worst is behind us’ in Egypt’s black market dollar war says BMI

The Egyptian government’s priority for 2024 should be to keep the gap between the official and parallel exchange rates for Egypt’s pound and the US dollar as narrow as possible, says BMI Research. In a webinar on Tuesday BMI, a Fitch Group firm specialised in country risk, said that “the worst is behind us” in […]

Egypt's finance minister Mohamed Maait said the second payment from the Ras El Hekma project is estimated to be $20bn

Egypt to receive $30bn by June but denies $1.5bn new Saudi deal

An Egyptian government spokesperson rebuffed reports on Sunday that the Saudi firm Ajlan & Bros had submitted a $1.5 billion proposal to develop Ras Gamila on the Red Sea. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Enterprise, Mansour Abdelghany, told Ahram Online that no such offers would be considered until an international advisory firm completes […]

A customer paying with a credit card inside the Black Friday Market in Beirut. Lebanon wants more people to move away from cash

Lebanon launches plan to promote use of bank cards

Lebanese central bank Banque du Liban announced a new agreement on Thursday that it hopes will result in a rebound in the use of bank cards. As part of the agreement, Mastercard and Visa will lower card fees on transactions, particularly for people with bank accounts based outside Lebanon. In a press release, the bank […]

Visitor numbers to Lebanon for the first 10 months of 2023 were up 21% on 2022 but there is currently 'no significant traffic' from the West

Beirut airport arrivals drop as Westerners stay away

The daily arrival rate at Lebanon’s only functioning international airport is down by 4 percent year on year in the first quarter of this year, according to Marwan Haber, the head of Middle East Airline’s (MEA) commercial division. Speaking at the Horeca hospitality conference in Beirut on Tuesday Haber said 95 percent of arrivals were […]

Egypt growth forecast Cairo street

World Bank lowers Egypt’s growth forecast again

The World Bank has downgraded Egypt’s growth forecast for the current fiscal year to 2.8 percent, the lowest for 11 years, despite recent investment in the country of nearly $60 billion. In its latest Middle East and North Africa economic update, the bank blamed “sluggish industrial sector performance” and the effects of war in the […]

A closed Bank of Beirut branch in Beirut, Lebanon. Some private banks could be forced into liquidation by the government's debt plan

The banking blame game stifling Lebanon’s IMF deal

Lebanon’s proposed International Monetary Fund deal, agreed two years ago and designed to put the country on the road to recovery, seems no closer to realisation. One of the key stumbling points is reform of the banking sector. The combined liabilities of the country’s banks amount to more than three times the size of Lebanon’s […]

Lebanon's caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati has called for 'immediate assistance' from UN agencies

Lebanon PM to declare ‘agricultural disaster zone’ in south

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati is to declare the south of the country an “agricultural disaster zone” as the conflict in Gaza batters Lebanon’s beleaguered economy. Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mikati called for “immediate assistance” from UN agencies and Lebanon’s international partners to help the country overcome the impact of a […]

A man waits for customers at his dates shop in Cairo. The Egyptian government says it will increase tax revenues by 30 percent 'without burdening citizens'

Egypt’s ambitious budget makes private sector a priority

Egypt’s budget for the financial year 2024-25 includes ambitious targets of 4.2 percent growth, a 50 percent increase in private sector investment and a primary surplus of 3.5 percent.  The budget was approved in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and will be sent to the House of Representatives by the end of the month.  It […]

Egypt IMF bank money withdrawal

What Egypt needs to do to please its $60bn backers

A fast-paced four weeks may have transformed Egypt’s short-term economic prospects – but only if the country abides by the programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund, observers say. Egypt’s international partners have pledged almost $60 billion in loans, grants and investment. The central bank has allowed the pound to slide for the first time […]