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For the First Time in 20 Years, Egypt’s Poverty Rate Dips

In the latest figures released by CAPMAS, the country’s poverty rate declined to 29.7%, compared to 32.5% in the study of income and spending for FY 2017/18.

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The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) has disclosed that Egypt’s poverty rate has declined for the first time since fiscal year (FY) 1999/00.

In the latest figures released by CAPMAS, the country’s poverty rate declined to 29.7%, compared to 32.5% in the study of income and spending for FY 2017/18.

The results were revealed during a speech by CAPMAS head Khairat Barakat at a press conference in the presence of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and a number of ministers.

He explained that the average household income has increased 15% from EGP 60,400 to EGP 69,000, and the average family spending increased from EGP 61,000 to EGP 63,000.

He, however, pointed to the decline in extreme poverty from 6.2% in the previous research. to 4.5% in the FY 2019/20 research.

He also said that the average spending on food support for families reached 1,420, indicating that the number of families receiving support amounted to 84% compared to 88% in the previous research.

He attributed the decline to the Ministry of Supply’s re-review of those families eligible for subsidies.

Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said said that the study of income, expenditure and consumption is of special importance. By studying these aspects, the state can monitor the average and patterns of consumption and expenditure for families and individuals, according to the social, demographic and economic characteristics of the population.

Read also: Egypt’s Tourism: Minister, Private Sector Discusses Field’s Opportunities, Challenges

The study also provides data that are used to measure the living standards of families and individuals, as well as creating databases for measuring poverty, whether material or multidimensional.

The data additionally is used to calculate the average annual consumption expenditure of families and individuals, for each item of spending. It is used to study the factors affecting consumption, identify the relative distribution for household spending on different spending items, and uses them as weights in calculating the consumer price index.

The index is an indicator for measuring inflation, in addition to providing the necessary data for preparing national accounts. This includes tables of inputs and outputs and commodity scales and identifying the average household and individual income according to different sources of income.

El-Said added that all these indicators and data included in the research represent a basic pillar for development planning and directing the state’s efforts to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development.

“In recent years, the poverty rate decreased for the first time since 1999, decreasing to 29.7% compared to 32.5% in FY 2017/18, as the poverty rate decreased in all regions and the decline was greater in rural Lower Egypt by (4.73%), followed by rural Upper Egypt (3.79%),” El-Said, “The research also indicates an increase in the average annual net income for a family at  Egypt from EGP 60,400 in FY 2017/18 to EGP 69,100 in FY 2019/20, an increase of about 15%.”

“The average annual income of a family in urban areas rose from EGP 69,600 annually in FY 2017/18, to EGP 80,900 in FY 2019/20, reflecting an increase of 16.3%,” El-Said said, “The average annual income of a family in rural areas increased from EGP 52,700 annually in FY 2017/18 to EGP 59,700 annually in FY 2019/20, reflecting an increase of 13.3%.”

The minister also said that one of the most important indicators included in the research includes the increase in the proportion of poor with the increase in the size of the family, as large families are more vulnerable to poverty.

With this in mind, this places importance on controlling population growth rates and addressing the imbalance between the rate of population growth and the size of resources. In turn, this devours the results and fruits of the achieved growth and even threatens more pressures and economic and social challenges.

It also leads to a decline in the return from development efforts, as it increases the difficulty of facing the problems of unemployment and the disparity in development indicators between different regions and governorates.

The state must work to manage the housing issue, by controlling population growth, and upgrading population characteristics, such as education, health, job opportunities, and empowerment.

In this context, the state is also looking to meet this challenge by developing a comprehensive plan to control population growth rates. This will be implemented as of early 2021, in cooperation between all ministries and relevant authorities.

At the conclusion of her speech, El-Said confirmed that the relative improvement and positive indicators included in the income and spending research for this year indicates that Egypt is on the right path. This encourages the state to continue its efforts in this direction.

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East Africa Business News

Zambia, IMF Plan on Credit Extension Meet in February

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Fredson Yamba, Zambia’s Secretary to the Treasury, says his country will next month hold a virtual meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to negotiate an extended credit facility.

The virtual meeting will be held from February 1 to March 3, 2021, Yamba said.

According to Yamba, the meeting comes in the wake of a request by the Zambian government last November for a formal programme and a visit by an IMF team in December.

The meeting will be held under the Extended Credit Facility window which provides financial assistance to countries with protracted balance of payments challenges, a situation which the southern African nation faces.

The programme discussions will centre on the government’s objectives to attain fiscal and debt sustainability and on key pillars in the country’s economic recovery programme, he said in a release.

“In line with the need to stabilise the economy and gain traction on its reform agenda, the government as espoused in the economic recovery programme, 2020-2023, and prior cabinet approvals have prioritised having a formal programme with the IMF,’’ he added.

The talks, he said, will also focus on the need to scale up social protection programmes and undertake the much-needed reforms in the agriculture and energy sectors.

Zambia is seeking a financing agreement with the international lender to tackle its battered economy, which is getting worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Nigeria Bourse Drops N51Bn on MPC Rate Adjustment Fears

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The Nigerian Stock Exchange market capitalisation on Friday dropped further by N51 billion on sustained profit taking due to fear of rate adjustment by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

The MPC of the Central Bank of Nigeria first meeting of year has been slated for Jan. 25 and Jan. 26.

Specifically, the market capitalisation lost N51 billion or 0.24 per cent to close at N21.448 trillion compared with N21.499 trillion posted on Thursday.

Also, the All-Share which opened at 41,099.15 shed 97.16 points or 0.24 per cent to close at 41,001.99.

Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., attributed the persistent bearish trend to fear of likely rate cut by MPC.

“Historically, February is a dicey month for the stock market, despite being the period for early filers of full year earnings reports.

“The recent slow or profit booking is as a result of positive close of 2020 and fear of rate adjustment at the forthcoming MPC meeting, ahead of earnings reporting season,” Omordion said.

He said that the fear was heightened by the latest FGN Bonds which reopened on adjusted and juicier rates for long tenored bonds.

Omordion noted that the relative stability in the market was due to dominance of domestic institutional investors.

An analysis of the price movement chart indicates that 32 stocks recorded price depreciation, relative to 21 gainers.

Lafarge Africa topped the laggards’ table, dropping N1.95 kobo to close at N26 per share.

MRS trailed with N1.20 kobo to close at N11.20 kobo, while Livestock Feeds dipped 28k to close at N2.52 per share.

NEM Insurance lost 26k to close at N2.43, while United Bank for Africa dipped 25k to close at N8.70 per share.

On the other hand, Flour Mills led the gainers’ table, increasing by 40k to close at N32 per share.

NCR followed with 28k to close at N3.12, while Cutix added 20k to close at N2.26 per share.

Champion Breweries garnered 17k to close at N1.95, while United Bank for Africa improved by 10k to close at N5.55 per share.

Also, the volume of shares traded closed lower as investors bought and sold 591.46 million shares valued at N5.07 billion in 5,787 deals.

This was against 1.12 billion shares valued at N6.39 billion exchanged in 7,404 deals on Thursday.

Transcorp was the most active stock, exchanging 169.28 million shares worth N195.89 million.

Japaul Gold followed with an account of 47.28 million shares valued at N44.95 million, while UBA traded 36.64 million shares worth N321.81 million.

FBN Holdings exchanged 34.31 million shares valued at N250.82 million, while Zenith Bank sold 25.71 million shares worth N680.79 million.

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West Africa Business News

Chevron Nigeria Denies Responsibility for Bayelsa Oil Spill

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Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) declared on Friday that reported leaks near its operational areas at Funiwa offshore facilities off the Atlantic coast was not from its facilities.

It even pledged to support regulators in tracing the source.

Fishermen around the Atlantic Ocean coastline reported an oil leak suspected to be from the Funiwa fields on Sunday.

Chevron, the operator of the field, has, however, denied responsibility for the leakage.

Esimaje Brikinn, General-Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron, in an update, said that the oil firm remained committed to tracing the source of the spill, as part of a joint effort by operators in the area to investigate the leakage.

“The observed spill has been reported by CNL to the appropriate regulatory agencies.

“For spills found within an operator’s operational area, the operator is required to contain the spill, followed by a Joint Investigation Visit by all stakeholders for assessment and further action.

“No spill has been observed within CNL’s operational area, but we are monitoring this incident.

“CNL operates in strict compliance with the relevant laws and regulations governing the Nigerian petroleum industry and remains committed to the safety of people and the environment,’’ he stated.

Chevron and two other companies operate independently near the spill location.

It was gathered that the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had summoned all the oil firms operating in the shallow waters near Koluama in Bayelsa in a bid to identify the source of the leaks.

Mr Musa Idris, Director-General, NOSDRA, in a telephone interview, said that the spills regulatory agency would dispatch its officials to the incident site.

Meanwhile, Chief Young Fabby, a community leader in Koluama 1, one of the impacted communities said that a joint team of Bayelsa government officials, oil firms operating in the area have scheduled a visit to the spill site for Friday.

“With the Joint Investigation Team visiting today, more facts will emerge. We are expecting the team to commence clean-up and remediation activities though the incident took place sometime around Saturday and oil discharge noticed since Sunday.

“There was high tidal currents at that time and it spread the oil ashore to the mangroves; we are ready to show the investigation team round when they arrive,” the community leader stated.

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