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Cablegate: Egypt's Economy: Semptember 30 Press Round-Up

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RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS CAIRO 001874

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STATE FOR NEA/ELA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD EAGR EPET PGOV EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT'S ECONOMY: SEMPTEMBER 30 PRESS ROUND-UP

1.(U) The following are notable economic news stories that appeared over the past week in the Egyptian press: -------------------------------------- Exports to Agadir Member States up 22% --------------------------------------

2.(U) The Ministry of Trade and Industry reported that Egypt's exports to its trading partners under the Arab Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement (Agadir Agreement)were US$586 million from January to May 2009, a 22% rise compared to the same period in 2008. Egypt signed the Agadir Agreement in 2004 along with Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco. (Al Ahram, 9/20/2009). ------------------------------------- Egypt Has 50 Million Cell Phone Users -------------------------------------

3.(U) According to a report published by the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology (MCIT), the number of Egyptian mobile phone subscribers reached 50 million. This represents an increase of more than 14 million over last year. The number of internet users was reported at 13.7 million, though only a fraction, 900,000 users, had broadband internet service. (Al Ahram, 9/23/2009). ------------------------- Egypt's Oil Production Up -------------------------

4.(U) Minister of Petroleum, Sameh Fahmi, released new figures on Egypt's crude oil production. According to Fahmi, Egypt now produces 700,000 barrels per day (up from 620,000 barrels in 2008) and that Egypt's oil reserves amount to 4.4 billion barrels (Al Ahram, 9/22/2009). ----------------------- Liberalizing Irrigation -----------------------

5.(U) The Ministry of Irrigation has prepared a draft law that would allow the participation of private organizations in the management of underground water and river water. The new law will allow for and regulate the participation of users in decisions on water use and maintenance of canals-- an area which has been the exclusive purview of the Ministry. (Al Shorouk, Al Masry Al Youm, 9/23/2009) ------------------------------- H1N1 Cases in Egyptian Prisons -------------------------------

6.(U) Egyptian state security has raised its state of alert because of cases of the H1N1 virus detected in prisons and detention cells. (Al-Arabiya Net 9/27/09). SCOBEY

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