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Qatar in talks with Egypt to buy $2.5b of state-held stakes in Vodafone Egypt

October 20, 2022 at 2:10 pm

Vodafone Egypt [wikipedia]

Qatar is in talks with Egypt to buy $2.5 billion of state-held stakes in Vodafone Egypt, according to Bloomberg.

The Qatar Investment Authority, the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, plans to buy 20 per cent of Telecom Egypt’s stake in Vodafone and several other unlisted companies.

The move comes as Egypt struggles to deal with the fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has affected tourism in the country as nationals from the two countries were among the top visitors to the Red Sea resort towns.

Egypt’s tourism industry makes up around 15 per cent of the country’s GDP, which was already struggling in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.

A foreign currency crisis, high import bills and widespread corruption have also had dire effects on Egypt’s economy.

As the Egyptian pound has weakened, local and overseas investors have exited the Egyptian market. The Egyptian pound has lost over 20 per cent of its value against the dollar since March.

Qatar’s investment is the latest sign that relations are warming between the two countries after the Saudi-led rift in 2017 which saw Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain break off relations with Qatar over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its alleged backing of terrorism.

Egypt and Qatar restored relations in January 2021 at the Al-Ula summit in which the four blockading countries agreed to restore diplomatic, trade, and travel ties with Qatar.

In March this year, Doha said it would invest $5 billion in Egypt and QatarEnergy said it had made an agreement to acquire a 40 per cent stake in a gas exploration block off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt.

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