Sunday’s papers: France-Africa Summit, Egypt’s state of corruption

State-owned papers lead today with news of the upcoming 25th Africa-France summit, where President Mubarak is expected to be the only African president to give a speech in the opening session tomorrow.

Held in the Riviera city of Nice, the summit will focus on peace and security, climate and development, in addition to opening new prospects for cooperation over investment and trade. Mubarak, who arrived in Nice yesterday, will also be holding bilateral talks with African heads of state on a range of issues. Fifty one African leaders will participate in the summit, which will take place Monday and Tuesday.

Al-Akhbar, Al-Ahram and Al-Gomhorriya also lead with the secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Safwat el-Sherif, saying that there is a consensus within the NDP for the nomination of Hosni Mubarak in the next general election. The papers quoted el-Sherif during an interview on Mehwar Channel yesterday.

Independent daily Al-Shorouq leads with an exclusive interview with the founder of Transparency International, Peter Eigen, saying that Egypt’s position on the Corruption Perceptions Index was extremely low. With Egypt ranked at 111 of 180 countries in the index’s 2009 grading, Al-Shorouq points out that other Arab countries fare significantly better, with Saudi Arabia ranked 63rd and Tunisia 65th.

The paper goes on to quote Eigen saying that the spread of corruption is not due to a drop in pay standards, and that the most corrupt individuals are wealthy. He said that Egypt must work hard to improve its ranking.

Al-Shorouq also leads with news that Ethiopia and Uganda will not back down on new dam construction projects. The article refers to recent escalations in negotiations between Nile Basin countries, with five countries, including Ethiopia and Uganda, recently signing a separate agreement that is disputed by Egypt and Sudan.

The daily quotes Ethiopia’s finance minister saying that his country intends to build a small number of dams, possibly four or five. The minister is also quoted as saying that the dams are in Egypt’s interest, “for we can export electricity to Egypt through Sudan for cheap prices.” The article goes on to quote the finance and economic development minister of Uganda, who said that the building of dams for electricity generation is one of the Ugandan government’s priorities in the coming period. The minister asserted that Uganda has no intention of reducing Egypt’s share of the Nile’s water.

The statements were taken by Al-Shorouq during the Africa Development Bank’s annual assembly at the Ivory Coast.

Finally, Al-Dostour leads with ElBaradei saying, “My international reputation leaves authorities in Egypt tense.” The words were originally published on a German news website which interviewed ElBaradei. The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency went on to say that the government media campaign against him has won him more popularity and empathy, adding that the government’s counter-reform strategy relies on warning people that change is complicated and dangerous, with unforeseeable consequences.

ElBaradei also said that there is no need to agree with the Muslim Brotherhood ideologically, but that they are nevertheless part of society, with more than 20 percent of seats in parliament, yet no recognized party. He said that the perception of the brotherhood as Bin Laden’s allies is nonsense.

Egypt’s newspapers:
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
: Daily, state-run
Rose el-Youssef:
 Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat
 Daily, privately owned
Daily, privately owned
 Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
 Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
 Weekly, privately owned
Sawt el-Umma:
 Weekly, privately owned

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