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On 4 April 2024, the Executive Regulation of the new Egyptian pre-merger control regime was officially published by Prime Minister Decree No. 1120 of 2024. The ER introduces the implementing regulations for the newly established pre-merger control regime issued by the Law number 175 of 2022 which empowers the Egyptian Competition Authority with significant powers in reviewing and approving transactions. The ER states that it will enter into force on 1 June 2024, i.e. transactions that close on or after 1 June 2024, and meet the prescribed thresholds, must obtain prior approval from the ECA.

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has issued several notifications that are of high importance to businesses with operations in South Africa.
The notifications concern:
• A security compromise as per section 22 of the Protection of Personal Information Act (2013)
• Processes regarding the proof of physical address of companies and close corporations in South Africa
• More information concerning the Annual Return Deregistration Process of Companies and Close Corporations
• Details of the delays expected in processing company and close corporation re-instatement applications and responding to enquiries
• Information concerning the Beneficial Ownership Reviewer System
• Details regarding integration of the Foreigner Assurance Process with Beneficial Ownership.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to boost intra-African trade by more than 81 percent in the next decade. To ensure such advantages are obtained, a number of AfCFTA Protocols have been developed to facilitate sustainable investment and harmonize policy and regulations across African Union member states, including a Protocol on Investment. The Investment Protocol provides the continent with a clear set of guidelines and principles to expedite financing and investment across the continent’s new free trade zone. With trade finance considered a critical enabler of cross-border investment in Africa, the Investment Protocol is also assisting development finance institutions, increasingly important in bridging Africa’s trade finance gap, to more seamlessly support such investment.

On Friday, 15 March 2024, the UAE Ministry of Finance (“UAE MoF”) issued a public consultation on the potential framework that the UAE will introduce to implement Pillar 2, the global minimum tax framework. The consultation can be accessed here: https://mof.gov.ae/global-minimum-tax-public-consultation/. The deadline to provide input into the consultation is 10 April 2024.

On 27 January 2024, Law No. 2 of 2024 was issued (“Law”), providing green hydrogen and derivatives projects with certain incentives. These incentives are extended not only to green hydrogen and derivatives projects (such as green ammonia and green methanol), but also to the upstream and midstream facilities, of which 95% of the output is to service green hydrogen and derivatives projects and projects exclusively carrying out transportation, storage and distribution of green hydrogen and its derivatives in Egypt. The incentives also extend to projects that directly and exclusively manufacture production input and supplies for the midstream and downstream facilities for which a cabinet decree has been issued. The Law also applies to future expansions of the aforementioned projects.

On 27 January 2024, Law No. 2 of 2024 was issued (“Law”), providing green hydrogen and derivatives projects with certain incentives. These incentives are extended not only to green hydrogen and derivatives projects (such as green ammonia and green methanol), but also to the upstream and midstream facilities, of which 95% of the output is to service green hydrogen and derivatives projects and projects exclusively carrying out transportation, storage and distribution of green hydrogen and its derivatives in Egypt. The incentives also extend to projects that directly and exclusively manufacture production input and supplies for the midstream and downstream facilities for which a cabinet decree has been issued. The Law also applies to future expansions of suchprojects.

To future-proof its regulatory system, the UAE cabinet has established the Emirates Drug Corporation (EDC) in September 2023. As a new independent regulator, the EDC will replace the Ministry of Health and Prevention for the regulation of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Besides medicines and medical devices the EDC will also be responsible for cosmetics, dietary supplements, GMOs, fertilizers, pesticides, agricultural conditioners and plant growth regulators. The EDC will also take over some competences from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in relation to these products.

The Financial Regulatory Authority recently published regulations setting out the requirements for establishment and licensing for companies seeking to offer certain non-banking financial services in Egypt (“Fintech Regulations”) which came into force on the 2nd January 2024. The requirements set out under the Fintech Regulations apply to financial technology (“Fintech”) companies seeking to obtain a license to offer mortgage financing, SME financing, microfinance, financial leasing, factoring, and consumer finance services. This marks a significant step for startups in the Egyptian market, providing needed clarity in the form of a unified framework for entry into such market.

Over the last few months, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have made a few legislative changes in relation to the Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) regulations as well as the associated administrative penalties, with the issuance of:

  1. Cabinet Resolution No. 109 of 2023 on the Regulation of the Real Beneficiary Procedures (the “New Resolution”), which came into effect on 16 November 2023 and superseded Cabinet Resolution No. 58 of 2020. The New Resolution applies to all corporate entities incorporated in the UAE mainland and in the non-financial free zones;
  2. Cabinet Decision No. 132 of 2023 relating to the administrative fines for violations of the New Resolution, which was issued on 15 December 2023 and superseded Cabinet Decision No. 53 of 2021.