Tuesday, 17 May 2022

PM — Get your fill of squash + padel tennis



Hump day is holding on to its title as news dump day, ladies and gentlemen, bringing us a rather busy Tuesday afternoon.


India has approved a 61.5k-ton wheat shipment to Egypt following a request from the Egyptian government, India’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement that details relaxed measures to help soften the blow of its wheat export ban. The shipment is currently being loaded at India’s Kandla Port, the ministry said. It is unclear whether this is the same 55k-ton shipment that we had approved from India earlier, and which had already passed the inspection of Egyptian officials. The country also cleared all shipments of wheat that were with customs as of 13 May or earlier, Bloomberg writes.

^^We’ll have more on this story and others in tomorrow’s edition of EnterpriseAM.


  • Human bot Elon Musk launched into a Twitter tirade today, insisting Twitter must prove that bots make up less than 5% of total accounts for his USD 44 bn acquisition bid to proceed. It’s worth noting that the bid offer (his latest self-inflicted L) came as the value of equities have been slipping since the Fed is halting its stimulus. Bloomberg has the story here.
  • Ukraine has ceded control of Mariupol, a strategic port city that has been under siege for weeks, to Russian forces today. (Reuters | WSJ | NYT)


Planning Minister Hala El Said is discussing the government’s sustainable development strategy for FY 2022-2023 (pdf) at the House Planning and Budget Committee, according to a statement. We have a breakdown of what the strategy entails for the education sector in the upcoming fiscal year in our latest edition of Blackboard.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • Gov’t lowers economic growth target for next fiscal year: The Madbouly government has cut its 2022-2023 growth forecast to 4.5% from 5.5%.
  • Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia has acquired the LNG arm of local energy firm Rosetta Energy.
  • Israel hopes to sign agreements to up its gas supply to Europe “in the coming months,” and Egypt could be key to the plans, since the quickest route to get Israeli gas to Europe is by shipping it to our liquefaction facilities for re-export.

FOR TOMORROW- Need to get your head around the new e-receipt system? Lynx Strategic Business Advisors are following up their recent webinar on e-invoicing with a session introducing the Finance Ministry’s new e-receipt system, which is set to officially roll out on 1 July. The webinar will feature FinMin tax development advisor Yasser Taymour, as well as reps from Talabat, Jumia, Yoco, and the World Bank. It takes place tomorrow (Wednesday, 18 May) from 12:00-1:30pm CLT. Register here.


It’s interest rate week here at home: The Central Bank of Egypt will likely raise interest rates when it meets this Thursday, according to a near consensus of analysts and economists we surveyed last week. Six of the seven respondents see the Monetary Policy Committee going ahead with a rate hike to combat inflation and stem portfolio outflows, with five forecasting rates to rise by up to 200 bps.

The Islamic Development Bank will hold its 2022 annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh from 1-4 June under the slogan “post-pandemic recovery: resilience and sustainability,” according to a statement from the Planning Ministry. Several Egyptian ministries and representatives from the bank’s 57 member countries and other financial institutions are set to attend the meetings.

Venture capital 101: The Egyptian Private Equity Association (EPEA) is hosting a paid crash course in all things venture capital at the Zamalek Marriott on 21-23 May. Led by Avanz Capital Egypt MD Hany Assaad, the three-day course will cover everything you need to know about Planet VC, from fund structures and portfolio-building to due diligence and valuations.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect a daytime high of 36°C tomorrow in the capital city before the mercury falls to 20°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

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The unexpected joys of returning to the office: Better work-life balance and overheard conversations: As more companies require employees to return to in-person work after nearly two years of working from home, some have been surprised by the perks of going back to an office environment, the Wall Street Journal cites some employees in different industries as saying. Employees are feeling more energized by being around other people, and picking up new ideas from conversations overheard by the water cooler and face-to-face collaboration. Working from home blurred work-life boundaries, with many employees working longer hours due to not having the physical separations of time and space that they get when working in an office. “It was like, where does home end and work begin?” a Washington DC lawyer told the journal.

Julius Caesar’s favorite herb (which, btw, was an aphrodisiac) might have been the first victim of man-made climate change: Romans loved silphium so much that they used it as perfume, medicine, and put it on almost every dish. It was also quite important to iconic Roman general Julius Caesar who stashed more than half a ton in his treasury. However, the herb became extinct less than a century later in what scientists think could be the first evidence of plants disappearing due to man-made climate change, writes The Guardian. Silphium might have gone extinct due to a mix of over-harvesting and over-grazing, University of New Hampshire’s Paul Pollaro said, commenting on his research done alongside Paul Robertson. Even after the Romans realized their production was decreasing, it was too late to salvage the herb crops as they had already changed the microclimate, he added.


(all times CLT)

The High Note is a feel-good movie that reminds viewers how to rediscover their passion: The film follows two ambitious women as they team up together in the music industry, portraying an interesting dynamic between a young woman and an older, more experienced one (think The Devil Wears Prada, but with less intensity). Dakota Johnson plays Maggie, a hardworking personal assistant who dreams of being a music producer while Tracee Ellis Ross plays Grace, the demanding singer who is trying to keep hold of her stardom. Grace’s current music producer seems to be holding her back, pushing her away from taking risks and instead limiting her to one area. However, young Maggie sees Grace’s potential to innovate and create new things and together they teach and grow one another. The movie also features a romantic subplot between Maggie and a musician, but the real story is of the two women who remind each other what passion they hold. You can watch The High Note on Netflix.

🎾 The CIB-sponsored PSA World Championship continues with the round of eight today at SODIC’s Club S Allegria and at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

In the men’s category, World No.1 Paul Coll (New Zealand) goes head-to-head against Egypt’s Mazen Hesham at 7:30pm, while Egyptian champ Tarek Momen (World No.6) meets Wales’ Joel Malkin at 8:15pm. At 9pm, we have Fares Dessouky (Egypt) v Gregoire Marche (France), as well as an all-Egyptian showdown between Karim Abdel Gawad and Mohamed ElShorbagy.

Over in the women’s category, three matches are happening tonight: Egyptian champion and World No.1 Nouran Gohar meets Wales’ Tesni Evans, while Joelle King (New Zealand) and Nada Abbas (Egypt) are going head to head, with both matches scheduled for 6:45pm. We also have Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Nele Gilis (Belgium) at 8:15pm. Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby was set to play against India’s Joshna Chinappa tonight, but Elaraby has progressed to the quarterfinal round in a walkover after Chinappa withdrew from the championship, citing illness.

In your regularly scheduled football programming, Liverpool will try to reduce the point difference with Manchester City tonight when it goes out to face Southampton at 8:45pm. City currently have 90 points and still have one last game against Aston Villa, while Liverpool have 86 points with two games to go. All matches of the last round will be played at the same time next Sunday.

In Egypt: El Zamalek, the league leader, hosts El Gaish at 9pm. El Gouna plays against Misr El-Makasa at 4pm, and Future will face Al Ittihad of Alexandria at 6:30pm.


Alle Botti Restaurant’s new branch on Mamsha Masr offers great food and views: There’s nothing quite like dining on the Nile, especially when the weather is nice — which is why we had to recommend Alle Botti, with their new special location and diverse menu. Start off with their colorful steak salad or their blue cheese-covered chicken tenders. Also try out their towering burgers and chicken sandwiches or one of the many pastas on offer, such as their creamy truffle pecorino spaghetti. They also serve a saffron risotto with lobster that is worth the buck you’ll pay for it. If you’d rather enjoy the sun on the water, head to Alle Botti for a breakfast of eggs, salads, and pancakes.

(all times CLT)

Ready to test your padel tennis skills? Local padel tennis firm JPadel will host two international and five national padel tennis events at Il Bosco in the new administrative capital from 30 May – 4 June, in partnership with the Youth and Sports Ministry and the local and international padel federations, company CEO Ismail Seddik told Enterprise.

There are world ranking points + money awards up for grabs: The tournaments are set to give Egyptian padel pros a chance to compete on the international stage and potentially score world ranking points, as well as earn part of a c.EGP 400k pot split across the seven events (which include national tournaments for players of various levels as well as junior and senior competitions). Players can register through the JPadel app (available for download from your mobile’s app store through this mobile-only link). Registration fees range from EGP 450-800 depending on a player’s level.

Not a padel pro? Not a problem: Spectators can attend without charge.

Rawabet Art Space is showing Macmillan’s theatrical masterpiece “Every Brilliant Thing” in its Arabic debut starring Nanda Mohammad. The performance will take place tonight at 8pm.

The Darkroom Cairo is holding a demo session today at 7pm to explain the process of taking photos with film photography, developing them in the lab, and printing them in the darkroom.

El Da7ee7 is holding his first ever live show at The Marquee on 19 and 20 May. The famous YouTube show features short form episodes about a myriad of different topics, with host and comedian Ahmed Al Ghandour explaining the topics in depth.


Hometown Victory is a sports novel comparable to The Blind Side and Friday Night Lights: The novel tells Keanon Lowe’s story with Justin Spizman as a co-author. Lowe worked in the NFL as an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers before suddenly deciding to take up the role of a football coach at a struggling high school back in his hometown. Working as a coach, Lowe soon found himself facing racism, becoming a mentor, and even disarming a would-be school shooter. The story exudes a feeling of hope and gratitude, even in the face of troubling circumstances with the two authors putting a very human touch to even the most miniscule of interactions.


The EGX30 fell 0.2% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 614 mn (29.4% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 12.6% YTD.

In the green: TMG Holding (+2.7%), Credit Agricole Egypt (+2.7%) and Abu Qir Fertilizers (+1.8%).

In the red: Ibnsina Pharma (-3.1%), Fawry (-1.7%) and GB Auto (-1.6%).


OUR FOUNDER OF THE WEEK- Alain El Hajj, co-founder and COO Paymob (LinkedIn).

My name is Alain El Hajj, and I’m the COO and co-founder of Paymob. I started my entrepreneurial journey while studying computer science at the American University in Cairo.

Paymob is a digital payments provider and the largest digital wallet payments infrastructure enabler in MENA. Paymob offers a variety of products that enable online and offline businesses to accept and send payments seamlessly. One of our goals is to help SMEs unlock growth opportunities through our 3 current verticals: Accept, Pay, Manage. Accept focuses on helping businesses collect payments, whether through our online services, POS terminals, or via our newly-launched tap on phone service. Pay focuses on aiding companies and merchants to pay for their business needs by offering bill payment services, and digital payment solutions. For Manage, we continuously work with partners on third-party software tools to help businesses better manage their finances.

The idea for Paymob blossomed while my co-founder Islam Shawky and I were taking an entrepreneurship course in 2015, long before “fintech” even became a buzzword. We were both observing the boom in the startup scene, and were eager to join the game.

Our advantage as young entrepreneurs? We had nothing to lose. We started our founder journey as undergrads. The pressure to get corporate jobs hadn’t materialized yet and we weren’t missing out on any professional opportunities.

Our humble beginning saw us being politely kicked out of banks who did not want to partner with young, inexperienced entrepreneurs such as ourselves. We learned from our rejections, however: We gradually understood how to play the game, provide a worthwhile service, and effectively engage with banks. After 15 months of constantly being told “no,” we eventually partnered with a bank that believed in our model in 2016 — that was the catalyst for Paymob’s first transaction.

Paymob’s big break was being tapped to build Egypt’s digital wallet infrastructure in partnership with a variety of players including telecom operators, banks, among others. Launching our acceptance business in 2019, which enabled us to help businesses collect money digitally, was another pivotal moment in Paymob’s evolution.

The founder’s journey is one the loneliest voyages any person can take, but having great co-founders like my partners at Paymob definitely makes the journey easier. The sacrifices an entrepreneur must make to focus on their journey are immense. As young entrepreneurs, we had to give up on a lot of fun times, lots of family time, and on the phase in life that’s usually dedicated to self-exploration. We didn’t get the chance to explore the world, for instance, as fresh grads usually do upon graduation. I lost a lot of friends to focus on my founder journey — some of my closest friends became acquaintances. You don’t start to realize how consuming founding a startup will be until you start a business of your own. We lived and breathed Paymob for years.

The best part of my job is seeing the social and economic impact we’re having on people. Don’t get me wrong, we run a business to generate returns, but it’s always reassuring and inspiring to see that our business is improving people’s lives. The worst part of the job is when we feel like we have no one to turn to for advice. Because our business is unique, and because we’re at the forefront of innovation and are tackling new problems, we usually have a hard time finding solutions for these new problems, and therefore have to take leaps of faith and experiment to see what works.

The most important KPIs I focus on include our gross payment value metric, which measures total transactions processed through our system. This is quite indicative because it is always in line with the economy, money movement, and reflects how our business is performing. We also keep track of the number of merchants we serve on a daily and a weekly basis — we are proud of the fact that the number is continuously growing.

Paymob has raised more than USD 68.5 mn in total so far. We recently raised USD 50 mn in our series B financing round, which was led by emerging market investor Kora Capital, PayPal’s venture capital arm PayPal Ventures, and Clay Point, Helios Investment Partners, and British International Investment (BII), among other investors. In 2021, we raised USD 18.5 mn in our series A financing round. That round was led by Global Ventures, A15, and the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank (FMO).

Our series B round is a remarkable point in Paymob’s evolution for several reasons. The fact that every single investor we had on board for our series A round doubled down and decided to invest again is outstanding. Attracting high-caliber institutional investors who rarely invest in local startups, such as Helios and BII is also monumental. We hope this round will serve as a precedent and gateway for renowned foreign investors to enter the market and back local startups.

We may raise more funds in the future to help fuel our expansion plans.

If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely go down the investor route early on. Raising funds is extremely tough, but essential for the success of a startup. The process of fundraising is challenging. Being under the microscope when pitching to investors helps you discover underlying problems in your business model and will ultimately help you understand how to drive your business forward.

Bringing in the right investors accelerates the business on so many fronts. Investors obviously bring capital to the table, but they also bring strategic advice, market insights, can help you navigate new markets, and so much more. Partnering with the right investors who can take your business to the next level is vital. I consider the late Khaled Bichara, founder of A15, and Karim Bichara, A15’s general partner, two of Paymob’s honorary co-founders given the tremendous support they provided us.

Our short-term goals at Paymob are to grow our customer base, build new products, partner with new market players to further give our merchants better access to digital financial services, and to expand into new markets like the GCC. We recently expanded into Pakistan, and our aim is to expand dramatically over there.

Our long-term goal is to keep growing our merchant base. We are currently serving 100k merchants, and our aim is to reach more than 1 mn merchants across the markets we operate in. I’m sure that number will increase as soon as we get closer to that goal; it has always been a moving target [laughs].

The last great thing I read was The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horrowitz. The book masterfully zeroes in on the struggles that all entrepreneurs inevitably face. Super enlightening: I’d say it's sort of a founders-bible [laughs]. Great read for would-be entrepreneurs, and equally so for seasoned founders.



  • Events with specific dates or months are right here up top
  • Events happening in a quarter or other range of time with no specific date / month appear at the bottom of the calendar.


13-22 May (Friday-Sunday): PSA World Championships, Cairo.

Mid-May: The trial period to extend the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system to air freight.

16-19 May (Monday-Thursday): HC Brokerage and Avior Capital Markets virtual conference investor conference.

19 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

19 May (Thursday): EFG Hermes’ general shareholders’ meeting to discuss, among several things, a capital increase of EGP 973 mn to finance the distribution of bonus shares to the company’s minority shareholders.

23 May (Monday): Lynx Strategic Business Advisors are hosting a webinar titled “Introducing Egypt's New E-Receipt System.”

25 May (Wednesday): The deadline for private companies to pre-register ahead of bidding for the second phase of the PPP national project to establish and operate 1k language schools.

30-31 May (Monday-Tuesday): Egypt Can with Industry, Cairo, Egypt.

31 May (Tuesday): Last day for EGX-listed companies to file 1Q2022 earnings

31 May (Tuesday): The application deadline for ITIDA’s annual Export IT program.

31 May (Tuesday): Extended deadline for EGX-listed companies to disclose 1Q 2021 earnings.

May: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

May: General Authority for Land and Dry Ports to issue the conditions booklet for the tender to establish and operate the Tenth of Ramadan dry port.

May: Egypt to sign contracts for second and third high-speed rail lines with Siemens by the end of the month.

May: Government to announce its automotive strategy by the end of the month.


1-4 June (Wednesday-Saturday): The Islamic Development Bank will hold its 2022 annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.

5-7 June (Sunday-Tuesday): Africa Health ExCon, Al Manara International Conference Center, Egypt International Exhibitions Center, and the St. Regis Almasa Hotel, New Administrative Capital.

5 June (Sunday): GB Auto is hosting an extraordinary general assembly meeting (pdf).

9 June (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

14-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15-18 June (Wednesday-Saturday): St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), St. Petersburg.

16 June (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools.

21-22 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, Cairo.

23 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

27 June-3 July (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

30 June (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

30 June (Thursday): Deadline for bids for National Democratic Party HQ redevelopment contract.

June: Egypt will launch a unified ticketing system for all means of transport at the Adly Mansour Interchange Station.

June: Polish President Andrzej Duda will visit Egypt to coordinate ways to ship Ukrainian wheat to Egypt amid the war in Ukraine.


July: A law governing ins. for seasonal contractors will come into effect.

July: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

1 July (Friday): FY 2022-2023 begins.

1 July (Friday): Official rollout of e-receipt system begins.

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

21 July (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

26-27 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.


August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 600 MW to be completed.

18 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.


September: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition with the title Naval Power.

September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 25 fintech startups.

8 September (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

18 September (Sunday): Deadline for brokerage firms, asset managers and financial advisors to register with the Egyptian Securities Federation.

20-21 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

26–27 September (Monday-Tuesday): The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) at the Cairo Marriott Hotel.


October: World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Washington, DC

October: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

1 October (Saturday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

6 October (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, national holiday.

18-20 October(Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

27 October (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.


November: Cairo Water Week 2022.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

3 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

4-6 November: The Autotech auto exhibition kicks off at the Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

21 November-18 December (Monday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

13-14 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.


22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.


January EGX-listed companies and non-bank lenders will submit ESG reports for the first time.

January: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.


1H2022: Target date for IDH to close its acquisition of 50% of Islamabad Diagnostic Center.

1H2022: e-Finance’s digital healthcare service platform, eHealth, will launch its services.

1H2022: The government will respond to private companies’ bids to build desalination plants.

1H2022: Egypt’s second corporate green bond issuance expected to be announced.

14 March-30 June: The “Escape to Egypt” exhibition at the Coptic Museum, in celebration of its 112th anniversary.

2Q2022: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt will invest in two companies in the financial inclusion and non-banking financial services sectors.

End of 2Q2022: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s new Ins. Act should be approved.

End of 2Q2022: Door for bidding for the contract to redevelop the site of the former National Democratic Party HQ to close.

End of 1H2022: Emirati industrial company M Glory Holding and the Military Production Ministry will begin the mass production of dual fuel pickup trucks that can run on natural gas.

2H2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

2H2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

2H2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release its first financing product.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

2023: Egypt will host the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in 2023.

**Note to readers: Some national holidays may appear twice above. Since 2020, Egypt has observed most mid-week holidays on Thursdays regardless of the day on which they fall and may also move those days to Sundays. We distinguish above between the actual holiday and its observance.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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