Thursday, 29 July 2021

Russia will have an industrial zone in Ain Sokhna later this year

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

We’re taking today off — and that means you won’t find EnterprisePM in your inboxes at this afternoon. We’ll be back at the appointed hour on Sunday.

We’re racing into the height of summer with August almost upon us. Fortunately / unfortunately for us, the business news cycle doesn’t take a break for the summer. Here’s what’s coming up in the next two weeks:

  • PMI: July’s purchasing managers’ index will drop on Tuesday, 3 August.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 5 August.
  • Foreign reserves: July’s foreign reserves figure should land next week.
  • Inflation: Inflation data for July will be out on Tuesday, 10 August.

YOUR MANDATORY COVID STORY- Google, Facebook employees will need to be vaccinated when they return to the office. Google has become the first company to mandate vaccines for employees returning to work in the office in a decision that will be applied to its 144k employees worldwide. Facebook followed suit, saying in its earnings release (more on that in this morning’s Planet Finance, below) that its workers too will need to be fully jabbed before setting foot in its US offices. Google has delayed reopening its offices and extended its work-from-home policy until 18 October due to the resurgence of covid-19, while Facebook also plans for a 50% return in September before raising the office capacity to 100% in October. The story got coverage in the Financial Times and CNBC.

THE BIG STORY INTERNATIONALLY- The US Senate is finally willing to start discussing the Biden administration’s USD 1 tn infrastructure bill: The Biden administration and a group of centrist senators reached a bipartisan agreement yesterday on the White House’s USD 1.2 tn infrastructure package following months of talks, paving the way for senators to begin discussing its provisions. Senators voted 67-32 in favor of considering the bill, which would unlock USD 1.2 tn in funds for the nation’s highways, broadband and electricity infrastructure over the next eight years.

The story was everywhere in the US press from the Associated Press to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times to the Washington Post.

***CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from yesterday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

  • Swvl might be heading to the Nasdaq: The Egyptian transport startup has reached a USD 345 mn agreement with blank-check firm Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital to take the company public in the US.
  • Six in, seven out: Six new companies will join the EGX 30 next week when the latest biannual rebalancing of the benchmark index takes place on Sunday.
  • We’re going to have another epayments player next month: Contact Financial Holding will begin rolling out e-payments services next month, the company’s CEO said yesterday.

MARKET WATCH- Federal Reserve officials are moving closer to taking a decision about when to start scaling back stimulus, but a rate hike is nowhere in sight. That’s according to chairman Jay Powell, who was speaking following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting yesterday when, as expected, the central bank left interest rates at near-zero. In a statement following the meeting, the Fed expressed optimism that the US economic recovery remains on track despite fears over the spread of the delta variant, saying that economic indicators and employment are continuing to “strengthen.”

No rate hikes are in the cards: The Fed has said that it will not begin to tighten policy until it sees “substantial further progress” on employment and inflation, but in the statement yesterday said that the economy has only “made progress toward these goals.” At its last meeting, Powell said that the bank would likely raise rates earlier than expected in 2023.

Though stimulus could soon be curtailed: Fed officials could decide to start tapering the bank’s huge USD 120 bn-a-month bond buying programme in coming meetings, Powell said, without providing further information.

How things go from here will in large part depend on what happens with inflation over the coming months: Inflation is already significantly higher than originally forecast by the Fed, which continues to maintain that price rises will be short-lived and being caused by supply issues related to the pandemic. Inflation rose at its quickest pace in 13 years last month and if this continues policymakers will come under increasing pressure to start turning off the liquidity taps earlier than expected.

The meeting was the biggest story in the global business press last night: Bloomberg | FT | WSJ | CNBC | Reuters | AP.

GLOBAL EARNINGS WATCH- Facebook shares fell as much as 5% yesterday after the company warned that revenue growth is likely to take a “significant” hit in the coming months. The social media giant comfortably beat earnings and revenue estimates, reporting a 56% rise in 2Q revenues to USD 29.1 bn, and doubling its net income y-o-y to USD 10.3 bn, up from the expected USD 8.7 bn. However, the company warned investors to expect “y-o-y total revenue growth rates to decelerate significantly on a sequential basis as we lap periods of increasingly strong growth.” CNBC and the FT have more.


CORRECTION- Saudi visitors to Egypt will NOT be subject to a travel ban after they return home. EnterpriseAM picked up yesterday a Reuters story claiming Saudi Arabia had banned travel to Egypt, Argentina, South Africa, Lebanon and other countries — and that claimed Saudi citizens could face an automatic three-year travel ban if they visit those red-listed countries. Egypt is not on the kingdom’s “red list,” which covers 13 specific countries. We are, however, still classified by Riyadh as a “very high risk” destination, meaning KSA authorities are advising against travel here. The story has since been removed from our website.

Vaccinated Saudi citizens however will be allowed to travel internationally as of 9 August, Saudi authorities said yesterday, along with those who have recovered from covid-19 less than six months ago, and those who have had covid-19 and received one dose of a vaccine. It is unclear whether this means vaccinated citizens will be free to travel to countries on the red list.


CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Today is the deadline to apply for the second round of the Green Works Growth Acceleration Program, which aims to support green enterprises in Egypt. The 10-month program is supported by Hivos and implemented by Nahdet El Mahrousa and will see 10 startups receive financial and non-financial support. Chosen startups will be eligible for up to EGP 250k in funding. You can read more about eligibility requirements and the program here (pdf) and register using this form.

Egypt will host the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center on 2-4 August.

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

enterprise

We can’t wait to see the endurance sports community back at Somabay, taking on the Supersprint, Sprint, Olympic, Youth, & Kids Races. Early-Bird Registration for the Somabay Endurance Festival is now open.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Russia will have an industrial zone in Ain Sokhna later this year

Russia’s Ain Sokhna industrial zone to be completed by year-end: Russia will complete its industrial zone in Ain Sokhna within the next five months, SCZone Chairman Yehia Zaki told Sputnik during a visit to Russia yesterday.

Russian companies now have the right to set up shop in the SCZone after the two sides signed an appendix to the 2018 agreement during the visit. It also lifts restrictions on Russian companies that previously limited their ability to sell products in the Egyptian market. Now, as many as 100% of products manufactured by Russian companies in the SCZone can be sold in Egypt. The 50-year agreement was signed in Moscow in May 2018, before being ratified by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi almost a year later.

We still don’t know much details on the new zone: Russia first submitted its request to establish a new Russian industrial zone in Ain Sokhna last June, Zaki said back then, without revealing much details.

What about the first industrial zone? The Russian Industrial Zone, located in East Port Said, is expected to be up and running in 2022, with work said to begin soon. The zone was initially slated to go online last year and bring in investments of nearly USD 7 bn. As many as 32 Russia-based companies have rights to set up projects in the 5.25 mn sqm zone.

INVESTMENT WATCH

US-owned Egyptian vaccine maker to double down in Egypt

US-owned Egyptian vaccine maker could invest almost EGP 2 bn in new plants: Cairo-based vaccine manufacturer MEVAC plans to invest EGP 1.8 bn over three years to establish three new plants in Egypt for manufacturing veterinary and human vaccines, CEO Magdy El Sayed told GAFI chief Mohamed Abdel Wahab in a meeting this week, according to a cabinet statement.

MEVAC is majority-owned by US ingredients manufacturer Kemin, which acquired an undisclosed stake in the firm in March. The company has held a share of MEVAC since 2010 but recently upped its stake to increase its presence in the global vaccine market and became a shareholder in its sister firm UVAC.

Other future plans:The company also plans to build a 100-feddan farm for the production of eggs, which are used in manufacturing vaccines, El Sayed added, without specifying a timeline or an investment value.

About MEVAC: The company, founded in 2007, owns over 22 plants worldwide and exports its products to 15 countries worldwide.

FINTECH

E-payments confidence has grown sevenfold since the covid-19 outbreak, says Visa

Confidence in e-payments is rising, says Visa study: E-payments have increased sevenfold in Egypt since the start of the pandemic as more Egyptians sidestep cash, according to a new Visa study (pdf) tracking consumer behavior. Some 88% of consumers surveyed said they had high confidence in e-payments, with those who indicated their trust in the technology citing reasons like its ease of use, convenience and speed.

Gone are the days of fumbling for change? The study tracked an 85% decrease in cash on delivery payments compared with their pre-covid levels, with as much as 74% of people surveyed saying they would rely on digital payments in the future.

New challenges with digital payments: About 40% of surveyed consumers said that they feared fraudulent activity taking place in the event of a lost contactless card, 25% of whom reported having fallen victim to phishing scams, having unintentionally purchased counterfeit goods or failing to receive something they’d already paid for.

It comes down to consumer awareness: Some 25% of respondents are skeptical of the technology altogether because of insufficient information on how to use digital payments. But a whopping 90% said they’d be on board if they understood how the technology worked.

Mastercard earlier this year released its own survey of consumer spending habits which found that 94% of its 1k respondents are considering using new methods of payment such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, digital wallets, money transfers, contactless payments, and QR codes.

But we’re still a long way out from abolishing bills: As of March of this year, only 45% of payments in Egypt were cashless transactions, and the credit card penetration rate stood at a measly 3%, according to a Merchant Machine report, making us the second most banknote-reliant country in the world. When it comes to financial inclusion, we hold the third lowest rate, with at least 67% of the Egyptian population still unbanked.

M&A WATCH

Compass raises Rameda stake to 15.4%

Compass ups stake in Rameda: Rameda Pharma’s largest shareholder Equinox Pharma has raised its stake in the company by 2.7% to 15.4%, the company said in a statement (pdf) last night. Equinox is owned by Compass Investment, which acquired 100% of Rameda in 2011 before listing it on the EGX in 2019.

What they said: “We look forward to further solidifying Rameda’s decade-long relationship with our main shareholder, Equinox./ We believe that the transaction underscores Equinox’s continued confidence in Rameda’s ability to deliver sustainable long-term growth and value creation,” said Rameda CEO Amr Morsy.

DEBT WATCH

Bonyan secures EGP 700 mn in Islamic financing

Compass Capital-owned real estate developer Bonyan for Development and Trade has secured a seven-year EGP 700 mn Islamic financing loan from Banque Misr and BM Lease, the state-owned bank said in a statement. The funds will be used to complete the company’s Walk of Cairo project, an outdoor complex in Sheikh Zayed, launched in 2019. Banque Misr is providing EGP 650 mn, while BM Lease is lending the remaining EGP 50 mn.

Advisors: Panther Associates acted as financial advisor to Bonyan on the transaction.

MOVES

Mohammed Abd El Mohsen (Linkedin) has stepped down from his role as Fawry’s head of investor relations, according to an EGX filing (pdf). He will be replaced by Heba Makhlouf (Linkedin) who joins the company after serving as SODIC’s head of investor relations.

Saad Toma (Linkedin) has been appointed general manager of IBM Middle East and Africa after working at the company for the past 30 years, according to a press release (pdf). He succeeds Takreem El Tohamy (LinkedIn) who is now the company’s general manager of global strategic sales.

Shahat El Ghatwary has been officially appointed as the head of the Customs Authority for a one-year term, according to a decision by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Hapi Journal reports. El Ghatwary was already delegated by the Finance Ministry to fill in the position starting 1 May. He replaces Kamal Negm who has headed the authority since 2018.

KUDOS

KUDOS- Tamweely Microfinance was recognized as the fastest growing microfinance company at the 2021 Global Economics Awards, the company said in a press release (pdf).

enterprise

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Tunisia’s uncertain political situation continues to top discussions in talk shows, with the nation’s talking heads continuing the pro-Saeid / anti-Ikhwan coverage last night. Both Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime 6: 34) and Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime 6:25) dedicated more airtime to complaining about the Ennahda movement and celebrating the suspension of the Tunisian parliament.

The victory of Egypt’s U23 football team over Australia also got attention: Ala Mas’ouleety had extensive Tokyo 2020 coverage and hailed the performance of the national football team, who qualified for the quarter-finals yesterday after beating Australia 2-0 (watch, runtime 44:44). Yahuth Fi Masr had also a phone interview with Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi, who predicted that Egypt will take home a total of five medals during the Games (watch, runtime 12:29).The victory also got attention from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:18).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Swvl is the talk of the international press this morning: The mass transportation app yesterday announced a USD 345 mn agreement with US blank check firm Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital to go public on the Nasdaq: Reuters | Tech Crunch | CNBC. Check out our story in yesterday’s EnterprisePM here.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Grant Thorton assigned to evaluate GSK Egypt’s assets: The board of GlaxoSmithKline Egypt has agreed to hire Grant Thorton as an independent financial advisor to assess the fair value of its assets, the company said in an EGX filing (pdf). Grant Thornton will value the company’s intangible and movable consumer healthcare assets excluding properties and equipment, the company said. The move comes a day after the company announced plans to establish a new subsidiary in Egypt to market consumer health products as part of its new strategy to separate its pharma operations from its consumer healthcare business.

Tatweer Misr, FAB team up to offer mortgage finance: First Abu Dhabi Bank will offer mortgage finance plans to Tatweer Misr clients after the two companies inked an agreement, the Egyptian property developer said in a statement (pdf). The Emirati lender will offer finance to the developer’s new and current clients, lending up to 85% of the value of the property over a maximum of 15 years.

Court upholds life sentence for Ikhwan leaders: The Court of Cassation has upheld life sentences handed down to Ikhwan leaders including the outlawed group’s head Mohamed Badie and his deputy, Khairat El Shater, for charges of handing over state secrets to Hamas.

COVID WATCH

Third dose of Pfizer vaccine boosts protection against delta

The Health Ministry reported 38 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 31 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 284,128 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported nine new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,507.

Third dose of Pfizer vaccine boosts protection against delta: Pfizer said that people may need a third shot within six to 12 months after their second dose to boost protection against the delta variant. "A third dose, a booster, will take up the immune response to levels that will be enough to protect against the delta variant,” said CEO Albert Bourla, based on new data (pdf) released by the company yesterday. The data, which included tests of 23 people, is yet to be peer-reviewed or published. Pfizer plans to submit research findings to US regulators about the effectiveness of a third Covid vaccine dose by mid-August.

Pfizer’s efficacy also drops over time: The vaccine’s efficacy is 96% between the first week and two months after the second dose, then drops to 90% from two to four months and 84% from four up to six months, according to separate data released.

Receiving two doses of AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine doesn’t raise the risks of developing a rare blood clot, data published in the Lancet medical journal found, suggesting that people shouldn’t hesitate to get a second jab if they had no issues after the first. The estimated rate of clotting, medically known as thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), was 2.3 per mn in people who received a second shot, which is in line with what rates seen in an unvaccinated population. However, the incidence after a single dose was found to be higher, at 8.1 per mn people. Bloomberg has the story.

The number of deaths caused by covid-19 around the world have jumped by 21% in the past week following an 8% increase in the number of new cases reported during 19-25 July from the week before, according to the World Health Organization. The total number of deaths reported this week has reached 69k, setting us on course to reach past a total death count of 200 mn in the coming two weeks if these trends persist, the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update. The death count has grown this past week in every region around the world except for Europe.

UK removes quarantine for jabbed US, EU travellers: UK will allow fully jabbed visitors from the US and the EU to arrive without needing to quarantine starting 2 August in a bid to boost summer tourism, the government said yesterday. Visitors from France are being singled out and will continue to undergo quarantine because of the presence of the beta variant in the country. The move came shortly after the US announced earlier this week it'll continue to ban non-U.S. citizens from the UK and EU among other places from entering the country.

The story got wide coverage in the global press: Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | Reuters | Washington Post.

PLANET FINANCE

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EM stocks give up 2021 gains on China fears: The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 2.4% on Monday, erasing 2021 gains, as a sell-off in Chinese stocks gathered pace, Bloomberg reports. Chinese shares, which make up a third of the index’s weighting, sold off this week after rumors that US funds were exiting China and Hong Kong assets surfaced. Investors are also skittish over the Chinese government’s increasingly confrontational approach to business, which in recent months has seen it crack down on the country’s largest tech companies and effectively shutter its domestic crypto industry.

Wall Street is anticipating volatility in Robinhood stock ahead of its IPO this week: Retail brokerage app, Robinhood, is expected to see heightened trading volatility this week after the company announced that it will be offering a larger-than-usual 35% of its 55 mn shares to retail investors in its Nasdaq IPO this Thursday, the Financial Times reports. Some investors appear to be cautious of the listing’s break from the 10-20% retail allotment norm, with some interpreting the decision as a signal of weak interest from institutional investors, and others pointing out that the potential for higher volatility with heavy retail involvement.

The company is seeking a USD 35 bn valuation and is targeting a price between USD 38 – USD 42 for its shares.

Twitter renews interest in online shopping: Twitter will start testing a new shopping feature, dubbed “Shop Module,” which will allow a limited number of retailers to promote up to five products at the top of their company profiles on Twitter. The feature will be only available to English-language users in the US and will see 12 companies including GameStop and bag company Arden Cove sell products through the website. The social media company is trying to keep up with its competitors which now provide e-commerce options such as Facebook, which rolled out the "Shops" feature last year. The story got coverage in Bloomberg and Reuters.

Up

EGX30

10,769

+0.1% (YTD: -0.7%)

Down

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.65

Sell 15.75

Down

USD at CIB

Buy 15.65

Sell 15.75

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

10,933

+0.2% (YTD: +25.8%)

Up

ADX

7,243

+1.0% (YTD: +43.6%)

Down

DFM

2,751

-0.4% (YTD: +10.4%)

None

S&P 500

4,400

-% (YTD: +17.2%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,016

+0.3% (YTD: +8.6%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 74.79

+0.4%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 4.04

+1.8%

None

Gold

USD 1,804.60

-%

Up

BTC

USD 40,117

+4.7% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose less than 0.1% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 2.12 bn (42.1% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is down 0.7% YTD.

In the green: CI Capital (+3.6%), Ibnsina Pharma (+2.9%) and Cleopatra Hospital (+2.8%).

In the red: AMOC (-2.5%), SODIC (-2.0%) and Abou Kir Fertilizers (-1.4%).

Asian markets are mostly in the green in early trading this morning and futures suggest that US and European shares will suffer losses when trading begins later today.

AROUND THE WORLD

Sudan warns again of GERD threats: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) could put as many as half the Sudanese population at risk if Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia fail to reach an agreement about how to fill and operate the dam, Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

But the country is refusing to join talks: Sudan will not re-enter talks with Ethiopia until it agrees to bring in new international mediators to work alongside the African Union, Abbas said. Ethiopia has refused to agree to involving additional mediators, insisting that only the AU-led process can bring an agreement. Ethiopia last week said it had completed the second filling of the dam despite protestations from Cairo and Khartoum.

New Lebanese PM-elect close to forming a government: Lebanese President Michel Aoun has accepted most of Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati’s cabinet picks, and a government is expected to be formed “soon,” Reuters reports. Mikati was chosen this week to be the third PM-elect in less than a year, and yesterday met with the president to discuss his cabinet picks. “I gave my proposals, President Aoun approved most of them and he made some remarks which are acceptable; God willing … we will be able to form a government soon," he told reporters following the meeting.

Mikati pledged to help the country avoid an economic collapse within 100 days of forming a government, and said he had the international backing necessary to push forward with deep economic reforms during a phone interview with Bloomberg.

IN DIPLOMACY: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed economic ties with South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga during the first session of the Egypt and South Sudan joint higher committee yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Sisi affirmed that Egypt will continue to provide its “technical support” to South Sudan following the Made-in-Egypt Expo that kicked off there earlier this month. The two also discussed the prospect of launching a branch of Alexandria University in South Sudan.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

Hany Fekry, regional president and managing director for Network International Egypt: Each week, my Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Hany Fekry (LinkedIn), regional president and managing director for Network International Egypt.

Edited excerpts from our conversation:

My name is Hany Fekry, I’m the regional president and managing director for Network International Egypt. I’ve been with Network since 2006 and before that I worked at several multinational corporations including Allianz and Al Ahram Beverages Company. Right now I'm responsible for business development in north and sub-Saharan Africa for the company.

Network International is a digital payments processing business with a presence in over 50 countries. We provide all forms of payment processing for companies except cash. This includes everything from e-commerce to POS, credit card processing and digital wallets. In places like Dubai and Jordan, we’re also acquirers and in South Africa we have a major consumer finance business. In Egypt we manage a considerable portion of the POS networks and ATMs for banks, where we also process the majority of debit, credit and prepaid cards. Our payment processing business is effectively a security business. We make sure that when customers pay using their credit cards online or in person that those transactions remain safe.

As regional president of the company I'm in charge of driving business in north and sub-Saharan Africa. This means my responsibilities include keeping the business growing every year and dominating the payments space across the region. Our goal is to maintain the number position as a payments provider in the region.

Egypt and Nigeria are two of the fastest growing economies for digital payments globally. I think Egypt is now a role model for the rest of Africa. Everyone is paying attention to what's happening here. The number of new fintech startups and digital banks popping up is very promising.

Work really accelerated for us during the pandemic. The high number of online payments companies and e-commerce traffic skyrocketed and we’re really happy to be seeing things take off in this direction. It ended up growing the processing and payments industry to three to four times its pre-covid size.

A lot of new businesses entered the market over the past year in response to new consumer behavior. From a business perspective we had the right data centers and internal infrastructure to be able to absorb these changes.

We’re now offering a min USD 1 mn waiver of our fees to startups and the chance to walk away from any contract within the first two years of signing without any penalty. We’re doing this to help support budding entrepreneurs make decisions without worrying about being tied to large commitments.

We’re looking to build confidence. Our goal is to educate the market about digital payments and fintech. We try to support up and coming companies because If there is any mistrust developed by problems associated with e-payments, we all have a lot to lose. So we’re trying really hard to help these businesses over the next five to six years until the market reaches a point of maturity.

Internally, when covid broke out we were 100% prepared. As a company that's lived through the 2011 revolution and the nationwide curfews that followed we started our own WFH experiments about a decade ago. The infrastructure has been there ever since. Maintaining this infrastructure is very expensive but we keep it in place because I believe it's important to stay prepared. We had no requirement for any of our 439 employees in Cairo to be at the office as of March of 2020. We’ve since resumed going back to the office gradually and earlier this month brought up our capacity to 70% in-person work. We’re also working on recruiting about 70 new employees.

I think there's some value to being in an office space. For one, employees aren’t stuck between the four walls of their home. I think communication between employees is faster and it gives people more confidence while they are working. Psychologically and socially I think that physical interaction is very beneficial..

I sleep at 10 pm and wake up at around 6 am every day. I spend the first 30 minutes of my day drinking coffee and meditating. From 6:30 – 7:30 am I do Crossfit or go for a run. I'm usually in the office at 9 am and spend the first 30 minutes of my day going through the news and reading the morning edition of Enterprise down to the T. It's the most important source of information for me every morning. I have three slots per day for email, each one about 45 minutes long. In between emails I'm usually on conference calls or in meetings. I take three 15 minute breaks a day after every email slot, where I grab some coffee and strike up a conversation with someone at the office. I try as hard as I can to end my day by 6 pm. Once I'm home I spend time with my wife and kids. We usually cook dinner together or watch a movie with some popcorn.

I try to maintain this routine because three weeks out of every month I'm on business trips. My travels came to a halt for a six-month period between March and November, which was the first time in 22 years I got to spend a full six months in Cairo without leaving the country. But things have since returned to their usual schedule, however.

My weekends are always spent here, no matter where I am. Even if I'm on a two-week trip to Lagos, I'll fly back to Egypt at the weekend to see my family before resuming the rest of my trip. It's very important for me to see them as much as I can. Weekends are usually spent somewhere by the Red Sea between El Gouna and Ras Sudr.

I read just about anything I can get my hands on. One of the best books for anyone who’s interested in startups is How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins. It talks about how large companies, after growing past a certain point, are susceptible to failure. I think it's important to pay some attention to preserving your company once you’ve gotten it off the ground. I also highly recommend reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which I pick up at least once a year. It's essential reading for anyone who’s really looking to improve their interactions with other people. In terms of fiction I read a lot of Youssef El Guindy, Hisham El Kheshen and Essam Youssef’s work, among many others.

I listen to a lot of podcasts when I’m on a plane, I really enjoy Enterprise’s Making It and Wondery’s Business Wars. The Harvard Business Review also has some good shows.

My first manager, Hakam Marwan Kanafani, once told me “you need to spend 60% of your time on a single endeavour and 40% of your time on networking,” which is invaluable advice for achieving success.

CALENDAR

23 July-11 August (Friday-Wednesday): Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

2-4 August (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt is hosting the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

5 August (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

9 August (Monday): Russian flights to Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada resume.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

3-5 September (Friday-Sunday): The World Karate Federation will hold the third competition of the 2021 Karate 1-Premier League in Cairo.

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

15 September (Wednesday): The CFO Leadership & Strategy Summit is taking place in Egypt.

16 September (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

21-22 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September: Closing of 2021’s first oil and gas tender in the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert, and the Mediterranean.

October: New legislative session begins.

1 October (Friday): Businesses importing goods at seaports will need to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally to the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

1 October (Friday): State-owned companies and government service bodies selling goods and services to customers that have not yet signed on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

11-17 October (Monday-Sunday): IMF + World Bank Annual Meetings.

12-14 October (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

24-28 October (Sunday-Thursday) Cairo Water Week, Cairo, Egypt.

27-28 October (Wednesday-Thursday) Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski, Cairo, Egypt.

28 October (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

30 October – 4 November (Saturday-Thursday): The first edition of Race The Legends, Egypt.

November: The French-Egyptian Business Forum is set to take place in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

November: Egypt will host another round of talks to reach a potential Egyptian-Eurasian trade agreement, which can significantly contribute to increasing the volume of Egyptian exports to the Russia-led bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

1-3 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Energy exhibition on power and renewable energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

2-3 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo.

12-14 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Food Africa Cairo trade exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

14-19 December (Tuesday-Sunday): The Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.

14-15 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

16 December (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

27 June-3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

**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 below 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. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.