Monday, 25 October 2021

EnterprisePM — From AUC to MNHD and Sudan. It’s the accidental leadership shakeup issue.



It’s been quite an interesting Monday, ladies and gentlemen, with the local news being topped by a real estate M&A, management shake ups and AUC getting a new president. Meanwhile, Sudan’s coup has the entire world’s attention.


#1- Real estate M&A: Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development intends to acquire an undisclosed stake in real estate firm Minka Development, and has appointed the head of the developer as its new CEO, it said in a series of EGX disclosures today (pdfpdf).

#2- More vaccines have landed: A shipment of 1.06 mn Johnson & Johnson vaccines landed in Egypt, the Health Ministry said this morning.

^^ We’ll have more on all of these stories in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

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

  • e-Finance could list two subsidiaries following IPO -chairman: State-owned fintech firm e-Finance could follow up last week’s blockbuster IPO on the EGX with fresh listings of its subsidiaries Khales and e-Cards.
  • Egypt could get EUR 1 bn for development from the EU by 2027: The plan will help drive “long-term socio-economic development and recovery” and sets water security as one of its top priorities, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said.
  • Egypt on track to achieve self-sufficiency in fuel products by 2023: Large-scale upgrades to oil refineries and new facilities will come online and are expected to add an annual production capacity of 6.2 mn tonnes of refined products, including gasoline and diesel, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said.

HAPPENING NOW- Ahmed Dallal is currently being inaugurated as AUC’s new president in a ceremony which you can watch online here. Dallal — a polymath and accomplished multilingual engineer who became a scholar of Islamic studies — becomes the first Arab president of the storied university. We look forward to good things from him in the years to come and we look forward to getting a chance to meet him and pick his brain on education here in Egypt.

CLARIFICATION- The folks at AUC would like you to know that “the protocol signed between the government of Egypt and the United States that led to the University’s foundation stipulates an American president. President Ahmad Dallal is an American of Arab origin. And beyond that limitation, the selection of an AUC president is based on qualifications, not ethnic origin or gender.”

That does not change our sincere hope that the president who follows Dallal (may it be many, many years hence) should be of Egyptian heritage. Surely, given how many of us there are, there is someone qualified academically, as a leader, and by virtue of citizenship.


So much for Sudan’s democratic transition: The Sudanese army has staged an apparent coup against the joint military-civilian administration that was supposed to hand over the reins of government to civilians next month, detaining the prime minister and dissolving the sovereign council in power since the overthrow of long-time dictator Omar Al Bashir in 2019. We have the full story in today’s Enterprise Explains, below. (AP | Reuters | FT | Bloomberg | WSJ).

Revelations in the “Facebook Papers” are being published — and it’s not a pretty picture. This morning, US and European news organizations began to make public information contained in the hundreds of documents handed over by company whistleblower Frances Haugen. The papers paint a picture of a company prioritizing its bottom line over the safety of its users, knowingly fuelling hate speech and censoring activists in authoritarian countries. Inexplicably, several documents suggest that the company has often been unable to understand its own algorithm. The news is everywhere in the global press this afternoon: AP | Reuters | Bloomberg | NYT | Washington Post | FT | WSJ.

ALSO IN TECH- Russian hacks are back: Russian state-backed hacker group Nobelium has successfully compromised 14 of more than 140 targeted cloud service providers and resellers, Microsoft said in a blog. The Russian intelligence-affiliated group that brought us last year’s SolarWinds hack was apparently not deterred by recent sanctions imposed on Moscow by US President Joe Biden over its work, nor by a list Biden handed to Putin noting 16 sectors that Russia definitely shouldn’t hack. The campaign aims to infiltrate the global tech supply chain for surveillance purposes, according to Microsoft. (Bloomberg | New York Times | CNBC | Wall Street Journal).


The European Investment Bank (EIB) will hold a seminar on financing water infrastructure (pdf) tomorrow at the Nile Ritz Carlton.

A webinar on sustainable transport featuring keynote speeches by EU ambassador to Egypt Christian Berger and Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik will take place tomorrow at 10am. Register here.


It’s interest rate week: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet this Thursday to discuss interest rates. All 12 analysts polled by Enterprise see the central bank leaving rates on hold for another meeting, citing the need to maintain portfolio inflows and uncertainty over inflation.

Female entrepreneurs have until 6 November to apply to a new accelerator program launched by NGO Nahdet El Mahrousa offering up to EGP 200k in grants, mentorship, and other business support. Founders and social enterprise leaders working in ICT, creative industries, or on projects that support gender equality are eligible to apply. The program, Rabeha, was launched in partnership with UN Women Egypt, the Egyptian National Council for Women, Global Affairs Canada, and other partners. You can apply here.

It’s another busy week for conferences, exhibitions, and other business events in Egypt:

  • The two-day Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference takes place this Wednesday and Thursday, 27 and 28 October.
  • The Middle East Angel Investment Network’s Angel’s Oasis retreat runs from Wednesday to Friday in El Gouna, with separate pricing for in-person and virtual attendance.
  • Grassroots community leaders aged 25-38 have until this Wednesday to apply for the US State Department-backed Community Solutions Program. Applications can be submitted here.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- It’s another day of warm weather, with the mercury rising to 29°C in the afternoon and falling to 19°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.


Global temps are going to rise “far in excess” of Paris Agreement targets if emissions continue at their current rate: Greenhouse gas concentration hit an all time-high last year, increasing at a higher rate than the annual average for the past decade, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide concentration levels in 2020 suggest that global temperature increases at the end of the century will be “far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said. This outlook would mean we’re in for faster melting of ice caps, sea levels rising, and ocean acidification, alongside socioeconomic consequences. Bloomberg and BBC News took note of the report.

It’s not looking great, but it’s better than where we were a few years ago: Prior to the 2015 Paris Agreement, we were on track for a 4°C increase by the end of the century, but as the world shifted gears towards clean energy, this forecast dropped by a whole degree. This is a relative improvement, but still cause for worry and alarm, the New York Times writes. And with various countries promising to drop emissions (including Egypt, which decreased subsidies for fossil fuels, among other measures), the forecasted temp rise could drop to 2-2.4°C. Scientists are still flashing the warning signs and urging countries to take more drastic measures to bring us to a safer 1.5°C increase in global temperatures by the end of the century.

Who’s doing their part? Nobody but Gambia: Last month, we reported that nearly all nations fell far behind on goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement, according to a report by the Climate Action Tracker, with the only country to achieve its goals being Gambia. Seven other countries, including the UK, were ranked as “almost sufficient” in their promises to cut carbon pollution and policy changes. The US, the EU, Germany, and Japan’s efforts have been deemed “insufficient,” while Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia are among the countries that are “critically insufficient.”

Can we leapfrog into a cleaner, Jetsons-like near future? British aerospace manufacturer Vertical Aerospace, which builds zero carbon vertical take-off and landing electric aircrafts, is slated to begin production of flying taxis in 2024, with an eye to introduce the vehicles to London’s Heathrow Airport by 2025, Bloomberg reports. The vehicles are aimed at replacing noisier (and dirtier) helicopters in large cities, as carriers look for ways to transport passengers across and between cities using cleaner technology. Meanwhile, Chinese EV startup Xpeng Inc is also making its foray into AI and flying cars, according to the business information service. The car, which is developed by Xpeng’s affiliate HT Aero, has raised upward of USD 500 mn from investors to-date and is expected to begin mass production in 2024.

Rich countries have received 16x more vaccines per person than poorer nations that rely on the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative, according to analysis by the Financial Times. Low-income countries received 9.3 vaccines for every 100 people, with 7.1 of those through Covax, data from Unicef found. Meanwhile, wealthy nations have received 155 vaccines for every 100 people — with the extra shots being used as boosters. The findings highlight how far Covax has failed in its mission to provide an equitable distribution of vaccines globally.

African countries have been trying to reduce their dependence on Covax by replicating mRNA vaccines that they can manufacture locally, writes the Associated Press. Moderna is the main vaccine being studied to create a similar jab for the continent. The company had said it would build a vaccine manufacturing facility “in the future,” but with no timeline given, many African labs have taken the issue into their own hands. WHO has backed the venture, coordinating a vaccine research, training and production hub in South Africa in a “last resort effort to make doses for people going without.” Africa CDC now puts the figure of fully-vaccinated individuals on the continent at 5%, with folks that have taken at least one dose at 8%, according to its vaccine tracker.

But it hasn’t been going so well: Intellectual property issues are expected to arise as Moderna eyes the possible mRNA production warily. The pharma company has said it would not pursue legal action against a company for infringing on its vaccine rights, but it also won’t help companies create the competing shots either. Moderna’s Chairman Noubar Afeyan made his sentiments clear when he said it would be better to expand production itself than to share technology.



One of our favorite anime from the 90s (or really ever) is now on Netflix: Cowboy Bebop, which follows the wacky adventures of interstellar bounty hunters, was a reason why many of us here got into anime to begin with. Like the wacky and ragtag crew of the Bebop — made up of a hitman, an ex-cop, a con artist, a hacker kid, and most importantly an unsuspecting corgi — the show is the perfect amalgamation of some of our favorite genres, including noir, sci-fi, and western. If that wasn’t all, the show has one of the best original soundtracks, which is also a beautiful mashup of genres, including jazz, the blues, country, electronic and some hip hop. Enjoy it while it's still there.

BUT BE WARNED- Netflix only has it on there because they’re to mess with something perfect. In case we needed any more evidence of how creatively bankrupt Netflix is, the streaming channel will soon drop an English-language live action remake of the show on 19 November.

The Egyptian Premier League is back: Six teams kick off their campaigns today, with NBE Club and El Gaish currently mid-way through the opening game of the season. Smouha and Al Ittihad will play at 5.30 while Future FC take on Pharco at 8pm.


(all times CLT)

Cairo Jazz Festival 2021 is kicking off on Thursday at AUC’s Tahrir Campus and will continue until 5 November. The festival has a diverse schedule for each day, featuring local and international artists. You can check out the full schedule on the website. Some events are open to the public while others require prior registration.

Skydive over the pyramids with the fourth edition of Jump Like A Pharaoh: Organized by Skydive Egypt and the Egyptian Parachuting & Air Sports Federation, the event will take place from 31 October to 5 November. A three-jump package costs USD 1.8k, while the true adrenaline junkies can pay USD 2.6k for six jumps.


The activity might be different, but the feeling is the same: Two of the world’s greatest freesolo climbers, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, wrote books on their experiences going up steep mountains in solo trips that could last weeks. Climbing itself is a sport that requires fierce deliberation and focus throughout. Honnold’s Alone on the Wall and Caldwell’s The Push both chronicle how they got into the sport and honed the mindset needed to climb — endurance, perseverance, quick assessments of situations, and the willingness to backtrack when needed. Even if you are by no means a climber, the pair have a way of telling stories that resonates with anyone that needs to overcome challenges to reach a greater goal … and learn to enjoy the process.

The duo also teach a masterclass on climbing together and their chemistry together is unmatched.


Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling’s net income up 21% in 3Q2021

EARNINGS WATCH- Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling’s net income rose 21% to EGP 336.3 mn in 3Q2021, up from EGP 277.8 mn in the same period last year, the company said in a bourse filing (pdf) this morning. The bottom line growth came despite revenues falling 1.9% to EGP 537.7 mn from EGP 547.9 mn in 3Q2020.


The EGX30 fell less than 0.1% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.72 bn (11.6% above the 90-day average). Foreigns investors were net sellers. The index is up 3.1% YTD.

In the green: Cleopatra Hospitals (+5.6%), CIRA (+2.8%) and CIB (+2.1%).

In the red: Aspire Capital (-9.9%), Madinet Nasr Holding (-9.0%) and Gadwa Industrial Development (-7.6%).


Sudan’s coup: civilian rule derailed or just another Monday? Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy took a major blow today after the military forces arrested key civilian ministers and members of the transitional sovereign council, before announcing a state of emergency and the dissolution of both the council and the government. While this is the most serious challenge to setting up a civilian government since the toppling of the thirty-year military regime of Omar Al Bashir in 2019, it shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the economic and political upheavals (not to mention the covid-19 pandemic) the country had been facing since.

Today’s events are particularly sad in light of Sudan’s long history of attempts at stable civilian rule being thwarted by coups. If successful, this would be the fourth military coup to take over the country since Sudan’s independence in 1956. It’s also the second coup attempt in as many months. We attempt to break down what’s been going on below.

What’s been happening so far: In the early hours this morning “joint military forces” arrested civilian members of Sudan’s sovereign council — the main ruling body governing the country made up of civilian and military leaders — as well as government ministers and members of the pro-government parties, Sudan’s Information Ministry said in statement. Reports soon emerged that internet communications had been disrupted with the soldiers sealing off bridges and major arteries in the capital, as well as a takeover of the national radio and television broadcasting headquarters (the standard coup playbook).

This was followed by military forces apprehending Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok at his home, and after his refusal to endorse the takeover, was taken to an undisclosed location, the ministry noted. The ministry also published a statement by Hamdok calling for peaceful civilian protests to the takeover. Social media has been documenting civilian protests emerging throughout the country today opposed to the coup.

State of emergency declared: Around midday, military leader and sovereign council head Abdel Fattah Al Burhan held a press conference, where he announced a state of emergency and dismissed the council and government ministers (watch, runtime: 8:25).

The world responds: The US embassy in Khartoum called on “all actors who are disrupting Sudan's transition to stand down, and allow the civilian-led transitional government to continue its important work to achieve the goals of the revolution,” in a statement on Twitter earlier today. French President Emmanuelle Macron issued a statement on Twitter condemning the coupand expressing support for the transitional government of Hamdok. The UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan also put out a tweet expressing its concern over the coup.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry urged all political sides to come together in the interest of stability in Sudan, which it said was of the utmost concern to Egypt.

What precipitated the takeover: The move follows civilian protests that have been happening over the past week or so calling for the military to take over. The protests intensified on Sunday, with pro-military demonstrators blocking key bridges in and around Khartoum. The demonstrators had been protesting what they call a takeover of the sovereign council and government by opposing civilian political factions. Both sides had once been part of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) — a coalition of civilian political parties that participated in the protests that ousted Omar Al Bashir.

What caused the split: The faction within the FFC calling for the military’s takeover had been protesting what they say is their marginalization by long entrenched political parties, whom themselves had worked with the Bashir regime, including the Umma Party (responsible for two of the last three failed democratic governments in Sudan).

Background: Following the ouster of Bashir, factions of the armed forces, along with the Rapid Support Forces — a powerful and well funded milita alleged to have participated in the genocide in Darfur — reached a power-sharing agreement with civilian protest groups of the FFC that would see a sovereign transitional council formed, which would be temporarily headed by the army chief of staff Al Burhan, and would pave the way for elections to take place in 2023. The day-to-day administration of the country would go to a civilian-led cabinet headed by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.

Civil-military relations have remained tense since the government was formed: There remain significant disagreements between the two sides, notably over the future of Al Bashir (who civilian leaders want to send to be tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court), government oversight of the RSF, and conditions attached to the IMF debt relief agreement, which require companies owned by the military to be more transparent.

It had not been smooth sailing for the Hamdok government: Despite early successes that saw Sudan’s government receiving widespread global recognition and support after decades of being considered a pariah state under Bashir’s Islamist regime, a combination of political instability coupled with economic woes have made the transition to civilian rule difficult. A lack of an effective central government coupled by long simmering tensions between Khartoum and local and tribal leaders erupted in protest movements throughout the country — the most recent of which was a blockade of Port Sudan (the countries main port city) by the Beja Tribal council, effectively cutting the country from crucial staples and supplies of fuel. This exacerbated major economic issues, including inflation, which reached 387.5% in August. And this doesn’t include the impact of covid, which had effectively crippled the health system.

Why should we care? Well beyond being a close neighbor, historic ally, and a major economic partner (with a big expatriate population resident in Egypt), the Hamdok government had been one of Egypt’s main global supporters in our attempts to get Ethiopia back in the negotiating table when it comes to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, with its position being closely aligned with ours.


Mid-October: The Egyptian Banking Institute, the Financial Services Institute, and I-Score will begin airing in mid-October the Digital Credit Scoring Webinar Series, a line-up of webinars on the banking sector and banking regulations.

23-28 October (Saturday-Thursday): A high-level delegation of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will visit Egypt to meet with government officials and travel to IFAD-supported projects in the country.

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

26 October (Tuesday): EIB seminar (pdf) on water project financing in Egypt. Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

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

27 October (Wednesday): World Cloud Show.

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

28 October (Thursday): Second tranche of overdue subsidy payouts will be handed to eligible exporters.

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

30-31 October (Saturday-Sunday): G20 Leaders’ Summit, Rome, Italy.

31 October (Saturday): World Cities Day, Luxor, 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.

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

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

6 November (Saturday): Deadline to apply to Nahdet El Mahrousa’s Rabeha, a women entrepreneurship accelerator program.

7-10 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT 2021, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

8 November (Monday): Egypt CSR Forum, International Citystars, Cairo.

15-21 November (Monday-Sunday): Intra-African Trade Fair 2021, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

16-17 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Africa fintech summit, Cairo.

25-27 November (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, Cairo, Egypt.

26 November-5 December (Friday-Sunday): The 43rd Cairo International Film Festival.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Centre.

7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

8-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS), Cairo, Egypt.

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.

15 December (Wednesday): Deadline for joint stock companies and investment companies in Cairo to join e-invoicing platform.

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

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

7 January 2022 (Friday): Coptic Christmas.

27 January 2022 (Tuesday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

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

19 February 2022 (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

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

2 April 2022 (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

22-24 April 2022 (Friday-Sunday): World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

24 April 2022 (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday (holiday for Coptic Christians).

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

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

2 May 2022 (Monday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

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

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

30 June 2022 (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

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

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

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

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

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

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

18-20 October 2022 (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

**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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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