…and that’s a wrap, ladies and gentlemen. We hope this chilly Thursday has been kind to you as we all slide into the weekend.
THE BIG STORY THIS AFTERNOON: Egypt just announced its first oil and gas auction of 2021 — and it’s the first to use the new Egypt Upstream Gateway (EUG) digital platform to serve out data. Meanwhile, trading in CI Capital shares will resume now that Banque Misr has confirmed it’s not going to up the price on offer as it seeks up to 90% of the financial services outfit. We have more on both stories below.
*** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from this morning’s edition of EnterpriseAM:
- Ezdehar targets USD 100 mn first close for its next SME fund by mid-year and is mulling whether to start an impact investing fund.
- Covid has been a boon for Egypt’s startups, but we need regulatory overhauls to bring in more investment.
- The Damietta LNG plant is on track to finally come out of its eight-year slumber next week, starting to export again just as global demand for LNG picks up.
HAPPENING NOW: NASA’s Perseverance is preparing to land on Mars, delivering an SUV-sized rover and a little robotic helicopter to start searching for signs of past life, the Wall Street Journal reports.
How can you watch it? NASA will broadcast the landing live starting at 9:15pm CLT on its Youtube channel. The BBC has a solid rundown of what to expect:
THE BIG STORY ABROAD heading into the weekend is El Face’s decision to ban the sharing of news in Australia over a move by lawmakers there to force Big Tech to pay publishers for content. The story has global ramifications: Canada, the EU and the UK are all mulling laws similar to that under consideration in Australia, the Financial Times reports. And it doesn’t end with paying for content: Egypt and members of the EU have all discussed how to fairly tax tech giants that do business here.
Facebook’s ham-handed ban has blocked everything from Australia’s national weather service to a support line for victims of domestic violence — and Facebook’s own Facebook page, according to a list compiled by ABC News Australia’s Kevin Nguyen. The story is getting wide pickup by everyone from Reuters to CNBC.
Mr. Stonks goes to Washington today: Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, Reddit chief Steve Huffman, Roaring Kitty himself, and the shorts from Melvin Capital are all due to be grilled today by members of the US House of Representatives investigating the /rWallStreetBets debacle that (ostensibly) pitted day traders against hedge funds in the battle over GameStop, Blackberry and other (marginal) stocks. The Financial Times, Guardian and Reuters have the story.
You know you’re a true finance nerd if you’re asking: Is it gonna be livestreamed? And the answer, of course, is, “Yes. Yes, it is.” Tune in here at 7pm CLT.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- The UAE’s first ambassador to Israel is on Twitter, writing in English, Arabic and Hebrew.
YOUR STATUTORILY REQUIRED COVID UPDATE- It’s a good news / bad news kind of day. First up: The BioNTech / Pfizer jab is significantly less effective against the South African variant of the coronavirus that causes covid. On the plus side: Anthony Fauci “says there's new evidence that a COVID-19 vaccine may not just protect the people who get it but also shield others whom they come in contact with.”
Pups versus PCR: Germany has trained sniffer dogs to detect covid-19 with a 94% accuracy by smelling the “corona odour” that comes from cells in infected people, reports the World Economic Forum. Sniffer dogs have already been employed in airports in Finland and Chile, with people already deliberating whether the pups can be used in events such as concerts to sniff out covid-19 cases.
END-OF-WEEK FOLLOW UPS:
- Saudia Arabia’s ultimatum that international companies set up headquarters in Riyadh is (predictably) going over like a lead balloon, Bloomberg writes. KSA said earlier this week that global firms need to set up their regional HQs there if they want to continue to do business with government companies.
- Carmakers’ rush to an all-electric future is gathering speed: Hot on the news that Jaguar Land Rover is planning to phase out petrol-powered cars by 2036 (see our note earlier in the week) comes word that Ford will invest USD 1 bn in a European EV facility to make its range of passenger cars “completely all-electric” by 2030.
- And it’s not just on land that companies are getting serious about cutting emissions: Shipping giant Maersk will launch the world’s first carbon-neutral container ship in 2023 — and will immediately begin phasing out the use of vessels running on fossil fuel or its derivatives in favor of ships propelled by dual-fuel technology, it said yesterday.
- Guess who loves the commodities rally we talked about earlier this week? The world’s biggest mining company. Rio Tinto has paid out the biggest dividends in its history thanks to the surge in iron prices, which rose almost 85% in 2020, the Financial Times reports. The company joins other big miners, BHP and Glencore with generous divvys thanks to growing Chinese demand for commodities and expectations for large-scale infrastructure investment in the coming months and years.
📚 WEEKEND READING–
Let’s start with a mediation on aging, shall we? If they’re still in your lives, cherish your mom and dad. Deanna Dikeman’s heartbreaking series Leaving and Waving chronicles 27 years of waving goodbye to her parents from the edge of their driveway. It’s “a story about family, aging, and the sorrow of saying good-bye,” she says, as her parents become older, wizened. Until there is one. And then none. Get the overview here and then explore the poignant images on her website.
Then go read the New Yorker’s profile of Nancy Floyd, who has taken a 9am selfie for nearly 40 years as a study of how she would grow old. The images are fascinating, and so is her interview with Neale James on his Photography Daily show, which includes a beautiful gallery of images.
Want to live a healthier (if not longer) life? You want to start getting a little bit of exercise. How much? Start with this piece in the New York Times, which states the obvious for the 1,000th time: “People who often exercise and stay active are much less likely to develop heart disease than people who rarely move, whether that exercise consists of a few minutes a day of jogging or multiple hours a week of walking.”
TIP- Have the kid help with chores around the house. It’s not only less work for the olds, it builds character. The New York Times devotes a whole column to timeworn wisdom that’s been passed from generation to generation.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #2, presented without comment: The [seekoseeko] adviser will see you now. On Instagram, wherein the Gray Lady wonders whether Emily Morse is the Dr. Ruth (remember her?) of a new generation. (Editor’s note: Why are we using badly transliterated slang instead of the three-letter English word? As longtime readers know, it’s one of many words or phrases that the algorithms hate — resulting in our being sent to bad places instead of your inbox.)
PSA- A number of top US business schools declined to participate in the Financial Times and Economist’s annual rankings of top MBA schools. Among the holdouts who said covid made it difficult for them to gather data are Egyptian favourites Harvard, Wharton, Columbia and Stanford, the WSJ writes.
🥐 WEEKEND EATS-
Wake up early tomorrow and be first in line at Ratios Bakery in Maadi. A crowd from across the capital city descends on Samer and Jackie’s joint for fantastic baked goods (takeaway or to enjoy it with friends and coffee in the cozy garden). Ratios is known for its sourdough bread, pastries, sweets, and savory creations, all baked fresh daily with seasonal specials on par with anything you’d be offered abroad. The resident 13-year old is partial to the pain au chocolat, while we love the donut holes. Reader “A Cairene Cook” tips Ratios’ turkey and roast beef sandwich with caramelised onions and the sticky cinnamon rolls — and you can never go wrong with their ciabatta twist or country bread. There’s lots more on Instagram or get a Google Maps pin here. Open Friday and Saturday 8am-1pm and Monday through Thursday 8am-2pm.
🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
Finish off the workweek with some standup comedy, with Darb 1718 (Google Maps) hosting an open mic standup night at 8pm CLT organized by Al Hezb El Comedy. You can choose to chill and laugh or get on the stage and perform. Already got plans for today? Al Hezb El Comedy also have an open mic standup night tomorrow at 8pm CLT at KMT House (Google Maps).
Egyptian Frank Sinatra cover band The Sinatras will be performing today at 9pm CLT alongside singer Farida Tamer. Venue: The Room Garden City (Google Maps).
📺 ON THE TUBE THIS WEEKEND
Alt-history drama For All Mankind is back for season two starting tomorrow, with a new episode every Friday. The series explores an alternative reality in which the Soviet Union beat the United States in the race to the moon. This season’s trailer sees the moon becoming militarized as the Cold War heats up. Catch the season two trailer here (watch, runtime: 2:42). The show airs on Apple TV+.
We keep hearing that you guys are documentary buffs: The Most Unknown is out on Netflix today. It sends nine scientists to extraordinary parts of the world to uncover unexpected answers to some of humanity’s biggest questions. Directed by Ian Cheney and bringing together scientists from a range of disciplines, the film pushes the boundaries of how the story of science is told. The New Yorker is out with a short and sweet review.
Will Smith is the host of Netflix’s new docuseries, Amend: The Fight for America, which looks at the fight for equal rights in America through the lens of the US Constitution's 14th Amendment.
A recommendation for your weekend family movie night: Pixar’s Soul on Disney+ has stirred up some talk on the interwebs for its emotional story and fantastic animation. The film follows Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a middle-school band teacher who has a passion for jazz. Joe falls in a pothole that sends him to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to “have soul.” Soul is Pixar's first film to feature a Black lead, as well as the first to be completed remotely amid the pandemic. You can also make it a night out if you’ve cancelled covid: Soul is still on in cinemas nationwide.
🏀 Egypt’s basketball team takes on Uganda tonight at 10pm CLT in the Group E FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers, with Egypt currently leading the group after defeating Morocco 99-76. AfroBasket is the biennial men's basketball continental championship and the match will take place in Tunisia. Egypt’s team ranks no. 60 in the FIBA World Ranking. You can watch the match on beIN channel 8 HD or through FIBA’s online platform (subscription required).
⚽️ ALL FOOTBALL, ALL THE TIME-
There are a whopping 16 matches on today in the Europa League. Among the highlights to look out for at 7:55pm CLT: Manchester United will play against Real Sociedad, Tottenham will face off against Wolfsburg, Milan goes up against Crvena Zvezda, and Roma will hit the field with Braga. Meanwhile at 10pm CLT: Arsenal will play against Benfica, Antwerp against the Rangers, and Granada against Napoli. You can check out the full schedule here.
There’s plenty of football for the weekend as well: La Liga has one match on tomorrow and four on Saturday: Real Betis will play Getafe at 10pm tomorrow while Saturday’s matches feature Eiche against Eibar at 3pm CLT, Atletico Madrid vs. Levante at 5:15pm CLT, Valencia and Celta Vigo at 7:30pm CLT, and Valladolid against Real Madrid at 10pm CLT.
Serie A has two matches on tomorrow and three on Saturday. Fiorenta will play Spezia at 7:30pm and Cagliari take on Torino at 9:45pm CLT on Friday. On Saturday, Lazio will hit the field against Sampdoria at 4pm CLT, Genoa goes up against Verona at 7pm CLT, with Sassuolo playing Bologna at 9:45pm CLT.
As for the English Premier League (PL), Wolves will play against Leeds tomorrow at 10pm before a four-match dash on Saturday. Southampton will face off against Chelsea at 2:30pm CLT, Burnley against West Brom at 5pm CLT, Liverpool against Everton at 7:30pm CLT, and Fulham against Sheffield United at 10pm CLT.
Speaking of which: The PL’s CEO Richard Masters is not a fan of a USD 6 bn plan to create a “super league” of Europe’s best-known teams across all leagues, he said during the Financial Times’ Business of Football Summit. Masters argues that the super league would be destructive to the value of domestic football across Europe, partly because it would not have the normal promotion and relegation process. Participating teams would continue to play in their domestic leagues during weekends, with super league matches being played midweek. Among the 15 teams potentially participating are PL’s Manchester United and Liverpool and Spain’s Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
What do Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have in common (other than their bns of wealth) — both have touted Business Adventure by John Brooks as their favorite book about business. Business Adventure looks at 12 dramatic stories inside Wall Street from Ford to Xerox to explore the intricacies of corporate life and the volatile nature of the world of finance.
🌤 WEEKEND WEATHER- Look for a mixture of sun and clouds both Friday and Saturday with a daytime high of 17°C and an overnight low of 9°C both days. There’s a chance of a sprinkle on Friday. Brisk winds on Friday will die down a bit on Saturday.
Long range forecast: Expect daytime highs of 19°C most of next week with the mercury plunging to 8°C overnight.