Sunday, 5 September 2021

EnterprisePM — Egypt’s non-oil private sector shrank again in August, but at a slower pace than in July.



Summer is well and truly done with, ladies and gentlemen, as the newsflow moves from a trickle to a shower at the beginning of the month.


#1 Egypt’s non-oil private sector shrank again in August, but at a slower pace than in July. The IHS Markit Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index recorded 49.8 in August, up from 49.1 in July, but still below the 50 mark that separates contraction from expansion. Firms recorded a surge in purchasing activity in August off the back of an uptick in demand, as well as growing concern that rising raw material prices could keep income muted down the line.

#2 Four Egyptian startups have secured USD 125k each in seed funding in June, July and August in funding rounds all led by US accelerator Y combinator, Magnitt reports. The startups include Cairo-based delivery service ShipBlu, ins. marketplace amenli, SaaS startup Pylon and online auto-marketplace Odiggo, which had recently secured USD 2.2 mn funding. The other MENA startups funded include the Moroccan Chari and Freterium.

#3 ElSewedy Electric for Transmission and Distribution of Energy will build a substation for state-owned Electricity Company of Ghana, under the terms of a USD 16.7 mn EPC contract that will see the company implement the project over a two year period on a turnkey basis.

^^ We’ll have chapter and verse on all three stories in Monday’s edition of EnterpriseAM.

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

  • New covid restrictions incoming? The government could implement extra precautionary measures on public transport as covid cases rise, an unnamed government source told Al Shorouk, with back to school dates and entertainment venues also likely to be affected.
  • East Med Gas forum is now official: The final step to setting up the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) and its Cairo HQ was cleared on Thursday after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified its founding charter
  • More kashat for Kashat: The fintech startup has successfully closed a private bridge round for an undisclosed sum with participation from pan-African fund Launch Africa and Cairo Angels.

The EGX has begun implementing the new mechanism for calculating closing share prices today. Approved by the EGX last month, a “pre-close auction” system will be introduced in a move designed to improve accuracy, increase trading volumes and boost foreign inflows into Egyptian shares. EGX shares will also be allowed to rise and fall by 20% during a single session, up from a previous 10%, while the limit on intraday share price movements on Nilex shares are set at 10% compared to the 5% limit previously.

Want to get technical? EGX boss Mohamed Farid explained to us how the “pre-close auction” and “MVWAP” will work back in July.

HAPPENING NOW- El Sisi talks vaccines for minors, covid-19 fourth wave: Egypt could start providing vaccines to children under the age of 18 at schools once the vaccine gets approved for use by minors in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in his speech at the Abwab Al Kheir event today, which focuses on supporting local charities (watch, runtime: 15:40). He urged people to continue to adhere to precautionary measures and register for vaccines, especially as the threat of the fourth wave looms.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry received 525k doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and in cooperation with the African Export-Import Bank, the ministry announced in a statement. This is the country’s second batch of the single-shot vaccine, after the Health Ministry received 260.6k doses last month through the African Union.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- It was surprisingly a mixed bag in the foreign press, with no one story topping coverage abroad. US-based publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are looking at security in light of Afghanistan and 9/11.

THE BIG BUSINESS STORY ABROAD- Saudi Telecom’s internet-services arm is seeking to raise up to USD 966 mn in a planned IPO in Riyadh, according to Bloomberg. Arabian Internet and Communications Services Company will sell 24 mn shares, representing 20% of the company’s share capital, they said in a disclosure last week. The company has set a price range between SAR 136 and SAR 151 per share. While a date for the IPO has not yet been set, the listing received approval from Saudi’s Capital Market Authority and the subscription period for individual investors will run from 19-21 September.

This is the latest in a series of listings on the Tadawul index, as it increasingly becomes an IPO hotspot, following the listing of Tanmiah Food, Theeb Rent A Car, and AlKhorayef Water & Power Technologies this year. Saudi renewable energy giant ACWA Power also announced their listing plans on the Saudi stock exchange a few days ago, and is reportedly hoping to raise more than USD 1 bn.


Conference season is back with a fury this month, with a number of conferences set to take place this week alone:

Key news triggers remaining in the first two weeks of September:

  • Foreign reserves: The central bank will release foreign reserves figures for August sometime this week.
  • Inflation: Inflation data for August will drop this week.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 September.

International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) CEO Hani Sonbol will visit Cairo in the coming days to discuss financing Egyptian development projects, the cabinet said in a statement. Egypt is waiting on the disbursal of around USD 1.1 bn in financing from the corporation which was signed in January

It’s Labor Day weekend in the United States and Canada, so markets will be closed tomorrow, including the New York and Toronto stock exchanges and the Nasdaq.

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 a little bit warmer (two degrees warmer to be precise) until midweek. During the day, the mercury will max out at 37°C, and will drop to 23°C at night. Over in Sahel, you can expect highs of 31°C during the day and lows of 22°C at night.


The carbon emissions market is proving lucrative for many: Energy trading houses are focusing their attention on carbon-trading operations as economies around the world begin to put price tags on emissions, writes the Wall Street Journal. In Europe, carbon-emitting firms can buy top-ups for their emission allowances as well as sell their excess allowances to other firms, paving the way for a trading market that has seen a 23% y-o-y growth last year to USD 281 bn.

Banks such as HSBC are also piling in: Funds and banks are also eyeing carbon-trading activities, with investment firm Pollination Group currently raising funds with HSBC Global Asset Management for a carbon fund that will trade carbon credits. But the absence of a global framework means many banks are still hesitant to get involved.

The growth potential is possibly greater than that of the oil market in the coming years: The global carbon market could be worth USD 22 tn by 2050, energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie estimates. The value of the market could exceed the oil market’s value by 2030 and possibly even by 2025 depending on how quickly regulation is implemented, Trafigura’s Hannah Hauman told the WSJ. The European Union has plans in the pipeline to expand its carbon market, while China has started its own, and the US may be quick to follow.

Look out for more announcements on the carbon market during the United Nations COP26 climate conference that will kick off on 1 November in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) will be stress testing Europe’s finance industry’s vulnerability to climate change, in a process that will be rolled out next year, people familiar with the process told Bloomberg. Banks will be required to provide data on how their balance sheets might fare over periods of 10, 20 and 30 years as the ECB attempts to study the link between earnings, defaults, and carbon risk in banks’ portfolios. It is possible that banks burdened by carbon intensive loans will see higher capital requirements imposed, with the ECB saying it will gradually begin treating climate risks the same as any other risks to lenders.

Why are companies always looking to hire, yet mns of candidates get rejected? It seems that tech is to blame for the gap between unemployment and the lack of high calibre hires. The Wall Street Journal says that the growing reliance on automation systematically omits many resumes from even being considered. The algorithms used in such softwares — initially used to make the hiring process easier — filter out candidates according to positive criteria such as college degrees and are biased against negative criteria such as criminal records. According to 90% of employees who took part in a Harvard survey, the most suitable prospects are being weeded out and companies must do something about it.


Salah is joining the squad against Gabon today + It’s ‘80s week on the tube tonight

Egypt is playing against Gabon today and Salah is joining the squad: The match, which kicks off tonight in Gabon at 9pm (Egypt’s second World Cup qualifier match) will see Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah play as Gabon is not on the red list, the Egyptian Football Association said in a press release. Liverpool had forbidden Salah from participating in Egypt’s first qualifiers match against Angola, as the latter was on the UK’s red list. Mohamed Elneny won’t be playing tonight due to an injury.

All leagues are on pause this week for the World Cup 2022 qualifiers. Expect club matches to continue next week.


Bid Maadi bonjour with this hidden gem of a French cafe: Miette is a small bakery with a sizable menu, boasting a French ambience with outdoor tables and cozy seating inside. Its menu comprises freshly baked croissants, dainty muffins, and freshly baked baguettes that will have you singing the praises of French boulangeries. A lunchtime favourite is their Croissant Au Dinde Fromage, while their lemon tart makes a great pairing with a coffee from their inventive selection, which includes Mocha After Eight and peanut butter frappuccino.


(all times in CLT)

A lecture as part of the “rewriting history” series will be held today at El Sawy Culturewheel at 6pm with the historian Bassam El Shamaa.


Two books to help you succeed at remote work: REMOTE: Office Not Required by Jason Fried is a timely literary piece flushing out the challenges, drawbacks, and successes of remote work after millions around the world were forced to leave corporate workspaces for their beds and living room couches — thanks to covid. A similar argument is considered in Remote Work Revolution by Tsedal Neeley. From nonexistent commute times, lower operational costs, a smaller real estate footprint, and a larger pool of potential employees to choose from, the perks of remote work have global companies such as Twitter and Google declaring they will incorporate it in their future plans.

But it’s not a perfect recipe: Many employees working from home report feeling lost, isolated, and overlooked. The two books explore how managers can change their attitude and utilize tech so that the system works, productivity increases, and employees are kept happy and motivated.


Dice turns to profit in 2Q2021

Clothing manufacturer Dice reported a net profit of EGP 1.8 mn for 2Q2021, up from losses of EGP 47.9 mn recorded during the same quarter last year, according to the company’s latest earnings release (pdf). The company’s revenues rose to EGP 369 mn from EGP 185 mn in 2Q2020.

The EGX30 fell 1.8% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.5 bn (0.2% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 2.3% YTD.

In the green: EK Holding (+0.9%), CIRA (+0.2%).

In the red: Egyptian for Tourism Resorts (-11.9%), Orascom Development Egypt (-5.7%) and Pioneers Holding (-4.5%).


When whales walked on land

An all-Egypt team of archaeologists has unearthed a new species of prehistoric amphibious whale in a discovery that could be a vital link in helping us to understand how the mammals evolved from living on the land to living in the sea. Found near Fayoum by a team of paleontologists from Mansoura University, the 43-mn-year-old fossil reveals a new type of four-legged whale that once existed in Africa, one that lived both on land and in the sea. Led by Abdullah Gohar, the team at the university’s Vertebrate Paleontology Center recently published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, gaining international media attention for the landmark discovery.

The whale of death: Named after the ancient Egyptian god that helped shepherd deceased kings to the afterlife, the Phiomicetus anubis is estimated to have been 3 meters long and weighed about 600 kilograms, making it the first discovery of a carnivorous whale that preyed on other mammals. “We discovered how fierce and deadly its powerful jaws are capable of tearing a wide range of prey … this whale was a god of death to most of the animals that lived in its area,” Abdullah Gohar, who led the team of scientists, told Insider.

A long time coming: The remains were first found 13 years ago but were only analyzed relatively recently after 2017, one official at the Environment Ministry told the Scientific American.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of walking whales in Egypt: The first “protocetid” was actually discovered here more than a century ago by German paleontologist Eberhard Fraas, who found a mysterious skull and some vertebrae near Cairo of what turned out to be one of the earliest types of whales.

Wait, why are whale fossils being discovered in the desert? Although the area is now a desert, it was once submerged under the sea and is rich with fossils. Researchers have found in the area “semiaquatic crocodile-like whales to giant fully aquatic whales” dating back to the Eocene epoch, a 22 mn-year period that lasted from 56 mn to 33.9 mn years ago.

The Western Desert is one of the richest places on Earth for whale fossils: Wadi Al Hitan or the Whale Valley in the Western Desert is a Unesco World Heritage site home to the earliest species of whales in the world, according to the National Geographic. It is the only place in the world where prehistoric whales can be found in their original geological and geographic setting. Over the past few decades, the remains of more than a thousand whales have been discovered and countless more will be discovered, researchers say.

Mansourasaurus was unearthed in the same area: Mansoura University’s palaeontology department was also responsible for the ground-breaking discovery in 2018 of the 80-mn-year-old dinosaur Mansourasaurus in Dakhla Oasis in the Western Desert. The site was also where another prehistoric species of whale – Rayanistes afer – was discovered.

From land to sea: Having four fully-functional legs means that whales used to walk on land as well as swim in the sea, with both aquatic and terrestrial traits. This marked the middle of an evolutionary shift that changed whales from deer-like herbivores to the aquatic behemoths we know today. The new discovery belonged to a group of extinct whales called Protocetidae that fell in the middle of the transition, when whales stopped being land lovers and started preferring the sea.

An evolutionary U-turn: Whales were one of the very few mammals that took an evolutionary U-turn and headed back to the sea. The common ancestor of whales which existed some 360 mn years ago originated from the sea and evolved to survive outside water, improving its lungs and transforming its fins to legs. But in what the National Geographic calls an “evolutionary U-turn” their terrestrial body also adapted, allowing them to move, eat and mate underwater. How whales accomplished such an enormous transformation has baffled even the greatest scientific intellects,” it writes, calling the creatures one of the great challenges to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

How whales evolved in Africa is still largely unknown. But such discoveries can tell us about the evolutionary change from amphibious to fully aquatic whales. The discovery is critical to helping scientists understand whales’ transition from land to sea, researchers say.


24 August-5 September (Tuesday-Sunday): Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

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

5 September (Sunday): The updated date for EGX listed companies to institute the new mechanism for calculating closing share prices. The deadline was previously 2 September.

5-7 September (Sunday-Tuesday): The Arab Security Conference, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo, Egypt.

7-8 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Conferences will host the GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum 2021, featuring Vice Minister of Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk.

8-9 September (Wednesday-Thursday): Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (ICF), Cairo

7-9 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Egy Health Expo, Al Manara International Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

9 September (Thursday): DevOpsDays Cairo 2021 is being organized by ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center in cooperation with DXC Technology, IBM Egypt and Orange Labs.

11-12 September (Saturday-Sunday): International Conferences on Economics and Social Sciences, Cairo

12 September (Sunday): International schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

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

13-21 September (Monday-Tuesday): 76th session of the general assembly, New York

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.

18 September (Saturday): Expiration of United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL

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

22-25 September (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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 — must be held by the first Thursday of October.

October: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis could visit Egypt in mid this month to discuss ways to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries.

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.

9 October (Saturday): Public schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt

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.

**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.

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