Sunday, 18 April 2021

EnterprisePM — Hesham Gohar is CI Capital’s CEO.

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

The local press is as excited as you are that it is the last full work week of Ramadan as you are, with the Ramadan + Sunday news slowdown in full effect.

Shippers can sign up today for the Customs Authority’s new digital platform, which goes live later this year, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. Cargo data and documents such as the commercial invoice and bill of lading will have to be submitted to the new Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system, part of the National Single Window for Foreign Trade Facilitation (Nafeza), a digital customs system being rolled out by the Finance Ministry to speed up customs procedures and improve border security. The authority began trialing the ACI at the start of April and plans to make it compulsory at all seaports in July and land ports at an unspecified later date.

What is the ACI? ACI — otherwise known as a pre-registration system — is a World Customs Organization protocol that provides shipping lines, port operators and governments real-time information on shipments of incoming goods. Egyptian importers are required to file the paperwork at least 48 hours before the goods are shipped, after which they are given a unique ID known as an ACID. The shipping company must then submit documentation to Nafeza containing information such as the ACID and the bill of lading, which the ministry has now decided must be done at least 24 hours before the ship leaves port.

HAPPENING NOW- Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is in Cairo today to meet with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry to discuss recent developments in the East Mediterranean, the Greek and Egyptian foreign ministries said on Twitter. Turkish overtures to get out of the corner and play nice with the region is likely to be on the agenda, especially as it is finding it harder to kiss and make up with Greece. Dendias will be headed to Saudi Arabia tomorrow in a regional tour that saw him meet with Libyan Presidential Council Chairman Mohamed Al Menfi yesterday.

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

  • Covid jabs: We could get up to 4.5 mn doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab by the end of May.
  • Investor love: Egypt has been a “very resilient” market for Majid Al Futtaim.
  • Ever Given saga: Thousands of containers on board the Ever Given could be offloaded onto other ships.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

One area the US and China apparently see eye-to-eye on: Addressing climate change. The two countries, which together account for nearly half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, agreed to cooperate in “multilateral processes” such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua said in a joint statement after their Shanghai talks over the weekend. Kerry is the first official from the Biden administration to visit China, signaling hopes the two sides could team up on the global issue despite tensions on multiple other fronts. The two countries will develop long-term strategies to become carbon neutral, in time for the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November.

**So, when do we eat? Iftar is at 6:24pm today. You’ll have until 3:53am to eat / hydrate / caffeinate before the call to fajr prayers.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Renaissance Capital is holding a virtual conference titled RenCap ESG – a New Focus for EM from Tuesday-Thursday. The conference will have three panel discussions exploring ESGs from the focus of DFI interest and the energy transition, as well as a final panel to discuss how to be a successful ESG equity story in EMs. Notable speakers include Bertram Dreyer, senior investment manager at DEG-German Investment and Development Corporation, and Banji Fehintola, senior director and head of treasury at the Africa Finance Corporation. The panels will all be live streamed on the website.

The Middle East Angel Investment Network is hosting 'Mad Money: Rise of the Funds' on Clubhouse this Tuesday at 8pm. The panel discussion will discuss the recent spike in the number of funds that have been set up to invest in early-stage startups and their impact on the local and regional ecosystem. The panel will be moderated by Sara Gamay, a board member at Cairo Angels, and will also include speakers Plus VC’s Hasan Haider, Access Bridge Ventures’ Issa Aghabi, and Cairo Angels’ Nader Aboushadi.

iSheep, take note: Apple is running a virtual event this Tuesday at which pundits think it will unveil AirTags and a new iPad Pro with an improved display and faster processor, among other goodies. The headline: Spring Loaded. The event will stream at 7pm CLT on Apple’s website and on YouTube.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

BTC volatility check: Speculation that the US Treasury may crack down on laundering activities through digital assets drove BTC to its biggest intraday fall since February this morning, declining as much as 15.1% to USD 51,707 before paring losses, Bloomberg reports. BTC had hit a record high of USD 64,869 last week ahead of crypto exchange Coinbase's trading debut on the Nasdaq, as mainstream interest in crypto grew as companies like PayPal and Square began accepting it in their systems.

Regulators are increasingly concerned about “funny business.” European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said BTC is used for laundering activities and has loopholes that need to be closed (watch, runtime 1:12). The Turkish Central Bank on Friday banned the use of crypto in payments, claiming “their use in payments may cause non-recoverable losses … and include elements that may undermine the confidence in methods and instruments used currently in payments,” Reuters reported. As we had reported last month, India is considering a full ban on crypto, while China currently does not allow mining or trading. Our own CBE issued another warning against trading in crypto just last month.

SpaceX is helping to get the first woman on the moon: Elon Musk’s SpaceX has landed a USD 2.9 bn contract from NASA to build a moonlander as part of the Artemis Program which aims to see the first woman and first person of color land on the moon, according to a NASA statement. This new lady of history will be chosen from among the nine female astronauts on the Artemis team, which CBS has profiled here. The space agency’s Space Launch System rocket will launch four astronauts for a multi-day journey to lunar orbit and once there, two crew members will transfer to the SpaceX human landing system (HLS) for the final leg of their journey to the surface of the moon. SpaceX was competing against a joint bid from traditional aerospace giants and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, as well as Alabama-based Dynetics, according to BBC.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

Make some room in your Ramadan mosalsalat viewing to catch Sherlock before it gets taken off Netflix on 15 May. If the mystery series has been on your list of things to watch for a while, now’s the perfect time to get reacquainted with the world’s favorite detective. We love that Sherlock is a modern version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories that follows Holmes from the very beginning — from teaming up with John Watson to making a name for himself in London. The hour-long episodes are almost a feature film each, but never get boring with their dark comedy and never-ending plot twists. We’ve tried to deduce clues alongside the detective as he solves the mysteries, but are usually surprised by the ending. Of course, Benedict Cucumber Patch (we’re sticking with the autocorrect version) takes the show to another level with his spot on performance of the character and the show has been praised for the quality of its writing, acting, and directing.

Al Ahly and El Zamalek are going head-to-head today in a match at 9:30pm in the Egyptian Premier League.

Meanwhile, Arsenal and Fulham are already on the field in the English PL, while Man United and Burnley will be playing soon at 5pm.

There are a few big matches to look out for in La Liga tonight: Atletico Madrid is playing against Eibar at 4:15pm while Getafe will face Real Madrid on the field at 9pm.

Ditto for Serie A: Milan beat Genoa 2-1 in a match earlier this afternoon, but if you hurry you can still catch some of the game between Juventus and Atalanta. Later tonight Napoli will play against Inter Milan at 8:45pm.

🥐EAT THIS TONIGHT-

Delight’s creations are sure to be a hit at any gathering — not least because they’re changing things up. We love their tarts on any occasion, so getting a taste of their new Ramadan desserts will definitely be the highlight of the day after a long day of fasting. If you’re looking to try something beyond the typical mango or Nutella kunafa, Delight is offering everything from pumpkin, creamy orange, and pecan kunafas to strawberry panna cotta aish el saraya. Their banoffee tart is a tried-and-true gem that’s very near and dear to our hearts (and is offered year-round), and we’ve been looking forward to trying their new baked blueberry yogurt.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

It’s comedy open mic night at The Room New Cairo, so if you have a bit you’ve been rehearsing in front of your mirror, head to the venue at 9pm.

Check out the Royal Mummies’ Hall that opened today at The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. The mummies were transferred to the new museum last month in an elaborate parade that garnered weeks of acclaim for Egypt. The hall includes 20 mummies from the 17th to the 20th dynasty, most notably Queen Hatshepsut. The museum is located in El Fustat and is open every day from 9am-3pm in Ramadan, with an evening slot on Fridays from 6-9pm.

Visit sohour tent Layaly Ramadan at The Marquee at Cairo Festival City. The food is catered by Zaza Cuisine and the tent will feature a live performance every night. The first week of Ramadan is all about El Mouled, the second will see old music performances, the third week has folklore on the schedule, and the fourth week is stand up comedy. You can buy tickets to visit Layaly Ramadan here.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Economists must take social issues more into account, argues Raghuram Rajan in his book The Third Pillar. Rajan is a former IMF chief economist and head of India's central bank and is now a University of Chicago professor. He offers up a big-picture framework for understanding how three forces of the economy (the state, markets, and our communities) interact, why things begin to break down, and how to settle into a state of equilibrium in cases such as major technological change in a society. He doesn’t shy away from making provocative predictions for the future, including that decision-making has to devolve to the grassroots to prevent democracy from withering.

🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- More short sleeves: Expect daytime highs of 41°C and nighttime lows of 20°C tomorrow in what seems to be the last day of a heatwave that has forced us to become reacquainted with the AC in recent days, our favorite weather app signals.

SPEED ROUND: MOVES

Hesham Gohar tapped as CI Capital CEO

CI Capital has appointed Hesham Gohar (LinkedIn) as CEO after Hazem Badran (bio) and Tarek Tantawy (LinkedIn) stepped down from their positions as co-CEOs and managing directors, effective 20 May, according to a press release (pdf). Badran, who joined CI Capital in 2013, and Tantawy, who joined in 2015, both resigned from their positions to pursue other avenues for their career, the release says, without providing details.

The shake-up in leadership comes shortly after CI Capital’s investment banking arm — with Gohar at its helm — ran the IPO of Taaleem, the higher education player. Gohar has been withCI Capital since 2012, and is also chairman of Taaleem. Taaleem’s debut on the EGX last month ended the nation’s IPO drought after nearly two years without any international-quality listings.

SPEED ROUND: BANKING

BdC mulls digital services arm in Africa and ME

Banque du Caire (BdC) is looking to expand its digital services to serve African and Arab markets in the near future through an e-payments arm that will be geared towards the local market as a first phase, Chairman and CEO Tarek Fayed tells Hapi Journal. The state-owned bank tapped an unnamed regional partner to set up the e-payments arm. The Central Bank of Egypt approved the new arm a while back, Fayed confirmed, but did not provide further details on where it will be based. BdC is looking at tapping into digital payment technologies to help promote the growth of its customer base by providing various PoS terminals and using QR codes, which should promote the adoption of digital wallets and credit cards among the public, he added.

SPEED ROUND: STARTUP WATCH

Innoventures in talks with potential LP from the GCC, iMile launches in Egypt

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VC firm Innoventures is in talks with a potential limited partner based in the GCC for its EGP 200 mn VC fund, Al Mal reports, quoting Innoventures partner Rafik Dalala. Bringing this investor aboard would allow the fund to invest in GCC-based startups alongside its focus on Egypt, Dalala said. The local investment firm has so far raised EGP 20 mn for the fund it set up in December 2019. Dalala initially told the newspaper the fund was targeting raising EGP 100 mn, but this appears to have been revised upwards. He noted at the time that the fund will be targeting local tech startups. The fund’s first close has also been interrupted by the pandemic, Dalala said yesterday. Innoventures is an Egypt-based VC firm that has invested in early stage startups across a range of industries.

ALSO FROM PLANET STARTUP- Dubai-based payment-on-delivery logistics startup iMile has launched in Egypt, bringing its services to Cairo and Suez, according to a statement carried by Trade Arabia. The company has reached partnership agreements with two unnamed “e-commerce market leaders” in the country and is looking to cooperate with SMEs to work on door-to-door delivery, the statement says. iMile said it was eyeing regional expansion to Egypt, Kuwait, and Morocco when it raised USD 10 mn in a pre-series A funding round last year. The company, founded by Chinese entrepreneur Rita Huang, connects MENA customers to e-commerce sellers based in China, and provides “first-mile, international mile, and localized last-mile delivery services.”

GO WITH THE FLOW

The market on 18 April 2021

The EGX30 rose 2.1% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 460 mn (65.9% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is down 4.5% YTD.

In the green: GB Auto (+6.5%), CIB (+3.4%) and MM Group (+3.3%).

In the red: CI Capital (-1.8%) and Export Development Bank (-0.3%).

Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling Company reported EGP 1.04 bn in net income in 9M2020-2021, falling 2.7% y-o-y from EGP 1.01 bn a year earlier, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). ACCH’s revenues also dipped 5.1% y-o-y to EGP 1.82 mn, which the company attributed to a 9% y-o-y drop in container activity as global trade reeled under covid-19.

LIFE & ARTS

It’s hard to put on a show without an audience — and galleries and museums around the world have largely been without audiences over the past year, as covid-19 lockdowns kept many would-be gallery goers at home. Paris’ Louvre saw its visitor rates drop by 70% in 2020, while the British Museum in London saw a 91% drop in the monthly number of visitors to the museum during its reopening from August-December 2020 after months of lockdown. But some art spaces are turning to tech and AI as an alternative way to connect with audiences, patching together different tools to attempt to simulate the experience of viewing great art.

Some curators are outsourcing gallery tours to telepresence robots, with the Hastings Contemporary gallery using one such robot to give hundreds of half hour tours since April. The robot can be controlled remotely via a phone or laptop, and allow both the curator and the audience to remain at home behind their individual screens. Other artists are adopting augmented reality tools to bring their work to audiences outside of screens, and are partnering with apps such as Acute art, which allows users to superimpose artworks onto their everyday surroundings (think Pokemon Go but for art snobs).

There are a number of institutions and initiatives that have been long time adopters of virtual viewing: Google Arts and Culture, launched in 2011, provides high resolution images and immersive 360° experiences of galleries and museums from over 2k partner institutions worldwide. The international Art Fair Art Basel also adopted online viewing rooms for its 2020 edition, while local Egyptian art gallery Gypsum also utilized an online viewing room for a recent solo show.

Besides limitations, online viewing rooms have a number of unexpected advantages, allowing videos, longer texts, and other historically relevant material to be presented alongside the artwork, helping contextualize artwork for viewers in a way a simple wall text in a gallery cannot. “Our hope for these online exhibitions is to use the voices of our dealers and curatorial team to create multi-media environments that really invoke an artist and the context in which they were making their work,” CEO of the US’ Pace Gallery Marc Glimcher told the Guardian.

Online viewing rooms and virtual gallery tours could have a use beyond the pandemic, in allowing distantly located people to experience an art institution’s collection virtually, thereby diversifying audiences. An exhibition in Paris is no longer limited to the people in the city, but can attract attendees from Dubai, Brazil, and Japan. Such tools could also be used to bring the experience art to those who are not able to physically go to a gallery space due to ill health or other restrictions on movement.

But will the new modes of experiencing art innovated during the pandemic outlast its effect? Our guess is, probably not. Galleries and museums were never solely about what hangs on the walls, with many of the buildings that house artworks standing as architectural marvels in their own right. Taking time out of your day to visit a gallery or museum has also been proven to reduce anxiety levels and enhance critical and creative thinking, and sitting in front of a screen may not quite give you the same effect as going for a physical visit. So don’t expect art spaces to fall from favor anytime soon.

ENTERPRISE EXPLAINS

One Basel, two Basel, three Basel, four…

Enterprise Explains: “Basel IV” requirements. Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Egypt issued a circular to banks instructing them to comply with updated Basel III requirements on managing operational risks.

Wait, what? There’s a new Basel? Not exactly. The so-called Basel IV requirements are actually more of an addendum to Basel III than they are a whole new framework. The changes were finalized in December 2017 and were initially expected to be implemented globally by January 2022, but the Basel Committee’s oversight body decided last year to push the deadline by one year “to provide additional operational capacity for banks and supervisors to respond to the immediate financial stability priorities” during the pandemic.

Refresher: In a nutshell, the Basel frameworks — of which there are three — are an international regulatory framework to standardize how banks across the world should manage credit risk and market risk. The regulations are designed to ensure that financial institutions have enough capital on account to meet financial obligations and absorb unexpected losses. Read more on the details of each iteration of the regulations in our previous explainer, here.

What do these regulations entail? The updates entail five main adjustments:

  • A new approach to how credit risk is calculated to make internal rating methods more risk-sensitive;
  • Streamlining the model that measures capital requirements for operational risk into one method rather than four;
  • Bolstering the leverage ratio and ratio buffer for domestic banks that are considered “systemically important”;
  • Standardizing the calculation for Credit Valuation Adjustment (the market value of counterparty credit risk) capital charge;
  • Setting an output floor for banks’ risk-weighted assets.

How quickly and adeptly is the Egyptian banking sector expected to comply? The CBE is requiring all banks in the country to comply with the regs by 1 January 2022. This is “more than enough” time for Egypt’s banks to get their ducks in a row, a CBE source who asked to remain unnamed told us, particularly because the sector is already in good shape thanks to years of restructuring. The CBE began in 2004 a reform program for the sector, which, among several other things, put in place fundamental prudential regulations that address credit and liquidity risks, in addition to a capital adequacy ratio.

Banks in Egypt earned plenty of positive evaluations, especially on how they’ve fared throughout the pandemic. Fitch Ratings said earlier this month that banks have remained financially sound and loan quality has remained stable, after signaling in December that banks have stable liquidity positions and can weather the short-term storm, particularly as banks shored up loan loss provisions since last year in anticipation of a rise in bad loans. The ratings agency said at the time that banks do, however, remain exposed to “heightened” medium-term risks.

CALENDAR

April: The government’s fuel pricing committee is scheduled to meet for its quarterly review of prices.

April: EBRD president Odile Renaud-Basso expected to visit Egypt.

20 April (Tuesday): 'Mad Money: Rise of the Funds,’ hosted by The Middle East Angel Investment Network on Clubhouse.

20-22 April (Tuesday-Thursday): Renaissance Capital’s conference RenCap ESG – a New Focus for EM will take place virtually.

25 April (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC — the holiday could be observed on a Sunday or a Thursday).

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

1 May (Saturday): Labor Day (national holiday).

2 May (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

13-15 May (Thursday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

16-19 May (Sunday-Wednesday): The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is taking place in Dubai. ATM is an international travel and tourism event to promote the Middle East as a tourist destination.

25-28 May (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

1 June (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

7-9 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

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

17-20 June (Thursday-Sunday) : The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo), Cairo International Conference Center.

24 June (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year (public schools).

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on 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.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday)

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

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

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

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

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

16 September (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet 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 54th session of the Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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