Monday, 11 October 2021

EnterprisePM — The IMF / World Bank fall meetings get underway. Look for their outlook tomorrow.

TL;DR

🔎 WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another issue jam-packed with supply chain disruptions, green initiatives and Black Mirror-type worries. But first…

THE BIG STORIES TODAY-

#1- Pioneers Holding is now Aspire Capital Holding: The EGX Listing Committee approved Pioneer Holding’s rebranding to Aspire Holding, the company announced in a statement (pdf). The move follows Pioneer splitting into two arms: A real estate investment arm now called Pioneers Properties and Gadwa Industrial Development, which will house its manufacturing investments. Shares in both subsidiaries started trading on the EGX30 today, the companies announced (here) and (here).

Aspire Capital Holding saw its stock price surge 98.1% in today’s trading to EGP 0.42, while Pioneers Properties fell 18.1% to EGP 3.27 and Gadwa fell 2.8% to EGP 1.66.

#2- POLL- ESG reporting is becoming mandatory in Egypt in 2022. Are EGX-listed companies ready for it? In tomorrow’s Going Green, we hear from EGX-listed companies about how they’ve been implementing FRA-mandated ESG reporting before they become required in 2022, what these reporting requirements mean for policy changes within these organizations, as well as whether companies that have already started issuing ESG and sustainability reports have seen a shift in investor sentiment as a result.

#3- Global Ventures wants to do more here: As Egypt has its “fintech moment,” Dubai-based VC fund Global Ventures is looking to ramp up its capital allocations in Egypt. General Partner Basil Moftah talks to us about the tech fund’s plans in the local market, the startup growth metrics it values the most, and its exit strategies.

^^We’ll dive deeper into these stories and more in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

CORRECTION- Al Ahly Capital Holding is the investment banking arm of National Bank of Egypt (NBE), not Al Ahly Financial Investments Management, as we incorrectly reported in this morning’s AM.

HAPPENING NOW-

The Fall Meetings of the IMF and World Bank kicked off this morning, with central bankers, finance and development ministers, private sector leaders, and academics coming together to discuss the post-covid economic recovery. The meetings began with a discussion on the role of capacity development and the rest of the day will see discussions on the outlook for developing economies, creating more equitable workplaces for women, and how covid-19 has impacted fragile states.

The IMF’s October World Economic Outlook will take center stage when it is released tomorrow. You can find the report on its landing page here once it’s released. The report’s release comes on the heels of the World Bank’s October 2021 MENA economic update, in which the bank upgraded its forecast of Egypt’s GDP growth this fiscal year to 5.0%. The report points to stressed and underfunded public healthcare systems as one of the main culprits of the region’s slow and uneven recovery.

A little further afield, the landmark OECD international tax agreement is set to be formally endorsed at the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on Wednesday. A total of 136 countries have so far signed up to the agreement, which looks to set a minimum 15% corporate tax rate for companies with revenue of more than USD 125 bn, among other stipulations.


ALSO HAPPENING NOW- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is in Budapest to attend a summit with the Visegrád Group, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Also known as V4, the political alliance of four countries of Central Europe includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. This is the second time Egypt has joined the four countries in a summit and the topics of discussion on the table are combatting terrorism and illegal immigration, energy security, developing trade, investment and tourism, and strengthening Egypt’s relations with the EU. The visit will also see El Sisi meet with senior Hungarian officials to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

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

  • New highs for inflation: Increasing food, healthcare, and education costs pushed annual urban inflation in September to a 20-month high.
  • The World Bank upgraded its outlook for Egypt’s GDP growth in FY2021-2022 to 5.0%, up from the 4.5% it penciled in earlier this year.
  • Misr Life Ins. plans to list 25% of its shares on the EGX sometime in 2H2022.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- As the IMF and WB meetings get underway, supply chain issues and the energy crisis continue to dominate headlines in the foreign press today.

First up, aluminum prices are soaring amidst the global energy crisis: Aluminum options have risen to their highest levels since 2008, reaching USD 4k per tonne as the electricity crisis threatens the production of the energy-intensive metal, according to Bloomberg. Producing one tonne of aluminum uses as much power as what is needed to run an average UK home for more than three years. When countries such as China and Europe began to feel the electricity crunch, aluminum production was one of the first things to be scrapped and the continuation of the crisis does not bode well for the supply of the metal. With the possibility of further supply cuts, investors are anticipating a spike in demand that will push aluminum prices up in the coming months.

We shouldn’t look to gas-rich Qatar for a solution, as it says it can’t do more to boost natural gas production. Any plan to expand output would be further down the road, Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi said at a Doha event today, according to Bloomberg. Qatar plans to increase its LNG production by around 50% come 2027 — but that won’t help Europe in its scramble for a near-term solution to the gas crisis heading into a long, cold winter. A planned 50% expansion of output at Qatar’s key North Field would not be brought forward despite calls to do so.

How the global supply chain stole Halloween: Over in the US, global supply chain shortages are hitting Halloween product supplies, leaving shelves empty and frustrating customers with pent-up buying energy, according to the Wall Street Journal. The shortages, which store owners say are partly due to shipping delays and rising costs, come as Halloween spending in the US is expected to hit an all-time high of USD 10.1 bn this year up from a record of USD 9.1 bn in 2017, with activity almost back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the National Retail Federation.


David Card, Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens have been awarded the 2021 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences (the Nobel Prize for economics). Half of the prize was awarded to Card “for his empirical contributions to labour economics” and the other half jointly to Angrist and Imbens “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships.” Card’s findings are timely, with results showing that increasing minimum wage does not necessarily lead to fewer jobs. Card’s findings also show how incomes of people who were born in a country can benefit from new immigration, and the availability of education resources have a big impact on student’s future in the labour market. Meanwhile, Angrist and Imbens have “revolutionized empirical research” in economics and other fields by showing how conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn from natural experiments.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Our next long weekend is coming up: ​​​​The Prophet Muhammad’s birthday falls on Monday, 18 October. We expect a three-day weekend starting Thursday, 21 October. Look for confirmation from the cabinet toward the end of the week.

Conference season ratchets up this month, with a number of exhibitions and business events here and throughout the region taking place this week, including:

  • The Turathna Exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, which will run until Friday, 15 October.
  • Further down the road: The Middle East Angel Investment Network is hosting its Angel Oasis in El Gouna on 27-29 October, with separate pricing for in-person and virtual attendance.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Short sleeves look like they’re here to stay: Expect daytime highs of 34°C tomorrow, with the mercury falling to 21°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE

SIGN OF THE TIMES- Crypto trading addicts now have a rehab center in a castle in Scotland: Castle Craig Hospital provides treatment for people addicted to trading cryptos such as BTC and Ethereum, a niche designated under the gambling addiction umbrella, the hospital announced. The symptoms of crypto addicts include feeling muscle tension and anxiety, constantly checking prices online (even in the middle of the night), and thinking about trading while doing other activities, according to the hospital. Crypto addiction can be somewhat of a gateway to other types of addiction very quickly, with one addict telling the New York Post that his efforts to focus on trading and move on from steep losses led to a dependence on meds and alcohol.

Why are people getting hooked on crypto? Social media presents crypto trading as an easy way to independent wealth by sensationalizing and gamifying the trading process, Craig Hospital staff therapist Anthony Marini said. Some of us at Enterprise have received tons of message requests on Instagram from traders promising to get you rich within months. However, reality is far from the bloggers’ timelines, with an estimated 90% of amateur traders losing on crypto trades, according to research from the University of California Berkeley. Addicts who visit Castle Craig typically continue to trade despite recurring losses, Marini said.

Two dozen countries have joined the US and EU in a pact to slash methane emissions 30% by 2030, Reuters reports, citing an unnamed government official. The pact, dubbed the Global Methane Pledge, will employ new policies and standards in the energy, agriculture and waste sectors, which are the biggest culprits of methane emissions. With the new signatories, the partnership will now cover 60% of global GDP and 30% of global methane emissions. There are also 20 philanthropic organizations, including ones led by Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates that will mobilize over USD 223 mn to help support countries' methane-reduction efforts. A special event to announce the new partners is expected to be held in the coming hours. The pact comes ahead of the COP26 summit, set to run from 31 October to 12 November, where methane is expected to be a big part of the conversation on climate change.

💩 In today’s edition of weird ways to combat climate change, we have … fish poop: Fish poop can store carbon away for centuries, reducing how much carbon is left over in the atmosphere to warm the planet, a study by University of California climate scientists found. Fish release carbon through their feces, which fall to and can stay in the deep seafloor for hundreds or thousands of years without adversely affecting the ocean or atmosphere, explains lead researcher Daniele Bianchi. While using fish to flush away all our climate problems seems like a convenient solution, overfishing has cut down on this process — called carbon sequestration — by significantly lowering the number of fish and therefore how much they defecate in the water. When fisheries set fishing targets, they should take into consideration “how it will affect the capacity of the ocean to store carbon,” Vox quotes William Cheung, a University of British Columbia professor who co-authored another similar study.

Captain Kirk is spending another day among Earthlings after Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin delayed the flight of the New Shepard rocket due to windy weather conditions until Wednesday at 3:30pm CLT, according to a statement. Star Trek actor William Shatner is set to board the vehicle, making him the latest in a line of celebrities that are heading to space including Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. You can follow Blue Origin on Twitter for updates. Space also has the story.

👌 ENTERPRISE RECOMMENDS

Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl releases a memoir. + Egypt and Libya to play again today in World Cup qualifiers.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

(all times CLT)

Docuseries Bad Sport features some of the biggest scandals in sports: The six episodes in the show are all around an hour long and tell the stories of major crimes committed in the sports industry and how they were eventually uncovered. From the former Juventus director bribing referees to Russia rigging the 2002 Winter Olympics to come out on top in ice skating, Bad Sport unravels stories bit by bit and adds enough details to truly understand the gravity of each incident.

Egypt and Libya meet again: The Egyptian national football team will meet its Libyan counterpart in Benghazi at 9pm today in the fourth round of African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Egypt now tops Group F with seven points after barely managing to beat Libya two days ago with a stunning goal by Omar Marmoush. Libya is in second place with six points, Angola in third with three points, while Gabon has one point. The first country in each group will reach the final stage of the qualifiers.

Other matches you should tune into: We recommend watching Netherlands versus Gibraltar and North Macedonia versus Germany in the European World Cup qualifiers, both at 8:45pm tonight.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

(all times CLT)

It’s Pink Floyd tribute night at the Room Art Space in New Cairo: Cover band Gravy Train is performing our favorite Pink Floyd songs tonight at 9pm. You can buy tickets here.

Music all the way from France to Rawabet Art Space: Ko Shin Moon — an infusion between French musician Axel Moon and French artist Niko Shin — is performing tonight at Rawabet Art Space in Downtown at 9:30pm, playing their hybrid melodies that combine traditional Eastern tunes with electronic music.

And a birthday bash at Cairo Jazz Club Agouza: DJ and crowd favorite Mohasseb is celebrating his birthday tonight behind the decks at Cairo Jazz Club in Agouza at 8pm.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Mom, it’s not a phase: Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl has penned a memoir, The Storyteller, in which he details his rise to musical success despite some of the biggest controversies in modern music history. Grohl followed his dream of being a musician at a young age and left his hometown in Virginia to tour with Scream before eventually landing the job that would propel him into the limelight: Playing for Nirvana. The infamous death of Kurt Cobain and the ensuing aftermath didn’t deter Grohl, who moved on to form rock band Foo Fighters. Grohl — who wrote the book himself, as opposed to opting for a ghost writer — is a person we’ve always admired, from his creativity to his dedication to fatherhood.

If you’ve never heard of Foo Fighters, here are some of our favorite tracks from the band: The Pretender | Everlong | Walk

🌊 GO WITH THE FLOW

EGX extends daily deadline to register new customers

Brokerages now have an extra 3.5 hours to register new customers with the bourse, after the EGX issued a decision today to extend the daily deadline to 8:30 pm, from 5pm previously.

EARNINGS WATCH-

QNB AlAhli’s bottomline rose 5.5% y-o-y to EGP 1.9 bn in 3Q2021, from EGP 1.8 bn in the same period last year, according to the bank’s financial statements (pdf). The bank’s revenues rose 8.4% on an annual basis to record EGP 4.4 bn during the quarter, compared to EGP 4.1 bn in 3Q2020.

MARKET ROUNDUP-

The EGX30 rose 0.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.18 bn (23.5% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net buyers. The index is down 1.2% YTD.

In the green: Aspire Capital (+98.1%), ElSewedy Electric (+1.9%) and Credit Agricole Egypt (+1.6%).

In the red: Pioneers Properties (-18.1%), Gadwa Industrial Development (-2.8%) and Raya Holding (-1.9%).

🎮 GAMING

Are video games really all that bad? The Chinese government announced in August that it would be heavily restricting video game play for minors in a bid to curb video game addiction in the country, according to Chinese state-run paper Xinhua. Under the new, heavy-handed restrictions, companies would be required to bar kids under the age of 18 from accessing online games at all times except during a one-hour window between 8 and 9pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. But are video games really as big of a threat as the Chinese government has made them out to be?

The Chinese government has a history of combating “gaming disorders” — which it likens to electronic drugs: In 2017, Tencent Holdings, the country’s largest gaming company, said it would place limits on some of its young users’ gameplay following complaints that kids were becoming “addicted” to a game. Physical concerns like nearsightedness were also alleged to be a result of larger interest in gaming among the youth, eventually leading to a nine-month halt on new video game approvals by the country’s regulator. In 2019, the government issued its first set of restrictions on gameplay and in-game transactions.

We (kind of) had our own attempt at banning a particular game earlier this year — albeit for different reasons than China — after Al-Azhar issued a fatwa warning against Fortnite for its depiction of the Kaaba being destroyed. The broader statement was even more sweeping in its denouncement of gaming, saying that “some electronic games played by young people distract them from their basic tasks … while inciting them to hatred and self-harm or the harm of others.” MP Ahmed Mahana even called on the CIT Ministry to ban online games that incite violence, terrorism and murder, but no official ban on games has taken effect here in Egypt yet.

So what exactly is the problem? The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 listed gaming disorders — prioritizing gaming “to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities” — among its International Classification of Diseases. While an obsession with our screens is certainly a warranted concern given that much of our lives — and specifically kids' lives — have moved online in the past two years, even the WHO admits that only a minority of gamers are actually diagnosed with this affliction.

Video game addiction is real, but it's not as big a problem as it's often made out to be: While games like World of Warcraft and Fortnite have gotten a bad rep for sucking kids deep into their worlds, cognitive psychologists seem to agree that video games pose only a minor threat to cognitive health. According to a 2014 study, video games are in fact fairly similar — in terms of cognitive development — to traditional forms of play that require imagination and “social challenges,” and can encourage “higher levels of prosocial behavior,” among other benefits. The only caveat: These benefits only apply to children who invest less than one-third of their leisure time in video games.

Even if they’re robbing cars and waging wars? There’s an obvious concern that age-inappropriate games could have adverse effects on children’s behavior, but research seems to show that these games don’t have a greater influence than regular movies or TV. Oftentimes, first- and third-person shooters actually improve spatial reasoning, decision making and even attention in real life, as well as information-processing speed.

But it’s still not all gameplay all day: Even with the recorded benefits of just one hour-long video gaming session on brain activity, it's still important to be aware of how gaming impacts other areas of your life in both the short and long term, brain and cognitive studies researcher Dr. C. Shawn Green explains to Wired.

The new restrictions would apply to more than 268 mn people and more than half of Chinese internet users play video games online, according to government data. Those figures constitute about a quarter of the global video game market, which comes to a combined USD 61.3 bn market in 2020 across PC games, e-sports and mobile games, according to US government data.

Tech companies have already started to feel the weight of the turning tide: In the lead-up to the curbs, Tencent’s market cap of USD 573 bn was down more than USD 300 bn from its February peak. Gaming companies around the world also took a hit, with US-based Activision Blizzard stock falling 3.8% in early August. Electronic Arts, the company behind Sims, was down 2.8%, while European online video gaming stocks Ubisoft and Embracer Group fell about 5% and 3.7%.

So what’s in store for the future of the gaming industry? Major players Tencent and Netease say they’re on board with the new restrictions that would bar some children from age inappropriate games, saying only a small percentage of their gaming revenues come from minors. But analysts say that it might dampen the pipeline of new customers: “If you pick up a sport at 10 or 12 then you are more likely to keep playing it during your life,” Mio Kato, an analyst at Lightstream Research told the FT. The restrictions could present “very significant downside risk to long-term earnings,” he added.

📆 CALENDAR

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

9-15 October (Saturday-Friday): Turathna Exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

13 October (Wednesday): Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Washington DC.

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.

18 October (Monday): E-Finance begins trading on EGX.

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.

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.

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.

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

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, 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.

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.

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.

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

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. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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