Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to a pleasantly brisk afternoon of news, with stories on M&A, digital payments and waste management all catching our eye.
THE BIG STORY TODAY here at home: We’re getting another shipment of AstraZeneca’s covid-19 jab, with some 1.9 mn doses due to arrive within the next few days after Health Minister Hala Zayed traveled to Switzerland to meet with Covax Managing Director Aurélia Nguyen, according to a ministry statement. The shipment — delivered through the Gavi / Covax scheme — was previously expected to arrive in the first week of June. Egypt has so far received around 2.2 mn doses of the covid-19 vaccine through Covax after Cairo was put on a list of priority countries.
HAPPENING NOW- A top US general is in town for a multi-day visit. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the US National Guard Bureau, and Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki discussed yesterday military ties as well as regional and international developments, according to a Facebook statement. The two also signed a partnership agreement between Egypt's Armed Forces and the Texas Army National Guard.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- France wants to be our third-largest source of FDI: In part two of our exclusive sit-down with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, we talk investment, Egypt’s aspirations to become a regional export hub for French goods, and the significance of the new G7 tax deal.
- New health and education spending are the highlights of the newly approved FY2021-2022 budget: Our elected representatives signed off on EGP 4.56 bn of additional spending, largely on health and education, as the House of Representatives passed the FY2021-2022 state budget (pdf) in a plenary session yesterday.
- An EGP share with USD dividends: Egypt Kuwait Holding stockholders can now apply to convert the trading currency of their shares to EGP from USD through 14 September. The very welcome twist: They would still receive dividends in USD.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The US and the EU seem set to bury the hatchet after a 17-year trade war triggered over mutual recriminations about state support for airplane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing. The two sides had spent years arguing that each other's airplane manufacturer is unfairly subsidized. Under the agreement all future passenger Airbus and Boeing aircrafts will be developed with no subsidies. A formal announcement is expected later today during an EU-US summit meeting in Brussels, during which the two are also expected to commit to removing steel and aluminum tariffs on certain products by the end of the year. The story leads the front pages of the global business press, from Bloomberg and Reuters to the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.
SPEAKING OF AIRLINES- Dubai authorities just propped up Emirates Group with a USD 3.1 bn handout after the pandemic handed the airline operator its first loss in decades, according to Bloomberg. A collapse in Emirates’ core business of intercontinental travel led to a loss of some AED 21.1 bn (c. USD 6 bn) on the back of a 66% y-o-y drop in revenues in the fiscal year that ended on 31 March. The pandemic has upended the global air travel industry, leading to mounting losses and workforce curbs among major operators. Air France KLM and Lufthansa, alone, reported a combined loss of USD 8 bn and pleaded for help from their governments, the business information service noted.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- Everybody loves ESG. PwC wants to add 100k staff over the next five years, with lots of that coming under a USD 12 bn investment plan to “capture a booming market for environmental, social and governance advice,” the Financial Times notes.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- European banks could be forced to fill vacant board seats with women, the European Central Bank suggested in an opinion piece published on its website. The ECB is concerned that just 8% of folks appointed as CEOs of European “credit and investment institution” are women — and that women hold just 20% of board seats. The regulator could force banks to go with women candidates when it reviews new and current board members and executives. The Wall Street Journal has more on the story.
🗓 HAPPENING TOMORROW-
US President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin will meet tomorrow for a summit in Geneva in what the Wall Street Journal says is “gearing up to be a showdown between two leaders who have long been at odds. … Both sides have indicated they plan to use the summit in Geneva to project strength on the global stage and have lowered expectations that it will lead to a thaw in relations between Washington and Moscow.” The Financial Times has a look at cyberwarfare between the two rivals in the run-up to the meeting.
The EFG Hermes and Saudi Exchange Virtual Investor Conference is ongoing until 17 June, according to a press release (pdf). The event will see execs from 61 companies meet with more than 450 international investors from over 190 institutions.
Entrepreneurs in the tourism sector have until 20 June to apply for the six-month Tourism Recovery Program launched by Enpact and the TUI Care Foundation and supported by GIZ, according to a press release (pdf). Some 100 startups will be eligible for direct support to the tune of EUR 9k each. The program also aims to create an international network of tourism business to expand cooperation between Egypt, Germany, and other European countries. You can apply here.
🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
Hedge funds are set to significantly raise their investment in crypto in the next five years, with fund executives saying they expect to have some 7% of their assets in the tokens, according to a survey of 100 fund CFOs cited by the Financial Times. If findings hold true for the sector as a whole, this would mean funds could allocate nearly USD 312 bn to crypto investments when 2026 rolls around, a major boost for the digital currencies, whose prices recently saw a renewed bout of volatility.
The World Trade Organization has called on its members to reach a vaccine-sharing agreement by July on sharing covid-19 vaccines, according to Reuters. The call comes as trade barriers on covid-19 related meds are on the rise, with the number of trade restrictions increasing to 53 after falling to 51 from the 109 recorded at the beginning of the pandemic. The WTO is negotiating a proposal spearheaded by South Africa and India to temporarily suspend vaccine patents, which is backed by over 100 countries but still opposed by many wealthy nations.
The origin of the internet is on auction at Sotheby’s: Remember that NFT craze? Well, it’s back, this time with the original source code for the World Wide Web being auctioned off at Sotheby’s. The auction will take place from June 23-30, with bids starting at as little as USD 1k. The NFT will also include a letter written by the writer of the 9,500-line code, British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, as well as an animated visualization, a 30 minute video that shows the code being written, and a digital poster of the code, among other things. The NFT, titled This Changed Everything, is the “most appropriate means of ownership that exists,” for such an ephemeral but essential creation, said Berners-Lee, who sees the digital token as the ideal way to package the source code that did indeed ‘change everything’. The story is being covered in: Reuters | Bloomberg | the Financial Times | CNN | The Guardian | BBC.
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
The third season of The Kominsky Method has dropped on Netflix, with Michael Douglas’s character Sandy Kominsky returning for a sweet sendoff in the wake of the death of his friend and accomplice throughout the show, Norman Newlander. In past seasons, the show explored the experience of growing old in a comedic, non-traditional light, in a way that only sitcom maestro Chuck Lorre (the man behind The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon) ever could. In the final season, Kominsky has been tasked with managing his late friend’s affairs — and dealing with his crazy family in the process. You can read more about The Kominsky Method in this piece by CNN or watch the season trailer (watch, runtime: 02:35).
⚽ The ‘group of death’ takes center stage at the EURO 2020 tonight: Hungary and Portugal are playing at 6pm in the first Group F game of the championship. Portugal is a fan favorite to win the cup this year, so the first time the team hits the pitch will be a match to look out for. Meanwhile, the other two Group F teams, France and Germany, will compete at 9pm in another thrilling game. The group has been nicknamed the ‘group of death’ for gathering together some of the strongest football teams. Two of the group’s four teams at most will qualify for the second round of 16 teams. For more on how teams qualify, check out our primer on everything EURO 2020 related.
Last night’s fixtures: Czech Republic came out on top against Scotland with a score of 2-0 and in a turn of events, Slovakia beat Poland 2-1. Finally, Spain and Sweden tied in a game that ended up with zero goals for both sides.
🍪 EAT THIS TONIGHT-
Make your cheat day worth it with these sweet creations: Order brownies galore from the comfort of your own home from new Instashop Brown-Dee. The shop offers the most delectable looking brownies with various toppings such as Lotus, M&Ms, marshmallows, cookies, and Oreos. Just looking at the pictures made us want to say ‘sayonara’ to our diet. You can also add cookies to the mix, with Milk n’ Cookies dip and share boxes that come with three flavors of dips as well as a happiness-inducing box of cookies and brownies. They also sell cookies in less-traditional flavors such as peanut butter and jam, pistachio, and cinnamon pecan.
🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
Art D'Égypte is organizing EX, an art display by the sea taking place in Almaza Bay in North Coast from 18 June to 22 August, featuring dozens of local artists.
Drummers from Sudan, Bangladesh, Palestine, South Sudan, Philippines, and Indonesia take the stage at 8 pm today as part of the eighth edition of the International Festival for Drums and Traditional Arts. The festival runs until Friday. You can check out the full schedule and locations for each show here.
Neo-reggae band Sharmoofers are playing at ElSawy Culturewheel on Thursday at 4pm and 8pm and will hold two other shows on Friday at the same times.
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
How marketing needs to evolve: The rise of technology has changed what it means to market a firm, with the practice shifting from black and white newspaper ads to glamorous videos on social media in a handful of decades. In his book Quantum Marketing, Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar that the future of marketing will require a complete re-imagination of the notion of a brand as well as the entire landscape. The book provides background on the evolution of marketing, innovative ways to pursue the right marketing strategies, and insight from some of the biggest names in the field. Readers of Quantum Marketing should learn how to harness the powerful force of marketing and change their mindset on how to implement it to effect maximum impact.
🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Tomorrow could see daytime highs of 35°C and nighttime lows of 20°C, according to our favorite weather app.