Monday, 22 March 2021

EnterprisePM — Tourism to recover in 2022.



Good afternoon, nice people, and welcome to a reasonably calm news day. Perhaps the biggest stories of this unseasonably hot, dry afternoon: Bank of America thinks we’re looking at a recovery in tourism starting in 2022 — and EgyptAir is looking to expand to outside our nation’s borders.

No, the national flag carrier isn’t just adding routes — it’s mulling investment in Ghana and Africa at the same time as it may take over AirSinai’s route to Tel Aviv. Have we mentioned, lately, how much we miss flying EgyptAir?

THREE BIG STORIES ABROAD are vying for your attention this afternoon. The New York Times and Reuters are leading with news that US trials of the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab showed it to be safe and have a 78% rate of effectiveness. The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times are both leading with Leon Black deciding to step down from the chairmanship of Apollo Global Management after all. He’s been under fire for his ties to the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Of particular relevance to us here in Egypt: Turkish equities and bonds today saw one of their sharpest drops in years after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision to fire his third central bank governor in under two years and install a more hawkish governor raised concerns the country could prematurely ease rates. The Borsa Istanbul Index triggered circuit breakers after losing 8% in early trading, and was down some 9.5% at the time of dispatch, while yields on local and USD Turkish bonds jumped as their prices fell. The TRY also continued to mount losses, weakening to 8.47 to the greenback in early Asian trading hours, as people rushed to sell following the currency’s 15% loss in value yesterday. The story leads on both Bloomberg and CNBC.

Why do we care about the market cratering in Turkey? It could be good for the Egypt carry trade, ensuring we remain attractive to foreign capital. A plummeting TRY could dethrone Turkey from its status as this year’s “best” carry trade, clearing a path for the EGP to take the title as the CBE leaves rates on hold and Egypt’s real interest rate remains among the highest in the world.

CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from this morning’s edition of EnterpriseAM:

  • Get a look at global emerging markets player Actis’ Egypt investment pipeline with partner and MENA chief Sherif El Kholy.
  • Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em: The inside scoop on how the bid for a new cigarette manufacturing license will go down.
  • CBE rate hold reflects Egypt’s strong portfolio flows + “manageable” inflation + –Jeffries.

A BIT MORE on that AstraZeneca story as we wait for the arrival of several mn doses before month’s end: The US trial found the vaccine was 79% effective in stopping symptomatic covid-19 cases and 100% effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalization, the company said in a statement after performing advanced clinical trials in the US. The 32k person trial found zero safety concerns. We’ve been deploying AstraZeneca shots in our local vaccine rollout, alongside China’s Sinopharm, and the Health Ministry is expecting a batch of the first 5 mn doses of an 8.6 mn shot order of AstraZeneca by March 30.

HAPPENING TOMORROW- Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly will be visiting Amman to attend a meeting of the Joint Jordanian-Egyptian Higher Committee, Jordan’s news agency Petra reported.


The CIB PSA Black Ball Open 2021 men’s squash competition is running until Thursday, following the completion of the women’s round last Thursday. Some 48 men will compete for a USD 175k purse. You can stream the event live on SquashTV or the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). You can also snag tickets online to attend in person at the Black Ball Sporting Club in New Cairo. The women’s league saw Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini take home the grand title.

The Real Gate real estate exhibition will kick off on Thursday and run until Saturday at the Egyptian International Exhibition Center.

Head to Sharm for a startup gathering: Investors, entrepreneurs and policymakers will gather in Sharm El Sheikh for Startup Festival on 28-29 March 2021. More than 80 startups will participate in the exhibition, which will feature panel discussions and workshops. The gathering will also unveil who is taking home hardware from the “Egypt Entrepreneurship Rally Competition.” The gathering is organized by the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, and companies that have graduated from AAST’s supply chain and logistics as well as youth incubators have the chance to pitch their ideas to investors.

The Spring Flowers Exhibit (Ma3rad El Zohoor) is currently taking place at Orman Botanical Garden in Giza. More than 200 exhibitors have set up shop to sell flowers, plants, agricultural products, and gardening equipment. The exhibit runs through 13 April.

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is set to open on 3 April in El Fustat. Local and international visitors alike will have pay less for admission for the first two weeks to explore the museum’s central hall, according to a cabinet statement. Meanwhile, the Royal Mummies Hall will be ready for visitors starting 18 April. The museum is designed as a celebration of Egyptian civilization from prehistory to the present day.

The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo) is taking place from 17-20 June at the Cairo International Conference Center. The second edition of the expo will feature 48 exhibitors and 172 brands from across the region.

AUC Press’s Mad March book sale will be ongoing for the rest of the month. The sale is open to the general public every day from 10am–6pm CLT at AUC Tahrir Bookstore & Garden.


We’re not the only country dealing with a rising number of covid cases. Egyptian policymakers have been warning for weeks that we’re starting down the barrel of a third wave of covid-19 cases, with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi the latest to sound the alarm this week. We’re not alone: The Economist notes that covid cases are rising again in much of the world — and says it’s probably got more to do with more transmissible variants than it does with changes to behaviour.

Trumpbook? Trumpwitter? Donaldgram? After being suspended from Facebook, Twitter, and the like after the Capitol Hill riots, Agent Orange is planning to roll out his own social media platform in two to three months, one of his senior advisers, Jason Miller, told Fox News. Miller said he believes that the platform will be “the hottest ticket in social media, it’s going to completely redefine the game” as many companies approach Trump about the venture, he added without giving more detail.

Wall Street isn’t excited about a digital USD: US banks, credit card companies, and e-payment platforms see the push toward a digital USD (dubbed Fedcoin), and are increasingly lobbying against the move in congress and in the Federal Reserve, reports Bloomberg. These institutions see the Fedcoin as a threat to their bottom lines since virtual currency settlements don’t need a middle-man, says the business info service. Officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, along with MIT researchers, could announce results of their work on a prototype digital currency platform as early as July. Approval to roll out the currency is still years down the line and a policy debate on how it would be integrated into the existing payments system would be needed. Still, commitment shown by the US and other countries to digitize central bank-issued currency is making the finance industry anxious.

READ OUR EXPLAINER on why central banks are turning to digital currencies here.


Marvel’s latest series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is out on Disney+ and OSN. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (the other one) team up to mend the geopolitical turmoil post-Thanos. The always bickering duo explore themes such as race and patriotism as Falcon comes to terms with being Captain America’s successor, writes USA Today. The series will set the scene for multiple upcoming Marvel projects, Showrunner Malcolm Spellman told Entertainment Weekly. The same happened in Marvel’s WandaVision, with the show to have a direct impact on the events of the upcoming movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Speaking of Marvel, the entertainment group has launched the app Marvel Unlimited that has a collection of all Marvel comics available to read from your device. You can find the app on IOS’s App Store and Google Play.

⚽ No football for you folks today, with all leagues coming to a simultaneous standstill.


You could hold a Guinness World Record with Dolato Gelateria. The gelato joint has announced an official attempt for the Guinness World Record for “Most flavors of ice cream identified in one minute blindfolded”. Participants will have to record themselves identifying the most flavors from the Dolato Dare Box (which has 24 flavors of ice cream) and then upload the video to your personal page and to an online application. You can read more about how to join here and compete for the Guinness World Record title live in the big official attempt event this Saturday, 27 March.


(All times in CLT)

Classic ‘Tarab’ group El Khan Band is performing tonight at 7pm at Sawy Culture Wheel.

Another Paint ‘N Sip session is taking place tomorrow at Ora Restobar from 6-8pm by Brush It, with attendees to this time paint Van Gogh’s starry night. Novices welcome. The starry night session will also be taking place at Sofitel Hotel’s Nile front and in Gouna’s Smokery Beach, both on Saturday, March 27 from 2-4pm. You can sign up for any of the events using their website.

CluedUpp is holding another outdoor detective adventure this Saturday, 27 March. You and a team of up to six people will use your smartphones to find clues and hunt down ‘The Cairo Ripper’. You can get tickets using this link and you’re encouraged to don your best detective suit.

Happening this weekend in Dahab: Mountain Beats — a house and techno music festival up in the mountains and featuring a lineup of international DJs. Space Motion, Tebra, and Lena Nikitina are headlining the three-day festival that will run from Thursday to Saturday.

???? TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Tomorrow should be the last day of this dry, dusty, and [redacted] weather, according to the national weather service. Expect highs of 31℃ and nighttime lows of 14℃ tomorrow, before the meter falls all the way to 22℃ on Wednesday and stays in that range for the rest of the week, our favorite weather app tells us.


Bank of America is pencilling in a recovery in tourism to Egypt for 2022

Revenues in Egypt’s tourism sector will hit USD 7 bn next year after having plunged in 2020, Bank of America (BofA) Global Research said in a recent report picked up by Zawya and Arab News. Revenues smashed records in 2019, taking USD 13 bn over the course of the year, but plummeted to just USD 1.1 bn in the second and third quarters of 2020 when global travel restrictions were at their peak, the bank said.

The sector is slowly recovering: Nearly 2 mn tourists visited Egypt since authorities first eased covid-19 restrictions last summer and reopened air space to commercial flights, Tourism Minister Khaled El Anany told reporters last week. The country saw between 270k and 290k tourist arrivals per month between December and February, and El Ananythinks that Egypt could see a return to pre-covid visitor numbers as early as fall 2022.

Someone tell the Russians we love them: The recovery will likely accelerate should Russia restore direct flights to Red Sea resorts, BofA said. Russians accounted for a third of tourist arrivals before Moscow suspended flights following the 2015 crash of a Metrojet plane in the Sinai peninsula.

Another cause for optimism: Egypt had developed a flourishing mass tourism industry before the pandemic battered the sector and can tap growing global demand for travel post-covid, the bank said in its report.

Big hopes for Dubai: The bank is also expecting the UAE, which had a strong tourism base pre-covid, to be among the largest beneficiaries of the global rebound in vacation demand. The country’s recent normalization agreement with Israel is another potential boom, with tourist arrivals from the neighbouring country reaching nearly 70k over the past two months.


EgyptAir looks to Africa — as an investor

EgyptAir is planning to expand to Ghana and Sudan in the coming months, company CEO Roshdy Zakaria told the press, Bloomberg reports. The company will hold 75% in a new airline dubbed Ghana Air, which it will provide with four Boeing aircraft. EgyptAir is also considering establishing a transport hub with Sudan Airways, Zakaria said. Setting up shop directly in Africa is the company’s “main goal” at the moment, Zakaria said, adding that an Africa hub will give Egyptair the ability to expand to new destinations.

EgyptAir may also take over the only flight service to Israel, currently operated by AirSinai between Cairo and Tel Aviv, Zakaria said, giving no further detail.

The company hopes passenger volumes will recover to at least 75% of their pre-pandemic levels this year, Zakaria said, with traffic currently at 40-50%.

This comes as EgyptAir seeks an additional EGP 5-7 bn in government assistance to sustain its operations following covid-19 induced losses, Zakaria said. The company has already received EGP 5 bn in funding. First, from an EGP 2 bn Finance Ministry facility that will see the government service the carrier’s debt until its operating capacity reaches 80% of 2019 levels, followed by an additional EGP 3 bn lifeline provided by the National Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire. EgyptAir had been losing around EGP 600-700k per month, Zakaria told talk show hosts last September, with the airline sustaining losses of EGP 3 bn in 2Q2020.


Centamin profits up 82% in 2020 despite lower production

The EGX30 fell 2.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 936 mn (36.4% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 2.8% YTD.

In the green: Edita (+1.5%), Ibnsina Pharma (+1.0%)

In the red: AMOC (-7.3%), Qalaa Holdings (-5.9%) and Orascom Financial (-5.6%).

EARNINGS WATCH- Gold miner Centamin’s annual net profits rose 82% y-o-y to USD 315 mn in FY2020, thanks to record revenues brought about by soaring gold prices, according to its annual earnings statement (pdf) released today. Revenues increased by 27% to USD 829 mn, despite production falling 6%, after gold prices hit record highs on concerns about the pandemic.

The increase comes despite operational troubles at the Centamin-operated Sukkari gold mine in Egypt’s Eastern Desert, which saw production from the mine fall 46% during 4Q2020.

“Despite lower production output, we delivered another strong financial performance in 2020, benefiting from improved commodity pricing, our rapid response to covid-19 and continuous dedication to improve operating efficiencies and productivity,” CEO Martin Horgan said.

Moving forward, Centamin will continue to review operations at the Sukari mine to cut back on costs and raise productivity, Hogan said. Phase two of the review, which is now ongoing, will identify more opportunities for exploration and efficiency improvements. The company had announced late last year that it would invest almost USD 600 mn into Sukari between 2021 and 2024 to up production from 445-455k oz currently to 450-500k oz by 2024.


Take the plunge on that career shift you’ve been dreaming of

2021 could be the year for a career pivot: Pivoting over to a new career is neither pleasant or easy, but for some (especially in light of recent circumstances) it could be crucial. But how do you go about it? A pivot may or may not demand you pick up new skills, but it always demands you sit back and think how your existing skills and experience can be repackaged in a different role or eindustry, writes Elizabeth Uviebinené for The Financial Times. Uviebinene, who has authored the upcoming book The Reset: Ideas to change how we work and live (due out at the end of April) tells you how.

Step one: Reframe the switch as a learning experience. The internal conversation on how to repackage skills is only part of a larger shift in mindset that comes with starting off afresh. Uviebinené tells the story of her mentor, who told her to think less about her next move as what she wanted to do and what would suit her, and focus instead on what she wanted to learn. Looking at the move from a perspective of new learning experiences opens up windows that you might not have initially thought of but could potentially be an exciting and stimulating position. This “life-long-learning ethos” means you in many ways shift back to the mindset of a student that is always aiming to develop further and try new things.

Step two: Let go of the inevitable discomfort. There is a big chance that you could find yourself in a room where you know the least, but a successful pivot dictates letting go of the fear of failure, being open-minded and letting go of the ego. When your harsh self-critic takes control, let your drive to learn push the self doubt out.

When do you decide if it's the right time to change careers? The decision may not always emerge from conflict or drama at the workplace, but also other motivators such as realizing you’ve accomplished as much as you can and “like a growing plant, it was time to be repotted where my roots could grow,” writes Lauren Easterling in an op-ed. Other times it could be a logistical factor that helps you take the plunge such as the need for a higher salary, a more flexible schedule, or certain personal or professional needs. Regardless of the reason, the right time to change a career comes after allowing yourself time and space to process what happens in our daily lives and to reflect on where you are and where you want to be. Your decision should ultimately be one you project will bring you a better piece of mind and be in line with what you value in life.

You took the decision… now how to follow through? Forbes reiterates the importance of realizing that your skills are applicable in more ways than one and making it clear during an interview that it’s the ‘what’ of your job, the skills you’re using that truly matters, as opposed to the industry you’re in. You should also do your research on the company and position for which you’re applying so that you can also talk about them in the context of your skills and achievements from the past as well as have a salary in mind and prove competency in new digital tools.

If your motivation behind the pivot is a not-so-nice boss, how would you explain it during interviews? That was the (anonymous) question put to the FT’s Jonathon Black, witht he questioner saying they felt mentioning a bad boss “raised red flags about my working relationships.” Black says while there is no need to voluntarily discuss previous poor working relationships, if an interviewer specifically asks, you should turn your issue into something positive, how you handled it deftly, diffused the tension, the actions you took, and the successful outcome.

Look to our upcoming issue of Your Wealth, where we dive deeper into the merits of the pivot.


Why are football teams signing hedgies and physicists?

Manchester City FC’s key winter signing has a doctorate in astrophysics: The English Premier League team famous for lavish spending in pursuit of championships made headlines in the winter transfer window when they opted for signing a hedge fund veteran by the name of Laurie Shaw in the latest escalation of the world’s top teams pursuit for a competitive edge, Bloomberg reports. Shaw, a former UK Treasury adviser, will lead AI insights at parent company City Football Group.

You can't underestimate the value of data and analysts, as “the plan for the team off the pitch is arguably more critical to success than any other element,” a former AFC Bournemouth chairman told the publication. While data analysis in football is not new, it was concentrated up to this point in the top clubs in Europe, experts tell the BBC. It’s no longer confined to big teams with big budgets, as the technology and software become more accessible, smaller teams are opting for off-the-shelf software that is based on video footage.

This data-driven approach has led to a “race for PhD statisticians and physics talent,” Pacific Media Group director Paul Conway said. The company owns second-tier English club Barnsley, where Moneyball inspiration and data-guru Billy Beane is a director. Liverpool FC credits their data-powered pitch control from their winning season last year to their research division head, a PhD in theoretical physics. “We fully expect in the next few seasons…that these PhDs will also be on the pitch, in uniform and computer in hand, advising coaches on real-time match decisions,” adds Conway.

The shift toward AI-powered risk assessment is driven by owners coming from finance backgrounds, experts tell Sportico. Teams want to know the short-term trade-off between player performance and risk, and the answer is not a binary play or don’t play, but rather how does the risk assessment change versus amount of time played, they add.

LISTEN TO THIS- We discuss the nuances of building a sports data business and taking the service from a local luxury to a global necessity with Arqam FC founder and Statsbomb data lead Ali ElFakharany in an episode of Making It, our podcast about building a great business. (listen, runtime 41:03).


March: Potential visit to Cairo by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

23 March (Tuesday): The second edition of the Egypt Retail Summit takes place at the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel.

23 March (Tuesday): The British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) virtual conference on sustainable manufacturing in Africa.

23 March (Tuesday): AUC Women on Boards Observatory event to launch 2020 annual monitoring report.

25-27 March (Thursday-Saturday): The Real Gate real estate exhibition, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

29-30 March (Monday-Tuesday): Arab Federation of Exchanges Annual Conference 2021.

29-30 March (Monday-Tuesday): Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport Startup Festival, Sharm El Sheikh.

31 March (Wednesday): Deadline to visit the moroor and get an RFID sticker affixed to your car’s windshield — or run afoul of the Traffic Police.

31 March (Wednesday): Income tax deadline for individuals. Real estate tax deadline.

1-3 April (Thursday-Saturday): HVAC-R Egypt Expo.

6 April (Tuesday): French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt working breakfast with Sovereign Fund of Egypt CEO Ayman Soliman.

7 April (Wednesday): British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) webinar on digital banking and fintech.

8-10 April (Thursday-Saturday): The TriFactory’s Endurance Festival at Somabay.

13 April (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC),

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): Easter Sunday.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

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

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.

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.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

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.

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

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.

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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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