Wednesday, 3 November 2021

PM — Egypt’s non-oil private sector shrank again in October



Good afternoon, ladies and gents, and welcome to a busy second-to-last day of the workweek. A relatively calm news cycle this morning was pierced by news that Egypt has a fresh corporate green bond sale in the works, and indications that the state privatization program is really roaring back to life.

BUT FIRST- What’s been going on with Uber’s GPS? A number of us here at Enterprise and a handful of our friends have noticed that Uber’s GPS system has been glitching over the past several days, instructing drivers to take longer or more time-consuming routes and consequently driving up fares. The app does allow riders to dispute a fare difference once the ride is complete and request a refund on the fare increase. Enterprise has reached out to Uber and is waiting on an official comment.

This might be related — or similar to — a new feature Google Maps has rolled out to opt for the route with the lowest level of emissions if the time difference between routes isn’t significant. The changes are also meant to optimize your route for lower fuel consumption, lowering gas costs for users.

Have you experienced something similar? Drop us a line at


#1- The Great Global Supply Chain Snarl is weighing on Egypt’s non-oil private sector activity, which contracted for the 11th consecutive month in October, inching down to a five-month low as inputs fall and prices soar at the sharpest rate in over three years, the IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) (pdf) showed. The PMI dipped to 48.7 from 48.9 in September amid shipment delays and price surges.

#2- A fresh sale of corporate green bonds is in the works, with unnamed private sector players planning to issue USD 120-200 mn-worth of the climate-friendly securities, Planning Minister Hala El Said said today, giving no further details. CIB issued Egypt’s first-ever corporate green bonds last summer, selling USD 100 mn of the securities in July.

#3- More proof e-Finance’s IPO breathed new life into the state privatization program: HHD is back to eyeing a secondary stake sale. The company is eyeing the sale of an additional stake of an undisclosed size to EGX investors by mid-2022, as part of the state privatization program, Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik told Masrawy. The plans are part of a shift in company strategy that will see it pursue partnerships with private developers in hopes of boosting interest in its shares, Tawfik said.

^^ We’ll have the full rundown of these stories and more in tomorrow morning’s edition of EnterpriseAM.

ALSO WORTH NOTING- The government will officially begin its move to the new capital in December for a trial period of six months, Ittihadiya announced in a statement. No further details on which departments, agencies, or ministries would lead the move had been announced as of dispatch time.


It’s decision day at the Fed: The US Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee will announce later today the outcome of its two-day meeting. The emerging consensus is that the Fed will announce it is winding down its USD 120 bn a month asset purchase program instituted at the start of the pandemic to cushion the economy. The central bank is facing somewhat of a catch-22 in coping with stagflation: Keeping rates low would allow the recovery to continue, but prices could spiral — while tightening would quell inflation but stifle demand and provoke market volatility.

Emerging markets including Egypt will be watching the Fed’s meeting closely — rising US rates will put pressure on inflows into EM debt.

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

  • It looks like SPACs will be popular in Egypt: Two NBFS players are already eyeing setting up SPACs in Egypt to acquire and list fintech players.
  • A slice of green funding, please: Egypt is one of the markets private equity giant BlackRock could be investing in through its new USD 673 mn climate-focused infrastructure fund for emerging markets.
  • Benya Capital eyes dual listing: IT infrastructure contractor Benya Capital is considering a dual listing on the EGX and a foreign bourse.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD? Duh — climate change and COP26.

The money managers pledging net-zero emissions haven’t yet agreed on what that looks like. Net-zero has become a buzzword in the finance industry, and the current lack of clarity on an industry standard leaves the door open for institutions to misrepresent or exaggerate their green credentials, Bloomberg reports. In a first step towards improving agreement and transparency among financial institutions, environmental disclosure organization the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has released a report geared toward helping the finance industry set green standards, following the SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard released for companies last month.

The new standards come as global financial institutions controlling a combined USD 130 tn pledge to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 under the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), complying with the goals set out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, as we reported this morning. Critics, however, say asset managers signed up to Gfanz have only aligned 35% of their total assets to net zero targets so far, and must divest from fossil fuels if they are to realise these commitments, The Financial Times reports.


The Africa Early Stage Investors Summit kicks off tonight, starting with an investor meetup sponsored by the Cairo Angels at Consoleya in Downtown Cairo. The summit will continue on Thursday and Friday with virtual sessions featuring speakers from angel networks, VC funds, accelerators, and the public sector, among others.

Other key news triggers in November:

  • Foreign reserves: October’s foreign reserves figures will be out sometime this week;
  • Inflation: Inflation figures for October will be released next Wednesday, 10 November;
  • There’s no MPC meeting this month — the central bank will next meet on 16 December to review interest rates for the final time this year. The CBE has yet to issue its MPC calendar for 2022.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect a daytime high of 29°C and a nighttime low of 18°C tomorrow, according to our favorite weather app.


Alexa, read my mind: AI assistants will soon be able to anticipate our needs and respond to them, so we can stop micromanaging Alexa, said Alexa senior VP Tom Taylor, speaking at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon this week. This evolving “ambient intelligence” will use AI to weave together devices and intelligent services, and is the future of personal assistants, according to Taylor. Alexa Routines already allows users to program the device to perform recurring actions at a specific time of day or in response to a trigger sound, paving the way for the device to perform more complex, independent tasks. Since it first launched seven years ago, Alexa has gone from performing 13 simple tasks to 130k skills, recording bns of interactions each week.

You can now buy your very own Pulp Fiction scene: Quentin Tarantino is jumping on the NFT bandwagon, auctioning off uncut scenes from Pulp Fiction, according to CNBC. The scenes will also come with original handwritten scripts from the film and audio commentary from Tarantino himself. The collectibles will be auctioned on NFT marketplace OpenSea which supports tokens built on the so-called Secret Network, allowing more privacy and anonymity, meaning the content will only be viewable by the owners of these NFTs. Hollywood has taken a liking to these kinds of transactions with MGM recently partnering with digital collectibles platform VeVe to launch NFTs for James Bond film No Time to Die. We’ll be keeping an eye on how much the Pulp Fiction NFTs sell for. Considering the number of die-hard Tarantino fans out there, we’re guessing a lot.

Or for the sneakerheads… a digital Nike sneaker: Major sneaker brand Nike is the latest to bring its shoes into the metaverse, with the company filing trademark applications to allow it to sell digital versions of its sneakers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The boom in digital sneaker sales picked up earlier this year with RTFKT Studios bringing in USD 3.1 mn in just seven minutes in their virtual shoe sale. While the rise of digital clothing has been a trend for a while now, Nike seeking intellectual property rights in the digital world shows the company’s confidence that the metaverse could drive new revenue streams while indicating a new frontier for trademarking brands.

As demand rises for electronics, global chipmakers struggle to limit emissions. With research showing that energy intensive chip manufacturing accounts for the majority of an electronic device’s carbon footprint, chipmakers will struggle to achieve their net zero-targets unless they shift to clean energy sources, amid an increased demand for electronics that drove the global micro-chip shortage earlier this year. The world’s three largest chip-makers — the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Samsung, and Intel — have all pledged to reduce carbon emissions and shift to renewables, according to CNBC. TSMC, which produced 15 mn tons of emissions in 2020 alone, has pledged to reach zero emissions by 2050 and shift to 40% renewable energy by 2030, though its emissions are still increasing rapidly due to expansion. Manufacturing accounts for up to 80% of the carbon emissions produced over an electronic device’s lifecycle, according to Greenpeace East Asia’s Program Manager.

Israeli pharma company TEVA raised a record USD 5 bn from its “sustainability-linked” bonds but investors are raising flags on what they say is a lack of transparency in how the Israel-based company will use the record amount it raised from the sale, according to the Financial Times. It is seemingly unclear whether the bond actually has ESG goals, and the instrument provides little recourse should the company fail to achieve its sustainability objectives, leaving its potential backers in a state of flux. It also involves Teva using new debt to refinance repayments that will come due from next year. Sustainability-linked bonds are broader in their goals than green bonds, which direct proceeds to specific environmentally-friendly projects.


Loving Pablo is out on OSN + Cairo Circles by Doma Mahmoud explores class, faith, and the diaspora


(all times CLT)

All is fair in love and war: If you can’t get enough of Pablo Escobar’s escapades that have inspired their fair share of TV content, rejoice — there’s an angle you probably didn’t get to see yet. Loving Pablo shows the notorious druglord through the eyes of journalist Virginia Vallejo, who falls in love with him. The two start a love affair and while Vallejo becomes privy to all the details of his illegal operations, she manages to portray him in the media as a grassroots hero who is looking out for the common folk. The situation changes suddenly when the US decides to go after the crime boss and a DEA agent approaches Vallejo to help capture him. What was once an intense love becomes a fatal situation where Vallejo must decide whether to side with Escobar and hope his feelings outweigh his suspicions, or to work with the US and negotiate her personal immunity. Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem both give solid performances, and you can check it out on OSN.

The European Champions League is on fire today as some of the continent’s biggest teams compete. Here are the matches to look out for:

  • 7:45 pm: Real Madrid vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
  • 7:45 pm: Milan vs. Porto
  • 10:00 pm: Liverpool vs. Atletico Madrid
  • 10:00 pm: Manchester City vs. Club Brugge
  • 10:00 pm: RB Leipzig vs. Paris Saint-Germain
  • 10:00 pm: Borussia Dortmund vs. Ajax
  • 10:00 pm: Sheriff vs. Inter Milan
  • 10:00 pm: Sporting Lisbon vs. Besiktas


(all times CLT)

3al Intag and AK are taking the stage at Cairo Jazz Club tonight at 8pm, playing the latest rap and trap hits. The pair will also be joined by a surprise guest from Egypt’s rap scene.

El Sawy Culturewheel’s famous Um Kalthoum puppet concert will be held tomorrow at 6pm.

Eight of the world’s best padel players will be competing this weekend at the ZED Padel Cup in Sheikh Zayed’s Zed Club. The event is open to spectators, but you might want to get there early as there is limited seating.


Cairo Circles by Doma Mahmoud builds a rich world between six different characters of varying socioeconomic backgrounds in Egypt: Sherif “Sheero” Abdallah is an NYU student who indulges in all the pleasures allowed to Egypt’s elite abroad, alongside his best friend Taymour. But when the FBI comes knocking on Sheero’s door asking about his cousin Amir, the young man is thrown back into a circle he left behind. As often is the case in Egypt, not all family members climbed up the ranks equally, and Amir was less fortunate than his privileged cousin. Neglected by his abusive parents, Amir doesn’t get a taste for the high life enjoyed by his cousin, and ends up becoming close friends with the children of Taymour's housekeeper: Omar, Mustafa, and Zeina. The novel keeps tabs on the six characters over the course of a decade, with their intertwining stories acting as social commentary on faith, class, and the diaspora.


Market roundup on 3 November

The EGX30 rose less than 0.1% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.36 bn (11.2% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 7.7% YTD.

In the green: Rameda (+2.9%), CIRA (+2.6%) and GB Auto (+2.5%).

In the red: Heliopolis Housing (-6.1%), Sidi Kerir Petrochem (-5.6%) and Gadwa Industrial Development (-4.9%).


An upside to climate change? We’re getting a ton of new fossils to study

It turns out climate change is revealing more than our failure to curb CO2 emissions: Melting mountain ice caps due to higher global temperatures have in recent years exposed a wealth of previously inaccessible, well-preserved fossils that give us an insight into little known periods of human history. Though climate change has been devastating for our planet, it has been (at least momentarily) generative for archaeology. The field of Glacial Archaeology has taken off in recent decades, with discoveries made from the Swiss Alps to Norway and Canada, the New York Times writes in this survey of the history of the field.

Sounds cool, but isn’t it just like normal archaeology + snow boots? Not exactly. Archaeologists working in this field have basically one month in which to search for findings — between the melting of the winter snow in mid-August and the arrival of the next season’s winter snow in late September. Glacial archaeology involves very little digging, and depends more on surveying the area to see what the ice has exposed. Once a discovery is made, scientists have a very short window — a year at most — in which to study the items before exposure to the elements causes organic materials to degrade. The constant renewal of ice inside glaciers also means that items are rarely preserved for more than 500 years, with ice patches — which are less changing and more stable — being a better location to search for thawed findings.

It is more of a process of working with, rather than drilling through, the ice: Initially, the items revealed dated from the Iron Age, 500-1200 years ago. But as successive winters passed and global warming persisted, the melting ice dissolved with it layers of earth and revealed older findings, from the Bronze Age (1200-3300 BC) and the Stone Age.

Humanity’s oldest (literal) cold case: The star of the field is Otzi, also known as the Iceman. Discovered by a group of hikers in the Otztal mountains in Italy in 1991, the Copper Age mummy was originally thought to be the remains of a mountaineer who had been missing more recently, but carbon dating showed he had lived and died some 5.3k years ago. Covered in tattoos, encased in clothing of animal skin and carrying various tools and herbal medicines, poor Otzi seems to have been murdered while attempting to cross the mountains, with researchers finding an arrow flint buried in his chest. Otzi’s is the oldest unsolved murder case in history, and him and his artifacts are on display in a special cold container at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.

Since then, dedicated research centers have been established to study what the ice reveals: Norway’s Innlandet County, where a huge number of discoveries were made in 2006 after an unusually long and hot summer, has established a state-funded Glacier Archaeology Program. Among the notable discoveries are a 3k old animal hide-shoe, thought to have been worn by hunters, as well as a rare complete hunting bow from 3.3k years ago. In Canada’s Yukon territory, the expansive ice-patches are the only other site where a permanent glacial archaeology program is underway, with the Yukon Ice Patches being nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for their ongoing contribution to our knowledge of human history.

The study of these fossils can give us insight into how human society was organized: Burials of the Pazyryk people in Mongolia’s Altai mountains show that the horse riding nomads engaged in wide-ranging trade, with Chinese silk among the items found with the fossils. More morbidly, preserved remains of a woman and two children found on a mountaintop in the Andes suggest they had been killed as part of a human sacrifice made to the emperor known as Capacocha.

And the preservative qualities of ice have given us access to more than just human fossils: An exceptionally preserved puppy from a previously unknown species of dog/wolf dubbed Dogor — now believed to be an ancestor of both — was found in 2018 in Siberia, while the discovery of a nearly perfectly preserved baby wooly mammoth dating from 40k years ago in 2007 from the same region followed the consistent discovery of mammoth tusks that emerge from the permafrost every winter season. Scientists are working on combining mammoth DNA from these discoveries with modern elephants to genetically engineer a real life wooly mammoth in order to revitalize steppe ecosystems in Siberia, as we’ve previously written.

Despite the abundance of findings, scientists can’t afford to proceed at a glacial (pun intended) pace: Oceanfront erosion in places like Alaska means a wealth of preserved fossils are being washed into the sea, and with them our hopes of finding out more about ancient human and animal life. And the rapid progression of global warming means countless findings could be rotting in the ground before they are discovered. But as climate change appears to be here to stay, chances are the field is only going to grow, and scientists will have many chances yet to take a closer look at these frozen bits of history.


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.

31 October – 12 November (Sunday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

2-3 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

3-5 November (Wednesday-Friday): Africa Early Stage Investor Summit.

6 November (Saturday): Deadline to apply to Nahdet El Mahrousa’s Rabeha, a women entrepreneurship accelerator program.

7-10 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT 2021, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

8 November (Monday): Egypt CSR Forum, International Citystars, Cairo.

11 November (Thursday): Deadline for Anghami SPAC acquisition.

15 November (Monday): Unvaccinated public sector workers won’t be allowed into their workplaces.

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

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

18-19 November (Thursday-Friday) British royal family members Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visit Cairo.

25-27 November (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

30 November (Tuesday): Launch of open call by GIZ and KfW for green project proposals in Egypt as part of their Investing for Employment facility (pdf).

1 December (Wednesday): Unvaccinated members of the public will be banned from government buildings from this date; unvaccinated students will be prevented from accessing university campuses.

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.

7 January 2022 (Friday): Coptic Christmas.

27 January 2022 (Tuesday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

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.

2 April 2022 (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

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

24 April 2022 (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday (holiday for Coptic Christians).

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

2 May 2022 (Monday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

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.

30 June 2022 (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

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

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

6 October (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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