Wednesday, 17 November 2021

PM — The FRA is set to slash EGX trading fees by 20% as its meeting with EGX, MCDR continues.

TL;DR

🔎 WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

An uncharacteristically slow November news day, ladies and gentlemen, with both the local and foreign press appearing to take a chill pill. That said, the meeting of our financial regulators is casting a long shadow, especially in light of the FRA’s statement today.

THE BIG STORY TODAY-

EGX trading fees are set to be slashed 20%, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) said in a statement (pdf) today. The fees include those paid on each transaction to the EGX, the FRA, Misr Clearing, Depositing and Registry (MCDR), and the Investor Protection Fund, the FRA said in a statement (pdf) issued yesterday.

The announcement comes as FRA, EGX and MCDR officials are still meeting to discuss a basket of measures announced by the Madbouly government earlier this week in an effort to support trading on the bourse and alleviate investor concerns ahead of instituting the capital gains tax in a few short months. Analysts we’ve spoken with earlier this week appear ambivalent but cautiously optimistic on these changes.

More details coming: Today’s meeting is also set to cover proposals on introducing new caps on margin trading and the decision to loosen caps on intraday share price movements, according to the FRA’s statement yesterday.

^^We’ll have more on this and other stories in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

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

  • Swvl to enter Chile, Argentina with Viapool acquisition: Homegrown mass transport startup Swvl will enter Latin America for the first time with the acquisition of a controlling stake in transit company Viapool.
  • Unemployment rate rises in 3Q2021: Egypt’s unemployment rate rose to 7.5% in 3Q2021, up 0.2 percentage points from the April-June quarter, as the market doesn’t seem to be absorbing fresh grads.
  • Carbon capture announcements lined up for COP27: Joint carbon capture, utilization and storage projects between the Oil Ministry and Italian energy firm Eni are set to be announced at the COP27 global climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh next year, in what could be Egypt’s first carbon-capture initiative.

Cabinet members are talking up Egypt’s agenda for next year’s COP27 climate summit at several expos and conferences abroad. Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat stressed the importance of focusing on climate financing for developing countries that is effective and “supported by efforts to de-risk investments in emerging economies.” Financing is the “fuel” needed to help countries achieve their climate targets, Al Mashat said.

Egypt’s low-carbon energy plans were also on the agenda for Oil Minister Tarek El Molla during a meeting with International Energy Forum Secretary General Joseph McMonigle, according to a ministry statement. El Molla also touted Egypt’s natural gas transition strategy as a way to increase low-carbon energy sources into its overall energy mix.

It’s the second and final day of the Africa Fintech Summit: The summit looks at innovation in the fintech ecosystem, venture capital and other forms of investing, and will also discuss the rise of healthtech.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

There’s still no single story driving the conversation in the foreign press. The Biden administration “is prepared” to invest USD bns to bump up domestic covid-19 vaccine capacity and output to 1 bn doses per year by 2H2022 (NYT), while a blanket of smog in New Delhi is forcing closures of schools and several coal-fired power plants (FT | Reuters).

FOR TOMORROW- The royals are coming: UK’s Prince Charles arrives in town tomorrow and will stay through Friday on his first visit to Egypt in well over a decade. Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, are in Jordan today. Look for climate change to be on Charles’ agenda.

Follow Charles and Camilla during their visit: You can check out the prince’s Clarence House website or Twitter feed or check in on UK Ambassador to Egypt Gareth Bayley’s Twitter.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Entrepreneurs aged 18-35 have until 23 December to register for TotalEnergiesStartupper of the Year Challenge. The competition is open for a business creation project or startup under three years old in any sector. Candidates can apply here.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The warm weather just won’t quit. The mercury is rising all the way to 27°C tomorrow during the day in clear contempt of the fact that it is November. The nighttime is a bit more respectful of the season, with temperatures falling to 16°C, our favorite weather app tells us.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE

YOUR MANDATORY COVID UPDATE- Pfizer is fighting to protect the secret sauce of its covid vaccine even as inequalities in vaccine supply and distribution remain, Bloomberg reports. The pharma company, which has inoculated upward of 1 bn people to-date, is refusing to waive intellectual property rights on the vaccine’s technology. Instead, it is making more doses available to lower and middle income countries at a sliding scale of prices to accommodate income levels.

But the vaccine maker’s antiviral pill could be more readily available in low- and middle-income countries, including Egypt. Pfizer has reached a licensing agreement (pdf) with Medicines Patent Pool to expand low-cost access to its antiviral covid pill, which was proven to cut the risk of hospitalization or death in high-risk patients by 89%, according to a company statement. Under the agreement qualified sub-licensees will be able to supply a total of 95 low and middle-income countries, including Egypt, Jordan, India, Pakistan, and South Africa. The agreement will cover all of Sub-Saharan Africa’s lower-middle income countries.


Unfinished reliefs at Hatshepsut Temple have given archaeologists rare insight into Ancient Egyptian art techniques Hatshepsut Temple, report The Art Newspaper and Haaretz. The reliefs, which show 200 “almost-identical figures” marching and bearing offerings for the pharaoh, highlight mistakes and unfinished work, denoting that artists of different skill levels worked side-by-side on the paintings. Contrary to earlier theories that only trained artists worked on projects of this scale, the reliefs show that apprentices were likely recruited to work on easier sections, while the more skilled artisans worked on the finer details.

Saudi’s futuristic Neom project is expanding beyond land, with a planned floating city on the Red Sea, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled today, according to the Saudi Press Agency. The so-called “Oxagon” is being touted as a zero-emissions project, powered completely by renewables and including a port and a logistics hub. Its manufacturing facilities will focus on seven advanced industries including green energy, automation, water innovation, sustainable food production, health and well being and technology. How exactly the city will be made to float, or how much it is expected to cost, were not revealed.

Miramax is suing Quentin Tarantino for plans to auction off Pulp Fiction scenes as NFTs, reported the Wall Street Journal. The company’s copyright infringement lawsuit claims that the NFT sale represented a breach of their rights agreement. Earlier this month, Tarantino announced plans to auction off seven uncut scenes, audio commentary and original handwritten scripts from the 1994 cult film Pulp Fiction on NFT marketplace OpenSea.

👌 ENTERPRISE RECOMMENDS

Netflix’s League of Legends adaptation Arcane is so good, it dethroned Squid Game + Go ‘etfalsef’ for World Philosophy Day

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

(all times CLT)

League of Legends fans are all over Arcane — a Netflix animated series based on the game. Even if you’re not a gamer, you’ve probably heard of League of Legends, the wildly popular multiplayer battle game whose tournaments attract some of the biggest viewerships in e-sports (more than 100 mn tuned in to its 2019 iteration). In Arcane, LoL’s narrative arcs are fleshed out as both playable and non-playable characters are given intricate backstories. The story follows two young, orphaned sisters, pink-haired Vi and blue-haired Powder, who grow up to fight on rival sides in a world divided by magic and technology. The visuals (which combine 2D and 3D animation) thread a fantasy-meets-steampunk vibe through the story.

You don’t have to be a LoL fan to enjoy Arcane: The show doesn’t expect you to know who the characters are, instead introducing their origin stories as the plot unravels. Overall, it’s a great show that’s proving popular, finally dethroning Squid Game from its number one spot in the Netflix rankings last week. Check out this review by The Verge — don’t worry, we checked for spoilers.

FYI- Netflix has changed the way it ranks viewership by looking at total hours viewed, leaving behind its much-criticized model of measuring viewership by the number of viewers who watched two minutes of a program, according to a statement. This comes as the streamer has launched a standalone website that features a global top 10 of both TV shows and films — and incorporates the new measurement technique.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

(all times CLT)

Zawya Cinema’s Panorama of the European Film kicks off today and runs through next Friday, 26 November. We have a rundown of our top picks to watch at the film festival in the Cinema section, below.

To celebrate World Philosophy Day 2021 tomorrow, bring your ‘falsafet el masreyeen’ and head to Consoleya: Beyt El 7ayah, Falsafa Bel Balady, and Consoleya have teamed up to create a philosophy-focused event that explores Egyptian history in philosophy and how it compares to the modern day through a series of lectures, discussions, and talks. The theme is “What brought us here?” and the event will take place from 6pm to 11:30pm at Downtown’s Consoleya co-working space.

The Saint Petersburg Ballet Company is performing Swan Lake in Cairo and Alexandria: The first performance will take place today at 8pm at The Cairo Opera House. The ballet company will also spend tomorrow and Friday in the capital before heading to Alexandria for a final performance on Saturday.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Law professors Anthea Roberts and Nicolas Lamp set out to explore varying perspectives on globalization in their book Six Faces of Globalization. The writers delve into each face of globalization — the establishment, left-wing populist, right-wing populist, corporate power, geoeconomic, and global threats — and their impact on trade, politics, and the global economy,climate change and the pandemic. Each narrative has its own set of victors and losers and is riddled with fundamental value conflicts, such as growth versus sustainability, or efficiency versus social stability. Critics say the conclusion Roberts and Lamp reach is too broad and abstract to be useful. In this book, “there is not one truth, but rather many partial truths,” according to Financial Times chief economics commentator Martin Wolf. Nonetheless, the book has made it on the FT’s roundup of Best books of 2021: Economics.

🌊 GO WITH THE FLOW

Market roundup on 17 November

The EGX30 rose 0.4% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 810 mn (45.1% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 5.6% YTD.

In the green: Heliopolis Housing (+3.7%), Egypt Kuwait Holding-EGP (+2.5%) and AMOC (+2.5%).

In the red: Rameda (-5.8%), Aspire Capital (-3.7%) and Raya Holding (-2.3%).

🎬 CINEMA

It’s every film buff’s favorite time of year: The latest Panorama of the European Film kicks off today, bringing to Cairo a packed schedule of celebrated new European film releases through 26 November. Organized by Zawya Cinema — with some screenings also at Zamalek Cinema — this year’s festival includes six sections: feature films, emerging directors, documentaries, shorts, a retrospective of Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowskia’s work, and a section themed “Uncanny on Screen.” Being the overly studious film fans we are, we went ahead and binge-watched all 46 trailers so you don’t have to. Here’s our list of most anticipated watches.

But before we give you our rundown, we need to note some Panorama drama: After online booking was frozen for several days, Facebook posts began circulating claiming that the screenings of certain films featuring LGBTQ plotlines had been cancelled. The festival organizers later released a statement saying that Swedish drama Tove and Kurdish diaspora documentary This Rain Will Never Stop have been removed from the festival line-up, and that a limited number of films can now be booked online only. The move comes a week after the indefinitely postponed debut of Marvel film The Eternals, which features a same gender kiss.

Festival organizers released an updated schedule reflecting the changes earlier today.

All filmgoers are also now required to sign up for a festival membership card — which can be done without charge at the cinema itself — to prove their age, the festival announced.

Without further ado, in the feature film category: This is Panorama’s most anticipated section, featuring the Cannes and Venice nominees and laureates. This year, we’re looking forward to Cannes Grand Prix co-awardee Compartment No. 6 (watch trailer, 0:56), a dialogue-driven Finnish co-production by director Juho Kuosmanen, in which a woman escaping a tumultuous love affair is forced to share a train compartment with a (seemingly rather annoying) Russian miner on their trip to the remote arctic port of Murmansk.

We’re also keenly anticipating Les Olympiades, a contemporary take on a Parisian love triangle, coolly shot in black and white by veteran director Jacques Audiard and starring Noémie Merlant, who moved us to tears with her breakout performance in 2019’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Also on our must-watch list: The coming of age of a contemporary dancer in Dutch drama I don’t wanna dance (watch trailer, 1:50); the Quixotic true tale of a Japanese soldier who refuses to accept the end of WWII in Onoda (watch trailer, 2:06); and Norwegian dark comedy by director Joachim Trier about a woman’s quarter-life crisis, The Worst Person in the World (watch trailer, 1:39).

Some notable absences from the category: A new film by Iranian master of social realism Asghar Farhadi (director of 2016’s The Salesman and 2011’s A Separation) titled A Hero (watch trailer, 2:00), which was awarded the Grand Prix along with Compartment No.6. French director Julia Ducournau’s second feature film, Titane (watch trailer, 1:53) which went home this year with Cannes’ highly coveted Palme d'Or, is also not showing.

In the emerging directors category: Argentine political thriller Azor (watch trailer, 2:16) by Swiss director Andreas Fontana tops our list. Set in 1980s, military junta-ruled Buenos Aires, a Swiss private banker enters the shadowy halls of power when his colleague mysteriously disappears and he is summoned to replace him. Also must sees for us: Spanish drama Libertad (watch trailer, 2:19) about a summer friendship between two adolescent girls of different social classes; mystical coming of age story Clara Sola (watch trailer, 2:13); and Zero [redacted] Given (watch teaser, 1:38) starring Adèle Exarchopoulos (whose faced we’ve missed since Blue is the Warmest Colour) as a seemingly carefree flight attendant flying around Europe in search of herself.

If you’re in the mood for something eerie, check out “Uncanny on Screen”: Our front runner so far is Lamb (watch trailer, 2:07), an Icelandic film about a couple living on a remote sheep farm who become too attached to a mysterious lamb they find on their property. Also showing are Here Before (watch trailer, 2:07), which carries on the the theme of unhealthy maternal love; Spanish film Sacred Spirit (watch trailer, 0:29), whose synopsis about the disappearance of a young girl has us intrigued despite the obscure trailer; and Earwig (watch trailer, 2:28), a mid-century tale of a girl with ice cubes for teeth, who no doubt gets up to some weirdness.

Feeling high-brow? Take a tour through the films of Krzysztof Kieślowski. Panorama is putting on a retrospective of the Polish auteur’s films, including his trio of Academy Award-nominated, Golden Lion-awarded psychological dramas, The Three Colours Trilogy — Blue (watch trailer, 1:46), White (watch trailer, 4:28) and Red (watch trailer, 1:03). Each film explores one of the French ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity—though in a very abstract manner, with the director famously having said that the concepts and colors were only used because his funding was French. The retrospective will also include another Kieślowski classic, The Double Life of Veronique (watch trailer, 3:57) about two young women who are doppelgangers. They never meet, but share an unexplained connection.

How about some bite-sized cinema? Five short films selected from the Leiden Shorts Film Festival will be screened in succession. Meanwhile, Panorama’s documentary section is showcasing nine films from Syria, Turkey, Spain, Georgia, and further afield, featuring everything from the backdoor workings of the tourism business, to a giant uprooted tree being ferried across the Black Sea on behalf of a wealthy dendrophile.

The full, updated program schedule is available here, and you can check out the festival’s website or Facebook page for more details.

📆 CALENDAR

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.

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.

23 November: 2021 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) summit in Sharm El Sheikh.

25 November (Thursday): Rameda Pharma’s annual general meeting (pdf), at which it will decide on the sale of a 5% stake in the company from an individual shareholder to an unnamed institutional investor.

25 November (Thursday): Ibnsina Pharma’s extraordinary general assembly meeting (pdf) to discuss the company’s planned capital increase to EGP 280 mn through a share issuance.

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

26 November-5 December (Friday-Sunday): The 43rd Cairo International Film Festival.

28 November-1 December (Sunday-Wednesday): Creative Industry Summit, Nile Ritz-Carlton.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Centre.

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

End of November: El Nasr Automotive expects to have found a replacement for Dongfeng as its partner for its local EV assembly plans.

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.

1 December (Wednesday): Government departments will begin moving to offices in the new capital.

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 December (Sunday): Raya Holding’s Ordinary General Assembly meeting.

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.

15 December (Wednesday): The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will give its final approval for a USD 100 mn facility to state-owned Banque Misr to finance local SMEs working on green projects.

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

End of 4Q2021: EdVentures plans to have closed at least one more edtech investment round.

End of 4Q2021: Fawry plans to have launched its MyFawry card.

1 January 2022: Capital gains tax comes into effect on the EGX for local investors.

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

10-13 January 2022 (Monday-Thursday): World Youth Forum, Sharm El Sheikh.

7 January 2022 (Friday): Coptic Christmas.

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

11 February 2022 (Friday): Deadline for Anghami SPAC merger.

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.

1H2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will roll out its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

1H2022: e-Finance’s digital healthcare service platform, eHealth, will launch its services.

March 2022: World Cup playoffs.

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.

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