Monday, 20 March 2023

PM — Goodbye, remote work?



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We’re officially in the final countdown to Ramadan, with reminders everywhere that we will soon part ways with our morning cup of coffee. Case in point…

PSA- The CBE just announced Ramadan working hours for banks: Bank employees will work from 9am-2pm, while customers will have access to services from 9:30am-1:30pm throughout the holy month, the bank said today.


Infinity Power acquires 100% of Lekela Power: Infinity Power has completed its acquisition of Africa-based wind power platform Lekela Power, according to a press release (pdf), making Infinity Power the largest renewable energy company in Africa. The company now has a combined operational portfolio of 1.3 GW with a pipeline of 13.8 GW.


The international business press is leading this afternoon with the contagion from Credit Suisse’s crisis and what UBS’ lifeline will mean for the Swiss bank and the global banking system at large. The story is on the front pages everywhere, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

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

  • Gov’t could offload 10% of TE this week: The Madbouly government could finalize the sale of a 10% stake in national telecoms provider Telecom Egypt (TE) to a Gulf investor this week.
  • The clock is ticking for Pachin shareholders: Shareholders of state-owned, EGX-listed Paint and Chemical Industries (Pachin) now have 10 working days to respond to Dubai-based National Paints Holding’s takeover bid after the Financial Regulatory Authority yesterday approved the offer.
  • Two state-owned real estate companies seek investment through capital increases: State-owned real estate companies El Nasr Housing and Development and Maadi for Development and Construction will drum up investments from strategic investors through capital increases rather than selling stakes from existing shareholders.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The sun will be back tomorrow to bring us a pleasant daytime high of 26°C before the mercury drops to a nighttime low of 14°C, our favorite weather app tells us.



Egypt could soon become Africa’s biggest wind generator, dethroning South Africa from the top spot as the continent’s largest wind generator by 2030, energy columnist Gavin Maguire writes for Reuters, citing data from Global Energy Monitor. Maguire expects South Africa to slip to become the 28th biggest wind energy producer in the world, from 25 currently, giving way to Egypt to rise to the 25th spot.

REMEMBER- Egypt’s wind power generation jumped 13% y-o-y in 2022 to 6.1 GWh, and there’s more to come with private companies currently constructing or developing some 2.8 GW of fresh wind capacity, while the government is set to add 252 MW of wind capacity in the Gulf of Suez.

It’s time: Major US corporates are signaling to their employees that the WFH era is coming to a close. Large US-based companies — including Meta, Amazon, Starbucks Corporation, and Walt Disney — are now requiring their employees to work from their office spaces, Bloomberg reports. Many companies have stopped short of demanding employees to report to the office five days a week, with Amazon, General Motors, and Starbucks enforcing a hybrid model with three days per week from the office and Disney requiring employees to work from the office four days per week.

Was WFH going to spell the end of creativity? Many of the companies above had installed a remote or hybrid work policy, but their backtracking on a remote work environment could be the result of a threat to creativity, Bloomberg suggests. News Corp CEO Robert Thomson claimed that employees are losing “subtleties of body language and the nuances of knowing glances,” while Disney CEO Bob Iger added that the creativity and collaboration needed for their industry was under threat.

There are undeniable cultural upsides to working from the office: An EY study conducted this year found that working from the office for some time is essential to foster company success, in fact, it has led several companies to invest in real estate (a whopping 58%) in an effort to not necessarily expand, but rather to “curate” a space suitable for the post-pandemic labor trends.

Was the collapse of SVB a sign that VCs need to talk about how to manage their money? Years of loose monetary policy enabled relatively immature venture capital firms to amass unusually large sums of cash, far in excess of what they needed, says the Financial Times, quoting an unnamed former chief risk officer at a prominent US bank. Yet after spending the past week scrambling to ensure their banked funds, VCs are coming to face how little time they had spent thinking about how to manage them. The faster the cash flowed in, the less attention the companies paid to it, added David Koenig, head of DCRO Risk Governance Institute. VCs also hadn’t considered that regulators would only insure the first USD 250k of cashed money in the event of trouble.



(all times CLT)

C.B. Strike, based on a book by JK Rowling, has all the makings of your next favorite detective story drama: Set in modern-day UK, veteran soldier Cormoran Strike — the lovechild of a former rockstar and model — is a high society outcast who left the army after a bomb attack in Iraq cost him his leg. He comes back to England to set up a private investigation office in South London and fights his demons as he solves crimes that have baffled the London police. The events begin as his socialite ex-fiancée storms out of his office and Robin Ellacott, his future partner, played by the very talented Holliday Grainger, walks in. Watch the chemistry buzz between them as they battle social pressures to abandon their chosen vocation and solve dangerous crimes across the British isles. You can watch the HBO produced series on OSN +.

Welcome to the international break: Most European leagues are on break to give national teams a chance to compete in FIFA’s continental championships. The leagues are expected to be back in action at the end of the month.

But the world hasn’t stopped spinning in Omm El Donia, with a couple of matches happening today in the EFA Cup’s Round of 16:

  • Ghazl El Mahalla v Ismaili (4pm)
  • Al Ittihad Al Sakandary v Pharco (7pm)

Haras El Hodoud has already booked its spot in the quarterfinal round after beating Arab Contractors yesterday in a penalty shootout, after the score was still at 0-0 at the final whistle.

(all times CLT)

Egypt’s most talented female artists are still going strong at Art d’Egypte’s Kaon exhibition at the Arts’ Hub in Zamalek. The exhibition, which kicked off last Thursday and runs through next Thursday, 23 March, is held in celebration of International Women's Day.

The French Institute in Egypt is screening Trois Souvenirs de ma jeunesse (My Golden Days) today. The French dramatic comedy is about a man who looks back on his childhood in France, a fateful student trip to the USSR, and the love of his life. The screening begins at 6:30pm and wraps at 8pm.

Standup comedy from a Gen X favorite: Standup comedian Ahmed Ahmed will be here tonight at 8pm for “Back to Om El Donia” at the American University in Cairo’s Tahrir Campus’ Ewart Memorial Hall. Also featured in the lineup: Brian Alyward, Hashem El Garhy, and Ola Roshdy. The tickets can be purchased through Ticketsmarche.

Get moving this Ramadan with Trifactory’s Relay Run on 5 April in Palm Hills Club, 6 October. Call up four buddies for a 2-hour (non-konafa-related) competition to run as many laps as possible. This event is happening from 9-11pm. Visit Trifactory’s website to register.


Could the way we’re tackling the climate crisis be misguided? The Value of a Whale: On the Illusions of Green Capitalism by Adrienne Buller takes on various shortcomings in how world leaders and financial institutions are going about trying to address climate change. To Buller, focusing on things like expanding personal EV adoption rather than fixing transit systems and clinging on to carbon offsets instead of meaningfully decarbonizing are among the many distractions she argues might leave us with larger issues to tackle later on. Financing problems, particularly for countries in the global south that rely on expensive debt from rich countries, is also a fundamental concern she argues will likely intensify existing global inequalities. Large scale regulations or public trusts implemented at the national level, she suggests, might deserve a little more attention in the battle against climate disaster.


The EGX30 rose 1.7% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.37 bn (34.1% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 2.2% YTD.

In the green: Cleopatra Hospitals Group (+7.0%), Oriental Weavers (+6.8%) and Qalaa Holding (+6.1%).

In the red: CIRA Education (-1.4%), Credit Agricole Egypt (-1.3%) and Taaleem Management Services (-1.2%).



20 March (Monday): Ahmed Ahmed Returns to Om El Donya, Ewart Memorial Hall, AUC’s Tahrir Campus.

23 March (Thursday): First day of Ramadan (TBC). Maghreb will be at 6:08pm CLT.


16 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

21-26 April (Friday-Wednesday): LaLiga Egypt Football Camp, Xanadu Hotel, Makadi Bay, Hurghada.

22 April (Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day.

27 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC).


1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

1 May (Monday): Backstreet Boys at 7pm, ZED East, New Cairo.

4 May (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Labor Day (TBC).


10 June (Saturday): Thanaweya Amma examinations begin.

28 June-2 July (Wednesday-Sunday): Eid El Adha (TBC).

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.


18 July (Tuesday): Islamic New Year.

20 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Islamic New Year (TBC).

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day.

27 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Revolution Day.


26 September (Tuesday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

28 September (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).


6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

13 October- 20 October (Friday-Friday): The sixth edition of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF).

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