Tuesday, 8 March 2022

PM — Happy International Women’s Day



Happy Tuesday, ladies and gentlemen — and happy International Women’s Day. This year’s theme for the day is “break the bias,” encouraging everyone to “actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping.” Today’s Google Doodle also features a slideshow portraying the different roles women take on in their daily lives.

Today, we’re also kicking off a new section in EnterprisePM. Every Tuesday, we’ll run our Founder of the Week section, wherein we speak to startup founders about their business, themselves, and the challenges they face along the way.


The EGX slipped further into correction territory today, closing down 2.8%, on turnover of EGP 1.29 bn. The bourse is now down 13% year-to-date.

Equity markets elsewhere are mixed: Saudi’s Tadawul closed up a modest 0.34%, while the Abu Dhabi Exchange was up 0.62% at the closing bell, and Dubai’s bourse slipped 0.2% today.

Asian markets also fell, with the Nikkei, Hang Seng Index, ASX 200, KOSPI, and Shanghai all ending the trading day in the red.

European exchanges are having a better day than most: Germany’s DAX, London’s FTSE, and the Stoxx Europe 600 are all in the green.

Oil and gas prices are still seeing wild swings, with Brent crude futures rising another 3.18% today to trade at USD 127.13 per barrel. Natural gas prices in Europe are holding steady, with benchmark Dutch TTF rallying more than 30% in early trading before cooling off “to trade almost unchanged,” Bloomberg reports.

Nickel’s unprecedented price moves pushed the London Metal Exchange to suspend trading on its nickel contracts, which could extend for several days, according to a statement (pdf). The exchange is also considering whether to reverse or adjust trades on the metal booked before this morning, after it briefly breached the USD 100k per tonne mark this morning.

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

  • The government will likely have to revisit its fiscal targets for FY2022-2023 in light of the war in Ukraine and its implications on the global economy, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said.
  • The price of unsubsidized bread in the Greater Cairo area has risen by as much as 50% in the course of a week as global wheat prices soar following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with a five-pack of balady loaves now selling for up to EGP 7.50 in Cairo, up from EGP 5.00 last week.
  • Qatari dairy firm Baladna has acquired a 5% stake (47.1 mn shares) in leading Egyptian dairy company Juhayna for EGP 285.8 mn.


President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, an Ittihadiya statement read. The leaders are set to discuss bilateral ties, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest that affect Arab national security, according to the statement.


A temporary ceasefire to allow civilians in Ukraine to escape the fighting appears to be (kind of) holding up, with buses carrying residents in the northeastern city of Sumy safely making it out, Ukraine confirmed. Earlier in the day, Ukraine accused Russia of shelling the humanitarian corridor from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed intelligence reports indicate that Russia “has escalated its bombardment of major Ukrainian cities” and is relying more on long-range weapons as its troops struggle to capture the capital city of Kyiv, according to the Financial Times.

Russia and Belarus could be facing yet another round of sanctions from the EU that would target oligarchs and politicians in Russia and three Belarusian banks, Reuters reports, citing three sources with knowledge of the matter. The sanctions, which EU ambassadors are due to begin discussing at 4pm CLT, would also suspend exports of naval equipment and software from the EU to Russia “and provide guidance on the monitoring of cryptocurrencies to avoid their use to circumvent EU sanctions.”


The annual Cairo International Fair kicks off tomorrow and runs until Friday, 18 March.


US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will be in town for two days this week starting Thursday. Sherman will meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and “other senior officials,” including National Council for Human Rights chief Moushira Khattab.

Contemporary art and culture center Darb1718 is hosting its 3031 Art Festival until this Saturday, 12 March on its premises in Fustat, Old Cairo.

Other news triggers to keep your eye on over the next few weeks:

  • Inflation: Inflation figures for February will be released on Thursday, 10 March.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will hold its next monetary policy meeting on Thursday, 24 March.

The Ahlan Ramadan supermarket expo will take place from 24 March to 1 April at the Cairo International Convention Center.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- It’ll be mostly sunny tomorrow with a daytime high of 24°C and a nighttime low of 11°C, our favorite weather app tells us.


The global green energy transition could be significantly derailed as the war in Ukraine wears on, the Financial Times writes. Despite last year’s COP26 summit drawing a clear roadmap to cut fossil fuel dependence in the path to net zero emissions, this shift is growing evermore complicated as the crisis deepens, particularly as the EU and US look to essentially eliminate Russian oil and gas from their energy mix.

That shift away from Russian energy is widely expected to supercharge the use of coal in particular, especially as “renewables have not grown enough to replace the coal that needs to be removed from the system,” IHS Markit’s VP of power and renewables tells the salmon-colored paper. But even before the Ukraine crisis, coal dependency was on the rise in the post-pandemic recovery demanding more power, with soaring gas prices translating into coal being the more cost-efficient option.

The UK government is marking International Women’s Day with a bid to close the gender pay gap, launching a pilot program pushing employers to post salaries in their job adverts. The program also wants employers to stop asking applicants about their salary history, which could give women a leg up in negotiating their salaries, the government’s equalities office said in an emailed statement cited by Bloomberg. The government cited a Fawcett Society study suggesting that asking about a prospective employee’s salary history had a “particularly negative impact on women’s confidence … [and] can mean past pay discrimination follows women, people of colour, and people with disabilities throughout their career.”



(all times CLT)

The “submarine case” unfolds: True crime drama and Danish-language The Investigation retells the real-life investigations into the 2017 murder of young Swedish journalist Kim Wall. The limited series follows the Copenhagen police investigation into the killing of Wall, who disappeared after going to interview a man who built his own vessel. The series follows investigators and divers who tried relentlessly to uncover evidence for six months to bring justice to Wall’s family. The series is now on MBC’s Shahid after it was broadcast on UK’s BBC Two and HBO.

Two teams will clinch their spots in the UEFA Champions League’s quarter by the end of the day, with games between Bayern Munich and RB Salzburg, who have an aggregate of 1-1. The second seat for the quarter final will go to the victor of tonight’s match between Liverpool and Inter Milan, after the Reds came out on top with a 2-0 score in the first game of UEFA’s Round 16 against the Italian club. Both clashes will kick off at 10pm.

Here at home, Al Ahly will go head to head against emerging rival Pyramids FC at 8pm. The Red Devils — with 25 points from nine games — will try to knock down Pyramids’ lead, 26 points from 10 games, in the league’s table. Zamalek ranks third with the same number of points as Al Ahly from 11 games.

Also in the Egyptian Premier League, Ceramica Cleopatra will play against Smouha at 5:30pm, while Enppi and Eastern Company are currently on the field as we dispatch.


Take a trip to Japan without packing your suitcase, with Kamikatsu’s contemporary Japanese street food. With several locations in New Cairo, Sheikh Zayed, and Maadi, Kamikatsu offers delicious Japanese sandos on the go with some distinct flavors. We personally recommend the chicken gyoza and shrimp gyoza as appetizers, and the steak katsu sandu and shrimp katsu sandu as on-the-go mains. And on your way out, go for some traditional Japanese mochi ice cream.


(all times CLT)

Saxophonist Daniel Sami is performing at El Sawy Culturewheel at 5:30pm.

In honor of International Women’s Day, the French Institute in Egypt is hosting a roundtable discussion on Feminism and Environmental Conservation at 6:30pm tonight.


Have you ever tried to have a conversation with ethics? That’s exactly what Michael Schur, the creator of fantasy comedy series The Good Place, invites readers to do in his engaging and clever book, How to be Perfect. The book is a lively practice of moral philosophy, with Schur guiding readers with a hands-on approach to how to be good in the complex and challenging world. Schur encourages a flexible approach, as opposed to one based on obligation and scolding from some self-help books.



Emaar Misr’s bottom line rose around 118% y-o-y to EGP 4.12 bn in 2021, according to the company’s financials (pdf). Revenues increased 137% y-o-y, reaching EGP 11.08 bn.


The EGX30 fell 2.8% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.29 bn (27.1% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 13.0% YTD.

In the green: Orascom Construction (+1.2%), EFG Hermes (+1.1%) and ADIB Egypt (+0.1%).

In the red: MM Group (-8.6%), Heliopolis Housing (-5.5%) and CIB (-4.9%).


OUR FOUNDER OF THE WEEK- Mahmoud Ibrahim, co-founder and CEO of Homzmart (LinkedIn).

My name is Mahmoud Ibrahim, and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Homzmart. I started my professional career at the age of 17, starting as a customer experience analyst at Cisco Systems. After that I joined Jumia for three years and ended my tenure there as the VP of operations. Right before I co-founded Homzmart, I co-founded and was the COO of Daraz, an online selling and shopping platform in South Asia that was acquired by Alibaba.

We decided to establish Homzmart to capitalize on the digitalization gap in the home goods and furniture sector. Our initial research showed a lack of players investing in this huge market. Our business has almost tripled in size this year, compared to last year.

Our golden ticket was during the height of the pandemic. As restrictions halted offline sales, customers began to flock towards online shopping, and that was great for our business.

The business is currently evolving to accommodate more needs. We are venturing beyond the sales of home goods and furniture, and aim to be the living space partner of customers now. It is our ambition to help our users with the design of their homes, and our recent acquisition of MockUp Studio is a part of that. We also recently kicked off our own logistics arm, so in addition to helping users with their home furnishings and design, we will also deliver everything to their doorstep. We believe that this will help us capture the whole value chain. We’re also focused on our expansions in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The beauty of managing a young tech company is that the KPIs are always changing. When we were mainly focused on the logistics arm of Homzmart, for instance, we were laser-focused on its performance. KPIs are different from one market to another, from one project to another. What we do is focus on the evaluation of all of our actions.

If I had to choose between different exit strategies, my choice would depend on a lot of factors: The global economic environment, geographical expansions, and the number of competitors operating in my markets.

For me, being a startup founder is truly fulfilling. My company is my main inspiration in life and I’m always thrilled to wake up, don my sneakers — I hate wearing Oxfords — and get to work in the morning. My guess is that 70% of my time is focused on the company, and even during weekends, I‘m always thinking about my business and how I can ensure its growth.

Personally, I can think of no other career path at this point in my life other than being a founder / CEO. I come from a family of business people who were very supportive of my career choice. I started working when I was in college, taking in the corporate experience and learning a lot. When I got enough experience and exposure, and after gaining the financial expertise to manage large-scale companies, I felt like I was ready to start a business of my own.

If you had asked me 10 years ago whether or not I would be interested in digitizing the furniture industry, I would have said no. But when I co-founded Homzmart in 2020, we felt like this sector was ripe for disruption, given the market’s needs and the rise of online sales.

What I really love about my job is seeing ideas come to life. I love being the moderator in the room. I am most fulfilled when I organize and regulate great insights and ideas in the right frame. There is a certain ecstasy that comes when you see people achieving their goals and seeing your team being groomed the right way.

Don’t get me wrong — the job comes with challenges and a lifestyle that would be tiring for most people. The fact that you’re responsible for the success of a company means that you’re responsible for the livelihood of all your employees, and that can be stressful. Weekends don’t really exist for me; I’m always worrying about something not going the right way. Your mind is always working around the clock and never shuts down, which can be draining.

I wouldn’t say that I had to give anything up to focus on my journey as a startup founder. I believe that everything in life should be measured in terms of risk v benefit. I always prioritized my career, and when my friends were traveling to Europe and having fun, I was also traveling, but for work. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

My advice for any would-be founder is to understand the consequences of taking the founder route. You will have to always prioritize your work over having fun. This line of work requires determination and a laser-focus that cannot be clouded by distractions. When you start a business, don’t expect that you’re gonna be able to take two weeks off of work.

Don’t worry though, being a startup founder is not a lonely journey. You have to surround yourself with people who complement your weaknesses. If you pick the right team, you will always be able to turn to them for advice whenever you need it. Personally, whenever I’m in need of advice, I turn to a number of my colleagues and board members at Homzmart. I have different mentors that I turn to for different problems. So another piece of advice I would give to young entrepreneurs is to choose your partners wisely.

Thinking about potential funding is a full time job. As of the end of 2021, Homzmart raised a total of USD 17.2 mn. We’re always talking to investors, but we don’t have new funding plans that I can disclose now. The most important thing when you’re thinking about raising capital is to consider the stage of your business and if you’re attracting the right investors at the right time. Investors are like partners — they can help you navigate new markets.

Personally, I think we made the right choices and chose the right partners. Bootstrapped companies and startups that are backed by angel investors are following the same format. They are all backed by investments and are cashbacked. Even when you IPO, you become backed by public investments. So, choose the investor and route that best fit your needs.

In my downtime, I enjoy spending time with my family. Since most of my time is spent at work, and given that Homzmart is always in the back of my head [laughs], whenever I have downtime, I definitely prioritize family time over going out with friends. My wife and I always watch shows and movies together before we go to sleep.

The last great thing I watched was Suits on Netflix. I love the great acting and the captivating plot of the show.


1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

1Q2022: Waste collection startup Bekia plans to expand to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

1Q2022: Rameda Pharma will begin selling its generic version of Merck’s oral antiviral covid-19 med.

1Q2022: Pharos Energy’s sale of a 55% stake in El Fayum, Beni Suef concessions to IPR Energy Group subsidiary IPR Lake Qarun expected to close.

Early 2022: Results to be announced for the second round of the state’s gold and precious metals auction.

1H2022: Target date for IDH to close its acquisition of 50% of Islamabad Diagnostic Center.

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

1H2022: The government will respond to private companies’ bids to build desalination plants.

1H2022: Egypt’s second corporate green bond issuance expected to be announced.

1H2022: The Transport Ministry to sign a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi Ports to set up a transport route across the Nile to transport products from Al Canal’s Minya sugar factory.

March: Rollout of the government financial management information system (GFMIS), a suite of electronic tools to automate the government’s financial management processes (pdf) that will

replace the existing “closed” financial management system.

March: Contracts for last two phases of Egypt’s USD 4.5 bn high-speed rail line to be signed.

March: 4Q2021 earnings season.

March: Deadline for the World Health Organization’s intergovernmental negotiating body to meet to discuss binding treaty on future pandemic cooperation.

March: World Cup playoffs.

March: The government hopes to sign a final contract between El Nasr Automotive and a new partner for the local production of electric cars.

March: Target date for Saudi tech firm Brmaja to IPO on the EGX.

March: Egypt to host World Tourism Organization Middle East committee meeting.

March: The Salam – new administrative capital – 10th of Ramadan Light Rail Train (LRT) line will start operating.

March: The new multi-purpose station at Dekheila Port and the revamped Ain Sokhna Port will start operating.

March: General Authority for Land and Dry Ports to issue the condition booklets for the operations of the Tenth of Ramadan dry port.

9-18 March (Wednesday-Friday): The annual Cairo International Fair.

15 March: The first edition of Export Smart at Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski

15-16 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

20 March (Sunday): Applications close for Visa’s global startup competition, the Visa Everywhere Initiative.

24 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

24 March (Thursday): GB Auto Extraordinary General Assembly (pdf).

24 March-1 April: Ahlan Ramadan Supermarket Expo, Cairo International Convention Center.

25 March (Friday): Egypt will host Senegal in the first leg of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers' playoff (TBC).

26 March (Saturday): Egypt-EU World Trade Organization dispute settlement consultations end.

28-29 March (Monday-Tuesday): The Egypt International Mining Show (EIMS 2022) will take place virtually.

28 March (Monday): The second leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers' playoff between Egypt and Senegal (TBC).

28 March (Monday): The court hearing for a case brought by Arabia Investments Holding (AIH) against Peugeot has been postponed until 28 March.

31 March (Thursday): Deadline for submitting tax returns for individual taxpayers.

31 March (Thursday): Vodacom purchase of Vodafone Group’s stake in Vodafone Egypt expected to be completed by this date.

31 March (Thursday): Supply Ministry expected to take final decision on bread subsidies by this date.

April: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

April: Ghazl El Mahalla shares will begin trading on the EGX.

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

3 April (Sunday): Bidding begins on the Industrial Development Authority’s license to manufacture tobacco products.

4 April (Monday): CDC Group will formally change its name to British International Investment.

14 April (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Mid-April: Trading on the Egyptian Commodity Exchange to start.

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

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

25 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

28 April (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

30 April (Saturday): Deadline for submitting corporate tax returns for companies whose financial year ends 31 December.

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2022 earnings season

May: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

1 May (Sunday): Labor Day.

3-4 May (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

4 May (Wednesday): 3 February (Thursday): Deadline to send in applications for Cultural Property Agreement Implementation projects to the US Embassy in Cairo.

5 May (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Labor Day.

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

19 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

5-7 June (Sunday-Tuesday): Africa Health ExCon, Al Manara International Conference Center, Egypt International Exhibitions Center, and the St. Regis Almasa Hotel, New Administrative Capital.

9 June (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

14-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15-18 June (Wednesday-Saturday): St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), St. Petersburg.

16 June (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools.

23 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

27 June-3 July (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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

End of 2Q2022: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s new Ins. Act should be approved.

End of 1H2022: Emirati industrial company M Glory Holding and the Military Production Ministry will begin the mass production of dual fuel pickup trucks that can run on natural gas.

2H2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

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

2H2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release first financing product.

July: A law governing ins. for seasonal contractors will come into effect.

July: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

1 July (Friday): FY 2022-2023 begins.

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

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

21 July (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

26-27 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 300 MW to be completed.

18 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

September: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition with the title Naval Power.

September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 25 fintech startups.

8 September (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

20-21 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve Finterest rate meeting.

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

October: World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Washington, DC

October: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

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

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

18-20 October(Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

27 October (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

November: Cairo Water Week 2022.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

3 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

21 November-18 December (Monday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

13-14 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

January 2023: EGX-listed companies and non-bank lenders will submit ESG reports for the first time.

January: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

**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 above between the actual holiday and its observance.

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