Tuesday, 14 March 2023

PM — Lots of meetings are unnecessary



Happy hump day, wonderful people. The steady newsflow we’ve grown accustomed to over the past couple of weeks is still holding up as we hit the midweek mark.


Safi + Wataniya are each seeing 10% stake sales: The Madbouly government is reportedly planning to sell a minimum of 10% in each of military-owned bottled drinks firm Safi and fuel retailer Wataniya, Asharq Business reports, citing an unnamed source it says has knowledge of the matter. An undisclosed UAE-based strategic investor is in line to snap up a stake in Wataniya, the news outlet reports, citing a separate source it says has knowledge of the matter.


The international business press is broadly focused this afternoon on what rising inflation rates in the US mean for the US Federal Reserve as it continues to grapple with the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Consumer price inflation came in at 6% y-o-y in February, which comes at a “tricky” time for the Fed, which is stepping in to contain the SVB crisis and now needs to more closely consider its monetary policy decisions moving forward. The story is on the front pages of CNBC, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal.

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

  • Hassan Allam Utilities + Agility to build logistics parks: Hassan Allam Utilities has formed a joint venture — dubbed Yanmu — with regional warehousing and industrial developer Agility to set up and operate logistics parks in Egypt.
  • Does ADQ want a piece of Delta Sugar Company? Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ is reportedly in early talks with the government to snap up a 10-15% stake in the state-owned Delta Sugar Company.
  • The FRA is out with new regs for the upcoming futures exchange: The Financial Regulatory Authority has issued amendments to rules on the establishment of the company that will manage the new futures exchange and its clearing company.


Egypt is playing host to PPP MENA Forum: The two-day Public-Private Partnership MENA Forum kicks off at the Nile-Ritz Carlton in Cairo on 19 March, bringing together over 300 regional and international PPP players to discuss new partnership models and projects to advance the region’s socio-economic growth. Discussions held under the patronage of Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly will include policies for infrastructure projects, private funding for national projects, governance, and best practices.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The sun will be out in full force tomorrow, give us a daytime high of 22°C and nighttime low of 12°C, according to our favorite weather app.



Your boss probably agrees: You and your team are spending way more time than is necessary in meetings. An average of 25 hours of executives’ work weeks are dedicated to meetings — around half of which end with no real outcome or benefit, Bloomberg reports, citing a study by research consortium Future Forum. Leaders tend to continue attending meetings that end up being useless, the study found, often because they don’t want to miss out on something important, or they don’t want to be perceived as being uninvolved.

All of those wasted meeting hours are also costing a pretty penny: Unnecessary meetings end up costing companies significant amounts of money, with companies surveyed spending an average of USD 80k in salaried hours for meetings, 31% of which are meetings that are deemed “unnecessary,” according to a separate study from Otter.ai picked up by Business Wire. On a larger scale, companies with more than 100 employees could stand to save more than USD 2 mn per year, with that number growing to USD 100 mn per year for companies with more than 5k employees.

Intellectual honesty + psychological safety are the balancing act of innovation: Innovation is the product of debate, but healthy and open debate at the office requires the creation of spaces that promote candid, informative discussion in a socially aware manner, according to a new study published in MIT Sloan Management Review. Helping employees to feel safe and respected with an atmosphere of psychological safety is typically seen as the best route to sharing and ultimately maintaining talent, the study says. Yet the culture it creates can undermine intellectual honesty — the voicing of ideas and disagreements in a rational and constructive way — key for high-performance learning. Social cohesion can encourage groupthink or dampen innovation. Brutal honesty, however, goes too far and can cause damage to colleague relationships, not to mention others’ feelings of acceptance and respect.

So, how can managers fast-track intellectual honesty? The MIT study suggests five rules: Focus on a common goal, expect disagreement but require respect, stick to facts and evidence, acknowledge biases, priorities and knowledge gaps and finally, ensure that everyone has a voice. Hiring and development processes are at the basis of creating a high-performing team and the latter should continue throughout the life-span of an employee’s time at a company, the study suggests.



(all times CLT)

The mafia, a Puzo novel, and Coppolla directing sounds like an offer you can’t refuse. The Offer, streaming on OSN + and Apple TV, is a biopic series — narrated in a vividly colored homage to the 70s — telling the true story of producer Albert S. Ruddy, played by Miles Teller, who fought the mob, the studios, and the general public for a pitch that eventually became one of the best motion pictures of all time. As Ruddy and his team jump through hoops for the film to see the light of day, the series reveals the obstacles that producers — then and now — often face to create film from inception to the silver screen. Aside from the excellent performances by Mathew Goode as producer Robert Evans, look for Giovanni Ribisi as mafioso Joe Colombo, Dan Fogler as director Francis Ford Coppola (who has an uncanny resemblance to the director), and Justin Chambers as Marlon Brando, performing one of the most iconic opening scenes in cinema as a part of his audition.

Today in the UEFA Champions League: Manchester City faces off against Leipzig in the return of the Round of 16 at 10pm. The away game ended in a tie, with each team scoring one goal. At the same time, Porto v Inter kicks off, with Inter entering the match with the advantage of coming out on top at its away game with a clean sheet.

(all times CLT)

Standup comedy from a Gen X favorite: Standup comedian Ahmed Ahmed will be here on Monday 20 March 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.

My Beloved is a personal performance showing at Rawabet theater this Friday and Saturday, 17-18 March, that tackles the moment where one faces an imposed fork in the road that forces one to question oneself and the ability to continue and on which path to choose. Book a ticket on Ticketsmarche to watch this very intimate production.

The Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup kicked off today and runs until this Friday, 17 March in the Cairo International Stadium’s velodrome. With an international line-up of over 400 cyclists going head-to-head in one of the sport’s most revered events this will be the competition to track for the cyclist in your life. Watch the event highlights tomorrow on Youtube.

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 find out more and sign up for this fun-filled activity.

Get ready to be inspired by some of Egypt’s most talented female artists with 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.

Cirque du Soleil’s OVO: The event features 100 performers taking the stage with their acrobatic acts. OVO is hosting 16 shows until this Friday, 18 March at Cairo international Stadium Hall, courtesy of real estate developer Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (pdf).

A musical night at Rawabet with Youssra & Friends: Musician Youssra El Hawary will be performing at Rawabet Art Space tomorrow alongside pianist Andrew Milad and several other musicians, “bringing the spirit of friends jamming together to the stage through playfulness and improvisations.” The show begins at 8pm and wraps by 11pm and you can book tickets here.

Folk music with a side of education: Beit El Sennary plays host to Aswat: Egyptian ša‘bī identity in the Nasserist folk ensembles this Thursday, 16 March at 8pm. The event will include a concert by Firqa Al Alat Al Sa’biyya and a lecture from Kawkab Tawfik.


Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility takes us through the glitzy life of 1930s New York through the eyes of Katey Kontent, a hard-working, middle-class young woman whose life changes after a chance encounter on new year’s eve with charming Tinker Grey. From working long hours to make ends meet, Katey is transported thanks to her new friends to the city’s finest restaurants, lavish parties, and posh estates. But a ghost looms over it all: The recession, having supposedly dissipated over a decade ago, still casts its long shadow if you look closely enough. Despite the silver cigarette boxes, the private chefs preparing luxurious dinner parties, and the eccentric apartments filled with art, Katey discovers to her great despair that sometimes the price of appearances can be higher than she ever thought. With empathy and understanding, the author shows us the truth of the characters whose flaws continue to charm.


The EGX30 fell 0.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.2 bn (41.7% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 5.2% YTD.

In the green: Heliopolis Housing and Development (+3.6%), Qalaa Holdings (+3.3%) and Credit Agricole Egypt (+2.8%).

In the red: Cleopatra Hospitals Group (-2.8%), Telecom Egypt (-2.5%) and Orascom Construction (-2.2%).



8-18 March (Wednesday-Saturday): Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, Cairo international Stadium Hall.

14-17 March (Tuesday-Friday): TISSOT UCI Track Nations Cup, Cairo International Stadium.

15 March (Wednesday): Season 3 of Ted Lasso will be out on Apple TV.

17-18 March (Friday-Saturday): K-Festival at EGYcon X, Family Park, New Cairo.

17-18 March (Friday-Saturday): My Beloved, Rawabet Art Space, Qasr El Nil, Cairo.

18 March (Saturday): Celestial Pas de Deux: Art Exhibition by Rana Chalabi @ MASQ, Maq’ad of Sultan Qaitbey, City of the Dead.

18 March (Saturday): Ali El Haggar concert, El Sawy Cultural Wheel, Zamalek.

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

23 March (Wednesday): 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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