Thursday, 2 December 2021

AM — You may now SPAC.
Plus: Abu Qir to offer 10-15% in secondary sale on EGX this month

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to the final workday of the week. We’ve only got four Thursdays left until the end of the year, so make them count.

You may (officially) SPAC now: Investors can now establish blank-check firms in Egypt after the Financial Regulatory Authority’s rules and regulations (pdf) for SPACs were published in the Official Gazette yesterday, making it the law of the land, according to Youm7. Announced last week, the framework clarifies the capital requirements, shareholder structure and regulatory responsibilities SPAC founders will need to comply with.

HAPPENING TODAY-

EgyptAir has suspended until further notice direct flights to and from Toronto starting today, according to a statement cited by state news agency MENA. This comes a day after Canada barred entry to non-citizens who have travelled from or through Egypt in the previous 14 days. Citizens and permanent residents traveling to Canada from or through Egypt are required to stop in a third country and obtain a negative covid-19 molecular test before you continue onward to Canada. The full regulations are here.

OPEC+ begins its two-day meeting today to decide whether or not it will move ahead with a planned ramp-up of oil output as of next month. It’s not entirely clear which way the oil cartel will go: Some analysts expect OPEC+ will postpone ramping up supplies after US President Joe Biden decided last month to tap into reserves and release 50 mn bbl of crude. OPEC+ was expected to increase production by 400k bbl/d as of January, while others suggest the group could decide to step back and take stock of the effect of Biden’s oil dump and the Omicron variant on markets, according to Bloomberg.

PSA- Keep an eye on the Health Ministry’s vaccine website today to see whether you can register for a booster shot if you’re a senior citizen, have a qualifying chronic medical condition, or are classified as medical staff. Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad had said earlier this week that booster shot registration would open yesterday provided you were in a qualifying category and had been fully vaccinated for at least six months. We tried yesterday and again this morning immediately before dispatch, but were unable to find an option to register for a booster.

enterprise

What do you do when you’ve finished your MBA, but decide you never really wanted to be in the finance industry rat race in the first place? Start a chocolate company, of course. That was Mahmoud Barakat’s journey to starting a business of his own when he returned to Cairo after a decade in Toronto. After taking over a mothballed family-owned factory, Barakat brought in a Belgian chocolatier to help plan out what’s become Mōko — a chocolate brand found in Gourmet, but best experienced at its Arkan Plaza flagship store. Kids of all ages (including those in their 20s, 30s, 40s…) will love making their own chocolate bars (or ice cream bars). You can also make your own box of individual chocolates, choosing from among Moko’s 30 flavours, which range from classical European pieces (salted Madagascar vanilla caramel ganache, anyone?) to blends featuring local flavours including tahina, halawa and karkadeh. Try the hot chocolate while you’re there.

We’re more given to sarcasm than to superlatives, but we suggest you skip (until further notice) Mōko’s standard flavours in favour of a box of their new Christmas lineup. It’s simply stunning, with tastes including milk chocolate caramel truffle, four spices crunchy Lotus, gingerbread milk chocolate and more. We brought a box to a small meeting of senior staff. They all claimed to be on a diet — and still the 25-piece box was done in under five minutes. We can think of no higher praise.


THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

Is Erdogan running a country, or auditioning for The Apprentice? Turkish finance minister Lutfi Elvan became the latest in a growing list of economic policymakers to be fired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who appears to be on a one-man mission to rebrand Turkey as a Mugabe-era Zimbabwe-on-the-Med. Elvan was apparently not on board with the president’s alt-economics, which has led to the TRY losing a third of its value in the last month alone. Bloomberg and the FT have more.

Omicron reaches the Gulf: Saudi Arabia and the UAE became the first countries in the Gulf to report cases of Omicron yesterday. Neither country disclosed where the patients had travelled from: The UAE said the patients came from “an African country via an Arab nation,” while Saudi cited a “North African country.” Cue suspicious looks at the next Arab League meeting.

And the US: The variant has also been detected in the US for the first time in a woman who recently travelled to San Francisco from South Africa.

It was all going so well in the markets… Global stocks rebounded yesterday following Tuesday’s Fed-induced sell-off, with markets in Europe and Asia all closing strongly in the green. In the US, stocks saw strong gains for most of the day and looked on course to recoup much of their losses the day before.

Then the news that Omicron had been discovered in the US dropped: Stocks saw their biggest reversal since April 2020, with the S&P 500 going from 2% in the green to losing 1.2%. Combined with Tuesday’s 1.9% drop, the benchmark index has had it’s worst two-day sell-off since October 2020. (Bloomberg)

“Shutdown risk is the main reason, but there’s more at work … The rally this morning never had a lot of conviction behind it, and investors are still trying to sort through not just Omicron but the Fed’s new reaction function too,” one analyst said.

In Asia, only shares in Seoul are clinging to the green this morning, while futures suggest a mixed open in Europe (DAX and FTSE down, CAC up) and that shares on Wall Street could start the day in the green when the market opens this afternoon.

SIGN OF THE TIMES? Apple, already suffering from a global supply crunch, is telling suppliers that demand for its iPhone 13 lineup is now slowing, “signaling that some consumers have decided against trying to get the hard-to-find item,” Bloomberg reports.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

It’s a new month. The key news triggers to keep your eye on at the start of December:

  • PMI: Purchasing managers’ index figures for November for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar will be released on Sunday, 5 December. Figures for the UAE, which normally come out on the same day as Egypt and Saudi, will be released two days later on Tuesday, 7 December.
  • Foreign reserves: November’s foreign reserves figures will be released during the first week of the month.
  • Inflation: Inflation figures for November will be released on Thursday, 9 December. Data for inflation typically appears on the 10th of every month, but is moved up one day if that falls on a Friday.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will hold its final meeting for the year to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 December.

Young professionals can now apply for the recently-launched McKinsey Forward program which focuses on leadership, business, and the transition to digital, McKinsey announced in a press release (pdf). The six-month program aims to teach participants how their business can combat challenges and use them to their advantage, integrate tech, and be adaptable and resilient during times of change. Forward will be available without charge to those eligible to apply, and one of the requirements is having less than five years of work experience. You can apply via this link before the 12 December deadline.

You have until 24 January to submit your local project proposals to Germany’s KfW Development Bank’s investing for employment facility (pdf). The bank will give grants to projects that drive job creation, especially those that are considered green. You can find more information on how to apply here.

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

enterprise

PRIVATIZATION WATCH

Abu Qir to sell 10-15% secondary stake on EGX this month

Abu Qir Fertilizers will sell an additional 10-15% of the company in a secondary offering on the EGX later this month, Enterprise has learned. Emad El Din Mostafa, head of Chemical Industries Holding Company, told us yesterday that a virtual roadshow targeting potential institutional investors is now underway and the transaction should close before the end of the year, confirming a timeline fist disclosed by Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik last month.

The offering price hasn’t been determined yet: The price will be ±10% of the average share price during the 90 days prior to the sale, Mostafa said.

Years in the making: Abu Qir has pushed back the secondary stake sale several times since being announced in 2018, with the state’s privatization program suffering delays thanks largely to global market turmoil and then the pandemic.

Riding the e-Finance wave: Abu Qir would be the second state-owned company to tap the EGX this year, following in the footsteps of e-Finance, which completed the EGX’s biggest IPO in years in October, raising some USD 370 mn.

It’s not a bad time to be in the Egyptian fertilizer business: International fertilizer prices have been on a tear this year due to a combination of supply shortages, surging demand, and spiking energy costs. Where companies in other parts of the world are suffering through the energy crisis, Egyptian producers have been shielded due to the government’s price cap, which has helped Abu Qir capitalize on the high-price environment. The company reported a 30% rise in net income during FY 2020-2021, and saw its quarterly earnings almost double to EGP 1.3 bn in 1Q 2021-2022, which it attributed to higher international prices and strong demand.

We can expect more of the same in the coming months: The government last month allowed companies to hike their prices of subsidized fertilizer by 50% to EGP 4.5k per ton. This will help offset the higher natural gas prices, which were recently hiked by 28% by the government.

The impressive earnings haven’t been reflected in the company’s share price, which is down more than 9% year-to-date, closing yesterday’s session at EGP 18.8.

Abu Qir’s offering should kickstart more sales of stakes in other state companies as part of the resurrected state privatization program, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik told Reuters last month, adding that four companies are expected to tap the local stock market in the first half of 2022.

e-Finance was the first of five state-owned companies that could tap the bourse before the end of the current fiscal year in June. Candidates for IPO include Ghazl El Mahalla football club (a small sale appealing to retail investors, but proof of concept for giant Al Ahly, which could follow) and Banque du Caire (a potential blockbuster with wide appeal). Alexandria Containers and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals could also be in line for secondary sales.

AUTOMOTIVE

GM + Al Mansour Auto could partner up to produce EVs

General Motors and Al Mansour Automotive could partner up to produce electric vehicles in Egypt under a memorandum of understanding signed by the two companies yesterday, Mansour Auto Chairman Mohamed Mansour told Reuters. The companies will assess production requirements, sales volumes, and the incentives that are on offer, and will produce a study to put to the government within the next 2-3 months, he said.

Incentives are coming: The government is finalizing the incentives it plans to offer the local industry under its long-delayed automotive strategy, and will announce them before the end of the year, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly told representatives from the companies yesterday, according to a statement.

Details on the incentives are few and far between: The statement gave no details on what the incentives actually are, but previous drafts suggested it could offer manufacturers customs discounts linked to the percentage of locally-produced components they use as well as introduce a new value-added rule to calculate domestic components used when deciding whether a car qualifies as locally-made. The Public Enterprises Ministry said last month that it could provide buyers of locally-made EVs subsidies worth up to EGP 50k.

An earlier tie-up in the industry broke up last month: Plans for state-owned El Nasr Automotive to link up with Chinese auto giant Dongfeng to locally assemble EVs fell through last month when the state-owned firm exited talks after being unable to negotiate a lower price point for imported components. El Nasr is searching for a new partner and has received 13 proposals from European and Chinese auto companies, the company’s managing director told us recently.

LEGISLATION WATCH

Lawmakers could spike VAT hikes on inflation concerns

Inflation could put the brakes on VAT hikes: Lawmakers could spike proposals for a round of targeted VAT hikes amid concerns about their impact on inflation. The changes — which among other things would more than double the tax charged on crackers and sweet pastries to 14% — have been with the House for months but may now be postponed as inflationary pressures continue to build.

Prices are rising: Increasing food and fuel costs pushed the headline inflation rate to a 20-month high in September as energy price hikes, rising global commodity prices, and the impact of ongoing supply chain bottlenecks fed through to the local economy. In the same month, private sector firms reported the fastest rise in input costs in more than three years, primarily due to supply shortfalls.

Legislators are now reconsidering: The House Planning and Budgeting Committee could press pause on the VAT amendments if it believes the tax hikes will fuel further inflation, committee deputy Yasser Omar told Enterprise yesterday. The committee has not come to a final decision on whether to postpone the bill, he said, without stating when MPs could decide.

Keep your eyes peeled: Our next insight into how prices are faring will come on Sunday with the release of November’s PMI figures. Capmas and the central bank will publish November’s official figures a few days later on 9 December.

The amendments in detail: From what we know, the proposed bill would swap the 5% schedule tax on crackers and sweet pastries with the standard 14% VAT rate. Most commercial advertising would be subject to the tax instead of the 20% stamp tax on ads, and tourists would be allowed to claim VAT rebates. The rent or purchase of commercial and administrative property would also be subject to a new 1% schedule tax. It is unclear whether other VAT hikes are also on the table.

DIPLOMACY

Spain offers EUR 400 mn to finance joint projects

The Spanish government could provide EUR 400 mn in credit facilities for “joint projects” in Egypt, under an agreement signed by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sanchez, yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. The framework, which came during Sanchez’s visit to Egypt, will be earmarked for projects in transport, renewable energy, water and sewage treatment, and agriculture. The facilities will also help finance the import of supplies from Spain that would be used for public and private sector projects in the specified sectors.

WherWhat’s in line for funding? Egypt recently signed multiple agreements and MoUs with Spanish companies on railway and metro infrastructure development that could reap the benefits of the facilities. The Transport Ministry signed an MoU with CAF and Japan’s Mitsubishi to upgrade and maintain the railcars for Cairo Metro Line 2. Train manufacturer Talgo is also set to provide us with trains while Revenga will supply Egyptian National Railways with an electronic ticket booking system.

Spain to work more closely with Egypt on clean energy: State-owned gas company EGAS and the Spanish Técnicas Reunidas signed an agreement to deepen cooperation on clean energy projects, such as hydrogen, carbon capture and biofuel, the Egyptian Oil Ministry said in a statement.

More from Sanchez’s visit: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Sanchez trade and investment in talks at the Presidential Palace, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The two also announced the establishment of the Egypt-Spain Business Council that would help manage and oversee joint projects between the two countries, including those in the private sector.

Also taking place yesterday: Egypt and Spain also signed an agreement to increase bilateral economic cooperation and trade, as well as two memoranda of understanding to increase sports and cultural engagements between the countries.

Sanchez’s visit landed itself a spot on last night’s talk shows: Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:47) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 7:31) covered the visit and the PM’s meeting with President El Sisi.

STARTUP WATCH

Raseedi raises USD 850k pre-series A investment + Bexel closes USD six-figure round

Fintech startup Raseedi raised USD 850k in pre-series A funding from Africa-focused Japanese VC firm Samurai Incubate, an undisclosed European investor and existing investors including 500 Global, Falak Startups and EFG-EV, Wamda reports. The company had previously raised USD 400k in seed funding in 2019.

About Raseedi: The telecom app launched in 2018 to help dual SIM card users optimize their spending by automatically detecting which card will make the cheaper call. The app expanded to providing advance credit and digital bill payment services, offering Egypt’s unbanked with digital access to credit.


Cairo-based inspection management software Bexel closed a USD six-figure investment round led by JH Investments, the startup announced (pdf). It also received follow-on funding from Flat6Labs, UI Investments and Saudi Angel Investors.

About Bexel: Launched back in 2019, the startup provides a SaaS digital cloud-based inspection management software targeted at companies in the energy, oil and gas and construction industries. The platform digitalizes team inspections, enabling companies to more easily track inspections and lowering costs while significantly speeding up the process.

Looking ahead: The software has been used in 14 countries and the company will use proceeds from the round to expand into Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.


ALSO FROM PLANET STARTUP-

Saudi fintech firm eyes Egypt: Riyadh-based fintech startup Lamaa plans to expand into Egypt, UAE and Qatar after securing a USD 5.5 mn seed round led by Raed Ventures and Saudi Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm, Wa’ed, according to a company statement. Launched earlier this year in March, the startup provides invoice financing solutions for SMEs with the aim to create more efficient working capital management for suppliers and following its funding it will expand into B2B buy-now-pay-later services.

FINTECH

State institutions ❤️ Planet Startup

Egypt’s biggest state-owned banks are planning to launch a new fund to invest in fintech startups before the end of the year, with an eye to reach a USD 85 mn first close, Al Mal reports, citing what it says are sources in the know. Partners in the fund include the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Banque du Caire (BdC), and Banque Misr. The three banks will finance the first close, with plans to raise a separate USD 85 mn from foreign investors in its second close.

Is this the same as the fund of funds the banks previously announced? The three banks had previously announced that they, along with Suez Canal Bank, plan to launch a EGP 1 bn fund of funds in 4Q2021. The fund plans to invest in SMEs and companies operating in healthcare, education, fintech, agribusiness, renewables, fast-moving consumer goods as well as information and communications technology. It is unclear whether this is separate from the fintech-focused fund NBE, BdC, and Banque Misr are rolling out. Representatives from NBE and BdC did not respond to Enterprise’s request for comment before dispatch time.

MEANWHILE- State earmarks EGP 250 mn for startup investment: A state-owned investment company backed by the National Investment Bank (NIB) is looking to invest EGP 250 mn in 25-30 local startups, Al Borsa reports. Ayady Investment and Development will channel the money through a new government venture capital fund, the newspaper quotes chairman Osama Saleh as having said. Saleh did not talk about the industries in which the fund might be interested.

Consumer finance arm in the works: The company is also planning to set up a fully-electronic consumer finance company, according to Saleh. Ayady — owned by state and quasi-state institutions including the National Investment Bank — is currently awaiting license approvals from the Financial Regulatory Authority to launch the company.

HEALTHCARE

e-Health is now its own company + Axa invests EGP 1 bn in Egypt clinics business

e-Finance’s digital health service platform is now a thing: State-owned and EGX-listed fintech platform e-Finance has launched its digital healthcare services platform, e-Health, as a separate company, according to a statement to the bourse (pdf). e-Finance owns 35% of the company’s shares, and the Universal Health Ins. Authority holds 50%. The statement doesn’t specify the ownership of the remaining 15%.

What does e-Health do? The digital health services firm will manage and operate the tech backbone of the government’s universal health ins. scheme, which is being gradually rolled out across the country over the current decade. e-Health will manage the operations and digital payment services of the system, which will be integrated with the government's e-payments channels and banking institutions. The company also plans to provide digital services for other companies in the sector.

The firm is aiming to begin rolling out its services in 1H2022, CEO Ibrahim Sarhan told us recently.

ALSO IN HEALTHCARE- Axa has launched its OneHealth medical centers in Egypt, in which it invested EGP 1 bn, according to a statement (pdf). The clinics, which combine physical branches with digital services, have family doctors responsible for referrals to specialists for secondary care, the statement says. OneHealth also plans to introduce lab and radiology services to its roster in early 2022.

AND- The General Authority for Hospitals is setting up a holding company, Reaya Misr, to manage and oversee the operations of hospitals and health authorities, according to a statement. The company will also be able to establish its own hospitals and provide digital solutions for the sector, as well as work to bring foreign investment into the country’s healthcare sector.

CAPITAL MARKETS

EFG Hermes retains place at top of the EGX brokerage league in November

EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table in November, with a market share of 22.6%, according to figures from the EGX (pdf). Rounding out the top five were CI Capital (7.5%), Al Ahly Pharos (4.7% ), Mubasher (4.0%), and Beltone (3.8%).

IN OTHER EGX NEWS- The Financial Regulatory Authority canceled trades (pdf) in Egyptian Iron and Steel stock made yesterday after the company’s share price soared 111% in the past month. The state-owned company is currently being liquidated. Market abuse warning in the works? The statement adds that the FRA will study unspecified amendments to trading and delisting rules for liquidated companies.

KUDOS

KUDOS- Salma Medhat, co-founder of anti-harassment mobile app Matkhafeesh, was awarded third prize in the 2021 Middle East Women Inventors & Innovators Network (MEWIIN) competition. The app, which Medhat founded alongside Ahmed Hisham, raises awareness about harassment and provides survivors with a range of support.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The first day of the no vaccine, no government facilities is over and the verdict is out: Citizens voiced mixed opinions of the decision to not allow unvaccinated people into government facilities. Some are for the measure, believing that it will limit the spread of covid and advocated for it to be extended to schools as well. Others were unhappy with the inconvenience of having to carry their vaccination certificate around. Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 1:49), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 2:01), and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 5:16) had the story.

From the Department of the Obvious: The aim of the requirement is to push citizens to get jabbed, Health Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime: 6:35), adding that the state is targeting the vaccination of 8 mn children in the 12-15 age bracket after their registration on the Health Ministry’s website started yesterday.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

The big story in the foreign press this morning: Italian lawmakers have pointed the finger at the state in the murder of postgraduate student Giulio Regeni in 2016. Reuters and local Italian and French press all have coverage.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

DISPUTE WATCH- Edita settles case against Greek food manufacturer Chipita: Edita Food Industries signed an amicable global settlement agreement with Chipita Industrial and Commercial Company and Chipita Participations, the company said in an EGX disclosure (pdf) yesterday. The statement did not disclose what the terms of the agreement were. Edita had started legal proceedings last year over a contractual dispute related to a manufacturing and technical services agreement signed in 2011.

The long-awaited tender for the Tenth of Ramadan dry port will be launched in January 2022, head of the General Authority for Ports and Dry Land Amr Ismail told Al Borsa. There are already six consortiums who have come forward with offers to build and operate the EGP 3.5 bn dry port and logistics hub. The port aims to serve Tenth of Ramadan, Badr, Ain Sokhna, East Port Said, and the new administrative capital by linking the project with the railway network to reach seaports and transport goods.

COVID WATCH

It’s not every day we get a single-story Covid Watch

The Health Ministry reported 938 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 949 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 359,516 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 63 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 20,537.

PLANET FINANCE

Powered by
EFG Hermes - https://efghermes.com/

China is scaling back the value of loans it hands out to African countries in what the Financial Times suggests is evidence of a growing wariness at the level of debt being taken on by countries on the continent. Beijing pledged to lend USD 40 bn in investment, credit lines, trade finance and special drawing rights to African nations over the next three years, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced at this week’s Forum on China–Africa Cooperation. This is a third less than the USD 60 bn China pledged at the previous two summits.

The news comes as China has denied it has plans to take over Uganda’s only international airport if the company defaults on a USD 200 mn facility it took from Beijing to expand the facility. “A parliamentary probe last month concluded that China had imposed onerous conditions on the loan, including potential forfeiture of the airport in case of default, sparking public outrage,” Reuters reports.

Afghanistan will likely suffer one of the worst economic meltdowns in history within a year following the Taliban’s takeover, according to new data published by the UNDP, the FT reported. The UN has forecast Afghanistan’s GDP to shrink 20%, an abrupt drop they have never seen before that could result in nine out of 10 Afghans falling beneath the poverty line. For comparison: It took five years of civil war in Syria to achieve a similar economic contraction.

Up

EGX30

11,420

+0.2% (YTD: +5.3%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

10,850

+0.8% (YTD: +24.9%)

Up

ADX

8,547

+0.8% (YTD: +69.4%)

Up

DFM

3,073

+0.4% (YTD: +23.3%)

Down

S&P 500

4,513

-1.2% (YTD: +20.2%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,169

+1.6% (YTD: +11.0%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 68.87

-0.5%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 4.29

+0.7%

Down

Gold

USD 1,783

-0.1%

Down

BTC

USD 56,732

-0.6% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.05 bn (26.9% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net buyers. The index is up 5.3% YTD.

In the green: Qalaa Holdings (+3.7%), Rameda (+3.5%) and Egyptian Resorts Company (+3.3%).

In the red: CIRA (-2.4%), Fawry (-2.2%) and EFG Hermes (-1.3%).

MY MORNING ROUTINE

Powered by
Abu Auf - https://www.abuauf.com/

Meet the guy who makes the Egypt PMI: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is David Owen, economist at IHS Markit (Linkedin). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

I’m David, and I’m an economist at IHS Markit. From where I live in the UK, I cover the PMIs — the purchasing managers’ index — for a number of regions. I studied economics at the undergraduate level at the University of Bath and then again for my Masters degree at the University of Birmingham.

As part of the PMI team, we cover business surveys across the world. I’m involved in all parts of that, so I cover Egypt and many other countries across the Middle East and Africa, as well as the UK. I also work on combining all of our data into different global indices.

Every month, I search through the data and look for the next exciting insight. It really covers a wide range of information, so you get to see the economy from a global perspective, and get to see what the next emerging trend is.

I’ve been covering Egypt’s PMI for four years, ever since I joined the PMI team. The Egypt PMI is often quite a complicated one — you really need to get behind the headline number and look at the sub-indices to tell the whole story, after which it then gives a lot of rich detail on the economy's performance.

I always start my day with a good breakfast [laughs]; a nice big pot of cereal and a piece of toast as well. I’ve got a fairly simple morning routine. I’ll try to do a little bit of reading sometimes. Generally, the Bible, but it might also be a novel or something else. I’m usually out of the door very quickly to head to the office. We’ve been working from the office for the past few months and I love working in the office, so I’m always looking forward to getting there and seeing people.

We worked from home for about 18 months during the pandemic. It was a very long period and it very much turned the job on its head. Working on your own and not as collaboratively as before really called for a different way of working and thinking and trying to develop our products, which was harder in a way when working from home. It’s definitely easier to get distracted by the next news item or something like that when working from home, and not having that “peer pressure” makes it a very different environment.

I’ve found that since getting back, ideas flourish a lot better and we get more work in as a team in the office. We have a flexible model at our office and I very much just want to get to the office and see people. I’m working from home as we speak because it’s easier for calls and Zoom meetings, but most of the time I like to be physically there.

I get my news from the Financial Times, BBC, and I look out for news from Egypt and the Middle East. They keep me away from work sometimes [laughs], especially at the height of covid-19, it was like, “oh what’s going on now, what’s changed.” I’m sure what’s happening now with Omicron is going to affect the PMI as well, so we’re back in the hot seat of seeing the first real data of how it’s going to affect activity.

If we’re running surveys, we’ll be going through the data to start the day. Then, either I or another economist will pour over it and search for the most interesting insights. Then, we’ll draft up our reports, looking over what we did the day before. The focus is mostly on getting the report done.

If we’re past the start of the month, we’re spending the day working out ways that we can develop our product to expand into different places or sectors, and new ways of looking at the PMI. It often ends up being a half-and-half structure, so half of the month we’ll be head down, typing up the reports, and the other half is a bit more creative. And we have a table tennis table in our office. If we’re not head down, then I’ll be challenging my colleagues to a game.

I enjoy the PMIs, and there’s definitely new things coming that I’m excited about. I’ll be working on developing some of the new data I’ve been creating recently. I’ve been looking at how we can harness the qualitative data into new indices, and I’m still working on ways that the data can be developed and improved upon.

I’m a classic 9-5 person. I really value the time off that I have and my work-life balance. And I try to maintain that whilst working from home as well. I always like to end my day with a run, so I try to finish in time to do that. Then I like to just cook some dinner and have some time to relax, especially while working from home, because otherwise I’d be spending numerous hours at the laptop, and not really getting away from it. So I always make time to get away for a little break during the day and make sure I end the day well. Very traditional, I guess.

I’m a massive advocate for the cinema, so I’m down to go to the cinema at least once a week. I went to watch a film this last weekend called King Richard, which is about the father of Serena and Venus Williams, and it was a very interesting biopic, very inspirational. I would recommend that. But in general, films are my go-to place to relax, and just escape I guess to another world. It’s cinema over TV for me.

You know the phrase “you have to be able to walk before you run”? Someone last week told me, “you have to run before you can walk.” Sometimes, you think you’re not as good as something that you are, but you can grow faster than you think. That was really interesting.

I think I’ve found more value in community since the pandemic, in having rapport with people. It’s important to build connections with colleagues and friends, and really keep that strong. When we were at the peak of the pandemic, I felt the need to go out and strengthen my close connections. And also just to enjoy the present.

CALENDAR

24 November-7 December (Wednesday-Tuesday): Designated period for SODIC shareholders to subscribe to Aldar Properties and ADQ’s mandatory tender offer (pdf).

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.

2 December (Thursday): OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting.

5 December (Sunday): Purchasing managers’ index figures for November for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar will be released.

7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

8-10 December (Wednesday-Friday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS), Cairo, Egypt.

8-9 December (Wednesday-Thursday): The 14th General Conference of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (ICESCO) will be held in Egypt.

9-10 December (Thursday-Friday): The US Summit for Democracy. Egypt is not among the invitees.

9-12 December (Thursday-Sunday): The 6th Edition of Cairo Woodshow, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

10 December (Friday): Capmas will release November inflation figures.

10 December (Friday): Silicon Waha’s Startup Factory program kicks off in Assiut Technology Zone.

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

12 December (Sunday): Deadline to apply to the McKinsey Forward program for young professionals.

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 December (Tuesday): Inquiry session for the Industrial Development Authority’s licenses to manufacture steel products.

14 December (Tuesday): CDC event to announce the details of its 2022-2026 strategy period.

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): Target date for snackmaker Edita to wrap up due diligence on its acquisition of the Ole brand owner Egyptian Belgian Company.

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.

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.

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

Second Half of January: Egypt will host the Egyptian-Bahraini Joint Committee.

The end of January: The Egyptian-Romanian business forum will take place with the aim of strengthening joint investment relations.

January 2022: Tenth of Ramadan dry port tender to be launched.

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

1-15 January 2022 (Saturday-Saturday): Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) Joint Committee.

7 January 2022 (Friday): Coptic Christmas.

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

15 January (Saturday): Target date for the finalization of snackfood giant Edita’s acquisition of the Egyptian Belgian Company, owner of the Ole brand.

17-19 January 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi.

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

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

11-13 February (Friday-Sunday) FIBA Intercontinental Cup, Cairo.

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

15 February 2022 (Tuesday): The Industrial Development Authority’s deadline for receiving offers from companies for licenses to manufacture steel products.

19 February 2022 (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

March 2022: 4Q2021 earnings season.

March 2022: World Cup playoffs.

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

4 April 2022 (Monday): CDC Group will formally change its name to British International Investment.

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.

Late April – 15 May 2022: 1Q2022 earnings season

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 2022 (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July 2022 (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

30 July 2022 (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August 2022: 2Q2022 earnings season.

6 October 2022 (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October 2022 (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

18-20 October 2022 (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

Late October – 14 November 2022: 3Q2022 earnings season.

**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. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of Commercial International Bank (tax ID: 204-891-949), the largest private-sector bank in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; and Act Financial (tax ID: 493-924-612), the leading activist investor in Egypt; and Abu Auf (tax ID: 584-628-846), the leading health foodmaker in Egypt and the region.