Thursday, 25 February 2021

EnterpriseAM — Everyone in Egypt is getting a vaccine

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, nice people, and welcome to the last day of the workweek. We survived — and so did you.

THE BIG STORY HERE AT HOME continues to be our covid-19 vaccination program, which continues to bring in good news. First up, we now have confirmation that everyone currently living in Egypt — whether you’re a foreign resident, a refugee, or a diplomat — will have access to the jabs at the same time as citizens. And after the Egyptian Drug Authority gave emergency authorization for the use of the Sputnik and AstraZeneca vaccines, Prime Speed Medical became the first private sector player to sign a vaccine import agreement. We have chapter and verse in this morning’s Covid Watch, below.

INTERNATIONALLY, it’s not front-page news everywhere, but it’s an important story in our neck of the woods: US President Joe Biden formally reversed yesterday King Cheeto’s ban on immigrant visas, according to CBS News. Biden’s decision does not, however, extend to the suspension of H1-B visas, which are frequently used by tech companies to bring in international talent.

And speaking of The Donald: His political comeback at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday is “shaping up to be an event that leans into the 2020 election conspiracy theories rather than rebukes them,” ABC News says.

*** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from yesterday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

  • The Egyptian Drug Authority has approved the Sputnik V and Astrazeneca vaccines for emergency use, ahead of the arrival of some 8.6 mn doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from GAVI.
  • Foreign investments in EGP bonds now stand at USD 29 bn, exceeding its pre-covid peak.
  • News of Vodafone Egypt’s acquisition of a 20% stake in each of Bee and Masary has analysts raving about shares of all listed companies involved.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

Cabinet could be looking at the Public Enterprises Act’s executive regulations as early as today, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik told Masrawy. The Act, which gained cabinet approval last year, reclassifes listed companies in which the government holds up to a 75% stake, bringing them within the scope of the Companies Act, while granting general assemblies more power to oversee and remove boards. The legislation is designed to streamline the public sector and promote financial stability within state-owned enterprises.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly is talking about Egypt’s economy in a webinar held by AmCham and the Egypt-US Business Council today at 4pm. The event, headlined "Egypt: 2021 and Beyond," will have Madbouly tackling Egypt’s strategy to curb the effects of the global downturn as well as revealing the country’s future plans to maintain economic growth.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Afro Future Summit is taking place tomorrow. The summit will be held virtually.

The Egypt International Art Fair also kicks off tomorrow at Dusit Thani Lakeview Cairo, and is set to wrap on Sunday, 28 February.

Sunday, 28 February is the deadline for businesses, sole traders, and those generating income from sources other than their day job to file wage tax returns through the electronic filing system.

The Aswan Forum for Peace and Development begins on Monday, 1 March. The virtual event will run through Friday, 5 March under the title “Shaping Africa’s new normal: Recovering stronger, rebuilding better.” Representatives from governments, civil society, academia, financial institutions, and international organizations, will all weigh in on the risks, challenges, and potential solutions for sustainable development in the continent.

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum is also coming into effect on the first of the month.

The World Shooting Championships is running until next Thursday, 4 March at the Shooting Club in 6th of October, the Youth Ministry announced in a statement.

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

enterprise

COVID WATCH

You get a vaccine, you get a vaccine

If you live in Egypt, you’ll have access to a jab, regardless of your passport: All foreign residents, refugees, and diplomats currently residing in Egypt will be able to register for a vaccine along with Egyptian citizens, in the same order of priority as citizens, Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad confirmed to Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa yesterday (watch, runtime: 3:57).

That means non-citizens who are above the age of 40 and / or have a chronic illness will be eligible to register for their jab on Sunday, when the Health Ministry will open its registration platform. Refugees will also be eligible for a jab without charge if they can prove that they are financially unable to pay for it, Saad said.

Prime Speed Medical is set to become the first private sector player in Egypt to import covid-19 vaccines with an initial agreement for 10 mn doses of Russia’s Sputnik V. Prime reached an initial agreement following negotiations between the Egyptian Medicines Authority and the Russian Sovereign Wealth Fund, according to a press release seen by Al Mal. The imported jabs will be distributed by government officials. The agreement comes on the heels of Sputnik V getting authorization for emergency use in Egypt yesterday.

The first batch is set to arrive by the end of next week, Ahmed Moussa said, suggesting that the first shipment will be 1 mn doses, with the rest set to follow in later batches (watch, runtime: 2:54).

The vaccine tally so far: Egypt just took receipt of 300k doses of Sinopharm’s jab as a gift from China earlier this week, and is waiting on some 8.6 mn doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which are set to be delivered within a few days, Health Minister Hala Zayed has said. The Oxford jabs are just one batch from a total of 40 mn doses we should be receiving through international vaccine alliance GAVI before the end of 2021. As of last month, Egypt had signed on to receive a total of 100 mn vaccine doses: The 40 mn from GAVI, another 40 mn from Sinopharm, and 20 mn from AstraZeneca itself. We have no clarity as of yet on when these vaccines will be delivered because of high global demand and limited supplies, Zayed said previously.

The Health Ministry reported 644 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 633 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 180,051 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 52 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 10,495.

The world’s first Covax delivery outside India goes to: Ghana. Some 660k doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford jabs arrived in Ghana yesterday via the World Health Organization/Gavi Covax scheme, the global health body said in a statement. Covax expects to deliver almost 2 bn vaccine doses in 2021, of which 1.8 bn are set to make course to poorer countries without charge, in a bid for “equitable distribution”. Next up for Covax jabs this week: Côte d’Ivoire.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine — the first single-dose covid-19 jab — is 85% effective in preventing serious illness from the disease, including from the South Africa variant of the virus, the US’ Food and Drug Administration said (pdf). The results of the FDA’s study on the jab put it on track for emergency authorization as early as tomorrow, when the administration is set to meet to make a decision.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Unilever invested EGP 1 bn in Egypt operations in 2020, eyes new facilities

Unilever spent EGP 1 bn on its Egypt operations last year as part of plans to ramp up its exports over the coming years, Unilever Egypt Chairman Ashraf Bakry told Al Mal. It’s unclear how much of this figure is capital expenditure, but at least EGP 200 mn went towards the annual operating expense of maintaining its production lines. The British consumer goods company hopes to double its exports over the next three years from a current USD 200 mn.

It sounds like the company has chosen Egypt to be its regional export hub: The company is focusing its efforts on Egypt, citing its strategic location and plethora of trade agreements, which make it easier for it to export into Europe and Africa. And lower labor costs mean that Unilever is also considering establishing a regional service center, Bakry said. Enterprise approached the company for comment for the story but a representative couldn’t be reached.

And offshoring could be in the works: The company is in talks to relocate some of its manufacturing facilities and service centers in Europe and Africa to Egypt, he added. This would come in addition to the company’s four facilities located in Alexandria and Sixth of October that produce food and personal hygiene products.

IN OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS-

Plastic waste recycling company Green Minds plans to invest EGP 100 mn in expanding its recycling capacities, Chairman Muhammad Dief told the local press. The expansion should up the company’s monthly recycling capacity to 1.3k tonnes, and Deif says they are eyeing further expansion in waste collection and recycling under the recent Waste Management Act.

The Canal Company for Ropes Natural and Synthetic Fibre Products and Norwegian water treatment company Sterner are setting up an aquaculture complex after signing a shareholder’s agreement yesterday. The fish farm is expected to produce 25k tonnes of fish annually, and will include a water treatment plant, hatcheries, marine laboratories and a factory for fish processing and packaging, as well as a training academy. The complex’s waste will be recycled at an on-site factory to produce organic fuel and fertilizers. The Canal Company for Ropes Natural and Synthetic Fibre Products is a Suez Canal Authority company.

M&A WATCH

Fawry closes in on CIB + Banque Misr’s stakes in Fawry Plus

E-payment giant Fawry is on track to hold 86% of Fawry Plus Banking Services after Fawry’s board of directors signed off on the company moving ahead with negotiations to acquire a 48% stake in Fawry Plus, the company said in a bourse disclosure (pdf) yesterday. Fawry already owns 38% of the company.

In detail: The acquisition, which is valued at EGP 32 mn in total, would see Fawry acquiring CIB’s 23.5% stake and Banque Misr’s 24.5% stake in its subsidiary, Fawry CEO Ashraf Sabry said, according to a report in Al Mal’s print edition.

The subsidiary is eyeing rapid expansion: Fawry Plus Banking Services is looking to almost quintuple its branch count to 300 from 65 currently.

Also today: The EGX approved Fawry’s bid to double its authorized capital to EGP 1 bn, and raise its issued capital by EGP 100 mn to EGP 453.65 mn through the issuance of 200 mn freeshares as a benefit-in-kind at a nominal value of EGP 0.5 apiece.

OTHER M&A NEWS-

New Smart Construction’s bid to acquire a 90% in El Nasr for Manufacturing Agricultural Crops has fallen through due to insufficient interest from shareholders, according to an EGX disclosure seen by Al Mal. The mandatory tender offer submitted for 7 mn shares at EGP 45 apiece saw only 1.06 mn shares — around 13.5% of the company — being offered to the buyers.

DISPUTE WATCH

Qalaa’s ASEC is taking Misr Beni-Suef to arbitration

Qalaa Holdings subsidiary the Arab Swiss Engineering Company (ASEC) has filed an arbitration suit against Misr Beni-Suef Cement to resolve a contractual dispute, Qalaa said in a regulatory filing (pdf). ASEC has been managing Beni-Suef’s factory for over 20 years. The dispute started in October 2020, when Misr Beni-Suef began procedures to let go of ASEC, leading ASEC to object and halt production, according to Youm7. In turn, Misr Beni-Suef withheld EGP 90 mn from ASEC’s paycheck to prevent it from leaving the partnership with technical staff and engineers.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION

MSMEs are getting a moratorium on all fees to process e-commerce payments from the National Bank of Egypt through the end of June 2021, the bank said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The bank is scrapping all activation, monthly, and additional service fees for e-commerce payments, as part of the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) push to boost electronic payment collection services and encourage MSMEs to join the formal economy. As part of its 2019 financial inclusion strategy, which outlines SME support as one of its key pillars, the CBE has also been working to make bank financing more accessible to MSMEs. Under new CBE regulations issued earlier this week, banks are now required to allot a larger percentage of their lending portfolios to MSMEs.

TAXES

Property disposal tax isn’t new -Maait

That property disposal tax everyone is up in arms about? It’s been around for some 70 years, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said yesterday to dispel rumors that the government is imposing a new tax on real estate sales. The confusion came up amid renewed discussion of recently-passed amendments to the Real Estate Registry Act over the past couple of weeks.

So what’s this disposal tax about? The levy, which was introduced back in 1939, is imposed on sales of real estate properties and is set as a flat rate of 2.5% of the disposition or quick sale value of real estate assets. The rate has been stable at 2.5% since 1996, when it was brought down from 5%, Real Estate Registry head Gamal Yacout told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 4:47).

It is the responsibility of the seller, not the buyer, to pay the tax within 30 days of completing the sale, Maait noted. Some sale and purchase agreements automatically integrate the tax into the value of the sale by deducting the tax from the amount paid by the buyer, former Real Estate Registry boss Sami Emam said earlier this week (watch, runtime: 9:15).

A handful of exemptions: All properties located in villages or its affiliated areas, real estate assets that were inherited before 25 July 2018, assets presented as in-kind shares in joint-stock companies, and properties given as authenticated gifts will not be subject to the levy, the ministry said.

Does this all sound familiar? It should: The Tax Authority was working in 2019 on setting up an electronic system to record real estate sales that would be subject to the tax, with an eye to triple the state’s real estate tax revenues. The system applies to sales and purchases by individuals and companies, and it runs through real estate registry and public utility offices. Real estate developers will be required to only provide their clients with official property deeds once they present proof of having paid the tax, and sales between individuals will be processed via the same system. Property owners would not have access to basic services such as power and water until they are able to present proof that they have paid the necessary taxes.

Meanwhile, objections to changes on how to register real estate pushed Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly to set up a committee to streamline registry procedures. The changes, introduced through amendments to the Real Estate Registry Act, require property owners to go through their local ma’moreya and a judge to validate their sale and purchase agreements before taking the contracts to the Real Estate Registry.

POLITICS

By all means, bring in the mediators

Egypt is on board with a proposal to form an international quartet to mediate stalled negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty told Congolese African Union delegation coordinator Alphonse Ntumba in separate meetings yesterday. The proposal, which had been put forward by Sudan, would see the AU, European Union, United Nations, and US play a role in mediating an agreement on GERD.

Background: Negotiations have floundered since last year after Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan were unable to agree on a timeline for the filling and operation of the dam. Sudan walked away from trilateral virtual talks last month that were meant to agree on a format for continued negotiations, insisting on an expanded role for the AU, and calling the talks “useless.”

CABINET WATCH

Cabinet approves USD 200 mn green loan from World Bank

We should soon be breathing cleaner air in Greater Cairo with fewer emissions with the help of a USD 200 mn loan from the World Bank that earned Cabinet approval in its weekly meeting yesterday, according to a statement. The loan will go towards the so-called “green recovery” project, which will modernize air quality monitoring systems, establish safe landfills in Tenth of Ramadan City, safely eliminate dumps in Abu Zaabal, set up charging stations for electric vehicles and support other green initiatives. The World Bank had signed off on the loan in September.

enterprise

EARNINGS WATCH

Edita bottom line recovers from post-covid lockdown in the back half of 2020: Edita recorded EGP 302.2 mn in net income during 2020, down 16.6% y-o-y, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). The EGX- and LSE-listed snackfood manufacturer saw its net income in 4Q2020 grow 16% y-o-y, “supported by gross prof. for the period, an EGP 11 mn export subsidy booked in the quarter, combined with lower interest expenses and cost of funding.” Edita’s bottom line had also inched up in 3Q2020. “Supported by better pricing and portfolio optimization throughout the year,” Edita’s revenues grew 12.6% y-o-y to register EGP 1.2 bn in 4Q2020. On a full-year basis, revenues were essentially flat y-o-y at EGP 4.0 bn.

Looking ahead, introducing new products will remain “a top priority” for Edita, after having introduced its Molto Mini Magnum, Freska Block, and Hohos Extreme over the past two months. This plan builds on the company’s new product launches in 2020, which “contributed to more than 20% of consolidated revenues for the year,” according to the release.

KUDOS

Egyptian scientist Salah Obbaya has been awarded the African Union’s Kwame Nkrumah award for Scientific Excellence, according to a cabinet statement. Obbaya is director of the Center of Photonics and Smart Materials at the Zewail City of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Chambers Global names top Egyptian arbitration litigators: Chambers and Partners has released its 2021 list of top-ranked Egyptian arbitration firms and lawyers. Top arbitration litigators listed in this year’s ranking include: Karim A. Youssef (Youssef & Partners) and Mohamed S Abdel Wahab (Zulficar & Partners), who were named as Star Individuals. In Band 1, Khaled El Shalakany (Shalakany Law Office) and Girgis Abdel Shahid (Shahid Law Firm); in Band 2, Amr Abbas (Matouk Bassiouny), Ashraf Yehia (Yehia Associates), Hazem Rizkana (Rizkana & Partners), and Tarek Fouad Riad (Tarek Riad — Leg. Consultants); in Band 3, Abdallah El Shehaby (I&P), Ahmed Kotb (Khodeir & Partners), Cesar Ternieden (Youssef & Partners), John Matouk (Matouk Bassiouny), and Tarek Badawy (Shahid Law).

FRA hands out Women Leadership Awards: The Financial Regulatory Authority recognized women in senior and executive-level positions across several industries with its Women Leadership Awards. The recipients include: Iman Ismail (EgyLease) in the financial leasing category, Reham Farouk (Al Tadamun Microfinance) in the microfinancing category, Ghada Hammouda (Qalaa Holdings) for financial markets, Ghada Shams (Egypt Factors) for factoring, Mervat Amer for real estate funding, Hadeel AbdelKader (Axa) for ins., and Yasmine Negm (Rameda) for listed companies.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The usual suspects led the conversation on the airwaves last night: Updates on Egypt’s vaccination program (which we cover in detail in this morning’s Covid Watch, above) and more on the topic du jour — amendments to the Real Estate Registry Act.

Registering your property is entirely optional if it’s already connected to basic utility networks, since the Real Estate Registry Act only requires registration as a prerequisite to accessing these utilities, and won’t retroactively take these utilities away, Real Estate Registry head Gamal Yacout explained to Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 6:12). In a bid to encourage property owners to register their real estate assets, Yacout suggested that properties with their legal affairs in order will automatically appreciate and make any later sale easier and more lucrative (watch, runtime: 3:47).

The 2.5% tax on a real estate’s disposition or quick sale value is “too high” considering current real estate prices, Yacout said, encouraging authorities to consider bringing the rate down to encourage more people to comply. Moussa (very emphatically) agreed (watch, runtime: 4:47). We have more on the levy in the news well, above.

The Personal Status Act will go through public consultations once the House Legislative Committee gets the bill, but the proposed law has yet to be submitted, committee deputy head Yasser Mounir told Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer (watch, runtime: 3:32).

If you want a preview of what the consultations might look like, search no further than Al Tase’a, where former Information and Decision Support Center head Ashraf Tamam suggested that current custody laws are not logical and that, in the event a mother is not given custody, the father — rather than the child’s grandparents — should be next in line. Tamam also tried to make the case that mothers shouldn’t get custody as a default, pointing to none other than Britney Spears as an example of a mother whose custody rights were reduced by a court (watch, runtime: 8:47).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Human rights is topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press again this morning: Ezzedine Fishere writes in the Washington Post about political prisoners in Egypt, while the Associated Press picks up remarks made by Deputy Foreign Minister Alaa Roushdi, who criticized members of the UN’s Human Rights Council for "polarization" and voicing “controversial” positions during a virtual meeting of the UN body.

Elsewhere: The Wall Street Journal looks at military involvement in Myanmar’s economy, using Egypt and South Korea as examples.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Seriously, two is enough: The Health Ministry is sending out convoys to Sohag, Sharqia, Qena, the New Valley, and Qalyubia to provide citizens with long-term birth control solutions next week, according to a cabinet statement. The ministry plans to dispatch several more of these conveys before the end of the year, ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed said. Curbing population growth has been in the spotlight as of late, with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi touching on the topic earlier this month. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly had called on the cabinet to devise solutions last year as our population hit 100 mn. Family planning programs, including the Two is Enough initiative, are aiming to get 20 mn families on board by mid-2021.

Other things we’re keeping an eye on this morning:

PLANET FINANCE

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Bond rout incoming? Global bond investors are enduring their worst start to a year since 2015 amid signs that stimulus and the rollout of covid-19 vaccines will fuel a significant pickup inflation, the Financial Times reported. The Bloomberg Barclays Multiverse index — which tracks some USD 70 tn in fixed-income assets — is down 1.9% year-to-date, putting it on course to deliver its worst quarter since 2018 and the poorest 1Q performance in six years. Investors have primarily sold off investment-grade debt, which with its super-low yields makes it particularly vulnerable to rising inflation.

There are fears that rising yields could put an end to the recent mega-rally in global stocks: While the historically low — and in some cases, negative — yields have helped fuel the rush into stocks, the increase in rates is beginning to cause problems for equities. The FTSE All-World Index has fallen 2.5% from its record high last week and the tech-hea

vy Nasdaq is down 6% this month. “The move higher is starting to spook other markets,” Gregory Peters, a senior fund manager at PGIM Fixed Income, told the salmon-colored paper. “Stocks are squishy, and corporate bonds are squishy . . . It’s causing people to freak out a little.”

Over in Europe, rising shipping costs are being passed onto consumers: Inflation in Europe is approaching its highest level in nearly a year as manufacturers hike prices to keep pace with rising shipping and input costs, the FT said. Facilities manufacturing consumer goods that rely on commodities like steel are witnessing supply chain disruptions that have forced some to scale back production while rising prices on the global market are beginning to be passed onto consumers.

Luxury ride-hailing app Wheely is coming to the Middle East: The Russian company, which already operates in London and Paris, will open a Dubai office and apply for a license in the coming weeks as a “hedge” against continued lockdowns in Europe, its CEO told Bloomberg. The company will also soon be targeting more than USD 30 mn in a new funding round to finance its expansion across the pond in the US.

Biden wants to make the US less reliant on chip and medical imports: The US president has ordered a 100 day supply chain review of industries including semiconductors and pharmaceuticals in a bid to promote US production and protect the US market from supply chain shocks that occurred during covid-19, NBC News reports. Though the order did not single out China, it included a directive to reduce the US’ dependence on rival nations.

Up

EGX30

11,435

+0.2% (YTD: +5.4%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.63

Sell 15.73

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.63

Sell 15.73

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Down

Tadawul

9,116

-0.4% (YTD: +4.9%)

Down

ADX

5,630

-0.7% (YTD: +11.6%)

Down

DFM

2,508

-1.6% (YTD: +0.6%)

Up

S&P 500

3,925

+1.1% (YTD: +4.5%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,659

+0.5% (YTD: +3.1%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 67.29

+0.4%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.85

-0.9%

Down

Gold

USD 1,794.50

-0.2%

Up

BTC

USD 50,548.96

+0.2%

The EGX30 rose 0.2% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.59 bn (8.7% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 5.44% YTD.

In the green: MM Group (+11.6%), Orascom Development Holding (+2.6%) and Cleopatra Hospital (+2.0%).

In the red: Fawry (-3.9%), Sodic (-2.4%) and Orascom Investment Holding (-2.1%).

Asian markets are up in early trading this morning and futures suggest markets in the US and Europe will follow suit when they open later today.

AROUND THE WORLD

The Biden administration is elbowing Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman off the international relations stage, the Financial Times’ International Affairs Editor David Gardner writes. The White House has announced that Biden will from now on communicate with King Salman rather than MbS — who had enjoyed a special relationship with the Trump administration — in a signal that Biden is “resetting” the dynamic. Not helping matters: The fact that the White House plans to declassify intelligence concerning the 2018 murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, an operation that is widely believed to have been orchestrated by MbS.

The US could impose a number of sanctions on Russia following last year’s Russian intelligence services-backed SolarWinds hack, which exposed data from several US agencies, the Financial Times reports, citing sources close to the Biden administration. Washington may even bring criminal charges against specific Russian individuals if their intelligence services are able to confirm exactly who was responsible, the sources said.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

Ahmed Shalaby, president & CEO of Tatweer Misr: Each week, my Morning / WFH 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 Ahmed Shalaby (LinkedIn) president and CEO of Tatweer Misr for Real Estate Development.

My name is Ahmed Shalaby I’m the president and CEO of Tatweer Misr and a professor of architecture and urban development at Cairo University, Faculty of Engineering. I juggle two hats. Being a professor means I’m involved in new research and developments in the field which is really useful for our work at Tatweer Misr. As president of a fast-growing company, I'm also able to bring to my students valuable insights on real life experiences in the market.

At Cairo University we went to digital learning in March 2020, so we transitioned all our interactions online to Zoom and Blackboard. By September we were on a hybrid system with 50% in person learning. Distance learning is especially difficult for architecture students because we need to constantly conduct in person reviews for projects. We tried to balance between lectures and sketch comments but now we’re back to distance learning once again.

Tatweer Misr has a culture of entrepreneurship and adaptability. We were lucky to have in place an integrated platform that connected all our paperwork, purchase requests, human resources filings and admin approvals under one system. So it was easy to go WFH once the pandemic broke out. We started WFH in March 2020 and we gave our office employees the option of going 100% WFH as long as operations kept running smoothly. On sites and at sales offices, where on-ground presence is necessary, we took precautionary measures including monitoring workers’ and visitors’ temperatures, sanitizing the premises on an hourly basis and outfitting sites with doctors and ambulances.

Right now we’re kind of flexible. We encourage working from home and coming into the office only if necessary, but every department head has the discretion to determine their in person-WFH mix depending on the task at hand. We’re probably at 50% WFH at any given time but team meetings are still held on Zoom to avoid crowding in offices.

I think WFH is here to stay. We are leaving this experiment with new tools and techniques that will enable us to become better in the future. Our meetings with international partners will likely continue to take place on Zoom from now on. Although we miss personal communication, we’ve found it way more efficient to stick to online calls — it saves us time and expenses and we’re still getting all the same work done.

We saw productivity increase during the lockdown. Meetings through Zoom are generally more focused. This new mode of work is allowing for a better work-life balance and even greater productivity. If we managed to achieve our 2020 targets despite the year’s challenges, then everyone’s productivity has gone up.

Covid-19 has given us a chance to revisit our lifestyles. Keeping a healthy work-life balance is key to maintaining focus, and this is coming from a workaholic. We need to give time to our family and we need to have fun. But discipline and routine are also really important. Keeping a single special place for yourself can go a long way. It's also always important to stay connected and stay in communication with your team.

My life is generally consistent and structured. I wake up at 7:00 am to start my day with 30 or 40 minutes of stretching and treadmill exercises from home. That's when I read Enterprise and the day’s news. Then I get ready for breakfast with my wife and two daughters, Habeba and Maleka, at around 8:00 am — which is the most important part of my day. After breakfast I jump right into my daily meetings starting 9:30 am. I live about an hour away from the office so on days where I’m personally WFH that extra time is saved for my family. I’m usually on back to back meetings and phone calls until 5:00 or 6:00 pm.

As a people person I miss human interaction at the office. Maybe it comes from my background as a professor where I'm used to routinely interacting with large groups of people. But I try to not let that interfere with the decisions I make for the company where people’s health comes first.

The rest of the day is a balance between family, football and movies. I love helping the girls with school work in the evening, especially helping my 16-year-old daughter, Habeba, with her math homework and my six -year-old daughter, Maleka, with her school activities. Otherwise, I'm a big Ahly and Liverpool fan — any team with a red jersey really — so I try to catch games as often as I can to blow off some steam and disconnect from the day.

I love Braveheart. It's one of those movies I could watch everyday. It shows how important good leadership can be and how it can change people’s lives. As for TV shows, I like Friends. It's funny and cross generational. My daughters both really enjoy the show and we watch it together on Fridays.

I really enjoyed Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne, which was gifted to me by a good friend of mine back in 2008. The book is all about building an entrepreneurial mindset to address market challenges.

CALENDAR

February: France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, is set to visit Egypt.

6-27 February (Saturday-Saturday): Mid-year school break (public schools — enjoy the break from bumper-to-bumper traffic).

7-28 February (Sunday-Sunday): The Finance Ministry will receive applications from companies wishing to take part in the second phase of its program for the immediate payout of export subsidy arrears to exporters, minus a 15% fee.

22 February- 5 March (Monday-Friday) Egypt will host the World Shooting Championship in 6 October’s Shooting Club, with 31 countries set to participate

26-28 February (Thursday-Saturday): The second edition of the Egypt International Art Fair will be held at Dusit Thani Lakeview Cairo.

26 February (Friday): The Afro Future Summit will take place virtually.

28 February (Sunday): Deadline for businesses, sole traders, and those generating income from sources other than their day job to file wage tax returns through the electronic filing system.

March: Potential visit to Cairo by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

1 March: Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum comes into effect.

1-5 March (Monday-Friday): Aswan Forum for Peace and Development will take place virtually.

4-6 March (Thursday-Saturday): Cairo Fashion & Tex trade show, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt

8 March (Monday): The IDC Future of Work Egypt conference will be held virtually featuring experts from Egypt and Jordan.

9-11 March (Tuesday-Thursday): EduGate 2021 – Enter The Future conference, Kempinski Royal Maxim Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

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

23 March (Tuesday): The second edition of the Egypt Retail Summit takes place at the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel.

25-27 March (Thursday-Saturday): The Real Gate real estate exhibition, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

31 March (Wednesday): Deadline to visit the moroor and get an RFID sticker affixed to your car’s windshield — or run afoul of the Traffic Police.

1-3 April (Thursday-Saturday): HVAC-R Egypt Expo.

8-10 April (Thursday-Saturday): The TriFactory’s Endurance Festival at Somabay.

13 April (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC),

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

1 May (Saturday): Labor Day (national holiday).

2 May (Sunday): Easter Sunday.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

13-15 May (Thursday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

15 May (Saturday): All large taxpayers will need to join the Tax Authority’s new e-invoicing system (pdf) as part of implementing its third phase.

25-28 May (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

1 June (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

7 June-9 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

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

24 June (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year (public schools).

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday)

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

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

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

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

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

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

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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

27 June – 3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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.