Sunday, 21 January 2018

El Sisi, Anan announce presidential runs

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s a politics-heavy issue to start the week, ladies and gentlemen.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced this weekend that he will seek a second term in office. We have the full rundown in today’s Speed Round, below.

US Vice President Mike Pence was in town yesterday on the first leg of his Middle East tour to discuss security cooperation with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Troll-in-Chief Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. As expected, Pence, whose hardline evangelical base supports the decision, defended the move. The veep called disagreement with Cairo over the move as a difference of opinion “between friends” and said the US “stands shoulder-to-shoulder” with Egypt in its war on terror. Again, more in Speed Round. Can’t wait? Reuters has all the best sound bites in its wrap-up.

Pence and El Sisi’s decision to seek a second term are dominating the conversation on Egypt in the international press this morning, and just about everyone appears to have forgotten that Ethiopia’s prime minister was in town late last week, prompting El Sisi to rightly express “extreme concern” at our upstream neighbor’s plans to dam the Nile.

Pence’s trip came as Trump opened his second year in office with a government shutdown after Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a funding bill that did not include protections for young immigrants, called “dreamers,” the FT reports. The issue may see Trump abandon plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos kicking off on Tuesday, where the press has been hoping for a showdown between him, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail officially returned to the head of the Cabinet table yesterday, but will have three-hour workdays as his health continues to improve, government sources tell Al Masry Al Youm. Sources had said last week that Ismail had begun working from home and that Acting Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly had been bringing him up to speed. Ismail made on Monday his his first public appearance since since returning from Germany when he attended the swearing-in ceremony for four new ministers.

Did you miss the results of our 4Q2017 readers survey on Thursday? Tap here to get the full recap on how 2017 ended for you and what you expect of 2018.

It’s a four-day work week, with Thursday a national holiday in observance of Police Day / Revolution Day. The message from the cops: Security will be tight, and there’s going to be no tolerance of unauthorized public protests, security sources told Al Masry Al Youm.

Frontier markets have begun to outpace emerging markets after their combined market value exceeded USD 700 bn for the first time in a decade — and after three years of underperformance. The MSCI Frontier Markets Index trades at 13.2x the 12-month estimated profits of its member companies, the richest valuation on record, according to data from Bloomberg. While rising oil prices have played a factor, reforms have been the biggest driver of investor interest. Argentina, which failed to make the upgrade into MSCI EM Index, is leading the pack as it undergoes tax reforms. Liberalization of currencies in Nigeria and Morocco, which are following in Egypt’s successful example, have also been major draws.

A new fund harnesses artificial intelligence to pick stocks to hold for the long term. While plenty of firms including Vanguard and BlackRock are using AI to help process data and look for patterns, the AI Powered Equity ETF “is different,” writes the New York Times. “It uses algorithms to go the last mile and select its holdings, usually 30 to 70 stocks.” The fund has underperformed the market since its October launch, the Times’ DealBook page writes, but that may not be the case for long — and the AI advantage will probably go to larger firms, it notes.

Are you a “fixer” boss, papering over the mistakes of staff you hire or moving slowly to address performance problems? You’re setting both yourself and the under-performer up for failure, suggests the Wall Street Journal in a piece from late last year that popped up on our radar over the weekend.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Are you headed to the Arqaam Capital Egypt Investors Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, tomorrow? If so, you may find it interesting to know that Cape Town could soon become one of the first major cities in the world “to shut down entirely the supply of running water to all of its homes,” the Toronto Globe and Mail wrote this weekend. The city is forecasting that on “Day Zero” — currently slated for 21 April — it will cut off taps in homes and send its 3.7 mn residents to some 200 water collection points where they will be allowed to line up for 25 litres of water per person per day. The news comes after NASA researchers said on Thursday that 2017 was the second-hottest year since record since keeping started in 1880, eclipsing only 2016.

The IMF will release its report on its second review of Egypt’s economic reform program on Tuesday afternoon, according to Al Mal. The IMF board had approved the disbursement of USD 2 bn of its USD 12 bn Extended Fund Facility in December after signing off on the review. “By tightening monetary policy early in the year, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has managed to reverse high inflation, which was the main risk to macroeconomic stability,” IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton had said at the time. “The continuation of this disinflationary trend could open the door to a gradual easing of interest rates,” he added. The IMF will also release the latest on its December 2017 Article 4 talks with Egypt, according to the newspaper.

On The Horizon

CI Capital is holding its MENA Investor Conference on 30 January.

The 49th Cairo International Book Fair will run from 26 January until 10 February, featuring 848 publishers from 27 countries.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is expected to inaugurate the combined-cycle mega-power plant at Beni Suef sometime in mid-February. The plant will operate at full capacity three months ahead of schedule.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Chatter on the airwaves last night was almost exclusively about the presidential elections, particularly after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and former Armed Forces chief of staff Sami Anan officially said they would run.

Anan campaign spokesperson Hazem Hosny told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi that the announcement has been well received, particularly as people see Anan as a legitimate contender. He also said that Anan is not currently a member of the Egypt Arabism Party, but was among its founders, which encouraged the party to support his bid (watch, runtime: 3:59).

Anan still needs SCAF approval: Hosny made clear that Anan effectively needs permission from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to run as he remains a reserve officers; Anan would need leave to resign his commission to be allowed to run as a civilian. He noted that El Sisi sought and was granted the same leave in 2014 (watch, runtime: 2:04).

Former CAO head Hisham Genena is Anan’s deputy? Deputy head of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Amr Hashem Rabie told Lamees that former Central Auditing Organization head Hisham Genena is a top Anan campaign official. That should buff the image of an Anan candidacy in the eyes of Ikhwan supporters, Rabie said (watch, runtime: 6:12).

Lamees also touched on El Sisi’s State of the Nation conference, paying particular attention to his statement that he wouldn’t allow a corrupt individual to become president. The host wondered out loud who El Sisi was referring to and how he would prevent that person from ruling the country (watch, runtime: 5:48).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib could barely contain his excitement at the prospect of a pluralistic election, saying that Anan’s candidacy is the proof that the elections will be legitimate. He also engaged in some fortune telling, predicting that Anan will poach many of activist Khaled Ali’s supporters (watch, runtime: 54:41).

Ali campaign spokesman Amr Abdel Rahman evaded Adib’s questions about the number of endorsements Ali has received, saying the number won’t be tallied until the end of the week. Abdel Rahman also welcomed Anan’s candidacy as confirmation that the coming months will see a true election, and not a referendum, which initially seemed to be the case. However, he dismissed the possibility of Anan threatening Ali’s voter base, and said that it’s far more likely for him to attract pro-Sisi voters (watch, runtime: 7:04).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

El Sisi, Anan announce presidential bids: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi formally announced on Friday that he will seek a second term in the March 2018 election. Speaking on the final day of the Story of the Nation conference, El Sisi vowed to push ahead with planned reforms if he were re-elected for another four-year term, recounting his administration’s economic and other achievements since he was elected into office. Among the highlights the president singled out: passage of the Investment Act and other economic legislation, implementing the value-added tax, floating the EGP, the passing of tax dispute settlement act, and reforms of the subsidy systems for fuel, commodities and electricity, and an overhaul of the nation’s social welfare system.

He also promised a “free and transparent election,” urging citizens to go out to the ballot boxes “regardless of which candidate they choose.”

Also this weekend, former military chief of staff Sami Anan formally declared his intention to run in a video posted on his official Facebook page (watch here, runtime 5:15). “Rights lawyer Khaled Ali also plans to join the race, but it’s unclear if both will be able to collect the 25,000 voter endorsements needed for the candidacy application before a 29 January deadline,” Bloomberg’s Ahmed Feteha notes.

The pair present El Sisi with “no competition,” says The New York Times, one of several international news outlets that appear to be squarely focused on Sisi’s certain win, especially given the limited scope of competition. “His strongest would-be challenger, Ahmed Shafik, a former general and politician, quietly pulled out of the race this month,” notes the newspaper. Last week, MP Mohamed Anwar Sadat also announced that he would not be contesting the poll, claiming it would be a “lost battle.” The Associated Press says that “Sisi’s announcement confirmed what was long expected and paved the way for his virtually certain triumph in the 26-28 March vote,” while Reuters says the president “is widely expected to win.”

None of the candidates appear to have made their bids official yet. Candidates have a nine-day window running from 20-29 January to submit the required paperwork to officially join the race. The National Elections Commission (NEC) said yesterday, however, that none have come forward yet. The NEC also said that it has reviewed and approved requests from 21 NGO who said they wanted to monitor the elections; it is looking into applications from a further 27, Youm7 reports.

…Meanwhile, Al Masry Al Youm claims that Suez Canal University Professor Mona Al Prince is planning to join the race. Al Prince, who teaches English literature, had been investigated last year for “inappropriate behavior,” after a clip of her dancing on the roof of her home went viral.

Egypt still publicly supports Palestine’s claim to Jerusalem: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi told US Vice President Mike Pence during a meeting in Cairo yesterday that Egypt’s position on Palestine’s claim to Jerusalem is “unyielding,” according to an Ittihadiya statement (pdf). El Sisi stressed that Cairo is still backing a two-state solution.

The best readout on the meeting is from Reuters, which notes that:

  • Pence “heard out” El Sisi on Jerusalem, and positioned the dispute over the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a “disagreement between friends”;
  • The US will support a two-state solution if Israel and Palestine do;
  • Pence said the US “stands shoulder to shoulder with you in Egypt in the fight against terrorism”;
  • Ties between the two countries “had never been stronger” after a period of “drifting apart,” Reuters quoted the veep as saying;
  • Pence “pressed El Sisi about two Americans who have been imprisoned in Egypt since 2013, as well as for reform of Egypt’s restrictive laws on non-governmental organizations.” The daughter of the two, Ola and Hossam Khalaf, had penned an open letter to Pence urging him to free her parents.

The Associated Press also has a solid wrap-up — and notes that it took Pence’s personal intervention before journalists accompanying the vice president were allowed in to cover a joint appearance with El Sisi.

Pressure from rights groups: Rights organizations had also called on the VP to condemn Egypt’s position towards its LGBT community and to encourage adopting strategies that would end discrimination against LGBT and Christian citizens, Human Rights First says.

Pence’s visit coincided with the US Navy ships USS Carney and USNS Carson City docking at the Port of Alexandria, the first such visit of a US Navy ship to Alex since 2009, the US Embassy announced on Thursday. The visit reflects “the importance of the strategic partnership between our countries, between our militaries and between our navies,” US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Dorothy Shea said.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi appointed Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel as interim chief of the General Intelligence Service, Reuters reports. “The report did not immediately mention Khaled Fawzi, who was serving as chief of the General Intelligence before Thursday’s announcement.” Kamel is currently El Sisi’s chief of staff at Ittihadiya. “The change comes month after Sisi removed the armed forces chief of staff, the head of the country’s national security agency, and 10 other top Interior Ministry officials following a deadly ambush of anti-terrorism agents in October,” Bloomberg says. The Associated Press and New York Times also have coverage.

El Sisi’s sit-down in Cairo late last week with Ethiopia’s visiting prime minister was nearly lost amid the Pence visit, election talk and shakeup at the intelligence service, but it’s our upstream neighbor that could well have the sharpest long-term impact on our nation.

The president expressed “extreme concern” to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn over the lack of progress in talks on the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Associated Press reports. El Sisi noted that Desalegn rejected Egypt’s proposal to bring in World Bank experts as neutral arbitrators on the dispute over the likely impact of the dam on Egypt’s share of the Nile and that he wanted a different team of experts. El Sisi said cooperation among the Nile basin countries must not be a “zero-sum game.” Desalegn also said Ethiopia does not want to hurt Egypt or make the Nile “an object of competition, mistrust or conflict,” Reuters reports. You can watch the whole press conference here (runtime 34:48).

Desalegn reportedly suggested holding a tripartite meeting with Egypt and Sudan by month’s end to resolve the gridlock over GERD, informed sources said, according to Youm7. Desalegn said the three countries’ presidents should meet on the sidelines of the African Union summit taking place in Addis Ababa later this month to discuss “outstanding differences,” including those over the dam.

Health Ministry reverses sanction of As-Salam International Hospital: The Health Ministryis backing down from a one-month disciplinary closure of the As-Salam International Hospital imposed on Thursday. The order followed a complaint by an emergency patient’s family that the hospital had required them to sign an EGP 500,000 IOU to initiate treatment, Ahram Online reports. Sources at the hospital tell us that As-Salam staff had in fact begun what was a successful 15-hour surgery to reattach the patient’s arm before discussing payment with the family, as is standard practice at private-sector hospitals. The ministry first imposed the sanction when the family claimed the patient had been denied medical treatment until an IOU was signed.

The ministry reversed the decision by Saturday evening, with senior Health Ministry official Ali Mahroos saying that the reversal follows an investigation that found the hospital had complied with regulations, El Watan reports. The ministry is expected to issue another statement on the matter today.

Cleopatra Hospitals Group outlines case for acquisition of El Nozha Int’l: Cleopatra Hosptials Group, one of Egypt’s largest private-sector hospital operators, gave more colour on its bid for El Nozha International Hospital in a release issued Thursday (pdf). “El Nozha is exactly the type of accretive acquisition we are seeking: A physician-founded and physician-led facility with a reputation for excellence and a deep commitment to quality patient outcomes across a variety of specialties,” said CHG CEO Dr. Ahmed Ezzeldin. “El Nozha benefits from a strong management team and CHG is committed to fund El Nozha’s substantial planned capital expenditure program for the existing facility including planned future capacity expansions and equipment upgrades to improve quality of medical services and patient access.” CHG said it sees “multiple avenues to extract favorable synergies of a local nature, including doctor scheduling, tiered insurance packages, medical CAPEX, revenue and cost synergies.” EFG Hermes and Matouk Bassiouny are advising Cleopatra on the transaction.

The Supply Ministry is planning to raise Egypt’s wheat storage capacity 3.9 mn tonnes by 2022, ministry officials said at the state of the nation conference which took place over the weekend, Al Mal reports. Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy had said late last year that the ministry is looking to develop 75 wheat silos over the coming two years, with each silo having a storage capacity of up to 5,000 tonnes. The ministry had green-lit the development of 300 shounas as part of the second phase of Blumberg Grain’s shouna project, while the Military Productions Ministry has formed a JV with Russian agriculture conglomerate Rusagro called Rusagro Egypt, which will develop mills and silos.

Waste-to-energy projects are now getting green light, following in footsteps of solar and win: Following a number of high profile investments last year in solar and wind energy projects, waste-to-energy (WtE) projects appear to be the next hot investment in alternative energy, with a number of projects getting greenlit. First of, an OTMT-LafargeHolcim consortium is finalizing approvals for upgrading the EGP 200 mn Giza recycling factory to produce refuse-derived fuel (RDF) with an eye to begin work y in 1Q2018, sources tell Al Borsa. The factory is expected to produce between 85k and 90k tonnes of refuse per month. The consortium will begin using RDF to generate energy once the Electricity Ministry announces its waste-to-energy feed-in tariff, the sources say. Earlier this month, news reports claimed that the electricity and environment ministries had agreed to set the feed-in tariff for WtE projects at EGP 1.30 per kWh for energy produced from agricultural waste and EGP 1.60 per kWh for that produced from solid waste. The two companies had signed an agreement back in 2015 to cooperate on RDF projects, in which they plan on investing EGP 600 mn.

Meanwhile, Energy group Empower has signed contracts for the development of two 1 MW WtE plants in New Salhiya with initial investments of up to EGP 143 mn, CEO Hatem El Gamal tells Al Mal. Construction is set to start in 3Q2018, once Empower finalizes designs and plans that are being drafted alongside a German partner, which El Gamal did not name. The plant is scheduled to begin production by the end of 1Q2019 and will sell power to the North Delta Electricity Distribution Company at a feed-in tariff of EGP 1.02 per kWh for 20 years.

Mansour Group and Scope Investment will begin selling Peugeot cars in April, said Yehia El Saba, GM of El Saba Automotive — one of four Egyptian companies who have been selected to conduct after sales services for Peugeot cars in Egypt. El Seoudi Group, Wahdan Auto Group, and Nour El Din El Sherif For Trading Vehicles have also been chosen to provide after sales services, El Saba tells Al Mal. Mansour Group and Dubai-based Scope Investment had clinched the distribution rights to Peugeot cars from Cairo For Development and Cars Manufacturing (CDCM), which is suing the Peugeot-Citroen arm of Groupe PSA for unexpectedly ending their 41 year-old partnership last November.

In other auto news, Chinese model cars are becoming widely popular in Egypt, capturing around 20% of the Egyptian passenger car market, said Egyptian Automobile Manufacturers Association Secretary General Khaled Saad. Chinese mini-buses have seen sales grow at a much faster pace, with a 40% market share, Saad tells Youm7. He expects Chinese models to be the most popular selling vehicles in Egypt in the span of five years.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House signs off on law granting IDA autonomy from Trade and Industry Ministry: The House of Representatives signed off on legislation regulating the work of the Industrial Development Authority, Al Borsa reports, citing a Trade and Industry Ministry statement. The law grants the agency financial and administrative independence from the ministry, which would make it the top industrial authority, responsible for allocating land to investors for industrial purposes and awarding industrial permits and licenses, IDA boss Ahmed Abdel Razek said. The House had given a preliminary nod to the bill earlier in January.

The Agricultural Quarantine Authority has issued new export regulations that seek to ensure the quality of goods exported from Egypt, Agricultural Exports Council head Abdel Hamid El Demerdash tells Al Borsa. The new directives make it mandatory for strawberry and pepper exporters to obtain signed letters from their respective packaging stations, where state-affiliated inspectors examine their cargo. The new measures are the latest in a string of attempts by the state to tighten inspection procedures, a number of Arab countries issued temporary bans on various Egyptian crops, including guavas, strawberries, peppers, which they said was unsafe for consumption due to high levels of residual pesticides. Earlier this month, the Agriculture Ministry had given inspectors authority to reject whole shipments if a single sample proved contaminated.

MOVES- Tarek Fahim has joined Endeavor Egypt’s board of directors. Fahim is the Managing Partner at Endure Capital and joins Khaled Bichara, Amr Shady, Mohamed Azab, and Amir Barsoum on Endeavor’s board of the directors.

Further afield: Keep your eye on South Africa this week. The ruling African National Congress has started taking steps to kick Jacob Zuma out of his second “scandal-hit presidency,” writes the Financial TImes, “paving the way for Cyril Ramaphosa, its newly elected leader, to take over the helm and accelerate a clean-out of corruption in government.” Bloomberg also has the story.

Germany’ will immediately stop approving arms exports to countries participating in the war in Yemen, DW reports. The move is expected to include Saudi Arabia — one of Germany’s biggest weapons customers — the UAE, and Pakistan. Egypt, which has resisted efforts to drag it into the fighting, will not be included on the list.

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Egypt in the News

US Vice President Mike Pence’s arrival in Cairo on the first leg of his Middle East tour tops coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning. The VP’s visit comes as the region grows increasingly angry at US President Donald Trump’s administration, which “faces more daunting challenges in the Middle East than when he was sworn in,” Robin Wright says in The New Yorker. Wright notes that, one year into his presidency, Trump’s ambition of resolving the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict “is in tatters.” The Times of Israel and NPR also have coverage.

Top Egyptian swimmer and Olympic hopeful Farida Osman gave a short interview with Al Arabiya on breaking stereotypes and her goals for the 2020 Olympics. Osman is adamant on proving that female athletes in the Middle East can succeed, but prefers to let her swimming speak for her. Her her focus is squarely on training for the 2020 games (watch, runtime 0:37).

Also worth a quick skim this morning:

  • Autocracy in Egypt has a multitude of dictators spread across all aspects of daily life, Maged Mandour writes for Open Democracy.
  • Singer Mohamed Mounir is “still a man of the people,” Saeed Saeed reviews for The National.
  • Ancient Egyptian relics went on display at the Henan Museum in Zhengzhou City, China, according to Global Times. The relics were “collected by a museum in Turin, Italy.”
  • An antique bedroom set that disappeared from the royal rest house at the Giza Zoo has turned up for sale in a video on M.S Rau Antiques, according to Al Arabiya (or watch, runtime 2:40).
  • Syrian refugees are bringing Damascus’ perfume heritage to Egypt as they settle and try to find success for their businesses, Al Monitor reports.

On Deadline

We now have three contenders in the presidential race, but none of them has presented specific solutions to the nation’s very specific problems, Ahmed Galal writes in Al Masry Al Youm. He says that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Sami Anan, and Khaled Ali have all been fixating on what has been happening in the past — whether positive or negative — and are yet to articulate a vision for the future. The nominees also have not addressed the very pressing issue of reforming the country’s political landscape, which currently lacks active parties. In any case, Al Shorouk’s Emad El Din Hussein isn’t holding his breath for Anan, who he says may very well drop out of the race as he continues to be suspected of corruption during his time as military chief of staff.

Worth Reading

Yara Shalaby, Egypt’s only active female desert-racing driver, is trying to make a run at a world cup event in Abu Dhabi this March, according to ESPN. Shalaby got her start in the sport five years ago and has cut her teeth on grueling long-distance races like the 1,800 mile Pharaons Rally. She not only completes the races, a feat in and of itself, but has the elite-level skills to compete for spots on the podium. The IT professional and single mother has turned heads on the rally scene, garnering attention for being the first female finisher of the five day race as a primary driver for her team. Shalaby is a quarter of the way toward raising the USD 55k she needs to field an eight-person team for the Abu Dhabi event. Desert rallies don’t follow a set track and aside from the driving skills teams have to be able to navigate the vast tracts of desert they drive through.

Worth Watching

Video game maker Crema announced the release of an Ancient Egyptian-themed first person shooter titled Immortal Redneck in February 2018, according to XBox Achievements. The hero in this case is The Redneck who somehow finds himself mummified in Egypt and having to shoot his way out of trouble around the pyramids (watch, runtime 1:31).

Quick prediction from The Resident 10-Year-Old: “No chance it’s as cool as Assassin’s Creed: Origins,” which is also set in Ancient Egypt.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

A delegation from Volkswagen met with Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish on Thursday to discuss potential investment in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. The visit follows up on Mamish’s tour of Germany last year which meant to drive business towards the area, particularly in the fields of automotive, energy, and SMEs. Still nothing definitive on whether Mercedes-Benz is really restarting operations in Egypt.

Energy

EEHC signs contracts for West Cairo, Walidiya power stations

The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) signed a supply agreement with Schneider Electric on Thursday to supply medium- and high-voltage air-insulated switchgear for the West Cairo and Walidiya power stations, Al Shorouk reports.

GGF grants Banque du Caire USD 10 mn in energy conservation support

The European Investment Bank and KfW’s Green for Growth Fund’s (GGF) is providing Banque du Caire with USD 10 mn in funding to support green projects in Egypt, Al Masry Al Youm reports. This is the GGF’s third agreement of its kind in Egypt, having provided Alexbank with USD 20 mn in 2016 and the National Bank of Egypt with USD 30 mn in 2017 for the same purpose.

Real Estate + Housing

Acumen-BPE gathers EGP 250 mn in investments

Acumen-BPE’s real estate fund has secured investments of over EGP 250 mn, Chairman Hany Tawfik said, Al Mal reported. The fund is planning to attract EGP 500 mn and was scheduled to begin marketing the Housing and Development Bank’s real estate fund last year but faced delays.

New Capital Company to stop tendering land for 18 months

The New Administrative Capital Company has decided to stop tendering land intended for residential mixed-use developments at the new capital for the next 18 months, government sources tell Al Borsa. The company plans to auction off more land for phase two of development in early or mid-2019.

Telecoms + ICT

NTRA to operate fixed-line licenses for MNOs in 2H2018

The nation’s three private mobile network operators will be able to operate virtual fixed-line phone services as of 2H2018, sources with knowledge of the matter tell Youm7. MNOs had purchased the fixed-line licenses back in 2016 at USD 11.26 mn a piece. Once the service comes on stream, MNOs will be allocated 3 mn phone lines in Cairo and Alexandria, as well as 300k lines in the different governorates, National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) head Mostafa Abdel Wahed said. Trial operations are already ongoing he added. In related news, the NTRA is working on making more 4G frequencies available to the MNOs, who had submitted requests back in December. The process is, however, highly technical and will take time, sources tell the newspaper.

Automotive + Transportation

Military Production Ministry to collaborate with Bombardier Transportation on railway equipment manufacturing

The Military Production Ministry signed an MoU with Bombardier Transportation that will see both sides cooperate on various national transport projects, Al Masry Al Youm reported on Friday. The ministry will be collaborating with Bombardier on manufacturing locomotives and other equipment needed for the new capital monorail project and the Cairo Metro’s Line 6. Bombardier will also be helping the ministry produce diesel-powered locomotives by sharing its technology and expertise.

Transport Ministry begins working on Alexandria-Cairo-Aswan express train

The Transport Ministry has begun working on the first phase of an express train connecting Alexandria, Cairo and Aswan, Minister Hisham Arafat announced on Friday, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The first phase will be connected to the existing railway between Cairo and Alexandria, Arafat tells the newspaper. The second phase, which is currently under study, will connect Giza to Aswan through Assiut and Luxor.

Banking + Finance

Egypt asks EU for EUR 1.5 bn loan, EUR 100 mn grant for energy and oil projects

Egypt has asked the European Union for a EUR 1.5 bn loan and EUR 100 mn grant to support projects in the energy and oil sectors, the EU’s Director for Neighbourhood South, Michael Köhler told the press in Cairo last week, Al Mal reports. The Egyptian government has presented the EU with a list of projects it intends to complete, which is currently under study. The EU will provide the financing through different European institutions such as the French Development Agency and European Investment Bank, Köhler said. His statements came during a meeting with Investment Minister Sahar Nasr last week where they signed an agreement for a EUR 27 mn grant to support the government’s social housing strategy.

NBE to manage Zohr foreign currency revenues

National Bank of Egypt (NBE) will be managing the foreign currency revenues generated from the Zohr gas field, Al Mal announced. NBE says it will provide the banking services required for the field’s operations directly and indirectly.

Credit Agricole, Faisal allocate EGP 500 mn and EGP 200 mn to CBE’s mortgage finance initiative

The central bank’s Mortgage Finance Fund has signed agreements with Credit Agricole and Faisal Islamic Bank that will see them make EGP 500 mn and EGP 200 mn, respectively, available to financing housing purchases for the mid- and low-income segment, Al Borsa reports.

Global Lease looking to borrow EGP 1 bn

Global Lease is in talks with a number of unnamed banks to secure EGP 1 bn in financing for its continued expansion, CEO Hattem Samir said in statements carried by AMAY. Meanwhile, the leasing outfit has plans to increase its capital to EGP 200 mn from its current EGP 112.5 mn.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Court uphold three death sentences over police officer killing

The Court of Cassation upheld yesterday three death sentences handed down over the 2013 killing of a senior officer during a police raid on militant hideouts in Kerdasa, Ahram Online reports. The court also commuted four other death sentences to life imprisonment in the same case and confirmed 10-year prison sentences given to five others.

Sports

Salah reportedly in talks with Real Madrid

Reports have emerged that Mohamed Salah is in talks with Real Madrid, according to the Daily Star. A Spanish journalist reported that Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, was in Madrid for talks, adding to recent speculation about a move for the forward. Salah’s former teammate Coutinho added to the chatter by telling current Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi that Salah would be headed to Madrid.

On Your Way Out

Contemporary Egyptian bands are gaining some international traction with “El Ayadi El Khafeyya” (The Invisible Hands) booking a spot in the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) running from 15 February for 10 days, according to Egypt Today. The Berlinale will feature a documentary about the band, chronicling band member Alan Bishop’s experience as a stranger to our city after arriving in 2011 and the collaboration between him and his Egyptian bandmates that eventually resulted in El Ayadi El Khafeyya. Early February will also see several Egyptian bands perform at Dubai’s Wasla Music Festival, according to Ahram Online. Amongst the local voices of note that will be there are Cairokee and Lekhfa Trio.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.66 | Sell 17.76
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.64 | Sell 17.74
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75

EGX30 (Thursday): 15,411 (+1.4%)
Turnover: EGP 1.7 bn (53% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +2.6%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 1.4%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 1.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Elsewedy Electric up 6.3%; Ezz Steel up 6.0%; and Kima up 3.2%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Global Telecom down 1.4%; Eastern Co up 0.4%; and Palm Hills down 0.3%. The market turnover was EGP 1.7 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +163.8 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -34.3 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -129.5 mn

Retail: 61.8% of total trades | 58.1% of buyers | 65.4% of sellers
Institutions: 38.2% of total trades | 41.9% of buyers | 34.6% of sellers

Foreign: 18.8% of total | 23.7% of buyers | 13.8% of sellers
Regional: 12.4% of total | 11.4% of buyers | 13.5% of sellers
Domestic: 68.8% of total | 64.9% of buyers | 72.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 63.37 (-0.91%)
Brent: USD 68.61 (-1.01%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.19 MMBtu, (-0.19%, February 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,333.1 / troy ounce (+0.44%)

TASI: 7,539.02 (-0.01%) (YTD: +4.33%)
ADX: 4,625.39 (-0.21%) (YTD: +5.16%)
DFM: 3,531.05 (-0.32%) (YTD: +4.78%)
KSE Weighted Index: 419.11 (+0.15%) (YTD: +4.41%)
QE: 9,200.10 (+0.45%) (YTD: +7.94%)
MSM: 5,024.06 (-0.15%) (YTD: -1.48%)
BB: 1,333.17 (+0.11%) (YTD: -0.11%)

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Calendar

22-23 January (Monday-Tuesday): Arqaam Capital Egypt Investors Conference 2018, The Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 January (Thursday): 25 January revolution / Police Day, national holiday.

29-30 January (Monday-Tuesday): Seamless North Africa, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

30 January-01 February (Tuesday-Thursday): CI Capital’s MENA Investor Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

05 February (Monday): Egypt’s Emirates NBI PMI reading for January announced.

12-14 February 2018 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show 2018 (EGYPS), New Cairo Exhibition Center.

19-20 February 2018 (Monday-Tuesday): The Banking Tech North Africa, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo

17-21 February 2018 (Saturday-Wednesday): Women For Success – Women SME’s "World of Possibilities" Conference, Cairo/Luxor.

05-07 March (Monday-Wednesday): EFG Hermes’ One on One Conference 2018, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE.

28-31 March 2018 (Thursday-Sunday): Cityscape Egypt, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

08 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

09 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

24-25 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Renaissance Capital’s 3rd Annual Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 April (Wednesday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

01 May (Tuesday): Labour Day, national holiday.

4-6 May 2018 (Friday-Sunday): International Conference on Network Technology (ICNT 2018), venue TBD, Cairo.

15 May (Tuesday): Expected date for the start of Ramadan begins (TBC).

15-17 June (Friday-Sunday): Eid Al Fitr (TBC), national holiday. (Look for possible Monday off given the first day falls on a Friday.)

21-25 August (Tuesday-Saturday): Eid Al Adha (TBC), national holiday

11 September (Tuesday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

06 October (Saturday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

20 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (TBC), national holiday.

22 November (Thursday): US Thanksgiving.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

25 April 2019 (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April 2019 (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April 2019 (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

01 May 2019 (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May 2019 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC)

05-06 June 2019 (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC)

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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of 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; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.