Wednesday, 23 October 2019

UK finally lifts flight ban on Sharm El Sheikh
Plus: Ethiopian PM raises specter of war ahead of meeting with El Sisi.


What We’re Tracking Today

Public schools and universities are closed today because … we’re having weather. Cabinet said overnightthat schools in Cairo, Giza and Qalyubia governorates are closed today as the city bails out the streets after yesterday’s torrential rains and amid expectations of further showers today.

Expect a chance of rain today, a shower tomorrow and up to 6 mm of rain on Friday — as well as 1-4 mm of rain split between this coming Saturday and Sunday, warns or favourite weather app. The National Meteorological Authority has warned of “unstable weather” through Saturday.

PSA- EgyptAir customers caught up in the weather-related delays yesterday will be able to re-book their flights without paying fines, Al Mal reports.

The big story of the morning: Ethiopia is rattling its saber. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi landed in Sochi yesterday to co-chair the Russia-Africa Summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The big event of the gathering (sitting here in Cairo) is a sit-down expected between El Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who ratcheted up tensions yesterday as he said his country could “mobilize mns” to fight if Egypt took military action against the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. We have chapter and verse in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Leaders from more than 50 African countries will gather in the Black Sea resort town today to discuss strengthening economic ties with Moscow. The summit will feature panel discussions on issues ranging from Russian-African cooperation in energy, trade and infrastructure investment to collaboration in science, technology and digital security.

El Sisi has already held his first meeting: The chairman of Russian car company Gaz told the president yesterday that his company is keen on expanding its operations in Egypt’s auto market, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

Keep an eye out for an announcement regarding the the USD 7 bn Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ) in Egypt during the summit. Some 55 Russian manufacturers have expressed interest in setting up shop in the zone, which is expected to produce USD 3.6 bn-worth of products by 2026.

Sahar Nasr was in Georgia for the Silk Road Forum to promote investment in Egypt — and where she lavished praise on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, according to a cabinet statement, but is on the agenda in Sochi alongside her cabinet colleague CIT Minister Amr Talaat. Amani Abou-Zeid (wearing her African Union hat) and Suez Canal Economic Zone boss Yehia Zaki are due in Russia, while Qalaa Holdings chief Ahmed Heikal is on a panel in Sochi this afternoon on investing in Africa.

Health minister reports to House committee: Health Minister Hala Zayed discussed developments in her sector in a meeting yesterday with the House of Representatives’ Health Committee, according to the local press.

The Munich Security Conference Core Group Meeting will be held in Cairo on 26-28 October, Ahram Online reported yesterday. The meeting will bring together senior foreign policy decision-makers from around the world to discuss regional security issues. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will both be in attendance, alongside the Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and a handful of African leaders.

Other key dates to pencil into your agendas this week and next:

  • Cairo Water Week kicked off earlier this week at Al-Manara International Conference Center in New Cairo, under the title “Responding to Water Scarcity.” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi welcomed on Monday delegations in town to attend the conference, which will wrap tomorrow.
  • The Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference will take place at the Hilton Heliopolis today and tomorrow.
  • A B2B conference for German and Egyptian companies will take place on Monday, 28 October in Cairo. Click or tap here to register.
  • The US Federal Reserve will meet on 29-30 October to review key interest rates.

Aramco aiming to IPO before the end of the year: Saudi Aramco will try to list on the Saudi stock exchange before the end of the year, after doubts over its valuation caused it to delay a transaction that had been expected this week, sources tell Bloomberg. The state oil giant will make an official announcement of its listing plans in the coming weeks, the people said. The company is reportedly looking to lean more on local and regional investors after foreign investors balked at its USD 2 tn valuation.

Over half the world’s banks are failing to keep pace with their costs through returns on equity,McKinsey said in its annual review of the industry, released earlier this week. This puts them in a weak position to cope with any prospective financial downturn and means they risk “becoming footnotes to history,” as new entrants to the market change consumer behavior, the report warns. The consultancy urges banks to invest more in innovation — an area to which they collectively allocate only 35% of their IT budgets — to develop technology, as well as outsourcing operations and strengthening their position through mergers, Bloomberg reports.

WeWork’s board has accepted a multi-bn bailout offer from its largest investor, SoftBank Group, sources tell the Financial Times. The Japanese tech conglomerate will inject USD 6.5 bn into the work space company, and will give ex-CEO Adam Neumann almost USD 1.7 bn to step down from the board and drop his extra voting rights. The plans would value the company at just USD 8 bn, a stunning fall in value from the USD 47 bn valuation given in the last investment round.

Making the international headlines this morning:

  • Russia replaces America in northern Syria security vacuum. Russia and Turkey have agreed a formal ceasefire accord that will see troops from both countries patrol the northeastern Syria border as Kurdish militia withdraw, the Associated Press says. The units will fill the vacuum left by the US military, which is in the process of pulling out of the northeast of the country.
  • Trudeau in coalition talks after failing to win parliamentary majority: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is trying to gain support from the left-leaning New Democrats after failing to win a parliamentary majority in the general election on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
  • Is Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam finally on the way out? The Financial Times reports that officials in Beijing are drawing up plans to replace Carrie Lam as Hong Kong’s chief executive with an interim leader. Sources say that the plans — an effort to stymie ongoing protests, now in their fifth month — would see a successor appointed by March to serve the rest of her term, which ends in 2022.

KUDOS- Zulficar and Partners won the International Financial Law Review’s award for national law firm of the year in Egypt. Matouk Bassiouny & Ibrahim (the Dubai outpost of Cairo-headquartered Matouk Bassiouny) was named rising star law firm of the year, while Al Tamimi & Co also took home the awards for project finance and restructuring. Matouk Bassiouny’s Nadia Abdallah was also recognized as rising star of the year. Zulficar & Partners was also named most innovative firm of the year.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was a reasonably eventful night on the airwaves last night, despite the absence of Lamees El Hadidi, who this week rejoined the country’s cast of talking heads. El Hadidi’s new show, Al Kahera Alaan, airs on Al Hadath TV on Sunday and Monday evenings.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Sochi to head the two-day Russia-Africa Summit, which kicks off today,stole the limelight. Hona Al Asema’s Reham Ibrahim was among those with a pen, a paper, and a loud mouth (watch, runtime: 1:58).

Will El Sisi bring up the flights? We remain none the wiser about the current state of play in the negotiations to get Russian airlines back to Sharm El Sheikh after hearing from Russian political analyst Leonid Sukainen, who offered precious little political analysis. “We have been anticipating over the recent period the resumption of Russia-Egypt flights [to the Red Sea],” he told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr in a phone call (watch, runtime: 4:20). Sukainen expects El Sisi to discuss energy, military, and economic cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Brits are returning to Sharm: The UK lifted yesterday its four-year ban on direct flights to Sharm El Sheikh, Abu Bakr noted (watch, runtime: 1:51). He spoke to Egyptian Tourism Federation member Ali Ghoneim, who claimed that the UK was persuaded to return by El Sisi’s diplomatic trips around the world. He also said that the “intensive presence of the private sector in international conferences” was also a factor, which in our view is probably the more plausible explanation. We have more in Speed Round, below.

Talking heads pounce on the BBC for interviewing Mohamed Ali: The State Information Service rebuked the BBC after it announced it would broadcast an interview with contractor-turned-exile Mohamed Ali. The report claimed that the BBC has a “history of lack of professionalism and credibility” and slammed its coverage of the 2017 Daesh attack in Giza. The BBC’s ongoing coverage of the Egyptian judiciary was also a bone of contention. Abu Bakr (watch, runtime: 10:25), Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 32:21), and Hona Al Asema’s Reham Ibrahim (watch, runtime: 8: 26) all featured lengthy segments slamming the British broadcaster.

Also getting some airtime yesterday:

  • Foreign Ministry response to Ethiopia’s PM: Radwan and Abu Bakr both read out a Foreign Ministry’s response to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who yesterday hinted at the prospect of war over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (more on this in Speed Round, below).
  • EFA calls off Premier League until U-23 Afcon wraps up: The Egyptian Football Association has put off Premier League games until the Africa U23 Cup of Nations wraps up on 22 November, Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer reports (watch, runtime: 0:46). We have the story in this morning’s Sports section.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

The UK finally lifts four-year flight ban on Sharm El-Sheikh: The British government informed airlines in a statement yesterday that it “no longer advises against flying to Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh Airport.” The announcement puts an end to the UK’s four-year ban on flights, which was introduced after the downing of a Russian airliner in 2015. “We look forward to services to Sharm El Sheikh resuming and lifting the restriction is the first step in that process,” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. “We will now work closely with airlines who wish to resume flights to and from the airport.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also updated its Egypt travel advice explaining that they “no longer advise against all but essential travel by air to/from Sharm el Sheikh.”

Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat said the decision was a “message to the world that Egypt is safe,” and noted that the return of British tourists will be a testament to the ongoing cooperation between the two countries.

When will flights actually resume? TUI was among the travel companies that welcomed the news, stating that it will probably launch the first services in summer 2020, the Guardian notes. Airline EasyJet also said in a statement that they were aware of the lifting of the restriction and will look at any options for EasyJet and easyJet Holidays as a result, according to AP.

It couldn’t have come at a better time, just a month after Egypt faced the possibility of losing thousands of tourists in the aftermath of Thomas Cook’s collapse. Local operator Blue Sky Group was expecting 100k tourists to visit Egypt via Thomas Cook in 2020 and canceled 25k reservations booked up to April 2020. Egypt was one of Thomas Cook’s most rapidly growing markets, with bookings up by 30-40% in 2019. The Tourism Ministry played down the effect to only last a month or two — with the winter season bearing the brunt of the impact — before bookings return to their normal levels. The number of UK tourists have grown in recent years, reaching 415,000 visitors in 2018.

Background: The UK imposed a flight ban to Sharm El Sheikh Airport after the downing of a Russian airliner in 2015. Despite the security situation improving, the UK has been hesitant to give the go-ahead to airlines to return. Some UK MPs had called for the resumption of flights, questioning why the UK is one of the last countries in Europe to retain the travel ban.

Fingers crossed: Abu Ali says the Russians will be back “very soon.” Head of hotel management company Albatros Holding and film producer Kamel Abu Ali said said the lifting of restrictions would prompt Russia to do away with its own ban in “mere days.” Russian authorities have said that flights may resume this year, but have been reluctant to provide a deadline.

The story is receiving widespread coverage in the international press: Associated PressFrance 24The GuardianBloombergGulf NewsMirrorThe Independent.

In a significant escalation, Ethiopian PM raises military option ahead of GERD meeting with El Sisi: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed yesterday hinted that he could take military action against Egypt as part of the ongoing dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Associated Press reports. Speaking in parliament, the recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize said that while his government does not want to resort to force, military options will be on the table if Egypt tries to prevent it from completing the dam. “Some say things about the use of force [by Egypt]. It should be underlined that no force could stop Ethiopia from building a dam,” he said. “If there is a need to go to war, we could get mns readied. If some could fire a missile, others could use bombs. But that’s not in the best interest of all of us.”

He may have been responding to talk in the Egyptian press of a pre-emptive strike against the dam. Several commentators in the Egyptian press have begun framing the dispute as a potential issue for the military. Al Shorouk columnist Abdallah El Senawy suggested that military action could become the only option if bilateral negotiations and international mediation fail. Meanwhile, former Al Masry Al Youm editor Anwar El Hawary linked the situation to the 1973 war with Israel, suggesting that if the country is willing to fight for the Sinai, it should be willing to do the same to protect its access to water.

The Foreign Ministry expressed “great concern” and “astonishment” at Ahmed’s statements, and called for the use of diplomacy to settle the disagreement in a statement.

The sticking point: The main point of disagreement revolves around how much water Ethiopia will release each year when the dam becomes operational. Egypt depends on the Nile for 90% of its water and wants Ethiopia to release 40 bcm a year from its reservoir, a higher quantity than the 35 bcm proposed by Addis Ababa. Egypt has refused to allow Ethiopia to fill the dam’s reservoirs before signing an agreement, while Ethiopia claims that Egypt is trying to exercise disproportionate control over the Nile.

Could the US or Russia be the power broker? The Foreign Ministry said that the US had acceded to Egypt’s calls for its involvement, and had invited the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese foreign ministers to Washington to find a way through the impasse. It did not disclose when the meeting could take place. However, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry yesterday requested that Russia step in and mediate during this week’s Russia-Africa summit in Sochi.

Ethiopia is still refusing any form of international mediation. An Egyptian Foreign Ministry official told the AP that it will take the case to the UN Security Council if Ethiopia continues to refuse to internationalize the dispute.

All of this sets us up for a tense encounter at the summit: Political analysts aren’t holding out much hope for this week’s meeting between President El Sisi and Ahmed at the Russia-Africa summit. Ethiopian political scientist Yacob Arsano told Euronews Arabic that the meeting will not produce a breakthrough due to Ethiopia’s resistance to international mediation. AUC political science professor Moustafa El Sayed said the technical nature of the dispute means that Ahmed is unlikely to budge. "The dispute over the dam is a technical, not a political issue, and as a result, the Ethiopian government believes it is unacceptable for other parties to intervene," he said.

The story is getting coverage in the foreign press: BloombergBBC.

Suez Canal revenues could come under threat as Russia looks to expand Arctic shipping route: Russia plans to make cargo shipping through the Arctic Ocean more commercially attractive to shipping lines than the Suez Canal and could offer to cover the cost of risks in a bid to do just that, says Bloomberg. Projects to deliver liquified natural gas through the Arctic are already underway, but Russia’s Deputy Far East and Arctic Development Minister Alexander Krutikov said commercial route operators are not too fond of a twofold increase in their insurance bills and the idea of having to deploy icebreakers.

Russia’s Arctic Development Program: Moscow is determined to develop the Arctic into a year-round route by 2030, and President Vladimir Putin has made it a long-term strategic priority of his administration. According to Russian media reports, Krukitov’s ministry is working to set up a state-commissioned shipping operator. The operator would compensate commercial shippers for possible supply disruptions and the costly insurance associated with Arctic trips. It would also take over from feeder ships in European and Asian ports to move goods between Kamchatka in the far east of the country to Murmansk in the far west — a 3,000 nautical mile stretch known as the Northern Sea Route.

Why is it bad for us? The Arctic route beats us on speed: It’s as much as 3k nautical miles less to go over the Arctic route to ship between China and North America, for starters…

Commercial operations could start in as little as 10 years, the story suggests.

How is this all possible? Thank climate change. Arctic navigation is really possible today only between July and October and costs at around 40% more than taking goods via the Suez Canal.

PRIVATIZATION WATCH- HHD is still accepting bids for 10% stake + management rights, Tawfik says: State-owned Heliopolis Housing and Development (HHD) has not closed the window for private investors to submit bids to acquire a 10% stake with management rights, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik told reporters earlier this week, according to Al Shorouk. The minister said that the previously announced cut-off point (last Monday) was not set in stone, and that HHD will continue accepting bids. Tawfik did not say whether there would be a new or final deadline.

Background: It emerged last Tuesday that several local companies failed to submit bids while trying to form alliances with international companies, and had requested more time to get everything in order. A total of three companies managed to meet the deadline, sources said at the time, without saying who the companies were. Eight companies were initially reported to have been interested in the company, including SODIC, EFG Hermes, BPE, Emaar Misr, and Orascom Development. HHD was originally scheduled to compile a shortlist of qualified bidders by mid-November before going ahead with a final round in December. Tawfik had said last month that the 10% stake on offer is part of a wider plan to offer for sale a 25% stake in the company.

M&A WATCH- Pioneers Holding hires Fincorp to prepare a FV for its five-way MTO: Pioneers Holding has hired Fincorp to prepare a fair value study for its shares and five of its subsidiaries as a prelude to acquiring new stakes in them, the company said in a disclosure to the Egyptian Exchange (pdf). Pioneers Holdings’ board of directors had agreed to make non-cash mandatory tender offers to increase its share to 90% in five of its EGX-listed subsidiaries. The company plans to restructure into three companies: one in financial services, the other in real estate, and another in the industrial sector after completing transactions. The company has hired UHY United as a financial advisor and Baker McKenzie as legal advisor for the potential transcation. CEO Walid Zaki had said that the company intends to complete the process by the end of the year.

Saudi Arabia renewed USD 5-6 bn of its deposits at CBE, Al Mal reported. The central bank signed an agreement with the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) to extend the maturity of Saudi deposits held by the CBE up to 2022 on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the IMF in Washington. The kingdom's total deposits in Egypt amounted to USD 7.5 bn as of the end of last year and Egypt was poised to pay USD 5.2 bn during the second half of 2019, according to CBE's external positions report (pdf).

LEGISLATION WATCH- EBA lobbies for changes to draft customs law: The Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) will submit recommendations to the House Planning and Budget Committee on the draft customs law, Youm7 reported. An EBA delegation has attended two of the House’s sessions to express its views on the law, which is expected to speed up customs clearance, create a “whitelist” of trusted importers, and broaden the discretion of the Customs Authority.

What does the EBA want? The EBA is asking that customs are reviewed within one year of the departure of goods, instead of five as currently written in the draft law, Khaled Hamza, the head of the EBA Import and Customs Committee, said. This would reduce the risk of disputes occurring due to long-term price changes. The association will also ask that the customs exemption period be extended to three years from two-and-a-half to grant manufacturers enough time to make and export their products. The EBA is also demanding that the monthly customs surcharge is reduced to 1% from 1.5% currently.

EARNINGS WATCH- Arafa Holding reported a 137% y-o-y increase in consolidated net profits to reach USD 7.7 mn in 1H2019-20 (Arafa Holding’s fiscal year begins in February), up from a net profit of USD 3.2 mn in the same period in 2018-19, the company said in a statement to the EGX (pdf). Revenues for the period declined to USD 104.3 mn, down from USD 117.9 mn in 1H2018-19.

Rana El Kaliouby, Farida Osman among BBC’s 100 most inspiring women: Entrepreneur Rana El Kaliouby and champion swimmer Farida Osman, have made it on to the BBC’s list of the 100 most inspiring and influential women for 2019. El Kaliouby’s startup “Affectiva” is creating AI software that recognizes human emotion. She was featured in Bloomberg talking about why she’s intent on “teaching machines to feel” (watch, runtime: 03:08). She was also featured on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 as well as Forbes America’s Top 50 Women in Tech. Osman, is a swimming superstar, being the fastest female swimmer in Egypt and Africa, and has won the bronze medal in the 50m butterfly at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in 2017 and received the NCAA All-America honors.

Of course it wouldn’t be an Egyptian excellence appreciation day without Mo Salah, who has made the cut for the 30-player shortlist for the 2019 Ballon d'Or. Salah was named in the sixth and final series of nominations for the along with Eden Hazard, Marquinhos, Raheem Sterling, and Joao Felix, according to France Football, which presents the award . This is Salah’s second nomination in a row. Last year Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modrić took the prize home. For a more comprehensive rundown of this year’s Ballon d’Or, check out France Football: The ten lessons to remember from the list of 30.


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Egypt in the News

No single subject is holding the attention of the foreign press this morning:

  • Growing discontent in the Arab world: Signs of economic discontent are showing across the Arab world, Andrew England in the Financial Times, pointing to last month’s demonstrations in Egypt and ongoing protests in Lebanon as examples. Although each country has its different dynamics and trigger points, the roots of the anger and the nature of its expression is similar, he argues.
  • Personal status law amendment met with controversy: Rights advocates say that a proposal by an MP to restrict women’s divorce rights threatens to undo some of the advances made by women in recent years, Al Monitor reports.
  • Salah is getting flak for his GQ appearance: Egyptian social media users are criticizing Mohamed Salah for appearing alongside model Alessandra Ambrossio in a GQ photoshoot, Spanish sports site AS reports.

Worth Watching

Netflix’s Rotten is back for season 2: Netflix’s great docu-series on the hidden economic, and often destructive, forces that lurk in the global food industry, is back and on its second season. This season definitely topped the last with a look at foods that have a much wider global significance.

Want a healthy avocado from Mexico for lunch (Mexico has the biggest market share in global avocado exports)? Some of that money probably ended up in the pockets of drug cartels. A nice chocolate bar for dessert? You’ve probably unwittingly contributed to the virtual enslavement of some villages in Côte d'Ivoire. Just washed it down with a nice cold bottle of water? Well, that water was probably the only supply of some impoverished community, and it can’t be replenished (not to mention that giant plastic iceberg floating in the pacific).

No other series we’ve seen recently has really made us think hard about the consequences of how the global supply chain of the foods we eat every day was set up. Not to mention making us feel very guilty about eating a nice bar of chocolate (thanks, Netflix). You can check out the trailer here (watch, runtime: 1:55).

Basic Materials + Commodities

Cotton exports reached 1.8 mn qintars last season

Egypt exported 1.8 mn qintars of cotton worth USD 222 mn between during the last export season, which ran between September 2018 to September 2019, according to a report (pdf) by the Cotton Arbitration & Testing General Organization. India was Egypt’s largest export market, and imported 46.6k qintars during the season. Cotton exports had increased by 74% during the first eight months of 2019 to 1.74 mn qintars, compared to 1 mn qintars during the same period last year, Agriculture Ministry sources said in August.

Agriculture Ministry to boost Egypt’s cultivation of “drought rice”

The Agriculture Ministry aims to increase the cultivation area for less water-intensive rice to 500k feddans from 150k feddans in a bid to save water, Al Mal reports. The “drought rice” crop consumes 4k cbm of water per acre compared to 6k cbm needed for the traditional rice crop, while the output from each feddan is around 5 tonnes, compared to 4 tonnes for traditional rice. Confusingly, there are also plans to increase its production of water-intensive white rice to 4 mn tonnes this year, despite the fact that we only need 3.2 mn tonnes to meet local demand. This contradicts a key ambition of the USD 50 bn water conservation plan outlined by Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Atti in April, part of which aims to clamp down on water-intensive crops.


Investors in Assiut blame IDA for 1,000 suspended factories

Investors in Assiut are blaming the Industrial Development Authority for stalling the process of granting industrial permits to 1k factories in Upper Egypt, Assiut Investors Association Chairman Ali Hamza said, according to Al Ahram. Hamza said the IDA has placed 200 factories on a waiting list for the permits, without providing reasons for the delays in issuing the licenses.

Real Estate + Housing

Egypt’s Madinet Nasr awards EGP 5 bn work to contractors

Real estate developer Madinet Nasr for Housing (MNHD) has awarded EGP 5 bn of work to contractors, including Redcon Construction and Gama Construction, in its Taj City and Saraya projects in New Cairo, Managing Director Ahmed El Hitamy said during a conference. The company had previously contracted Hill International before for consultancy work.


Cairo ranked #3 in Lonely Planet’s 2020 top 10 cities list

Cairo has been ranked as the third must-see city in 2020 in Lonely Planet’s annual best in travel lists. Lonely Planet noted that Cairo was selected for the soon-to-be-opened Grand Egyptian Museum, and the newly inaugurated Sphinx Airport that will allow easier access to the Red Sea and Luxor for visitors from abroad.

Automotive + Transportation

EAFA looking to bring int’l manufacturers to Egypt for low-cost vehicles

The Egyptian Auto Feeders Association (EAFA) is looking to partner with Indian and Chinese auto manufacturers to begin assembling small, low-cost vehicles in Egypt, EAFA head Aly Tawfik said, according to Al Mal. The partnership would see EAFA members supplying the components for the vehicles, Tawfik said, without saying how much of the components they would be providing. The project is designed to provide lower-cost options to the domestic auto market, particularly as potential alternatives to tuk-tuks, which the government is working to phase out.

Banking + Finance

EBRD plans to extend USD 400 mn to Egyptian banks to lend to SMEs

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) could extend USD 400 mn in loans to unnamed local banks to finance SMEs, the EBRD’s national small business support program manager Reem El Saady said.

Egypt Politics + Economics

UN calls on Egypt to release Morsi aide, son detained since 2013

UN human rights experts are demanding that Egypt release an Islamist father and son who they say have been unlawfully detained since 2013, Reuters reports. An adviser to former president Mohamed Morsi Essam El Haddad and his son Gihad were finally acquitted of espionage in September after having life sentences quashed back in 2016. Despite this, Essam was handed a 10-year sentence for being part of an illegal group, while his son remains detained having been charged with the same crime.

Authorities arrest 22 people for protests over Mahmoud El Banna murder case

Authorities have arrested 22 people for allegedly planning protests over the murder of teenager Mahmoud El Banna earlier this month, the Associated Press reports. El Banna was fatally stabbed by another boy, Mohamed Rageh, while trying to protect a girl from harassment. The Interior Ministry claimed the people were Ikhwanis who intended to start a riot outside of the Menoufia courthouse where the trial is being held. The murder has become a major story across the country, with calls for justice going viral on social media.


EFA suspends league football for a month

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has suspended league games for a month due to Al Ahly’s refusal to play matches, ِit announced in a statement yesterday. Matches will resume after the U23 African Cup of Nations, which takes place in Egypt from 8-22 November. Al Ahly are refusing to take to the field until it plays Zamalek in the Cairo derby, which was postponed last weekend on security concerns.

On Your Way Out

Luxor residents protest decision to transfer coffins to GEM: Luxor residents are campaigning on social media against the decision to transfer 30 recently-discovered wooden coffins to the Grand Egyptian Museum, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The Antiquities Ministry announced earlier this week that the coffins — the largest trove discovered since the 19th century — will be displayed in the new museum when it opens next year. Residents are using #الاقصر_اولي_باثارها to call for them to be stored in the Luxor museum, which has seen most of its important artifacts transferred to Cairo in recent months.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 16.13 | Sell 16.25
Buy 16.13 | Sell 16.23
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 16.15 | Sell 16.25

EGX30 (Tuesday): 14,201 (+0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 609 mn (14% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +8.9%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 0.2%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 0.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Egyptian Resorts up 1.9%, Orascom Investment Holding up 1.9%, and Madinet Nasr Housing up 1.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were AMOC down 6.8%, Orascom Construction down 1.7% and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 1.0%. The market turnover was EGP 609 mn, and regional investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +5.1 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -10.9 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP +5.8 mn

Retail: 71.4% of total trades | 75.3% of buyers | 67.5% of sellers
Institutions: 28.6% of total trades | 24.7% of buyers | 32.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 54.16 (1.5%)
Brent: USD 59.70 (1.3%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.29 MMBtu, (+0.7%, November 2019 contract)
Gold: USD 1,491.40 / troy ounce (+0.3%)

TASI: 7,872 (+1.4%) (YTD: +0.6%)
ADX: 5,135 (+0.7%) (YTD: +4.5%)
DFM: 2,787 (+0.9%) (YTD: +10.2%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,296 (+0.4%)
QE: 10,376 (-0.2%) (YTD: +0.8%)
MSM: 4,007 (-0.2%) (YTD: +7.3%)
BB: 1,525 (-0.1%) (YTD: +14.1%)

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October: A forum will be organized by Russia’s Rosatom and the Nuclear Power Plants Authority to introduce local suppliers and contractors to the Dabaa nuclear plant.

October: German businessman delegation will visit Egypt to discuss good projects in order to spend German funds into Egypt.

October: A delegation of 40-50 Saudi companies will visit Egypt to discuss increasing exports of Egyptian furniture.

20-24 October (Sunday-Thursday) The 2nd Annual Cairo Water Week Conference, Al-Manara International Conference Center, New Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

20-24 October (Sunday-Thursday): German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s ROI Week with ROI Institute, JW Marriott Hotel, New Cairo

21-25 October (Monday-Friday): Radiocommunication Assembly 2019, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

22 October (Tuesday): Innovative Finance: A New Vision to Support Investment forum, venue TBD, Cairo.

22 October (Tuesday): 20th Century Middle Eastern Art annual auction: Sotheby’s Gallery, London

23-24 October (Wednesday-Thursday): Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Hilton Heliopolis, Cairo.

23-24 October (Wednesday-Thursday): Russian-African Summit, Sochi City, Russia.

23 October-1 November (Wednesday-Friday): CIB PSA Women’s World Championship, Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo.

28 October-22 November (Monday-Friday): World Radiocommunication Conference 2019, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

28 October (Monday): B2B conference for German companies organized by the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, InterContinental Semiramis, Cairo.

28 October-31 October (Monday-Thursday): A Cairo court will rule on the stock manipulation case, in which Gamal and Alaa Mubarak are involved, along with seven other defendants.

28 October- 22 November: World Radiocommunication Conference 2019, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

29-30 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review key interest rates.

29-30 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): South Sudan Oil & Power (SSOP) Conference, Juba, South Sudan.

31 October-2 November (Thursday-Saturday): Angel Oasis 2019, organized by the Middle East Angel Investment Network (MAIN), El Gouna, Egypt.

November: Suez Canal Conference for Investment, organized in cooperation with the European Union

November: The government will host the Egypt Economic Summit with 40 speakers and experts across all economic fields to discuss the country’s vision post the IMF program.

November: British Egyptian Business Association’s Annual door knock mission, United Kingdom.

November: ITIDA to announce the winning bid in a tender to manage three new innovation centers.

3 November (Sunday): Real Estate Debate 2019 Conference – Catalysts for Growth in 2020, Cairo Marriott Hotel.

3-5 November (Sunday-Tuesday): Electrix 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

4-6 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt’s Chamber of Tourism Establishments will participate in the UK’s World Travel Market (WTM) event in London.

7 November (Thursday): AmCham will hold the Prosper Africa Event.

7-9 November (Thursday-Saturday): BiznEx Egypt 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

8-22 November: Egypt will host Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations 2019.

9 November (Saturday): Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, national holiday.

9-11 November (Saturday-Monday): Vested Summit, Sahl Hasheesh, Red Sea.

10-14 November (Sunday-Thursday): GeoMEast International Congress and Exhibition, Marriott, Cairo.

11-13 November (Monday-Wednesday): Africa Investment Forum, Gauteng, South Africa.

12 November (Tuesday): Egypt Economic Summit, venue TBA.

13-15 November (Wednesday-Friday): Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, Cape Town, South Africa.

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

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Machtech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Transpotech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Airtech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

18 November (Monday): AmCham’s US-Egypt Proposer Forum in Cairo. US trade delegation visits Cairo to discuss investments in health, energy and information technology as part of the gathering.

20 November (Wednesday): The Investment Ministry and the Islamic Development Bank will organize the “leaders for change” startup competition as part of the Fekretak Sherketak initiative, location TBD, Cairo, Egypt.

22-23 November (Friday-Saturday): Invest in Africa 2019 conference, New Administrative Capital.

24 November (Sunday): Arabia Investments lawsuit against French Peugeot (after being postponed)

25 November (Monday): Global Trade Matters international dialogue on climate neutrality, Marriott, Cairo.

December: Egypt will host for the first time the Pack Process trade expo for the Middle East and African region.

December: Indian automotive delegation to visit Egypt

1-4 December (Sunday-Wednesday): E-payment and Innovative Financial Inclusion Expo and Forum (PAFIX), Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

3-6 December (Tuesday-Friday): Cairo WoodShow, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

5-7 December (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, American University in Cairo, New Cairo Campus

8 December (Sunday): Pitch by the Pyramids, Giza Pyramids

9-11 December (Monday-Wednesday): Pacprocess Middle East Africa, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

9-11 December (Monday-Wednesday): Food Africa 2019 Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

10-11 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

14-17 December (Saturday-Tuesday): World Youth Forum 2019, Sharm El Sheikh.

26 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

January 2020: 2019 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards, Albatros Citadel Resort, Hurghada, Egypt.

January 2020: UK-Africa Investment summit, London, United Kingdom.

9-12 January 2020 (Tuesday-Sunday): PLASTEX, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

25 January 2020 (Saturday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day, national holiday.

25 January 2020 (Saturday): Midterm break for public schools and universities. Also known as: Two weeks of good commute.

8 February 2020 (Saturday): Midterm break ends. Traffic in Cairo stinks once more.

11-13 February 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

March 2020: The Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) will visit Egypt to assess the progress of actions taken to combat money laundering and terrorist sponsoring activities.

4-5 March 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Women Economic Forum, Cairo.

25-26 March 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Mega Projects Conference, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23 April 2020 (Thursday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

23-26 May 2020 (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

5-7 May 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): AFSIC – Investing in Africa, London, United Kingdom.

30 June 2020 (Sunday): June 2013 protests anniversary, national holiday.

November 2020: Egypt will host simultaneously the International Capital Market Association’s emerging market, and Africa and Middle East meetings.

30 July 2020-3 August 2020 (Thursday-Monday): Eid El Adha (TBC), national holiday.

19-20 August 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

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