Thursday, 5 December 2019

EGP 100 bn program will offer subsidized loans to medium-sized manufacturers


What We’re Tracking Today

The House of Representatives will be back in session on Sunday after a short recess, reports Al Shorouk. On this week’s agenda: Amendments to the Public Enterprises Act and several oil and gas exploration and production agreements the Oil Ministry has signed with foreign companies.

Will the House be asked to sign off on a cabinet shuffle? Word on the street is that parliament could sign off on the widely expected cabinet reshuffle as early as next week, but we may see our elected representatives wait for Sharm El Sheikh's World Youth Forum to wrap on 17 December.

The Financial Regulatory Authority is looking into the Education Ministry’s decision to impose a 20% cap on foreign ownership in private and international schools, which the market regulator says would be difficult to implement. We have the full story in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Export subsidy framework talks next week: Egypt’s exports councils will be sitting down on Monday with Export Subsidy Fund boss Amany El Wassal to discuss the fine points of implementing the new export subsidy framework, Chemical and Fertilizers Export Council head Khaled Abo El Makarem said. The executive regulations for the new program were out earlier this week and prompted backlash from industry, which had objections to the mechanism through which the annual allocations would be paid out. Exporters are also concerned about how the fund plans to settle away bns in back due subsidies.

Also a key news trigger next week: Inflation figures for November are out next Tuesday, 10 December. Headline inflation fell to new multi-year lows of 2.4% last month due to cooling food and beverage inflation and a favorable base effect.

The government has launched a mobile app designed to allow citizens to monitor Egypt’s economic indicators and progress on national projects, according to a Planning Ministry statement. The app, Sharek 2030, gives users the option to send in suggestions to the government on specific issues to address.

The African Union’s Committee of Fifteen Ministers of Finance (F15) will meet at the Four Seasons in Sharm El Sheikh tomorrow to discuss financial regulations on the continent and AU budget reform.

The annual RiseUp Summit opens its doors today at the AUC campus in New Cairo. Tap or click here for the full agenda if you’re a denizen of planet startup or otherwise want to get in on the action.

Elsewhere in startupverse: Eleven startups graduated from Flat6Labs’ second cycle of the year, says Masrawy. The graduates span the e-commerce, logistics, management consulting, software and web development, professional recruitment, medical technology, and AI industries.

enterpriseThe Cascades Spa at Somabay has 65 treatment rooms and facilities extended over 7,500 SQMs offering a range of first-class treatments and services with a further 750 m2 Thalasso-Tonic Hydrotherapy Pool. Containing 830 m3 of sea-water sub-divided into a number of distinct zones with water jets, currents and counter-currents, showers and bubbling baths.

KUDOS- EFG Hermes vaults up the rankings in Bloomberg’s global league table. Homegrown investment bank EFG Hermes, which has evolved in recent years into the premier financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets, has vaulted up Bloomberg’s global IPO league table, becoming the 28th largest equity arranger in the world thanks in part to its work on the Saudi Aramco IPO. EFG Hermes will also “jump 19 spots on the Europe, Middle East and Africa equity rankings to No. 20 once the Aramco IPO prices” today, the business information service notes. “This will be the first time the Egyptian bank has been in the top 20 [in EMEA], according to Bloomberg data going back to 1999.” EFG Hermes is a frequent fixture on Reuters’ narrower Middle East equity capital markets league table, while Bloomberg’s version covers the wider EMEA region. Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase top Bloomberg’s global league table, the business information service said last night.

Last-minute funding brings one of MENA’s largest startups back from the brink: Dubai courier app Fetchr has been rescued from imminent collapse by investors who provided USD 10 mn in emergency funding, Bloomberg reports. Existing investors, who have put in more than USD 50 mn in the seven years since the company was founded, will see their shares diluted to near-zero, according to a letter seen by the news information service. Fetchr, once valued at USD 300 mn as one of the region’s brightest startup prospects, has fallen back to earth over the past 12 months, coming within an inch of bankruptcy.

Tech miscellany:

  • Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are stepping down from their top executive roles at Google’s parent company Alphabet, but will “continue their involvement as co-founders, shareholders and members of Alphabet’s board of directors,” the company announced this week.
  • The Big Data economy isn’t popular: Almost three-quarters of people want governments to rein in tech companies and regulate how they collect and use personal data, a survey by Amnesty Tech finds.
  • Twitter is issuing unsecured bonds for the first time: The company is looking to raise USD 600 mn after its earnings failed to meet expectations, the Wall Street Journal reported.


The next episode of Making It will be out this afternoon, just in time for your drive home. Today’s guest is EFG Hermes Group CEO Karim Awad, who speaks with us about culture, transformation, ego and why hiring at the bottom of the pyramid and promoting from within is the way to go. Look for the episode on email and in your podcast feed today at around 2:15pm CLT.

Did you miss our first two episodes? Learn about food emporium Gourmet Egypt and AI-backed digital assistant Elves on Apple Podcast or Google Podcast.

*** Do you want to reach out to a guest who’s appeared on Making It? Or get in contact with someone we’ve interviewed or written about? Drop us an email at letting us know who you are, who you want to speak with and what the approximate subject is (ie: a suggestion you may not be a crank or a stalker) and we’ll happily pass on the message.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

CBE’s EGP 100 mn subsidized lending for factories initiative has the airwaves buzzing: A Central Bank of Egypt-led initiative to give medium-sized factories access to EGP 100 bn-worth of subsidized loans, and medium-income households to EGP 50 bn in subsidized mortgages, received a lot of attention on the airwaves. Among those taking note: Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer (watch, runtime: 1:50) and Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abou Bakr (watch, runtime: 1:00). We have the full story in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Fewer raw material imports? SMEs consultant Hossam Farid sang the praises of the initiative for its timeliness and its potential to eliminate Egypt’s overreliance on imported raw materials, since it is aimed at medium and idle factories that often produce intermediate goods for larger ones, he told Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 5:53).

More improved rankings for Egypt: Abou Bakr celebrated Egypt jumping 11 places in the 2019 UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index (watch, runtime: 1:52). Speaking of Abou Bakr, the host had his last appearance on Al Hayah Al Youm yesterday, and will be moving to another show on the same network (watch, runtime: 8:33).

Also getting airtime yesterday: Gold futures are up for the second consecutive day after Trump overturned a prospect of reaching a trade agreement with China anytime soon, Sherif Amer reported (watch, runtime: 5:47). Demand for safe haven assets, of which gold is a prime example, is closely linked to the US-China trade war, which has dimmed global growth prospects. Amer phoned in the head of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce’ gold division head Wasfy Amin for his two cents.

Speed Round

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Factories with annual sales of less than EGP 1 bn can now borrow at subsidized rates: The government and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) have launched a EGP 100 bn initiative to boost domestic manufacturing by allowing medium-sized factories access to subsidized loans at a declining 10% interest rate, cabinet said in a statement yesterday. The initiative will not widen the country’s budget deficit and is specifically designed to boost GDP, unnamed government sources reassured the local press.

Interested in funding capex, growing your product line? To qualify, a factory’s annual sales revenue cannot exceed EGP 1 bn. All types of factories will be eligible to draw from the pool of EGP 100 bn in funding, but priority will go to import-reliant industries the government is looking to introduce or stimulate. The funds will be channeled through state-affiliated banks which the government either fully owns or in which it holds shares. Those banks will be partially compensated for the reduced interest by both the CBE and the Finance Ministry, CBE Governor Tarek Amer said, but did not specify the mechanism. Amer also left the door open for private-sector banks to participate This package comes four years after the CBE launched its EGP 200 bn SME financing initiative in 2016, which the statement notes has funded 86k small factory owners at 5% interest.

Clearing overdue interest payments for 5k factories: Nearly 5.2k factories will also be exempt from accrued interest payments and see their names removed from a blacklist maintained by the CBE, the statement says. The total amount of overdue payments reached EGP 31 bn.

A separate initiative will allow middle-income homeowners access to EGP 50 bn-worth of subsidized mortgages at preferential interest rates of 10%. This was first announced earlier this year. Amer is reportedly set to sit down with representatives from the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ real estate division soon to discuss the regulations governing this program.

The initiative drew praise among investors: Investors in industrial zones praised the initiative as a positive move to support industrial growth by curbing costs, according to the local press. The factory lending initiative “is the latest push by the government to spur competitiveness and growth in the private sector,” Bloomberg says. Private sector-led growth has been identified as a key economic reform pillar by the IMF, with which Egypt has just recently completed a three-year USD 12 bn loan program. The fund indicated that any post-loan agreement (whether involving funding or otherwise) will be contingent on Egypt having a clear plan for sustainable development and boosting private enterprise. Others, including the Institute of International Finance (IIF) and Goldman Sachs also stressed the need to stimulate private sector growth to sustain the 5-6% growth rates the country has achieved since embarking on a reform program.

And with the current market slowdown, this is a welcome step: Egypt’s non-oil private sector business activity hit a two-year low of 47.9 in November, falling for the fourth consecutive month, according to the Markit / Emirates NBD purchasing managers’ index. A reading above 50.0 indicates that activity is expanding, while a reading below means it’s contracting.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Majid Al Futtaim to invest EGP 16 bn in next 2-3 years: Emirati real estate developer and retail giant Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) will invest EGP 16 bn in Egypt over the next 2-3 years, CEO Alain Bejjani told Reuters. The company will put EGP 14 bn into the construction of a single shopping mall, he said without providing details. Bejjani said in August that the company was planning 12 new destinations in Egypt. MAF has invested EGP 28 bn in Egypt since the end of 2015.

City Center Almaza mall to officially open tomorrow: MAF will today officially open its EGP 9.35 bn City Center Almaza shopping mall in Heliopolis, Bejjani said.

It’s the first-ever UAE-Egypt Friendship Celebration running through Saturday, 7 December. The event is being hosted Majid Al Futtaim as it officially opens Almaza today. You can read all about it in the company’s statement here (pdf).

Retail appetite for Rameda’s IPO surgest on last day; offering closing 36.3x oversubscribed: Retail investors poured into Rameda Pharma’s 5% public offering on the final day of subscription yesterday, leading the retail component to close 36.3x oversubscribed, Al Mal reports. Investors had placed orders for 683.22 mn shares by the close of play yesterday, a dramatic increase from the 165.78 mn shares covered by the end of Tuesday’s session. The pharma company allocated 18.83 mn shares to its retail offering.

Background: The company last week announced that it would offer a 49% stake (376,606,000 shares) at EGP 4.66 per share in an IPO on the EGX, allocating a 44% stake to institutions and the remaining 5% to retail investors. Greville Investing, the selling shareholder, will separately acquire 125 mn newly-issued shares via a closed subscription.

Rameda’s shares will debut on the EGX next Wednesday, 11 December under the ticker RMDA.

Egypt to get USD 1.1 bn IFTC loan for commodity imports: Egypt has signed a USD 1.1 bn funding agreement with the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to help it import petroleum products and food in 2020, according to a cabinet statement. The funds are part of a USD 3 bn agreement between Egypt and ITFC signed in January 2018. Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said that the loan would benefit 64 mn Egyptians and contribute to providing food security for the population.

M&A WATCH- Mystery company Estadat takes over Presentation Sports: Newly-founded Estadat Holding has acquired 51% of Presentation Sports, which owns the rights to Al Ahly TV, according to a company statement. The transaction, for which no value was disclosed, is one of a series of “big surprises,” Estadat said in a separate statement. The company also signed an agreement with Al Ahly yesterday granting the sporting club the right to use Al Salam Stadium for 25 years. Estadat’s origin story is unclear. Its name came up in the local press only once before yesterday’s news, when it reportedly signed a EGP 2 bn agreement with the Youth and Sports Ministry to “manage and develop” 15 ministry affiliated football stadiums.

FRA to ask Education Ministry for clarification on school foreign ownership cap: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) is requesting clarification from the Education Ministry on its decision to place a 20% cap on foreign ownership in private and international schools, FRA Deputy Chairman Khaled El Nashar said, according to Al Mal. El Nashar cast doubt on the ministry’s ability to place a blanket cap on schools given that some are listed on the stock market and have different nationalities trading shares. The ministry said last week that it will consider raising the cap on a case-by-case basis in response to investor backlash against the decision. We took a deep dive into the story in the first issue of Blackboard, our education weekly, earlier this month. You can read the full article here.

REGULATION WATCH- CBE issues new lending regs to banks: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on Tuesday issued new regulations (pdf) that will require banks to dig into the ownership and creditworthiness of suppliers that companies are borrowing to repay. Under the new rules, banks will need to obtain a full list of a borrower’s suppliers and run KYC, including obtaining copies’ of the supplier’s commercial registration document, before authorizing a loan. The CBE has allowed a three-month grace period during which banks can existing clients through the process. For new clients, banks must immediately begin complying with the rules.

STARTUP WATCH- Trella acquires rival Trukto: Egyptian digital trucking marketplace Trella has acquired its local rival Trukto, making it the largest company of its kind in Egypt, Trella told Menabytes, without disclosing the details of the transaction. The acquisition will help Trella increase its market share and accelerate its growth strategy in the MENA region. The company raised USD 600k in seed funding from Algebra Ventures earlier this year, and announced a few weeks ago that it would soon make its debut in the Saudi market.


Correction (7/12/12): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Trella raised USD 600 mn in seed funding.

STARTUP WATCH- Cairo-based waste management startup Bekia raised a USD six-figure investment from Oman-based OTF Wadi, Menabytes reports. Bekia is an online platform that allows users to exchange inorganic waste with goods and services such as groceries, mobile credit and metro tickets. The waste is then sold to recycling factories and SMEs, founder CEO Alaa Kamal said. The startup plans to use the investment to expand its operations to Alexandria.

CABINET WATCH- Ministers approve temporary tax dispute resolution bill: The Madbouly Cabinet approved yesterday a temporary, six-month law to facilitate the process of resolving open tax disputes drafted by the Finance Ministry, according to an official statement. The legislation, which the ministry finalized earlier this week, will act as an extension to the recently expired Tax Dispute Resolution Act, which took tax disputes away from courts and handed them over to newly-established expert committees to seek amicable settlements.The new bill would mandate these committees to handle tax dispute settlements until 30 June 2020 and would introduce two new sections to Article 110 of the Income Tax Act, which legislates late tax payment fees.

The Council of Ministers also signed off yesterday on a bundle of decisions from the investment dispute resolution committee and legalizing 87 churches and their affiliated buildings.

MOVES- HDB sees second resignation this week as deputy chair of engineering leaves the company: Mohamed El Alfi has resigned from his position as the Housing and Development Bank’s (HBD) deputy chair of engineering, a few days after bank chairman Mohamed El Sebai resigned, unnamed sources tell Masrawy. El Alfi will also be resigning from his position as the chairman for City Edge and Hyde Park for real estate, the sources added, without providing a reason.


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Egypt in the News

It’s another quiet morning for Egypt in the foreign press. Among the headlines getting play:

  • The war on tuk-tuks: The Egyptian government is seeking to stand against tuk-tuks and replace them with “clean running minivans,” the Associated Press says.
  • “Grinding” poverty a harsh reality in Egypt’s poorest areas: A small village in Assiut serves as an example of the extreme poverty and economic hardship experienced by an increasing number of Egyptian citizens, Agence France-Presse reports.

Worth Watching

Is the Saudi Aramco IPO, touted for years as the biggest of all time, actually a wise choice for investors? This Wall Street Journal video (watch, runtime 07:44) concludes that long-term uncertainty around the company’s future growth makes it a risky proposition, in spite of its current profitability. Aramco’s reliance on a single source of income puts it in a vulnerable position at a time when oil markets are weak. While the Saudi government is seeking to diversify its economy away from oil, Aramco itself is bucking the trend of investing in renewables, and has acknowledged in its prospectus that it faces significant threats to its business model, including climate change and terrorist attacks. International investors seemingly agree with the WSJ’s conclusions, having voiced concerns about the degree of state involvement in the company, and its environmental and social governance.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Ethiopian media says Egypt “blocked” GERD talks: Trilateral talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan this week saw no progress because Egypt did not back down from its demands on the conditions of the dam’s filling and operation, an anonymous source close to the matter tells Ethiopia’s Addis Standard. Ethiopia appears to have rejected a request to link the GERD to the Aswan High Dam, which a second source says is at the center of a proposal tabled in Cairo earlier this week, and agreeing to a minimum guaranteed flow of 40 bcm of water upstream. The three countries’ representatives are next due to sit down in Washington on 9 December to assess the outcome of the first two rounds of talks.

Mauritius has joined a growing list of countries to tighten their regulations against Egyptian onions, according to the local press. The East African island nation’s new requirements include the absence of plant and soil remains and mold from Egyptian shipments, and refraining from using non-sterilized straw or peat moss packaging. Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti authorities have also recently been more strict in their acceptance of the produce.

The Oil Ministry will announce the winners of the Red Sea exploration and production bid round this month, Minister Tarek El Molla told Youm7. The tender comprises 10 oil and gas exploration blocks, and was launched by the South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company (Ganope) back in March.

Elsewedy Electric has signed a contract with South Sudan’s Energy Ministry to build a USD 45 mn solar PV plant in the capital city Juba, the company said in a statement (pdf). The plant will generate 20 MW-peak and store 35 MW of energy per hour in batteries. The facility will begin producing electricity in 2020.

Russia’s Rosatom has canceled a tender for local companies to protect the Dabaa nuclear plant site from groundwater due to overpriced bids, an unnamed source in the Electricity Ministry told Al Mal. Arab Contractors, Orascom Construction and France’s Soletanche Bachy, Petrojet and UAE's APCC, Hassan Allam and Germany’s Bauer, and other two unnamed alliances all submitted bids. Rosatom will reissue the tender after either revising its conditions or placing a price ceiling for the bids.


Avalon Waterways to return to Egypt with new luxury cruise planned

River cruise company Avalon Waterways is coming back to Egypt amid a resurgent tourism sector, River Cruise Passenger reports. Its cruise ship, the MS Farah, is set to offer passengers a 10-day cruise, taking in many of Cairo and Luxor’s most famous sights.

Telecoms + ICT

Etisalat Misr signs agreement with Egypt’s new capital co. to install smart systems

Etisalat Misr has signed a contract with the New Administrative Capital Company for Urban Development to install smart control systems in the new capital, according to AMAY. There was no mention of the value or timeline of the agreement.

Automotive + Transportation

Egypt, China’s Dongfeng to sign EV agreement in January

Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik will sign an agreement with Chinese auto company Dongfeng to produce electric vehicles with state-owned El Nasr Automotive in January, according to a cabinet statement. The Metallurgical Industries Holding Company will then conduct a feasibility study to assess the investment necessary to upgrade El Nasr’s factory in line with technology used by Dongfeng.

Egypt receives first batch of locomotives from General Electric

General Electric delivered yesterday the first batch of 10 railway locomotives Egypt purchased under a USD 575 mn agreement signed in 2017 that includes financing and supplying 100 new locomotives and refurbishing another 81, according to Al Shorouk. The US company is contracted to build the first 50 locomotives and deliver them over five batches. The remaining 50 will be manufactured in partnership with local companies.

Banking + Finance

Banque Misr signs agreement with E-Finance to provide financial services to the agricultural sector

Banque Misr has signed an agreement with Egyptian fintech firm E-Finance to provide financial services to the agricultural sector and SMEs through its platform, according to the local press. The move comes as part of the bank’s strategy to increase financial inclusion and its range of digital financial services.

Egypt’s CI’s asset management arm to manage SAIB-ADIB EGP 30 mn fund

CI Capital’s asset management arm was awarded a contract to manage a EGP 30 mn fund jointly set up by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and SAIB Bank, managing director and asset management head Amr Abol Enein tells the press. The company’s mandate will begin in 1Q2020, Abol Enein says.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Defendant sentenced to 10 years in jail for assassination of Hisham Barakat

A Cairo criminal court has handed a 10-year jail sentence to a defendant found guilty of involvement in the 2015 assassination of prosecutor general Hisham Barakat, according to Asharq Al Awsat. Sixty-seven people were put on trial in connection with the attack, 37 of whom have been sentenced to death.


Int’l sports court endorses IWF decision to ban Egypt’s weightlifters from Tokyo

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, an international quasi-judicial body, has endorsed a recent decision by the International Weightlifting Federation to ban Egypt from participating in formal competitions, including the 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, reports Al Shorouk. The ban came in response to a 2016 scandal in which seven members of the Egyptian weightlifting team were found to be doping.

My Morning Routine

Yousef ElSammaa, CEO of Falak Startups: My Morning Routine looks each week 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 Yousef ElSammaa, CEO of startup incubator Falak Startups.

My name is Yousef ElSammaa, I'm 30 years old and I'm the CEO of Falak Startups, a leading startup accelerator in Egypt that invests in and supports early stage startups.

Falak has been present in the market for two years, and I've been here from day one. My job is both to set the overall strategy for where we want to take Falak and positioning it so that ultimately we can reach our goal of investing in high growth startups that we hope will eventually have huge exits, as well as managing the day-to-day operations of the company.

Setting up the company essentially meant the process of establishing a startup to help startups. I then needed to build the right team to manage it, set up an efficient process to attract, filter and select the right startups to invest in, set up an investment committee of experts that could assess the right businesses to invest in, and design and execute a program that would provide them with access to knowledge, expertise and resources they would need to effectively launch and grow their business. I also get involved with supporting our startups to raise future funds from private investors and VCs, which helps take them to the next level.

When you have children, your day generally starts early. I've been married for four years to my wife, Nesma, and we have a 1.5-year-old son, Adam. My son is usually up by 6 or 7 am every day, so my day frequently starts then. I often end up waking up with my son and making him breakfast so my wife can get a bit more sleep, and she often does the same for me so I can get an extra hour of sleep.

I start my day with a cup of coffee, going through my emails and WhatsApp groups to make sure there's nothing urgent I have to attend to. I also Enterprise, skim through a few other newsletters or articles that I find interesting, and check the latest football news (since I'm a huge fan). Then I get ready and head to the office. It’s a one hour commute, since I live in Sixth of October and our office is located in the Greek Campus, Downtown. I usually try to make some personal or work calls on the way in, to make good use of the time.

I always do my best to stay on top of my emails and answer them promptly. My rule is to always make sure the ball is never in my court ― so I either make sure the right team member is copied and ready to follow up on what needs to be done, or that whatever action is needed from me is done. Then it’s a question of waiting for the other side to proceed. My day often involves back-to-back meetings with current or potential partners, team meetings, meetings with specific startups to discuss particular issues, or sometimes board meetings. I try to have my lunch between meetings, and make sure I don't leave unless I've attended to any new items that require my attention. I usually leave work by 6pm on a normal day.

Spending some time with my wife and son every day is an important priority for me. We have dinner together, and then I help my wife get my son ready for bed. Around three times a week, I then go out again to either play football or paddle tennis with some friends. If I'm staying home, I might watch a TV show or a football game.

One of the best things I’ve watched recently is the documentary Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates, which I found truly moving and inspiring.

Falak Startups started under the initiative Fekretak Sherketak, spearheaded by the Investment Ministry, which is led by Minister Sahar Nasr. Shehab Marzban, who was the top economic advisor to Nasr at that point, was leading the initiative, and they had selected their first batch of startups to receive investments and go through an acceleration program. I was brought in to help build the program and the accelerator.

I believe we add a lot of value to the companies we invest in, beyond funding, by focusing on building a team of ex-entrepreneurs and skilled individuals. What these early-stage startups really need is a pathway to market entry, along with access to the right network and business resources, and we work hands on with them to be sure we offer that.

What people sometimes don't understand about our business and the industry we're in is that success is not just a question of making the right investment in the right company. What eventually defines whether or not a startup makes it is the degree of support it has received to get it there. Particularly in this region, where founders lack a lot of the skills required to get their businesses beyond the very early stage, the company will not get very far unless the right support is given ― by us or by any investor. It's not about throwing money at an early-stage business and expecting it to generate substantial returns, if there is no added input from the investor.

I believe we’re currently witnessing a virtuous cycle of growth in the sector and the region. There have been a few successful exits recently, and that creates a ripple effect in the market. We're seeing more VCs and investors becoming motivated to invest in the region, and also seeing more high-caliber, experienced business owners exiting these startups to create their own new ventures. The more we see this happening in the market, the more success there will be in the industry as a whole.

I do my best to stay organized by splitting my tasks into two lists. One list contains things that need to get done immediately (short-term) and the other is for things that need to get done later (long-term). I check these lists daily and then start working on the short-term list, moving items from long-term to short term when the time comes. This helps me stay focused on my immediate priorities, while always keeping an eye on my long-term goals and action plan.

I think the best piece of business advice I’ve ever been given is to act expecting nothing in return, and go the extra mile anyway. Eventually it all pays off ― but most of the time it’s indirectly, in unexpected ways.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 16.07 | Sell 16.18
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 16.07 | Sell 16.17
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 16.06 | Sell 16.16

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,636 (+1.2%)
Turnover: EGP 801 mn (11% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +4.6%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 1.2%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 0.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 6.2%, Ezz Steel up 5.6%, and Egyptian Resorts up 4.8%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Cleopatra Hospitals down 2.6%, Credit Agricole down 0.6%. The market turnover was EGP 801 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +94.1 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -9.6 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -84.5 mn

Retail: 38.4% of total trades | 41.5% of buyers | 35.3% of sellers
Institutions: 61.6% of total trades | 58.5% of buyers | 64.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 58.43 (+4.15%)
Brent: USD 63.03 (+3.63%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.40 MMBtu, (-1.72%, January 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,480.20 / troy ounce (-0.28%)

TASI: 7,871.20 (-0.20%) (YTD: +0.57%)
ADX: 5,047.97 (+0.34%) (YTD: +2.70%)
DFM: 2,695.62 (+0.63%) (YTD: +6.56%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,644.18 (+0.32%)
QE: 10,272.11 (+0.84%) (YTD: -0.26%)
MSM: 4,040.36 (-0.41%) (YTD: -6.55%)
BB: 1,544.12 (+0.23%) (YTD: +15.47%)

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December: Belarus Industry Minister Pavel Utiupin will visit Egypt to discuss means of cooperation in the SCZone and plan for the seventh Egypt-Belarus Trade Meeting.

December: A Chinese automotive company delegation will visit Egypt to sign an agreement with El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company.

December: Indian automotive delegation to visit Egypt.

1-6 December (Sunday-Friday): Vietnamese trade delegation visits Egypt.

2-13 December (Monday- Friday) The COP25 Climate Change Conference, Madrid

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.

8-9 December (Sunday-Monday): The 6 th CEOs THOUGHTS 2019.

9 December (Monday): Officials from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia will convene in Washington to assess progress made during two subsequent round of technical talks on the rules of filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

9 December (Monday): Egypt’s exports councils will be sitting down with Export Subsidy Fund boss Amany El Wassal to discuss the fine points of implementing the new export subsidies framework, and the fund’s plans to settle away bns in accrued overdues.

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 December (Tuesday): Egypt Automotive summit, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

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

11 December (Wednesday): First day of trading on the Aramco IPO (expected).

11-12 December (Wednesday-Thursday): “Forum on peace and sustainability in Africa,” venue TBD, Aswan.

12-14 December (Thursday-Saturday): 16 Egyptian real estate development companies will showcase their products at IPS Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

12-14 December (Thursday-Saturday): AEEDC Education Cairo dentistry conference and exhibition, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski Cairo.

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

17-21 December (Tuesday-Saturday): 2019 Automech Formula car expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

21-22 December (Saturday-Sunday): The irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia will hold the third round of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations in Khartoum, Sudan.

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.

5 January (Sunday): Postponed lawsuit hearing against Peugeot Automobile filed by Cairo for Development and Cars Manufacturing.

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

13 January 2020 (Monday): The irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia will hold the fourth and final round of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations in Washington, DC.

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.

February 2020: An Italian business delegation will visit Egypt to discuss investments in the Port Said industrial zone.

February 2020: A delegation of Swiss businesses will visit Egypt to discuss investment.

February 2020: Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar will visit Minsk, Belarus.

1 February 2020 (Saturday): The administrative court will look into an appeal by Adeptio AD Investments against a Financial Regulatory Authority to submit a mandatory tender offer (MTO) for Americana Egypt.

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.

1 March 2020: A conference on “logistics and its impact on the movement of goods and industry,” venue TBD, Alexandria.

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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