Thursday, 22 October 2020

Covid-19 cases are ticking up again, and the PM is not happy

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning, friends, and happy Thursday. The big news of the day from where we sit is Moustafa Madbouly’s warning yesterday to take the second wave of covid-19 seriously.

Covid-19 cases are ticking up again, and the PM is not happy. Madbouly said at yesterday’s cabinet meeting that citizens need to continue to take precautionary measures in public places, and he has instructed officials to crack down on people in violation of rules. Soaring case numbers in neighboring countries are a cause of major concern for the government, Madbouly said at a post-meeting press conference (watch, runtime: 3:11).

The situation in Egypt is still “under control” as the rate of increase in the official case count isn’t as high as most other countries that are in the grips of a second wave, but the situation could change once the weather cools down, World Health Organization Regional Adviser Maha Talaat told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy (watch, runtime: 3:58) last night. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry is also taking into account the upcoming flu season in its treatment plan for new covid-19 cases, Assistant Minister Noha Assem told Sherdy (watch, runtime: 28:04).

Not the way we’d like to start the day, but there you go.

The antidote? Our popular WFH Routine / My Morning Routine column is back this week with our friend Omar Elsahy from Amazon / Souq. To his Prime Video, may we suggest Bosch and Jack Ryan (the latter with Muslim characters who are actual, three-dimensional human beings — baddies and goodies alike).

Got a suggestion for someone to feature in WFH / MMR? Hit us up on editoral@enterprise.press.


Voters here in Omm El Donia will head to polling stations to elect a new House of Representatives on Saturday after the multi-stage process began for expats yesterday.

Furniture expo Le Marché begins today and will run until Sunday, 25 October at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

The Gouna Film Festival kicks off tomorrow and wraps at the end of the month.

PSA- The rain we were promised hit the North Coast yesterday, along with thunder and lightning, the Egyptian Meteorological Authority said. The storm has so far made an appearance as far east as Agamy and as far west as El Dabaa.

For those of us here in Cairo: Expect some light showers later today, the authority said. Our favorite weather app disagrees, showing clear skies and temps in the 28-32°C range for the next 10 days, so … hanshoof.

PSA- Have you made your long-weekend plans yet? We’re heading into a four-day workweek as banks and businesses close their doors next Thursday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.


This morning’s “holy [redacted]” story: Israel has had a secret embassy in Bahrain for the past 11 years, reports Axios. The Israeli government collaborated with the Bahrainis to establish a front company to conduct shadow diplomacy and spent the last decade hiring dual-national Israeli diplomats.

US ELECTION WATCH- It’s debate night in the US of A. US President Donald Trump and democratic contender Joe Biden will face off tonight for the final presidential debate ahead of the 3 November election. Trump’s advisors want him to present his “affirmative vision” for the US and attempt to sway undecided voters, says the New York Times. The Biden campaign is working to have the presidential hopeful maintain his composure and show that, unlike Trump, he can lead the nation out of covid-19. The debate comes just 12 days before election day and three weeks after last month’s debate was nothing short of a "spectacle" with little policy substance. Many Americans have already voted and Trump is trailing in national polls.

You can stream the debate live on YouTube at 9 pm ET (that’s 3 am CLT for those keeping track at home).

Former President Barack Obama yesterday blasted Trump in a speech at a campaign trail on behalf of Biden. We miss you, Barack.

Trump’s aides are racing to give his re-election bid a boost with a foreign policy win in the shape of another normalization pact between Israel and another Arab country, says Reuters. It appears that Sudan is a candidate for the pact, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday the White House is working “diligently” to make a normalization agreement between Khartoum and Tel Aviv happen after Washington began the process of removing Sudan from its list of terror sponsoring states.


The Health Ministry reported 178 new covid-19 infections yesterday, the highest daily count since 8 September. Yesterday’s tally was up from 158 on Tuesday. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 105,883 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 13 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,155. We now have a total of 98,516 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

We’re getting USD 9.5 mn from Japan to fund emergency medical equipment needed to fight covid-19 after International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat and Japanese ambassador Masaaki Nuki yesterday put pen to paper to unlock the funding that will take Japan’s total support for Egyptian health and education programs to USD 54.5 mn.

Schools may not be the super-spreaders experts first thought: Several European studies have indicated that the reopening of schools had limited impact on the spread of covid-19, boosting policymakers who worry that closing schools again during a second wave would further disrupt education and impact parents’ ability to work, reports the Financial Times.

Pfizer is looking to supply 100 mn doses of its covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year and another 1.3 bn by 2021, the Wall Street Journal reports. The pharma giant is currently laying the groundwork for its “biggest ever” vaccine supply chain network to be able to rapidly distribute the vaccine once it secures FDA approval. Pfizer is expected to apply for US regulatory approval during the third week of November.

enterprise

The 2020 Somabay Golf Tournament last week brought together more than 100 golfers at the Cascades Golf Resort, according to a press release (pdf). Six players came out on top in the championship with Ahmed El Shalakany winning first place in division one, Mohamed Abou El Fadel finishing second, and Ghassan Kabbani taking third. In the second division, Hassan El Bustani came in first place, Angelina Gordienko was second and Nabil Harazi clenched third.


The value of global trade is set to fall by 7-9% in 2020 despite signs of recovery in the second half of the year, the United Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report (pdf). Trade fell around 5% y-o-y during 3Q, an improvement on the disastrous 19% y-o-y decline in 2Q, while preliminary forecasts see it slipping 3% y-o-y in 4Q (covid dependent, of course). China is bucking the downward trend and is set to post an annual growth rate of almost 10% after trade accelerated in 3Q2020, UNCTAD said.

More GCC banks are likely to consolidate as the pandemic and low oil prices continue to cause pain for the sector, Dubai Islamic Bank Chairman Mohammed Ibraahim Al Shaibani said in a statement accompanying the bank’s 3Q2020 earnings, which showed a 22% fall in net profit. Egypt’s banking sector is the target for inbound M&A from Gulf banks looking for growth. The Egypt arms of Lebanese lenders Blom Bank and Bank Audi are being courted by Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Bank ABC.

EU sees crazy demand for negative-yielding “corona bonds”: The EU’s maiden corona bond issuance has been met with “outrageous demand” from investors, with bankers reporting the offering generated the largest ever order book in the global bond market, according to the Financial Times. The ten years notes carry a -0.26% interest rate.

Gulf bond issuances hit record highs at 102 bn, beating the annual record less than 10 months into the year, Bloomberg reports. Meanwhile, data provider Refinitiv expects sukuk issuances to grow to USD 174 bn in 2021, up from USD 162 bn this year as governments ramp up spending to soften the blow of covid, Zawya reports.

PayPal is taking crypto mainstream: PayPal will allow its US users the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum in the coming weeks, Reuters reports.

Ant Group is set to go ahead with its USD 35 bn IPO — which would eclipse Aramco’s as the world’s biggest IPO — within weeks after getting the final regulatory green light, reports Reuters. The Jack Ma-owned payment company is planning a dual-listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

enterprise

If your business sells time, then this week’s episode of how to build a great business in Egypt is for you. Today’s episode features a lawyer — and an awfully nice one, at that — but think of him as a stand-in for every business in the service industry, from ad agencies to engineering consultants, PR types and accountants.

Bahaa Alieldean is managing partner at ALC Alieldean, Weshahi & Partners. He’s a professor of law and a practising lawyer specializing in capital markets, banking transactions and dispute resolution.

Providing counsel to captains of industry: Established in 2003, Bahaa’s firm provides counsel to major national and global corporations and institutions on large complex transactions.

From attracting and retaining talent, to creating culture and the challenges of selling a service business, Bahaa discusses the similarities and universal challenges facing all service providers. We explore creating corporate structure and how micromanagement prevents founders from transitioning away from day-to-day operations into traditionally accepted CEO responsibilities.

You already have a podcast player on your iPhone, or you can listen to the episode through our website (no download required). We’re also on Google Podcasts, Anghami, and Omny. Making It is on Spotify, but only for non-MENA accounts.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was a relatively quiet night on the airwaves last night, which is customary of Wednesdays, when power couple Lamees El Hadidi and Amr Adib are off.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s trip to Cyprus for a tripartite summit was on the talking heads’ radar: Egypt’s ambassador to Cyprus, Mai Khalil, had a chat with Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Shery about the historically strong diplomatic ties between Cairo, Nicosia, and Athens (watch, runtime: 9:16). Khalil’s predecessor, Mohamed Abdel Hakam, hailed the three countries’ cooperation framework on the Eastern Mediterranean as a “model to be followed” in a conversation with Masaa DMC's Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 7:22). We have more on the summit in this morning’s Diplomacy + Foreign Trade, below.

Education Minister Tarek Shawky made the rounds to recap the government’s plan to boost teachers’ salaries and set up a social welfare fund for educators, speaking to Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy (watch, runtime: 7:48), Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 17:31), and Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer (watch, runtime: 3:03). We have chapter and verse in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Speed Round

CABINET WATCH- Teachers at public schools could be getting a EGP 325-475 monthly bump in their salaries if a draft law that will cost the state coffers north of EGP 6.1 bn passes the House of Representatives. Public school administrators, meanwhile, will see their monthly wages rise by EGP 150-250 under the proposed law. The Madbouly Cabinet approved the plan, which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ordered back in 2017, during its weekly meeting yesterday. The plan would benefit nearly 2.1 mn government employees, 1.4 mn of whom are teachers, across both general and Azharite schools, and 700k public school employees.

Besides the increase in monthly wages, school employees would get additional allowances, incentives and bonuses, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. As many as 1.4 mn teachers would get a 50% bump in their monthly incentives (up by EGP 140-185 a month) from June 2020 levels, he added. Teachers would also be getting a 50% bump in allowances they frequently receive on top of their usual salaries, and both staff and faculty members would get a 25% increase on some bonuses, according to Maait. This would cost at least EGP 4.3 bn.

The bill would also set up a social welfare fund for staff and faculty. The fund would receive EGP 500 mn over two equal payments, one as soon as the bill becomes law and another next fiscal year, Maait said. It would then accumulate capital through a 2% levy on the increase in staff allowances under the law and other recurring sources including license fees paid by schools educators, returns on fund investments, donations, and further state grants, all of which would be funneled into the fund, the minister added.

More raises are in the pipeline for health and education workers and others in vital sectors, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said, according to Ahram Gate.

IN OTHER CABINET NEWS: We’re also getting at least one more month of consumer discounts after Cabinet agreed to extend the government’s consumer spending initiative, which was meant to end next Monday, for at least an additional month, cabinet said in a statement. As of last week, north of 2000 vendors were signed up to the scheme. They logged EGP 278 mn-worth of sales under the program, according to the statement. The initiative was aiming to stimulate EGP 125 bn-worth of consumer spending.

Cabinet also signed off on the EastMed Gas Forum charter, which officially established Cairo as the headquarters of the organization when it was signed by the forum’s seven founding members in September. The EastMed Gas Forum will serve as a platform for natgas producers, consumers, and transit countries in the region, allowing for the creation of shared energy policies to develop the Mediterranean’s estimated 122 tn cubic feet of gas reserves. The forum’s other members are Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine.

Over 2.8k companies have been paid by the Export Subsidy Fund as part of ongoing efforts to pay out at least 30% of the arrears the fund owes to exporters by the end of the year. Plans to pay out EGP 500 mn, a portion of the bns owed in overdue subsidies under an old framework, have been underway for over a year. Exporters are eligible to receive up to 40% in cash, and the rest in tax or customs write-offs or discounted land.

enterprise

REGULATION WATCH- We’re getting closer to a final decision on the ownership structure of the new futures exchange — and private sector involvement is still part of the plan, according to a report in Al Mal’s print edition that cites sources it says are in the know. The working group mandated with completing the regulations and guidelines governing the futures exchange has drawn up a preliminary ownership structure for the exchange that will see the EGX take a non-controlling stake, alongside domestic and foreign financial institutions and foreign exchange operators with experience in futures contracts. The door will also be open for state-owned and private Egyptian banks and Misr for Clearing, Depository, and Registry to get a slice of the exchange’s ownership, according to the sources. The report makes no mention of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) being among the shareholders in the exchange, although earlier reports had indicated the CBE was interested in a piece.

The distribution of the shares between the owners is still up in the air and could become clearer next week following a meeting of the Financial Regulatory Authority’s (FRA) advisory committee, the sources say. Once the details are ironed out, the committee will present the proposal to the authority’s executive board.

Background: The creation of a futures market was made possible thanks to amendments to the executive regulations of the Capital Markets Act, which were issued in July 2018, opened the door to the introduction of new financial instruments, including short-selling, futures and commodities exchanges, sukuk, and green bonds. We’ve already been getting encouraging signals from FRA boss Mohamed Omran and deputy chairman Khaled El Nashar that the regulator wants the private sector to be involved from the get-go and circumvent the need to privatize the exchange later on.

Trouble at Sukkari sends Centamin’s share price tumbling: Australian gold miner Centamin’s share price plummeted 19.2% yesterday after the company announced in its 3Q earnings release (pdf) that its Sukkari mine’s Stage 4 open pit would remain out of action until 2H2021 following a safety incident earlier this month. The London-listed company’s shares dropped to GBP 1.313 from GBP 1.625 during trading after the news raised concerns about the company’s profitability. The company said earlier this month that output would fall 42% as a result of the delays, and is now forecasting a drop in its 2021 production to 400-430k oz compared to its projected 445-455k oz this year.

In other Centamin news: The company bid for exploration licenses in four concessions in the government’s tender earlier this year, Al Mal reports. The company is competing with Barrick Gold and La Mancha in the tender, which saw 320 blocks up for auction in the first tender since 2017.

CORRECTION- 27 October 2020

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the entire Sukkari mine would be out of action until 2H2021. 

Iraq’s Shamara wants to get in the redevelopment of the former NDP headquarters with the SFE: Iraqi conglomerate Shamara Holding is interested in working with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) to develop the land where the headquarters of the dissolved National Democratic Party used to stand, Al Mal reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations. The prime Nile-side land was earlier this year transferred to the SFE following a presidential decree that provided the fund more control over management of state assets. The development of the land comes as part of the SFE’s planned joint redevelopment of Old Cairo with the private sector, which includes the Mogamma El Tahrir building and the downtown Interior Ministry headquarters.

Cairo Airport wants to double loan for Terminal 1 renovation: The Cairo Airport Company has almost doubled the value of a loan it is seeking to fund the renovation of Terminal 1, a project which is part of USD 200 mn plan to overhaul the airport’s three terminals, Al Mal reports, citing sources close to the negotiations. The company is now looking to borrow EGP 2.2 bn from a syndicate of three banks that reportedly includes the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, up from the EGP 1.2 bn that was reported earlier this year. The company expects to wrap up the facility within the next month.

Big things are happening at the airport: The plan would see the airport’s first and second terminals merged into a single building containing separate local and international departure halls. Terminal 3 would be revamped as an arrival hall and merged with the airport’s mall. An unnamed French company has reportedly been selected by the government to develop the Terminal 1 building, while the Cairo Airport Company issued in March a EGP 1 bn tender for local companies to renovate Terminal 2.

The Electricity Ministry not issue loan guarantees for future energy projects, the local press reports, citing ministry sources. Energy investors have in the past requested that the government guarantee payment for projects in the event the ministry fails to meet its financial obligations. But sources say that Egypt’s improved ranking in the World Bank’s electricity access index, the ministry’s recent record of meeting repayments and the strong performance of companies in the sector mean it is no longer necessary to issue guarantees.

IPO WATCH- InterCairo Aluminium Industry is dusting off its plans to list 30% of its shares on the EGX, which it had shelved back in 2016 amid market instability, Chairman Khaled Abdallah tells Al Mal in a story carried only in its print edition. Abdallah did not specify whether the company has a targeted timeline for the transaction but noted that it already earned regulatory approval from the Financial Regulatory Authority (known at the time as EFSA, and imply that the company may have some work to do updating its paperwork with the authority). The listing is part of InterCairo’s 3-5-year future expansion plan, which also includes setting up a new EGP 800 mn factory, according to Abdallah.

IPO WATCH- Odin subsidiary Emerald for Project Management to make Nilex debut next year: Odin Investments plans to IPO subsidiary Emerald for Project Management & Development on the small-cap Nilex at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021, CEO Hashem El Sayed told Al Mal. Odin has been the only company to float shares on the EGX in 2020, listing a 28% stake in its Emerald Real Estate Investment subsidiary before the pandemic hit in February. The retail EGP 202 mn offering that was more than 17x oversubscribed.

LEGISLATION WATCH- SCZone investment incentives could be ready by next month: A package of economic and regulatory incentives being prepared by the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) and the government to attract investors will be ready in a month, SCZone head Yehia Zaki said during a general assembly meeting with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly yesterday. Zaki had earlier this year alluded to a mixture of non-tax incentives and customs breaks, but no specifics have been announced thus far. IT, logistics, solar energy and agriculture are among the industries that Zaki said would be high on the authority’s list of priorities during the meeting. Legislation that would codify the new incentives were expected to reach the House of Representatives by July but have since seen delays. The authority did however release customs rules and procedures for companies operating in the zone earlier this month.

MOVES- Ibrahim El Segeny has been appointed as acting chairman of the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA), succeeding Amir Nabil whose four-year term expired, the authority said in a statement.

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Egypt in the News

The only story of note on Egypt in the foreign press this morning: Some European Union lawmakers are lobbying Egypt to release political prisoners just days after 56 US legislators made a similar request in an open letter, according to Deutsche Welle.

Worth Listening

Could the US-China tech conflict lead to a “splinternet”? From Huawei to TikTok, the two global giants are battling it out on the issue of data governance and privacy. Experts are predicting that if tensions continue to escalate, we could find ourselves living in a world divided into separate Western and Chinese digital realms. This so-called “splinternet” would likely cause a divergence, not just in the usage of apps and platforms, but in regulatory frameworks, with China and Russia creating their own data management protocols and Western nations following another, Paul Triolo, head of the geo-technology practice at Eurasia Group, said in an episode of CNBC’s Beyond The Valley podcast (listen; runtime: 30:26).

What would this mean for businesses? A balkanized internet would heavily disrupt the day-to-day operations of companies established in both the US and China and force them to comply with two sets of conflicting data laws. The increase in red tape and other difficulties could force Western companies to exit from China completely.

Some countries would have to play a middle-man role and become ‘data neutral epicenters’ that store certain types of data that can then be accessed by other countries and companies, said Abishur Prakash, a geopolitical specialist at Toronto-based consulting firm, the Center for Innovating the Future.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus are inviting Turkey in from the cold to collaborate on exploiting the eastern Mediterranean’s gas resources provided it put an end to its “aggressive” actions towards its neighbors, the Associated Press reports. The trio did not exclude Turkey or anyone else from the EastMed partnership “from the start” but Ankara’s own actions have forced it to be marginalized, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said following trilateral talks in Cyprus yesterday.

In other diplo + trade news:

  • Egypt’s textile export council target is looking push into the Kenyan and Tanzanian markets next month as part of a wider expansion plan across Africa, council chairman Saeed Ahmed told the local press.
  • The African Brazilian Chamber of Commerce is now a thing, after the signing of an agreement between the Union of African Chambers of Commerce and the head of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, the local press reports.
  • Egypt is all in on THAMM: Egypt wants to participate in the International Labor Organization and EU-organized project to reduce Mediterranean migration, Deputy Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs and International Security Ihab Fawzy has said.

Infrastructure

General Electric awarded EGP 825 mn contract for Delta energy control center

General Electric has been awarded the contract to establish a regional energy control center in Dakahlia by the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, Al Mal reports. The American conglomerate undercut a EGP 862 mn offer by ABB and ElSewedy Electric with a EGP 825 mn bid. The project will be financed through a EUR 50 mn loan provided by the French Development Agency. GE is also reportedly on board to construct a separate control center in Alexandria. This comes as part of government plans to establish 47 control centers nationwide to better control energy consumption.

Tourism

Trials begin on Giza Pyramids electric bus route

Orascom Pyramids began trialing the new eco-friendly bus route at the Giza Plateau earlier the week after receiving the first electric bus, the cabinet said in a statement. The route, part of the ongoing Giza development project, will feature six stations and take tourists on a circular route between the visitor center and the pyramids complex. This came on the same day that Orascom Pyramids opened the doors of its 9 Pyramids Lounge restaurant. Under its contract with the government, the Orascom Investment Holding subsidiary will be in charge of operating the visitor center, organizing events and providing guiding material. AFP took note of the newly launched bus route.

Check out our Hardhat two-part series where we dissected the Giza Plateau development plan: Part 1 | Part 2.

Banking + Finance

Suez for Methanol Derivatives is looking for EGP 1.3 bn loan for Damietta plant

Suez Methanol Derivatives Company is looking to secure a EGP 1.3 bn loan for its new plant Damietta, Al Mal reports. The group is reportedly speaking with CIB and QNB Al Ahli.

Other Business News of Note

Three investors bidding for majority stake in Egypt’s Makkasa Sport

Misr for Central Clearing and Depository (MCDR) is considering three offers for its stake in Makkasa Sport — which owns Misr Lel Makkasa SC — after rejecting three others for failing to meet its EGP 80-85 mn valuation, the local press reports, citing sources close to the transaction. Those still in the running for the company’s 71% stake include state-owned Estadat Holding, an unnamed Kuwaiti investor, and an unnamed sporting club, according to the sources. The company will now hold individual meetings with the potential buyers and could make a decision in the coming weeks.

My WFH Routine

Omar Elsahy, Amazon / Souq Egypt country manager: Each week, my Morning / WFH 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 Omar Elsahy (LinkedIn), Country Manager of Amazon/Souq Egypt.

My name is Omar Elsahy and I look after Amazon / Souq in Egypt. We are a family of three — my wife Eman and I are blessed with our son Adam. And as of last month, our baby bulldog Lucious. My job is to ensure that we hire the best teams and support them to make good decisions. That happens by building a diverse and inclusive culture of empowered leaders and owners who are laser focused on delighting our customers every day. It’s super exciting, fast-paced and ever-changing. Every day brings its own challenges, some of which are easy to navigate and others that take time to think and debate on, but overall the velocity keeps us passionate and with purpose.

I’m an early riser, so I’m up by 5:15am. I start my day with coffee and juice and take 10-15 minutes to watch the sunrise in silence, then I shift gears to review daily reports for work and get my news updates from Enterprise and Apple News. I get a workout started at 6:30am, and then work starts at 8:30am — unless I have an early Seattle call. Typically, I try to wrap up my day by 6:30pm, unless I have follow-up calls, so I can get at least two hours of quality time with the family before bedtime — which during the week seems to have become the same for Adam and me.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the retail sector, including e-commerce, has been constantly evolving to reflect the new norm we live in. One of the most prominent changes we observed was increased demand for everyday products including groceries, food, hygiene products, and work from home supplies. We also witnessed increased demand from lifestyle categories reflecting the change in consumer behavior including kitchen, entertainment, and sports. Businesses have also fast-tracked their online presence to reach their customers.

Egypt is an important market segment for us — one we will continue to invest and innovate for on behalf of our customers. We currently have a workforce of more than 3,500, with a fulfillment center and nine delivery stations across Egypt.

At the beginning of the lockdown, we began implementing proactive safety measures at our facilities across the region to protect employees and customers, and updated our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize covid-19 related safety measures along with stocking and delivering items that were a higher priority for our customers. Regionally, we have increased our workforce by 30%.

At home, my first priority was setting up my work space, which is key regardless of its size. It’s important that it be dedicated to work so that work doesn’t seep into the rest of your life. I set up an office that used to be a glorified storage room — and it’s been incredibly important in keeping me focused.

I stay organized by relying on calendars to manage my time and meetings. Everything needs to be purposeful, but you also need to carve out time to listen to your teams in forums that allow for more than status reporting and reviews. Relentless prioritization is critical. Get very comfortable saying no to things that do not scale long-term and move the needle in how you better serve your customers. This is a key time to spend thinking, empowering teams and pushing decisions down as much as possible to allow us to operate at scale.

I was proud to see so many of our local leaders step up and make right high velocity decisions under pressure, which is reflective of good judgment. I used to believe that WFH could never be effective. I was proven wrong and stand corrected.

When I’m not at work, I love to spend time with my family. One of my favorite activities is BBQing with some blues playing in the background. I have been trying to read fewer business books and focus more on different genres. I’m currently reading Sapiens. I also like to team sports and documentaries, so I really enjoyed The Last Dance. And because I appreciate good cooking and art, I recently watched The Final Table, which was amazing. Amazon Prime has been upping the production game recently and putting up a few really cool shows.

When this is all over, the one thing I want to do is travel, travel, then travel some more. I miss the discovery, the walks, the food, the planes, even the queues, even passport control. Just want to travel.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.75
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.75

EGX30 (Wednesday): 11,101 (-0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 1.1 bn (2% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -20.5%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.5%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were CIRA up 2.0%, Telecom Egypt up 0.6%, and Cleopatra Hospitals up 0.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Egyptian Iron & Steel down 5.0%, GB Auto down 4.0% and Beltone Financial Holding down 3.8%. The market turnover was EGP 1.1 bn, and domestic investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +11.8 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +17.0 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -28.7 mn

Retail: 78.4% of total trades | 76.4% of buyers | 80.3% of sellers
Institutions: 21.6% of total trades | 23.6% of buyers | 19.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 40.09 (-3.86%)
Brent: USD 41.79 (-3.17%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.03 MMBtu (+4.05%, November 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,926.20 / troy ounce (+0.56%)

TASI: 8,496.85 (-0.42%) (YTD: +1.28%)
ADX: 4,543.70 (+0.02%) (YTD: -10.48%)
DFM: 2,171.18 (-0.44%) (YTD: -21.47%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,280.60 (+0.57%)
QE: 9,965.03 (-0.50%) (YTD: -4.42%)
MSM: 3,586.55 (-0.01%) (YTD: -9.91%)
BB: 1,453.56 (-0.07%) (YTD: -9.73%)

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Calendar

18-22 October (Sunday-Thursday): The annual Cairo Water Week event — which will be semi- virtual this year — will be held under the slogan “Water Security for Peace and Development in Arid Regions.”

21-23 October (Wednesday-Friday): Polls open to international voters for first round of Parliamentary elections in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

22-25 October (Thursday-Sunday): Le Marché furniture expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

23-31 October (Friday-Saturday): El Gouna Film Festival, El Gouna, Egypt.

24-25 October (Saturday-Sunday) Polls open for first round of Parliamentary elections in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

29 October (Thursday): Prophet Mohamed’s birthday (TBC), national holiday.

End of October: Last chance to settle building code violations for illegal buildings.

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

November: An Egyptian-Russian ministerial committee will meet to discuss trade and investment in Moscow.

2 November: Former Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik faces retrial at Cairo Court of Appeals in the so-called Aviation Ministry corruption case.

4-5 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

4-6 November (Wednesday-Friday): Polls open to international voters for first round of Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

4-7 November (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt Expo, International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

7-8 November (Saturday-Sunday): Polls open for first round of Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

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

13-15 November (Friday-Sunday): A conference on banking in the time of covid by the Union of Arab Banks, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

15 November (Sunday): Egyptian Tax Authority’s online intro seminar on new electronic invoice system for first tranche of companies transitioning to e-filing program.

19-28 November (Thursday-Sunday): Cairo International Film Festival, Cairo Opera House, Egypt.

22-25 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT 2020, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23-24 November (Monday-Tuesday): Reruns for Parliamentary elections in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

30 November (Monday): Final results will be announced for Parliamentary elections held in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

December (date TBC): Egypt Economic Summit, Cairo, Egypt, venue TBD.

December: The 110th regular session of the Egyptian-Iraqi Joint Higher Committee will be held under the chairmanship of the prime ministers of the two countries.

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

5 December (Saturday): A court will hold a postponed hearing to look into an appeal by Syria’s Anataradous against an arbitration ruling in favor of Amer Group and Amer Syria.

7-8 December (Monday-Tuesday): Reruns for Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

9-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): BiznEx, the international business expo in Egypt, venue TBD.

14 December (Monday): Final results will be announced for Parliamentary elections held in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

15-16 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

25 December (Friday): Western Christmas.

1 January 2021 (Friday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

7 January 2021 (Thursday): Coptic Christmas, national holiday.

13-31 January (Wednesday-Sunday): Egypt will host the 2021 Men’s Handball World Championship at the Giza Pyramids.

25 January 2021 (Monday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

25-29 January 2021 (Monday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s “Davos Dialogues” will take place virtually.

26-28 January (Tuesday-Thursday): Future Investment Initiative, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

28 January 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

4 February 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

6-18 February (Saturday-Thursday): Mid-year school break.

18 March 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

12 April 2021 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April 2021 (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

3 May 2021 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

6 May 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

12-15 May 2021 (Wednesday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

18-21 May 2021 (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting will be held under the theme of “The Great Reset” in Lucerne-Bürgenstock, Switzerland

31 May-2 June 2021 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

1 June 2021 (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

10 June 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

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

26-29 June 2021 (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center

22 July 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

30 July-3 August 2021 (Thursday-Monday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday (TBC).

1 October 2021-31 March 2022 (Friday-Thursday): Postponed Expo 2020 Dubai.

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