Thursday, 12 November 2020

The global race for a covid-19 vaccine is heating up

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The big news of the morning: Pfizer’s breakthrough on Monday seems to have escalated the superpower competition for a covid-19 vaccine, with both the Russians and Chinese yesterday coming out to tout their recent successes with their respective vaccines.

First up: Russia’s Sputnik V. Russia said yesterday that phase 3 clinical trials had shown the Sputnik V vaccine to be 92% effective at preventing people from contracting the virus. The trials have so far seen 16k participants injected with the first and second doses of the vaccine and another 20k have only received the first dose. A total of 20 participants who developed covid-19 were analyzed, far lower than the 94 infections in the Pfizer trial, which was earlier this week announced to be 90% effective.

Whether Sputnik V really is the front-running candidate — or whether a Kremlin apparatchik added a couple of percentage points just to stick it to Pfizer — remains to be seen.

But one area where Sputnik definitely has a leg up on Pfizer: we wouldn’t need to set up a global super-cold distribution chain just to get people the shots. To trigger an immune response, the Pfizer vaccine uses messenger RNA technology which has to be stored at -70C° and used within five days of thawing (ProPublica has more on this). Setting up these distribution networks is going to be an uphill battle even for the richest countries, leading Bloomberg to describe it as “one for the rich.”

Russia’s vaccine, which triggers an immune response via a different method, faces none of these hurdles, and seems far more likely to be adopted in the developing world. Indeed, some 50 countries have already requested more than 1.2 bn doses of the vaccine, including Egypt, which has an agreement to distribute the vaccine, and has eyes on manufacturing it too.

Next up is China’s Sinopharm, which yesterday said that the clinical trials for its vaccine delivered “better than expected” results. What “better than expected” means exactly remains unclear as the company didn’t release any figures or data.

Egypt is getting ready to start manufacturing the vaccine at state-affiliated vaccine manufacturer Vacsera, following the conclusion of local phase 3 trials of the two vaccines, Health Minister Hala Zayed said at yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting. Egypt has been one of three countries in the region to work with the company in trialling the vaccine, which is already being administered to frontline health workers in the Gulf and in China.

We’ve lined up 50% of our covid-19 vaccine needs from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, with the Health Ministry so far securing enough doses of Pfizer’s vaccine to cover some 20% of the population, in addition to vials of AstraZeneca’s Oxford University-developed vaccine that would account for another 30% of the population, Minister Hala Zayed said, according to Youm7.


It’s interest rate day: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet today to review interest rates. The consensus among analysts we polled earlier this week is that rates will remain unchanged with an eye on the second wave of covid-19 infections and an uncertain global political climate.

A World Bank delegation continues its 10-day visit to Cairo today. The delegation is in town for talks with the government, the International Cooperation Ministry said in a statement.

Renaissance Capital’s virtual conference on the 2021 outlook for emerging and frontier markets wraps tomorrow. The conference includes macro updates on key countries and regions, as well as panel discussions on sectors in specific countries. Look today for a panel discussion on Egypt’s fintech space with Fawry CEO Ashraf Sabry, Ebtikar CEO Ayman El Dessouky, Actis Partner Hossam Abou Moussa, and e-Finance subsidiary Khales CEO Moataz El Sayed. Tap / click here to stream the public sessions.


PSA: The Spanish Institute for Stock Exchange Studies’ (EIB) masters degree in financial markets will be made available to Egyptian students after it signed an agreement with the Financial Regulatory Authority’s education arm to bring the program to Egypt, according to Mubasher. The course will specialize in financial derivatives and will be taught at the Financial Services Institute’s facility at the Smart Village. Students will travel to Spain for two weeks as part of the program.

We’re not entirely clear on when this thing will get off the ground, but IEB director-general Alvaro Martinez intimated that things could begin to move forward by next March, while Egypt’s ambassador to Spain Omar Selim said that the first batch of students could travel to Madrid in 2022.


The Health Ministry reported 227 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 232 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 109,881 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 11 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,405. We now have a total of 100,662 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

EgyptAir has slashed prices on flights between Cairo, London and New York. Passengers travelling direct to London between now and the end of May can get a 40% discount on flights until 30 November, while those heading to New York between 26 November and 28 February will see their fares cut by 20%, Al Mal reports.

enterprise

China is reining in its tech giants and share prices are plunging. New antitrust rules designed to curb the market power of Chinese Big Tech have caused tech stocks to shed over USD 250 bn in market value, a week after regulators halted Ant Group’s USD 37 bn IPO. In the latest sign the CCP is trying to rein in the country’s powerful fintech monopolies, a regulator promised to step up scrutiny of their activities, sending the share prices of Tencent, Xiaomi, Meituan and others plunging. The Financial Times and CNBC have the story.

EU banks are bracing for a slew of non-performing loans early next year after warnings from the Single Resolution Board, the EU agency responsible for overseeing lenders in crisis, to prepare balance sheets for covid-19 driven defaults, the FT reports. European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovski has warned that there could be a likely rise in bad loans during the first quarter of 2021 while the European Central Bank’s top bank supervisor has called a scenario where NPLs outpace levels seen during the 2008 financial crisis “severe but plausible.”


Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who served as Bahrain's premier since the country’s founding, passed away yesterday at age 84. Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly expressed his condolences in a statement.

A bomb attack rocked a Remembrance Day ceremony in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah attended by foreign diplomats yesterday. A Greek and Saudi official were wounded, but there were no fatalities, the BBC reports. The French, Greek, Italian, British and American embassies in the Kingdom issued a joint statement condemning the “cowardly attack” while Egypt’s Foreign Ministry also issued a condemnation and wished the “speedy recovery of the injured.” The perpetrators were not immediately identified.

Libya’s warring sides have agreed to hold national elections by mid 2022 in an effort to maintain the ceasefire agreement announced last month. UN acting envoy to Libya Stephanie Williams mediated the pact on the third day of talks between the internationally recognized government in Tripoli and the eastern-based Libyan National Army, Bloomberg reports.


Are you a finance novice? Catch up with our series of explainers:

Got an idea for what we can cover next? We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at editorial@enterprise.press.

enterprise

It’s Making It Day: Today’s guest grew a simple sports data blog into an essential service used by teams in the English Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, and the MLS.

Ali El Fakharany, CEO of Arqam FC: While studying in Boston, El Fakharany was introduced to the field of sports data through an MIT Sloan conference. With no previous experience in tech, he taught himself how to code and started a blog that analyzed data from the Egyptian Premier League.

From local luxury to global essential service: In 2017, the blog became Arqam FC, a sports data company targeting the local football market. Despite not getting the business he hoped for locally, Arqam owned its own data collection center, which in 2019 prompted an acquisition by UK-based Statsbomb. The share swap agreement retained the team and ElFakharany as head of data product.

Owning the value chain: Under Statsbomb, Arqam went from a humble sports data company struggling in the local market to an essential service used by top tier European teams. This was made possible by owning the value chain of data collection and analysis, ElFakharany told us. The merger gave Statsbomb access to a low cost data collection center and talent based in Egypt, while Arqam could tap into the otherwise insular European football market through the Statsbomb network, he told us.

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 | Omny. Making It is on Spotify, but only for non-MENA accounts.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The nation’s talking heads continued saying the C-word on the airwaves last night, while the government’s plan to convert thousands of cars to run on natural gas also got a look-in.

Follow covid protocol or close, Saad tells shop owners: Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad warned shop and mall owners that they will be forced to close for three days if they allow members of the public onto their premises without a face mask during an interview with Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy. Saad suggested that this is especially important now, given the public are about to descend on shops and malls around the country to take advantage of discounts season (watch, runtime: 6:49), Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan also had coverage (watch, runtime: 4:25).

New opening hours for shops, malls, restaurants and cafes will come into force on 1 December, Saad told Salat El Tahrir’s Azza Moustafa, adding that the government will announce the changes in a few days (watch, runtime: 13:24). We have our fingers crossed that the plan has gone through a few redrafts: the plan trial ballooned on the airwaves last week seems overly complex, and would force businesses to close at different times depending on the time of year, where in the country they’re based, and what services they provide.

Natgas auto conversion plans: Sherdy interviewed Abd El Fattah Farhat, the head of the Egyptian International Gas Technology Company (GASTEC), who said that the government plans to convert 264k cars to run on natural gas in the coming two years. This comes a few days after Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told the Adipec oil and gas conference that the country plans to have 590k cars running on natural gas by 2023. The government will expand its network of gas stations by two-thirds, establishing an additional 400 stations by 2023. Drivers with cars under 20 years’ old will not be forced to convert their vehicles, he said, adding that loan facilities are available to help people cover the EGP 5-7k cost of fitting a natgas engine. The government’s ambitious long-term plan aims to convert 1.8 mn vehicles to run on natural gas at a cost of EGP 320 bn (watch, runtime: 21:24).

Speed Round

CABINET WATCH- Market regulator a step closer to getting sharper teeth as cabinet approves Unified Insurance Act: New extensive powers for the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) to regulate the establishment, licensing and oversight of insurers and reinsurers as well as related services, professions, and activities are inching closer to becoming the law of the land after the Madbouly Cabinet approved the the long awaited Unified Insurance Act in its weekly meeting yesterday, according to a statement.

Refresher: The law brings under its purview microinsurance institutions and private insurance funds, according to the statement, which was scant on further detail. According to earlier drafts, the bill would also give the FRA the authority to regulate medical insurers and monitor bank deposits.

Insurance would also become compulsory for individuals and institutions: We had noted that compulsory insurance for SMEs and new freelance and seasonal job insurance regulations would be key components of the draft. Recent amendments to the legislation would make insurance mandatory in 21 cases covering everything from non-banking financial services to student health coverage to marriage, according to Masrawy. The law would also appoint economic courts as the arbitrators in any disputes arising from the implementation of the law, with the exception of cases that come under the jurisdiction of the State Council, the statement said.

The Unified Insurance Act has been in the pipeline since 2018: According to draft details leaked last year, the Act should raise the minimum requirement for the issued and paid-in capital of life and property insurance companies by 150% to EGP 150 mn, and by as much as 733% for reinsurance companies. The bill also doubles the ceiling for life insurance payouts to EGP 80k.

Also from Cabinet yesterday: Treasury bills and sovereign bonds sold on international markets are now exempt from income tax, the cabinet also decided in its meeting. Egypt listed USD 750 mn in green bonds as well as bonds from its record USD 5 bn Eurobond offering earlier this year on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The LSE currently carries 40 issuances by the Arab Republic of Egypt.

enterprise

Amsterdam-based e-payment platform Adyen is expanding to the Middle East, including Egypt, where it plans to integrate with Fawry and Meeza, according to a press release. Ayden’s expansion to the region will see the company opening a new office in Dubai to run its new operations to “provide merchants from the region with access to the full strength of the Adyen platform.” Adyen serves customers including Facebook, Uber, Spotify, and L’Oréal.

M&A WATCH- Raya Holding looks poised to sell the entirety of its recycling subsidiary BariQ to an unnamed foriegn investor after the company’s board of directors gave preliminary approval to an offer earlier this week, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). Raya earlier this year started receiving offers from interested parties, with at least five local and foreign companies submitting non-binding offers to acquire minority stakes in the recycled plastic producer. At least one Egyptian investment institution had sought to purchase 100% of the company at the time. The value of the sale remains undisclosed.

National Bank of Egypt (NBE) gets the go-ahead for Aman Group sale: Raya’s board of directors has also given preliminary approval to the sale of a 24% stake in the company’s non-banking financial services arm Aman Group to state-owned National Bank of Egypt (NBE). The potential minority stake sale would see the NBE own 9 mn shares in Aman. The value of the agreement has yet to be disclosed.

Could natgas prices for factories be liberalized? Long-term demands from factories for lower gas prices will be considered by a newly-formed task force made up of the Egyptian Federation of Investors Associations and EGAS, EFIA member Sobhy Nasr told Youm7. The group will look at aligning local and international prices, waiving interest fees on late gas payments, and allowing the original debt to be paid in installments over 15 years, he said.

Local gas prices remain well above international prices despite the government slashing prices over the past year. Factories are currently paying USD 4.5 per mmBtu for gas, which is more than 30% above the current USD 3/mmBtu international spot price. The government has twice reduced prices since October 2019, cutting them by up to 25% last year before making another 25% reduction in March in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Manufacturers and exporters have in recent months demanded that the government lower prices at least to USD 3.5/mmBtu, while others suggested an even deeper cut to USD 2.5 is in order to help them recover from the covid-19 crisis. The recent economic stress caused by the pandemic and ensuing lockdown restrictions have placed pressure on the sector, which has for years argued that high gas prices have weighed on production and export growth.

MPs have been getting more vocal on the subject: Representatives sitting on the House Industrial Committee have in recent weeks sided with factories and called on the government to take action. Anonymous government sources told local media in September that policymakers were considering reducing prices to USD 4/mmBtu but there hasn’t been any official comment on the matter since.

TE, Amsterdam exchange to establish Egypt’s first internet exchange: Telecom Egypt has inked an agreement with the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) to establish Egypt’s first internet exchange point (EG-IX) in the Smart Village, enabling better online communication between Egypt, Africa and the Middle East, the Communications Ministry said in a statement. The EG-IX is expected to start operating once TE’s new data center is brought online in early 2021, and will increase connectivity between ISPs, content and cloud service providers and app developers.

Wait, what’s an IX? An internet exchange point (IX or IXP) is a physical hub through which internet providers and content delivery networks exchange internet traffic directly, without having to rely on third-party networks. Reduced costs, lower latency (read: less delays) and higher bandwidth are key advantages. Egypt’s new exchange will run using the Amsterdam exchange’s IX-as-a-Service (IXaaS), under which AMS-IX provides the infrastructure, software, firewalls and technical support.

The exchange will be housed in TE’s Tier III certified data center, which will be the largest in the country when it begins operations next year. The center will be connected to TE’s 10 Mediterranean and Red Sea subsea landing stations, allowing it to send and receive data from more than 60 countries around the world. The EG-IX, together with the data center, will strengthen Egypt’s position as a regional connectivity hub.

EARNINGS WATCH- Raya Holding sees revenue growth and narrowing losses in 9M2020: Raya losses eased to EGP 53.6 mn during 9M2020 from EGP 58.1 mn a year earlier, according to a company earnings release (pdf). The company saw revenues reach EGP 7.56 bn in the first nine months of the year, up 16% y-o-y from EGP 6.52 bn a year earlier.

Allianz Egypt reported EGP 490 mn in net profits in FY2019-2020 on revenues of EGP 5.35 bn, according to a press release (pdf). The insurance company saw its life assurance products grow 35% during the year, while its property and casualty insurance business grew 29%.

Prime Holding’s net losses jumped to EGP 3.4 mn in 3Q2020 from EGP 200k in 3Q2019, according to a company earnings release (pdf). The company also fell into the red during 9M2020, reporting EGP 17.3 mn in losses after recording a EGP 4.2 mn profit last year. Revenues grew 23% to EGP 24.7 mn.

Al Baraka Bank Egypt reported EGP 1.13 bn in net profits in 9M2020, up from EGP 863.64 mn reported during the same period last year, according to a company earnings release (pdf).

Domty net profits fell 18.5% in 3Q2020 to EGP 41.3 mn from EGP 50.7 mn last year, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues for the period reached EGP 724.1 mn, compared to EGP 720.2 mn a year ago.

AT Lease’s net profits inched up to EGP 55.24 mn in 9M2020 from EGP 52.05 mn last year, according to an EGX disclosure.

EIPICO reported a 41.1% y-o-y decline in 9M2020 net profits, coming in at EGP 281.52 mn compared to EGP 478.33 mn last year, according to an earnings release (pdf). Revenues fell 15.6% over the period to EGP 2.08 bn from EGP 2.46 bn last year.

The National Bank of Kuwait’s net profits inched down to EGP 1.10 bn in 9M2020 from EGP 1.66 bn last year, according to an EGX disclosure.

MM Group reported EGP 299.78 mn in net profits in 9M2020, down from EGP 370.05 mn last year, according to an EGX disclosure.

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Egypt in the News

Coverage on Egypt in the foreign press is mixed again this morning: The New York Times looks at Egypt’s response to the pandemic, including the availability of medical supplies and covid-19 testing, while Motley Fool founder writes in an op-ed for the Financial Times that the Biden administration is unlikely to threaten Egypt’s long-standing military aid but may shift the human rights discourse. And in less political coverage, Aswan’s Sofitel Old Cataract Hotel is featured on the New York Times Style Magazine’s list of ‘11 Hotels to Visit in Your Dreams.’

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

El Sisi’s visit to Greece is leading diplomatic coverage this morning: Egypt and Greece are hoping that the incoming Biden administration will take a more “decisive” approach to current tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said yesterday. “I believe that Greece and Egypt will welcome and have a positive attitude toward the determination of America’s contribution to the events of the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean in our troubled region,” he said at a press conference during President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s diplomatic visit. Both countries have pushed back against Turkey’s gas exploration efforts in the region this year, and tensions over long-standing territorial disputes have escalated. El Sisi made no mention Joe Biden during his statement to reporters, but — without name-checking — accused a certain country in the region of breaking international law and supporting terrorism. The Associated Press and Reuters have coverage.

Egypt is busy trying to curry favor with the incoming administration though, signing a USD 65k-per-month contract with heavyweight lobbying group Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck on Monday, according to a Department of Justice filing (pdf). The firm, staffed by veteran Washington insiders including retired Republican congressman Ed Royce, will "provide government relations services and strategic counsel on matters before the US government" for one year.

Egypt has locked down USD 7.3 bn of finance this year geared towards advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the International Cooperation Ministry said in a statement (pdf). The agreements, which include USD 4.5 bn to finance government investments and another USD 2.7 bn for the private sector, are earmarked for several projects in priority areas. This includes USD 477 mn for healthcare development, including a USD 400 mn World Bank loan for the country’s universal healthcare scheme, as well as several packages from USAID to support the Egyptian Red Crescent, purchase ventilators for covid-19 patients, and fund scientific research.

Other goals the funding is earmarked for: Developing sustainable cities and communities, building resilient infrastructure and promoting inclusive industrialization, taking action on climate change, and encouraging gender equality.

Egypt aims to increase the value of its annual exports to Africa to USD 30 bn within three to five years,said Abdel Aziz El Sherif, an official at the Trade Ministry’s Egyptian Commercial Service, according to MENA. Exports of chemical products and fertilizers are projected to reach USD 5 to 6 bn annually, he said.

Energy

ElSewedy Electric signs substation contracts with EETC

ElSewedy Electric for Trading & Distribution has signed EGP 846 mn-worth of engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contracts with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, according to a statement (pdf). The contracts will see the company construct the Toshka 4 substation and its overhead transmission line as well as the West Port Said substation. Construction is expected to be finished within a year.

Tourism

Sound and light show tender extended to 3 December

The Sound and Light Cinema Company has extended the bidding deadline for its tender to develop the sound and light show at the Giza Pyramids to 3 December from 5 November, Managing Director Mohamed Abdel Aziz told Masrawy. One European and four Egyptian companies have submitted bids, Abdel Aziz said, without disclosing the firms. Companies will be required to invest at least USD 15 mn in the project, and international firms would need to create an Egyptian joint stock company with a minimum capital of EGP 25 mn, Al Mal reports, citing unnamed sources.

Egypt to open three new museums before end of 2020

The Tourism Ministry will open the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, the New Administrative Capital Museum and the Cairo Airport Museum before the end of 2020, Momen Osman, head of museums at the Tourism Ministry, told Al Mal.

Real Estate + Housing

New Alamein land for PPP development to be tendered in December

The New Urban Communities Authority will issue tenders for land in New Alamein to be developed under a private-public partnership starting next month, Vice Housing Minister Walid Abbas said at a press conference earlier this week, according to Mubasher.

Nile City to build 3 new towers in Ramlet Boulak

Nile City Investments will build three new towers in Ramlet Boulak adjacent to its existing Nile City Towers at a total cost of EGP 20 bn, Al Mal reports. The towers are expected to be completed within 4-5 years and will include hotels and medical centers. The company is considering including serviced apartments and retail stores, depending on the licensing restrictions, said a source close to the project.

Automotive + Transportation

Greater Cairo, Egypt’s new capital to be linked through 48 bus lines

Greater Cairo will be linked to the new administrative capital through 48 bus lines, 23 of which will be operational by January, while the remaining 25 will begin operations in March, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said, according to a cabinet statement.

Banking + Finance

NBE could provide EGP 200 mn credit facility for El Marakby Steel within weeks

The National Bank of Egypt finalizing talks to provide a EGP 200 mn credit facility to El Marakby Steel, according to Al Mal, citing unnamed sources close to the negotiations. The credit facility would come as a larger EGP 370 mn joint facility with an unnamed private bank to provide the remaining EGP 170 mn.

National Security

Germany approves EUR 130 mn arms sale to Egypt

Germany has approved a EUR 130 mn arms agreement with Egypt which will see German shipmaker Lurssen deliver nine patrol boats and a coastal defense ship across the Mediterranean, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Egypt is one of Germany’s biggest arms buyers, purchasing EUR 290.6 mn-worth of equipment in 1Q2020, according to Deutsche Welle.

My WFH Routine

Ibrahim El Missiri, CEO of ASDC — the developers of Soma Bay: 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 Ibrahim El Missiri (LinkedIn), CEO of ASDC, the developers of Soma Bay.

My name is Ibrahim El Missiri and I am the CEO of ASDC, the master developer of Soma Bay, which is the 10 mn sqm peninsula on the Red Sea south of Hurghada, with an 11km coast line and the most pristine sandy beach. We have a marina, five exceptional hotels, and an 18-hole championship golf course designed by the renowned Gary Player. Hence our motto: outstanding by nature.

I wake up around 6:30am, and the first thing I do is read Enterprise while I’m still in bed. Our Cocker Spaniel-Dachshund mix, Basboussa, is always the first to greet me when I get up and is always excited for our daily walk. Next is breakfast with the kids before they head off to school. My taste in breakfast isn’t very refined with my usual being coffee, orange juice and a roumy cheese sandwich. When my wife Marwa comes back from dropping the kids off — she insists on doing it herself — we usually spend some time together until it's time for me to head off into the wilderness.

I’ve been back at the office since the beginning of September. I take all my calls during the commute to work and get to the office by 9:30am. That’s when the real battle begins. There’s always something happening and a portion of my time is spent on putting out fires, but I try to stay organized overall. My main focus during the day is working on projects and operations.

How do I stay organized? Marie, my assistant. She sorts my life out. I’m religious about my Microsoft Calendar to manage my day and I try to stick with it. I write down everything. I enjoy having a notebook and taking notes. As for the home front, Marwa is the definite manager.

At the end of the day, if there’s no football match playing, I head home. I recently got into watching Liverpool matches — just like most of the Egyptian population. Even though my family were supporters of Al Ahly and I played football as a kid, I lost interest in the sport when I grew up. But now, because of Salah, I got hooked on the Premier League.

Once a week, I take some time to be alone and plan for the future. Before covid, I would head to a coffee shop near the Gezira Club for some shisha and use that time to think. But nowadays it's often in the afternoon when I walk the dog or when I sit alone at home. It’s hard during the workday because there’s so much — emails, calls, meetings — that you don’t get the chance to step back.

I spend nearly 10-15 days in Soma Bay each month during the pandemic. Previously I had a rhythm of one week in Soma Bay and one week in Cairo.

I don’t think the office is completely dead, but I think it depends on the industry. For us, we thought about what needs to be done in Cairo versus what needs to be done in Soma Bay. During covid, we moved some functions to Soma Bay and said “don’t come back.”

I think 80% of all functions can be done in Soma Bay — unless you’re legally required to be in Cairo. Doing work in the Red Sea is very possible — you have flights and internet and daily necessities. So why stay in Cairo? The two things preventing mass migration to the Red Sea are the availability of education and medical care.

The pandemic has highlighted our basic tourism problems. We don’t have a big enough airline or fleet and we’re still depending on Germany to offer charter flights. International tourism has suffered and local tourism only picks up when Egypt has a public holiday.

But covid also caused many people to consider retiring outside of Cairo. Middle-aged people traveled to Gouna and Soma Bay during the pandemic and started thinking “this whole retirement thing is real.” The Red Sea isn’t going to be the north coast, but it could become a first home for retirees or people who can do business remotely.

To relax, I like to listen to music. I’m a grunge, rock and roll kind of guy. My favorite band is Guns N' Roses and I proudly went on their Not in This Lifetime tour. However, my kids can’t stand them. I also like Pearl jam. Nirvana, and Linkin Park. I’ve recently become interested in this new wave of European DJs who are mixing club music with mahraganat. It’s actually kind of cool when it’s mixed.

I used to like watching a lot of serious TV shows, but because of work pressure, I’ve been preferring to watch some nonsense. I love Michael McIntyre’s standups. You should see him when he talks about family and kids. I can’t wait for the new David Attenborough that’s coming up. I used to watch Suits and I just finished watching both seasons of Cobra Kai. It was poorly produced, but full of nostalgia — the fact that they have the original cast back? Wow, I binged on that for two days.

The best piece of advice I’ve gotten is to stop trying to control the things you can’t control. A mentor told me that when we were in the midst of covid-19 and under a lot of pressure. I was killing myself trying to control the unknown. He also urged me to accept things for what they are.

I also tend to quote one of my greatest mentors, Jeremy Beeton. He was previously Director General of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He always knew the right thing to say in any situation. He’d never give you a clear answer, but he’d guide you to finding your own way by listening. And I believe if you want something enough, it will happen. That’s how I’m guided in my life.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.60 | Sell 15.70
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.60 | Sell 15.70
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.61 | Sell 15.71

EGX30 (Wednesday): 10,998 (-0.7%)
Turnover: EGP 1.6 bn (42% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -21.2%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.7%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 0.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Export and Development Bank up 4.2%, Dice up 3.9%, and Orascom Development up 3.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Eastern Company down 12.4%, Telecom Egypt down 1.6% and Ibnsina Pharma down 1.1%. The market turnover was EGP 1.6 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +23.1 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +5.9 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -29.1 mn

Retail: 73.2% of total trades | 71.3% of buyers | 75.1% of sellers
Institutions: 26.8% of total trades | 28.7% of buyers | 24.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 41.45 (+0.22%)
Brent: USD 43.72 (+0.25%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.03 MMBtu, (+2.78%, December 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,861.60 / troy ounce (-0.79%)

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Calendar

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.

10-19 November (Monday-Thursday): A World Bank delegation arrives in Egypt to discuss financing development projects.

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

12 November (Thursday): The African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) is organizing an online conference titled “State of African Private Equity & Venture Capital: Regional Perspectives.” You can sign up here.

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

13-20 November (Friday-Friday): Cairo Jazz Festival.

14 November (Saturday): Startups Without Borders Summit will be held virtually

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.

15 November (Sunday): Results of the second phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections will be announced.

16 November (Monday): Postponed trial of alleged abuser Ahmed Bassam Zaki, after he failed to attend the previous court date

16 November (Monday): The fifth edition of Destination Africa will be held virtually and will highlight African manufacturers and suppliers of fashion and textiles, among others. The expo will continue for one month.

18 November (Wednesday): The 50 Million African Women Speak online event will be held, organized by the Egyptian MSME Development Agency and Comesa

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

21 November (Saturday): Deadline to install electronic vehicle stickers

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

23-24 November (Monday-Tuesday): Runoffs 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: Fifth round of Egypt-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks.

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 December: Former Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik faces trial over embezzlement allegations.

7-8 December (Monday-Tuesday): Runoffs 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 December (Tuesday): House of Representatives reconvenes from recess.

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.

1Q2021: The Seventh Annual Egypt Automotive Summit will be held

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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2020 Enterprise Ventures LLC.