Thursday, 19 November 2020

IDH considers EGX listing + more good vaccine news

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Well, friends, we made it through another week together. We have a packed issue for you this morning, including news of a IDH’s potential listing on the EGX and ongoing worries about covid-19.

Egypt’s second wave is looking more real by the day: Daily cases rose for the fourth consecutive day yesterday to 329, up from 275 the day before and the highest since 30 July. This came after Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly warned during the weekly cabinet meeting that the wave currently gripping other countries is “more dangerous and widespread” than the first, and said that “work must be done” to ensure Egypt doesn’t fall into the same situation. He called on authorities to be more vigilant in cracking down on people caught violating anti-covid precautions and urged people to work from home wherever possible.

We’re using 20% of our available ventilators and 47% of our special care beds, Health Minister Hala Zayed said at the cabinet meeting yesterday. The minister reiterated the WHO’s warning about the long term health repercussions of covid-19, and said that those who had recovered from the virus would still be able to receive a vaccine once it becomes available since we’re not yet sure how long a person stays immune after recovering.

There is good news though: Pfizer and BioNTech’s final vaccine results showed a 95% success rate with no short-term safety concerns, paving the way for the two companies to apply for emergency approval in the US and European Union in the coming days. Trials on adults aged over 65 showed a slightly lower efficacy rate of 94%, but still above the initial 90% reported last week. The vaccine’s effectiveness is just a hair above Moderna’s preliminary 94.5% figure and Russia’s Sputnik V’s 92%. Both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines are likely to be approved before the end of the year. The story made it to the front pages everywhere, from Reuters and the Financial Times to CNN and the Guardian.

Chinese competitor Sinovac Biotech isn’t enjoying such great results: Its creatively-named CoronaVac vaccine showed inconclusive results in its first two phases of clinical trials, generating a lower level of antibodies than seen in people who had been diagnosed with covid-19, the Wall Street Journal reports.

But reel in the excitement, as it will still be months before a large-scale rollout can begin — and even longer for the vaccine gets to countries like Egypt. Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is synthetic mRNA and needs to be stored at -70°C which is rarely available outside of (really) major hospitals in developed countries. And — as the WHO reminded us yesterday — even if a vaccine is rolled out this winter, it’s not going to save us from the current wave of infections

This comes as Africa’s covid-19 case count passes the 2 mn mark. While this represents just 4% of the cases reported globally, the figure is likely underestimating the extent of the outbreak on the continent, given the weaker testing capacity, Reuters says.

US stocks weren’t impressed with the extra percentage points, focusing more on the surging case count and the new restrictions being introduced across the country. New York City took drastic action to contain the virus yesterday, re-closing schools across the city and threatening to shutter all non-essential businesses. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 both fell 1.16% on the news, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq — so often a beneficiary of the pandemic — lost 0.8%. Bloomberg and Reuters have more.

Asian shares were marginally down at the time of dispatch this morning, while the US markets are on course to open in the red later today.

SPEAKING OF MARKETS: Emerging market stocks are going to be the equity play of 2021. Half of fund managers surveyed by the Bank of America said they would rather put their money in EM stocks than in oil or the S&P 500, the Financial Times reports. Positive vaccine test results from Pfizer and Moderna have inspired a wave of confidence that saw EM equities climb 2.3% since the announcements, according to MSCI’s emerging market index. “These results have likely removed some pessimism about the medium-term trajectory of the virus and its consequences on the global economy,” said Barclays strategist Andreas Kolbe, adding that undervalued EM currencies and assets stand to gain from lower volatility.


Are we going to see a new wave of antitrust enforcement? Trade Minister Nevine Gamea directed the Egyptian Competition Authority’s newly-appointed acting chairman, Ibrahim El Segeny, to hold periodic meetings to “swiftly” address pending cases and reports of antitrust violations, the authority recently said. The authority has already looked into cases in industries including pulp and paper, mobile phones, automotives, steel, and oil services during its first meeting last week, according to the statement, which did not specify what companies it is looking at.

Candidates standing in runoff elections have been told to shush as voters return to the polls to settle the remaining 110 seats from the first round of voting for the House of Representatives held last month in Giza and other governorates, reports Youm7. Those voting abroad can head to the polls today through Monday; voters at home can cast their ballots on Monday and Tuesday. The pro-government Mostaqbal Watan party has dominated proceedings so far, putting it on course to take legislative control of the House, in addition to the Senate.

Meanwhile, our newly-elected Senate will vote on draft legislation setting its bylaws when it reconvenes on 29 November, Al Mal reports. The 300-article bill would see the chamber vote on constitutional amendments and any bills referred to it by the House of Representatives or the president, and ratify international treaties.

We could know more about Egypt’s commodities exchange (Egycomex) next month, when a meeting to finalize trading guidelines and eligibility rules for commodity traders on the marketplace is scheduled, exchange Chairman Ibrahim Ashmawy said, according to Al Mal. The exchange is expected to be up and running in the first half of 2021 and will launch with only wheat as a tradeable commodity.

Airlines flying to Egypt’s tourist hotspots will get a 50% discount on landing and docking fees as well as 20% off on-the-ground plane services, Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar announced in the official gazette yesterday, Masrawy reports. The discounts came into effect starting November and will continue for six months until the end of April. The decision applies to airlines flying to the Red Sea, Luxor, Aswan, South Sinai and Matrouh. Egypt is trying to resuscitate a tourism sector hammered by covid-19: Monthly tourism receipts have fallen almost 90% this year.

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Global debt is rising at a scary pace thanks to pandemic spending, increasing by USD 15 tn in just the first nine months of this year to hit a record USD 272 tn by the end of the third quarter, the Institute of International Finance said yesterday. This “tsunami” of debt is expected to hit USD 277 tn (365% of GDP) by the end of the year, raising “significant uncertainty” about how the world will ever unwind it without causing a global economic shock, it said.

Sudanese banks are on track to reconnect with the global financial system after spending years in isolation from foreign banks while the country remained on the US’ state sponsor of terrorism list, Reuters reports. Al Baraka Bank Sudan completed the country’s first USD transaction in almost 20 years last month, Al Baraka Bank Egypt’s general manager, Elrasheed Abdel Rahman Ali, said. The US is currently in the process of expunging Sudan from the list which would allow the country to re-establish ties with foreign banks.

The Boeing 737 Max is airborne again: US regulators have cleared Boeing to use its 737 Max for passenger flights, ending a 1.5-year hiatus following two crashes that killed more than 300 people, the Wall Street Journal reports.

FOR THE iSHEEP AMONG US: Apple is slashing to 15% the commission it takes from most app developers, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Meanwhile, reviews of M1 chips just keep rolling in. You’ll want to check out the Verge’s take on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, while the hardcore will find lots in Om Malik’s take (he spoke with top Apple honchos) and Mac geek John Gruber’s exhaustive look.


Football star Mohamed Salah is staying in Egypt after he again tested positive for covid-19 yesterday, according to an Egyptian Football Association statement. Salah would have been allowed to return to the UK today if the swab test had turned up negative, according to The Sun. The Liverpool midfielder was hoping to play in Sunday’s Liverpool vs Leicester match and requested he be tested earlier, an unnamed source close to Salah told Youm7. He has been isolating in Egypt since it was announced this week that he contracted the virus. Mohamed Elneny has also tested positive again.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Hassan Kouka became the third player to test positive for covid-19, the Egyptian Football Association said in a statement on Wednesday.

The foreign press is all over Mohamed Salah this morning, from the Associated Press to Sky Sports, as were the talk shows (Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan was typical — watch, runtime: 10:25).

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FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF KUDOS-

#1- Ten AUC professors have made it onto Stanford’s list of the top 2% most-cited scientists in the world, the university said in a statement (pdf). A total of 396 Egyptian scientists made the list, Higher Education Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abd El Ghaffar told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal last night (watch, runtime: 6:00).

#2 Egypt’s tourism industry raked in the awards this week: Hilton Alexandria King’s Ranch won a country award in the luxury family hotel category at the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2020 while Baron Palace Sahl Hasheesh received a country award in the Luxury Honeymoon Resort category.

Egypt placed second in the 2020 DIVE Travel Awards for the second year in the row, trailing behind Indonesia as the world’s best diving destination, according to Dive Magazine. The Red Sea’s Emperor Elite ship won first place in the best liveaboard category, while Sharm El Sheikh’s Elite Diving and Sinai’s Scuba Seekers made the world’s top 10 list of diving centers.

*** HOW HAS BLENDED LEARNING BEEN TREATING YOU SO FAR? Tell us what you think. We’ve put together a quick survey asking parents and students how things are going on the blended front. We’ll have the results in an upcoming issue of Blackboard. And as is our custom, we’ll draw the names of three respondents who will receive an Enterprise mug and a bag of our favourite coffee from our friends at 30 North.

Tap or click here to take the survey. It’s quick and painless, we promise.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

New opening hours for retail shops and restaurants were revealed on the talk shows last night — and they’re just as confusing as we feared. Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad was on with Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa to lay out the new rules, which he confirmed will come into force on 1 December (watch, runtime: 28:10). Here’s what we know:

  • Stores will need to close at 10pm in winter and 11 pm in the summer, but they’ll be allowed to stay open an hour later on holidays and weekends.
  • Cafes and restaurants will now close at midnight during the winter and 1am in the summer
  • BUT: They’ll be able to close one hour later on weekends and official holidays.
  • Plumbers, carpenters, electricians and other small neighborhood workshops will close at 7pm in the summer, but it’s unclear when they might close in winter.
  • Grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies will be exempt from the new closing times and can open and close their doors whenever they want.

But Enterprise, when does winter become summer and summer become winter? We have no idea. Hopefully we’ll get some solid dates before the rules come into force.

But, but, but… It gets more complicated: “Governorates dependent on tourism” will have a different patchwork of opening hours, Saad said, without getting into specifics. Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 3:56) and Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan also had coverage (watch, runtime: 1:50).

Al Mashat talks development finance: Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat also appeared on Ala Mas’ouleety to discuss the year in development finance. Egypt has secured some USD 7.3 bn in foreign funding so far this year, USD 4.54 bn of which has gone into public sector projects while USD 2.76 bn has been used to support the private sector.

Although all of this is pushing up Egypt’s external debt pile — which is now at USD 111 bn / 28% of GDP according to the latest statistics — Al Mashat emphasized that Egypt has not deferred payment on any of its loans, which is crucial to give investors confidence and attract more investment into the country. Al Mashat also outlined the structural reforms that helped to save Egypt from a covid-induced recession — which we covered yesterday — and talked about how the ministry is trying to promote Egypt’s economic progress through the international media (watch, runtime: 24:09).

Some folks living on Ismail Mohamed Street in Zamalek need to bug out for at least a month: Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa phoned Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir who said that residents of buildings 5 and 7 on Ismail Mohamed Street, Zamalek, will need to evacuate before 1 December for at least a month due to structural problems with the buildings thought to be caused by the construction of the Cairo Metro. The government will pay EGP 1k per day in compensation to residents, he said (watch, runtime: 14:30).

By “at least a month,” we mean “maybe forever”: El Wazir said the buildings may have to be destroyed, in which case residents will be given new flats somewhere else in the city. If they don’t like it, they’re free to file a lawsuit, he said.

Speed Round

IPO WATCH- London-listed Consumer healthcare giant Integrated Diagnostics Holdings (IDH) is considering the dual listing of its ordinary shares on the EGX, the company announced in a press release. While the size, value and timeline of the potential listing were not disclosed, the company said it was “currently examining possible transaction structures.” The EGX has not seen an IPO since small cap real estate investment firm Emerald debuted in February before the pandemic took hold.

The dual listing will enhance the company’s liquidity and trading volumes, while its presence on the EGX will improve IDH’s visibility in its main market. “A dual listing on the LSE and EGX would also widen our investor base across an enlarged pool of geographically diversified investors, with increased participation from local retail and institutional investors as well as global emerging markets specialists,” said IDH CEO Dr. Hend El Sherbiny. The listing would also provide Egypt-based investors who are unable to access the London stock a chance to invest in IDH’s business.

The company was the first Egyptian company to debut its stock on the main market at the LSE in 2015 in an IPO that was 11x oversubscribed and offered a 43.5% stake, raising USD 290 mn. IDH was formed in 2012 through the merger of the Al Mokhtabar and AlBorg network of labs and today serves mns of patients annually in Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Nigeria.

IDH current shareholder structure: Some 25.5% of the company’s shares are held by Hena Holdings, while private equity giant Actis currently holds 21% with the remaining 53.5% being freefloat shares.

Advisors: Renaissance Capital has been tapped as financial advisor for the potential listing, while Clifford Chance will act as legal counsel regarding UK and US law, Ogier regarding Jersey law, and White & Case will serve as counsel on Egyptian law.

*** DR HEND DISCUSSES THE POTENTIAL IPO AND MORE IN TODAY’S EPISODE OF MAKING IT: She charts her path from taking over her mother’s facility, MK Lab, in 2004, to transforming IDH to the diagnostics behemoth it is today, with 450 labs across Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Nigeria. We discuss what it took to institutionalize and corporatize the business, how important consolidation was to ensure quality healthcare at affordable prices, and the importance of diagnostics in the age of covid-19.

You already have a podcast app on your iPhone and you can listen on Google Podcasts | Anghami | Omny. We’re also available on Spotify, but only for non-MENA accounts. Subscribe to Making It on your podcatcher of choice here.

It’s also easy to listen on our website.

M&A WATCH- State owned investment bank NI Capital has signed an agreement to acquire Bank Audi’s Arabeya Online brokerage, Planning Minister and National Investment Bank Chairman Hala El Said announced in a statement yesterday. The bank has completed due diligence and will now look to obtain regulatory clearance.

The acquisition will allow the bank to expand its non-banking financial services offering, including brokerage services for individuals and institutions, El Said said. “The transaction is a new step supporting NI Capital’s role in developing money markets in Egypt by offering comprehensive services to our clients,” said the minister.

Background: Arabeya Online was the first brokerage firm to receive an online trading license in Egypt in 2006 and is 100% owned by Bank Audi. The bank said earlier this year it was looking to offload its stake in Arabeya Online shortly after announcing it was looking to sell its Egypt unit to First Abu Dhabi Bank amid the ongoing Lebanese financial crisis. FAB recently resumed talks for the potential USD 700 mn acquisition of Bank Audi after having put the sale on hold in May, citing fallout from the coronavirus.

Advisors: NI Capital appointed Shahid Law Firm as legal counsel and Mazars Mostafa Shawki as tax advisor, while Ernst & Young consulted on digital transactions. Bank Audi tapped Zulficar & Partners as legal advisor and Broadgate Advisers as financial advisor to the deal.

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M&A WATCH- MNHD signs final agreement to offload stake in Nasr Utilities: Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (MNHD) has signed a final agreement with an unnamed strategic investor for the sale of its 98.4% stake in subsidiary Nasr Utilities and Installations (NUI), according to a regulatory filing (pdf). Although the name of the buyer is yet to be confirmed, Mohammed Ahmed Daoud for Engineering and Industrial Investments (Daoud Group) has reportedly made an EGP 30 mn offer to acquire the stake.

MNHD could also exit El Nasr Civil Works: The state-owned company is expected to divest in another subsidiary, El Nasr Civil Works. Odin Investments is looking to make an offer for a 76-90% stake before the end of the month, we noted earlier this week.

M&A WATCH- Orascom Development Egypt (ODH) is in talks to sell some or all of its stake in Orascom Housing Communities, it confirmed in a regulatory filing (pdf) yesterday. It offered no details on the expected size of the transaction or the identity of the potential buyer, though reports circulating in the local press over the weekend said the buyer was a British investment fund.

Background: ODH CEO Samih Sawiris is reportedly looking to sell 85% of Orascom Housing Communities’ shares to the UK investment fund, including the 30% stake held by ODH and his personal 55% stake. The remaining 15% will be retained by US company Blue Ridge and PE firm Equity International. Sawiris has reportedly reached an agreement with the fund to sell his stake for an undisclosed sum, while negotiations are ongoing to sell ODH’s stake.

E-payment platform Fawry’s is planning a capital increase to raise its issued capital by EGP 500 mn through new shares to existing shareholders. The company received the regulatory go-ahead (pdf) yesterday.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- The number of mobile wallets in Egypt has jumped at least 17% to 14.4 mn between March and October as the pandemic boosted digital payments, the National Telecom Regulatory Authority said in a report. Some 9.9 mn transactions were completed through mobile network operators throughout the month, up from only 3.9 mn in March. Vodafone, with its Vodafone Cash platform, operates 65% of the country’s e-wallets. The operator is followed by Orange (23%), Etisalat (11%), and WE (1%). Vodafone also has 80% of active wallets.

DEBT WATCH- GB Lease eyes last-minute 2020 securitized bond issuance: Ghabbour Auto’s financial leasing arm, GB Lease, could potentially issue EGP 1 bn in securitized bonds before the year is out to finance the expansion of its leasing activities, a senior company official told Enterprise. There are currently no details on which banks are undertaking the transaction, but we’ve been told to expect an official announcement on this in the coming weeks. GB Lease’s last issuance came in January (pdf) this year when it securitized EGP 734 mn of its portfolio.

What’s a securitized bond? Funny you should ask. We have an explainer on that.

CABINET WATCH- Importers of key commodities could be excluded from paying value-added tax on shipping costs under legislative amendments to the VAT Tax Act which received approval in cabinet’s weekly meeting yesterday. The amendments would remove VAT paid on freight costs for strategic goods including legumes, grains, table salt, and spices, the cabinet said. It’s unclear if the changes are part of a larger bill to amend the 2016 legislation currently being pushed through the House. The larger changes would impose VAT on non-residential property, some snack foods, and most commercial advertising, as well as allow tourists to claim VAT rebates.

Also approved during yesterday’s cabinet meeting:

  • A decision setting up an authority to handle international arbitration cases involving the state. Cases are presently handled by a specialized unit in the Justice Department;
  • A draft law to regulate plasma collection centers as part of a plan announced late last month to help Egypt become self-sufficient in the production of plasma and its derivatives;
  • A guarantee by the Finance Ministry allowing the central bank to extend up to EGP 3 bn to modernize irrigation systems as part of the bank’s initiative to extend low-interest loans to SMEs; and
  • A presidential decree approving a EUR 3.05 mn grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development that will go toward the development of Cairo Metro Line 1.

State owned engineering firm Enppi is one of eight contractors to sign long-term agreements for brownfield projects with Aramco, according to a press release by the Saudi oil producer. The contracts are awarded for six years and can be extended for another six, and mandate that the companies initially use 39% Saudi-sourced materials, which could increase to 60% after six years. Enppi operates offices in 15 countries worldwide, including Saudi Arabia.

EARNINGS WATCH- EFG Hermes profits grow 18% y-o-y in 3Q2020: EFG Hermes’ net profits increased to EGP 422 mn in 3Q2020, up from EGP 358 in the third quarter of last year, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues grew 21% y-o-y to EGP 1.4 bn in 3Q2020. Performance was driven by an improvement in revenues generated from the buy-side, non-banking financial services (NBFIs), and capital markets. “The [investment banking] department’s solid performance in 3Q, underlined by the successful completion of several transactions amidst turbulent market conditions in light of the pandemic, showcases the team’s resilience,” the company said. EFG Hermes’ net profit, however, fell 19% in 9M2020, down to EGP 840 mn from EGP 1.03 bn in the same period last year, as a result of a deferred tax expense, as opposed to a tax gain in the comparative period. Revenues in 9M2020 edged up 6% y-o-y to EGP 3.7 bn.

Looking ahead: “As regional and global challenges increasingly mount, EFG Hermes continues to be on the lookout for ways in which it can enhance its business model to further withstand future shocks and to improve value creation potential for all our stakeholders in the medium to long term,” CEO Karim Awad said (pdf).

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Egypt in the News

Human rights are dominating the conversation on Egypt in the international press this morning after the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said that authorities had detained two of its staffers on terror charges. Executive director Mohamed Bashir and criminal justice unit director Karim Ennarah were both arrested after earlier meeting with senior diplomats, the group said. France’s foreign ministry has expressed “deep concern” over the arrest and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry replied in a statement it “rejects any interference in its internal affairs, or any attempts to influence an investigation by the public prosecution of an Egyptian citizen.” The story is making headlines from the Financial Times and the BBC to Reuters, the Associated Press and the Telegraph.

The news comes as Egyptian diplomats continue reaching out to Democrats and lobbyists to start building ties ahead of Joe Biden taking over the White House, the New York Times notes in a piece that says we join the UAE and Turkey “in a panicked rush to make inroads in the Biden Administration.” Egypt recently hired lobby group Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck on a one-year gig to help Cairo cosy up to the Biden administration. Egypt’s team in DC is staffed by veteran Washington insiders including retired Republican congressman Ed Royce.

Obama isn’t backing down on his administration’s handling of Egypt during the events of 25 January, responding to claims of inconsistency in US foreign policy by acknowledging “that the world was messy,” he writes in A Promised Land, his newly released memoir, according to the AFP. “Just because I couldn’t in every instance elevate our human rights agenda over other considerations didn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to do what I could, when I could,” he writes, explaining why Bahrain, for instance, was spared the nudge given to former president Hosni Mubarak to step down in 2011.

Did Coca Cola bend US tax rules by assigning too much of its profit to its Egyptian subsidiary, alongside other operations in Brazil and Ireland? That’s the ruling by a US tax court judge, the Wall Street Journal reports, in a case that sees the US taxman trying to get an extra USD 3.3 bn out of the maker of sweet, fizzy drinks.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Topping diplomatic coverage this morning: The Eritrean foreign minister was in Cairo yesterday to discuss the growing conflict in Ethiopia with Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday. Eritrea is at risk of being pulled into the conflict after Tigray rebels this week launched missiles at its capital in response to its decision to side with the Ethiopian government in its ongoing offensive against rebel militia.

Elsewhere: Oil Minister Tarek El Molla discussed cooperation in mining operations in Nigeria with the country’s Mining Minister Uchechukwu Sampson Oga in Cairo, according to a cabinet statement. A follow-up meeting to flesh out possible partnerships was agreed to during the visit, but left unspecified. Mining industry players and government officials from both countries are expected to attend.

Meanwhile, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat met with 46 members of the United Nations’ Development Partners Group to discuss goals for 2021, the ministry said in a statement. The group agreed to meet for further consultations before the end of the year.

The Finance Ministry’s export subsidy program could reach a total EGP 23 bn this year if all currently eligible companies apply for dues from the program, minister Mohamed Maait told Al Mal. We may see subsidies inch upwards in the coming fiscal year if need be, with financing for the program potentially coming through additional allocations to the FY2020-21 budget, he added. Exporters can receive up to 40% of their dues in cash under the program and the remainder through either writing off taxes and customs or receiving discounted industrial land.

More military exercises: The Egyptian navy is carrying out joint military exercises with French forces, the Armed Forces said yesterday. By our count that makes it four simultaneous drills with different countries, also including Russia, Sudan and a group of Arab nations.

My WFH Routine

Benjamin Ampen, managing director of Twitter MENA: Each week, my Morning / WFH Routine looks 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 Benjamin Ampen (LinkedIn), managing director of Twitter MENA.

My name is Benjamin Ampen and I'm a French person who's been working in the region for the past five years. I'm the managing director of Twitter for MENA which means I’m responsible for revenue in the region and making sure all the teams are collaborating well together. I live with my wife in Dubai and we’re now expecting our first kid. Professionally, I’ve been part of a fantastic adventure for the past five years building a team of more than 30 people — and we’re still only scratching the surface.

Twitter has been instrumental in promoting new launches in Egypt which helped deliver information about the Knowledge Hub Universities’ summer courses and the opening of its new Coventry campus over the past year. The Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation also relied on the platform for generating awareness about its Ramadan donation drive earlier this year.

Before I start my day I try to complete my night. Sleep is extremely important to me and I try to get at least 8 hours a day regardless of when I get to bed. I'm not afraid of sleeping later if necessary, but it's really important I get a good night’s rest for my own sanity and performance at my job. A couple of years ago I read a book called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker that had some life changing insights about the impact a good night’s sleep can have on your brain and how you function as a human being. It's something that I've really been focusing on this year since we’ve been WFH.

I don't check my phone first thing in the morning and make it a point to not have my phone in the bedroom. I start my day by getting some fresh air on the balcony where I think about the day ahead — really being present and on my own. I've been meditating for eight years now and I'd love to say that I’ve gotten it down to a strict daily routine, but I acknowledge that it can be difficult sometimes to slot it in first thing in the morning. I’ll often get my meditation done in the evening instead.

I used to head to the office on my motor bike right after my morning routine was through, which was a great way to clear my head, but we closed the doors to our offices in March, and they remain closed to this day. We’re looking at next year for a potential return date.

Overall, WFH hasn't changed our daily work. The whole team is well equipped with the hardware and skills to get their job done remotely. We had actually started exploring the possibility of remote and flexible work before the outbreak of the pandemic. It's not crazy to think that some people will want to continue working from home, at least partially, once things are safe enough for offices to reopen. Looking forward, we want to make sure we’re finding talent from around the world and start allowing people to work from wherever they are.

During uncertain times, we put people first. When it comes to management during uncertain times human relationships are crucial. During the first month of the pandemic when there were a lot of questions on what was going on with the world, I consciously made an effort to communicate with everyone from the office, even people outside my own team. The human connection, beyond just business talk, really helped us get through the pandemic. When you build a strong team where culture plays a huge role, the human aspect of the team is very important. We have revenue, marketing, research, content partnerships and public policy departments that all need to work hand in hand to keep things running smoothly, so you need to nurture that culture daily.

Exercise is just as important to me as sleep. Before covid-19 hit I was training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is probably the worst sport to be practicing during a pandemic. I’ve been running and swimming instead which help me decompress everyday. Although I miss the mat, I've been listening to more podcasts while running. I really like the New York Times’ The Daily and France Culture Radio’s philosophy podcast.

I've been doing a lot more reading and introspection during WFH. I'm not usually a big fan of business books but I think 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp has been a useful read recently that really captures a lot of important human and business principles I feel are worth sharing. At the start of the pandemic I read Albert Camus’ The Plague, which might be a little grim, but shows how even during the worst moments in history or life you can really find beauty and love in people.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.57 | Sell 15.67
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.57 | Sell 15.67
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.59 | Sell 15.69

EGX30 (Wednesday): 10,990 (-0.7%)
Turnover: EGP 1.8 bn (59% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -21.3%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.7%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Edita up 1.9%, Telecom Egypt up 0.6%, and Orascom Investment Holding up 0.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were GB Auto down 3.0%, Egyptian Iron and Steel down 2.7% and Orascom Development Egypt down 2.6%. The market turnover was EGP 1.8 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net short | EGP -112.3 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +12.4 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP +99.9 mn

Retail: 74.7% of total trades | 74.6% of buyers | 74.9% of sellers
Institutions: 25.3% of total trades | 25.4% of buyers | 25.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 41.82 (+0.94%)
Brent: USD 44.15 (+0.91%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.71 MMBtu, (+0.74%, December 2020 contract)
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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.

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

18-20 November (Wednesday-Friday): MedaWeek Barcelona, the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders, Barcelona, Spain.

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 and TransMEA 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: A meeting to finalize membership and trading rules governing Egypt’s Commodities Exchange (Egycomex).

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, Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

31 December (Thursday): Egypt-UK post-Brexit trade agreement to take effect.

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

1H2021: Egypt’s Commodities Exchange (Egycomex) will begin trading.

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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