Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Egypt’s banks to remain profitable even if bad loans rise

TL;DR

What we’re tracking today

Good morning, friends. It’s a busy (but unremarkable) news day today, with the lead stories here at home being the FT’s pronouncement on the fundamental soundness of Egypt’s banking system and the very welcome news that the Damietta LNG plant could re-open as early as 1Q2021. We have chapter and verse on both pieces below.

There’s a lot of talk in the foreign press this morning about how Egypt might pose one of Joe Biden’s first foreign policy tests. The Financial Times suggests that the administration — which has vowed to place more emphasis on human rights — could suspend military aid to Egypt and introduce targeted sanctions. The Wall Street Journal says that the arrests of members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) have set the scene for a “possible clash” with the president-elect, while the Media Line highlights Biden’s previous criticisms of Trump for being too close to the Egyptian government.

Globally, the big story is about rats jumping off a sinking ship. Squint your eyes the right way and Trump stalwart Bill Barr is doing the right thing: Saying he’s seen no evidence of voter fraud sufficient to sway the outcome of the election (Financial Times). Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Agent Orange has mulled preemptive pardons for his three eldest kids and “America’s Mayor.”

BIG M&A NEWS that made us cry: Slack, the workplace messaging app, is being swallowed by Salesforce, in a USD 27.7 bn cash-and-stock agreement, the company said in a statement yesterday. It’s the biggest cloud software acquisition since Microsoft (which desperately wanted to buy Slack once upon a time) bought LinkedIn in 2016. We’ve used Slack since before it was cool and, well, you kinda have to wonder what becomes of it next.


SMART POLICY- Nasdaq-listed companies will need to have at least one woman on their boards of directors if a new policy proposal gets the green light from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wall Street Journal reports, noting that most listed companies fall short of the requirement today. The proposal would also require them ot have at least one director who is LGBT+ or from an “underrepresented minority.” Germany also imposed last month a one-woman quota for listed companies’ boards of directors.

Egypt is already on its way to the same goal: Listed companies are required to have at least one woman sitting on their board by the end of 2020, under regulations the Financial Regulatory Authority issued last year.

How are we doing with that? Uh, not so well: As of one week ago, just a little over half of the EGX30’s constituents were in compliance with the regs.


The OECD is the latest to call a vaccine-led economic rebound in 2021: The international organization has forecast a gradual bounceback for the global economy, the Financial Times reports. China’s economy is set to grow 10% by the end of 2021, the US is expected to stay largely the same, while European economies will perform badly, with the UK set to shrink at least 6%.

MARKET WATCH- Emerging markets saw a record USD 76.5 bn of inflows during November as investors reacted to positive news in the development of covid-19 vaccines and fears of a chaotic transfer of power in the US subsided, the Institute of International Finance said in a report yesterday, according to Reuters. Almost USD 40 bn entered EM stocks — the second-highest monthly inflow ever — while USD 36.7 bn was invested into bonds and other debt instruments.


WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY- The Egypt Economic Summit gets underway today at the St. Regis Hotel in Cairo. You can learn more about the event here.

Other key dates for your diary this month:

  • PMI: November’s purchasing managers’ index figures will drop tomorrow.
  • Foreign reserves figures for November should be out early next week.
  • Inflation data for November will be released on Thursday, 10 December.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Attention art lovers: The Cairo Art Fair kicks off on Friday and runs through 31 January. Tap / click here for full details and a list of participating artists.

ALSO THIS MONTH- Another round of trade talks with the US of A is in the cards, as is a meeting of the Egypt-Iraq higher committee as the two countries continue to draw closer. The CBE will next review interest rates on 24 December.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

enterprise

*** It’s Hardhat day — your weekly briefing of all things infrastructure in Egypt: Enterprise’s industry vertical focuses each Wednesday on infrastructure, covering everything from energy, water, transportation, urban development and as well as social infrastructure such as health and education.

In today’s issue: Co-working and shared office spaces have helped some small businesses overcome rising office rental costs in commercial real estate, we reported previously. In the final part of a three-part series, we look at how covid-19 has impacted the rapidly-growing shared office space industry in Egypt.

enterprise

BANKING

Egypt’s banks are (for the most part) financially sound

Egypt’s banks remain financially sound and are on track to stay remain in the green, despite expectations for an uptick in bad loans, Heba Saleh writes for the Financial Times. Analysts and industry figures expect profits to come under pressure in the coming months as non-performing loans rise. But most remain “well-capitalized,” with low loan-to-deposit ratios and ample liquidity at hand, despite ramping up loan loss provisions this year, said EFG Hermes’ very smart Elena Sanchez-Cabezudo, who leads MENA financial coverage for the firm.

Banks saw profits shrink by nearly 20% y-o-y in the second quarter of the year, when the covid-19 lockdown was at its height. This was “a very decent performance,” considering how much banks set aside to cover for bad loans and an increase in the effective tax rate of banks, Sanchez-Cabezudo said. Despite the central bank cutting interest rates by 400 bps this year, banks still maintain high profit margins from lending to the government through investing in treasuries, she added.

“Banks have entered this crisis in relatively good shape following a multiyear restructuring, especially state-owned banks, which have good [local currency] liquidity,” Constantinos Kypreos, lead analyst for Egyptian banks at ratings agency Moody’s, said. Moody’s expects banks to raise provisions further, but remain in good shape. Kyperos added.

Bad loans also aren’t a problem now, but check back in mid-’21 to be sure: “The last thing you want is to realise that you have underprovided for non-performing loans. I can confidently say that we have not had a single customer default, because of the debt standstill,” CIB chief executive Hussein Abaza says, referring to a a March decision by the central bank to delay loan repayments for individuals and businesses by six months. CIB has ramped up provisions out of caution, with Abaza explaining that after modeling how the crisis could hit various sectors, “We want to be prepared for anything. We won’t be able to say if we over provided or underprovided until the middle of next year.” BdC has also taken extra provisions, Chairman Tarek Fayed said.

The story is part of the FT’s series on banking and finance in North Africa and the GCC. Catching our eye in particular:

ENERGY

Damietta LNG plant could reopen in 1Q, boosting our East Med hub ambitions

Damietta LNG plant could reopen early next year after Eni, Naturgy seal agreement: Italian energy giant Eni has reached an agreement with the Egyptian government and its Union Fenosa Gas (UFG) partner Naturgy to finally re-open the Damietta LNG plant by the end of 1Q2021 after an eight-year hiatus, Eni said in a statement yesterday. The pact will see Naturgy leave UFG and its stake in the plant redistributed among Eni and its Egyptian state-owned partners the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and the Egyptian General Petroleum Company (EGPC).

Who gets what? Under the new agreement, Eni will own 50% of the plant, and state-owned EGAS will hold 40% and EGPC the remaining 10%. Eni will also take over the contract for the purchase of natural gas for the plant and will receive corresponding liquefaction rights, the statement said.

You’re not wrong to think this all sounds familiar: An earlier attempt to reach an agreement fell through in April, despite a preliminary agreement having been reached a month earlier. Naturgy said at the time that a series of unspecified conditions were not met and, crucially, the reopening of the plant was stalled because of covid-19 restrictions on business operations, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Why does the Damietta LNG plant matter? The Damietta plant is a key part of Egypt’s strategy to increase its natural gas exports and emerge as the Eastern Mediterranean’s premier energy hub. Closed since 2012, the plant’s reopening would boost Egypt’s ability to export natural gas to European markets.

Naturgy will receive cash payments adding up to around USD 600 mn, as well as most of UFG’s assets outside of Egypt, excluding its commercial activities in Spain, Naturgy said in a statement on Tuesday. Once the plant restarts operations in 1Q2021, Naturgy will depart Egypt and end its JV with Eni.

What to watch for next: Quiet confirmation that the Spanish firm has dropped its USD 2 bn international arbitration case against Egypt dating back to the 2012 shut-off of gas to the plant amid the challenges of the early post-revolution period.

Advisors: Ernst & Young and Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy represented UFG, Riad & Riad and CMS represented Eni, and Zaki Hashem and Shearman & Sterling represented EGAS.

RETAIL

Marakez opens new mall, says Black Friday footfall was about on par with ‘19

Fawaz AlHokair Group’s mall development company Marakez inaugurated Town Center, its new EGP 260 mn convenience mall on the intersection of the Ring Road and Cairo-Ismailia Road, according to an emailed statement (pdf). The new mall is part of Marakez’s plan to invest USD 45 mn this year in four new shopping malls, which Al Hokair brothers Fawaz, Salman, and Abd Al Hamid had announced earlier this year.

Among Town Center’s first retail outlets: Majid Al Futtaim-owned supermarket chain Carrefour Egypt, which invested EGP 70 mn on the new branch, according to Masrawy. The supermarket chain had planned to spend EGP 200 mn to open nine new stores in Cairo and Alexandria before the end of the year, Egypt country manager Jean Luc Graziato said in September.

SPEAKING OF BRICK AND MORTAR RETAILERS: Black Friday footfall at Marakez Egypt’s malls was just a little lower this year than it was in 2019, Executive Vice Chairman Ahmed Badrawi told Enterprise. While the day itself saw a little less traffic than last year, overall footfall throughout November was higher than 2019 as retailers extended Black Friday offers for the majority of the month, Badrawi said. Across the pond, the picture is different — in-store traffic dropped 52.1% y-o-y on Black Friday in the US, while spending on e-commerce surged 21.6%, according to CNBC.

WANT MORE? We sat down this season of Making It with Majid Al Futtaim Properties CEO Ahmed Galal to debate how online commerce compares to the retail experience.

CORRECTION- 2 December 2020 

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Ahmed Badrawi as CEO of Marakez Egypt. 

RENEWABLES

Benban solar developers get a break

It’s settled: Benban solar developers get reduced cost-sharing bill. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) has signed an agreement with 32 solar developers operating at the Benban plant that will cut their cost-sharing bill by EGP 300 mn to EGP 1.6 bn, the local press reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The agreement, which was first reported in October, will allow the developers to pay the sum across six installments over a five-year period, an earlier portion of which will be interest-free.

This is the second time the EETC has agreed to lower the bill, which was originally priced at EGP 2.4 bn in May 2019. The dispute dates back to that year, when the EETC raised the bill by 25% citing higher-than-expected building costs, without notifying the developers who refused to pay the increase.

POLICY

Mmmm… 100 mn is enough?

The government wants us to stop reproducing like rabbits. A two-year action plan aims to bring down Egypt’s fertility rate to 2.4 children per woman by 2030, down from a current 3.5 children per woman, Planning Minister Hala El Said said in a statement. The strategy will see the government push women’s participation in the labor force, widen access to contraception, drive media campaigns and use unspecified “digitization and legislation” to “influence behaviour.”

SMART POLICY- The government is looking to increase labor force participation among women aged 18-45, with a primary focus on women in villages classified as impoverished under President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s recent Decent Life initiative, according to El Said.

This strategy comes as part of the wider government plan to better-manage population growth. The EGP 100 mn Two is Enough initiative launched in 2018 falls under the same umbrella. We officially hit the 100 mn mark earlier this year — the head of state statistics agency Capmas said at the time that family planning could help us limit the population to 143 mn people by 2052 rather than 192 mn if growth is left unchecked.

DEBT WATCH

Who’s in the market for debt?

Banque du Caire is getting USD 30 mn in tier-two capital under a financing agreement with German development bank KfW’s Sanad fund, Hapi journal reports. The facility, the final agreement for which Banque du Caire and Sanad signed yesterday, will be used for on-lending to SMEs and farmers.

MEANWHILE-

Ora Developers signed an eight-year, EGP 2.5 bn syndicated loan agreement with Banque Misr, Emirates NBD, the Export Development Bank and the Housing and Development Bank to help finance the first and second phases of its Zed West real estate project, according to a press release (pdf).

The National Bank of Egypt is mulling EGP 20 bn-worth of syndicated loans with unnamed banks to finance port, infrastructure, and real estate projects, Vice Chairman Yehia Abou El Fotouh said, reports Mubasher.

City Edge Developments is closing in on a EGP 1.1 bn syndicated loan from the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr to build a mall in Sheikh Zayed, according to Al Mal.

enterprise

FINANCE

EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table in November with a market share of 17.4%, according to EGX figures (pdf). Rounding out the top five: Our friends at Pharos with 5.9%, CI Capital (5%), Beltone (4.9%), and Pioneers (4.3%).

EARNINGS WATCH

Dice has reported EGP 56.6 mn in losses over 9M2020 down from EGP 125.3 mn in net incone during the first nine months of 2019, according to a company earnings release (pdf). Dice recorded net sales of EGP 831.67 mn in 9M2020, down from EGP 1.14 bn in the same time last year.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The new operating hours regs received attention on the airwaves last night: Masaa DMC's Ramy Radwan interviewed Mohamed Al Fayoumi, the treasurer of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, for his take on the regs, while Khaled Qassem, spokesperson for the Local Development Ministry, was back to outline the penalties for non-compliance on Yahduth Fi Misr (watch, runtime 3:22 | 2:54).

On a related note: Unlicensed shops will now be able to be able to apply for temporary licenses until they go fully legit after the House Local Development Committee yesterday issued regulations, MP and committee member Ahmed El Seginy told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy (watch, runtime: 23:52).

Also on the airwaves last night:

  • Another warning to take covid seriously: The cold weather and a lack of public discipline keeping to precautionary measures is to blame for the rising cases, Gihan Al Assal, deputy of the Health Ministry’s Scientific Committee, reiterated on Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 9:13).
  • The story of a doctor unlucky enough to catch covid-19 three times received coverage from Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer (watch, runtime: 3:28) and Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy (watch, runtime: 3:57).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Once again, human rights dominates the conversation on Egypt in the international press. At the top of the list in the press and on social media is the arrest of a dancer and her photographer after a shoot at the Djoser Pyramid. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch wants the IMF to require more transparency on military-owned enterprises, CPJ says a detained photographer faces new terrorism charges, and the suspension of Egypt’s investigation into the murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni is still getting ink.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Misr Ins. Holding Company is considering expanding its portfolio to include financial leasing, factoring, and microfinance by acquiring existing entities or establishing new ones, said Chairman Basel El Hini.

Other things we’re keeping an eye on this morning:

  • UK-based outfit Fosroc will manufacture and distribute construction chemicals in Egypt after setting up a 50-50 joint venture firm with ChemTech, Fosroc said in a statement.
  • Chinese smartphone maker Infinix has started manufacturing phones at its local factory in Assiut’s tech zone.
  • The Central Administration of Agricultural Quarantine has placed new controls on citrus exports to Japan, limiting the type of fruits available for export and requiring them to be shipped by sea only.

COVID WATCH

The daily covid tally is continuing to creep up: The Health Ministry reported 392 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 370 the day before. The ministry also reported 16 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,666. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 116,303 confirmed cases of covid-19.

Next year’s Thanaweya Amma exams on 19 June will be held online for all high school students.

Covid-19 vaccine distribution in Europe won’t begin until January after pharma regulators pushed assessments for the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to 29 December and 12 January, the FT reports.

Some 10-15% of people who have taken the Pfizer / Moderna vaccines have experienced “significantly noticeable” side effects, head of the Trump administration’s vax development program Moncef Slaoui told the Washington Post. Medical experts have urged authorities to be upfront about the potential for nasty side effects, so people aren’t put off from returning for the second shot.

Covid-19 could leave permanent scars on business travel: The pandemic could result in business travel being slashed by up to 36% on a permanent basis as workarounds to covid become more entrenched and businesses cut their travel budgets, the Wall Street Journal reports.

PLANET FINANCE

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The EGX30 rose 0.9% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.7 bn (25.6% above the 90-day average). Regional investors were net buyers. The index is down -20.9% YTD.

In the green: Emaar Misr (+5.2%), Egyptian Iron & Steel (+3.4%) and Eastern Company (+2.5%).

In the red: Orascom Development (-3.6%), Heliopolis Housing (-1.6%) and Juhayna (-1.4%).

Asian markets are mixed in early trading this morning and futures suggest both Europe and Wall Street could start the day in the red.

Up EGX30 11,041 +0.9% (YTD: -20.9%)
None USD (CBE) Buy 15.60 Sell 15.70
None USD at CIB Buy 15.61 Sell 15.71
None Interest rates CBE 8.25% deposit 9.25% lending
Down Tadawul 8,722 -0.29% (YTD: +3.97%)
Down ADX 4,964 -0.42% (YTD: -2.18%)
Up DFM 2,419 +0.82% (YTD: -12.49%)
Up S&P 500 3,662 +1.13% (YTD: +13.36%)
Up FTSE 100 6,384 +1.84% (YTD: -15.35%)
Down Brent crude USD 47.35 -1.11%
Up Natural gas (Nymex) USD 2.88 +0.03%
Up Gold USD 1,818.60 +2.12%
Down BTC USD 19,072 -2.09%

IPO WATCH- Airbnb is eyeing a c. USD 35 bn valuation when it lists on the Nasdaq on 10 December, in what Reuters is calling a “stunning recovery” for a company battered by the outbreak of the pandemic earlier this year.

The US won’t be jettisoning the “world’s important number” until 2023. US banks will continue to use the Libor rate until mid-2023, giving the country an extra 18 months to transition from the discredited benchmark, Reuters reports. The rest of the world will cease to use the interest rate — the benchmark for some USD 350 tn in debt — at the end of 2021 following revelations in 2012 that some of the world’s largest banks had colluded to rig the rate for almost a decade.

AROUND THE WORLD

China’s robotic lunar probe Chang’e-5 mission touched down on the moon’s surface on Tuesday. It will spend a few days exploring its surroundings and collecting surface materials to bring back home, the BBC reports. The plan is to pick up around 2kg of regolith (“soil”) and offload the samples onto an orbiting vessel to return them to Earth.

Iran could bar international inspections of its nuclear facilities if Tehran’s lawmakers pass legislation that would require the US to lift sanctions to allow the inspections to resume, Bloomberg reports.


IN DIPLOMACY- Egypt and Saudi Arabia have voiced support for the establishment of Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, in a joint statement following a meeting between Sameh Shoukry and Saudi FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud in Riyadh. The two countries also stressed the importance of ensuring maritime freedom in the Gulf, Bab El Mandeb strait, and the Red Sea, Reuters reports, citing a statement carried on Saudi state TV.

hardhat

What impact has covid-19 had on Egypt’s shared office space industry? Co-working and shared office spaces have grown rapidly since their first appearance in Egypt in 2010. Initially a cost-effective service for freelancers or early-stage startups, they’ve become larger and more diverse, many now also targeting multinationals and large homegrown companies. They’ve been instrumental in helping SMEs overcome rising office rental costs in commercial real estate, we reported previously.

But how have they fared during covid-19’s social distancing and economic precarity? Many took a financial hit, but strategic adaptation allowed the largest to recover. And long-term, the sector may become more competitive, offering better services, some argue.

Most shared office spaces saw reduced revenue between April and June: At the height of the first covid-19 wave, many co-working and shared office spaces took sizable financial hits. “We didn’t see any renewals, new customers or new members, so we saw an 80% reduction before starting to recover in July,” says MQR co-founder Sherif Ashraf. Makanak saw an estimated 50% reduction in revenue during this time, says founder Moheb Zaki.

The extent of the financial hit varied depending on factors including the business model: Many startups struggled to pay rent, but the impact on the Greek Campus of losing a large company like Uber Eats (which stopped operating in Egypt in May) was harder to mitigate than losing several smaller startups, says community manager Muhammed Elamir. High demand for Greek Campus office space saw a pipeline of smaller startups ready to take the place of those that had to leave, he adds. The Hive saw a minimal impact on its revenue, says general manager Seif Elkady. The Hive’s clients — being, in his words, “mature businesses” — might have more of a financial cushion than others, enabling them to withstand periods of economic uncertainty. “Still, businesses exist to make profit. So if they didn’t see the value in our service, they wouldn’t have continued with us,” he says.

Some companies withstood extra financial burdens to remain operational: During a meeting to discuss emergency covid-19 measures, Makanak staff proposed deducting 40% from their own salaries for 3 months, says Zaki. “So I deducted 60% from my own salary, and we reduced client invoices by 33% for this period, to offer extra support.” Some shared office spaces allowed deferred payments or offered additional services at a lower rate, say sources.

Extra sanitation and safety measures remain in place: Clients generally adhere to new safety protocols, including wearing masks and limiting numbers in communal spaces, say sources. Regular deep cleaning is ongoing. The Greek Campus recently opened a clinic, with a GP available four days a week, to advise on general medical issues, with a particular focus on covid-19 prevention and treatment, says Elamir.

Weathering the storm required reducing costs and diversifying services: Makanak permanently closed two of its Maadi co-working offices to minimize overall losses, but opened a new facility in a prime location in Alexandria, where it transferred assets like air conditioners, furniture and other equipment from the Maadi branches, says Zaki. It’s now offering facility management services to other companies to diversify its revenue stream, he says. Meanwhile, MQR partially (and temporarily) closed two of its four branches at the height of the covid-19 first wave, says Ashraf. “Two branches stayed open only for our members, who rent office space. We didn’t allow any other visitors, or host any events,” he says. The branches that remained fully open were those with particularly good ventilation, including their Red Sea branch which has plenty of open air space, he adds.

Still, covid’s short-term impact includes some expansion delays: Both Makanak and MQR have seen delays of several months to their expansion plans, say Zaki and Ashraf. The pandemic has affected the timeline, but not the plans, stresses Ashraf. Makanak had been planning to grow from 12 to 20 branches in 2020 — an ambitious target that couldn’t be reached, says Zaki. Still, it opened new branches in Alexandria and New Cairo, and a branch in the New Administrative Capital is on track to open in 2023, he adds.

But covid also highlighted the value of the coworking or shared office space sector: The sector was already appealing because of the flexibility it offers to companies to expand, downsize and easily work from different locations, says Elkady. Covid has enhanced this value proposition, he believes: “We saw that in times of crisis, a large office space can become very unproductive and overwhelming in terms of running costs. So clients will want more flexible solutions.”

Meanwhile, changes to the sector itself are enhancing its competitiveness in Egypt: The knock-on effect of covid’s economic hit means many smaller co-working or shared office spaces can’t sustain their operations, prompting a wave of M&As, say sources. Long-term, the number of operators will decrease, and those that continue will reap the benefit, says Elkady. There will be less diversity in the market, but companies that merge will be stronger and more able to compete with established players like Makanak, says Zaki.

But is there a chance larger companies will squeeze SMEs out of shared offices and co-working spaces, as they did with standard office space? No, say sources. Large companies and multinationals generally invest a lot of money in their offices, so while covid-19 may make short periods of remote work standard practice, the pandemic is highly unlikely to result in a mass exodus or downsizing of large office buildings, says Elamir.

Your top infrastructure stories for the week:

  • Bechtel is closing in on the award for the USD 5 bn Cairo Metro Line 6 master contract from the Transport Ministry.
  • Hassan Allam Construction holds 25% of the first phase Cairo Metro Line 4 construction contract, alongside Arab Contractors, Petrojet, and Concord.
  • Control center refurbs + almost 1 mn smart meters, courtesy of JICA: The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will upgrade four electricity control centers and install some 965k smart meters if the Electricity Ministry signs off on a planned USD 226 mn contract.
  • More smart meters: An Elsewedy Electric and Toyota Tsusho consortium signed a EGP 1.46 bn contract with the North Cairo Electricity Distribution Company to supply and install smart electricity meters.
  • A step towards nationwide high-speed internet: Two ground stations to receive signals from Egypt’s first communications satellite — the Tiba-1 launched last yearwill be completed during 1H2021.
  • Interest abroad in Dakhila port: A major international company has expressed interest in investing in a container terminal at Dakhila port, south of Alexandria, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said without disclosing additional details.

ON YOUR WAY OUT

The Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year award went to its rightful owner: pandemic. Once an obscure term that appears most in English textbooks on Greek and Latin roots, “pandemic” this year eclipsed every other word in online dictionary searches, the publishing company said. The number of searches for the word skyrocketed by 115,806% y-o-y on 11 March.

Other words that defined everyday discourse this year include: Coronavirus, quarantine, asymptomatic, defund, mamba (following the tragic death of “the Black Mamba” Kobe Bryant), and malarkey (a word often used by US President-Elect Joe Biden).

Nasr-era defence minister ٍShams Badran has died in the UK at the age 91. Jailed in 1967 for torturing members of the Muslim Brotherhood, he lived the rest of his lift in self-imposed exile in the UK after being pardoned by then president Anwar Sadat in 1974.

CALENDAR

December: 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 Egyptian-Iraqi Joint Higher Committee will meet.

2 December (Wednesday): Egypt Economic Summit, St. Regis Hotel, Cairo.

4 December (Friday): Cairo Art Fair kicks off and runs through 31 January 2021.

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.

31 December (Thursday): Deadline for car owners to comply with traffic regulations to install a RFID electronic sticker on their cars.

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.

17 January 2021 (Sunday): 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 in case 445 of 2019.

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.

30 May-15 June 2021 (Wednesday-Thursday): Cairo International Book Fair.

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

30 June- 15 July 2021: National Book Fair.

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.

December 2021: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.