Thursday, 3 December 2020

We could face Lockdown 2.0 if cases continue to rise, cabinet warns

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Well, we made it through another week together, wonderful people. We hope you’re as happy to see the arrival of the weekend as we are. Just a few more hours.

IT’S A BIG NEWS MORNING for business in Egypt — and for all of us as people.

Covid dominates the newsday, with the Madbouly government suggesting last night we’re months away from a vaccine — and warning a partial lockdown is in the cards if we don’t collectively smarten up (below). This comes as the UK will be the first country to roll out a vaccine after giving the green light to Pfizer / BioNTech’s jab.

The great selloff of Lebanese banks in Egypt looks to be reaching the end of Act I, as we report below, and US celebrities are piling into the brewing global pressure on Egypt over our human rights record, joining politicians in the US and Europe. We have the full rundown in Egypt in the News.

Globally: The S&P just hit another all-time record, reinforcing to us that the real economy ≠ the stock market. (Planet finance)


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MEANWHILE- We’re still smiling from all of the kind words so many of you have had about our redesign — thank you, one and all. We also welcome comments: If it’s not displaying just right on your phone / tablet / computer, please drop us a note so we can fix it. You can just hit “reply” to this email.

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We have two awesome interviews to end the week:

Newly appointed Vodafone Egypt CEO Mohamed Kamel Abdallah headlines our My Morning Routine column this morning. Abdallah is a man of taste: He’s a family man and inveterate notetaker and planner — and his tool of choice is an iPad. (The oldest one among us has now interviewed every VFE chief going back to Mohamed El Hamamsy and accordingly feels very old and wonders where he may have left his Geritol.) (See what we did there? Even our aging joke is dated.)

Our friend Hossam Abou Moussa is with us for the season finale of Making It, our podcast on how to build a great business in Egypt. Hossam is a partner at global private equity giant Actis and leads a team that invests in financial services across global emerging markets. It’s a must-listen, whether your’re a budding fintech bro or you’re looking for ideas on how to tap PE to grow your business.

Listen now on your iPhone or on our website, or scroll down to Making It (below) for other platforms and more on Hossam.

Two stories you must read this weekend:

The secret of going the distance in business? Putting tradition and stability over the size of your bottom line and growth, even as you adapt to changing times. Japan has more businesses that are 100, 500 and even 1,000 years old than any other country in the world. This NYT piece is a great starting place if you’re building a business not to sell, but to last.

Don’t wanna wake up with a horse’s head in your bed? Read: How Francis Ford Coppola got pulled back in to make ‘The Godfather, Coda’, which hits screens this month.


It’s PMI day, with the gauge due out here at 6:15am — just a few minutes after we’re scheduled to land in your inbox. Egypt’s private sector expanded in October at its strongest rate since December 2014, marking the second consecutive month of the non-oil private sector expansion.

Other key dates for your diary this month:

  • Foreign reserves figures for November should be out early next week.
  • Inflation data for November will be released on Thursday, 10 December.
  • The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet on 24 December to review interest rates.

enterprise

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR- It’s a big weekend coming up for art lovers: The Cairo Art Fair kicks off tomorrow and runs through 31 January. Tap / click here for full details and a list of participating artists.

Want to know more about TAM Gallery? Check out founder Lina Mowafy’s episode of Making It. (listen, runtime: 29:19).

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


THURSDAY KUDOS-

Egyptian-Canadian University of Windsor Professor Hoda El Maraghy received the Order of Canada — the country’s highest civil award — for her contributions to the field of mechanical engineering, according to a press release. El Maraghy’s research on flexible manufacturing has allowed companies to quickly respond to market changes by producing different products with the same manufacturing system.

Planning Minister Hala El Said was named the best minister in the Arab world in the UAE’s Arab Government Excellence Award, according to a press release (pdf).

Tawasol and SODIC inaugurated their second community school in the Istabl Antar neighborhood of Ezbet Khairallah yesterday, where 500 students will access traditional and vocational education programs, according to a press release.

Egypt PV was named the recipient of the Low Carbon Award by the British Energy Institute (EI) for its small scale photovoltaic systems project, according to the EI Awards’ 2020 results. Egypt PV is a joint initiative of the Trade Ministry’s Industrial Modernization Center and the UNDP.

Somabay’s Cascades Spa and Thalasso was awarded the title of best luxury thalassotherapy spa in MENA by the World Luxury Spa Awards 2020, according to a press release (pdf). The Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis Spa also took home the title of the region’s best luxury fitness spa.

** Have a suggestion for a Thursday Kudo? Email it on over at editorial@enterprise.press.

enterprise

COVID WATCH

We could face Lockdown 2.0 as cases top 400 for the first time since July

Cabinet may be forced to reinstate a partial lockdown should the current upswing in cases continue, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad said last night. “Any partial closure has a cost and a price and that is what we are trying to avoid, but at the end, the Crisis Committee are the ones who will take a decision,” he told Yahduth Fi Misr host Sherif Amer watch, runtime: 2:26).

Daily covid cases topped 400 for the first time since July yesterday: The Health Ministry reported 421 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 392 the day before, bringing the total number of cases to 116,724. There has also been an increase in the number of serious cases of covid, Saad said, saying intensive care beds are now at 52% occupancy and that 31% of the country’s ventilators are now in use.

Highest death toll since August: The ministry reported 28 new deaths, the highest daily toll since 1 August and bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,694.

And may we have 25 weeks before we get hold of a vaccine: The first shipments of vaccines deployed through the World Health Organization’s Covax program will take place on 20-21 May 2021, Saad told Extra News’ Lama Gibril yesterday (watch, runtime: 11:39). Covax aims to distribute covid jabs to lower-income countries for no charge,

And what are we getting? Saad told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa that the government will receive 20 mn doses of a two-shot vaccine under Covax (watch, runtime: 31:48). It remains unclear which vaccine would be handed to Egypt through the initiative, since none of the participating companies have had their jabs cleared by regulators.We’re also getting 25 mn shots of Russia’s Sputnik V, enough to vaccinate another 12.5 mn people because it’s a two-jab per-person vaccine.

In any case, since only 22.5 mn Egyptians will be vaccinated through Covax + Sputnik, we’re going to need to purchase more. Saad told Gibril that the government is looking to grab another 10 mn shots and at this stage is likely to go with AstraZeneca over Pfizer.

UK citizens are in a much better position right now after regulators signed off on the Pfizer / BioNTech vax, allowing the 95% effective inoculation to be distributed to frontline health workers and the vulnerable in the coming days, the BBC reports. The government has ordered 40 mn doses of the two-shot vaccine — enough for almost a third of the population — and 800k are already on their way to the country.

The US might be quick to follow suit, with the FDA set to meet on 10 December to discuss potential emergency authorization of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. And the EU, which criticized the hurried approach taken by UK regulators, could approve it later this month.

Meanwhile in Russia, Putin has ordered mass vaccination via Sputnik V to begin next week. Voluntary and free-of-charge, the campaign will see some 2 mn shots of the 91.4% effective shot administered, with doctors and teachers first in line to receive it, the Associated Press reports.

The UK’s vax approval is getting coverage everywhere, from Reuters to the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

ECONOMY

Gov’t investment portfolio to go 100% green by 2023

Egypt is doubling down on its plans to go green, with a strategy to exclusively back green projects by 2023, said Planning Minister Hala El Said at the Egypt Economic Summit yesterday, according to a ministry statement. The minister had said that Egypt would invest EGP 36.7 bn in green projects in FY2020-2021, accounting for 14% of its investment budget for the fiscal year, before increasing this to 30% next year. The strategy aims to bring that figure to 100% within three years.

Egypt has been big on all things green in 2020: Egypt issued USD 750 mn of sovereign green bonds in the region’s maiden issuance in September, the proceeds of which will fund environmentally-friendly transport, water and waste-management projects. Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said in October that the government hopes renewables will account for 60% of the country’s energy mix by 2035.

ENERGY

Private sector to bid in bumper solar tender

Private sector companies will be invited to bid in a new tender to construct solar projects with a combined capacity of 550 MW, Al Mal reports, citing sources in the Energy Ministry. The combined cost of the plants is expected to come at EGP 9.5 bn (c. USD 600 mn), the sources said without disclosing the plants’ planned locations or the expected timeline for the tender. The plants will be implemented under a build-own-operate framework, they added.

Meanwhile, Acwa Power has tapped Sterling and Wilson for construction works at its Kom Ombo plant, the local press reports. The Saudi-based energy company had previously contracted India’s Mahindra Susten for its USD 165 mn, 200 MW project.

DIVE DEEPER with our three-part series on how covid-19 impacted Egypt’s renewables sector: Tap / click here for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

M&A WATCH

The Great Lebanese Bank Sell Off, Act I

The Great Lebanese Bank Sell Off is gaining steam: Gulf banks First Abu Dhabi Bank and Bank ABC are both reportedly expediting their attempts to purchase the assets of ailing Lebanese banks and increase their share of the Egyptian banking sector. Bank ABC appears to be in pole position to acquire Blom Bank’s Egypt unit after the Lebanese bank said yesterday it was in “exclusive talks” to sell its 99.42% stake. Fellow GCC lender Emirates NBD had also been interested in Blom’s Egypt arm, but now appears to be out of the running. Reports last month had suggested Bank ABC is planning to make a “generous offer” for Blom after wrapping up its due diligence.

Meanwhile- First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is reportedly accelerating its due diligence on Bank Audi Egypt and plans to make an offer this month or early next year, Masrawy reports, citing unnamed industry sources. FAB bank wants to avoid giving any of its rivals a chance to lodge a bid for the assets, which could be valued at around USD 700 mn. The Emirati bank resumed negotiations in September after they were put on hold in May due to covid-19. Lebanese banks have been looking to exit Egypt due to the financial crisis roiling their home country.

The ongoing financial crisis in Lebanon has forced both Bank Audi and Blom to head for the exit as liquidity issues and new, stringent capital requirements at home put pressure on their balance sheets.

MARKET WATCH

Speed Medical to be the first jump from Nilex to the EGX

Speed Medical (SPMD) will start trading its shares on the EGX from next Sunday after completing its upgrade from the Nilex via a capital increase, the local press reports. The exchange’s registration committee approved the listing following the company’s EGP 221.8 mn capital increase, paving the way for it to become the first to make the transition from the small-cap market to the EGX. SPMD joined the Nilex in April 2019. The company previously said it plans to use the capital increase to expand its Al-Obour medical facility on the Ismailia Desert Road, and grow its network of analysis labs.

The news comes as leading industry player IDH is exploring the possibility of a local listing. IDH, which operates the Al Borg and Al Mokhtabar labs brand in Egypt and is also present in Jordan, Nigeria and Sudan, is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

enterprise

INVESTMENT WATCH

Centamin is pouring resources into Sukari in search of higher-grade gold

Centamin to pour resources into Sukari in search of higher-grade gold: Egypt-focused Australian gold miner Centamin will invest USD 595 mn between 2021 and 2024 to up productivity and cut operating costs at its Sukari mine in the Eastern Desert, the company said yesterday. The investment will go into increasing waste stripping at the mine, which the company believes will up its production from 445-455k oz currently to 450-500k oz by 2024. CEO Martin Horgan said the company is now focusing on “generating strong and sustainable cash flows,” telling reporters that it was ending its previous “dogmatic” emphasis on production targets.

Waste stripping? Put simply, it’s a process that enables miners to extract higher-quality gold. Centamin has awarded the local office of LSE-listed Capital Drilling a four-year contract to do the work, the company said in a separate statement.

Production at the Sukkari mine is expected to fall by as much as 42% this quarter after extraction plans slated for this year were put on hold after parts of the mine were shut for safety reasons. Centamin was among 11 companies awarded gold exploration rights last month for 82 blocks in the Eastern Desert in the government’s latest exploration tender.

In other investment news-

Eastern Company will invest EGP 1.1 bn during the current fiscal year, the local press reports, citing a statement made by managing director Hany Aman to Reuters on the sidelines of the Egypt Economic Summit. The funds will go toward manufacturing cigarette machines and producing tobacco fruit molasses, Aman said, adding that the company aims to grow its top line by 10% in FY2020-2021, from the EGP 14.5 bn recorded in FY2019-2020. Eastern Company dominates the local market for tobacco products with a 70% market share.

HOUSING

Own an illegal building? You have another month to settle with the gov’t.

Property owners in violation of the building code are getting yet another extension to settle up with the government until, according to a cabinet statement. The new deadline at the end of December comes as officials want to keep the door open for as many settlements as possible, even after repeatedly saying there would be no further delays. Egypt has been cracking down on wildcat building and had originally set a settlement deadline for last August, but pushed it until September due to the economic fallout from covid-19. The deadline has since been pushed ot the end of October and then November and was finally meant to expire this past Tuesday. The government has also reduced building code violation fines by as much as 70% in some governorates to encourage residents to formally register their homes.

The government has now received more than EGP 17 bn in reconciliation fees, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad told Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer last night (watch, runtime: 1:54). He stressed that yesterday’s extension will definitely be the final one.

INFRASTRUCTURE

World Bank to provide USD 500 mn loan to upgrade Imbaba-Alex railway

World Bank to provide USD 500 mn loan to upgrade Imbaba-Alex railway: The Transport Ministry reached an agreement with the World Bank for a USD 500 mn soft loan to add a duplicate set of tracks to the Imbaba-Mansheya-Alexandria railway line, Al Mal reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The project is expected to be completed within 24 months of receiving the loan, they added. The bank said in October that it could provide as much as USD 250 mn toward upgrading the Alexandria-Cairo-Nagaa Hammadi line, involving new signaling and tracks.

It has been a busy couple of weeks as far as Egypt’s railways are concerned: Last month’s TransMea conference saw a series of agreements signed that aim to upgrade the nation’s ailing rail network. These included new finance for the Tenth of Ramadan-new capital electric railway, a new signalling control center, and the creation of the National Egyptian Company for Railroad Industries, which will invest USD 10 bn in the coming years to kick-start local assembly and refurbing of locomotives.

CABINET WATCH

E-invoicing system gains steam with July ‘21 deadline for state entities

The public sector is getting an e-makeover with new requirements to register on the Tax Authority’s electronic invoicing system by the start of the next fiscal year in July 2021, the cabinet decided at its weekly meeting yesterday. Local authorities will also be banned from contracting service providers of any kind who are not also registered on the system, cabinet added. All public and private sector companies alike are expected to be in the system by April 2023, Finance Minister Maait had previously said.

The tax authority’s e-invoicing system is attempting to curb tax evasion. The first trial phase of the system was launched last month with 134 companies, while the second phase will include an additional 340 entities, and is expected to launch in February 2021. The government is attempting to develop a unified digital tax payment system, which will enable businesses to file and pay income tax, stamp tax, VAT and real estate tax through a single online platform.

MEANWHILE- More middle-income households now have access to social housing after the government raised the maximum monthly individual and household incomes to be eligible for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s “a home for every Egyptian” initiative. The monthly income threshold for families is now EGP 14k, up from EGP 9k, and EGP 10k for individuals, up from EGP 7k.

Also approved by cabinet: A decision to begin the process to sign long-term supply agreements with several private sector energy companies building renewable energy plants under build-own-operate frameworks.

CURRENT AFFAIRS

Juhayna’s Safwan Thabet is detained pending investigation

Juhayna Chairman Safwan Thabet has been detained by authorities “pending investigation,” the FMCG giant said in a statement. The company said the arrest “is not related in any way to the company, its daily operations, or management.” Reuters cites an unnamed security source as saying the veteran businessman was arrested due to allegations of “financial irregularities,” but does not make clear that those were related to Juhayna. Thabet’s son and Juhayna deputy chairman and CEO, Seif, will become the acting chairman, the company said. Daily operations at the company are continuing as normal.

This isn’t the first time Thabet has had issues: Thabet was placed on a terror watchlist in 2017 and saw his personal assets frozen for an alleged affiliation with the Ikhwan. He denied belonging to the banned group, claiming that his “familial ties to former Ikhwan leader Hassan El Houdaiby do not mean he belongs to the Ikhwan.” Thabet appealed the asset freeze several times, but all appeals were rejected, according to Alhurra.

Juhayna was the biggest loser on the EGX yesterday: Shares fell 6.25% following news of Thabet’s arrest to reach EGP 6.45 apiece.

MAKING IT

The Making It season 3 finale: How to fundraise, with Actis Partner Hossam Abou Moussa

It’s the last Making It Day of 2020: Our final episode of season three is out today. Thank you for tuning in with us throughout the year.

Hossam Abou Moussa, partner at Actis: With over 20 years’ experience in private equity, Abou Moussa joined the London-based emerging markets private equity giant in 2006 and leads a team of investment professionals who invest in financial services in Egypt and across emerging markets.

Actis is synonymous with private equity in EM, with roughly USD 10 bn in funds under management, and over 165 exits under its belt. In Egypt, the company has invested in and successfully exited CIB in 2014 and realized its investment in Edita in 2017. Currently, Actis is a major investor in Integrated Diagnostics Holding, and holds a 7.2% stake in Fawry.

What do you need to successfully fundraise? Abou Moussa charts the critical aspects of a successful business from an investor’s point of view, and outlines how they can be leveraged despite a difficult macro landscape. He also highlights which qualities to look for in business partners and investors, as well as the size and stage of businesses that are best fit to take a private equity investor on board.

Tap or click here to listen to the episode on: Our website | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Omny. We’re also available on Spotify, but only for non-MENA accounts. Subscribe to Making It on your podcatcher of choice here.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Human rights is everywhere in the foreign press this morning as international pressure builds over the arrest last month of members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. A growing number of celebrities (see: Scarlett Johansson, Stephen Fry, Bill Nighy etc.) have added their voices to the politicians in the US, EU and UK in calling on Egypt to release the members of EIPR detained last month, something CNN’s Christine Amanpour dedicated a segment to yesterday. This comes a few days after a number of articles dropped forecasting a coming fallout between the Biden administration and Egypt over human rights.

Meanwhile: Reuters, AFP and the BBC cover an Amnesty International report that Egypt executed 57 people in October and November, nearly twice the number of capital punishment judgements as were implemented in all of 2019.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

Mohamed Abdallah, CEO of Vodafone Egypt: 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 Mohamed Kamel Abdallah (LinkedIn), CEO of Vodafone Egypt.

I’m Mohamed Kamel Abdallah, the newly appointed CEO of Vodafone Egypt. I’m a husband and father of two. My eldest daughter, Jannah, is 17 and my son, Youssef, is 12. My wife, Sahar, is an interior designer. After 22 years in the telecom industry and over a decade working in one of the best environments in the business world, I’m honored to move into the new position at Vodafone Egypt.

I wake up at 6:45am, grab my first cup of coffee and read the day’s news from bed. I start making my way to the gym at 7:30am and head into the office somewhere between 9 and 9:30am these days. Meetings that may bring up a lot of questions are slotted earlier in the day so that I’m able to make time for myself to reflect later in the afternoon. I take one day for externals and one day to talk to our teams.

We went 100% WFH in March and partially resumed in-person work on 1 August by going back to the office once a week — at a 20% occupancy rate — and then moved up to two days a week in September. Each person is required to come into the office twice a week, or up to three days, with approval from upper management. We’re currently 40-50% WFH.

We’re evolving from the office we knew to a much more flexible system. Working from home is really nice — it's more efficient and you can see productivity going up. Internal reports show our staff is spending more time on tasks, more time on strategy areas and more time developing themselves.

The cultural side of this transition has been a bit of a challenge. We’ve seen people want to go back to interacting with their colleagues. The success of our company is the aggregate brainpower of our organization. Without the right digital mechanism that can fill in some of the gaps left in the absence of physical interaction, it’s not clear to me that the office is dead yet.

I see my role as building a strategy and creating the proper environment for our teams to work well together. Making sure everyone is aligned and equipped with the proper support to execute our strategy is essential.

The telecom industry has evolved dramatically from solely providing voice services to becoming a data provider and now becoming a full connectivity provider. The telecom industry — and Vodafone specifically — is responsible for digitizing societies. This is the purpose behind our work. We make sure to deliver the highest quality connectivity products.

We are playing a huge role in financial inclusion and financial services. We started on financial services 10 years ago with Ian Gray — the godfather of Vodafone Egypt — to prove that this would become a success in Egypt. We’ve worked with regulators to build the environment and we now have 65% of digital wallets in Egypt and 80% of active wallets, according to NTRA figures.

More than 8 mn Egyptians have Vodafone Cash wallets that process mns of transactions every month. At the start of the pandemic we worked with the government to deliver to some 30k people their day labor subsidy through our service. The market for financial inclusion is still massive and the window for the economy to move into digital financial services is huge. New payroll services on Vodafone Cash or merchant payment relationships that give people an extra way to finance their products could give SMEs a huge boost and help the economy grow.

We recently launched App Hub, a new platform for SMEs to digitize their operations. A company with no HR system can subscribe to an automated tool hosted in our cloud rather than going and buying an HR system that’s outside their budget. This is a simple OPEX model paid on your bill. We’re putting some 60 apps onto this and providing it without charge for three months as a trial period. It’s going to change how they do business.

We’ve been working with the government on big digitization projects over the past year. We’re now operating the Universal Health Ins. System in Port Said, the rollout of which we will later be involved in on a national level. Vodafone Egypt was also awarded the biggest private sector cloud agreement in the country by the Public Enterprises Ministry, which will host 60 government entities.

I come back from the office around 7:00pm and try to use the time with the family or watch games. That’s weekdays. And on the weekend, it’s family time. We either visit family and go out as a family.

I’m a big Ahly and Liverpool fan, of course. Mo Salah has been a true inspiration to everyone and he’s our ambassador, so I really enjoy watching all of the games.

Every quarter I try to take one long weekend to disconnect. Sometimes I take the time at home, other times I might travel domestically.

I’ve been reading this business book called On Purpose by Jim Tanner about the importance of clearly identifying and communicating your organization's purpose. It's essential for getting everyone on your team actively engaged in the work that you do.

Best piece of advice I’ve been given was from Ian Gray: “Don’t worry about things you cannot control.”

PLANET FINANCE

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The EGX30 fell 0.2% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.9 bn (31.9% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down -21.1% YTD.

In the green: Eastern Company (+4.9%), Export Development Bank of Egypt (+4.3%) and Dice (+4.3%).

In the red: Juhayna (-6.3%), Edita (-2.1%) and GB Auto (-2.1%).

Asian markets are mixed this morning: Chinese stocks fell slightly in early trading, while bourses in Japan, Korea and Australia are marginally in the green. Futures suggest equities in the UK and US will rise when they open later this morning while the German Dax will see red.

Down

EGX30

11,023

-0.2% (YTD: -21.1%)

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

8,694

-0.32% (YTD: 3.63%)

Down

ADX

4,964

-0.42% (YTD: -2.18%)

Up

DFM

2,419

+0.82% (YTD: -12.49%)

Up

S&P 500

3,669

+0.18% (YTD: 13.56%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,463

+1.23% (YTD: -14.31%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 48.04

+1.31%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.74

-4.76%

Up

Gold

USD 1,835.00

+0.89%

Up

BTC

USD 19,142

+0.34%

US stocks continue to ride high — while the real economy continues to falter. The S&P 500 closed at another record high yesterday as investors reacted positively to a slowdown in hiring in the hope that it could spur Democrats and Republicans to hurry up and agree a new stimulus package, Reuters reports.

This might be wishful thinking, considering Mitch McConnell is at the center of things. The Senate majority leader shot down a USD 908 bn bipartisan stimulus package brought by members of the GOP-controlled Senate and Democratic-held House, continuing the months of deadlock on an additional fiscal package, CNBC reports.

IMF head Kristalina Georgieva is wishing they would take the hint, warning again yesterday that governments have to act now if they are to rescue the global economy and avoid financial instability, according to the Financial Times. Speaking to the salmon-colored paper’s Martin Wolf, she called for investment in digital technology, infrastructure and the environment to avoid prolonging a crisis and wiping out USD 28 tn in global output over the next four years.

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.

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.

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