Tuesday, 8 December 2020

A new tax platform is going live next month as FinMin pushes ahead to pull grey economy into the light

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

IT’S A BIG DAY FOR- Every single one of us, really, as the United Kingdom is set to become the first major country to begin the public rollout of a vaccine for covid-19. A top UK health official called the start of the vaccination drive today a “decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus.” Front-line healthcare staff and folks over the age of 80 are the first in line.

The UK’s supply of vaccines is limited right now after AstraZeneca joined Pfizer / BioNTech in saying it was experiencing manufacturing delays. Vaccines won’t be rolling out in Canada or Europe in significant quantities until January, the way things stand now.

So, when will a vaccine be available in Egypt? We’ll likely get our first doses some time in the first three months of 2021 and we know for certain we’ll have enough on hand to cover 10% of the population in May. That’s when Health Ministry officials expect to receive orders placed through the WHO’s Covax program for enough to cover 10 mn people. We’ve also lined up enough Sputnik V from Russia to inoculate a further 12.5 mn and are believed to have placed an order for jabs from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Expect more clarity in the coming days: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in late November that talks to secure stocks of vaccines could drag on for a few months yet. Ittihadiya spokesman Bassem Rady subseuqently told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi on 24 November that the Health Ministry’s covid-19 committee would wrap up a study of available vaccines in about 10 days’ time.

The big question: Can we get the rights to manufacture an effective vaccine at Vacsera, one of Africa’s top vaccine makers.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi wraps up a two-day visit to France after meeting with President Emmanuel Macron yesterday. We have the full story below.

It’s the second and final day of runoffs in elections for the House in Cairo and 11 other governorates. Day one yesterday passed smoothly.

The Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund is hosting a webinar on the future of Egypt’s private sector at 6pm CLT (11am EST) today. Speakers include our friends Ashraf Sabry (Fawry) and Magda Habib (Dawi Clinics). You can register for the event here and check out the flyer here (pdf).

SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- For the first time in 20 years, Davos isn’t happening in Davos next May, moving instead to Singapore amid continued concerns over Europe’s mounting covid-19 case count, the Financial Times reports.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- The quintessential New York firm is plotting an escape to Florida. Goldman Sachs is said to be looking at real estate in Florida with a view to moving much or all of its asset management business there in search of “tax and lifestyle” benefits, Bloomberg reports. Cue a new generation of “Florida man” jokes.

WAIT — how can you short something that’s not publicly traded? Meet the hedgie who isn’t letting practicality be an obstacle to her plan to short venture-backed startups. A must-read for finance nerds and all the folks on Planet Startup alike.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Upcoming news triggers:

  • 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.

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


CONDOLENCES- It has come to our attention that Amr Chawky, the founder and managing director of Azur Hotels & Resorts, passed away late last month.

CORRECTION- Apparently we can do business, but not space science. In our note about this month’s unique celestial phenomenon yesterday, we wrote that Jupiter and Saturn are 400 mn light years apart — which as reader Ahmed D. kindly pointed out — is a little bit of an exaggeration. We have since updated the piece with the correct distance: 400 mn miles.

enterprise

TAX

Unified tax platform goes live in January

Some 11k of Egypt’s largest taxpayers will begin filing taxes through the government’s new unified tax platform from 1 January as the Tax Authority begins to overhaul the way it collects and monitors taxes, Mohsen El Gayar, director of taxpayer services at the authority, tells Enterprise. Tax centers that handle procedures for large and medium-sized companies and high-income self-employed taxpayers will begin using the system on a trial basis at the start of the year, integrating some 64 previously-separated tax services into a single “core taxation system,” Tax Authority head Reda Abdel Kader said this week.

What is happening? During the pilot phase, the platform will allow users to file returns and pay taxes, register as taxpayers, enquire about electronic payments, and settle unpaid taxes. The authority will also be able to issue fines for late payment and monitor taxpayer accounts, Abdel Kader said.

If you’re a large taxpayer, you’ll know more soon: The authority is currently working on promoting the system to the 11k companies and individuals and will launch an awareness campaign throughout the second half of December, says El Gayar. This will include guidelines on how to sign up to the platform and how to use and access the system through different devices.

The beta rollout begins in January and will continue over four phases during which smaller companies and freelancers will gradually be onboarded, Abdel Kader said. All phases should be complete within the next two years.

Why is this happening? The authority currently performs key functions via different internal platforms, using separate systems for sales taxes, income tax and e-filing, according to El Gayar. The new platform will unify all three networks and add real estate taxes to the mix. It will eventually integrate e-invoicing — which is currently being trialed by 134 companies.

SMART POLICY- The platform, made possible through the recently-passed Unified Tax Act, is a key part of a government plan to overhaul tax administration, encourage informal businesses to go legit, stimulate investment, and grant the taxman better oversight on commercial transactions and tax accounts. Its trial launch follows the rollout of the first phase of a new e-invoicing system (which will eventually be linked to the core system) and recent amendments which obliged companies to file their taxes electronically as of this year.

TOURISM

Tourism companies, workers get another helping hand

The tourism industry will continue to get a helping hand from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) after the bank granted tourism companies debt repayment holidays and more room to take out operating loans, according to two separate CBE circulars (here and here — pdfs). A grace period for all loans taken out since the pandemic took hold in March now expires at the end of December 2021, after having originally been six months following the date of taking out a loan. Companies will then begin paying back the loans in January 2022. The loans also now support monthly wage payments of up to EGP 25k, up from EGP 15k previously, the CBE said.

Debt repayment holidays alongside loans to cover expenses: Until 31 December 2021, tourism companies or any of their employees can walk into their banks and request a repayment freeze of up to three years, the CBE said. Employees may request holidays of up to six months on personal loans, provided they have a good history of meeting repayments.

Also eligible for a payment moratorium: Employees who have taken out loans as part of a 2015 initiative to support tourism workers.

Background: The CBE in March modified its EGP 50 bn program to support the tourism sector in response to the pandemic, providing low-interest loans to companies struggling to survive as international travel ground to a halt. The program offers two-year loans to companies which pay a reduced 5% interest rate to pay wages for up to six months and cover maintenance costs and daily operations.

ECONOMY

Egypt’s budget deficit down, remittances up

Egypt’s budget deficit shrank to EGP 134.9 bn, equivalent to 2.1% of GDP in 1Q2020-2021 compared to 2.3% during the same period last year, according to a Finance Ministry report (pdf). The report attributes the narrowing deficit to an 18.4% y-o-y uptick in state revenues to EGP 204.7 bn, which was partially driven by a 14.1% hike in tax revenues. On the flipside, state spending was up 11% y-o-y to EGP 336.8 bn in the quarter. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said last month based on preliminary figures that the budget deficit had narrowed to 2.6% of GDP during the first four months of FY2020-2021, compared to 3.1% over the same period last year.

Where did we spend? Spending on civil servants’ salaries and compensation rose 5.1% to EGP 78.7 bn, while spending on pension funds increased by EGP 22.5 bn to EGP 28.5 bn. The government had signed off on a 14% rise in pensions as of the beginning of the current fiscal year. State spending on healthcare and medicines increased 2.3%, reaching EGP 1.2 bn, while subsidies for essential goods hit EGP 12.4 bn. The state dished out EGP 1.7 bn on export subsidies, up from EGP 900 mn during the comparable period a year earlier.

The long term outlook: Fitch solutions’ monthly MENA report in November forecast a budget deficit of 10% on average between now and 2024, while the IMF’s October Fiscal Monitor Report forecast the deficit widening from 7.5% to 8.1% by the end of the current fiscal year, before rapidly narrowing to 5.2% in FY 2021-2022 and 3.8% by FY2024-2025.

Remittances rebound in 3Q2020

Remittances from Egyptians living abroad shot up 19.6% y-o-y in 3Q2020 to USD 8 bn from USD 6.7 bn over the same period last year, according to a Central Bank of Egypt statement (pdf). Remittances from Egyptians abroad increased by 11.6% in 9M2020 compared to the same period the year before, hitting USD 22.1 bn. Though remittance inflows were rising steadily when the covid-19 pandemic began, they took a 10% dip in 2Q2020. The World Bank predicted last month that remittances from Egyptians abroad could slow down next year if GCC economies continue to come under pressure from low oil prices and slow economic growth, hampering Egyptian expats’ earnings.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION

Central bank extends PoS drive

The Central Bank of Egypt is pushing ahead with a plan to have 1 mn point of sale machines in use nationwide within three years, CBE Deputy Governor Rami Aboul Naga said yesterday (pdf), positioning the move as part of the bank’s drive to bring more people into the formal financial system and cut back sharply on the use of cash.

The central bank launched a drive earlier this year to finance commercial banks’ purchase and distribution of 100k PoS machines. Banks have surpassed the initial target and deployed 156k machines, taking the total number of terminals to 356k. The CBE will also begin this month distributing another 100k to remote areas and underserved governorates, Aboul Naga said. The bank now aims to finance the distribution of 300k machines under the ongoing initiative, which is costing the CBE some EGP 1 bn, he added. The program builds on a policy announced back in 2018 that aimed to encourage the use of PoS machines in retail nationwide.

The CBE will also continue to promote QR Codes until June 2021, Sub-Governor Amany Shams-Eldin said. The promotion plan involves granting banks that allow clients to pay bills and transfers by scanning a QR code a 0.5% bonus on their total transactions and awarding merchants EGP 3k for every 150 new QR codes scanned. The incentives were previously planned to be valid only until this month.

Background: The plan to increase the number of PoS machines is part of the government’s transition toward financial inclusion and a cashless economy. It’s also the mandate of the National Council for Payments, which was set up in 2017 by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

enterprise

MOVES

Saudi’s Abdul Latif Jameel Finance has tapped Mohamed El Gazzar (LinkedIn) as the CEO and managing director of its Egypt business, according to the local press. A veteran banker, El Gazzar previously held leading positions at Alexbank, Credit Agricole Egypt, and Citi. He was most recently the managing director of Cairo-based consumer finance player Tamweel Investment Holdings.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Investment, Eastern Med, human rights feature in day one of El Sisi’s visit to Paris

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held wide-ranging talks in Paris yesterday with Egypt’s top European ally on day one of a two-day state visit. Commercial and economic ties featured prominently on the agenda alongside the crisis in Libya and regional security issues as El Sisi sat down with French President Emmanuel Macron, Ittihadiya said in a statement.

The two used a post-meeting press conference to reiterate commitments to boosting French investment in Egypt as well as to fighting terrorism in the region and securing a peace agreement in Libya (watch, runtime: 41:26). France and Egypt have steadily deepened economic, political and military ties since 2014, with French companies increasing investment in the country and France becoming a top supplier to Egypt of defense material.

Cooperation on “the growing challenges” of the eastern Mediterranean featured in a separate sit-down between El Sisi and French Defense Minister Florence Parly, Ittihadiya said.

France has no intention of ending arms sales over human rights concerns, Macron said during the press conference, adding, “I will not condition matters of defense and economic cooperation on these disagreements. … It is more effective to have a policy of demanding dialogue than a boycott, which would only reduce the effectiveness of one our partners in the fight against terrorism,” according to Reuters. El Sisi, meanwhile, addressed Macron’s recent criticism of Islam as a “religion in crisis”; the French president was speaking after terror incidents in November.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Day one of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s two-day visit to France dominated the airwaves last night, with coverage of runoff elections for the House of Representatives coming in second.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made an appearance on El Hekaya, telling host Amr Adib that the close relationship between Paris and Cairo is built on multiple pillars other than arms sales and saying the two leaders had touched on an array of topics from trade and investment to the Eastern Med and Libya during their talks yesterday (watch, runtime: 6:25). See also coverage on Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 8:15) and Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 8:42).

Runoffs for seats in the House yesterday earned wall-to-wall coverage with Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 4:11) and Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 13:47) among those recapping the day at the polls.

Extended periods of pre-trial detention are not deliberately used as a means of punishment and are a result of time-consuming procedures that are necessary for a case to be investigated correctly, Justice Minister Omar Marwan told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi in an extended interview. The minister also suggested that criticism of Egypt’s use of capital punishment only serves the agendas of terrorist groups, pointing out that there are no international treaties outlawing the death penalty. You can watch the full interview here (runtime: 1:00:12)

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

International attention to our human rights record has spilled over into the business press as the Financial Times quizzed EBRD boss Odile Renaud-Basso about “authoritarian turns” in the bank’s top markets, including Turkey, Belarus and Egypt. The bank wants to “help countries move in the right direction,” the former head of the French treasury said, adding that “developing the private sector is also a way to support the development of the economy and civil society.” The vast majority of EBRD’s involvement in Egypt is not aid, but direct investment in high-potential businesses — most of them private-sector or creating openings for private companies — that aim to generate a return for EBRD while also strengthening the economy and civil society here. “If you cut off all financing I’m not sure that you will support the evolution of the country — and the democratic evolution of the country,” Renaud-Basso said of Egypt.

French and other international media also led with human rights in their coverage of the Sisi-Macron meeting yesterday (Le Monde | France24 | Reuters | Financial Times | VOA). Meanwhile, the New York Times’ opinion section is home to a piece calling on the Biden administration to change its policy on Egypt as a means of setting an example for other countries, and the AP covers a decision to extend the pre-trial detention of rights researcher Patrick Zaky.

On a less somber note: Variety interviews director Marwan Hamed about Kira and El Gen, which he’s billing as the “most expensive” film in Egyptian cinema history. The story is based on Ahmed Mourad’s book 1919, about resistance to the British occupation. The magazine also sits down with Lift Like a Girl director Mayye Zayed to discuss much-lauded observational documentary on Egypt’s weightlifting women.

ENTERPRISE EXPLAINS

Enterprise Explains: Sukuk

Enterprise Explains: Sukuk. Consumer- and structured-finance player Sarwa Capital recently closed Egypt’s second corporate sukuk issuance since the debt instrument was introduced to the country. The EGP 2.5 bn sale also set a record for the largest yet in the young segment, surpassing Talaat Moustafa Group’s EGP 2 bn offering earlier this year. Since then, the debt market has been heating up as more players look to follow Sarwa and TMG’s lead, and the Financial Regulatory Authority tries to drum up interest in the sharia-compliant securities.

But, uh, what’s a sukuk? It’s a question a child might ask, but not a childish question. Sukuk (which is the Arabic plural form of the word “sakk,” or certificate) work like debt instruments, but instead of being interest-paying securities they represent co-ownership and co-investment in cash-generating assets.

Why? Sharia law considers charging interest a form of “ribba” (or usury), rendering bonds an un-Islamic investment.

Still unclear how sukuk are different from bonds? The key differentiating factor is that sukuk are based on an underlying asset, which generates a return or “income rate” for an investor, rather than a “coupon rate” for a lender.

Sukuk need signoff from religious scholars who issue fatwas (edicts) that a certain sukuk structure is sharia-compliant. Sukuk issuers must always stay away from assets linked to businesses involving off-limits topics like tobacco, arms and alcohol.

Really, though, sukuk and bonds aren’t all that different. Both instruments have defined terms to maturity, they both tend to receive credit ratings, and many types of sukuk are tradable.

The process: The issuer of sukuk — typically companies, financial institutions, or sovereign states looking to raise funds — creates a special purpose vehicle to which it transfers ownership of the assets that will be used to back the sukuk. The SPV will then typically sell to investors what are called trust certificates, which represent a share of the ownership of the assets. The investors then receive a proportion of the income generated by the assets.

Not all sukuk are created equal: Sukuk are differentiated by the type of asset or activity of the obligor. Common sukuk structures are “ijara,” or sale and lease-back sukuk, “mudarabah,” or project finance sukuk, “murabaha,” which work in a similar way to trade finance, and “musharakah,” or joint-venture sukuk. There are also other types of sukuk linked to certain activities such as “istizraa” to fund agricultural companies and “istisnaa” to fund manufacturers.

DID YOU KNOW? Sukuk are nearly as old as Islam itself. They can be traced back to the 1st century of the Islamic Hijri calendar. By the 7th Hijri century, the Umayyad dynasty issued sukuk to its soldiers and public servants as compensation for their effort, according to a sukuk lecture series by Marifa Academy (watch, runtime: 9:34).

Want more Islamic finance?

MAKING IT

How to choose business partners, with Actis Partner Hossam Abou Moussa

How do you choose an investor? We discuss the criteria for choosing business partners and what really sets businesses apart to investors with Actis Partner Hossam Abou Moussa in the season finale of Making It. Abou Moussa leads a team of investors focusing on financial services in emerging markets and talks us through fintech in Egypt and abroad.

Tap or click here to listen to the episode on: Our website | Apple Podcasts | 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.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Raya’s BariQ will establish Egypt’s largest plastic recycling facility in Sixth of October after securing financing from Coca-Cola, Bariq CEO Osama Zaki said, according to Al Mal. The plant will sort 10 tonnes of plastic an hour when running at full capacity, which Zaki says would be the highest rate in the world. Coca-Cola, which considers the project a part of its CSR mandate, will finance most of the project. BariQ, which is 99% owned by Raya Holding, recycles polyethylene terephthalate, a common polymer used for food packaging and drinks bottles. Raya is currently looking to offload its stake in BariQ to an unnamed foreign investor.

A couple more of those please, Mr. Cola: The soft drinks giant has been named the world’s biggest plastic polluter by environmental group BreakFree From Plastic, which accuses it of making “zero progress” on cutting its plastic waste, the Guardian reports.

COVID WATCH

The Health Ministry reported 415 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 418 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 118,847 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 19 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,790.

Clad in tinfoil hats, the anti-vax movement is alive and well, with some 40% of Europeans saying in a survey they were hesitant or unwilling to take a covid-19 vaccine out of concern over their rushed development and testing process, the Wall Street Journal reports. Critically, many of those who don’t plan on taking the vaccine are otherwise not anti-vax, saying they and their children have taken other recommended inoculations. Some respondents have said that they could eventually take the vaccine, but only after enough time has passed that their efficacy and side effects are clearer.

Pushback or not, governments are rolling out plans for the vaccines: Canada has reserved enough doses of covid-19 vaccines for a population 4 times its size, making it the best-stocked country in the world and putting it on track to potentially start vaccinating its citizens by next week, Bloomberg reports. Meanwhile, Brazil plans to begin administering vaccines on 25 January in Sao Paulo, and is the first Latin American country to announce a concrete date for vaccination plans, despite the vaccine having yet to receive local regulatory approval, the business information service reports.

PLANET FINANCE

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The EGX30 fell 0.3% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.8 bn (27.1% above the 90-day average). Regional investors were net sellers. The index is down 21.3% YTD.

In the green: Egyptian Iron & Steel (+5.9%), Dice (+5.1%) and Orascom Development Egypt (+2.3%).

In the red: Juhayna (-5.1%), Emaar Misr (-2.3%) and Egypt Kuwait Holding (-2.2%).

Asian markets in the red so far this morning and futures suggest Wall Street and most European markets will follow suit later today.

Down

EGX30

10,995

-0.3% (YTD: -21.3%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.62

Sell 15.72

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.62

Sell 15.72

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

8,633

+0.6% (YTD: +2.9%)

Up

ADX

5,042

+0.2% (YTD: -0.7%)

Up

DFM

2,483

-% (YTD: -10.2%)

Down

S&P 500

3,692

-0.2% (YTD: +14.3%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,555

+0.1% (YTD: -13.1%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 48.79

-0.9%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.45

+1.87%

Up

Gold

USD 1,867.70

+0.1%

Down

BTC

USD 19,220.03

-0.5%

IPO WATCH- It’s a big week for IPOs in the US of A, as Airbnb and DoorDash look to break December records by raising a combined USD 6.2 bn when they make their trading debuts:

  • Airbnb will raise its price range to USD 56-60 from USD 44-50, upping its valuation to USD 42 bn, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company IPOs on the Nasdaq today and begins trading tomorrow.
  • DoorDash has done likewise, increasing its price range to USD 90-95 from USD 75-85, valuing the company at more than USD 35 bn, according to Bloomberg. MarketWatch is calling DoorDash “the most ridiculous IPO of 2020,” claiming that bankers are rushing the listing of the “terrible business” before the end of the pandemic kills demand for food delivery.

Dubai’s perma property slump is hitting Emaar, which is temporarily putting a lid on new developments in the city, according to a Bloomberg report quoting Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of the real estate giant. The combination of a long-term supply glut and the covid-19 pandemic has seen property prices fall by almost a third in the past six years.

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • An activist investor is getting in Exxon’s face over its shoddy climate record: Engine No. 1, a small investment firm which appeared on the scene only a week ago, is sending a letter to the US oil giant urging it to pivot to clean energy and hopes larger shareholders — such as BlackRock and State Street which own 20% of Exxon — will be sympathetic to the cause, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • The digital yuan has its first online retailer: China’s largest retailer JD.com has become the first company to begin accepting the digital yuan the government continues to trial its new national digital currency, according to CNBC.
  • French giant Société Générale is one bank that is already cutting back on costs, announcing that it will close 600 branches in France and slash EUR 450 mn from its budget, the Financial Times reports.

AROUND THE WORLD

Lebanon is hurtling towards a social and economic catastrophe as the country’s resources to cover subsidies of basic goods are expected to dry up within two months, UNICEF and the ILO warned, according to Reuters. The Lebanese central bank had been subsidizing basic goods by providing foreign currency to importers at a discount amid the country’s worst economic crisis since the civil war, with the World Bank predicting more than half the Lebanese population could fall under the poverty line by 2021.

Trump administration prepares parting China sanctions: The US could impose financial sanctions and asset freezes on up to 14 Chinese officials in the coming days over their alleged role in disqualifying opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, according to Reuters. The possible move comes as Donald Trump looks to maintain pressure on Beijing during his last weeks in office. Stock markets in Asia inched downwards as investors anticipated further deterioration in US-Sino relations.

ON YOUR WAY OUT

World no.3 squash player Nour El Tayeb announced she’s retiring from the sport after becoming pregnant, King Fut reports. The 27-year-old Egyptian champion clinched both the Cleveland Classic and Manchester Open titles this year, but lost the CIB Egyptian Open to world no.1 and fellow Egyptian Nouran Farag. El Tayeb made history in 2017 by landing the US Open title on the same day as her husband, world no.1 Ali Farag.

*** WE’RE HIRING: We’re looking for smart and talented people to join our team at Enterprise, which produces the newsletter you’re reading right now and Making It, our very first podcast. We offer the chance to work in a unique and casual work environment that promises to be intellectually challenging and rewarding. Enterprise is currently in the market for:

  • A seasoned reporter to join our team and create stories and packages that fascinate and inform our readers.
  • A full-time copy editor to enforce house style, police facts and generally make us sound smarter than we really are.

Interested in applying? To apply for the editor / reporter positions, please submit your CV along with 2-3 writing samples and a solid cover letter telling us a bit about who you are and why you’re a good fit for our team. The CV is nice, but we’re much more interested in your clips and cover letter. Please submit all applications to jobs@enterprisemea.com.

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.

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.

8 December (Tuesday): EAEF webinar on the future of Egypt’s private sector. Register here.

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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