Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Revenge of the Luddites: Ibnsina calls off tech acquisition under pressure from syndicate

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people. It’s midweek and mid-December, and our long-awaited end-of-year news slowdown is still MIA. There’s very interesting news this morning out of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt on the prospect of more military-owned companies opening to private investment — and the not-unexpected development that entrenched professions are going to resist being “disrupted” by tech, especially when that tech is owned by a key player in their supply chain.

We have the full rundown on this and more in the news well this morning.

It’s (almost) official: Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States after the electoral college voted yesterday. We love CNN’s take: “It's a constitutionally mandated ritual that's typically no more than a curious afterthought following a presidential election, but the ceremonial vote took on newfound significance this year as President Donald Trump and his GOP allies made unprecedented efforts to subvert the popular will of the voters and overturn Biden's November victory.”

Meanwhile: Spooks and corporations around the world are scrambling to quantify the damage after a months-long hack in which an arm of Russia’s foreign intelligence service appears to have penetrated a network monitoring product from SolarWinds to gain access to everything from corporate secrets to covid research — as well as data at the US treasury and commerce departments. Tens of thousands of companies and government agencies worldwide are believed to be affected. The story all over the English-speaking world’s front pages, and if you’re new to cyber warfare, we suggest you start with the Financial Times’ What do we know about the SolarWinds hack? See also coverage from the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Guardian and make sure to read the Washington Post’s original story, which broke the news.

CLOSER TO HOME- The pandemic e-commerce boom may be tapering off for Egypt’s SMEs, as 61% of those with a Facebook presence reported a y-o-y drop in sales in October, while 45% of businesses had to reduce their staff, according to the findings of a survey by Facebook, the World Bank, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The silver lining: 15% of businesses reported more online sales now than before the pandemic, while 56% said they were optimistic about the future of their business.

Meanwhile, Uber Egypt is back to 80% of its pre-covid run rate and expects a full recovery in 2021, General Manager Ahmed Khalil said at the virtual RiseUp Summit, reports Wamda. The company closed down UberEats in Egypt and other countries at the start of the pandemic which Khalil explained was “part of a global push to focus our resources in our top markets” to weather the storm. Khalil did not mention whether UberEats would make its way back to Egypt post-covid.

PSA- Look for more sand and blowing dust today and a high today of about 20°C, giving way to a bit of drizzle overnight. There’s a good chance of light showers tomorrow morning, our favorite weather app warns us.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

The House is reconvening today as its five-year term starts to draw to a close. The current class of MPs is due to end their term on 9 January 2021, according to a five-year-old presidential decree. Newly elected representatives will then officially take office the following day, and convene for their first session as soon as President Abdel Fattah El Sisi makes the call. The current House returned in October for a final, abridged fall legislative cycle.

On today's agenda:

  • Debate on the ratification of the charter of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum;
  • A EUR 1.9 bn syndicated loan recently approved by a group of banks led by JPMorgan Chase to fund projects by the National Authority for Tunnels;
  • A grant from the USAID as part of the Egypt Economic Governance for Development Project, which aims to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency in public institutions and civil service; and
  • An Egypt-Russia economic and military cooperation agreement signed in Sochi in 2018.

The final results of the parliamentary elections were out yesterday. We have the full rundown in this morning’s Current Affairs, below.

It’s Fed day: The US Federal Open Market Committee kicks off later today its two-day policy-setting meeting. Consensus from senior economists and policy watchers is that the US central bank will expand a USD 120 bn per month bond-buying program it launched earlier in the pandemic, signaling easy monetary policy and near-zero interest rates for years to come.

This Fed meeting is of particular importance to emerging market policymakers and investors, who are eager to see if it will reinforce an already-low interest rate environment, reports Bloomberg. The recent shift in Fed policy to a more accommodative stance to stimulate a recovery from covid and drive inflation higher has heaped pressure on the USD, which is down 6% year-to-date against other currencies. A weaker greenback reduces debt servicing costs and provides policymakers with more room for stimulus without the fear of sudden inflationary shocks.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR- The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), meanwhile, is scheduled to meet on Thursday, 24 December. Pundits have widely been expecting the CBE to keep rates on hold after food prices drove the headline inflation rate up for the second consecutive month, to 5.7% in November from 4.6% in October. After slashing rates by 400 bps in 2020, the CBE still has room to lower rates by at least a further 100 bps over the next 12 months.

Egypt made a new archaeological discovery in Saqqara and will announce the details in early 2021, according to a cabinet statement. Self-styled Indiana Jones Zahi Hawass said the new discovery will shed light on the history of the 18th and 19th dynasties in Ancient Egypt.


DISTRACTIONS-

START THIS BUSINESS- Not convinced with our pitch yesterday that you should open an old-folks home? AI guy Sam Altman’s Twitter feed comes to your rescue with his question about what “tiny / non-existent market today” that will be a USD 1 tn or more market in 10-20 years. So many interesting responses.

Don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in your body? Or have kids? The Financial Times invites you to consider how covid-19 is reshaping the “new in-demand jobs,” from tax specialist to healthcare, demand planners, drivers and tech workers.

Apple Fitness+ launches today for anybody with an iPhone (or iPad) and an Apple Watch. The service offers a wide roster of workouts from weights to spinning, rowing and yoga delivered in English by professional instructors. How do you get it? You’ll need to update your iPhone to the latest software, so head to Settings > General > Software Update and get to it. Read all about it here.

Wait, you mean true believers have to put bread on the table, too? Wherein the American Prospect talks about the consulting gigs of the folks with whom Joe Biden is surrounding himself, including that of his soon-to-be secretary of state.


CORRECTION- Because calendars are hard to operate. In a story on the surge in activity in the securitization market, yesterday, we incorrectly identified Corplease as being owned by CIB. It is owned by former CIB subsidiary CI Capital, which acquired Corplease from its former corporate parent in 2016. The story has been corrected on our website.

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TECH

Revenge of the Luddites

Ibnsina Pharma has ended its standoff with the Pharmacists Syndicate, announcing yesterday that it would walk back its acquisition of 75% of 3elagi Tech, which owns digital pharmacy platform 3elagi. “Ibnsina Pharma is keen to maintain strong relations with pharmacists who are the focal point for the company and the reason for its success therefore we decided to cancel our intention to invest,” company chairman Mohsen Mahgoub said yesterday in a statement (pdf). The syndicate has responded in turn and has agreed to ask its members to end their boycott of the meds distributor. The syndicate will also drop a lawsuit against the EGX-listed business.

“Ibnsina Pharma is committed to digital transformation plans, with aims to increase operations efficiency for both the pharmacist and Ibnsina Pharma while realizing the economies of scale benefits for Ibnsina Pharma,” Co-CEO Omar Abdel Gawad said.

Making Michael Corleone proud: The Pharmacists Syndicate claims its campaign to block the acquisition is rooted in the Pharmacists Act of 1955 — which for those too young to remember was way before the internet. They claim that the act restricts public sales of meds to brick-and-mortar pharmacies (which must be owned by individual pharmacists) and hospitals — and any sale outside of that is illegal.

Ibnsina shares rose 6% in trading yesterday after the news was released early in the day.

WATCH THIS SPACE- This literal reading of the letter of the law could apply to all applications that try to sell or create marketplaces for meds, including Yodawy, a pharma industry insider tells us. As with taxi drivers when ride-hailing came on to the scene, the aim of entrenched interests is to not be “disrupted.”

So why pick on Ibnsina? Because Yodawy’s real market is helping insurance companies manage benefits, while Ibnsina is captive to the pharmacists who are the core customers of its distribution business. It will be interesting to see how they react when the 21st century eventually hits the sector.

There’s also the little matter of a pandemic: The irony isn’t lost upon us that healthcare professionals are actively punishing attempts at social distancing through online applications.

PRIVATIZATION WATCH

More military companies up for privatization in “historic shift” for the economy

Three more military-affiliated companies will open up to private ownership in 2021, Sovereign Fund of Egypt CEO Ayman Soliman told Bloomberg. The three unnamed companies join Wataniya Petroleum and the National Company for Producing and Bottling Water (Safi), which Soliman said will be open for full private ownership as early as 1Q2021. Planning Minister and SFE Chairman Hala El Said said last week that Safi and Wataniya Petroleum are the first two subsidiaries of the army’s National Service Products Organization (NSPO) that the SFE will shop to private investors as part of a wider privatization plan that will see the companies ultimately listed on the EGX.

Local and foreign investors will for the first time get a chance to own up to 100% of military-affiliated companies, Bloomberg quoted El Said as saying. She described the plan as “a historic shift in how Egypt’s economy is structured.”

The SFE could still acquire minority stakes of 20-30% in both Safi and Wattaniya Petroleum, and offer the rest to private investors, Soliman separately said in a Zoom interview with Hapi Journal.

What to watch: There have so far been few indications about the size of the stakes on offer or the timeline for pressing ahead.

Advisers: EFG Hermes will act as financial advisor on both potential sales, Soliman added.

Background: The SFE and NSPO signed last February a cooperation agreement to open up the latter’s subsidiaries for investors, after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said twice that stakes in army-owned companies and assets could be sold on the EGX as part of the state privatization program. The fund was looking at 10 of NSPO’s subsidiaries to offer them up for co-investment as an initial phase. Soliman did not disclose the company names under assessment at the time, and the fate of the rest of the roster so far remains unclear.

ALSO FROM THE SFE- The fund and EFG Hermes expect to complete their joint acquisition of a 76% stake in the Arab Investment Bank in January 2021, Soliman told Al Arabiya. The SFE and EFG had planned to close the acquisition in 2020, but fallout from covid-19 put plans on hold. The SFE plans to acquire its up to 25% stake through its newly-established, EGP 30 bn financial services sub-fund, while EFG Hermes will take the remaining 51%.

PAYMENTS

Payment news roundup from Visa, Amazon + industry outlook

We have a bunch of news from the payments space that you need to know about, whether you’re in retail, e-commerce or a budding fintech bro:

Digital payments and buy-now-pay-later schemes are here to stay, predicts Visa in its Middle East 2021 payments industry predictions report (pdf). The payments giant expects contactless payments to continue gaining popularity, particularly in markets such as Egypt, where ceilings on contactless transactions have doubled since the start of the pandemic, allowing consumers to make contactless payments for larger purchases. With the presence and expansion of e-commerce platforms such as Fawry, Visa also expects financial inclusion to improve — and for more businesses and consumers alike to embrace digital financial services. Tap to Phone is also expected to grow significantly in 2021/2022, allowing small businesses to accept payment without need for a point of sale terminal.

Micro and small businesses in Egypt can now set up digital salary payments using fintech startup Paynas’ new Visa Paynas card, which it is launching with Visa and Banque Misr, according to a press release (pdf). The startup is also launching a platform that gives small businesses access to HR and financial tools. “Smaller companies face pervasively larger challenges in terms of workforce management, along with availing financial offerings and other benefits to their employees,” said Paynas CEO Mohamed Mounir.

ALSO FROM PLANET FINTECH- Amazon rebranded its payment service in MENA yesterday: The e-commerce giant rebranded UAE fintech startup Payfort — which it bought as part of its Souq acquisition in 2017 — as Amazon Payment Services, according to a company release (pdf). Amazon Payment Services offers payment processing, installments and monitoring of payment performance. The service has already attracted partners such as local card scheme Meeza, as well as international card schemes such as Visa, and MasterCard.

EQUITIES

ODH offloading affordable housing arm

Orascom Development Egypt’s (ODH) board has approved plans to sell the company’s 35% stake in affordable homes builder New City Housing and Development (previously Orascom Housing Communities or OHC), according to a regulatory filing (pdf). The stake is valued at EGP 128.6 mn, the company said without disclosing the name of the potential buyer. The sale would come as part of a strategy by ODH to narrow its focus on core businesses, which centers on high-end real estate including El Gouna and O West.

Background: An unnamed UK fund was reported to be the buyer, sources speaking to Al Shorouk said last month. The fund could purchase both ODH’s share and another 55% stake owned personally by ODH CEO Samih Sawiris, The remaining shares will be retained by OHC’s foreign owners, US company Blue Ridge and PE firm Equity International.

REGULATION WATCH

Go online or lose your export subsidy

Looking to get export subsidies? Register on the Tax Authority’s electronic invoicing system before July, Tax Authority boss Reda Abdel Kader said, according to Al Shorouk. The move is in line with a recent cabinet decision banning local authorities from entering into contracts with parties not registered on the system by the same deadline, Abdel Kader says. That decision applies to exporters as well, Abdel Kader said, since they are required to apply for tax discounts or communicate the subsidies they’re owed through public authorities, including the Trade Ministry and tax and customs authorities. Exporters are eligible for monetary payouts and other tax incentives under the country’s export support programs.

The first trial phase of the e-invoicing system was rolled out last month with 134 companies on board. The second phase will include an additional 340, and is expected to launch in February 2021. All government affiliated bodies, meanwhile, were ordered to register as soon as possible. All B2B transactions, whether by private or public bodies, are also expected to be accounted for on the system by 30 June 2021, the ministry recently said. All tax-paying companies will be enrolled gradually until April 2023, Finance Minister Maait separately said.

BUDGET WATCH

Egypt recorded a primary surplus of EGP 5.2 bn in 4M2020-2021, down from EGP 14.7 bn, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said yesterday, according to a Cabinet statement. This is a touch lower than the EGP 5.5 bn surplus Maait cited in an interview with Al Arabiya last month. Maait had previously said the primary surplus could fall to just 0.6% in the current fiscal year, based on a scenario where the crisis continues to December. Initial forecasts in the FY2020-2021 state budget had penciled in a 2% surplus. The government is likely to tweak key assumptions in the state budget this month after covid-19 put previous budget targets out of reach, the minister said.

ECONOMY

Strength in diversity

Underpinned by a diversified economy, Egypt’s economic strength supports our B2 issuer credit rating, Moody’s said in a periodic review of Egypt’s credit rating, which does not involve a rating or outlook update. Egypt’s credit rating remains at B2 with a stable outlook. “Relatively weak but improving” governance indicators are balanced out by institutional and governance strength, along with Egypt’s “solid track record” of commitment to implementing reforms, Moody’s said.

On the flipside, Egypt’s public finances remain a weak spot, with a high government debt burden that is now in decline after rising temporarily due to the pandemic, the review says. While the likelihood of social upheaval is low, the review found that Egypt is still exposed to banking sector risks because of its large banking system and population. These risks, however, remain well mitigated by the sector's stable funding structure, large liquidity buffers and resilient loan performance. A September report by Moody’s had found Egypt’s credit indicators largely resilient to shocks.

ENERGY

Government entities are pushing ahead with solar stations in Zaafarana, Aswan: The New and Renewable Energy Authority will sign within days a EUR 36 mn contract with Germany’s Belectric to establish a 50 MW solar power plant in Zaafarana, sources told the local press. Separately, the Electricity Ministry signed a contract with Emirati energy firm Al Nowais to increase the capacity of the solar energy stations that will be implemented in Kom Ombo, Aswan to 500 MW instead of 200 MW, the local press reported. The contract allows Al Nowais to obtain additional land and sets the tariff for energy generated at USD 0.02 per kwH.

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CURRENT AFFAIRS

Say hello to (most of) your new Parliament

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve elected a new House of Representatives: Mostaqbal Watan will hold a total of 315 seats in the new House of Representatives to be sworn in next month after the pro-government party won 53 of the 100 contested seats in the second-round runoff parliamentary elections in Cairo and 12 other governorates, the National Elections Authority said yesterday. Mostaqbal Watan dominated the first round of parliamentary elections, and had also won a majority of seats in the Senate elections in September. Reuters also has the story.

Who else got elected? The Republican People’s Party represents the second-biggest portion of Parliament, holding a total of 49 seats, after landing five in the runoff elections. El Wafd now holds 25 seats, followed by the Homeland Defenders Party (23), Modern Egypt Party (11), the Conference Party (8), and each of Al Nour, the Freedom Party, and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party have seven seats, according to Ahram Gate. The remaining party seats are scattered among the National Progressive Unionist Party, the Justice Party, the Generation’s Will Party. Independent candidates hold another 37 seats. El Watan has a helpful infographic showing how the seats have been distributed.

What’s next? The remaining 5% of spots available (38 seats) will be filled by presidential appointment before the new set of MPs kick off their first legislative session next month.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Leading the conversation on the airwaves last night: 18 members of the National Youth Football Team tested positive for covid-19, including their coach. The team’s fate at the North Africa championship is now unclear ahead of their opening match against Libya today, with only 11 players able to play. Among those taking note: Masaa DMC’s Sarah Hazem (watch, runtime: 8:10) and the airwaves’ most ardent football fan, El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 7:41).

The outcome of the House of Representatives elections also earned airtime from Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 1:44) and Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 3:37). We have chapter and verse in Current Affairs, above.

Also on the airwaves last night: An oil tanker that was hit with an explosive at Jeddah Port had no effect on the Suez Canal, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) boss Osama Rabie assured Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa. The canal’s revenues YTD are currently at USD 5.72 bn, up 8% y-o-y, Rabie said. The SCA plans to introduce new incentives and fee reductions for cruise passenger ships to attract more traffic to the channel (watch, runtime: 10:27).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s a mixed bag of nuts in the foreign press this morning. Among the headlines to skim: the Wall Street Journal is back on the Regeni case and the government is running a [redacted] harassment awareness campaign on trains (Reuters). Cambridge Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson’s book A World Beneath the Sands gets more ink in the Guardian, which also looks back at the 10 years since the Arab Spring.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

The first phase of the universal healthcare scheme, which will see the program rolled out in six governorates by 2023, is set to cost EGP 51.1 bn, Assistant Health Minister Ahmed El Sobky said. The first six governorates are Port Said, Luxor, Ismailia, Aswan, Suez, and South Sinai. The bulk of the spending will be on improvements in medical infrastructure. The EGP 600 bn program was piloted in Port Said in 2019.

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

  • Two unnamed Saudi and Kuwaiti companies have presented offers to build cargo zones at Cairo International and Sphinx airports.
  • Land swap: State-owned companies have settled EGP 33 bn in debt and arrears they have owed other state agencies for 25 years, by agreeing to transfer ownership of their unused land, the Public Enterprises Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
  • Scholarships for unis in new cities: Banque du Caire will finance EGP 21.4 mn in scholarships over three years at four new local universities: King Salman University, Al Alamein International University, Al Galala University, and New Mansoura University.

COVID WATCH

The Health Ministry reported 511 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 486 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 122,086 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 23 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,943.

Hurghada Airport’s PCR test requirements are getting stricter as the Health Ministry imposes new procedures following reports of incoming travelers presenting fake PCR test results, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The new regulations will require test results to be presented in English and have a stamp and signature from the laboratory doctor, as well as a watermark or international barcode. No handwritten results will be accepted. Travelers whose PCR test results do not meet the new requirements will be required to be tested on arrival.

DONATIONS- Egypt is getting GBP 1 mn from the UK via the World Health Organization to support its response to covid-19, while South Korea delivered yesterday a shipment of medical aid worth USD 500k. Egypt, meanwhile, has sent 5 tonnes of surgical supplies to South Sudan.

Egyptian company Biotech plans to manufacture disinfection robots in 2H2021, the local press reports. The EGP 150k robots use UV light to sterilize surfaces.

Eswatini Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini became the first world leader to pass away due to covid-19, dying at age 52 on Sunday while receiving medical care in neighboring South Africa, reports Bloomberg.

London and parts of Southeast England will be subject to the strictest tier of covid-19 restrictions starting tomorrow as government ministers warned that a new variant of the virus had been identified, and London reported more than 20k new cases last week, the Financial Times reports. The new restrictions will see bars, restaurants and retail stores closed, though schools will remain operational.

PLANET FINANCE

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The EGX30 rose 0.4% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.6 bn. Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 20.9% YTD.

In the green: Ibnsina Pharma (+6.0%), Ezz Steel (+5.9%) and Eastern Company (+0.9%).

In the red: Dice (-6.8%), Cleopatra Hospital (-2.9%) and Oriental Weavers (-2.4%).

Asian markets are all in the red this morning and we’re looking at a mixed open in both Europe and North America later today, futures suggest.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 gained 0.6% yesterday after trimming early gains on news of an extension of talks between the UK and the European Union to hammer out a post-Brexit, according to Reuters.

Up

EGX30

11,048

+0.4% (YTD: -20.9%)

Up

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.67

Sell 15.77

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 15.68

Sell 15.78

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

8,660

+0.2% (YTD: +3.2%)

Up

ADX

5,154

+0.3% (YTD: +1.5%)

Up

DFM

2,555

+0.3% (YTD: -7.6%)

Down

S&P 500

3,648

-0.4% (YTD: +12.9%)

Down

FTSE 100

6,532

-0.2% (YTD: -13.4%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 50.09

-0.4%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.67

-0.3%

Down

Gold

USD 1,831.50

-%

Up

BTC

USD 19,395.12

+1.7%

Optimism about covid-19 vaccines could spark a recovery in the UAE’s key tourism sector in 2021 after business activity in Dubai shrank for a second consecutive month this November, Bloomberg reports. Abu Dhabi plans to reopen for tourists starting January and will allow visitors from a list of countries deemed safe; the list will be reviewed every two weeks. Meanwhile, Dubai expects travellers to and from the UK to increase by a third in December after the UAE was placed on the UK’s travel corridor list last month.

The man who denounced the 2020 SPAC craze as “reprehensible” has made a cool USD 200 mn from a blank-check company — apparently completely by accident. Big-time investor and environmental philanthropist Jeremy Grantham’s investment in QuantumScape paid off when the battery-maker was taken public by a SPAC earlier this month. “This is unlike anything else in my career. This was by accident the single biggest investment I have ever made,” he told the Financial Times, describing blank-check firms as “reprehensible” instruments and “very speculative by definition.” Check out our explainer on SPACS here.

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • Swiss biotech firm Relief Therapeutics’ share price has rocketed 38,000% so far this year, thanks to its work on a medication that treats respiratory failures in severe cases of covid-19, reports CNBC.
  • Reddit has acquired video-sharing app and TikTok rival Dubsmash, according to The Wall Street Journal. Dubsmash was last valued at USD 47.5 mn in 2016 and has since raised roughly USD 20 mn more. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

AROUND THE WORLD

It’s not a great day for Amazon, Facebook, and seven other social media and video companies whose data practices are now under investigation from the US’ Federal Trade Commission, Bloomberg reports. The probe, which is not linked to any legal action just yet, will also look at advertising and user engagement practices, as well as measures to protect children and teens. US tech companies have faced multiple legal actions in past months, including a lawsuit targeting Google’s search business, as well as a case against Facebook’s market monopoly that could force the company to separate its WhatsApp and Instagram services from the main business.

Our workflow hit a bit of a hiccup yesterday as multiple Google services crashed yesterday across the globe. Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Docs and more experienced outages for around an hour yesterday afternoon while smart home gadgets integrated with Google Assistant also experienced issues. While YouTube acknowledged the outage, Google has yet to explain what happened.

Sudan was removed yesterday from the US’ list of state sponsors of terrorism after 27 years, according to Reuters. This comes as part of the US-brokered agreement that saw Sudan normalize ties with Israel earlier this year. Sudan’s placement on the list had barred it from receiving financial assistance and investment.

ON YOUR WAY OUT

Egypt will hold its first ever Ironman race next November in Sahl Hasheesh, where athletes can also opt to compete for a slot in the 2022 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Taupõ, New Zealand. You can register for the race on the Ironman website.

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).

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 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.

13-17 December 2021: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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