Monday, 11 January 2021

Inflation eases in December

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Welcome to another workaday Monday, nice people. It’s a reasonably quiet news morning, but don’t be deceived by the calm: It’s going to get busier this afternoon and we’ll have a torrent of news from the House of Representatives once a new class of MPs is seated tomorrow.

Want to know what their agenda looks like? We’ve got you covered.

What are the chances of an upcoming cabinet shuffle? Fairly high, if you trust MP Mostafa Bakry, who told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib on Saturday night that he had “reliable information” that a shuffle is in the cards after the first session of the new parliament (watch, runtime: 1:57).

House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said last month there is no requirement for the government to resign when a new House is seated, but a) added that the government serves at the pleasure of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and b) that he expects the government to present an overview of its legislative agenda at a plenary session of the House soon after the new MPs are worn in.

The big story globally: The US House of Representatives could vote on a second attempt to impeach Agent Orange as soon as tomorrow after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum to VP Mike Pence: Invoke the 25th Amendment or we move to impeachment.

The 25th Amendment: A constitutional amendment allowing the VP to assume the presidency if the president dies, becomes incapacitated, or is removed from office.

Pence has 24 hours to respond to Pelosi’s demand, and if Trump is not removed from office the Democrat-run House will move immediately to vote for an impeachment trial in the Senate.

The trial probably isn’t going to happen while Trump is still in the White House: Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn told CNN that the party could delay sending the article to the Senate until after Biden’s first 100 days in office.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

Cairo plays host to talks on Israel-Palestine peace today: The foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Germany, and Jordan will meet in Cairo today to discuss the Palestine-Israel peace process, the German embassy in Cairo said.

Emirates Airlines is rolling out lower rates for flights out of Egypt booked between today and 25 January for travel until 15 June 2021 as part of its Fly Better program, according to a press release (pdf).

PSA #1- A cold wave is still in the forecast to arrive on Thursday, when the mercury is set to plunge into the teens, according to our favourite weather app. In the meantime, you can expect an unseasonably warm daytime high of 26-27°C today through Wednesday.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The men’s Handball World Championship kicks off on Wednesday — but this year it will be played behind closed doors. This is from the Sports Ministry, which yesterday announced that matches would not be open to the public due to covid-19. The tournament will conclude on 31 January.

Samsung will unveil its latest Galaxy flagship, the S21 on Thursday, coinciding with the virtual-only Consumer Electronics Show, which kicks off today. Not interested ‘cause you’re an iSheep? Try this: Apple’s next-gen iPad Mini is likely coming in March and has an 8.4-inch display and slimmer bezels.

We’ll be getting the first batch of new shiny EGP 10 polymer banknotes in June, when the print shop in the new administrative capital becomes operational, CBE sub-Governor Khaled Farouk tells Masrawy. New EGP 20 polymer banknotes are expected to follow later in the year.

Are you already planning your summer vacation? CNN has a great rundown of the obstacles that the travel industry (and governments) need to sort out before you can book a flight (or a hotel or a car rental) with anything approaching confidence.

HOW FAR WILL YOUR PASSPORT GET YOU? Egypt is one notch behind Jordan and Algeria at #93 on the 2021 Henley Passport Index, which ranks passports by the number of countries to which you get visa-free or visa-on-arrival admission. At the top of the list: Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Bringing up the rear: Syria, Iraq and (in last place) Afghanistan.

PSA #2- Both the NYT and the WSJ (as we’ve recently noted) are tipping Egypt as a top destination for 2021, so maybe you wanna consider how to travel at home?

MARKET WATCH-

“The lunatics are taking over the asylum” in the equity bull run that has seen the S&P, Dow Jones, and Nasdaq hit new records, say “investing legends” Carl Icahn and Jeremy Grantham. While the veteran investors typically rely on different metrics to map out their forecasts, they both see trouble in the current atmosphere, rather than the cold, hard numbers, Shawn Tully writes for Fortune. Icahn had rung the alarm on an impending “painful” correction as early as April of last year, signaling that he could see the same warning signs that presage most other stock market rallies.

And continuing this theme, Bloomberg describes the rally as “a full-blown mania” that could continue for weeks or even months before we see a correction. Some thought last week’s trouble at Washington would slow things down, but the market (which rallied a striking 70% since March) is only continuing to gain momentum, says chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co. Matt Maley, who adds that “a 10%-15% correction would be normal and healthy.”

Did you miss our 2020 in Review, which includes pointers on what to expect this year?

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

enterprise

*** It’s Blackboard day: We have our weekly look at the business of education in Egypt, from pre-K through the highest reaches of higher ed. Blackboard appears every Monday in Enterprise in the place of our traditional industry news roundups.

In today’s issue: The Higher Education Ministry has long been mulling over the launch of a centralized platform for private university applications — and now it’s going ahead. We delved into universities’ concerns about autonomy in student selection in a previous Blackboard issue. Despite the platform launch coming in two weeks, many operators, students and parents — for whom it’s a major development — are in the dark about how it will work. In this week’s Blackboard, we break down what to expect from the new system.

enterprise

ECONOMY

A little bit limp

Annual urban headline inflation dropped to 5.4% in December from 5.7% in November, according to figures released Sunday by state statistics agency Capmas (pdf) and the central bank (pdf). On a monthly basis, prices fell at their quickest pace since June 2019 as falling food and beverage prices resulted in 0.4% deflation following 0.8% growth in November. The story is also getting a nod from Bloomberg and Reuters.

Food prices fell 1.2% during the month, having edged up 3.2% in November, despite seasonal spending during the winter holidays. The price of vegetables fell 10% on average during the month, compared to the 25% price growth seen in November.

Annual core inflation — which strips out volatile items such as food and fuel — fell to 3.8% in December compared to 4.0% in November 2020. Monthly core inflation remained flat during the month from November.

Annual general inflation for 2020 came in at 5.1%, down from 8.5% in 2019, Capmas said. The rate, which came in below the central bank’s target inflation range of 6-12%, triggered consultations with the IMF under the standby loan agreed last year. In response, the central bank has proposed that it lowers its target rate by two percentage points to 7% and narrows its range to +/-2%.

Expect inflation to remain within the 5-6.5% range in 1H2021 before accelerating in the back-half of the year to anywhere between 6 and 7.5%, Pharos’ Sandy Eskaros said in a note yesterday. This scenario would see inflation averaging 5.1% by the end of FY2020-2021, and 5.7% by the end of calendar year 2021 to remain within the CBE’s new target range. Meanwhile, Beltone’s Alia Mamdouh is forecasting inflation to remain within the bank’s new target range on average through to 4Q2022.

So are we gonna see interest rate cuts? With inflation accelerating throughout 4Q2020, the CBE is now expected to resume its monetary easing cycle this year, albeit cautiously, Eskaros writes. “We forecast a total of 200 bps of interest rate cuts in 2021, spaced out on different MPC meetings in response to the relevant monetary conditions.” Mamdouh expects the bank to make a 50 bps cut in its March meeting after leaving rates on hold next month.

The CBE left interest rates unchanged at its December meeting, citing rising inflation and global concern over the spread of new covid-19 variants. The hold followed two consecutive 50 bps rate cuts in each of November and September. With the record 300 bps cut in March, policymakers cut rates a total of 400 bps last year.

The central bank will next meet to review rates on 4 February.

Still eking out growth

Egypt will remain the only MENA country to continue its pre-covid growth trend in 2021 thanks to the government’s economic reform program over the past four years, Moody’s said in a research note last week. While Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan have benefited from IMF lending programs, most MENA and Levant countries will continue to suffer from high debt ratios that will negatively impact their sovereign creditworthiness. Limited access to international credit markets (as in the case of Tunisia and Iraq) as well as a muted tourism sector will continue to strain economies.

Moody’s expects a gradual recovery in GDP growth to 2.2% on average in the region this year following the 3.4% contraction in 2020.

Who else sees continued growth for Egypt: With vaccination programs expected to accelerate the global economic recovery in the coming year, the IMF has just bumped up its FY2020-2021 projections to 2.8% from the 2% it forecast in June. Fitch thinks we’re on track to grow at an average 4% clip over each of the coming four years, and the EBRD has penciled in an ambitious 5% growth for calendar year 2021. Looking further ahead, the World Bank says Egypt’s economy will return to pre-pandemic growth levels as of FY2021-2022, while Renaissance Capital recently predicted 2.8% growth in 2021, followed by a resurgence to 5% growth in 2022.

INVESTMENT WATCH

More VC money looks to Egypt

High-growth tech startups in Egypt and the MENAP region are targets for UAE-based Access Bridge Ventures (ABV), which reached first close on a USD 25 mn regional venture capital fund, ABV said in a press release (pdf). The fund will look at startups in healthtech, edutech, fintech, enterprise-tech and Software as a Service (SaaS). ABV has so far landed commitments from Mubadala Capital, the Saudi Venture Capital Company, Jada, and several unspecified family offices.

Who is Access Bridge Ventures? ABV was established earlier this year by former IFC MENA & Pakistan Head Issa Aghabi (Linkedin) and Rakan AlRashed (Linkedin), who was previously part of Abraaj Group. The fund has so far invested in Egyptian logistics firm Flextock and Saudi auto marketplace Speero.

OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS:

enterprise

REAL ESTATE

Qatari Diar to resume City Gate project

Qatari Diar will resume work on its CityGate project after getting the green light from the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), seemingly putting an end to a four-year dispute over the developer failing to deliver on construction targets, Al Shorouk reports, citing unnamed sources. East Gate, owner of the development and Qatari Diar subsidiary, had asked for a license to continue working, which the sources said was approved by the authority, without providing further details.

What was the beef about? It’s a long and complicated story that we went into detail here, but the crux of the matter stems from a change East Gate made to the original contract, to which NUCA demanded the Qatari company cough up EGP 1.3 bn to cover the accompanying fees. The Council of State’s administrative court overturned the fine last July.

Coincidence? The decision comes just a few days after Cairo and Doha agreed to end diplomatic hostilities and begin working to restore relations. Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, agreed at last week’s GCC summit to end Qatar’s pariah status in the region and restore trade and travel links after a 3.5-year blockade. On the night that the agreement was inked, Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif and Qatari Diar Chairman Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani flew to Cairo to hold an official opening ceremony for the company’s St Regis Hotel alongside US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

OTHER REAL ESTATE NEWS-

  • The US’ Hill International and Seldar Misr subsidiary Gulf Building and Construction signed a cooperation protocol to manage Al Jazi project in New Cairo — the first residential compound under the Marriott brand, reports Hapi Journal.
  • Marriott International is also looking to add three- and four- star hotels in touristic cities such as Aswan, New Alamein, and the North Coast to its portfolio.

DIPLOMACY

On your mark, get set … stop.

The latest news from the GERD non-talks: Sunday’s rebooted Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks again ended in a stalemate, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan announced yesterday evening. Foreign and irrigation ministers from the three countries held virtual talks for the second time in less than a week in a bid to finally find a way to break the deadlock.

Remember: We’re not talking about the high stakes negotiations over the filling and operation of the dam here. At this point, the countries can’t even agree on a format for the next round of talks.

Fingers pointed at Sudan: Both Egypt and Ethiopia are blaming Sudan for the lack of progress. A statement from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that both countries “have reservations” about Sudan’s proposal to hand the African Union power to suggest compromises, while Ethiopia said that Sudan had rejected proposals put forward by South Africa to meet separately with AU experts. Sudan has made an expanded role for the AU its key demand before agreeing to a new round of talks, and has threatened to boycott meetings until Egypt and Ethiopia agree.

The view from Khartoum: “We cannot continue this vicious cycle of circular talks indefinitely,” Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasir Abbas said in a statement carried by Sudanese news agency SUNA. Ethiopia plans to begin the second phase of filling the dam’s reservoir irrespective of whether an agreement is reached, Abbas said, citing an official statement it made to Egypt, Sudan, and the African Union. Addis Ababa is also attempting to dodge the talks and delay an agreement until it completes the ongoing first phase, Al Shorouk reports, quoting Sudanese sources.

Khartoum is separately concerned that GERD could lead to less water reaching its much smaller Roseires dam if Ethiopia doesn’t share data, Abbas said yesterday. Ethiopia pledged to address those concerns, it said in its statement.

The news is getting play in the foreign press: Associated Press | Bloomberg.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

It was mixed bag of nuts on the airwaves last night:

Yesterday’s failed GERD talks unsurprisingly received attention, with Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 5:51) and Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy (watch, runtime: 2:48) both discussing developments which we recap in full, above.

The handball championship without an audience: Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 7:08) and El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 13:38) both covered the announcement yesterday that this year’s handball world championship will be held behind closed doors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The talking heads were beating the drum for internet privacy in response to the upcoming changes to Whatsapp’s privacy policy, which will allow Facebook to hoover up your personal data from 8 February. Security experts advised using Telegram or Signal to thwart the evil empire. See: Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 4:51), Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 15:58) and Amr Adib on El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 4:50).

(We’re hopping on a global bandwagon with that whole move-to-Signal thing — Turkey’s defense ministry and government media office are all dumping WhatsApp.)

Imported food prices to rise? So says Ahmed Shiha, member of the Importers Division, who claimed that the new requirement for food importers to hold a license — introduced last year by the Food Safety Authority for quality control — will result in higher prices (watch, runtime:10:38). A ban on food imports without a license came into effect last week.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

If you only read one thing in this section this morning, make it this: The Times of Israel has an epic profile and interview of Amira Oron, the well-regarded Israeli ambassador to Cairo, who is now six months into her posting here.

Also getting digital ink: Haaretz seems to think we’re all concerned the UAE is “buying” us, writer-director Mohamed Rashad gets coverage in industry staple Variety, and National Geographic looks at how private letters are helping historians understand Egyptian politics 3k years ago.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Some food commodity news to start the week: Imports of food products without a license from the National Food Safety Authority have been banned, with the decision to take effect starting this month, while shipments of Egyptian citrus fruits are being released from Chinese ports after having been held due to an update to food safety regulations. Back at home, the export ban on beans and legumes has been extended again for three additional months for food security purposes, and state-owned Delta Sugar is aiming to produce 330k tonnes of sugar from 2.3 mn tonnes of sugar beets in the upcoming season, which starts next month.

ALSO: Vodafone Egypt, WE and Etisalat will receive the new cellular frequencies they were awarded in an auction last year during the second half of 2021, after the three mobile network operators signed a formal agreement with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority late last month to pay a collective USD 1.2 bn for the new bandwidth.

COVID WATCH

Everything you need to know about covid at home and abroad on 11 January 2021

The Health Ministry reported 993 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 989 the day before. The ministry also reported 55 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 8,197. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 149,792 confirmed cases of covid-19.

The latest government official to pass away from the virus: Health Ministry Undersecretary in Qalyubia, Hamdy El Tabbakh, who died on Saturday, according to a ministry statement. El Tabbakh’s death raises the covid-related deaths among medical staff to 290.

Egyptian actor Hadi El Gayar also passed away yesterday from covid-19 complications, the actors’ syndicate said yesterday. El Gayar, 71, rose to fame after his role in the iconic Madraset El Moshaghbeen play, and has since appeared in over 200 films, plays, and radio and TV series.

PSA- The government website through which people can register for the vaccine is not yet up. We’ll let you know when it is live.

Factory workers will be getting covid-19 vaccines at no charge, thanks to the Egyptian Federation of Investors Associations, the federation’s acting head, Moharram Helal, said on the airwaves yesterday (watch, runtime: 4:07). The federation, a union of 45 investor associations whose members own some 40k factories, will cover the vaccine costs “without exception.” Helal said.

The case count in Africa has now surpassed the 3 mn mark, with over 72k deaths, according to Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. As much as 30% of the tally is accounted for by South Africa, which recorded 1.21 mn cases as of yesterday.

PLANET FINANCE

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Emerging market USD-denominated bonds posted their first weekly drop since October, with yields on the 10-year benchmark Treasury note creeping above 1%, according to Bloomberg. The USD strengthened against other currencies during the first week of 2021, putting upward pressure on yields (which means lower bond prices), notes the business information service. This came despite a booming Friday for EM equities, which guided the MSCI gauge of stocks to record levels.

Emerging market stocks will come out as “prime beneficiaries of the economic restart,” Jean Boivin, head of the BlackRock Investment Institute told the FT. Boivin, along with several other leading asset managers, are especially bullish on EMs this year, and are giving frontier market assets a larger slice of their portfolios. Reasons include a weaker USD, the search for higher yields and higher risk tolerance, and elevated equity valuations elsewhere. Pundits in the story tip Asian EMs to advance fastest.

Up

EGX30

11,213

+2.4% (YTD: +3.4%)

Up

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.61

Sell 15.71

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 15.62

Sell 15.72

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

8,817

+0.9% (YTD: +1.5%)

Up

ADX

5,176

+0.2% (YTD: +2.6%)

Up

DFM

2,674

+1.9% (YTD: +7.3%)

Up

S&P 500

3,824

+0.6% (YTD: +1.8%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,873

+0.2% (YTD: +6.4%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 56.06

+0.1%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.63

-2.6%

Up

Gold

USD 1,850

+0.8%

Down

BTC

USD 37,967

-5.6%

The EGX30 rose 2.4% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.6 bn (17.1% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 3.4% YTD.

In the green: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (+6.6%), EFG Hermes (+5.1%) and Egyptian Iron & Steel (+4.9%).

In the red: Ezz Steel (-1.0%), Ibnsina Pharma (-0.6%) and Madinet Nasr Housing (-0.5%).

It’s green as far as the eye can see this morning in Asia, while futures suggest European markets will open largely in the green — and that Wall Street will come under pressure later today thanks to political developments in the US of A.

AROUND THE WORLD

Bahrain will reopen its airspace to Qatar today, becoming the third Arab Quartet country to do so following last week’s agreement to restore diplomatic ties with the statelet, reports Reuters.

Meanwhile, the thinkpieces on last week’s Al Ula declaration continue to come thick and fast: Yesterday we had the Financial Times editorial board offer its two cents on who came out on top in the agreement. Their conclusion? “There are no winners. All sides have paid a human and financial cost.”

Also from the Gulf: Saudi Arabia is offering perks to multinationals in a bid to convince them to relocate their regional HQs from Dubai to Riyadh, according to the FT. Companies such as Google and Siemens are being offered 50-year tax breaks and exemptions from future regulations as MBS looks to revitalize plans to establish the country as a business center.

blackboard

Blackboard Explains: The new private university admissions system: In two weeks, the Higher Education Ministry is launching a centralized platform for private university applications in a manner similar to the Tansik system used for public universities. In a nutshell, the platform will consolidate enrollment applications to all non-state universities in one place. Private and non-profit universities will still set their own acceptance requirements, including grades and aptitude tests, but it will be the system that assigns students their seats at universities, taking the element of choice from the university and the student.

A black box uncovered: Not many operators, students, and parents are aware of this new system’s details. We’ve managed to uncover useful tidbits on the platform, which has largely remained a black box, through a closer look at the decision itself and interviews with Higher Education Ministry officials. For those unfamiliar with the Tansik system, we thought we’d prepare a manual on what to expect moving forward.

Navigating the new system as a university: The electronic platform will be managed by the Higher Education Ministry’s Supreme Council of Private Universities, which will reveal the website in a few weeks, ministry sources tell us. Private and non-profit universities will register on the platform, feeding it its academic requirements for acceptance. The university must also publish information about tuition fees and other expenses, as well as its preferred payment method.

The universities will also inform the system of the seats available for every faculty and department in the upcoming term. It will also log the number of scholarship recipients it plans to have and the standards for selecting them. The universities that require prospective students to sit for entrance exams must schedule them in March for the Fall semester and in December for the Spring semester. Those grades will then be submitted to the platform along with lists of the students that passed their entrance exams (if applicable), says a ministry source.

Which universities will be subject to the decision? The platform will apply to locally registered private and non-profit universities that are regulated by the Higher Education Ministry, including Future University, 6 October University, and Badr University. Currently, there are 25 universities that will be subject to the decision, with the number expected to grow to 36, with the establishment of new universities this Fall, ministry sources tell us.

Not included: Universities registered as foreign entities, including AUC and universities under the Knowledge Hub (TKH), which are not regulated by the Supreme Council for Private Universities.

Navigating the new system as a student: After taking the required entrance examinations, students can begin to apply to the platform after high school and Thanaweya Amma results are released. Students will register to the platform, filling out their desired majors, and their list of preferred universities — which could encompass the whole lineup of universities in the system. They will then round up the process by submitting their grades once they are out. Students will have set grace periods to amend preferences after filing their application and to lodge appeals once the deadline closes.

The system will then take care of the rest, assigning students their university places. These placements are final and cannot be changed, sources tell us. If a student changes their mind about a preference or isn’t happy with the school where they are placed, they can apply again the following term and hope for better odds, the source added. That place will then be assigned to someone else.

How will the algorithm decide your (child’s) future? The student’s highschool grade will be the key determinant for admissions — the higher the grade, the better the chances for an applicant to study their desired major at the university of their choice. Admission test results, the number of places available at each faculty at each university, as well as the student’s preferences will also be taken into account, says the ministry source.

Distribution of students will be done in three stages: The first phase is for students with the highest grades, followed by a second phase for students with intermediate grades, and a third for those with the lowest. If there are any empty seats remaining after the three phases, universities can then advertise for and fill these seats at their own discretion.

The process will be done separately for students following different educational systems. So Thanaweya Amma students will be compared with one another and students of other systems (IGCSE, IB, American Diploma etc.) compared with one another, rather than attempts at overall equivalence being made. Every private university will retain the right to decide what percentage of its annual student intake is made up of students from different educational systems. A separate application date will be set to account for the different times of these exams.

Three days to pay, or you're out: Each student then has three working days to make a downpayment to the university he or she was assigned to, or else the place is given to another student, the source adds. It is the university’s responsibility to inform the system of those who haven’t paid.

When’s it coming? A pilot phase of the program will be launched in two weeks for the coming Spring semester, which will begin at the end of January or early February. It is still unclear how many universities will be selected for the program. All private and non-profit universities will be part of the system by the fall semester of the 2021-22 academic year, sources tell us.

This is set to precede a combined unified admissions platform for public and private universities in the 2022-23 academic year, they add.

What the system hopes to achieve: The ministry has received “many” complaints over the years that some universities are willing to provide open seats to students who have the ability to pay even if that student fails to meet the university’s academic requirements, sources said. This closes off access to high achieving students, which is what the system hopes to solve, they added, without giving us details on how widespread the problem was.

But wider fundamental concerns exist among university officials and parents, which appear to be growing as the deadline to launch the system approaches. A key concern for university operators we spoke with was any potential hit they might see to profitability if the distribution mechanism doesn’t allocate them the same number of students they usually accept — which in some ways is the point of the whole matter. But beyond the financial damages, what concerns operators and parents is the element of choice. For universities, it’s about safeguarding their right to apply other criteria besides the GPA when selecting students. And for parents and students, there’s a strong belief the centralized platform’s allocation mechanism shouldn’t supersede their own right to choose which university to attend, if they receive multiple offers and can pay. Isn’t that the whole point of having a private sector?

Your top education stories for the week:

ON YOUR WAY OUT

Ahmed Helmy will portray Egyptian novelist and Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz in an upcoming film or TV series by screenwriter Abdel Rahim Kamal, talk show host Khairy Ramadan said (watch, runtime: 1:36).

CALENDAR

13-31 January (Wednesday-Sunday): Egypt will host the 2021 Men’s Handball World Championship in four venues in Alexandria, Cairo, Giza and the New Capital.

25 January (Monday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

25-29 January (Monday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s “Davos Dialogues” (virtual)

26-28 January (Tuesday-Thursday): Future Investment Initiative, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

28 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

4 February (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

6-18 February (Saturday-Thursday): Mid-year school break (public schools — enjoy the break from bumper-to-bumper traffic)

20 February (Saturday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

18 March (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

13 April (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

1 May (Saturday): Labour Day (national holiday)

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

6 May (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

13-15 May (Thursday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

18-21 May (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting “The Great Reset”

31 May-2 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

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

1 June (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).

17 June (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

24 June (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year (public schools).

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center

30 June (Wednesday): June 30 Revolution Day

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday)

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday)

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday)

5 August (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year

16 September (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday

28 October (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

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

16 December (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

Note to readers: Some national holidays may appear twice above. Since 2020, Egypt has observed most mid-week holidays on Thursdays regardless of the day on which they fall and may also move those days to Sundays. We distinguish below between the actual holiday and its observance.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2020 Enterprise Ventures LLC.