Monday, 22 February 2021

EnterpriseAM — The Damietta LNG plant is back

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to what unexpectedly shaped up to be an eventful Monday.

THE BIG STORY HERE AT HOME? It’s a toss-up between the upcoming rollout of vaccines to elderly citizens and those with chronic illnesses, and the revival of the Damietta LNG facility after an eight-year hiatus. We have the details on both in this morning’s news well.

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*** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from yesterday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

DIVERSITY- The state budgeting process is on track to becoming more gender-conscious thanks to a special Planning Ministry unit dedicated to that goal, with one eye on its UN sustainable development goals, Minister Hala El Said announced in a statement yesterday. The new unit will advocate for women’s fair share in the state budget and help equip them with tools to join the labor force while balancing family life, and increase transparency on how the budget is put together, El Said said.

The timing of the disbursement of the final instalment of the monthly stipend for informal laborers will be decided today, Youm7 reports, citing unnamed government sources. The stipend was introduced last year to support day laborers through the economic fallout from covid-19.

International sporting delegations are in town to take part in the World Shooting Championships, which kicks off today and runs until next Thursday, 4 March at the Shooting Club in 6th of October, the Youth Ministry announced in a statement.

PSA- Expect showers and possible thunderstorms across Sahel and Sinai today, with the wet weather extending to Cairo and Upper Egypt tomorrow. High winds are expected throughout the country, the National Weather Service warned in a statement.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

US ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen is speaking about US-Egypt relations in a webinar hosted by AmCham Egypt tomorrow at 3pm CLT. The webinar, titled “The US-Egypt Partnership and Outlook for 2021,” will see Cohen cover bilateral relations between the countries and share his outlook for this year.

Calling all exporters: Learn how to navigate the new Nafeza pre-registration customs system at this webinar hosted by the Food Export Council and the Customs Authority. The event takes place this Wednesday, 24 February, at 12pm CLT. Tap or click here to register.

The Afro Future Summit is taking place this Thursday, 25 February. The summit will be held virtually.

The Egypt International Art Fair also kicks off this Thursday at Dusit Thani Lakeview Cairo, and is set to wrap on Saturday, 28 February.

The Aswan Forum for Peace and Development begins a week from today, on Monday, 1 March. The virtual event will run through Friday, 5 March under the title “Shaping Africa’s new normal: Recovering stronger, rebuilding better.” Representatives from governments, civil society, academia, financial institutions, and international organizations, will all weigh in on the risks, challenges, and potential solutions for sustainable development in the continent.

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

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*** 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: Demand for Egypt’s private sector education continues to be high, raising questions on what needs to happen to encourage investors to capitalize on that market. Earlier this month, we looked at the growth potential for the K-12 segment. In part two of this series, we focus our attention on higher education.

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COVID WATCH

Covid is making its way through cabinet

We now have three members of cabinet who have tested positive for covid-19, after confirmations emerged yesterday that each of Trade Minister Nevine Gamea and Justice Minister Omar Marwan have contracted the virus that causes the disease. Gamea and Marwan are each self-isolating at home, where they are resuming their official duties. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait is also said to have tested positive for covid-19.

The 300k doses of the Sinopharm vaccine China is sending us as a gift will land this afternoon or early tomorrow morning, Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi. (watch, runtime: 13:53) Egypt has secured 100 mn doses in total from AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, and Russia’s Sputnik, House Health Committee head Ashraf Hatem told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 3:42).

The vaccination program will be expanded to the wider population within two months, when lower-risk citizens — including those below the age of 60 and who are not suffering from chronic illnesses — will be able to voluntarily register for a jab, Hatem said.

The government is nearly done with vaccinating medical staff at chest and fever hospitals and has begun vaccinating medical staff at regular hospitals, after having completed the inoculation of all medical staff at covid-19 isolation facilities, Megahed said.

The Health Ministry reported 608 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 600 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 178,151 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 55 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 10,353.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine seems to have prevented most recipients in Israel from catching covid-19, according to preliminary data. The shot has proved to be 89.4% effective in preventing infections in Israel, which has handed out more vaccines per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Covid survivors may only need one vaccine shot, new research suggests, after recipients of an initial dose of the vaccine who had already had the virus were found to generate dramatically faster and higher immune responses, the Wall Street Journal reports. These findings, which have not yet been peer reviewed, could pave the way for a change in vaccination administration schedules, potentially freeing up much needed doses of vaccines and speeding up inoculation rollouts worldwide.

ENERGY

We’re taking big strides towards our energy hub ambitions

The Damietta LNG plant is (finally) back online after eight years of being idled, with two liquefied natural gas shipments making their way out of the Damietta Port yesterday, marking a key step towards our ambitions to become an energy hub and boost natgas exports to Europe. An LNG carrier from the Marshall Islands is transporting 60k tonnes of LNG from Egypt to Bangladesh, according to a cabinet statement. A separate trial shipment is also being loaded onto a carrier owned by energy and commodities trader Vitol, and will make its way to Europe, Oil Ministry spokesperson Hamdy Abdel Aziz told state-run MENA. Abdel Aziz did not specify how much Vitol’s carrier is shipping.

A QUICK REFRESHER- The reopening follows the settling of a dispute between Spain’s Naturgy, Italy’s Eni and the Egyptian government that arose years ago, in which Union Fenosa Gas (UFG) — a 50/50 JV between both companies that owns 80% of the facility — said the government had cut off flows to the liquefaction plant. Under the settlement, Naturgy agreed to exit Union Fenosa Gas in return for a USD 600 mn payment and most of UFG’s assets outside of Egypt. Eni will also take over the contract for the purchase of natural gas for the plant and will receive corresponding liquefaction rights.

Europe could be getting even more East Med gas through our liquefaction plants thanks to a pipeline Egypt and Israel have agreed to build that will connect Israel’s offshore Leviathan gas field to Egypt’s liquefaction plants. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz agreed on the planned pipeline during a meeting yesterday as part of the EastMed Gas Forum, according to an Oil Ministry statement. The pipeline will help Israel ramp up its exports to Europe, Steinitz told local Israeli media, Reuters reports. Leviathan’s offshore gas field came online in 2019 and supplies Egypt and Jordan.

Background: Israel’s Delek Drilling, a main operator of the Leviathan gas field, had said last year that it was mulling expanding its natural gas exports via Egypt’s Idku LNG terminal or by building its own floating terminal. At the time, the dispute over the Damietta plant had not yet been resolved, leaving Idku as Egypt’s only viable LNG terminal.

Egypt is also set to work with Palestine to develop the Gaza Marine gas field under an MoU EGAS Chairman Magdy Galal signed with Palestine Investment Fund Chairman Mohammed Mustafa yesterday, according to Wafa News Agency. Palestine is one of the founding members of the EastMed Gas Forum.

PHARMA

Ibnsina to distribute Bayer meds in Egypt, Rameda looks to invest

Ibnsina Pharma has signed an agreement with Germany’s Bayer to import and distribute products from its OTC and Rx-based portfolios, the companies said in a joint statement (pdf) today.

Bayer wants to grow in Egypt: Bayer Consumer Health wants to increase sales by 30% in 2021 after recording sales of EGP 401 mn last year, while the pharma unit is eyeing double-digit sales growth after it made EGP 722 mn in sales in 2020.

Ibnsina has expansion plans of its own: The company announced plans last month to invest EGP 180 mn in 2021 to establish new distribution hubs and improve its tech capabilities, as well as expand its network of branches and up its portfolio of products.

What they said:

  • Ibnsina Chairman Mohsen Mahgoub: “This strategic partnership will allow Ibnsina Pharma to not only further strengthen its product offering, but will give patients across Egypt unprecedented access to the latest pharma treatments available.”
  • Bayer VP + head of consumer health Middle East, Mohamed Galal: “We are feeling optimistic to sign this distribution agreement with Ibnsina Pharma, trusting the high-efficiency, and the level of services offered, to support our patients throughout Egypt. I look forward to growing our partnership.”

ALSO IN THE INDUSTRY-

Rameda is eyeing investments worth EGP 50-60 mn this year to develop its production lines, raise its production capacity, and upgrade its labs and water stations, CEO Amr Morsy told the local press.

New products on the horizon: The company also plans to launch 8-10 new meds this year in a bid to expand its exports into Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, he noted, adding that the new offerings include covid-19 treatments, and meds for nausea and increasing blood flow to the brain. Last year, the company rolled out nine new products and acquired another three including the generic anti-inflammatory molecule last April.

Growth projections: Rameda is aiming for sales growth that outperforms the market by 5-10% this year, Morsy said, adding that the company saw a 20% rise in private retail sales last year.

The news comes after GSK brushed aside Rameda’s bid and another from Acdima as it sets out to sell its Egypt arm to Hikma.

Correction: 22 February 2021. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the company saw a 20% increase in overall sales in 2020.

TRADE

Egyptian food exports unmoved by covid

Covid-19 fails to dent Egypt’s food exports: The widespread disruption to global trade that accompanied the covid-19 pandemic last year barely registered with Egyptian food exporters, which saw exports tick up slightly in 2020, according to figures (pdf) from the Food Export Council. The figures show that the value of Egyptian food exports rose to USD 3.5 bn last year, up just marginally from USD 3.4 bn in 2019.

In detail: Food accounted for 13% of Egypt’s non-oil exports last year, making it the country’s third-largest sector. Our biggest export markets in 2020 were Arab countries, which together purchased USD 1.9 bn of food, with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen and Libya topping the list of importers. EU member states accounted for 14% of exports in 2020, rising 7% to USD 386 mn.

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RENEWABLES

Siemens wants all the wind projects

Siemens lands one wind contract + is in for another: Siemens Gamesa has been awarded the five-year contract to operate and maintain the New and Renewable Energy Authority’s (NREA) 220 MW Gabal El Zeit 2 wind plant in the Gulf of Suez, the local press reported yesterday, citing sources at the authority. The German conglomerate, which was among six companies that were said last year to be bidding for the contract, will sign a final agreement later this month, the sources said.

Next up: Gabal El Zeit 3. Siemens Gamesa, Vestas, and Voltalia are among the companies planning to bid for a 5-7 year operation and maintenance contract for the Gabal El Zeit 3 plant, the sources said. The NRWA will publish the tender brochure in the coming two weeks and bidding will open in the second half of March of early April.

AUTOMOTIVE

Egypt to produce locally assembled electric buses by 2021

The first all-Egyptian electric buses being assembled domestically will hit the road before the year is out, Military Production Minister Mohamed Morsy told Ala Masouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 11:03). The buses will be assembled at state-owned and private sector facilities, Morsy said, and will source all the components domestically, except for the motor and batteries, which will be imported from China. The minister declined to name the companies working on producing the buses, but the ministry had signed an MoU earlier this month with Egyptian commercial vehicles manufacturer MCV to locally assembly electric buses in cooperation with a ministry factory.

Background: The agreement with MCV, which manufactures Mercedes buses, is part of the state’s drive to promote the use of clean energy on the road, which includes incentives for domestic EVs assembly and the multi-year natural gas transition plan. Local companies are also getting in on manufacturing components for electric buses, with Egyptian electric vehicle control system developer Brightskies recently signing a protocol with Engineering Automotive Manufacturing Co. and El Nasr Automotive to manufacture components used for electric buses.

SHIPPING

A spot of good marketing

Attracting more shipping traffic to the Suez Canal needs “flexible marketing policies,” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The president suggested the canal needs to integrate services that would attract more vessels to help it better cope with the economic effects of covid-19. The canal weathered the pandemic storm fairly well, with revenues falling just 3% y-o-y in 2020, while recording its second-highest annual net tonnage. Bloomberg also had the story.

There are already incentives — and they’ve paid off so far: The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) had introduced a number of incentives to attract ships to the canal in 2020, including reductions on transit fees between 30-75% for LNG, LPG, and oil carriers, as well as fixed transit fees at the previous year’s prices for all ships in 2021. These policies were key in protecting the canal’s shipping volumes and revenues during the pandemic, SCA boss Osama Rabie said. The canal has been beating out the Panama Canal as the preferred shipping route for US LNG carriers heading to East Asia and looking to avoid congestion.

REGULATION WATCH

Kids: You can trade on the EGX, but don’t cause a ruckus

Individuals aged 16-21 can get in on EGX trading, but can only have a maximum of EGP 10k of stocks in their portfolio under new rules by the Financial Regulatory Authority (pdf). The regs also forbids under-21s from taking out margin calls or short-sell stocks. The new rules come as the worlds of banking and finance are also being opened up to the same age group. FRA boss Mohamed Omran had said that financial products specifically targeting young people could be offered to individuals below the age of 21 at now service charge in a bid to encourage financial inclusion. This followed instructions from the Central Bank of Egypt to allow those under the legal age to open bank accounts without their parents or guardians’ consent and be given access to a limited number of banking services.

MOVES

Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed has been appointed assistant to the Health Minister for media and awareness, in addition to his duties as spokesperson, according to a cabinet statement. Megahed will advise the minister on health-related media, public awareness and social outreach.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The airwaves were abuzz last night with coverage of the latest updates on Egypt’s covid-19 vaccine shipments and the vaccination program, with Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy among those taking note (watch, runtime: 3:49). We have the full details in Covid Watch, above.

The revival of the Damietta LNG plant also earned attention from Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy, who was full of praise for the development (watch, runtime: 1:58) and Ala Mas'ouleety's Ahmed Moussa, who phoned Oil Ministry spokesperson Hamdy Abd El-Aziz to recap the news (watch, runtime: 11:45). We have chapter and verse in the news well, above.

The House of Representatives apparently hasn’t received a proposed bill from the government on old rents, House Local Administration Committee head Ahmed El Segeny told Masaa DMC's Eman El Hosary. Last we heard, the previous class of MPs had been debating proposed amendments to the Old Rent Act that would increase rents on pre-1996 commercial contracts back in 2019. The amendments were shot down by the House general assembly and shipped back to the House Housing Committee at the time (watch, runtime: 13:06).

Also from the airwaves last night:

  • The Supreme Media Council has suspended Akher Al Nahar and has barred host Tamer Amin from appearing on other shows for two months, and handed Al Nahar a EGP 250k fine. (Youm7)
  • The Social Housing Fund has provided 125k homes to low- and middle-income citizens in 16 cities, the fund’s executive director Mai Abdelhamid said (Mohamed Sherdy on Al Hayah Al Youm | watch, runtime: 4:58).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s a relatively quiet morning for Egypt in the foreign press. Restore FGM, the region’s first- ever multidisciplinary center for FGM treatment gets coverage from France24 (watch, runtime: 5:48), while Al Monitor reports that tribesmen are calling on the government to grant them citizenship after three brothers born and living in the Sinai Peninsula were recently made Egyptian citizens.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is borrowing USD 100 mn from a syndicate of four local banks to finance ongoing projects, Al Mal reports, citing unnamed sources. CIB, Banque du Caire, and Arab African International Bank will provide USD 30 mn each, and the remaining USD 10 mn will be arranged by Suez Canal Bank, the sources said. This is part of an EGP 10 bn loan agreement due to be signed in the coming days. The loan includes USD 320 mn in foreign currency borrowing and is being managed by the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr.

PLANET FINANCE

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Asset managers are scrambling to shield portfolios from inflation amid signs that the wave of stimulus unleashed in response to the pandemic last year will cause a pick up in inflation in advanced economies, reports the Financial Times. This is worrying large institutional investors who are now repositioning their portfolios into commodities, financial stocks and short-term government bonds to guard against rising prices eating into their real returns.

Crypto frenzy continues: Bitcoin leapt to a new all-time high above USD 57k yesterday to bring its total market value to more than USD 1 tn. The cryptocurrency’s rally was undeterred by a tweet from Elon Musk yesterday saying that Bitcoin and Ethereum prices “seem high.” Musk, whose tweets about the meme-based cryptocurrency dogecoin helped push its valuation to USD 10 bn, has invested USD 1.5 bn in Bitcoin and plans for Tesla to start accepting it as payment.

Speaking of BTC — the world’s first Bitcoin ETF has been an unsurprising success during its first two days of trading. The Purpose Bitcoin ETF’s trading volume neared USD 400 mn after launching in Canada on Thursday, Bloomberg reports.

Up

EGX30

11,426

+0.4% (YTD: +5.4%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.61

Sell 15.71

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.60

Sell 15.70

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

9,086

+0.7% (YTD: +4.6%)

Up

ADX

5,657

+0.2% (YTD: +12.1%)

Down

DFM

2,568

-0.3% (YTD: +3.1%)

Down

S&P 500

3,907

-0.2% (YTD: +4.0%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,624

+0.1% (YTD: +2.5%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 63.53

+1.0%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 3.00

-2.1%

Up

Gold

USD 1,784.60

+0.4%

Up

BTC

USD 57,101.80

+1.1%

The EGX30 rose 0.4% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.25 bn (13.5% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 5.4% YTD.

In the green: Pioneers (+4.7%), Ezz Steel (+3.5%) and Ibn Sina Pharma (+3.1%).

In the red: Orascom Financial Holding (-5.3%), Cleopatra Hospital (-2.9%) and Orascom Investment Holding (-2.3%).

Asian markets are up in early trading this morning and futures suggest US stocks will open in the red when markets open later today.

AROUND THE WORLD

Sudan has heavily devalued its currency, the central bank said in a statement yesterday, in an attempt by transitional authorities to overhaul the battered economy and crack down on the black market. Stopping short of a float, the central bank has adopted a “flexible managed exchange rate” which according to banking sources has seen the currency plunge from SDG 55/USD to SDG 375. The policy change comes as the government tries to satisfy demands made by the IMF in return for debt relief.

Border tensions mounted between Ethiopia and Sudan on Saturday after the latter accused Ethiopian troops of an "unforgivable insult" for crossing the border — an allegation that Ethiopia denied.

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How is private sector education positioned to grow in Egypt, and what could spur it? Part 2. Investor interest in Egypt’s private sector education is high, and earlier this month we looked at a Colliers International report (pdf) that sees substantial room for growth at the K-12 level. But how are things looking for higher education? The World Bank’s Country Private Sector Diagnostic 2020 report (pdf), gives a big-picture overview of the conditions that would help Egypt’s private sector thrive, spurring economic growth, with high quality private education playing a crucial role in building graduate employment skills and attracting FDI. But regulatory amendments are essential to encourage more private sector players to dip their toes in the education sector, the report warns.

The value of private sector higher education is clear: The employment rate of private sector university graduates averages 95%, the World Bank report tells us. This is partly because private university students often study disciplines with direct market relevance, and are trained in skills that make them more employable, like communication, language and computer skills. Private sector agility also makes these universities better positioned to respond to sector disruptions, the report says.

But market share remains low: Current enrollment in private post-secondary education institutions (including universities) in Egypt stands at only 16.5%, compared with an average of 21% in the MENA region, 52% in Asia and 50% in Latin America. And private universities (excluding other institutes) comprise only 4% of higher education in Egypt, the World Bank report tells us. They numbered 25 as of late 2020, according to Al Fanar, coexisting with some 29 public universities, and hundreds of public and private technical colleges, and vocational institutes, according to a World Education Services (WES) report. While public universities tend to be large multi-faculty research institutions with branch campuses across the country, most private universities enrol fewer than 10k students, are often located in Cairo and primarily offer undergraduate programs, the WES report says.

The demand is there. Just look at families willing to pay high tuition fees. Annual tuition fees in 2020 at Badr University’s Faculty of Dentistry stood at about USD 8.3k, while BUE’s College of Engineering stood at some USD 7.9k per year, Al Fanar reports. Meanwhile, average fees to attend Cairo University stand at just USD 64 per year for Egyptian citizens, and USD 1k for non-Egyptians. It’s clear that Egyptian families are willing to pay for private education, European research firm the Brussels Research Group argues. This can be inferred from the rapid increase in private university enrollment — estimated by CAPMAS as 14.2% in the academic year 2018-19 alone — despite the increase in cost.

But from an investment perspective, regulation can make setting up private higher education institutions a challenge: Cumbersome laws and regulations make it difficult to establish and register private universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational training centers, the World Bank report states. Regulatory decisions can be implemented unevenly, heightening uncertainty for investors and increasing costs. There are often no clear timelines or rules for final approvals in setting up private and non-profit universities, for example. There are few financial incentives for investment such as tax breaks, tuition subsidies or discounted land provision.

Sector expansion is also constrained by private university admissions limits and curriculum oversight: The number of students each university can admit is regulated by the Supreme Council of Private Universities, based on criteria that is not publicly available, the report tells us. Additional limitations on the number of students enrolled are set by syndicates. Meanwhile, some private universities have reported limited flexibility in being able to define their curricula, and have had to mirror public institutions for their approvals to be granted, according to the report. The Supreme Council of Private Universities says this is a choice made by private universities to receive faster approvals, the World Bank report says.

While decentralization is a further barrier to entry: Different ministries oversee different aspects of education, which can lead to confusion and inefficiency, the report states. And a general lack of information disclosure requirements can deter private investors — particularly those that want to experiment with new business models and fill current gaps.

Regulatory amendments could be a major spur to investment and should be a priority, the report argues, recommending three key issues be amended: 1) The inability to transfer ownership — because presidential decrees to establish a university are issued to individuals, and ownership can only be inherited; 2) Vagueness around titles to assets like campuses and land — meaning campuses can’t be mortgaged or access finance from commercial banks; 3) Imprecise laws about dividends policy — meaning university owners can avoid formal dividend declarations even though private universities are set up as for-profit entities.

We’ve already seen how well light-touch regulation can work with the International Branch Campuses Act: Under the International Branch Campuses Act (pdf), ratified in July 2018, established international universities can set up branches in Egypt, by building their own campuses, or partnering with an Egyptian educational hub. Branch campuses have flourished, with four universities establishing branches in the New Administrative Capital since the Act was ratified: Coventry University, the University of Prince Edward Island, the University of Hertfordshire, and an alliance of 10 German universities, which collectively opened the German International University of Applied Sciences. Under the legislation, there are no restrictions on tuition hikes and the university branches can set their own curricula. The campuses pay only 2% of their annual tuition income to the government.

Securing new investments worth EGP bns: Coventry, Prince Edward Island, and Hertfordshire’s branch campuses brought in over EGP 2 bn in new greenfield investments, and four new Canadian universities that had requested to open branches in Egypt as of July 2020 are set to bring in investments reaching EGP 3 bn. By way of comparison, between 2014 and 2017, EGP 6.4 bn was invested in establishing eight new private universities and EGP 3 bn invested in building 30 new colleges within private universities that aren’t part of the international branch campus program, according to the Higher Education Ministry.

Ultimately, opening more avenues for education investment is a no-brainer: Egypt’s growing population, low private sector participation in the education sector coupled with increasing demand for private education and rising income levels all represent investment opportunities, the World Bank report concludes. This chimes with the findings we looked at last week, where the Colliers International Egypt K-12 Education Sector Market Overview 2020 (pdf) recommended the reduction of red tape to open up the education market to more private sector investment.

Your top education stories for the week:

  • The Ghabbour Development Foundation is setting up two applied tech institutes in 15 May and 6th of October cities under an MoU signed with the Education Ministry.
  • SAT scores taken after 15 August will not be accepted, and only the Egyptian Scholastic Test (EST) will be accepted as a valid standard test for university admission thereafter.
  • Public university students will start their summer holidays three weeks later than originally planned after the Supreme Council of Universities decided to extend the academic year to compensate for lost time because of covid-19 closures.
  • Universities will impose stricter measures to contain the spread of covid this semester compared to previous one, and will closely monitor the situation, particularly during exams, to avoid an outbreak of the disease.

CALENDAR

February: France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, is set to visit Egypt.

21-25 February (Sunday-Thursday): Gulfood 2021 — the world’s largest food and beverage exhibition — takes place at the Dubai World Trade Center.

22-24 February (Monday-Wednesday): Second Arab Land Conference on land management, efficient land use, among other topics.

22 February- 5 March (Monday-Friday) Egypt will host the World Shooting Championship in 6 October’s Shooting Club, with 31 countries set to participate

26 February (Thursday): The Afro Future Summit will take place virtually.

26-28 February (Thursday-Saturday): The second edition of the Egypt International Art Fair will be held at Dusit Thani Lakeview Cairo.

27 February (Saturday): Mid-year school break ends for public schools and universities.

28 February (Sunday): Deadline for businesses, sole traders, and those generating income from sources other than their day job to file wage tax returns through the electronic filing system.

March: Potential visit to Cairo by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

March: CBE / FRA fintech “innovation sprint.”

1 March: Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum comes into effect.

1-5 March (Monday-Friday): Aswan Forum for Peace and Development will take place virtually.

4 March (Thursday): OPEC+ meeting.

4-6 March (Thursday-Saturday): Cairo Fashion & Tex trade show, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt

8 March (Monday): The IDC Future of Work Egypt conference will be held virtually featuring experts from Egypt and Jordan.

9-11 March (Tuesday-Thursday): EduGate 2021 – Enter The Future conference, Kempinski Royal Maxim Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

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

23 March (Tuesday): The second edition of the Egypt Retail Summit takes place at the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel.

25-27 March (Thursday-Saturday): The Union of Arab Banks holds a forum on compliance and combating financial crime, Sharm El Sheikh.

25-27 March (Thursday-Saturday): The Real Gate real estate exhibition, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

31 March (Wednesday): Deadline to visit the moroor and get an RFID sticker affixed to your car’s windshield — or run afoul of the Traffic Police.

1-3 April (Thursday-Saturday): HVAC-R Egypt Expo.

8-10 April (Thursday-Saturday): The TriFactory’s Endurance Festival at Somabay.

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 (TBC),

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

1 May (Saturday): Labor Day (national holiday).

2 May (Sunday): Easter Sunday.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

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

25-28 May (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

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).

7 June-9 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

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, Cairo, Egypt.

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June 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.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

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

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

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

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

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.

27 June – 3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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.

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