Thursday, 25 March 2021

Yes, the MV Ever Given is still stuck

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Before you ask, yes: The damn thing is still stuck, and the blockage of the Suez Canal by the MV Ever Given is simultaneously the biggest story at home and internationally this morning, as things remain largely unchanged from when we last wrote to you in yesterday’s PM edition. We have the latest on the still-evolving saga in this morning’s news well, below.

The story is so big that there’s a #SuezCanal hashtag on Twitter. Aside from the actual updates on the situation, the hashtag has blessed us with some great memes. You can check out some of our favorites here, here, and here. (Warning: This includes one you may want to check when your spawn isn’t watching over your shoulder.)

The EGX30 snapped its losing streak yesterday as foreign investors and local retail traders were net buyers and only regional investors were net sellers. Institutional investors stepped up their activity again, accounting for 36% of activity yesterday against 29% on Monday and 33% on Tuesday.

The *&(#@^ sand storm is finally over. You can expect a high today to 21°C with largely clear skies. The mercury will dip a bit to 19°C tomorrow and 20°C on Saturday, but there’s no sand in sight, according to our favourite weather app.

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

  • Microenterprises and self-employed folks will soon find it easier to open business bank accounts in Egypt under new guidelines announced yesterday by the central bank.
  • Brokerages are about to get a financial shot in the arm after plans were announced yesterday to set up a fund to finance margin trading and boost liquidity on the EGX. We have more details in the news well, below.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT-

Egyptian Iron and Steel’s mining spinoff will hit the EGX sometime in the first week of April, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik has said, according to Masrawy. This comes as the government prepares to start liquidating Iron and Steel in a process that is expected to take two years.

UAE Finance Minister and Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum passed away yesterday at the age of 75. Hamdan was the Emirates’ finance minister since the formation of the cabinet in the early 70s and had also led the Dubai ‎Municipality, Al Maktoum Foundation, Dubai Aluminum, Dubai Natural Gas ‎Company, and the Dubai World Trade Center. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi expressed his condolences in a statement yesterday.

Naguib Sawiris dunked on Turkey on CNBC: The recent sacking of Turkey’s central bank governor will add to the country's economic “mess,” celebrity b’naire Naguib Sawiris told CNBC yesterday. “Inflation is very high, and trying to push down the interest rate when you want to defend your currency … is not the right decision,” Sawiris said, adding that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision was “based on a political agenda, and it’s unwise to mix politics with economics and finance.” Erdogan last week installed a more dovish central bank boss (his third in two years) who shares his unorthodox views on monetary policy that champions forever-low interest rates, leading Turkish equities close to their worst two day slump and guiding the TRY to new lows against the greenback.

THURSDAY MORNING KUDOS-

Everybody in the private sector needs to copy this: Women employees at Crédit Agricole Egypt can now get 16 weeks of paid childcare leave instead of the usual 12, the bank said in a statement (pdf).

The nice people at USAID want to see more of us with jobs and have earmarked another USD 14.5 mn to help students at public universities figure out how to join the workforce. The funding doubles the agency’s total investments in career development to USD 33 mn and will allow 30 career development centers to be set up at 22 universities across the country.

Fine dining restaurant Sachi was recognized as the best luxury dining experience in Egypt by the Luxury Lifestyle Awards. Ayman Baky and his wife, Tina Antaki, founded the first Sachi restaurant in Heliopolis back in 2014, and shortly after opened Sachi by the Sea on the North Coast, with the third branch in Sheikh Zayed expected to open soon.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Real Gate real estate exhibition will kick off today and run until Saturday at the Egyptian International Exhibition Center.

Bok, prijatelji: The Egyptian-Croatian Business Forum meets next Wednesday, 31 March, for the first time since 2010. On the table: Giving a nudge to both trade and investment, a FEDCOC statement says. The forum will take place while Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman is in town next week. Grlić-Radman and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry are expected to attend.

Former cabinet minister Ghada Waly is chatting with AmCham on Sunday at 3pm. Now the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Waly will talk about tackling corruption in African countries and women’s rights. Tap or click here to register for the event (Zoom event, not in person).

Egypt and Jordan will hold a tripartite summit with Iraq soon, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said during the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, which was focused on recapping his visit earlier week to Jordan for the Egyptian-Jordanian Joint Higher Committee meetings. The two countries signed seven agreements this week in a number of sectors, including telecoms, energy, trade, housing, and archaeology.

PSA- You have less than a week to get an RFID sticker affixed to your car’s windshield. Head to the moroor to get it done before the deadline next Tuesday, 30 March.

More deadlines are coming up on 31 March, including real estate tax filing (which you can do here) and income tax filing for individuals. It’s also the last day to settle building code violations with the government.

Reminder: Companies have until the end of April to file their taxes.

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


CORRECTION- We incorrectly stated in a story published this week that a Thndr-led consortium is aiming to become Egypt’s first e-signature service provider. Thndr, the zero-commission trading app, had issued a press release stating that the alliance aims to become “a standalone electronic signature provider” after the ICT Ministry’s executive arm ITIDA said it will award up to three new licenses. Those licenses will create new providers alongside existing information security company EgyptTrust, which has held its own license to provide the service since 2005. The story has since been corrected on our website.

enterprise

SUEZ CANAL

Will the Ever Given ever move?

Efforts to dislodge the 400-meter-long mega vessel wedged across the Suez Canal that is blocking all marine traffic will resume this morning after tugboats failed yesterday to refloat the ship, Bloomberg reports, citing a Suez Canal Authority (SCA) source. Shipping activity remains at a standstill at the critical global trade artery that connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The rough size of a skyscraper (on its side), the Ever Given is one of the largest cargo ships in the world, the AP reports.

An eight-person team from Dutch marine response firm SMIT Salvage has arrived to help dislodge the 224k-tonne ship entrenched in the Canal’s wall, Bloomberg reported separately. The salvors may have to lighten the weight of the ship to re-float and tow it from the bank by removing the ballast water that helps keep ships steady at sea, a spokesperson for SMIT’s parent company told the business information service. In a worst-case scenario, they may have to unload some of the containers onboard the vessel.

Who was sailing the MV Ever Given? Not Egypt’s first woman captain, Marwa Elselehdar, who denied rumors that she was on the bridge of the Ever Given, telling Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy last night that she wasn’t even on board the vessel (watch, runtime: 60:33). Elselehdar explained that difficult weather conditions including visibility-reducing fog — not shoddy sailing — was likely the main cause of the accident.

Almost 185 vessels were at anchor waiting to transit the canal as of yesterday morning, which is when data on the line-up was last made available. The line-up included 40 bulk carriers hauling commodities ranging from crops to dry goods such as cement, in addition to eight ships carrying live animals and a water tanker. There were also 17 oil tankers carrying nearly 8.8 mn barrels of liquified natural gas, Bloomberg reported, citing figures from research firm Kpler.

Shipping companies are still mulling the possibility of re-routing cargoes around the Horn of Africa, unnamed shipping sources told Reuters. The situation is made all the more time-sensitive due to the sheer volume of cargo that passes through: At least 12% of global trade goes through the canal. “Even a two-day delay would further add to the supply chain disruption slowing the delivery of cargo to businesses across the UK and Europe,” Greg Knowler, editor at JOC Group, tells Bloomberg.

What the hold-up means for global trade: If the situation is cleared up within a day or two, global shipping won’t be hit too hard, at top editor of industry stalwart Lloyd’s List Maritime Intelligence tells Bloomberg. However, a lengthy delay could further stretch supply chains that have already been disrupted by covid-19. Another major risk is waterways getting more congested and creating choke points as more and more ships transit maritime routes along the Suez, Panama Canal, the Strait of Hormuz and Southeast Asia’s Malacca Strait.

Vessels facing delays could be getting compensation from the Suez Canal Authority, Authority boss Osama Rabie said, according to Al Shorouk. On the flipside, the SCA could claim mns of USD of ins. payments from the ship’s owner, Japanese firm Shoei Kisen KK, for disrupting traffic in the canal and causing revenue losses, even if the ship refloats soon, Reuters reported, citing unnamed industry sources. LNG producer Qatargas could see delays in its loading schedule in early April if marine traffic at the Suez Canal remains on hold.

The story is still getting plenty of digital ink in the foreign press this morning. It’s the lead story on the digital front page of the Financial Times, Reuters, Bloomberg and CNBC. Sky News giving a play-by-play, while the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Malsin takes a trip down memory lane to emphasize the Canal’s symbolic importance to Egypt. Egypt’s talking heads were also all over the story, with everyone from Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 32:50) to Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy — who incorrectly claimed that tug boats were able to unlodge the vessel and that traffic has resumed as normal in the canal (watch, runtime: 10:49).

Background: The MV Ever Given chartered by Taiwan’s Evergreen was en route Tuesday morning from China to Rotterdam when high winds and a dust storm made the crew lose control of the ship that shortly got wedged sideways across the Suez Canal.

BUDGET WATCH

Cabinet signs off on the draft FY2021-2022 budget

Well, we have a draft FY2021-2022 budget, after the Madbouly cabinet signed off on it yesterday. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had said earlier this month that spending under the budget will rise 9% y-o-y to EGP 1.76 tn. Government expenditure on investment will account for 27.6% of total expenditures, with a focus on improving the quality of public services and infrastructure.

GDP growth is projected at 5.4% and could climb to 6% in the following fiscal year if everything goes according to plan, Maait told Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer last night (watch, runtime: 6:10).

The budget is penciling in a primary surplus of 1.5%, compared to 0.9% in the current fiscal year, Maait said. The minister had previously said the primary surplus in FY2020-2021 is at 0.6%. The overall deficit is expected to narrow to 6.6% in FY2021-2022, from its current 7.8%.

Other highlights include:

  • Revenues rising 16.4% y-o-y to EGP 1.3 tn, up from EGP 1.12 tn in FY2020-2021, on the back of increased tax revenues amid efforts towards electronic tax collection and financial inclusion;
  • Supply commodities subsidy spending will come in at EGP 87.8 bn, rising from EGP 83 bn this fiscal year;
  • Pension fund allocations are expected to reach EGP 180 bn;
  • Increases in public wages will cost EGP 37 bn of total spending, including civil servants seeing their minimum wages raised to EGP 2.4k from EGP 2k as of July.

WHAT’S NEXT? The document will make its way to the People’s Assembly, where it will be discussed in committee before going up for a vote by the House general assembly.

CAPITAL MARKETS

CBE to provide EGP 1 bn to set up new EGX fund

A fund created yesterday to boost trading volumes on the EGX is getting EGP 1 bn as a preliminary allocation from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), CBE Deputy Governor Rami Aboul Naga tells Asharq Business. The allocation for the fund, which the Financial Regulatory Authority gave the green light yesterday, is only a starting point and is expected to increase periodically when needed, Aboul Naga added. The fund is expected to be launched within the next few days, he said.

What’s this fund about? In a bid to support market stability and boost liquidity after the bourse erased its year-to-date gains with several consecutive days of losses, the fund will be structured to allow brokerage companies to access financing at competitive rates to support margin trading, EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid told us yesterday. Authorities have yet to decide eligibility criteria, Farid said. We still don’t have information on who would own and manage it, or how it will work.

Background: This isn’t the first time the CBE has stepped in to make sure the market moves smoothly. Last year, at the height of the covid-induced sell off in global emerging markets, the central bank said it would directly purchase up to EGP 20 bn of equities — more than 5% of the total EGX100 market cap at the time. As of January, the CBE had used up EGP 500 mn of the total allocation. The new fund is designed to ensure retail investors continue to have appetite for Egyptian equities.

INVESTMENT WATCH

EKH to invest USD 300 mn through the end of 2022

EK Holding plans to invest USD 300 mn this year and next in new and existing projects and to purchase minority stakes in its subsidiaries, according to a regulatory disclosure (pdf). The investments include USD 80 mn for its medium-density fiberboard (MDF) factory in El Sadat, USD 75 mn for its subsidiary NSCO Investments to develop new wells at its North Sinai gas concession, USD 15 mn in subsidiary Kahraba to increase its generation capacity, and a combined USD 30 mn in its subsidiary Sprea Misr to set up a new sulfuric acid production line and increase the capacity of another production line. The remaining USD 100 mn will be earmarked for minority stake acquisitions in EKH’s subsidiaries, the disclosure says, without providing further details.

 

CORRECTED ON- 25 March 2021

The MDF factory is located in El Sadat and not Beni Suef as was previously written. 

AUTOMOTIVE

Contact Cars is now a separate company

Contact Cars is now separate from its parent company Contact Financial (itself formerly known as Sarwa Capital) according to a press release (pdf). Under the move, Contact Car is focusing on the customer experience by streamlining the process of buying and selling new and used cars on its website, in addition to launching an app that will allow local vehicle distributors access to targeted advertising, trade-in facilitation, virtual showrooms, and auctions.

STARTUP WATCH

Brightskies, Alexandria University secures EGP 5 mn funding for electric buses

Startup Brightskies and Alexandria University have received EGP 5 mn in funding from the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) to locally develop technology used in electric buses, ITIDA said in a statement (pdf). Dubbed the “Zeus” project, the funding will see Brightskies collaborate with the university over the next 18 months to design and develop a prototype powertrain system that can be upscaled for use in buses. This would be the first electrical powertrain system created in Egypt.

Who will do what? Brightskies will develop an automotive-grade battery with a range of up to 300 km on a single charge for a 52-passenger electric public bus with a top speed of 90 km per hour. This is in addition to “all the powertrain electronics and control units, which are required to interface with the battery and the electrical motor with vehicle network and sensors,” the statement said. Meanwhile, Alexandria University will design the chassis for the buses as well as convert their mechanical engineering systems such as brakes to be compatible with the new system.

ALSO ON PLANET STARTUP- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Egyptian Fintech Association will team up (pdf) to support fintech entrepreneurs by conducting research and market analysis, and supporting knowledge-sharing. You can check out the association’s website here.

MOVES

Amr Abo El Enein has been appointed interim chairman of EgyptAir Holding Company, after Roshdi Zakaria stepped down from his position, citing health concerns, the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement yesterday. Abo El Enein will remain chairman of national flag carrier EgyptAir.

CORRECTION- 11 April 2021

An earlier version of this story misprinted Abo El Enein’s first name as Omar, rather than Amr. 

enterprise

COVID WATCH

Did you need a reminder that covid-19 cases could spike in Ramadan?

The prospect of a third wave of covid-19 is looming: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly joined President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in warning of possible increases in covid-19 cases during Ramadan during the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday.

The Health Ministry reported 641 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 648 the day before. The ministry also reported 40 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 11,720. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 197,350 confirmed cases of covid-19.

Supplies of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to some 190 countries under the Gavi / Covax scheme could face delays as India temporarily suspends all exports of the jab as its own case tally soars, BBC reported, citing unnamed Foreign Ministry sources. Egypt is waiting on a 5 mn dose shipment of the vaccine through the Covax scheme, which Health Minister Hala Zayed recently said is expected to land by the end of this month.

Europe moves to embrace “vaccine nationalism”: The European Commission has proposed tougher export controls on covid-19 vaccines, as cases of the virus increase amid a faltering vaccination campaign, according to the Associated Press. The EU said it would block exports to countries on a case-by-case basis, intimating in no uncertain terms that the UK — a newly divorced member of the bloc that has surged ahead with its vaccine rollout — would be the primary target of restrictions. The UK has given at least one vaccine to 45% of its adults, compared to less than 14% in the EU.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Aside from the Suez Canal jam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was again in the limelight on last night’s talk shows, as Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry phoned Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer for a chat about the latest developments and the path forward (watch, runtime: 11:27).

There’s still a possibility that Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia will reach an agreement and avoid “complicating” the relationship between the three countries, as long as there is a real willingness to achieve that goal, Shoukry told Sherif Amer. Egypt sees potential for a “fruitful” and mutually beneficial relationship with Ethiopia in several other areas that could help our neighbors to the south grow and develop if they take a less hostile stance towards Egypt on the GERD issue, the minister said .

The international community wants to see a binding agreement and international players — including the EU, US, and UN — are willing to act as mediators in the negotiations, Shoukry told Amer (watch, runtime: 2:25). Ethiopia has rejected Sudan’s proposal to bring in international mediators alongside the African Union, which has been sponsoring but not mediating the talks.

Meanwhile, Egypt is continuing to rally international support for its position in the talks, particularly from other African countries. The latest example is President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting with Burundi’s president yesterday, which Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa said “sent a message” to the world (watch, runtime: 8:08).

Also on the diplomacy front: The UK is planning to invest “heavily” in Egypt’s science and technology development, in addition to doubling down on cooperation between the two countries on security and anti-terrorism efforts, British Ambassador to Egypt Geoffrey Adams said in a pre-recorded message aired on Yahduth fi Misr (watch, runtime: 3:09). These plans come as the UK recasts its foreign policy after Brexit.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

While everyone on Planet Earth is still talking about the Suez Canal blockage, the new administrative capital is getting a little bit more attention from the Media Line, which looks at the city’s capacity to support Egypt’s urbanization and sustainable development plans.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Legislation that would impose harsher penalties for FGM earned approval (somewhat begrudgingly) from the House Legislative Committee yesterday, after the Senate had signed off and shipped the bill back to the House of Representatives. A handful of MPs in the committee proposed scaling back the penalties, suggesting that the attempt to clamp down on the practice would encourage families to resort to barbers and midwives to carry out the procedure outside of clinics. The representatives suggested that community outreach initiatives and awareness campaigns would be more effective in curbing the practice.

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

  • Ports in Alexandria, Dekheila and Sharm El Sheikh were closed yesterday due to bad weather, a day after four Red Sea ports were shuttered. All Red Sea ports apart from Ain Sokhna were reopened yesterday (here and here).
  • The Arab International Bank will increase its stake in SAIB Bank to 50.43% from 46.07%, purchasing 655,466 shares in a USD 2.9 mn transaction after receiving regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Egypt.

PLANET FINANCE

Powered by
Pharos Holding - https://pharoslive.com/

Robinhood could soon have an IPO in the works: US stock-trading app Robinhood has confidentially submitted paperwork to US regulators for a Nasdaq IPO that could take place in the next few months, the Financial Times reports, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter. The company’s zero-fee model has seen its popularity among retail investors explode in recent months, and was at the center of the controversy over the GameStop short squeeze in January.

Remember last month’s Great Texan Freeze? Global supply chains could still be feeling the effects months from now, as the state’s petchem facilities struggle to return to full capacity, the Financial Times reports. Sustained production interruptions of key industrial plastic polymers, which have already witnessed heighted demand during the pandemic, is contributing to “a witches brew of market conditions” that are leading to shortages and rising prices for manufacturers around the world, said Jeremy Pafford, head of North America at market information service ICIS.

Cloud computing startup DigitalOcean tumbled 12% on its public market debut yesterday, before paring losses to close at USD 42.5 per share — 10% lower than the USD 47 price it initially sold shares at, CNBC reports. DigitalOcean’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange raised more than USD 775 mn. The tech company is now valued at USD 4.48 bn.

Up

EGX30

10,702

+2.2% (YTD: -1.3%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.71

Sell 15.81

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.71

Sell 15.81

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Down

Tadawul

9,464

-0.3% (YTD: +8.9%)

Up

ADX

5,745

+0.2% (YTD: +13.9%)

Down

DFM

2,515

-0.7% (YTD: +0.9%)

Down

S&P 500

3,889

-0.6% (YTD: +3.5%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,713

+0.2% (YTD: +3.9%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 63.52

-1.4%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.50

-0.8%

Down

Gold

USD 1,733.40

-0.1%

Down

BTC

USD 51,928.03

-4.9%

The EGX30 rose 2.2% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.12 bn (24% below the 90-day average). Regional investors were net sellers. The index is down 1.3% YTD.

In the green: MM Group (+5.9%), Ibnsina Pharma (+5.8%) and Abu Qir Fertilizers (+5.4%).

In the red: Orascom Development (-1.1%), EKH (-0.5%) and SODIC (-0.2%).

MY MORNING / WFH ROUTINE

Ahmed El Ezaby, general manager and co-founder of Vinny’s Pizzeria: My Morning Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Ahmed El Ezaby, co-founder of Vinny’s Pizzeria.

I’m Ahmed El Ezaby, I’m 31 years old and I started Vinny’s Pizzeria with my co-founder Omar El Sheibany in 2013. Although I’m a pharmacist by training, I jumped into F&B very shortly after graduating in 2011. We came up with the concept in April 2012 and by March 2013 we were ready to launch our first store in Maadi. We now have one other location in Zamalek and are planning to open two more stores next year.

I usually wake up between 7:00 am and 8:00 am. I check my WhatsApp groups, emails and take a shower, before reading Enterprise and the Financial Times and then grabbing breakfast with my sister or parents. After that, I'm usually off to one of our locations. During my drive over I catch a podcast or some news.

How my work day looks really depends on what we’re focused on. Some days we work on training, other times we’re brainstorming new marketing ideas or tasting new products. I often like to listen to a lot of customer feedback and engage with how people are feeling about our food. In the evenings I usually hit the gym or go for a walk. But most recently I’ve gotten into playing Padel tennis.

When we first started out we felt like there was a gap in the market for good pizza. We started making our pies using our New York style dough, which is a little thinner than our newly launched American dough which tends to be crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. We began by raising capital in a family and friends investment round.

Being well-funded is crucial for a very labor intensive business like ours and It always helps to have smart people around you that can give good advice on the things you don't necessarily know a lot about. But we do a lot of R&D to find interesting products that fit this market. In 2015 we launched a pizza cake, which is basically several layers of pizza stacked high on top of each other, and it kind of went viral. The interest driven from that concept helped us bring in a lot of new customers who were curious about what else we had to offer.

During lockdown we started making pizza kits for delivery. While home deliveries certainly grew during the height of the pandemic, things were a little uncertain in the beginning. I think people were generally hesitant to buy food prepared outside their homes at first, so we came up with the idea of delivering these prepackaged boxes with all the ingredients you need to make your own pie at home thinking that it could help ease people’s safety concerns. It was a big hit on social media.

Although we were visiting our stores a little less frequently our operations didn't really change much. We stopped getting foot traffic at our physical locations so safety wasn't a huge issue we had to overcome. We’re about 40 people at Vinny’s and thankfully we didn't have to let anyone go. We issued a 25% pay cut at the very start of the pandemic, which was decided after a discussion with our team, but sales eventually grew and regular salaries were resumed. We actually had to pay everyone overtime because of how well sales were doing after we launched our pizza kit. A lot of effort went into R&D during lockdown which helped us launch our American-style dough pizza.

I think over the lockdown period you get to understand the value of working with people you respect and like. You don't have to be friends but it's important to enjoy working with each other and have your goals aligned.

I’m a curious person by nature so I listen to a bunch of different podcasts. Lew Later and the Joe Rogan‬ Experience are some of my favorites. They usually cover everything from history to tech and have interesting guests whose stories I enjoy listening to. I occasionally listen to podcasts related to pizza and the people behind successful pizza joints in the US.

The last shows I watched were Bryan Cranston’s Your Honor and the Michaal Jordan docu-series The Last Dance, which were really fun.

When it comes to books, Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel was really good. It's useful to me as an entrepreneur because of its discussion of what makes a bn USD idea and really hammered in the idea of how competition kills margins.

I think tech is going to really change the restaurant industry. I just had a company pitch me a subscription to USD 2.5k per month robotic fryer that requires no human handling. Although it's still a little far from adoption here I can see how automation of this kind could really change how businesses are structured. Cloud kitchens could also be huge here and help restaurants bring down capital costs and expand their presence.

CALENDAR

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

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

28 March (Sunday): Executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Ghada Waly will address AmCham in a talk on tackling corruption in African countries and reinforcing women’s rights. You can register for the event here.

29-30 March (Monday-Tuesday): Arab Federation of Exchanges Annual Conference 2021.

29-30 March (Monday-Tuesday): Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport Startup Festival, Sharm El Sheikh.

30 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.

31 March (Wednesday): Income tax deadline for individuals. Real estate tax filing deadline.

31 March (Wednesday): The Egyptian-Croation Business Forum will convene.

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

6 April (Tuesday): French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt working breakfast with Sovereign Fund of Egypt CEO Ayman Soliman.

7 April (Wednesday): British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) webinar on digital banking and fintech.

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).

7-9 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.

17-20 June (Thursday-Sunday) : The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo), Cairo International Conference Center.

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.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

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

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.

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. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; and Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Abu Auf (tax ID: 584-628-846), the leading health foodmaker in Egypt and the region.