Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Is Egypt going to build two massive petrochem complexes in Ain Sokhna?

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, nice people. Look for foreign policy to dominate the news cycle today as the nation’s diplomats push ahead with talks on GERD at the same time as they open two days of talks in Cairo designed to turn a new page with Turkey. We have more on both stories in this section, below.

The big business story of the day is word that Carbon Holdings appears to face competition for both current investor / banker mindshare and future market share from a newly announced petchems megaproject in Ain Sokhna. We have this and more in the news well, below.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD sees US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen walking back her suggestion yesterday that US rates “will have to rise somewhat” to keep the economy over there from “overheating.” Yellen, a former US Federal Reserve chair, said later in the day that she is neither anticipating a spike in inflation from the Biden administration’s plan to spend its way out of covid, nor a decision from the Fed to raise interest rates, according to Bloomberg.

Why this matters to us here in Egypt: Our central bank continues to walk a fine line on interest rates, a fact it underscored when it left rates on hold last week: There won’t be much pickup on corporate borrowing for capex (read: money to grow our businesses) unless rates come down. But any rise in US rates will see the CBE under pressure to bump up domestic rates here to maintain the attractiveness of the Egypt carry trade. And in the absence of a recovery in tourism and foreign direct investment, that carry trade is a critical source of foreign exchange right now.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #1 on this fine (hot) Wednesday morning: Dogecoin’s market cap is bigger than Ford or Twitter. Yeah, Dogecoin, the “joke” cryptocurrency that was worth about USD 6 bn back in mid-February is now worth nearly USD 70 bn. Ford was at about USD 45 bn yesterday, and Twitter at USD 43 bn.

SIGN OF THE TIME #2: One of the world’s last “open outcry” trading pits is closing as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange confirmed it is formally shutting down pits “for trading agricultural commodities, where traders haggle over options on soybeans, wheat, cattle and hogs,” the Wall Street Journal notes.

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

How hot is it going to be today? Expect the mercury to hit 41°C this afternoon.

** So, when do we eat? We sit down for iftar at 6:35pm this evening, and will have until 3:31am to wrap up our sohour.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

It’s going to be a busy day for diplomacy as diplomats look to make progress on at least three critical files:

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is scheduled to meet with US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman today, according to Al Shorouk. You can expect the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) impasse to be at the top of the agenda. Feltman will be in Egypt to kick off a 10-day tour of the region, which will also see him make stops in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan, the State Department said earlier this week. Feltman’s tour comes as Egypt continues to lobby the US to facilitate talks on GERD, with our ambassador in Washington Moataz Zahran reiterating during a lecture at the US Army War College that Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia must reach a binding agreement, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Egypt and Turkey are opening two days of talks aimed at starting to patch up relations, with a Turkish delegation scheduled to have landed in Cairo overnight, according to Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 2:56). The delegation, led by Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal, will meet today and tomorrow with Egyptian diplomats to look into the “necessary steps” to normalizing the two countries’ diplomatic relationship, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. Turkey’s efforts to warm up to its peers in the region are also bearing fruit over in Saudi Arabia, whose King Salman discussed bilateral ties with Turkish President Recep Erdogan yesterday for the second time in a month, Reuters reports.

Egyptian aviation officials should be in Libya soon to inspect Libyan airports as both countries get ready to resume direct flights between major cities, state-owned Afriqiyah Airways General Manager Khalil Al-Majai said in a statement carried by Libya’s Africa Gate News. We can eventually expect as many as 35 weekly flights between Cairo and each of Tripoli's Mitiga International Airport, Misrata Airport, and Benghazi’s Benina International Airport to resume operating, Majai said.

Budget month is rolling along, with Planning Minister Hala El Said presenting yesterday the upcoming fiscal year’s budget projections to the Senate Economic, Finance, and Investment Affairs Committee yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. The minister also gave the committee an overview of Egypt’s structural reform program, which will focus on investing in job creating sectors, increasing private sector participation in the country’s sustainable development strategy, and developing tech and manufacturing over the coming three years.

It’s the start of a new month — and you know what means:

  • PMI: April’s purchasing managers’ index figures for Egypt will be out tomorrow.
  • Foreign reserves: Expect April’s foreign reserves figures to land at the end of this week or the beginning of the next.
  • Inflation: April’s inflation figures will be out next week.

PSA- Egyptian and regional growth-stage tech startups can start applying for the second version of “Google for Startups Accelerator: Middle East and North Africa,” Google wrote in a blog post yesterday. Businesses have until 25 May to apply for the three-month digital accelerator program, which will start virtually in mid-July. Egypt-based pharma delivery platform Chefaa was among the 10 MENA startups selected in February for the first round of the program.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Eid El Fitr looks likely to begin next Thursday, 13 May and end on Saturday, 15 May. Watch this space to find out about our Eid vacation.

The IMF will conduct on 1 June a second review of targets set under Egypt’s USD 5.2 bn standby loan. The loan was approved in June 2020.

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

enterprise

*** It’s Hardhat day — your weekly briefing of all things infrastructure in Egypt: Enterprise’s industry vertical focuses each Wednesday on infrastructure, covering everything from energy, water, transportation, urban development and as well as social infrastructure such as health and education.

In today’s issue: We talk with Thomas Maudet, managing director of Jumia Services Egypt, about the infrastructure of e-commerce. Egypt’s infrastructure fared well during the 2020 e-commerce boom, with neither traffic congestion nor IT instability impeding operations. Jumia, which operates in 11 countries, is seeing 30% y-o-y growth overall, driven by activities ranging from logistical to e-commerce financial services. The company’s plans to increase its Egypt operations rely on growing its infrastructure: increasing the total number of pickup stations and warehouses to improve delivery time, as well as hiring more riders and improving tech infrastructure to expand its newly-launched Jumia Food service.

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As part of the tourism sector initiative, and since our community’s well-being is our first priority, Somabay is vaccinated.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Is Egypt going to build two massive petrochem complexes in Ain Sokhna?

Ain Sokhna could be getting (another) huge USD 7.5 bn petchem complex: The Suez Canal Economic Zone has signed a USD 7.5 bn agreement with the Red Sea National Refining and Petrochemicals Company to build a petrochemical complex in the Ain Sokhna industrial zone, cabinet said in a statement out last Wednesday. The 3.56 mn sqm refinery — said to be the largest of its kind in Africa and the Middle East — will produce petroleum products including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, and bunker fuel, among others, and comes as part of Egypt’s efforts to become a regional energy hub, reducing its reliance on imported products and increasing exports.

Sound familiar? This isn’t Tahrir: The USD 11 bn Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex (TPC) being built by Carbon Holdings in Ain Sokhna is a separate project that remains underway, Carbon’s Managing Director of Corporate Finance and Investor Relations Karim Helal told us yesterday. Work on the TPC — planned to be the biggest naphtha cracker facility in the Middle East — began in 2019 and is expected to be completed in 2024. Helal declined to provide updates on the progress with TPC. Oil Ministry spokesperson Hamdy Abdel Aziz also confirmed to Enterprise that the Red Sea National Refining’s facility is a separate project from TPC.

SUEZ CANAL

Not so fast, Ever Given

An Ismailia court has rejected Ever Given owner Shoei Kisen’s appeal against the Suez Canal Authority’s seizure of the container ship, meaning the mega-vessel will remain in Egypt until at least May 22, when a second hearing is scheduled, Bloomberg reports. A decision from the court last month had allowed the authority to seize the ship until it receives payment of over USD 900 mn in compensation for losses incurred by the Ever Given’s week-long blockage of the Suez Canal in March. The Associated Press also has the story.

The reasoning: The basis for the rejection seems to be procedural, with the SCA arguing that Shoei Kisen had not notified all the concerned parties within the required time limit, Reuters reports. The ship’s insurer, UK Club, said Shoei Kisen would have until May 20 to appeal the decision — two days before the second hearing.

Where do things currently stand? Negotiations over the settlement are ongoing with Shoei Kisen, which said last week it wanted the owners of the 18k containers on board to help pay damages. The Suez Canal Authority has said it will offer “great considerations” to the ship owners and that it is “eager” to reach an agreement. Three of the 25 Indian crew members on board were allowed to return home after the expiry of their contracts, the ship’s German manager Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said in a statement last week.

A LITTLE SOUTH OF THE CANAL- It’s the Wall Street Journal’s turn to pick up the story of Mohamed Aisha, a Syrian sailor who had been stranded on board an abandoned ship in the Gulf of Suez for over two years.

STARTUP WATCH

Paymob wants to set up shop in Saudi

Payment gateway Paymob is looking to roll out digital payment services in Saudi Arabia in the coming five years as part of its wider expansion plans that would see the Egyptian startup operating in two new countries through representative offices there in the near future, CEO Islam Shawky told Al Mal TV (watch, runtime: 45:05). Shawky did not name the other country nor its regional location, but said that Paymob is applying for a license to operate in KSA. The company currently operates in Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Pakistan, and Palestine.

Egypt expansion plans: Paymob aims to see its volume of transactions doubling to reach USD 10 bn by the end of this year, while triple its points of sale, according to Shawky. The company also seeks to grow its domestic merchant network by tapping at least 1 mn merchants during the same period, he said.

The company is armed with USD 18.5 mn in fresh funding, after closing perhaps the largest series A round in Egyptian history, led by UAE-based Global Ventures, A15, and the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank (FMO) last month. This is in addition to USD 3.5 mn in funding raised in August last year. The company said then it would also use the funding to enhance its existing products, with the aim of “reducing digital payment bottlenecks.” Paymob saw its monthly topline grow 5x in 2020 fueled by the surge in cashless transactions.

STARTUP WATCH

GIZ Egypt to set up EUR 100 mn funding program for new VC outfits

GIZ to invest up to EUR 100 mn in young VCs: GIZ Egypt has partnered with the government’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA), Endure Capital, and Changelabs to launch VC University, a EUR 100 mn funding program for first-time venture capital funds, Wamda reports. The program will invest in VC funds as a limited partner, with an eye to expand the local VC industry and increase investments into Egyptian startups, “especially those at their earliest stages,” said Ali Saleh, head of young enterprise finance at GIZ Egypt.

The program targets funds based locally or in the MENA region — provided they have plans to invest in Egyptian startups. Three to four fund managers will be selected, with the ticket size per fund ranging from EUR 25-30 mn each.

What should selected fund managers expect? The one-year program will offer funding, mentorship and access to worldwide investors for prospective fund managers, while MSMEDA will provide technical support. The program will also train fund managers on how to raise capital and overcome various challenges in the industry, Saleh said.

DIPLOMACY

France is learning to sing “Biladi, Biladi”

Egypt will purchase 30 Rafale fighter jets from French defense firm Dassault Aviation, the Egyptian Armed Forces said in a statement. A French government official told Reuters that Egypt had agreed to pay USD 4.8 bn to French contractors and that deliveries would start in 2024. The agreement also includes contracts worth EUR 200 mn with missile provider MBDA and equipment provider Safran Electronics & Defense, the newswire reported.

This isn’t the first time Egypt has bought Rafales: Cairo purchased 24 of the jets from France back in 2015.

The story is dominating coverage on Egypt in the foreign press this morning: Associated Press | AFP | France24 | Deutsche Welle.

OTHER DIPLOMACY NEWS- USAID plans to step up its cooperation with Egypt on climate change and covid-19 relief programs in the coming period, Egypt Mission Director Leslie Reed said during a meeting with International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat, according to a statement. The meeting also saw the two discussing plans for cooperation between Egypt and the US on development issues, including gender equality and boosting private sector engagement over the next five years.

Bilateral cooperation was on the agenda for Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in a phone call yesterday with his Algerian counterpart Sabri Boukadoum.

COVID WATCH

Pfizer clearance for teens?

The Health Ministry reported 1,090 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 1,078 the day before. The ministry also reported 60 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 13,591. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 231,803 confirmed cases of covid-19.

Supply constraints and antivaxers in Africa threaten a repeat of the surge in covid-ravaged India as Gavi / Covax vaccine deliveries look unlikely to arrive before June, co-chair of the Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance Ayoade Alakija tells the Financial Times.

Countries like Rwanda, Senegal, Ghana and Botswana, which have “efficiently” used their limited vaccine supplies, are seeing their Covax doses dry up after the shipment suspension, while Egypt, Nigeria and Tunisia are among the African countries registering low weekly infection rates, according to a research note from Renaissance Capital.

Covid-19 vaccines could be available soon for ages 12-15: US regulators are poised to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 next week, the Financial Times reports, citing sources with knowledge of the regulatory process. Manufacturers applied for the authorization last month after promising results from phase 3 clinical trials. The move could help the US get closer to herd immunity and help schools to reopen full-time later this year, the salmon-colored paper says.

MOVES

Arabia Investments Holding has appointed Hazem Mostafa as its new CEO effective 1 May, the company said in a statement to the EGX (pdf). Mostafa, who succeeded Sherif Shaheen (LinkedIn), has more than 38 years of local and regional experience in the banking field and joins from Al Baraka Bank Egypt where he served as the senior deputy CEO.

Amr El Hag Ali (LinkedIn) has been appointed the head of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority for a four-year term from 1 May, according to a decision seen by Masrawy.

enterprise

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

It was an insipid night on the airwaves, as both Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi and El Hekaya’s Amr Adib were off, reducing us to watching Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa for the evening. Diplomacy was once again Moussa’s theme du jour, as he looked at the arrival of the Turkish delegation and US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman’s tour of the region (watch, runtime: 5:32). We have more on both stories in What We’re Tracking Today, above.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s a mixed bag of nuts for Egypt in the foreign press: Tourism and archaeology are getting digital ink, with Reuters picking up last week’s discovery of 110 ancient tombs in the Nile Delta, while Polish researchers have said that a mummy previously thought to be a male priest is actually the remains of a pregnant woman. The newswire also took note of an EU-funded tourism project focusing on rural villages surrounding the pyramids of Giza, Saqqara and Dahshur that takes visitors through lesser known locations surrounding ancient monuments.

On the arts and culture front, the New York Times profiles the late Egyptian aristocrat-turned-Marxist artist Inji Efflatoun, whose subversive artwork spoke out against the realities of colonialism, poverty and the Nasser administration, while the Guardian reviews Midnight in Cairo, in which Raphael Cormack argues that 1920s dance halls played a central role in the development of Egypt’s feminist movement. Graphic depictions of violence against women in some of this year’s Ramadan mosalsalat haven’t been well received by some MPs and government officials, who claim that the scenes will encourage further gendered violence, according to Al Monitor.

Meanwhile: Mother Jones wonders why the Biden administration is continuing to send weapons to Egypt despite talking tough on the country’s human rights situation.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Misr Life Ins. Company and Misr Capital have launched a EGP 100 mn money market fund that will invest in liquid assets such as treasury bills and short-term corporate debt, Masrawy reports. Subscription to the fund, dubbed “Misr Life Ins. Investment Fund,” will be through Misr Capital and Misr Capital Fixed Income Brokerage. Misr Capital launched a similar type of fund in partnership with Sarwa Life Ins. earlier this year.

The first direct flight from St. Petersburg to Cairo since 2018 landed at Cairo International Airport last night. The flight was operated by Russian carrier Nordwind airlines, with more legs expected to be added in the near future. The re-introduction of this flight route comes ahead of the anticipated resumption of direct flights from Russia to Egypt’s Red Sea destinations starting June.

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

  • The Senate has approved legislative amendments regulating the Engineering Syndicate’s elections and general assembly, which will now be shipped to the House for discussion.
  • Hydrocarbon exploration company APA’s Western Desert assets will be consolidated into a single new concession comprising 90% of its production volumes in Egypt under an agreement between the company and the Oil Ministry.
  • Some 22 mn properties have been registered on the government’s newly launched online property database since January as part of a push to minimize property tax evasion.

PLANET FINANCE

SUPERCYCLE WATCH- It looks like the “perfect storm” for a commodities supercycle is here: Demand for agricultural commodities, industrial metals, and energy is booming as economic recoveries take hold in the US, Europe, and China, suggesting that the commodities supercycle everyone has been talking about is now kicking off, the Financial Times reports. Among the raw materials seeing a jump in prices are iron ore — “the key ingredient needed to make steel, palladium, used by carmakers to limit harmful emissions” — which is proving particularly popular as expectations of a “greening” global economy pick up steam. Need a refresher on the supercycle and what it means for Egypt? We’ve got you covered.

Saudi Aramco’s 1Q2021 net income soared 30% as oil prices recovered, giving the state-owned giant the ability to deliver a record USD 18.75 bn dividend payout it had promised investors, according to its earnings release (pdf). Aramco’s net income came in at USD 21.7 bn for the quarter, up from USD 16.7 bn in the same period last year, when earnings took a strong hit from the early effects of the pandemic and the collapse in oil prices in March.

Down

EGX30

10,466

-0.1% (YTD: -3.5%)

Down

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.62

Sell 15.73

Down

USD at CIB

Buy 15.61

Sell 15.71

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

10,319

+0.1% (YTD: +18.8%)

Up

ADX

6,118

+0.4% (YTD: +21.3%)

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DFM

2,644

-0.4% (YTD: +6.1%)

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S&P 500

4,165

-0.7% (YTD: +10.9%)

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FTSE 100

6,923

-0.7% (YTD: +7.2%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 69.54

+1.0%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.98

+0.3%

Up

Gold

USD 1,779.30

+0.2%

Down

BTC

USD 54,993.63

-0.9%

The EGX30 fell 0.1% yesterday on turnover of EGP 790 mn (37.9% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is down 3.5% YTD.

In the green: Export Development Bank (+3.2%), Credit Agricole (+2.4%) and Orascom Development (+2.4%).

In the red: Madinet Nasr Housing (-12.1%), CI Capital (-3.5%) and Edita (-3.4%).

hardhat

What’s Jumia up to in Egypt? Pan-African e-commerce giant Jumia had a good 2020. The company saw 3Q2020 operating losses reduced by 49% y-o-y, and its stock price up more than 500%. In Egypt, it’s launching its food delivery business Jumia Food, and recently announced it’s making its integrated logistics services available to third-party businesses.

We sat down (virtually) with Thomas Maudet, managing director of Jumia Services Egypt (LinkedIn), to discuss how Jumia’s physical and tech infrastructure are helping it expand its operations and launch new services, including its new third-party service. We also look at what’s spurring e-commerce growth.

Maudet also discussed the company’s immediate priorities in Egypt, including achieving double digit growth at Jumia Food within the year, increasing last-mile delivery stations by 40% and increasing its warehouses in the Delta and Upper Egypt. Jumia is also considering an entry into pharma delivery, as a third step after expanding Jumia Food and adding supermarket delivery to its range of services. Edited excerpts from our conversation:

Jumia’s infrastructure in Egypt: Jumia has roughly 70 last-mile hubs, 140 pickup stations, and 15 drop-off stations in Egypt. It has 12 warehouses: Three larger ones that will eventually be merged to centralize operations, and nine smaller ones for fast-moving items that can be rapidly dispatched for same-day delivery. Around 70% of its business is concentrated in Cairo and Giza, 10-15% in Alexandria, 10% in the Delta, and the rest in Upper Egypt, on the Red Sea and the North Coast.

Jumia is targeting 90% next-day delivery service of items in the next year, up from its current rate of roughly 85%, by building its number of warehouses and delivery capacity in the Delta. It has a freight of 1-1.5k drivers leaving the last-mile hubs. It processed several mn packages in Egypt in 2020, seeing roughly 20-25% y-o-y growth in the number of packages it processes and delivers, says Maudet.

Jumia’s current activities range from logistical to financial services. Jumia’s New Cairo sorting center can usually sort 50k+ packages per day. It has two delivery models: Direct delivery to customers; package delivery to one of 140 pickup stations ― a Total gas station or Orange store, for example ― for customer collection. Jumia’s financial services include prepayments, wallets, and installments.

Robots still only account for a fraction of the workforce, with 80-90% of Jumia’s operations being carried out by humans. Future investment in equipment like automatized conveyors is possible, says Maudet. Still, the bulk of Jumia’s automation investment is in things like automated warehouse picking, where AI is used to calculate the fastest routes for human warehouse workers to follow when they collect items, then displayed on the mobile devices they carry. “Someone working in a warehouse could walk 2-3 km per day retrieving items. We want to calculate the fastest path for them, to make their time in the warehouse aisles most efficient,” he says.

E-commerce boomed in 2020 due to the pandemic: E-business was growing pre-covid, but the pandemic accelerated it, says Maudet. Jumia itself is seeing 30% y-o-y growth overall, he notes. Not even traffic congestion or IT instability impeded operations during the covid e-commerce boom, says Maudet. “Congestion usually operates in our favor. Clients prefer ordering from an e-commerce company to braving the traffic.” Occasional network coverage disruptions don’t really impact operations, he adds.

Growth is driving Jumia’s new service for third-party businesses: As sales in stores greatly decreased during the covid curfew period, many sellers launched their own websites, or started selling through generic platforms like Shopify. By providing services to third-party businesses, Jumia can profit from their shift online, rather than competing. “We see no need to compete with other platforms except direct competitors, like other e-commerce platforms. We don’t consider the brands we sell on Jumia to be competitors, even if they open their own websites.”

These businesses have access to Jumia’s fast infrastructure: Clients have Jumia warehouse space and a logistics team taking care of their inventory, comprising:

  • Boxed items for offline stores, which Jumia restocks daily.
  • Items sold online, on the third-party company’s website, with orders received, packaged and dispatched by Jumia.
  • Items sold online, on Jumia’s website.

And Jumia’s developing new AI-based services, to meet the particular delivery needs of prospective or existing third-party clients: “In Egypt, we’re in touch with Etisalat and ADIB bank, which would both need us to offer extra security steps — like checking IDs and collecting signatures — to comply with their delivery protocols. And we’re designing a service for tobacco manufacturers Philip Morris, to ensure customers receiving their items are over 18.”

So what are Jumia’s ambitions for Egypt? For starters, increasing its total number of pickup stations to 200 within two months. “We want to increase our last-mile delivery stations by 40%, including the pickup stations,” says Maudet. It’s growing its number of warehouses in the Delta and Upper Egypt, aiming to continually improve lead time, he says. “We can manage next-day delivery in Cairo, Giza, Alexandria and 50-60% of the Delta. To really reduce the lead time, we must use smaller, centrally-located warehouses with less storage capacity but faster delivery.”

Pharma could also be coming up: Pharma items are essentials, so this is an area Jumia’s considering entering to meet customer needs — for products sold without a prescription, for example. “It’s something in the pipeline we’re exploring,” says Maudet.

But this would be a possible third step, after food and supermarket delivery. The Jumia app will allow customers to order essential items within a 2-3 km radius, to be delivered within 30 minutes. Jumia Food — which launched in Egypt six months ago — is the first step, with some 70 brands on board. Supermarkets will be next: Jumia could quickly launch a service delivering supermarket items within 30-45 minutes — either using its own stock or stock belonging to well-established brands in Egypt, says Maudet.

Expanding Jumia Food is the immediate priority: Jumia Food is due to expand in Cairo and Alexandria, says Maudet. “We’re aiming at double digit growth in the next year.”

How? By scaling up logistics and tech infrastructure: Few substantial infrastructure changes are needed to expand Jumia Food’s capacity, because the service is tech-based, says Maudet. Growing in Egypt means hiring more riders, and improving tech features, like optimizing delivery routes by refining algorithms, says Maudet.

But isn’t Egypt’s food delivery market already saturated? Not after two big players were edged out last year: Uber Eats and Glovo have left Egypt, offering Jumia a chance to capitalize on the market gap, says Maudet. “We saw two pure players exit Egypt during covid, so we decided to enter.”

How could the gov’t smooth the way for more business? Ease customs regulations: Customs regulations can make importing items from abroad a challenge. Ideally, the government would make it easier to import high-demand items, says Maudet. “This would open up new routes.”

Your top infrastructure stories for the week:

  • Railcar manufacturing: South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem will partner with the National Egyptian Railway Industries Company (NERIC) to produce railcars in Egypt after the two signed an MoU last week.
  • The Giza Pyramids development project: A consortium of companies led by Hassan Allam Holding (HAH) will provide and run services at the Grand Egyptian Museum under an agreement signed with the Tourism Ministry last week.
  • Good news for factories: The Finance Ministry will fix electricity and gas prices for the industry for the next three years, which would cost the state coffers EGP 10 bn, Minister Mohamed Maait said.
  • Arrest following yet another rail accident: Egypt’s Public Prosecution has ordered a railway technician to be detained for four days after a train collided with a pick-up truck in Suez’s Al Amer village, marking the fourth fatal accident on Egypt’s rail network in just a month.

CALENDAR

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

16-19 May (Sunday-Wednesday): The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) takes place in Dubai.

27-29 May (Thursday-Saturday): Informa Markets’ Nextmove real estate exhibition, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City.

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.

July + August: Thanaweya Amma exams take place.

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.

17-20 August (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

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.

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The 54th session of the Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference 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.

12-14 October (Tuesday-Thursday) Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt

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.

1-3 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Energy exhibition on power and renewable energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt

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

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo

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.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

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