Monday, 23 August 2021

Vaccinated Egyptians can now register for another jab if they need to travel for work or study

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people. It’s a typical late-August Monday — just a bit slower than usual on the news front as businesses and journalists alike (here and abroad) are more into summer vacation than they are work.

THE BIG STORY OF THE DAY here at home: Would-be travellers can now apply to get a booster shot if the jab they’ve already taken is not recognized by the country to which they’re headed.

The catch: Only Egyptians who need to travel for either work or study are presently eligible to apply for the boosters. We have more on the story and a link to the registration site in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Covid dominates the news cycle here at home, and it’s the #2 story abroad behind Afghanistan. With the fourth wave now gaining amplitude around the world, the case for booster shots for everyone is growing as delta sees more people going back to WFH in the developed world. This comes as businesses in hard-hit countries are starting to think that employees could be working from home for another six months. That’s got some wondering how folks who entered the workforce during covid will adapt to life in the office.

One of the better questions now being asked is whether we’re all headed for an “asynchronous” work life for the long term — one in which you punch out from your desk at home at, say, 1:30pm to squeeze in a workout and pick up the kid from school before getting back to work from late afternoon until sometime in the evening. Read: We are not ready for the asynchronous future.

Also: Are you seeing more employee turnover than usual? You can probably blame covid. At least if the US trend applies to the rest of us. A poll of US workplaces by PwC suggests that up to 65% of workers may be looking to change jobs — and nine out of 10 companies surveyed said they’re seeing higher than normal turnover in the ranks.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- It’s still Afghanistan, where the Biden administration has said troops may stay beyond the 31 August withdrawal deadline. Washington has ordered six US commercial airlines to help with the evacuation drive (picking up travelers in the UAE and Qatar who had been airlifted out of Kabul). The story leads the front pages of the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the Financial Times.

From the Dept. of the Horse has Already Fled the Barn: Boris is hosting G7 talks on the crisis in Afghanistan tomorrow, he tweeted. The Financial Times thinks the gathering could present an opening for China and Russia to gain more influence over regional affairs.

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

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY- The local seasonal merchandise liquidation sale will be extended until 15 September under a decision issued by the Supply Ministry. The sale sees sticker prices cut by up to 50%, with over 3k merchants taking part with products ranging from clothing and footwear to home appliances. It’s the second seasonal sale the ministry has organized this year, with the previous one having contributed “heavily” to revitalizing domestic trade, Supply Minister Aly El Moselhy said.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will begin on Tuesday 24 August and run through 5 September, with Egypt sending a 49-athlete-strong team to the games.

MEED will hold a webinar named Energy Transition in the Middle East, at 12pm CLT on Tuesday 24 August.

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

enterprise

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

In today’s issue: Fresh off of our poll of Egyptian businesses’ vaccine policies, we surveyed private sector schools on how they’re preparing to implement the government directive that makes vaccination compulsory for all school staff and students aged over 18.

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COVID WATCH

Previously vaccinated Egyptians can now register to receive a second vaccine if they need to travel — but only if you’re going abroad for work or study: People who have already been jabbed can now request a second course of a vaccine they need to travel without quarantining, the Emigration and Egyptian Expat affairs Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Vaccinated travellers can register here, and their information will be passed on to the Health Ministry. The statement gave no further information on how long the process would take or when would-be travellers can expect to be called to get their boosters once they sign up. How the new shot would be documented was also left unclear.

The booster is only for Egyptian nationals who need to work or study abroad and is not currently available to those who need to travel for other reasons. The application form requires that Egyptians submit a scan of their passport in addition to a copy of their foreign residency permit, student visa, or foreign passport.

And seems to only be available for Egyptians: The statement does not make mention of foreign residents, and the registration form clearly asks for a national ID number. The primary vaccination drive however, doesn’t distinguish between nationals, foreign residents and refugees, suggesting the state may still open the boosters-for-travelers program to residents.

MEANWHILE- The vaccination of public sector employees should be complete by the start October under a directive from cabinet, ahead of a possible spike in cases in late September, Health Minister Hala Zayed said during a press conference yesterday. Zayed added that so far there are no plans to give medical staff a covid-19 booster shot.

The first doses of the Egypt-made Sinovac vaccine should arrive in vaccination centers today, Zayed added, saying Egypt has the capacity to produce 15-18.5 mn doses each month.

5.2 mn doses of Pfizer and Moderna are also expected to arrive next month, Zayed said, without specifying the size of the shipment of each. The minister has previously said that a 2.5 mn dose shipment of Pfizer was expected to arrive earlier this month.

More shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses are due to arrive “in the coming days” to continue vaccinating travellers, she noted. The minister did not specify the number of doses Egypt is expected to receive, but a second 700k dose batch of the single-dose vaccine is scheduled to land here at home imminently after we received the first batch of 260.6k Johnson & Johnson vaccines through the African Union earlier this month. The AU is providing us with a total of 25 mn doses of the J&J jab, while the government reportedly placed an order directly with the company earlier this year for 4 mn doses, though these are not expected to arrive until the fourth quarter.

The J&J shots are being distributed among the vaccination centers dedicated to unvaccinated travelers nationwide, where individuals can also obtain QR code-bearing vaccination certificates. The government had this week ramped up the number of vaccination centers dedicated for those wishing to travel to 145 from 126.

The Health Ministry has also set up a new vaccination center dedicated to vaccinating students travelling as part of education missions in the Education Ministry’s HQ in Nasr City to facilitate their access to covid-19 vaccines, Zayed said in a statement.

The Health Ministry reported 184 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 173 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 235,864 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 8 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,671.

CUSTOMS

A rain check on the new customs system, please?

The business community is once more calling for the postponement of the ACI: Importers and exporters are lobbying for a multi-month extension of the 1 October deadline for registering on the Advanced Cargo Information (ACI) pre-registration system — also known as Nafeza — saying they need more time to get ready for the new customers system, members of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce’s exporters and importers divisions told Hapi Journal.

The delay would allow importers and their agents to go through with the “complex” registration procedures before the ACI system becomes compulsory at all seaports on 1 October — a deadline by which anyone who has not registered on the digital platform won’t be allowed to release imported goods out of customs at seaports, Hamada Agawany, member of the importers division, said. Another member of the division, Osama Gaafar, shared a similar sentiment, stressing that the new ACI system’s registration formalities need to be reworked, especially that a number of businesses importing goods are struggling to register.

The sticking point: The registration process is lengthy. A large number of importers are not tech-savvy, so the idea of businesses importing goods at ports having to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally ahead of arrival via the ACI — a World Customs Organization protocol that runs on blockchain technology — is already arduous, Gaafar said. Not to mention the fact that importers must go through three different steps to complete the pre-registration customs procedures for a shipment, he added.

To register with Nafeza, one must first create an account on the digital platform and issue an e-signature either through Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry (MCDR) or Egypt Trust. Importers will then have to file for a request online to obtain a shipment identification number — valid for three months — within 48 hours, according to head of the Customs Authority El Shahat Ghatoury.

Where implementation stands: The final draft of the exec regs of the Customs Act, which detail how the ACI system works, is now in the hands of the State Council (Maglis El Dawla) for review and approval after they were redrafted to incorporate proposed amendments and requests from the last round of public consultations in April.

Over 4.6k importers and customs agents have so far been trained to use the system, Ghatoury previously said.

BACKGROUND- Nafeza is being rolled out by the Finance Ministry to speed up customs procedures and improve border security. Authorities have been piloting the new system since April and had originally set a 1 July deadline for registration, which was then postponed in response to calls from the business community, who said they needed more time to prepare.

FinMin has rolled out a series of financial incentives to get companies to register during the ACI’s pilot phase, the latest of which is a 50% discount on registration fees for those who register on the digital platform in August, in addition to 30% off for anyone registering during the first half, and 20% off during the second half of September. Those that have registered during the pilot phase, which ends on 1 October, will see their import and export operations fast tracked at every logistical hub, allowing for faster clearing and checking of cargo. Importers will also be able to defer paying 70% of taxes and fees to clear cargo at shipping ports till after the cargo arrives at Egyptian ports, and will be entitled to a refund in the event that their shipment is banned from entry or disposed of, under new rules approved earlier this month by the ministry.

Want a breakdown of all you need to know on how to prepare for the new ACI system? We have this in-depth explainer here.

DEBT WATCH

Tamweely could be in line for a total of EGP 500 mn in loans from local, foreign institutions

Microfinance player Tamweely is in talks with a syndicate of three local banks to obtain EGP 300 mn finance in the coming period to help grow its microfinance portfolio, CEO Ahmed Khorshid told Hapi Journal. Khorshid did not specify a timeline for the transaction, but said the company was in talks with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank in Egypt, and two other local banks.

More loans incoming: Tamweely is also negotiating with the government’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA) to obtain EGP 100 mn in financing after receiving EGP 74 mn in financing from state-run National Bank of Egypt through MSMEDA, according to Khorshid.

And the company is edging closer to EGP 100 mn funding from abroad, Khorshid said. Though he did not name the lender, Chairman Amr AbouElazm had said in April that the company was close to obtaining an EGP 100 mn loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to boost its microfinance portfolio.

Tamweely loaned out a total of EGP 1 bn in 1H2021 to 77k beneficiaries — compared to 75k at the end of 2020 — 54% of whom were youth, and 40% of whom were women, he said. The company also plans to loan out EGP 150 mn through Mezza cards under a partnership with state-owned Banque Misr in April.

Tamweely is also mulling the introduction of nano-finance in 2022, once it receives sign-off from the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), and also plans to provide micro leasing products to SMEs after obtaining an FRA-regulated SME microfinancing license, which it expects to come through in 2022, Khorshid said.

ENERGY

Madbouly wants to see a faster natgas transition

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly mandated the acceleration of deliveries under the government’s natgas vehicle swap scheme as the second batch delivery rates continue to stutter “unsatisfactorily,” the prime minister said during a meeting yesterday The government this year began rolling out a plan that it hopes will see as many as 450k cars outfitted with dual-fuel engines by 2024 under the scheme to swap out old, gasoline-fueled vehicles.

What’s holding things up? Operational challenges facing automakers and suppliers around the world have been putting a dent in the production of components and infrastructure needed for manufacturing, after a global economic crisis struck the world’s auto industries at the beginning of the pandemic last year, local factory officials said. A global semiconductor shortage has also forced many brands to slow production. Assembly facilities are also facing delays in the arrival of some shipments of manufacturing components, officials added, stressing that authorities are taking the necessary steps to overcome these challenges.

Where do things stand now? As many as 3k citizens have so far received new natgas-run cars to replace their old ones, with 1.7k additional cars to be delivered this month, out of some 68k people who had applied to convert their vehicles to run on natural gas as of early April. The strategy aims to get 70k new natgas cars on the road this year, and to take as many as 1.8 mn cars off the road to be outfitted with dual-fuel engines over the course of a decade under a multi-year natural gas transition plan.

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LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Covid took center stage on the nation’s airwaves last night, as the talking heads fixated on coverage of Health Minister Hala Zayed’s press conference yesterday — as well as news that those previously vaccinated can now register to receive a booster shots if they are travelling for work or study to a country that does not recognize their original vaccine. We have full coverage in the news well, above. Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 18:18 | 12:33 | 9:24), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:57) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 13:04) also took note.

Also on the airwaves last night: The Ever Given, which returned to the Suez Canal at the weekend and managed to transit the waterway without hitting anything. Suez Canal Authority boss Osama Rabie told Ala Mas’ouleety (watch: runtime: 4:27) last night that the expansion of the canal’s berths and ports, and the establishment of transit stations, is underway in order to absorb the increasing capacity of ships sailing the waterway. The Suez Canal witnessed this year an 11.2% rise in revenues, ship activity, and cargo, compared with 2020, Rabie said. Al Hayah Al Youm also had coverage (watch, runtime: 10:12).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

On another quiet morning in the foreign press: The National reports that Egypt will be closing its Rafah border crossing with Gaza indefinitely on Monday for security reasons after an escalation in fighting between Hamas and Israel Saturday, while Spanish local media report on the unearthing of a 3k year old amulet of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor in Salamanca, Spain.

PLANET FINANCE

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US investors and stocks: hang on tight and don’t let go. Expectations are for a bumpier ride in US equities as growth slows, the delta variant spreads, and the Federal Reserve seems to be preparing to taper stimulus measures, according to Reuters. Analysts say that Wall Street may be turning cautious as summer fades, even while US stocks maintain near-record highs.

Some are starting to lower growth forecasts due to the impact of delta. Goldman Sachs, for example, has revised down its third-quarter forecast from 9% to 5.5%, citing delta’s impact. Bank of America research shows that funds are holding the most cash since October 2020 and are shifting into defensive sectors. And even Robinhood retail traders, who always believe the hype, are looking to cool their boots.

Valuations are stretched: After being resuscitated from the covid crash by emergency stimulus measures last year, stocks have skyrocketed, continuously notching new record highs since late last year. But with the S&P 500’s P/E ratio now at a 34% premium to the 20-year average, investors are beginning to pay closer attention to valuations.

And investors are still fretting about how the Fed will unwind its stimulus: "We got such tremendous Federal Reserve monetary support for the economy for some time, so the market has trepidation about the Fed taper and what that is going to do for growth," said one strategist. The central bank is still buying USD 120 bn of treasuries each month, and interest rates remain close to zero.

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THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 1.1% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.53 bn (9.5% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 1.4% YTD.

In the green: CIRA (+4.0%), GB Auto (+1.0%) and MOPCO (+0.1%).

In the red: Fawry (-3.4%), Ibnsina Pharma (-3.0%) and AMOC (-2.5%).

Asian shares are handily in the green and futures suggest its going to be a good day for stockholders across Europe, on Wall Street and on Bay Street.

DIPLOMACY

Egypt, Serbia discuss cooperation in everything from tourism and telecoms to energy, agriculture, and health: Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry held a press conference (watch, runtime: 15:25) with his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selaković to discuss bilateral ties. The occasion was Selaković’s first visit to Egypt. The two will hold a joint committee meeting on economic cooperation by the end of the year and will also hold a meeting of a joint business council. Selaković said he will meet Transportation Minister Kamel El Wazir soon in Serbia to discuss the possible resumption of flights between Cairo and Belgrade. Selaković also sat down with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to discuss ways to resolve challenges facing both countries on the Mediterranean’s two shores, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

El Sisi also talked bilateral relations with Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez in a phone call yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Transport and renewable energy featured heavily in their talks.

AROUND THE WORLD

Hezbollah appears to be using Lebanon’s worsening fuel shortage to up Iran’s influence on the crisis-hit country: Leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, said a tanker would set off "soon” from Iran to bring desperately needed fuel supplies to Lebanon, insisting that the group was not trying to step in and replace the state by purchasing the fuel, Reuters reports. While it remains unclear how the shipment would reach its stated destination, the move, prohibited by US sanctions on Iran's oil industry, could drag Lebanon into the covert naval war between Tehran and Israel.

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POLL- How ready are Egypt’s K-12 schools to comply with the gov’t’s vaccine directive? On Saturday, the government came out with a directive that covid-19 vaccination is now mandatory for all 18+ year-old students, educators and staff at Egyptian schools and universities. Students who are aged 18 and above at public and private-sector schools and universities, as well as unvaccinated employees in the education sector, must as soon as possible receive a covid-19 vaccine, which will be offered to them at no charge at schools.

Egypt’s schools are thankfully anti-anti-vaxxers: Private international K-12 schools we’ve spoken with say they welcome the government decree. They tell us that they are mostly in good shape already, with the biggest hurdle to compliance coming from a small number of anti-vaxxer unvaccinated staff. The decree is a welcome push to help AIS ensure any remaining employees eligible to receive the vaccine are vaccinated as soon as possible, Director Kapono Ciotti tells Enterprise. New policies that mandate 100% staff vaccinations are now being rushed in place. Now schools say they await further clarity on some extenuating circumstances to ensure smooth implementation of the directive.

Vaccinations were already high among int’l schools before the decree: International schools we’ve spoken with are unequivocally pro-vaccine, and were strongly encouraging their staff to be vaccinated well in advance of the government directive. Many expat employees were able to get vaccinated in their home countries, sources say. Among schools managed by education management company Eduhive, 100% of expat staff and 85-95% of local staff were already vaccinated, says CEO Karim Mostafa. 80% of staff in GEMS schools in Egypt were vaccinated, says Director of Communications Amr Sherif. 90% of El Alsson’s staff were vaccinated, estimates Executive Director Karim Rogers, and AIS is at a similar rate, estimates Ciotti. Malvern College Egypt had already planned to announce this month that all staff were fully vaccinated, says CEO Azza ElSherbiny. Nearly 100% of faculty at Cairo American College are vaccinated, according to an email sent to parents at the start of the school year last week.

Now, efforts are accelerating to ensure they’re fully compliant with the directive: GEMS Egypt has given all vaccinated staff members a deadline of this week to send copies of their vaccine certificates to its central HR department, says Sherif. Unvaccinated staff have to provide either a registration number to show they’ve registered on the Health Ministry’s system, or proof of a severe medical condition that would make them ineligible to be vaccinated, he adds. Eduhive was advised yesterday by the Health Ministry to take all unvaccinated employees to a designated vaccine center, where they would be prioritized, says Mostafa. “We’ll probably finish doing this today or tomorrow,” he adds.

The Health Ministry has significantly upped its supply of vaccines to schools recently: Several schools — including AIS and the GEMS Egypt schools — have seen the Health Ministry conduct mass on-campus employee vaccination programs over the last week, sources tell us. “We employ 500 people, and the ministry could provide 250 shots a day,” says Ciotti. “So they gave us two days, and we brought as many people onto campus as we safely could.” Ciotti believes the ministry is making this available for all schools. The Federation of International Schools had pushed for a mass international school vaccination program back in April, but the Health Ministry’s vaccine supplies had been insufficient to run one then, Mostafa says.

Making vaccination a requirement for students aged 18+ has thrown some K-12 schools a curveball. AIS doesn’t yet have a policy for the vaccination of students aged 18+ and how to enforce it, says Ciotti. “But we will be adding it, for sure.” Eduhive is also working on a policy, says Mostafa.

But it seems only a small number of students will be affected: “It would be rare to have high school students aged 18+, as they typically join university aged 16-17,” says Sherif. GEMS Egypt has no students older than 17, so this part of the decree has no bearing on their operations, he adds.

It also isn’t clear whether unvaccinated visitors will be allowed on campus, say multiple school representatives, including Ciotti and Sherif. Eduhive isn’t allowing visitors on its school campuses due to covid-19 safety protocol, says Mostafa.

Or what the policy is for those ineligible to receive the vaccine: Several schools are still trying to get a clear directive from the Health Ministry about whether pregnant, lactating, or immunocompromised employees, previously deemed ineligible to receive the vaccine, will be allowed to work while unvaccinated, representatives say. “We’ve had maybe four employees who were previously told by the Health Ministry they couldn’t be vaccinated then,” says Ciotti. “We’re trying to find out how we move forward with them now.”

But overall, the Health Ministry’s message is clear: it means business. The Health Ministry said on Thursday that it would send representatives to all schools before the beginning of the new school year, to check employee files, says Sherif. Schools have been told they’re responsible for proving that all staff members have received either their first or second shots, he adds. Other representatives we spoke to haven’t heard about specific Health Ministry inspections, they say. Sherif is expecting the ministry to become very active in its vetting process by 5-6 September, because the start of term will be only a week away. “The ministry is standing its ground quite firmly that every single person working on school premises needs to be vaccinated,” says Sherif.

Schools now have a very clear mandate to enforce vaccination: AIS didn’t have any vaccine skeptics among its employees, but if it had, the decree would have made enforcing vaccination policy easier, says Ciotti. “It’s not a choice any more.” Several schools have noted some resistance to vaccines — particularly among support staff. The decree is now forcing anti-vaxxer employees to choose between being vaccinated or losing their jobs, sources say. “I would try to talk to a vaccine-hesitant employee, but if they really don’t want to be vaccinated, I’d have no option but to let them go,” says Mostafa.

This is striking, because as recently as last week, most schools were stopping short of making staff vaccination mandatory. Of the international schools that spoke to Enterprise, only Malvern was taking a zero-tolerance approach to vaccine hesitancy last week. “I decided this in June, and I had to be very strict about it,” says ElSherbiny. “Anyone who didn’t want to be vaccinated wasn’t going to be allowed on campus. I didn’t see any other option.” Other school representatives had said vaccination was a personal preference, and they couldn’t make employment contingent on being vaccinated — particularly if some employees had problems accessing vaccines.


Your top education stories for the week:

CALENDAR

24 August (Tuesday): MEED will hold a webinar named Energy Transition in the Middle East.

24 August-5 September (Tuesday- Sunday) Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

27 August (Friday): Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

September: Delegation of Russian companies to visit Russian Industrial Zone.

1-3 September (Wednesday-Friday): Digi Sign Africa, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

2 September (Thursday): The new EGX mechanism for calculating closing share prices will come into effect.

3-5 September (Friday-Sunday): The World Karate Federation will hold the third competition of the 2021 Karate 1-Premier League in Cairo.

5-7 September (Sunday-Tuesday): The Arab Security Conference, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo, Egypt.

7-8 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Conferences will host the GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum 2021, featuring Vice Minister of Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk.

7-9 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Egy Health Expo, Al Manara International Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

9 September (Thursday): DevOpsDays Cairo 2021 is being organized by ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center in cooperation with DXC Technology, IBM Egypt and Orange Labs.

12 September (Sunday): International schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

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

15 September (Wednesday): The CFO Leadership & Strategy Summit is taking place in Egypt.

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

21-22 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

22-25 September (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September: Closing of 2021’s first oil and gas tender in the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert, and the Mediterranean.

October: New legislative session begins.

October: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis could visit Egypt in mid this month to discuss ways to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries.

1 October (Friday): Businesses importing goods at seaports will need to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally to the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

1 October (Friday): State-owned companies and government service bodies selling goods and services to customers that have not yet signed 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.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

9 October (Saturday): Public schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

11-17 October (Monday-Sunday): IMF + World Bank Annual Meetings.

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.

24-28 October (Sunday-Thursday) Cairo Water Week, Cairo, Egypt.

27-28 October (Wednesday-Thursday) Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski, Cairo, Egypt.

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

30 October – 4 November (Saturday-Thursday): The first edition of Race The Legends, Egypt.

31 October – 12 November (Sunday-Friday): The 26th UN Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, UK.

November: The French-Egyptian Business Forum is set to take place in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

November: Egypt will host another round of talks to reach a potential Egyptian-Eurasian trade agreement, which can significantly contribute to increasing the volume of Egyptian exports to the Russia-led bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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

2-3 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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

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

7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

12-14 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Food Africa Cairo trade exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

14-19 December (Tuesday-Sunday): The Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.

14-15 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

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

16 June 2022 (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools

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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