Thursday, 25 November 2021

AM — Egyptian economy grows at fastest pace in 2 decades in 1Q 2021-22

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning ladies and gents, and welcome to the end of yet another week — and the final Thursday of November. We only have five left of those this year, if you can believe that.

Today we bring news of stellar growth figures, an unexpectedly early booster-shot rollout, and one of Egypt’s biggest names jumping on the green hydrogen bandwagon, which looks like it’s going to keep rolling as we count the days to next year’s COP27 summit in Sharm.

Before that though: We wish all our American readers a happy Thanksgiving. The US markets will be closed today for the holiday, and close early tomorrow for Black Friday. Many international schools in Egypt that follow a US curriculum are off for the day, too.

BIG IN THE REGION-

MBZ just bailed out Erdogan: Turkey and the UAE yesterday signed agreements for bns of USD of investments, helping to stabilize the TRY following its historic crash on Tuesday. The Abu Dhabi wealth fund, ADQ, will invest USD 10 bn in strategic areas of Turkey’s economy such as food, energy and healthcare, while 10 agreements signed will see the two former rivals strengthen energy, technology, environmental and banking ties.

Tensions have well and truly thawed: The raft of agreements came during Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s first visit to Turkey in years for talks which Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called “very constructive.” “Problems with the UAE are now behind us. We are entering a period based fully on cooperation and mutual benefit,” one source said. Cavusoglu plans to visit Abu Dhabi for follow-up talks next month.

The news seems to have satisfied the currency traders — for now: The TRY recovered some of its losses suffered on Tuesday, rising as much as 7% yesterday. The currency was in freefall earlier this week after Erdogan defended the central bank’s decision to cut interest rates last week in spite of rising inflation and a weakening currency that has now lost as much as 45% of its value against the greenback this year. (Bloomberg | Reuters | FT | Wall Street Journal | CNN)

HAPPENING INTERNATIONALLY-

Move aside Merkel, Germany has a new chancellor: Social Democrat Olaf Scholz will officially end Angela Merkel’s 16-year stint as the country’s chancellor after the three-party coalition finally reached an agreement to enter government after three months of negotiations. Merkel only has a few weeks at the top of German politics remaining, with Scholz likely to be elected chancellor by parliament early next month after the parties’ members have signed off on the coalition agreement. (BBC | Wall Street Journal | Bloomberg | New York Times | Washington Post | Reuters | AP)

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

East Mediterranean Gas Forum meeting in Cairo today: Energy ministers of the member countries that make up the East Mediterranean Gas Forum will meet today in Cairo. Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Italy and France are all members of the forum, while the EU, US and World Bank have observer status.

Rameda Pharma’s annual general meeting (pdf) takes place today, during which the company will decide on the sale of a 5% stake in the company from an individual shareholder to an unnamed institutional investor.

Startup gathering RiseUp starts today and runs through Saturday.

Luxor’s 3000-year-old Avenue of Sphinxes or Rams Road will be unveiled in an opening ceremony this evening, according to the Tourism Ministry. The avenue features sphinxes and statues lined up on either side of a 3 km long walkway that connects the Karnak Temple with the Luxor Temple.

COMING SOON- A USD 30 mn SME loan straight from Kuwait: The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development is lining up a USD 30 mn loan which will be channelled in Egyptian SMEs via a local bank, the cabinet said yesterday following a meeting between PM Moustafa Madbouly and officials from the fund. The agreement will apparently soon be signed with the bank, whose identity was not disclosed.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Cairo International Film Festival kicks off its weeklong run tomorrow.

PSA- Calling all college seniors and recent grads: You have until next Monday, 29 November to register for a career development training program from the CIT Ministry’s Digital Egypt Youth initiative. The program will be held online in January 2022.

The new round of Silicon Waha’s Startup Factory will kick off on 10 December at the Assiut Technology Zone. The program will offer marketing tips and tricks for startup founders, who can apply here.

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

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ECONOMY

Egypt economy grows at fastest pace in 2 decades in 1Q

Egypt’s economy grew at its quickest pace in two decades in 1Q 2021-2022, as it continued to rebound from last year’s slump in activity caused by the covid-19 pandemic. GDP expanded at an annual 9.8% clip during the July-September period, boosted by a continued recovery in the country’s hospitality sector and improved manufacturing activity, according to figures announced yesterday by Planning Minister Hala El Said during yesterday’s cabinet meeting.

This is the second consecutive quarter of strong economic growth after GDP clocked in at 7.2% in the final quarter of the previous fiscal year.

Something to consider: The figures have been magnified by a strong base effect from 1Q 2020-2021, when the economy grew just 0.7% having contracted slightly the quarter before due to lockdown restrictions and global disruption caused by the pandemic.

We also have an incomplete data set to work with due to the cabinet only highlighting growth rates in several sectors in its statement. We’ll have to wait for the full sectoral breakdown from the Planning Ministry before we have the better picture of how the economy performed during the quarter.

From what we know: The hospitality sector continued to shine, expanding 182% during the three-month period. After contracting every quarter since the onset of covid, the sector saw a boom in activity in 4Q 2020-2021, increasing fivefold to account for almost 60% of output during the quarter. The sector contracted 66.5% during 1Q 2020-2021 as the shutdown of international travel and lockdown restrictions at home continued to bite.

Activity in manufacturing — Egypt’s largest economic sector — picked up steam during the quarter, accelerating to 15.2% growth from 10.5% in 4Q 2020-2021. El Said attributed the growth to improved output in the paper, pharma, beverages and clothing industries. Output in the telecom sector, one of the areas of the economy that maintained growth levels during the instability last year, remained steady, coming in at 16.3%, up slightly from 16% the previous quarter and 15% from a year ago.

Public infrastructure projects are fuelling growth in the construction industry: Output in the sector rose to 10.5%, up from 8.3% in 4Q 2020-2021 and up almost 8 percentage points from the same quarter last year, largely thanks to the New Urban Communities Authority’s increased investments in new cities, the statement said.

And Suez Canal revenues are also on the rise: Revenues from transit through the vital shipping lane were up 20% y-o-y for the quarter. The same time last year, disruption to global trade caused Suez revenues to contract 11.3%.

The Egyptian economy is seeing a U-shaped recovery — where the economy takes its time following an economic drop but eventually rebounds — IMF Executive Director Mahmoud Mohieldin told Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 16:05) last night, unlike the US and some European economies, which are seeing a swifter V-shaped recovery.

Growth is expected to hit between 5.5% and 5.7% by the end of the current fiscal year in June 2022, El Said said. She pegged annual growth for FY2021-2022 at 5.6% on Tuesday, an upgrade from a previous 5.4% forecast and slightly more optimistic than current projections from the IMF, EBRD, World Bank, and the latest poll from Reuters, which range from 4.9-5.2.%.

COVID WATCH

Booster shot rollout starts in coming days

Gov’t to start rolling out covid booster shots in coming days: The Health Ministry has decided to start handing out booster shots to vulnerable people and the elderly in the coming days, it said in a statement yesterday, amid elevated case rates at home and surging infections abroad.

Who’s eligible? The elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, and people with high exposure to the virus such as medical staff will be first up to receive a third shot. There are currently around 4 mn citizens who are eligible for boosters, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad told Ala Mas’ouleety last night (watch, runtime: 25:31).

The plan: Those eligible to receive booster shots will receive a text message six months after getting fully vaccinated telling them to head to the vaccination center where they received their initial shots to get their third jab, the ministry announced. People should contact the ministry’s covid-19 hotline (15335) or the Whatsapp number (01555005500) if they don’t receive a message.

Ahead of schedule: Government officials had previously said that booster shots would be considered once the 2021 target of vaccinating 40 mn citizens was reached. Interim health minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar yesterday announced that 44.2 mn doses of covid-19 vaccines have been administered, without specifying how many citizens had received one dose and how many had been fully vaccinated.

Daily covid cases have been elevated for almost two months while last week daily death figures inched up to highs not seen since July 2020.

The Health Ministry reported another 901 covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 856 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 353,613 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 57 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 20,109.

More shots are here: We received 3.7 mn vaccine doses yesterday — 1.3 mn Johnson & Johnson shots from the US government and 2.4 mn AstraZeneca shots through the Gavi / Covax program, the ministry announced.

An “Arrive Egypt” app is under development to help tourists submit their covid paperwork before entering the country, the minister also said.

IN GLOBAL COVID NEWS-

Developing countries could soon be able to manufacture replicas of patented covid-19 vaccines: The EU has proposed a targeted waiver on patent licenses that would give governments the power to oblige vaccine manufacturers to share their formulas with developing countries, allowing those countries to create cheaper versions of vaccines for their own use without paying royalties, the Financial Times reports. The move from EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis goes against his previous comments that reducing IP protection would dissuade manufacturers from investing large sums of money into researching new drugs.

Expect a decision sometime next week: The move could lead to a compromise between EMs like South Africa and India — who have called for all covid vaccines to be stripped of IP protection for three years — and the rest of the developed world when they meet at the World Trade Organization next week in Geneva.

Booster shots for all adults in Europe amid record covid cases: The EU is now recommending covid booster shots for all adults, especially those over 40, as cases across the continent soar. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Hungary have all reported record daily cases while infections in France and Germany are rising quickly. Several countries have reimposed lockdown restrictions in recent days and have resorted to tougher measures to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people.

Germany is now considering making vaccination compulsory for some segments of the population, adopting a lighter approach than Austria which last week announced that the entire population would be forced to take the shot. "Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic. In institutions where vulnerable groups are cared for, we should make vaccination compulsory," incoming chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference yesterday, Reuters reports.

GREEN ECONOMY

OC joins Ain Sokhna green hydrogen project

OC joins in on our first-ever green hydrogen facility: Orascom Construction is joining a developer consortium of Norway’s Scatec, Nassif Sawiris-backed Fertiglobe, and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt to build the 100 MW green hydrogen plant in Ain Sokhna, the company said in a statement (pdf). The construction giant will be responsible for the local works on the facility, which is expected to be showcased during the COP27 summit next November. This will be the first green hydrogen plant in Egypt and is scheduled to come online by 2024.

What the work entails: The facility will be “mainly comprised” of a 100 MW electrolyzer that Orascom says will make it the world’s largest independently-owned facility of its kind. It will be built, operated and majority-owned by Scatec, and will be fed by Fertiglobe’s ammonia production facility in Ain Sokhna. Nasdaq-listed US firm Plug Power has been selected to provide the tech to the facility.

What is this green hydrogen business, exactly? Taking its cue from rising global interest in green hydrogen, Egypt is working on a strategy of its own to channel bns of USD of investment to create a local industry. In addition to the Scatec facility, Eni, General Electric and ThyssenKrupp have reportedly submitted bids worth a collective USD 2 bn to establish hydrogen plants that would produce both green and blue forms of hydrogen. Head to our explainer here for everything you need to know about green hydrogen and what Egypt plans to do with it.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Coca-Cola HBC to spend USD 1 bn on Egypt expansion over 5 years

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) is looking to invest USD 1 bn in the Egyptian market over the next five years following its acquisition of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt (CCBCE), CEO Ahmed Afify told PM Moustafa Madbouly yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. The money will go towards building factories and adding production lines, he said. The statement provided no further details on the company’s spending plans.

The acquisition: Over the summer a subsidiary of HBC purchased a 94.7% stake in CCBCE for USD 427 mn, giving it access to Egypt — one of the largest markets in Africa. FTSE 100-listed Coca-Cola HBC is one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in the world and is 23% owned by the US’ Coca-Cola Company.

Madbouly has taken a personal interest in the company’s activity: “I will personally follow up on the company's work in Egypt during the coming period, and I will visit its site after the start of its expansions,” Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said during his meeting with HBS and CCBCE executives and representatives.

IN OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS-

Germany’s BSH Home Appliances will begin constructing its planned EUR 30 mn (EGP 550 mn) oven factory in Tenth of Ramadan City next year, which will be the company’s first factory in Africa, according to a press release (pdf). Construction is set to take two years, with the factory slated to come online in 2024. The facility will have a production capacity of over 350k units per year, with a portion earmarked for the local market and some earmarked for exports. The company plans to sell the units under the Bosch brand to consumers in Egypt, as well as export them to other countries.

Background: BSH has been eyeing the Egyptian market since 2018, when it initially reported interest in constructing a EUR 80 mn water heater and stove manufacturing company. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Trade and Industry Ministry in 2019 to build its home appliances factory.

CABINET WATCH

Securitize that

A new form of securitization is closer to being introduced to the Egyptian market after cabinet yesterday green-lit amendments to the Capital Markets Act at its weekly meeting. The statement was short on details but the Financial Regulatory Authority later clarified that the changes are related to its proposals from earlier this year to allow utilities and other companies to raise capital by securitizing future cashflows.

Introducing future flow securitization: The instrument allows companies that provide services to the public a new way of accessing liquidity. Unlike standard securitization which requires a large portfolio of accounts receivables, future flow transactions allow companies to sell securities backed by future income i.e. assets that do not yet exist on the company’s balance sheet. This would open securitization to new companies in sectors such as utilities, telecoms, healthcare and education by allowing them to use future phone bills, utility payments, tuition fees and rental payments as securitizable assets.

The changes could spur infrastructure spending: Companies that provide basic amenities will be able to issue tradable future-flow bonds to fund big-ticket spending on infrastructure, road, and transport projects without needing to wait for payments from their clients.

DEVELOPMENT FINANCE

More green finance from the EBRD

EBRD pumps more USDs into Egypt: Intro Sustainable Resources (IRS) is in line to receive USD 5.3 mn in green finance from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), according to the bank’s website. The money will go towards several projects including combined heat and power plants, renewable energy generation, electricity distribution, and waste management.

The USD 5.3 mn funding will finance around a quarter of the total project cost — USD 18.7 mn — which will include two combined heat and power plants with a total capacity of 15.5 MW of AC power (MWac).

About IRS: It’s a fully owned subsidiary of Egyptian conglomerate Intro Group and was established in 2020 to develop clean energy, waste management and recycling projects through its subsidiaries, Intro Power and Utilities and Intro Waste Management and Material Recovery. Intro Waste Management acquired recycling company BariQ from Raya for EGP 571 mn earlier this year.

Also from the EBRD: The lender will work with USAID to support tourism in historic Cairo and Luxor and channel private investment into the sector, the US development agency said in a statement yesterday, without providing further details.

Did someone say USAID? The agency has agreed to help finance projects being undertaken by the Local Development Ministry to reform local labour markets, the ministry said yesterday. The funding will go towards creating a new council tasked with strategizing to improve workplace conditions, implementing employment policies, and creating jobs for workers in two unnamed governorates. This follows the successful implementation of a similiar council in Beni Suef, which will also receive part of the funding to support its efforts to improve local labor market efficiency.

KUDOS

PraxiLabs gets USD 300k in funding: Our very own Khadija Mohamed Elbedweihy, founder of PraxiLabs came first in Africa’s Business Heroes 2021 run, landing her 3D virtual lab simulations — which aim to provide accessible and affordable experiments for educational institutions and schools — USD 300k in funding, according to a statement.

Egypt lands a BAFTA: Egyptian actor Amir El Masry earned best actor in film during last weekend’s Scottish edition of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards (BAFTA Scotland) for his role in Limbo, a tale of migrants stranded in a Scottish town.

AT Lease won the best Middle East and Africa issuance award at the MEA Finance Awards for its EGP 1.09 bn securitized bond offering in February this year, it said in a bourse filing (pdf) this week. ALC Alieldean Weshahi & Partners were counsel for the offering.

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ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

On last night’s talk shows: The Health Ministry’s announcement yesterday that it will soon start handing out booster shots got the headline treatment on the talk shows last night. Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime: 3:37), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 3:41), Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 3:08) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 25:31) all had coverage. We have the full story in this morning’s Covid Watch, above.

Another month, another date set for revealed the Mogamma renovator: We will finally meet the coalition that will renovate and reinvent Mogamma Tahrir before mid-December, Planning Minister Hala El Said told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 24:08), explaining that the government planning to sign a contract within the coming couple of weeks. The downtown Cairo building will be transformed into a multi-purpose attraction with an apartment hotel, commercial, and office spaces. We were previously told that the contract will be signed in October and prior to that we were told to expect it in September. January 2022, anyone?

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s another quiet morning in the international press. Nothing to see here, people. Move along.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

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

  • Corruption arrests: The president of Damanhour University and a Health Ministry official have been arrested by the Administrative Control Authority on charges of bribery and financial corruption. Uni president Ebeed Saleh is alleged to have received EGP 5 mn in bribes, while the ministry official in Beheira has been accused of taking EGP 2 mn. The arrests are unrelated.
  • Consumer lender ValU is in talks with five banks to issue electronic cards that can be used to pay for any purchase made through ValU’s merchants and partners.
  • School meals suspended in Qena and Assiut: After assuring us that no food poisoning cases took place, the Education Minister suspended schools meals in Qena and Assiut until the investigation into the school meals is done and their safety is confirmed, Youm7 reported. On Monday a number of school students were hospitalized after eating school meals and becoming ill.
  • Bechtel will offer Petrojet engineers technical training, under the terms of an agreement inked by both companies, helping boost work on trial operations for the companies’ joint petrochem complex project in Ain Sokhna.

PLANET FINANCE

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A quarter of investors surveyed by HSBC are bearish about investing in emerging markets, thanks to slowing economic growth and imminent monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve, according to Reuters. Sentiment is low compared to an earlier survey, which found that only 10 investors were bearish about EMs. The prior survey also saw a higher proportion of 40% feeling bullish, compared to only 27% this time around.

Worries over when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in response to accelerating inflation are weighing on EMs, with investors naming policy tightening the biggest risk for the asset class. The poll featured 120 investors from 115 institutions with USD 572 bn in AUM.

This comes at a time when rising inflation and supply-chain disruptions are already making 2021 a year to forget for the asset class. Investors have sold local-currency debt, many currencies have fallen significantly, and EM equities are seriously lagging versus developed markets, currently trading at their biggest discount in 17 years.

Down

EGX30

11352.64

-0.2% (YTD: +4.7%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

11,369

+1% (YTD: +30.8%)

Down

ADX

8,398

-0.1% (YTD: +66.5%)

Up

DFM

3,157

+0.4% (YTD: +26.7%)

Up

S&P 500

4,701

+0.2% (YTD: +25.2%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,280

+0.2% (YTD: +12.4%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 82.19

-0.2%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.07

+2.0%

None

Gold

USD 1,787

0.0%

Down

BTC

USD 57,440

-0.4% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 0.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 897 mn (38.5% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 4.7% YTD.

In the green: EFG Hermes (+6.7%), GB Auto (+4.3%) and Gadwa for Industrial Development (+2.3%).

In the red: Rameda (-4.1%), Fawry (-2.5%) and Credit Agricole Egypt (-1.4%).

Asian stocks are mostly down this morning as traders react to the release of the Fed meeting minutes yesterday, which indicated that the central bank is open to accelerating the taper should inflation continue to rise. Shares in the US and Europe are on course to open in the green later today.

AROUND THE WORLD

Burhan promises democratic elections in 2023: Sudan’s military chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan promised to return power to civilians and hold presidential elections in 2023 as planned. Speaking to the Financial Times in his first foreign press interview since staging a coup that secured his chairmanship of Sudan’s Sovereign Council and continued political authority, Burhan also claimed he plans to step down and “mind [his] own business” after the elections take place. His statements follow weeks of unrest that has left scores of people dead, continuing even after Abdalla Hamdok’s return as PM.

Plot twist in Libya: Saif Al Islam Al Gaddafi has been barred by Libya’s election authority from running in next month’s presidential election, according to a list released yesterday that rejected the applications of 24 other candidates. Gaddafi, son of the country’s late ruler who was seen as a potential frontrunner in the presidential contest, was excluded on a rule that bars people with previous convictions from running.

Prepare for drama: One person who wasn’t prevented from running is interim prime minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibeh, who was among the 73 names approved by the commission. Dbeibeh’s candidacy has not gone down well with some in the House of Representatives, who have claimed that he is ineligible to run. The election rules, which are being contested by factions in government and parliament, require a sitting PM to stand down from their position three months before the poll. Dbeibeh remains the country’s PM with less than a month before the election takes place on 24 December.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

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Ahmed Sheikha, co-founder and chief business officer of Brimore: Each week, My Morning Routine looks 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 Sheikha (LinkedIn). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

My name is Ahmed Sheikha and I’m the father of six-month-old Amina and the chief business officer of Brimore. I originally studied telecom engineering, but for my entire career I’ve worked in other areas. I started out at P&G before moving to several startups and earning my masters in entrepreneurship and management at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Startups are more suited to my personality as I enjoy starting a project, scaling it, and working on the day-to-day challenges.

I started Brimore in 2016 alongside my co-founder Mohamed Abdulaziz — who is a friend from university. His work as a management consultant at several companies led him to the realization that some brands were struggling with distribution, since market access is costly and operationally-intensive. As a solution, we created a parallel distribution channel through individuals that delivers products directly to the end-consumer. We created a massive network of 75k sellers all over the country who share the product pictures and specs within their circles and start collecting orders. They then place these orders on our app and we package them and deliver them from our central warehouse to the buyer’s doorstep. We currently work with over 300 different vendors and 8k distributors.

The vast majority of our sellers are stay-at-home moms. Through market research we realized that men usually find other job alternatives, but women prefer to stay in the house, especially in rural areas. Working with Brimore gives them freedom and on average they sell products for EGP 5k a month, from which they get around 2k or a margin of 40%. Of course, there are outliers. There is a woman in Giza who created a network of traders across Egypt and now sells products for EGP 5 mn a month, easily, all while having nine kids.

For suppliers, this is a magical solution because they ensure that their inventory is sold and penetrates the entire country. We get discounts from these suppliers and then sell at the product’s original price. The difference is divided between the sellers, operational costs, and our cut.

We’re planning on expanding to Africa next year, and we’re raising a funding round for that purpose specifically. It should be disclosed by 1Q2022. We also closed a separate funding round — which Fawry was a part of — that we’re currently finalizing, but we’ll officially announce it next month.

We’re also soon launching a delivery arm called Milezmore. We used to outsource delivery and warehousing, but with the massive growth, no provider could keep up with our pace and cost structure. This was a big reason behind the decision, as well as the belief that the coming years will be a great window for logistics, as well as the fact that our business model already connects us to almost every Egyptian governorate. Milezmore will help serve our business, as well as other businesses, since we plan on opening up the service to the market and are already in talks with two other firms.

My responsibilities at work are focusing on the next steps of the company and building the necessary digital infrastructure, as well as sustaining the day-to-day operations through fundraising and building partnerships. What this looks like in real life is a lot of meetings and calls with investors or potential partners. The nature of my work doesn’t necessitate that I be in the office all the time — I usually go in to meet with the product team.

My morning routine isn’t typical… I’m actually a night owl [laughs]. I do my best work at night during the golden window from 9pm-12am. I have the flexibility to design the day as I want which helps me be more productive. I wake up at 8:30 or 9am and dedicate the first few hours of the day to spending time with my family and daughter by playing together and having breakfast. I then start checking the morning news — I get my news from Enterprise and Linkedin. At 11am, I open my email and start the day and I usually keep going until 8pm or 9pm.

I stay focused and organized by always keeping in mind both the fundamentals and the end goal in mind. You have to build up from a strong foundation, but still imagine the bigger picture and map out the details and how you can reach it.

The end goal for Brimore is creating a smart infrastructure network for all cross-border trade in Africa. This would entail us creating a logistics hub and teaming up with several supporting industries.

But since we’re trying to create a human-network, we need to be human-centered. For me, Brimore isn’t just a business, it’s a life mission to create an engine that can touch people’s lives and be impactful. We offer our sellers courses in financial literacy as well as financial tools, such as a microfinancing product. We’re also planning on rolling out health solutions, such as ins., and seeing what we can do to help our sellers’ children obtain a better education — the reason a majority of our sellers joined Brimore. I believe building these win-win relationships with people is how to build trust and access to community.

My personal life dream, however, is to start a school for children with special needs.

When I’m not working, I like to travel or read. I like to read about philosophy, social psychology, history, and business. Some of the best books I’ve read include Sapiens, The Power of Habit, The Tipping Point, Why Nations Fail, Outliers, Smarter, Faster, Better.

I also enjoy watching documentaries. I really enjoyed Space Race and Apocalypse: The Second World War. The Netflix docuseries Babies really helped me with my newborn, and it was really interesting overall.

The best piece of advice I received was actually an Arabic proverb that loosely translates to ‘knowledge gets lost in between shyness and arrogance’. If you’re too shy or too proud to ask, then you’ll never know.

CALENDAR

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.

24 November-7 December (Wednesday-Tuesday): Designated period for SODIC shareholders to subscribe to Aldar Properties and ADQ’s mandatory tender offer (pdf).

25 November (Thursday): East Mediterranean Gas Forum ministerial meeting, Cairo, Egypt.

25 November (Thursday): Rameda Pharma’s annual general meeting (pdf), at which it will decide on the sale of a 5% stake in the company from an individual shareholder to an unnamed institutional investor.

25 November (Thursday): Ibnsina Pharma’s extraordinary general assembly meeting (pdf) to discuss the company’s planned capital increase to EGP 280 mn through a share issuance.

25-27 November (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, Cairo, Egypt.

26 November-5 December (Friday-Sunday): The 43rd Cairo International Film Festival.

28 November-1 December (Sunday-Wednesday): Creative Industry Summit, Nile Ritz-Carlton.

29 November (Monday): Deadline for registration for MCIT’s online career training program by Digital Egypt Youth.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Centre.

30 November (Tuesday): Launch of open call by KfW for green project proposals in Egypt as part of their Investing for Employment facility (pdf).

End of November: El Nasr Automotive expects to have found a replacement for Dongfeng as its partner for its local EV assembly plans.

1 December (Wednesday): Unvaccinated members of the public will be banned from government buildings from this date; unvaccinated students will be prevented from accessing university campuses.

1 December (Wednesday): Government departments will begin moving to offices in the new capital.

2 December (Thursday): The 23rd OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting.

5 December (Sunday): Purchasing managers’ index figures for November for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar will be released.

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

8-10 December (Wednesday-Friday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS), Cairo, Egypt.

9-10 December (Thursday-Friday): The US’s Summit for Democracy. Egypt is not among the invitees.

10 December (Friday): Capmas will release November inflation figures.

10 December (Friday): Silicon Waha’s Startup Factory program kicks off in Assiut Technology Zone.

12 December (Sunday): Raya Holding’s Ordinary General Assembly meeting.

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 December (Tuesday): Inquiry session for the Industrial Development Authority’s licenses to manufacture steel products.

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.

15 December (Wednesday): Deadline for joint stock companies and investment companies in Cairo to join e-invoicing platform.

15 December (Wednesday): Target date for snackmaker Edita to wrap up due diligence on its acquisition of the Ole brand owner Egyptian Belgian Company.

15 December (Wednesday): The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will give its final approval for a USD 100 mn facility to state-owned Banque Misr to finance local SMEs working on green projects.

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

End of 4Q2021: EdVentures plans to have closed at least one more edtech investment round.

End of 4Q2021: Fawry plans to have launched its MyFawry card.

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

1H2022:: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will roll out its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

1H2022: e-Finance’s digital healthcare service platform, eHealth, will launch its services.

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

Second Half of January: Egypt will host the Egyptian-Bahraini Joint Committee.

1 January 2022: Capital gains tax comes into effect on the EGX for local investors.

7 January 2022 (Friday): Coptic Christmas.

10-13 January 2022 (Monday-Thursday): World Youth Forum, Sharm El Sheikh.

15 January (Saturday): Target date for the finalization of snackfood giant Edita’s acquisition of the Egyptian Belgian Company, owner of the Ole brand.

17-19 January 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi.

27 January 2022 (Tuesday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

11 February 2022 (Friday): Deadline for Anghami SPAC merger.

11-13 February (Friday-Sunday) FIBA Intercontinental Cup, Cairo.

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

15 February 2022 (Tuesday): The Industrial Development Authority’s deadline for receiving offers from companies for licenses to manufacture steel products.

19 February 2022 (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

March 2022: 4Q2021 earnings season.

March 2022: World Cup playoffs.

2 April 2022 (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

22-24 April 2022 (Friday-Sunday): World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

24 April 2022 (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday (holiday for Coptic Christians).

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

Late April – 15 May 2022: 1Q2022 earnings season

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

2 May 2022 (Monday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

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.

30 June 2022 (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

2H2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

8 July 2022 (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July 2022 (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

30 July 2022 (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August 2022: 2Q2022 earnings season.

6 October 2022 (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October 2022 (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

18-20 October 2022 (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

Late October – 14 November 2022: 3Q2022 earnings season.

**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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