Thursday, 9 December 2021

AM — CI Capital is going after a big stake in Cleopatra Hospitals



Good morning, wonderful people, and happy THURSDAY. It’s shaping up to be a diplomacy-heavy day as Egypt is consulted on a handful of key regional issues — and we have tons of business news for you below to get your day started.

Thank you — each and every one of you — for deciding to start your day with Enterprise, for writing in with comments and story ideas, for being the best readers we could have ever asked for…

UP FIRST- Israeli Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid will be in town today for a meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss developments in Palestine, state-run MENA reports.

Feltman is also dropping by to talk about the war in Ethiopia: US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman is kicking off today a regional tour of Egypt, the UAE, and Turkey to “discuss international support for diplomatic efforts” to stop the civil war in Ethiopia, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, according to Reuters. Stop their war? Sure. But what about that dam, Mr. Feltman?

IT’S INFLATION DAY- Inflation figures for November will be released today by Capmas and the Central Bank of Egypt. Urban inflation slipped slightly to 6.3% in October from 6.6% the month before, which was the highest reading since January 2020.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- African startups could hit an all-time fundraising record this year, with the continent’s startups on track to end 2021 with USD 5 bn in the kitty — more than the past three years combined, an industry forecast showed, according to Bloomberg. With three more weeks left in the year, African startups have already raised a total of USD 4.8 bn in funding. The rise in inflows also helped deliver at least four new unicorns on the continent, one of which was Egypt-born (and Nasdaq-bound) Swvl.

We can thank the rise of fintech and the growing interest of foreign investors for the jump, according to analysts. China and the US were responsible for a large portion of the inflows, as well as institutional bankers, one analyst noted, with most foreign investors taking positions in startups with a fintech component.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- US whitecollar workers are looking forward to returning to the office in January. More than three quarters of US workers in a Fortune poll say they’re returning to the office at the start of the new year — and more than half are looking forward to it.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #3- The Big Four accountancy firms have had their best year in nearly two decades, delivering their best collective revenue performance since before Arthur Andersen collapsed (turning the Big Five into the Big Four) in the wake of the Enron scandal that turned a spotlight on ugly practices in the industry. The Financial Times has the story.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD is probably Joe Biden signalling that he’s not going to send US troops to Ukraine to discourage Vladimir Putin from invading. The story leads the Financial Times and Reuters and we have more in Around the World, below.

Also worth a read: Is Beijing taking reining in China’s central bank? That’s the contention in a Wall Street Journal story sure not to make it past the Great Firewall. The Journal reports that the bank, never fully independent as central banks are in many other countries, is losing the measure of autonomy and special status that it has previously enjoyed.


The FRA’s sustainable finance training program launches today: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) is kicking off its Regional Center for Sustainable Finance training program today, the authority said in a statement. The program aims to help SMEs access green financing tools without having to hire international experts to meet requirements. The FRA’s Regional Center for Sustainable Finance was established earlier this year. Partners in the program include the Climate Bonds Initiative, the UK government-funded North Africa Technical Assistance Facility and the British Embassy in Cairo

Schools and ports in Alexandria are back open today as weather conditions stabilize across the country, director of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority’s forecasting center Mahmoud Shahin told Ala Masouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 3:07). Alexandria’s decision to suspend schools yesterday helped the governorate get ahead of the rainfall and clear its streets of accumulated water, Alexandria Governor Mohamed El Sherif told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 5:42).

Bouts of heavy winds and rain led to three deaths in Beheira, Gharbia, and Sharqia, where lampposts and trees fell on passersby, Local Development Ministry spokesperson Khaled Qassem told Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 5:22). Alexandria suffered similar incidents, but no injuries or deaths have been reported, although a number of cars were reportedly destroyed, Radwan also noted (watch, runtime: 1:08).

Also today: Walk-ins for second vaccine doses will be allowed. Individuals who received the first dose of their covid-19 vaccine but missed the appointment for their second jab can visit the center where they got their first dose and get their second on the spot, acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said earlier this week.


The Cairo Woodshow kicks off today at the Cairo International Convention Center

It’s the second day of the Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research which runs through to tomorrow at the St. Regis Al Masa Convention Center.

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

Young professionals have until next Sunday to apply to the McKinsey Forward program which focuses on leadership, business, and the transition to digital, McKinsey announced in a press release (pdf). The six-month program aims to teach participants how their business can combat challenges and use them to their advantage, integrate tech, and be adaptable and resilient during times of change. Forward will be available without charge to those eligible to apply, and one of the requirements is having less than five years of work experience. You can apply via this link before the deadline.


Booster shot registration: The Health Ministry will begin allowing senior citizens with chronic medical conditions, as well as all medical staff, to register for a booster covid-19 vaccine as of next Sunday, 12 December.

Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will hold its final meeting for the year to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 December.

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



CI Capital pushing into the private healthcare sector

CI Capital is staking its claim in Egypt’s healthcare sector with a bid to acquire more than a quarter of Cleopatra Hospitals Group (CHG), the country’s second-largest healthcare company. MCI Capital Healthcare Partners, a subsidiary of the state-owned financial services company, has submitted a voluntary tender offer to acquire a 26.2% stake in CHG at a cost of EGP 2 bn, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) said in a regulatory filing (pdf) yesterday. MCI Capital has offered to purchase the shares at EGP 5 apiece, valuing the company at EGP 8 bn. CI Capital declined to comment on the transaction when approached by Enterprise.

Cleopatra’s share price surged on the news, gaining nearly 4.7% yesterday to close at EGP 4.70 apiece. CI Capitals shares gained 1% to close at EGP 4.10.

The company’s single biggest shareholder is on board: Creed Healthcare, which owns 37.9% of CHG through its subsidiary Care Healthcare, has agreed to sell an 8-12% stake in the company from its holdings (126 mn-192 mn shares) to MCI, CHG’s corporate strategy and IR director Hassan Fikry told us. This would reduce its stake in CHG to 26-30%, but maintain its position as its largest shareholder, netting Creed shareholders as much as EGP 960 mn.

What’s Creed: Creed used to own more than two-thirds of CHG but divested a 31.5% stake in 2019. Creed shareholders include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, France’s Proparco, Germany’s DEG alongside private equity firms (pdf). Mid-market investment firm RMBV’s Ahmed Badreldin helped create Cleo and is now chairman of the board, sitting as a representative of Creed. RMBV is a double-bottom-line firm with holdings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Senegal and Ivory Coast, including EGX-listed higher ed outfit Taaleem in Egypt.

Who else owns a chunk of Cleopatra? Some 62% of the company’s shares are held by “others,” according to the company’s investor deck, which notes that key freefloat shareholders include Franklin Templeton Investments, VanEck, Norges Bank, Wasatch Funds, and Consilium Investment Management.

The acquisition bid comes on the back of a strong 2021 for the healthcare company, which has reported (pdf) 58% earnings growth during the first nine months of the year. CHG posted net income of EGP 288.1 mn during the period on the back of 38% growth of revenue.

What are the next steps: The transaction is still subject to the approval of the FRA. If CI Capital’s bid is approved and its transaction vehicle closes on the 8-12% from Care Healthcare, MCI will likely acquire the rest of the shares through the EGX.


No management shake-up at SODIC

SODIC management is staying on post-ADQ / Aldar acquisition: The Emirati consortium of real estate giant Aldar Properties and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ is planning to keep the executive management at SODIC unchanged after acquiring 85.5% of the upmarket real estate player, Al Borsa reports, citing unnamed sources.

Both sides of the agreement are happy with the partnership: SODIC was Aldar’s top pick as an entry point into Egypt’s real estate market, Aldar CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi said earlier this week. The Emirati real estate player had also previously signaled that it plans to grow its footprint in the market and is “currently assessing” several potential ventures. Meanwhile, SODIC Managing Director Magued Sherif said the Emirati consortium’s acquisition of a majority share in the company “provides SODIC’s shareholders with immediate and substantial cash value reflecting the company’s solid financial position and strong brand equity.”

Refresher: Aldar and ADQ had bid for up to 90% of SODIC in an offer first put forward in March, originally saying they would offer EGP 18-19 per share, before upping their offer to EGP 20 per share in their mandatory tender offer in September.

The transaction is expected to be finalized in the coming days and the shares will be transferred by 16 December, Aldar said after the conclusion of the mandatory tender offer earlier this week.


Abu Qir to sell up to 10% stake in secondary offering

Abu Qir Fertilizers will sell up to 10% of its shares in a secondary offering on the EGX, the company announced in a bourse disclosure (pdf) yesterday. The state-owned company didn’t give any indication of when the sale might go ahead, but Emad El Din Mostafa, the head of the Chemical Industries Holding Company — an Abu Qir shareholder — told us last week that the transaction could close before the end of the year, with a virtual roadshow targeting potential institutional investors currently underway. Mostafa also confirmed earlier this week that this plan hasn’t been affected by the emergence of Omicron.

We now know who’s marketing the shares: The state-owned company has appointed EFG Hermes, CI Capital, Renaissance Capital, and Al Ahly Pharos to underwrite the transaction, according to the disclosure. Several of the investment banks we contacted yesterday declined to comment on where they’re promoting the sale and would not provide any color on the transaction.

Abu Qir’s secondary offering will come as part of this year’s revival of the state privatization program, starting with e-Finance, which completed the EGX’s biggest IPO in years in October, raising some USD 370 mn. Football club Ghazl El Mahalla is also set to make its debut on the EGX in a “micro-IPO” in two weeks.

The stake sale has been years in the making: Abu Qir has pushed back the secondary stake sale several times since first announcing it in 2018, with the state’s privatization program suffering delays thanks largely to global market turmoil and then the pandemic.

Abu Qir’s earnings have been consistently strong recently. The company reported a 30% rise in net income during FY2020-2021, and saw its quarterly earnings almost double to EGP 1.3 bn in 1Q2021-2022, which it attributed to higher international prices and strong demand.


Sumed’s oil shipments at their highest in November since May 2020

Oil shipments through Egypt’s Sumed pipeline hit an 18-month high in November, with north of 700k bbl/d of crude flowing out of the pipeline last month, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. Although this is the highest level since May 2020, it remains 150k bbl/d below pre-pandemic levels. This uptick comes 18 months after shipment activity had fallen due to covid-19 slashing demand and leading countries to cut production levels by 10%.

Poland and the Netherlands were Sumed’s biggest export markets in November, rather than the usual Mediterranean destinations of Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey. Poland emerged as the largest buyer. This shift comes amid increasing tensions between Poland and its neighboring countries Russia and Belarus, which had been Warsaw’s biggest suppliers, prompting Poland to look towards alternative sources.

Stockpiles at the pipeline’s Sidi Kerir storage tanks have been growing over the past several months as OPEC+ ramped up its output targets, leading to crude oil deliveries to the pipeline outpacing offtake. The majority of the crude shipments to the pipeline were sourced from Saudi Arabia, according to the business information service.

Why Sumed is an attractive option for oil shipments: The Sumed pipeline allows giant shippers to carry crude from a terminal in Ain Sokhna to storage tanks near Alexandria on the Mediterranean without having to pass through the Suez Canal. Offloading some of their cargo into one end of the pipeline in Ain Sokhna allows the carriers to cross the Suez Canal (without sitting too deep in the water) and then refill in Sidi Kerir. They can also fully offload their cargo to westbound tankers stationed on the other side and move to their next consignment.

This bodes well for our energy hub ambitions: The uptake in Sumed shipments, along with our LNG exports maxing out following a summer lull and recent agreements to build subsea pipelines with Greece and Cyprus, can help Egypt consolidate its position as a regional energy hub and a key source of energy for Europe.


SFE is pushing ahead with Siemens stake sale + privatizing military businesses

Updates on the Siemens power plants + military companies’ privatization from the SFE: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) and the Electricity Ministry are nearly done with studies on how best to move forward with a stake sale in the Siemens / Orascom Construction / Elsewedy Electric combined-cycle power plant, CEO Ayman Soliman said in a phone-in with Bloomberg Asharq (watch, runtime: 17:01). The study is being conducted in light of the recent volatility in global energy markets and the transition towards clean energy, Soliman said.

The SFE is also nearly done with restructuring bottled water brand Safi and Wataniya Petroleum ahead of selling stakes in the companies to private investors as part of the SFE’s plan to open up military-affiliated businesses for private ownership, Soliman said. Last we heard, the SFE had been planning to go ahead with the sale of a stake in Wataniya before the end of the year. Plans to sell stakes in other companies owned by the Defense Ministry’s National Service Products Organization are still in the pipeline but the fund has yet to begin taking concrete steps on that front, according to Soliman. The fund’s chief executive had previously said that 10 military subsidiaries are being assessed for potential co-investment.


Minly acquires Emirati competitor Oulo

Minly taps into the Gulf: Egypt-based customized celeb video platform Minly acquired Emirati celebrity shout-out platform Oulo for an undisclosed amount, according to a company statement. This comes six months after Minly closed a USD 3.6 mn seed round co-led by 4DX Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners, and Global Ventures. Minly said it would use the proceeds to expand across the region and introduce a suite of new products.

What’s Minly? Minly allows fans to request personalized videos from celebrities, influencers, or musicians for a price — similar to the US’ Cameo. Minly has accumulated over 130k users, who can choose between around 1k celebrities, including Tamer Hosny, Hazem Imam and Sawsan Badr.

Minly is expanding quickly: The company recently launched Minly Watch, a service which gives users the ability to virtually attend events. The platform debuted with an exclusive concert from Egyptian rapper Wegz which had over 32k attendees.

About Oulo: Founded in 2020, the company operates similarly to Minly, it allows users to pay for customized video messages from over 300 celebrities across Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, including Bassel Khaiat, Ali Jaber and Maguy Farah.

The acquisition will bring Minly new clientele, as it will take on Oulo’s pan-Arab Leviathan stars. “Historically, the majority of pan-Arab celebrities were either Egyptian or Lebanese. Therefore, combining forces unlocks immense synergies as, together, we dominate the two most important sources of cultural content,” Oulo CEO Kamal Nazha added.

Our WHAT’S NEXT vertical reported last week that its increasingly common for startups to acquire other early-stage companies. Go read: M&A looks set to be What’s Next on Planet Startup.



Egyptian-American software engineer Dina Ayman was chosen among Forbes’ 30 under 30 in the Enterprise Technology category. Ayman is an advocate for diversity, a program manager at Microsoft and an adjunct professor in computer engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Real estate giant SODIC became the first recipient of procurement excellence certificate in Egypt: SODIC earned a Procurement Excellence Programme Award from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, the company said in a statement (pdf). The award is given to companies who demonstrate excellent procurement and supply-chain practices.



SMART POLICY- Leading coverage on last night’s talk shows: The government wants to upskill the labor market to stop robots stealing our jobs. Egypt wants to tackle the issue of jobs at risk due to automation, Planning Minister Hala El Said said on the opening day of the Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS). Technical developments in production are changing the jobs market, while new skills like big data, robotics and artificial intelligence are now in demand, El Said said (watch, runtime: 3:56). She’s looking at ways the country can close the skills gap in the labor market, citing a January OECD report (pdf), which said that automation will put 14% of jobs at high risk. A similar study from Nexford University found that at least half of white collar employers believe their employees need upskilling, with the majority of respondents pointing to digital skills as the most lacking.

Also during the forum: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi decided to offer 100 scholarships at Egyptian universities to talented students from around the world (watch, runtime: 1:39). The forum earned coverage from Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 3:47), Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 1:24), and Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 3:07).


Our unhealthy eating habits made it to the foreign press: Egypt joined a naughty list of countries with the highest disease burden from trans fats, according to a WHO report. Best-practice policies adopted by forty countries aim to meet a WHO target to eliminate the “deadly food compound” by 2023. To be fair, we can’t be fully blamed, seeing how inaccessible nutrient-rich food is. Reuters had the story.

Human rights advocate Patrick Zaki’s release from pretrial detention and his return to his hometown of Mansoura is still getting ink. (Reuters)

Also making headlines:

  • Tahrir’s Mogamma transformation from a symbol of cumbersome state bureaucracy to a multipurpose complex is set to attract international tourism. (The National)
  • France comes under scrutiny for arms sales, in a piece that criticizes the French government for its willingness to sell weapons to countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt. (Le Monde Diplomatique)


COP27 preparations begin: The government committee mandated with organizing COP27 convened for its first meeting yesterday, to discuss priorities and preparations for the climate summit scheduled to be held in Sharm El Sheikh next November, cabinet said in a statement.

Fawry’s fast-moving consumer goods branch will launch its B2B FMCG marketplace app Mandoobi in cooperation with BI Technologies at next week’s Food Africa 2021 conference in Cairo.

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

  • Egypt’s Sukari gold mine saw its largest reserve increase in a decade in 1H2021: The mine saw net mineral reserve growth of 1.1 mn ounces, or 23%, in the first half of 2021.
  • Our Avenue of the Sphinxes parade is now an annual event: After one very glamorous parade in Luxor late November to mark the reopening of the avenue, the Tourism Ministry has decided to host the parade on an annual basis.


UK imposes tighter restrictions to curb Omicron spread

The Health Ministry reported 909 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 882 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 365,831 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 56 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 20,877.

Boris rolls out stricter covid restrictions as Omicron spreads: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided yesterday to begin implementing tighter covid-19 restrictions, known as “Plan B,” across the UK “following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.” As of tomorrow, face masks will be mandatory in most indoor spaces, while proof of vaccination through a vaccine passport could become mandatory to enter nightclubs and other venues for large gatherings. The prime minister also ordered a shift to working from home for all those who are able.

Johnson’s directives come after British scientific advisers signaled that Omicron cases are doubling every three days, with one scientist saying that travel restrictions will soon be useless due to the increasing number of cases, The Times wrote. Experts believe that the new variant will soon dethrone its Delta counterpart and become the dominant covid strain in the country.


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Is the Fed set to press fast-forward on its stimulus wind-down? Economists expect the US Federal Reserve to taper its bond-buying program in order to start raising interest rates much more rapidly than expected, according to a Financial Times poll. More than half of the 48 respondents said the Fed would likely stop its stimulus purchases entirely by the end of March, months ahead of the schedule announced by the central bank in November.

Half of the economists surveyed now also expect a rate rise in 2Q2022 — an outcome just 20% of them believed likely three months ago. The predictions come as Fed head Jay Powell and other officials turn hawkish on sustained US inflation, as a stronger labor market leaves the bank more wiggle room to clamp down on rising prices.

A steeper taper could spell turbulence for our bond market: The Omicron variant and the decision to keep Powell as Fed head for another term fueled risk-off sentiment at the end of November, leading to a wobble in emerging-market debt ETFs. Egyptian assets saw net outflows of USD 19.3 mn, or 12%, in the last week of last month. That said, Egyptian assets held in ETFs are peanuts compared to the bns of USD invested directly in local-currency bonds — and one of the highest real interest rates in the world should ensure we can still compete in a world of higher US rates.

Speaking of our attractive interest rates: Keep an eye out for November’s inflation figures due to be released tomorrow. Further rises in inflation could soon start to make the EGP less attractive, especially as the US and other countries begin to roll back covid stimulus and raise rates.

The Saudi stock exchange surged on its trading debut, with shares in the bourse closing up 13% after rising as much as 22% following the exchange’s USD 1 bn IPO, Bloomberg reports. The Tadawul’s float marks the biggest exchange IPO since Euronext went public in 2014, as investors were persuaded to buy in based on bumper YTD gains amid the so-called Middle East IPO rush. The Saudi exchange has 50 IPO applications in the pipeline for 2022, the bourse’s CEO told Reuters on the day of its debut. The Tadawul is also considering following our lead and introducing SPACs to the kingdom, Khalid al-Hussan told the newswire.




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The EGX30 fell 0.8% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.24 bn (12.1% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 5.6% YTD.

In the green: Ezz Steel (+6.2%), Cleopatra Hospital (+4.7%) and Rameda (+3.4%).

In the red: Speed Medical (-20.0%), Heliopolis Housing (-7.0%) and Fawry (-6.4%).

Major Asian benchmarks are largely (if, uhm, “flatt-ish-ly” — is that a word?) in the green this morning, with only the Nikkei flirting with the red. Futures suggest much of Europe and Wall Street will (weakly) open in positive territory later today.


US President Joe Biden agreed to bring Russia’s grievances with NATO to the discussion table in a future meeting between Moscow and “at least four” major allies in the transatlantic agreement, in a “diplomatic concession” meant to prevent Moscow from invading Ukraine, the Financial Times reports. This comes a day after the US leader held a bilateral call with Vladimir Putin, which ended with threats from Washington to cut off Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline should Russia invade Ukraine.

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • An Emirati delegation is in Ankara to discuss defense collaboration, Reuters reports, amid a thawing in tensions between the UAE and Turkey. Two weeks ago, Ankara and Abu Dhabi signed bns of USD-worth of agreements in food, energy and healthcare among other sectors.
  • Canada, the UK, Australia and Lithuania are the latest to follow the US’ lead in its diplomatic boycott of Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics, citing China’s human rights abuses targeting ethnic Uighur people in Xinjiang.
  • Chinese authorities have expanded their crackdown on the tech sector with a blacklist limiting international funding and overseas listings by Chinese companies. The crackdown will target future variable interest entities (VIEs) — a structure that allows companies to circumvent existing restrictions to raise bns from international investors, reports the Financial Times.


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Omar Shoukry, founder and CEO of Nawah Scientific: 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. Presented in association with healthy foods brand Abu Auf. Speaking with us this week is Omar Shoukry, CEO and founder of private research center Nawah Scientific (LinkedIn). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

My name is Omar Shoukry and I spent 15 years in academia before founding Nawah Scientific. I got my MA in pharma tech from the German University in Cairo and my PhD from the University of Geneva. I spent most of my early career in pharma research in Berlin and later in Geneva. After I did my PhD, I decided to switch from pure academia to entrepreneurship, so I got my MBA from Hult Business School in the UK. I founded Nawah six years ago with the idea of bringing the cloud lab model to Egypt.

You could say that Nawah combines e-commerce and scientific research in a blender. Nawah is a central lab — the same idea as a cloud kitchen, but for scientific testing — that gives individual researchers and corporates access to a large depository of services. We do scientific analysis of anything that isn’t related to humans: Vitamins, food, nutritional facts, air, water, soil, etc. In six years, we have tested 100k+ samples from over 12 countries and today, we are the biggest private lab in Egypt. Our vision is to dominate the Middle East and Africa with the hub model and we have plans to launch our second hub in Nigeria next year.

As the founder and CEO of Nawah, I have the typical tasks of any CEO. I directly oversee the company culture and business environment, and business development and sales. I also oversee fundraising and general management.

We did a lot of crisis management during the pandemic. If we had been a diagnostics lab, we would have done great, but given our line of business, we had to find new products. We developed a skin-sensitive hand sanitizer that was successful and we developed a virology lab that now supports Egyptian vaccine manufacturing.

Egypt has more than 150k bright-minded scientists, which is a very big number for any country, but our output is minimal, partly because our lab facilities are inadequate, which cripples the potential of the scientific community.

One of the things we are proud of is that 50% of our team is women. This is not because we set out to hire women, but because they are very good at science and play a huge role at Nawah.

I’m a very early bird. I start working at dawn and those two hours in the morning are my focus time. Then my kids wake up and I drive them to school and go to the office and stay there until late. I also play tennis three times a week.

I stay focused and organized by delegating tasks. I’m very fortunate to have a very strong team, so I trust them with tasks and focus on my own work. And the other thing is those two hours that I take in the morning really help me stay focused.

The one thing I have to do every day is read for at least half an hour or 45 minutes. I like to read about personal skills, mainly leadership. Nawah grew from five to 85 people, so you have to grow your leadership skills quickly to keep up. I am also a scientist, so I like to stay updated on science. And I love to read history and biographies.

My favorite way to switch off completely is to go diving. I love to just go underwater and spend time with the fish. But tennis helps on a weekly basis.

Being the sole founder of a high-growth startup took its toll on me at some point because of the amount of stress that I was under all the time. We triple in size year-on-year and that can be very stressful. At one point, I had to be treated for workaholism. It also takes a toll on your family, and my wife and children were not happy with me. I still don’t think I have a good work-life balance, but I really value the time that I spend with my children every day.

My advice to other startup founders is to have co-founders to share the load with. It’s very easy to lose your family in the process of building a startup. You have to put vacations and family on your calendar, just like you block time for work.

The other thing that is easier said than done is to enjoy the journey. You have to accept that you will constantly be stressed, and stress can be good because it means that you have incoming potential.


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

8-9 December (Wednesday-Thursday): The 14th General Conference of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) will be held in Egypt.

9 December (Thursday): Second vaccine shot appointments will be made available to those who previously missed their appointments.

9 December (Thursday): Deadline for tobacco companies to purchase the new conditions booklet for the Industrial Development Authority’s tobacco manufacturing license.

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

9-12 December (Thursday-Sunday): The 6th Edition of Cairo Woodshow, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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): Booster shot appointments for those eligible will roll in on the Health Ministry’s website.

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

12 December (Sunday): Deadline to apply to the McKinsey Forward program for young professionals.

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

13-17 December (Monday-Friday): 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 December (Tuesday): CDC event to announce the details of its 2022-2026 strategy period.

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.

16 December (Thursday): SODIC shares will be transferred to Aldar Properties / ADQ consortium by this date.

16 December (Thursday): Inquiry session for the Industrial Development Authority’s licenses to manufacture tobacco products.

End of December: El Nasr Automotive plans to sign contracts with a new partner to locally assemble EVs.

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.

The end of January: The Egyptian-Romanian business forum will take place with the aim of strengthening joint investment relations.

January 2022: Tenth of Ramadan dry port tender to be launched.

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

1-15 January 2022 (Saturday-Saturday): Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) Joint Committee.

4 January 2022 (Tuesday): OPEC+ ministerial meeting.

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.

20 January 2022 (Thursday): Kadmar Shipping’s new line transporting agricultural crops between Alexandria and Russia begins its operations.

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

February 2022: Hassan Allam Construction’s new construction firm established with Russia’s Titan-2 to handle construction work on the Dabaa nuclear power plant begins its operations.

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: Deadline for the World Health Organization’s intergovernmental negotiating body to meet to discuss binding treaty on future pandemic cooperation.

March 2022: World Cup playoffs.

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

3 April 2022 (Sunday): Bidding begins on the Industrial Development Authority’s license to manufacture tobacco products.

4 April 2022 (Monday): CDC Group will formally change its name to British International Investment.

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.

July 2022: A law governing ins. for seasonal contractors will come into effect.

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.

September 2022: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition with the title Naval Power.

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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