Monday, 14 February 2022

AM — Threat of conflict in Ukraine brings “uncertainty” to global wheat markets -El Moselhy

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to our first slow news day in more than two weeks — we consider it our just recompense for having survived the vicissitudes of a news cycle that’s been rolling by in fast-forward for to long now..

We expect to be talking about oil and gas quite a lot in the coming days as the Egypt Petroleum Show (Egyps) gets underway today at the Egypt International Exhibition Center. The event runs through Wednesday. Speakers include OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo and International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol. Also speaking: Our ministers of oil, finance and the environment (among other government officials), as well as energy and oil ministers from countries including the UAE, Jordan, Yemen, Israel, Cyprus and Greece. Top execs from major oil and energy firms will also be in attendance.

There will be lots of noise about Egypt as the natural energy hub of the Eastern Med, a notion that longtime readers will recall we’ve been championing for years — and that has new relevance with Europe facing the prospect of a longer-term energy crunch thanks to tensions with Moscow. (More on those tensions below.)

On the other end of the “good for the planet” scale: We now have tariffs for charging electric vehicles after the Madbouly government published its rate sheet in the Official Gazette. We’ll have a deep dive into the details tomorrow in our Going Green vertical, presented each week thanks to the support of our friends at Infinity.


THE BIG STORY TODAY here at home? Policymakers are confirming what we’ve been saying for weeks here at Enterprise World Headquarters: War between Ukraine and Russia would not be good for the global wheat market. We’re the world’s largest importer of the grain. What’s more: They’re also two of our most important tourism markets (in volume terms, though admittedly not margin) — Russia is a key security and defense partner.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Is the Ukraine crisis coming to a head? This week could decide whether tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine bubble over into armed conflict, Bloomberg and the Associated Press are reporting this morning. US President Joe Biden promised a “rapid response” if Russia does invade its neighbor in a phone call with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday, as White House advisers continued to brief that Russia could create a surprise “pretext” to invade Ukraine any day now. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will head to Moscow today before meeting with Zelensky for talks on Tuesday for a last-ditch effort at diplomacy. More than a dozen countries have moved to pull non-essential diplomatic staff from Ukraine, with some airlines going as far as canceling flights to the country. The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Reuters have more.

Will there be war? Some pundits in our socials are suggesting that Putin doesn’t need to invade to accomplish his goals: Taking the threat right up to the red line (but not crossing it) has already done enough to draw a line under his “security sphere” and open sew discord among Western allies, they suggest.

The prospect of war in Ukraine and the wheat crunch come at the same time as the global commodity shortage is back in the headlines. Stockpiles of goods from copper to coffee are at historically low levels, threatening further inflationary pressures, the Financial Times reports. Raw materials, food staples, metals and energy futures have all slipped into backwardation — when spot prices exceed futures prices, signaling scarcity. Traders are paying over the odds to secure immediate metal supply, while copper stocks at major commodity exchanges sit at less than a week’s worth of global consumption. Add to that an oil supply squeeze that has pushed prices to record highs (now being further boosted by geopolitical tensions in Ukraine), and last year’s alarm bells over a “commodities supercycle” are ringing in our heads again.

The good news: We aren’t set to see global shortages (yet). “The risk of shortages by the end of winter is remote at this point,” one analyst says. “But the market will still need to secure significant supply through the summer in order to prevent those concerns coming back next winter.”

PSA #1- Are you about to quote Forbes “magazine” in a presentation or proposal? Don’t. Stop. Go read this. Then think again. Why? It’s not looking much like a real media outlet these days as much as it does an unedited platform for “scams, grift, and bad journalism” writes the founder of Harvard’s Nieman Lab. If it’s tagged as being written by a “contributor”? It’s someone’s personal blog, not an edited work of journalism.

PSA #2- Are you running Zoom on a Mac? It might be listening to you right now, warns Macworld.

What to try instead? Google’s video and voice conference stuff is better, we think (it’s called Google Meet… we think? They rebrand this particular service more frequently than Amer Group changes CEOs). Microsoft’s Teams isn’t bad at all, just ugly as sin.

From the Dumpster fire that is our social media:

  • Did your #2 just call in sick because his emotional support alligator is having a bad day after being caught in construction on the Ring Road all morning? Our collective ability to come up with inventive excuses for missing work dates back at least 3.2k years.
  • Bye-bye, pandemic. The guy who wanted to “close everything” at the beginning of the outbreak now wants to reopen all the things. (The Atlantic)
  • It may be a bit harder to get a laptop, tablet or new phone in the next little while after 6.5 mn TB of flash memory was ruined at two of the world’s leading producers thanks to contamination. (Bloomberg | Apple Insider)

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

It’s day two of the three-day Arab sustainable development week. Some 400 participants including the EU, World Bank and other institutions are chewing over how to tackle in a sustainable way the development challenges of the Arab world.

The Industrial Development Authority will receive offers from companies for licenses to manufacture iron products tomorrow.

Orange Ventures’ deadline to receive applications from seed-stage fintech startups for its seed challenge is also tomorrow.

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: Private schools have been hit by price increases in recent months, as domestic inflation accelerates. With inflation running close to two-and-a-half-year highs, spending is being impacted across the board, with rising capex costs putting particular pressure on companies in the sector, say several operators. Today, we look at how the impact of inflation varies among Egypt’s private schools, and what they’re doing to mitigate it.

enterprise

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COMMODITIES

Ukraine crisis spurs “uncertainty” in wheat market -El Moselhy

Rising tensions in the tug-of-war between Russia and Ukraine are causing “uncertainty” in the wheat market, Al Shorouk quoted Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy as saying. While the Madbouly government has previously suggested it had no plans to start hedging wheat, El Moselhy is quoted as having said a decision to do so could come by the end of next month.

Why Ukraine matters for our wheat supply: The world’s largest wheat importer, Egypt is also the largest consumer of Ukrainian wheat, last year purchasing the equivalent of around 14% of its total wheat needs from the eastern European country. Now, a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens to disrupt supplies from the country. Prices “spiked” the last time Russia invaded Ukraine (when it seized Crimea back in 2014), according to the Economist. Russia is also a top supplier: around 50% of our wheat imports shipped from the country last year (while 30% came from Ukraine), Al Arabiya reports, picking up a Reuters story citing data from two regional traders.

The Supply Ministry is continuing to work on diversifying wheat imports, El Moselhy added. Diversification efforts that began last year saw us purchase wheat from Latvia for the first time and consider importing from other countries including France, Canada, and possibly the US.

We currently hold more than five months’ worth of wheat in our strategic reserves, El Moselhy said. Wheat prices have been declining over the past two weeks as the market saw a surplus and pandemic-induced demand began to subside, he added.

Wheat prices have been an issue since far before the crisis in Ukraine: Prices hit ten-year highs in the global market last year on the back of reduced crop production in some of the world’s biggest producers, higher shipping costs, and trade tariffs — meaning wheat is likely to sap an additional EGP 12 bn out of the fiscal budget for this fiscal year. Meanwhile, major producer Russia has been mulling higher export tariffs on the grain. As a result, the ministry is considering several scenarios for tapering bread subsidies for the first time in decades, including targeted cuts that ringfence the most vulnerable people and replacing subsidies with cash payments. Expect a final decision on how they will be reworked by the end of March.

M&A WATCH

EFG looks to hire advisers for FAB acquisition bid

EFG Hermes is looking to appoint an international financial advisor and an Egyptian law firm to advise on First Abu Dhabi Bank’s acquisition offer, the leading financial services corporation announced yesterday in an EGX disclosure (pdf). EFG’s board of directors held a meeting on Thursday to discuss the possible transaction and hiring the as-yet-unnamed advisors, the disclosure said, without providing further details.

FAB’s offer: In what would be the country’s biggest acquisition in years, the Emirati lender last week announced it had offered to purchase at least 51% of EFG in a transaction that would value the firm at EGP 18.5 bn. By comparison, the Aldar / ADQ acquisition of SODIC valued the upmarket realtor at EGP 7.1 bn. Rothschild & Co is providing financial advice to FAB, while Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy are the lender’s local legal advisors.

FAB could raise its offer price due to “the prominence of EFG Hermes, its financial position, and its strategic role in the financial markets in Egypt and the region,” Al Shorouk reported, citing unnamed sources it claims have knowledge of the matter. The bank has offered to purchase the shares for EGP 19.00 apiece, a 21% premium on EFG’s closing share price the day before the announcement.

EFG’s share price has been on the rise since FAB announced its offer, gaining another 0.6% on the EGX yesterday to close at EGP 17.80.

FAB’s potential acquisition of EFG Hermes is a top priority for the bank’s board this year, and they would be willing to raise their offer based on the outcome of the due diligence process, according to the unidentified sources.

FAB eyes more Egyptian investments this year: The UAE bank is reportedly looking into more potential investments in the Egyptian market, and will be making decisions soon, the sources said, adding that FAB is particularly interested in listed companies, tech companies, and non-banking financial firms. Management has a strategic plan to consolidate upcoming Emirati investments in Egypt by ensuring that transactions are concluded through the bank and its subsidiaries, the sources reportedly added.

STARTUP WATCH

Cloud hub startup Takery lands pre-seed funding

Takery Cloud Hubs, an Egypt-based cloud hub startup, has raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-seed funding round, according to a press release (pdf). The funding will be used to expand the company’s cloud branches, grow its team, and develop its tech. Including this first round, the company is looking to secure up to USD 3 mn in 2022, the statement says.

About the company: Takery is Egypt’s first company specialized in establishing and managing cloud hubs, according to founder and CEO Karim Morsi. The company offers fast-food chains and fast-moving consumer goods companies the digital infrastructure to grow their footprints, either by entering new markets altogether or expanding geographically.

More brands to land in Egypt? Takery is looking to bring new international and Gulf brands into the Egyptian market, the press release says, without providing further details.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The draft Labor Act (which got the Senate’s final nod yesterday) dominated coverage on the airwaves. The Senate approved an article that would give new fathers one day of paternity leave for the day of birth, after it had earlier struck down the initial proposal to allow them seven days of leave, Senate member Mohamed El Sebaie said in a phone call with Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 8:59). Senate Energy, Environment, and Manpower Committee head Abdel Khalek Ayad addressed criticism over the shortened paternity leave in a call with El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 8:49), arguing that the minimum requirement can be expanded by employers on a case by case basis. We have an explainer on the bill’s finer points here.

New measures to prevent illegal building on public land also got airtime: The government will use satellite technology to track and automatically report illegal building in governorates via a central operating room that could be up and running within months, the Agriculture Ministry’s head of agricultural services and follow-up, Abbas El Shenawy, told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 9:36).

Meanwhile, last week’s discussions on the so-called old-rent law and the Real Estate Registry Act continued on Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 32:39).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s a nice, quiet morning for Egypt in the international press.

Star of critically acclaimed film Feathers and self-taught actor Damiana Nassar is the subject of a New York Times profile that also takes in the film’s reception at home and abroad.

On the human rights front, recently released Egyptian-Palestinian activist Ramy Shaath has spoken in a BBC interview on prison conditions.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Edita Food Industries is expanding its biscuits segment with the launch of Oniro Mini Lava at a retail price of EGP 3 per pack, the company announced in a press release (pdf). The four-stick biscuit packs come in vanilla and chocolate flavors. The launch comes as part of Edita’s efforts to grow its biscuits segment, which the snackfoods maker says grew at a rate of 79.2% y-o-y in 9M2021, making it Edita’s second fastest-growing segment.

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

  • UAE’s Tabreed is coming to Egypt: National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) has partnered with real estate developer Marakez and the Egyptian Company for Energy and Cooling Projects (Gascool) to provide cooling services for Marakez’s D5M Mall in New Cairo.
  • Russia releases our oranges: Russian customs authorities have released Egyptian citrus exports that were held for days due to a reported sudden change in import rules at Russian ports.
  • EgyptAir reportedly plans to set up Air Sphinx, a low-cost airline subsidiary, this year.
  • Emirati firm Al Nowais’ subsidiary AMEA Power is set to send proposals to the government on two projects in seawater desalination and green hydrogen.
  • Recycling company BariQ has secured EUR 8 mn in funding from three foreign institutions and two local banks to finance expansions. The company is working (pdf) on expanding its bottle recycling factory to double production capacity to 60k tonnes/year.

COVID WATCH

The Health Ministry reported 2,131 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 2,145 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 454,952 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 57 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 23,349.

The vaccine tally: 29,083,027 people are now fully vaccinated against the virus, while some 9.5 mn people have received only their first shots and 749,799 people have received booster shots.

Egypt has some 70 mn covid-19 jabs ready and waiting to be administered, head of the government’s covid-19 committee Hossam Hosny told Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 15:29).

Anti-vax and anti-mask protests have erupted across major cities over the past week, as resentment grows against ongoing covid-19 restrictions even as the pandemic appears to be subsiding. Canadian police have finally cleared a six-day blockade that halted one of the country’s busiest trade links with the United States, Reuters reports, after truck drivers staged a “freedom convoy” against a vaccine-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers. The protests have inspired similar demonstrations in the Australian capital of Canberra, while France saw a protest convoy against covid restrictions breach warnings to stay away from central Paris, with the police firing tear gas on demonstrators.

A ray of light? Some anti-vaxxers are being swayed by the protein-based Novavax jab. Many unvaccinated people in Germany have signed up to take the Novavax covid-19 vaccine, which uses a long-established protein-based technology, signaling that some who have doubts about novel mRNA vaccines could be persuaded to take other jabs, Reuters reports.

PLANET FINANCE

Powered by
EFG Hermes - https://efghermes.com/

Investor appetite for oil + gas bonds grows as prices rally: Investors are keen to buy oil and gas companies’ debt as crude oil prices soar, the Financial Times reports. Funds are now overweight on high-yield energy bonds, while one US gas producer reportedly saw double the usual levels of investor demand in a January issuance, raising USD 500 mn.

ESG? Not so important now we’re in an energy supply crunch. ESG has “gone to the back burner” now oil is performing, according to one debt banker. Others say industry efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in production are attracting fresh investment from environmentally conscious funds.

And now isn’t the time for antitrust concerns, either: EU regulators have halted a long-running probe into whether Qatari gas contracts breach EU antitrust rules, amid concerns that supply from Russia could be disrupted in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Financial Times reports. US President Joe Biden is among those trying to secure more natural gas supplies from Doha — which is the world’s second-biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas — in hopes of resolving Europe’s energy crisis.

Saudi Arabia has transferred a 4% stake (worth USD 80 bn) in Aramco to the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, ahead of plans for the fund to tap international debt markets for the first time, Bloomberg and Reuters report. The country’s economy grew at a 6.8% clip in 4Q2021 on the back of higher oil prices, according to a flash estimate (pdf) from the country’s General Authority for Statistics, maintaining “the fastest pace of growth in almost a decade,” Bloomberg reports.

Fitch downgraded Turkish debt to B+ from BB- with a negative outlook amid high inflation, low external liquidity and weak policy credibility. The ratings agency predicts the country’s economy slowing to 3.2% in 2022 from the 11% recorded last year.

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USD 42,241

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THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 1.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 797 mn (23.8% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 4.3% YTD.

In the green: TMG Holding (+2.7%), GB Auto (+2.5%) and Qalaa Holdings (+1.3%).

In the red: Rameda (-5.6%), Palm Hills Development (-4.8%) and Housing and Development Bank (-4.6%).

Asian markets are down across the board in early trading this morning as a spike in covid-19 cases in Hong Kong and high tensions over Ukraine play out in equities. Futures suggest European markets will almost all open in the red, while Wall Street looks set for a mixed open later today.

AROUND THE WORLD

Libyan politics is again in danger of splitting into two rival administrations, after the Tobruk-based House of Representatives on Thursday appointed a new prime minister in a challenge to the UN-backed government in Tripoli, the Financial Times reports. Former interior minister Fathi Bashagha’s appointment throws the UN-backed process to unite the country into further uncertainty, following the blow dealt by the failure to hold elections that were scheduled for December. Interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh rejected the appointment of his rival and refused to step down until elections are held.

blackboard

Inflation is hitting Egypt’s private schools, and those with high CAPEX expenses are feeling the greatest squeeze: Private schools have been hit by price increases in recent months, as Egypt’s inflation accelerates amid high shipping and construction costs, and high domestic selling prices. With urban inflation now running at near two and a half year highs, spending is being impacted across the board, with rising capex costs putting particular pressure on companies in the sector, say several operators. Today, we look at how the impact of inflation varies among Egypt’s private schools, and what they’re doing to mitigate it.

Several private schools have seen rising inflation drive up overall costs, operators tell Enterprise. El Alsson’s OPEX spending is an estimated 12-15% higher now than it was in April 2021 — the last time its annual budget was set, says Executive Director Karim Rogers. Education management company Eduhive’s total costs increased by a minimum of 25% in the last year, estimates CEO Karim Mostafa: “Everything’s inflated: the price of electricity, utilities, purchases, cleaning materials and sanitizers — even teacher housing and plane tickets.”

Families are feeling the pinch, too: A trend of transferring children to less expensive schools, seen in the last five years, has recently been increasing, says Mostafa. “People paying EGP 100k per year are now looking for schools in the EGP 60-70k range. This is a sign everybody’s getting hit.” This trend is impacting enrollment at private schools, where schools in the lower-middle income bracket are seeing enrollment at an estimated two-three times the rate of high-income schools, education investment platform Lighthouse Education Deputy Chairman Mohamed El Sherif says. Education costs rose 13.9% y-o-y in January, with primary education rising 19.5% and secondary education rising 5.3%, Capmas data (pdf) shows.

But it’s schools with hefty CAPEX costs — especially land purchases — that seem to be hit hardest: Inflation has substantially impacted land prices and construction costs, with greenfield projects becoming particularly expensive, El Sherif tells Enterprise. “It costs a lot to buy land and build a school that’s up to standard.” Land pricing was already expensive, as we noted last year. Now, prices are being increased by brokers, says El Sherif. Land has essentially become unaffordable, notes Mostafa. And construction costs have been rising rapidly, with noticeable price differences in iron, steel and concrete since summer 2021, says Rogers.

Ultimately, this means investment in greenfield projects will slow, El Sherif predicts. “We’re currently seeing many new players who bought land with the intention of building schools. But prices have gone up, so they’ve decided it’s more profitable for them to sell the land than build schools. This tells you that something’s not right.” Growth is effectively limited to investors with sector experience, he adds.

The impact won’t be felt immediately: It’s difficult to predict how much investment will slow by, as it’s down to individual project economics — which can be impacted by many variables, says El Sherif. But it usually takes around two years from land acquisition to a school becoming operational, which is when the impact will be felt, he adds.

Schools without significant CAPEX investment are more sanguine: Schutz always takes inflation into account when setting its annual budget, but isn’t feeling the general sense of alarm about inflation that seems to be prevalent in the country, says Assistant Head of School Massimo Laterza. “Still, we’re not currently engaged in any major capital developments. We’re not in the middle of projects with any debt, or affected by the rapidly increasing prices of steel or cement,” says Laterza.

OPEX losses don’t appear to be all that impacted: OPEX cost increases can be an “annoyance,” but El Alsson hasn’t taken any major financial hits, Rogers notes.

But inflation could be compounding FX losses for int’l schools: All international schools spend about 70-75% of their budgets in FX — to pay expat teachers — while collecting all their revenue in EGP, notes Mostafa. This makes them highly vulnerable to any exchange rate fluctuations, so inflationary cost increases become even more challenging, he argues.

And other fees aren’t helping: Meanwhile, new expenses — like the obligatory 1-3% of annual revenue that schools now need to pay to the government’s Support Education fund — aren’t factored into school budgets or buffers when they are introduced in the middle of the yearly business cycle, months after the budgets have been set, says Rogers.

The Education Ministry’s 7% cap on tuition fee increases further compounds the problem, because it doesn’t take inflation into account “as part of the formula,” says Mostafa. Tuition fees are the only source of revenue for education operators, he notes.

What steps are schools taking to mitigate the fallout from high inflation? Cost-cutting is one obvious move: Schools are cutting costs where they can, to limit financial pressures, say sources. International schools won’t cut their salary structures, which are carefully calibrated according to market research, say Mostafa and Rogers. But they might look at trimming benefits packages, Mostafa says: “Sometimes you have to cap the housing or transportation allowance, as these things add up.”

Some school operators hope the Education Ministry might review the cap on tuition fee increases, one leader tells Enterprise off the record. “We’re holding meetings, submitting requests and having open conversations. I think the ministry is receptive to our ideas, and I’m optimistic this issue can be resolved.” It looks like the cap may be revised within a year or two — possibly pushed up to 10%, or even scrapped completely, the source adds.

But some are hoping inflation is “transitory,” which could also be a reason for overall optimism, says Laterza. Even as inflation accelerates, the Central Bank of Egypt expects price stability in the medium term, it said following its last monetary policy committee meeting.

And inflation’s full impact may only be seen when operators set their budgets in the coming months. El Alsson usually plans its budget in March, and so far, the buffer set last year has absorbed the worst of the cost increases, says Rogers. “But I can’t predict what will happen in the next couple of weeks or months. I’m stable, but my guard is up for the unpredictable.” Schutz typically starts its budgeting process in April or May, says Laterza. That’s when it will gauge internal expenses to determine how cost increases could impact next year’s budget.


Your top education stories for the week:

  • Aldar could target retail + education acquisitions in Egypt: Aldar Properties will spend at least AED 5 bn (c. USD 1.4 bn) on acquiring retail and education assets in Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, CFO Greg Fewer said.
  • EGX-listed Taaleem’s Nahda University in Beni Suef will launch (pdf) new arts and architecture faculties by September, after receiving presidential approval.
  • Amendments to the Education Act struck down in parliament: The House of Representatives struck down proposed amendments to the Education Act, deeming proposals to ban parents of truant children from accessing public services “unconstitutional.”

CALENDAR

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

1Q2022: Waste collection startup Bekia plans to expand to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

1Q2022: Rameda Pharma will begin selling its generic version of Merck’s oral antiviral covid-19 med.

1Q2022: Pharos Energy’s sale of a 55% stake in El Fayum, Beni Suef concessions to IPR Energy Group subsidiary IPR Lake Qarun expected to close.

Early 2022: Results to be announced for the second round of the state’s gold and precious metals auction.

1H2022: Target date for IDH to close its acquisition of 50% of Islamabad Diagnostic Center.

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

1H2022: The government will respond to private companies’ bids to build desalination plants.

1H2022: Egypt’s second corporate green bond issuance expected to be announced.

1H2022: The Transport Ministry to sign a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi Ports to set up a transport route across the Nile to transport products from Al Canal’s Minya sugar factory.

January-February 2022: Construction work on the Abu Qir metro upgrade will begin.

February: 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.

February: Ghazl El Mahalla shares will begin trading on the EGX.

Mid-February: End of grace period to comply with new minimum wage for firms who sent in exemption requests.

Mid-February: A Hungarian delegation will arrive in Egypt for talks over a potential investment in an industrial area in the SCZone.

4-20 February (Friday-Sunday): 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing.

11-12 February (Friday-Saturday): German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will be in Cairo for a two-day visit.

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

13-15 February (Sunday-Tuesday): Arab Sustainable Development Week. Arab League headquarters, Nile Ritz Carlton.

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

14-19 February (Monday- Saturday): An art exhibition created by marginalized children will be held at Townhouse Gallery. The event is organized by the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, AlexBank, Townhouse Gallery, Al Ismaelia for Real Estate Investment, and Ubuntu Art Gallery.

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

15 February (Tuesday): Orange Ventures’ deadline to receive applications from seed-stage fintech startups.

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

19-21 February (Saturday-Monday): Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry 2022.

21 February (Monday): Hearing at Cairo Economic Court (pdf) on FRA lawsuits filed against Speed Medical.

22 February (Tuesday): The Egyptian National Railway is holding a forum to gauge public interest in its plans to delegate the management and operations of freight transport to the private sector.

22-24 February (Tuesday-Thursday): Investment Forum, General Authority For Investments (GAFI) Main Office, Nasr City.

26 February (Saturday): Speed Medical will elect a new board during ordinary general assembly (pdf).

27 February (Sunday): British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) green finance event with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, Semiramis Intercontinental, Cairo

28 February- 1 March (Monday-Tuesday): The Future of Data Centers Summit.

End of February: Lebanon to receive gas from Egypt via a pipeline crossing Jordan and Syria.

March: Rollout of the government financial management information system (GFMIS), a suite of electronic tools to automate the government’s financial management processes (pdf) that will replace the existing “closed” financial management system.

March: 4Q2021 earnings season.

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

March: World Cup playoffs.

March: The government hopes to sign a final contract between El Nasr Automotive and a new partner for the local production of electric cars.

March: Target date for Saudi tech firm Brmaja to IPO on the EGX.

March: Egypt to host World Tourirsm Organization Middle East committee meeting.

March: The Salam – new administrative capital – 10th of Ramadan Light Rail Train (LRT) line will start operating.

3 March (Thursday): Fawry’s extraordinary general assembly (pdf) to vote on EGP 800 mn capital increase.

9-18 March (Wednesday-Friday): The 55th edition of the Cairo International Fair.

15-16 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

24 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

24 March (Thursday): Egypt will host Senegal in the first leg of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers’ playoff.

26 March (Saturday): Egypt-EU World Trade Organization dispute settlement consultations end.

28-29 March (Monday-Tuesday): The Egypt International Mining Show (EIMS 2022) will take place virtually.

29 March (Tuesday): The second leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers’ playoff between Egypt and Senegal.

31 March (Thursday): Deadline for submitting tax returns for individual taxpayers.

31 March (Thursday): Vodacom purchase of Vodafone Group’s stake in Vodafone Egypt expected to be completed by this date.

31 March (Thursday): Supply Ministry expected to take final decision on bread subsidies by this date.

April: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

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

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

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

14 April (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Mid-April: Trading on the Egyptian Commodity Exchange to start.

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

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

25 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

28 April (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

30 April (Saturday): Deadline for submitting corporate tax returns for companies whose financial year ends 31 December.

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2022 earnings season

May: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

1 May (Sunday): Labor Day.

3-4 May (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

4 May (Wednesday): 3 February (Thursday): Deadline to send in applications for Cultural Property Agreement Implementation projects to the US Embassy in Cairo.

5 May (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Labor Day.

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

19 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

9 June (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

14-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15-18 June (Wednesday-Saturday): St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), St. Petersburg.

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

23 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

27 June-3 July (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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

End of 2Q2022: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s new Ins. Act should be approved.

End of 1H2022: Emirati industrial company M Glory Holding and the Military Production Ministry will begin the mass production of dual fuel pickup trucks that can run on natural gas.

2H2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

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

2H2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

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

July: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

1 July (Friday): FY 2022-2023 begins.

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

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

21 July (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

26-27 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

18 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 25 fintech startups.

8 September (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

20-21 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve Finterest rate meeting.

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

October: World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Washington, DC

October: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

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

8 October (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, national holiday.

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

27 October (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

November: Cairo Water Week 2022.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

3 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

21 November-18 December (Monday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

13-14 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

January 2023: EGX-listed companies and non-bank lenders will submit ESG reports for the first time.

January: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

**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 above between the actual holiday and its observance.

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