Thursday, 3 March 2022

AM — Egypt stands with Ukraine in voting for a UN resolution condemning Russia’s war



Well, friends, we’ve nearly made it through another workweek together — just a few more hours left. We hope your calendar of meetings is kind to you today and that traffic is bearable for folks who have external meetings.

THE BIG STORY here at home on this fine Thursday morning intersects with the BIG STORY ABROAD: Egypt sided with Ukraine at a rare emergency session of the UN General Assembly, where diplomats voted 141-5 to call on Russia to end fighting in Ukraine. Some 35 countries abstained, but Egypt and the GCC joined the vast majority of the international community in censuring Moscow despite traditionally good relations with Russia.

Two stories we love this morning: Gulf Capital said yesterday it will invest more in Egypt and open an office in Cairo from which to explore Africa. With a deep talent pool, unbeatable cost structure relative to the Gulf, and traffic perhaps set to get better as major infrastructure work wraps up (please, God), more countries need to look at Omm El Donia as a regional hub.

Meanwhile, Homzmart pulled a baller move and acquired a German studio — not in a bid for market share, but to add new functionality to its platform. It’s a foray reminiscent of Apple’s approach to M&A.

^^ We have more on all three stories in the news well, below.

PSA- The mercury plunged overnight, so you can look forward to a high today of 19°C and then 20°C tomorrow, according to our favourite weather app.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO OF THE MORNING- A couple of you were outraged yesterday that we suggested (by quoting Kareem Faheem) shatafa was a mark of an advanced civilization. We’re doubling down on that claim this morning and STRONGLY suggest that watching this quick, hilarious advertisement for the brilliant technology is the ultimate way to start your morning. Big love to director Mohamed El Zayat.

(Editor’s Note: The video is totally suitable for work and for little ears, but if you don’t like our potty humour, don’t tap / click.)

And to our underlying point in quoting Faheem yesterday: What’s happening in Ukraine is tragic. But there is unquestionably a double standard racism in the dichotomy between how Europe is embracing Ukrainians fleeing war and how it reacted when Arabs did the same.

HAPPENING TODAY- It’s PMI day: Purchasing managers’ index figures for February for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar will be released today at 6:15am CLT — you can find them all here when they’re out. Non-oil business activity in Egypt contracted for the fourteenth consecutive month in January on the back of weaker demand and inflationary pressure, recording the lowest reading since April 2021 and falling below the series average.

SMART POLICY- The interior and planning ministries have launched tech-equipped mobile traffic vans to issue licenses and inspect vehicles (watch, runtime: 4:57). Renewing your license costs EGP 400 at the units. Dial 15558 hotline to book an appointment to have them come to you. (Disclosure: We haven’t tried it yet). The service is rolling out in Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Aswan and Matrouh in phase one.

ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center are hosting a webinar on intellectual property management for entrepreneurs at 11am this morning. The event will look at the importance of patent mining for startups and talk attendees through how to file a patent. You can register to attend here.

SOME GOOD NEWS IN DARK DAYS- “Historic” plastic pollution treaty gets UN green light: Nearly 200 international leaders have agreed to create a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution, in a UN resolution adopted yesterday, Reuters reports. The framework — due to be finalized by 2024 — is scant on details but could place restrictions on plastics production.

ATTENTION iSHEEP- A new, cheaper iPhone could be dropping next week: Apple announced an 8 March launch event promising only “Peek Performance,” but iSheep across the board are expecting new products including the new “more affordable” iPhone SE, a mid-range iPad Air, and possibly new Macs. You can catch the event at here at 8pm CLT.


US markets rebound as Fed head Powell says rate hikes will proceed with caution: Wall Street stocks gained on Wednesday, after US Federal Reserve chief Jay Powell signaled that he is not in favor of a drastic half-point rate hike when the central bank meets later this month. Powell said a “series” of more typical quarter-point hikes would likely be in order to get a handle on US prices, which are running at their highest in four decades, the Financial Times reports. “The bottom line is that we will proceed, but we will proceed carefully as we learn more about the implications of the Ukraine war for the economy,” Powell told Congress. US markets rose on Powell’s remarks, Bloomberg reports.

MEANWHILE, IN EUROPE- Eurozone inflation hit a record high in February, rising to 5.8% y-o-y, up from 5.1% in January and 0.4 percentage points higher than analysts had expected, according to the European Central Bank (ECB). The forecast adds to worries that war in Ukraine will pressure prices in the bloc still further — and may further entrench a split between hawkish and dovish ECB members on how best to proceed, the Financial Times reports. Some members are calling for the bank to hold its nerve and start tightening policy this year to bring inflation down, while others want to wait and see how badly the war impacts growth before making a move that could cause unintended damage.

OPEC+ is trying to look the other way as a war started by one of its leading members rages on, Bloomberg reports. Officials from the oil producing nations agreed yesterday to stick to their plans for a modest production increase of 400k barrels per day in April, ignoring the Ukraine crisis and wrapping up their meeting in just 13 minutes. Also not addressed: the soaring price of oil, which passed USD 112 per barrel yesterday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rattles the markets.


Key news triggers to keep your eye on over the next few weeks:

  • Foreign reserves: February’s foreign reserves figures will most likely be announced today or next week.
  • Inflation: Inflation figures for February will be released a week from today, on Thursday, 10 March.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will hold its next monetary policy meeting on Thursday, 24 March.

Contemporary art and culture center Darb1718 is hosting its 3031 Art Festival from tomorrow until next Saturday, 12 March on its premises in Fustat, Old Cairo. Unique collections of multidisciplinary art will be on display along with live music, dance, theater performances, and interactive workshops. Guest speakers Adsum Art Consultancy will be on hand to discuss investing in art. Catch a full day of activities from 1:00pm–9:30pm on weekends and weekdays from 4:00pm–10:00pm

The Diarna Handicrafts Fair kicked off last Thursday and runs through 7 March at Cairo Festival City from 10am until 10pm daily.

PodFest Cairo kicks off on Saturday at AUC’s Tahrir campus. The half-day podcasting conference runs from 2pm to 6pm. Admission is without charge and there’s no need to register.

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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Egypt among 141 nations who called for Russian withdrawal from Ukraine at UN General Assembly

Egypt joined 140 other nations voting in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution calling on Russia to end fighting and withdraw its military forces from Ukraine. The vote — 141 in favor, 5 against, while 35 countries abstained — took place yesterday in a rare emergency session called by the UN Security Council. There are 193 members of the general assembly.

Like Egypt, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries backed Ukraine: The UAE (which abstained on a recent Security Council vote), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar all voted in favor of the resolution.

This was an acid test of our relations with the G7, whose ambassadors to Cairo issued a statement (pdf) earlier this week calling on Egypt to stand with Ukraine at the general assembly this week.

Who voted against? Russia, Belarus, Syria, Eritrea and North Korea.

Who abstained? Some of Russia’s closest diplomatic friends, including India, Cuba, Brazil, Serbia, Iran and Nicaragua. So did South Africa and Iraq.

But we’re not completely on board with sanctions: Egypt said it rejects economic sanctions “that are not based on the mechanisms of the multilateral international system” in a statement following its vote, warning that similar restrictions in the past resulted in “severe negative humanitarian effects.” Our officials warned against the economic and social effects of the current crisis “on the entire global economy, which is still suffering from the pandemic’s repercussions.”

(Yet another reminder that) Egypt is uniquely caught between the two sides here: Ukraine and Russia together account for up to 80% of our wheat supply and are about one third of our inbound tourism market. The two countries were once so close that when Moscow had cut off direct flights to our Red Sea destinations, Russians still streamed into Egypt via package tours that saw them transit through Ukraine. The return of Russian tourists after Moscow allowed direct flights to resume was key to the resurgence of our tourism industry last year.


Ukraine’s Kherson has become the first major city to fall into Moscow’s hands, the New York Times reported late last night. Russian troops have forced their way into the council building, Reuters quoted the Black Sea port city’s mayor as saying, after a day of conflicting reports. The country’s second biggest city, Kharkiv, suffered further heavy bombardment yesterday, including more airstrikes on residential areas.

Russia’s bid to take Kyiv has stalled so far amid strong resistance, but the capital was hit by several strikes yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported.


Russia’s Defense Ministry acknowledged losses for the first time, reports the Wall Street Journal, saying that 498 Russian soldiers were killed and nearly 1.6k injured, and that Putin’s troops killed nearly 2.9k Ukrainian soldiers. Ukraine hasn’t released an official tally of its military casualties, but officials have put the civilian death toll at around 2k. The besieged country says its troops have killed around 5.8k Russian soldiers.

Over 870k people have now fled Ukraine, Reuters reports.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will open an investigation into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine, said ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, after an “unprecedented” 39 member states sent in requests to fast track investigations.


UAE-based Gulf Capital to invest USD 250 mn in Egypt, will use Cairo as hub for Egypt and Africa

UAE-based asset management firm Gulf Capital plans to invest some USD 250 mn in Egypt over the next five years, Hapi Journal quoted CEO and co-founder Karim El Solh as saying at a presser yesterday. The fund manager will target companies in the tech, fintech, e-commerce and healthcare sectors.

From Cairo to Kenya: Gulf Capital plans to use its newly opened Cairo office as a launchpad for geographical expansion across African markets, particularly Kenya and Tanzania, El Solh added.

Gulf Capital has tapped two senior Egyptian investment professionals to run the office. Miray Zaki (Linkedin) was previously chief investment officer of the Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and was earlier with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, while Fady George (Linkedin) joins from SPE Capital Partners. Zaki is MD and head of Egypt for the firm, while George joins as a VP.

The firm has invested north of EGP 5 bn here in sectors including technology, infrastructure, manufacturing, petrochemicals, healthcare, healthtech, business services, and oil and gas services, it said in a press release. Gulf Capital’s private equity portfolio in Egypt includes digital healthcare platform Vezeeta and glass manufacturer Middle East Glass.

What sectors does Gulf Capital like going forward? It name-checked technology, healthcare, business services, consumer and sustainability.

The firm is planning to exit one of its local investments through an IPO on the EGX, Al Mal quotes El Solh as saying. He didn’t disclose the name of the company, the sector in which it operates, or the expected size or timeline of the listing, saying that preparations are still at an early stage. The firm plans to exit another of its Egyptian subsidiaries through a sale to a strategic investor, El Solh added.

Egypt is increasingly popular among Gulf investors: First Abu Dhabi Bank’s offer to buy a majority stake in leading financial services provider EFG Hermes is only the latest sign of a growing interest in the Egyptian market among Gulf companies. FAB last year purchased Bank Audi Egypt, while Bahrain’s Bank ABC acquired Blom Bank’s Egypt arm last August. And a consortium of Aldar and Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ closed in December its acquisition of our friends at SODIC.

About Gulf Capital: The asset management firm focuses primarily on late-stage control buy-outs, growth capital, private debt and real estate projects in the Middle East region. The company currently holds some USD 2.5 bn in assets under management.


Homzmart acquires MockUp Studio

Furniture and home goods marketplace Homzmart has acquired Berlin-based startup MockUp Studio for an undisclosed sum, according to a press release (pdf). The tech-enabled interior design startup, founded in 2015, uses AI and computer vision to automatically measure and design a space “to match user styles and the room architecture,” allowing users to visualize furniture and finishings in their homes before clicking through to buy.

We said late last year that more and more startups would turn to M&A to deliver growth following a rash of early-stage companies buying out their competition. But what we had in mind was “consolidation”: Company “A” buying “B” to grow its market share in a fragmented, early-stage market. What Homzmart is doing appears different — and very much out of the Apple playbook: It’s acquiring MockUp Studio not to add size, but to buy a core technology that will help it build a bigger moat around its business.

What they said: “Adding MockUp Studio’s technology means consumers can have the full interior design experience — browsing Homzmart’s entire catalogue, and viewing their desired space, in just a few clicks,” said Homzmart CEO and co-founder Mahmoud Ibrahim.

About Homzmart: Founded in 2019, Homzmart’s B2C marketplace allows customers to purchase furniture products from a variety of brands and merchants. Last year, the company landed USD 15 mn in a series A round led by China’s MSA Capital and Emirati-Saudi VC firm Nuwa Capital, bringing the total amount it has raised to USD 17.2 mn. Homzmart tripled its operations in 2021, according to the release.


French-Egyptian consortium awarded the design of the French University in Egypt’s new campus

New French University in Egypt campus to be designed by Jakob + Macfarlane-led consortium: The design of a new campus for the French University in Egypt has been awarded to a consortium comprising French architecture firm Jakob + Macfarlane, engineering firm Artelia, landscape architects Sempervirens, and Cairo-based Raafat Miller Consulting, according to a press release (pdf) from Jakob + Makfarlane. The university chose the consortium after a competitive bidding process it launched for French-Egyptian joint ventures.

About the campus: The Shorouk City campus will accommodate up to 7k students. Sustainable and energy-saving elements include an overhead solar panel shade roof and a filtration system that captures water from accommodation and repurposes it for landscape irrigation.

Background: The House of Representatives in October approved the agreement signed between Egypt and the French Development Agency (AFD) to build a new campus for the French University in Egypt. The agreement consists of a EUR 12 mn loan and a EUR 2 mn grant from the AFD to help finance the project. The Egyptian state will bear the EGP 700 mn (EUR 40 mn) construction costs, president Denis Darpy said previously, adding that the new campus would allow the university to increase enrolment from a current 600 students to 3k by 2027.


Childcare e-commerce platform Mumerz gets USD 1.2 mn in pre-seed investment

E-commerce platform Mumerz has raised USD 1.2 mn in a pre-seed funding round led by Disruptech Ventures, co-founder and CMO Nadia Gamal El Din told Enterprise, confirming a report from Magnitt.

National growth, more customer support + an app coming: The funds will go towards expanding the platform’s product portfolio and nationwide reach, and increasing investments in customer experience, Gamal El Din told us. The company is preparing to launch an app within weeks, Gamal El Din said, adding that Mumerz also hopes to expand outside of Egypt in the coming years.

About Mumerz: The parent community support and e-commerce platform, which launched in January and is currently available in Cairo, Giza and Alexandria, was co-founded by Gamal El Din, alongside CEO Amir Shenouda and Salah Ghobrial. The platform bills itself as Egypt’s largest online store for baby products, and promises next-day delivery, online shopping assistance and competitive market prices.


Edita’s net income up nearly 57% in 2021

Edita Food Industries’ net income jumped 56.5% y-o-y in FY2021, reaching EGP 473 mn, according to the company’s preliminary earnings release (pdf). Revenues increased by nearly 31% y-o-y, recording EGP 5.25 bn on the back of better pricing and sales volumes, the company said, adding that FY2021 volumes surpassed pre-covid levels, and matched *drumroll* pre-devaluation levels.

The snackfoods company’s bottom line increased by 55% y-o-y in 4Q2021, recording EGP 197 mn, while revenues rose nearly 26% to record EGP 1.5 bn for the quarter. Edita started operations at its new Morocco factory in 4Q2021, marking the company’s first greenfield investment outside of Egypt. The EGP 200 mn plant currently produces 2.7k tons of HoHos cakes every year.

Edita’s honing in on baked goods + wafers: The company’s cakes and bakery segments together accounted for around 80% of revenues last year, while its wafers segment was the fastest-growing, recording an 81.6% jump in revenues to EGP 610.6 mn. The snackfoods maker plans to invest around EGP 400 mn to add new production lines for its baked goods and wafers segments this year. Last month, Edita rebranded its Molto Sandwich line to Molto Fino and added three new flavors, and expanded its biscuits segment with the launch of Oniro Lava, following on from the launch of its Freska Choco Sticks.



The Russia-Ukraine war dominated the airwaves once again last night. Al Hayah Al Youm highlighted the UN General Assembly’s vote to censure Russia (watch, runtime: 3:08), while Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa gave a rundown of the fighting, casualties and material damage (watch, runtime: 7:52), and took a call with former Oil Minister Osama Kamal about the war’s effect on global energy markets (watch, runtime: 9:16).

And from the nothing-to-do-with-the-war file:

All 98 women judges appointed to the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) will officially assume their positions on the court’s benches starting Saturday, council Secretary-General Taha Karsou told Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime: 5:00).

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi inaugurated housing and road projects in Greater Cairo yesterday and instructed the government to prepare a study on ways to ease traffic. Al Hayah Al Youm aired part of El Sisi’s speech (watch, runtime: 1:19) and Masaa DMC had the details (watch, runtime: 4:58).


The international press is taking note of the link between rising wheat prices here at home and the war in Ukraine this morning. Bloomberg explores what the rising price of grain imports on the back of stalled Black Sea supplies could mean for the government’s upcoming overhaul of the bread subsidy system, while the Financial Times passes by Egypt on a whistle-stop tour of how the war is pressuring commodities markets the world over.


National Investment Bank subsidiary NI Capital’s fixed income fund closed 30x oversubscribed yesterday, attracting EGP 1.5 bn of inflows, Planning Minister Hala El Said announced in a statement. The fund, which launched in mid-February, closed early on the back of the strong demand. It will invest in treasury bills and bonds, corporate bonds, sukuk, bank deposits and securitized paper.

Egyptian fruit and vegetable exports to the UAE now need pesticide residue certificates again. The requirement was put on hold during the pandemic.

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

  • Pharaonic Sinai: An archaeological mission uncovered a number of groundwater wells dating back to the Pharaonic era in the Tell El-Kedwa site in North Sinai.
  • EGX-listed MB Engineering will set up an EGP 10 mn electric vehicle charging subsidiary.
  • El Tarek Automotive has acquired a 23% stake (pdf) in Incolease in an EGP 189 mn transaction.
  • Fixed Solutions gets an e-signature license: The Information Technology Industry Development Agency granted its fourth license for e-signature services to IT company Fixed Solutions.


Pfizer commits 10 mn Paxlovid courses to developing countries

The Health Ministry reported 1,288 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 1,322 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 486,381 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 22 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 24,132.

Pfizer plans to provide around 10 mn courses of its covid antiviral Paxlovid to developing countries this year, Reuters reported, citing an official with NGO the Global Fund. The fund is working to buy the meds heralded by the US administration as a “game-changer,” but said the promised pills were “obviously not enough” to meet demand. Pfizer charges USD 530 per treatment course in the US, and while the pharma giant has said it plans to charge less in lower income countries, it has not yet disclosed a price. It’s also not yet clear if the funding exists globally to pay for the courses.

Speaking of Paxlovid — where’s ours? We’ve still heard no word on the shipment of Paxlovid that was supposed to arrive sometime in January, after we signed an agreement with the pharma giant to provide pills to treat some 20k people.


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Commodities spiral as traders avoid Russian exports: The Russia-Ukraine war has pushed global commodities markets to the edge, fueling shortages and quickening already-high global inflation, according to Bloomberg. Wheat prices yesterday rose to their highest since 2008, while oil passed USD 112 per barrel, and European natural gas rose as much as 60% to hit an all-time record. Even though there aren’t any direct sanctions on Russian commodities, traders are increasingly deciding that doing business with the politically isolated country is not worth the risk, due to banking sanctions already in place, fears of potential new restrictions on Russian exports, and concerns that dealing with Moscow could damage their reputations.

MAKING MATTERS WORSE? The US is considering imposing sanctions on Russia's oil and gas, but “not right now,” Reuters reported White House officials as saying.

Meanwhile, the Moscow Exchange is still closed, marking its longest pause since October 1998, according to Bloomberg. In an attempt to keep local assets from plunging after the US and Europe imposed harsh sanctions, Russia kept its stock market shut for the third day in a row yesterday, according to a Bank of Russia statement.

The country’s sovereign wealth fund is preparing to buy USD 10 bn worth of local stocks when the exchange reopens in an attempt to shore up the market, Bloomberg reports.

And Sberbank Austria is the first banking victim of Russia-targeted sanctions: The Austrian unit of Russia’s biggest lender went into insolvency yesterday, reports the Financial Times. Sberbank announced it would withdraw from Europe completely following the news, with plans to sell off or wind down all its EU operations amid “an exceptional outflow of funds and a number of safety concerns regarding [subsidiaries’] employees and offices.”

Ukraine has raised over USD 277 mn from the sale of war bonds issued yesterday. The funds “will be used to meet the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and to ensure the uninterrupted provision of the state’s financial needs under the war,” the Ukrainian Finance Ministry said in a tweet. The ministry offered two bonds, one with a one-year tenure and a yield of 11%, and the second with a two-month tenure and 10% yield. The country is on the hunt for more ways to raise foreign currency and is currently in talks with the IMF and the World Bank, Ukraine’s debt chief told Bloomberg. In a joint statement, the two global lenders said they were looking at preparing USD bns in support for Ukraine over the coming months, with decisions to be made this week and next.




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+0.2% (as of midnight)


The EGX30 fell 0.8% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 829 mn (17% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 6.4% YTD.

In the green: Qalaa Holdings (+3.6%), CIRA (+2.9%) and Telecom Egypt (+2.8%).

In the red: Palm Hills Development (-3.1%), Cleopatra Hospital (-2.7%) and Rameda (-2.7%).

Asian markets are up across the board in early trading this morning. Futures are less optimistic for Wall Street and in Europe, where major indices are all set to open in the red after making gains yesterday on the back of reassurances for gradual rate hikes from the US Fed.


Communications Minister Amr Talaat discussed investment with multinational tech firms Cisco and Oppo on the sidelines of the MWC Barcelona telecoms conference, according to a cabinet statement. Talaat discussed increasing Cisco Systems’ investments in Egypt with company CEO Chuck Robbins, and met with Oppo representatives to talk about setting up a local factory to assemble the company’s mobile phones.

Egyptian-Rwandan connectivity cooperation: Talaat also discussed working together on IT, communications and digital innovation with his Rwandan counterpart Paula Ingabere.


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Yasmine El Hini, country officer and acting country manager, IFC Egypt: 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 Yasmine El Hini (LinkedIn), Country Officer and Acting Country Manager at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Egypt. Last year, the IFC invested in solar irrigation systems for Egyptian farmers, signed an agreement with the International Cooperation Ministry and the National Council for Women (NCW) to improve women’s economic engagement and participated in Egypt’s first (and only) corporate green bond issuance last year with CIB, making it one of the biggest contributors to private sector financing in Egypt last year, with investments of USD 720 mn over the last two fiscal years. Edited excerpts from our conversation follow:

My name is Yasmine El Hini and I am the Country Officer for IFC in Egypt and I’m also currently Acting Country Manager. I started my career in management consulting with booz & co., which is now called Strategy&. I joined IFC in 2012 and spent five years there. I started in their advisory practice and then moved to the infrastructure investment team. Then I went to Dubai where I joined Majid Al Futtaim Holding and rejoined IFC in 2019 in my current role.

My role is to develop IFC’s strategy in Egypt across the different businesses and themes. And we’re also responsible for driving the strategy implementation of IFC by working with the different teams, and for managing the relationships with the government and with key stakeholders in the country. So you can think of it as we develop the strategy and then we partner with the different stakeholders to make sure that it’s implemented and to make sure that we are growing IFC’s business and having the impact that we want to have in the country. We want to make sure that we bring the best of IFC’s global experience to Egypt.

I wake up at 7am and I make my coffee and start with a quiet reflection of the day before mapping out my priorities for the day. I start working at around 9am. The first part of my day is usually blocked for high priority, strategic projects, and then I connect with my team and different stakeholders, and start to engage with the day-to-day. In between the reflection and the strategic projects, I read Enterprise.

I do two things to stay focused and organized. I regularly have sessions with my team where we map out our own strategies and focus areas for the next few months. So we have quarterly sessions where we look at our role as a country office in the IFC’s strategy. Then we take that and translate it into a day-to-day work plan that we follow throughout the week, recalibrating as we go along. We hold ourselves accountable to that. It's very important to block that time that can help you stay focused and strategic.

IFC is the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, so our focus is on creating jobs through the private sector, promoting businesses that are sustainable and inclusive and to create jobs and support the sustainable development agenda by supporting the private sector. Our core is to invest in the private sector through debt or equity and give them advisory support to build their capabilities through corporate governance and ESG advisory, financial management, healthcare quality, etc. And we work with the government to help them create an attractive investment environment to attract private investment from Egypt and global investors.

We’ve invested around USD 1 bn on climate in Egypt since 2016. At first it was very focused on renewable energy, and then it shifted to financial institutions. But for it to be more scalable and sustainable, it has to shift across all the different sectors, so now we’re working more with the manufacturing sector on climate-related projects focused on resources and water.

We have a very strong gender program at IFC and it’s also diverse. We have a program where we work to help banks create products and services that cater to females to help them grow their own portfolio. We also have the Egypt women's employment program, which is focused on creating workplaces that are inclusive to women.

After inclusion and climate, our third priority is healthcare. There are a lot of investment opportunities and we’ve made a number of important investments in the healthcare sector, and we’re looking to do a lot more investments in healthcare services and pharma. We are also working with healthcare providers on the quality side. We did a deep dive into the sector and what is needed to bring more private sector into it and we will make some of the outcomes of that public.

I spend a lot of time with my family and friends to relax. I like to travel as frequently as I can. I’m most at ease when I’m by the sea. I’m also a foodie and I love to experience food from different cultures whenever I travel. And I also love performing arts, opera, ballet, musicals. Whenever I travel, I like to check out their local performing arts scene.

I love fiction, especially Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s short stories. If I were to add something that allows me to relax, it’s reading fiction, because it allows me to disconnect from the real world and go to a different reality where I can experience other people’s lives. Also, I love the series The Crown. It makes you realize that there is such a common factor in the human experience, which is very humbling. But I also like watching the Queen’s personal leadership journey.

One of my mentors introduced me to the idea that life is a marathon, not a sprint, and it resonated with me, because it helped me to stay strategic and focus on what matters. It also helps me remember not to sweat the small stuff.


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.

24 February-7 March (Thursday-Monday): Diarna Handicrafts Fair. Cairo Festival City, Cairo.

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: Contracts for last two phases of Egypt’s USD 4.5 bn high-speed rail line to be signed.

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 Tourism Organization Middle East committee meeting.

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

March: The new multi-purpose station at Dekheila Port and the revamped Ain Sokhna Port will start operating.

March: General Authority for Land and Dry Ports to issue the condition booklets for the operations of the Tenth of Ramadan dry port.

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.

20 March (Sunday): Applications close for Visa’s global startup competition, the Visa Everywhere Initiative.

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

25 March (Friday): Egypt will host Senegal in the first leg of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers' playoff (TBC).

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.

28 March (Monday): The second leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers' playoff between Egypt and Senegal (TBC).

28 March (Monday): The court hearing for a case brought by Arabia Investments Holding (AIH) against Peugeot has been postponed until 28 March.

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.

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

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.

5-7 June (Sunday-Tuesday): Africa Health ExCon, Al Manara International Conference Center, Egypt International Exhibitions Center, and the St. Regis Almasa Hotel, New Administrative Capital.

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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