Monday, 7 March 2022

AM — Rising wheat and oil prices will hit Egypt’s budget, ministers say

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people. It’s another packed issue today, with fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine still dominating the headlines here at home.

Remember that historic commodities shock we mentioned yesterday? Apparently not historic enough, according to the folks in Washington, who are now debating an oil + gas blockade on the world’s second-largest producer.

Brace: In the early hours of this morning Brent crude surged to highs not seen since 2008 after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that Washington is in “very active discussions” with allies about implementing an embargo on Russian oil and gas in retaliation for its military campaign in Ukraine. The move may have support in Congress. The markets reacted as you’d expect: The cost per barrel spiked 18% to briefly hit USD 139 when the market opened. It has since retreated to USD 129.1 (+9.2%) as of dispatch time.

Are they serious? Until now, the idea of banning Russian oil has (for good reason) been off the table. Moscow supplies 17% of the world’s gas and 12% of its oil into an already-tight market reeling from the conflict as well as post-covid demand adjustments. Shutting off Russian hydrocarbons would be tantamount to seppuku for the energy-stricken EU, which sources some 40% of its gas from Russia. The inflationary blowback on the US and the UK, both of which are already facing soaring energy costs, would also be severe. The move is particularly tricky for Biden, who is facing growing criticism at home over his administration’s handling of fuel prices which are now at their highest level since 2008.

And: We hope Western policymakers are cognizant of a world outside of Russia. The war is already causing shockwaves in the developing world, with food, raw materials and energy prices already at levels not seen in decades. The IMF last week warned that the war and subsequent sanctions on Russia will have a “severe impact” on the global economy, and that was before Blinken floated the potential oil ban.

The stock markets are reacting with similar shock: Asian markets are deep in the red this morning with the Hang Seng suffering the heaviest losses (-3.6% as of dispatch time). Things don’t look any better for Europe and the US where stock futures are a sea of red.

*** HATS OFF THIS MORNING to Mohamed Maait, Ali El Moselhy and Tarek El Molla. The three ministers have been on point for more than a week now, and their transparency about how the government is managing rising prices of oil and wheat (as well as the logistics of a tricky global grain market) is refreshing. Once upon a time, we would have been burying our collective head in the sand instead of admitting that what’s happening now is a challenge to navigate — let alone explaining impact and strategy in public.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- Vulture funds are starting to snap up Ukrainian and Russian debt, the Wall Street Journal reports in what it’s billing as an exclusive. You know it was just a matter of time…

SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- Moscow’s loss is Dubai’s gain. Goldman Sachs is moving staff out of Russia to Dubai, which serves as the bulge bracket stalwart’s hub in our neck of the woods.

^^ We have more on how the war is impacting Egypt in this morning’s news well, below,

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

PSA #1- You can now get your second covid vaccine or booster shot at any vaccination center, according to new rules announced by the Health Ministry yesterday.

There’s one caveat: You can get it anywhere only if you haven’t received a text message directing you to a specific location. Adults over 65 can get their booster three months after their second dose, while those under 65 should wait six months before getting it. Anyone who got the Johnson & Johnson shot can get the booster two months later.

PSA #2- The sandstorm has passed, but winter has not, Mahmoud Shaheen, a senior official at the Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA), told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime 2:10). Don’t put on your summer clothes just yet: colder weather — by our Egyptian standards — is expected to last until March 21st, said Shaheen. We will see daytime highs of 21-22°C in the capital city and overnight lows of around 10-12°C through Thursday, according to the EMA (pdf). Our favourite weather app thinks it will be a bit warmer than that, but it’s a close call.

LATER THIS MONTH-

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company will this month sign a power purchase agreement for 1.1 GW of wind projects with Saudi renewables company ACWA Power, Al Borsa reported yesterday, citing sources it claims have knowledge of the matter. The plants will cost more than USD 1.2 bn to implement, the sources claimed.

ANALYST NOTE OF THE WEEK- Check out this doozy, courtesy of BCA Research, which should raise a smirk even as it casually assigns a 10% chance of nuclear war. “If an ICBM is heading your way, the size and composition of your portfolio becomes irrelevant … The risk of Armageddon has risen dramatically. Stay bullish on stocks over a 12-month horizon.”

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will be in town this Thursday and Friday, the State Department said in a statement on Thursday. Sherman will meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and “other senior officials,” including National Council for Human Rights chief Moushira Khattab.

Contemporary art and culture center Darb1718 is hosting its 3031 Art Festival 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 1pm–9:30pm on weekends and weekdays from 4pm–1pm.

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

  • Inflation: Inflation figures for February will be released on Thursday, 10 March.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will hold its next monetary policy meeting on Thursday, 24 March.

The Ahlan Ramadan supermarket expo will take place from 24 March to 1 April at the Cairo International Convention Center.

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: YouTube has become the go-to edutainment platform for many, serving up mns of hours of online learning without charge. But the sheer amount of information (and misinformation) means it’s more important than ever to pick your sources wisely. To help orient you on your quest for online wisdom, we present our roundup of some of the most interesting and factually rigorous channels out there right now.

enterprise

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COMMODITIES

Rising wheat and oil prices will hit budget in Egypt, ministers say

Rising global wheat prices could cost the government an additional EGP 15 bn this fiscal year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Bloomberg Asharq (watch, runtime: 1:35). The ministry assumed an average price of USD 255 per ton in this year’s budget but the state is now paying USD 350, Supply Minister Ali Moselhy said last week.

Wheat prices have surged to new heights since the end of February when Russia invaded Ukraine: Russia and Ukraine supply around a quarter of the world’s wheat but the conflict has all but removed their production from the global market.

The two countries accounted for 86% of Egypt’s imports in 2020. Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat and last year purchased 11.6 mn tons, 4.7 mn of which were bought by state grains buyer GASC.

Prices were a problem even before the war in Ukraine broke out, with Maait saying last month that the recent rise in global wheat prices would cost us an additional EGP 12 bn this year. UN figures released Saturday showed that global food prices hit record highs in February, before Russia launched military action at the end of the month.

The global grain market is messy right now: GASC has canceled two tenders since the beginning of the war due to high prices and a lack of bids while another two cargoes are currently stuck in Ukraine. Egypt’s 4.5-month stockpile and a bigger domestic harvest mean there are no imminent shortages on the horizon, and Egypt has signaled it may relax requirements as it looks at other potential suppliers including the US, Romania and Kazakhstan. And Ukraine is now saying that it could start shipping grain by rail to Romania, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.

Expect talk of bread subsidies to increase: The Finance Ministry allocated almost EGP 50 bn to bread subsidies in FY 2021-2022 but with prices having risen 37% above budgeted forecasts the government is facing a sizable increase to its subsidy spend. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi first mentioned the possibility of a subsidy taper last year, and the Supply Ministry is expected to announce a plan by the end of March.

Lifting bread subsidies will likely push Egypt’s inflation rate to 12%, Al Ahly Pharos’ head of research Radwa El Swaify told Al Arabiya. On the current trajectory, consumer price growth will reach 9% by 3Q2022 but moves by the government to raise bread prices will push inflation past the central bank’s 7% (±2%) target range, she said. Annual urban inflation rose to 7.3% in January, its highest level in almost two and a half years.

The longer the war, the greater the challenges: Ukraine’s summer harvest could be threatened if the war drags on, pressuring prices further, the Financial Times says.

The uncertainty is exacerbating the price crunch: “The market is worried that this is not a problem that’s going to be solved any time soon,” an Agricensus editor said. The salmon-colored paper notes that Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and Syria are among the countries that have historically had a very high appetite for Ukrainian wheat.


ON THE OIL BEAT-

Egypt is “negatively affected” by soaring oil prices in the global market, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla yesterday told Sky News Arabia (watch, runtime: 1:18). As a net importer of crude oil and petroleum derivatives, daily changes in oil prices “are not in Egypt’s interest,” El Molla said.

Brent is now almost double the price forecast in the state budget: Oil prices have spiraled as the war in Ukraine effectively blocks key Russian supply to markets, with Brent crude closing at 118.11 last week — more than 22% higher than before the war broke out on 24 February, and almost double the USD 60 benchmark used for the FY 2021-2022 budget. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait acknowledged the situation last week, telling Al Masry Al Youm that the surge in oil prices is not “good news” for the economy, and pointing out that Egypt currently imports more than 120 mn barrels of crude a year.

Wartime gas hub: Natural gas prices have spiraled to new record highs in Europe in response to the conflict, potentially providing an opportunity for Egypt to offset some of the pain caused by the oil price spike. “We can take advantage of this period” when energy prices are high to maximize LNG exports, El Molla said. “We hope that gas exports will compensate for part of the cost of importing oil and petroleum products,” he said.

The Oil Ministry has been working to increase the amount of gas it imports from Israel for re-export to Europe, which is in search of alternative suppliers to decrease its reliance on Russian gas. That said, it’s not clear if we currently have capacity to up shipments, while Europe doesn’t have the room needed at import terminals to significantly increase LNG imports.

NOT HELPING MATTERS-

  • Libya’s oil output has dropped to 920k barrels/day — down from the 1.2 mn barrels/day it recorded last week — as political instability causes further disruption to the country’s already embattled oil sector, Bloomberg reports.
    The potential return of Iranian oil to global markets is set for further delays, after fresh Russian demands derailed efforts to restore the Iran-US nuclear agreement, which would remove sanctions on Iran and bring back its crude supplies to the world, Reuters reports.

WAR WATCH

Only Ukraine’s surrender will end the fighting, says Putin

Russia will only agree to a ceasefire if Ukraine lays down its weapons and meets Moscow’s demands, Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday, according to Reuters and the Associated Press. During a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin said that the conflict will end only when Kyiv “stops military operations and carries out well-known Russian demands,” the Kremlin said in a readout of the call. Putin’s publicly stated aims for the conflict are to “demilitarize and denazify” the country.

Peace talks? A third round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine were slated to take place today, but there has been no confirmation over the past 24 hours that they will go ahead.

ON THE GROUND-

  • Efforts to evacuate 200k people from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol failed for the second day, as Russian shelling continued, the newswires said,
  • Some 1.5 mn people have now fled to neighboring countries as a result of the conflict, the UN Refugee Agency said yesterday.
  • A total of 364 civilians have been killed, including 25 children, since the fighting began 11 days ago, according to the UN.

EGYPTIANS IN UKRAINE- More Egyptians coming home: A flight from Slovakia carrying Egyptian expats who escaped Ukraine will be flying to Cairo “in the coming days,” the Egyptian Embassy in Kyiv said yesterday. Some 6k Egyptians had been living in Ukraine before the war broke out, including almost 4k students whose evacuation is being prioritized.

Around 70% of Egyptian expats have been evacuated from Ukraine to neighboring countries so far, Ali Farouk, head of the Egyptian community in Ukraine, told Al Hayah Al Youm last night (watch, runtime 9:07). “We have to choose between evacuation or death,” he said, adding that two buses transporting Egyptians were due to move shortly from Ukrainian cities towards the Slovakian and Romanian borders.


IRON FIREWALL- Russia and western nations are censoring and shutting down each other's media outlets in a bid to control the online infowar. A new law that criminalizes “fake news” in Russia led the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg and others to shutter their operations in the country while US social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter are now blocked. In the West, Russian state media RT and Sputnik have been censored by social media firms and banned by the EU.

US and European companies are continuing to abandon Russia as western governments pile on the economic pressure. The latest:


SHADES OF 1998- Russia is edging closer to defaulting on its debts as western sanctions hammer its economy and the country’s central bank bans payments to foreign bondholders to shore up its currency. A decree signed by Putin yesterday allows the government and companies to skirt capital controls by using RUB to pay off foreign-currency debts though the jury is out on whether this is going to help matters. Apart from the fact that both of Europe’s central securities depositories have banned the use of the RUB for settlement, we’ll hand out Enterprise mugs to anyone who can find us an investor who’d want to be paid in RUB right now.

There’s confusion over whether the government has defaulted already after it kind of paid but sort of not paid foreign bondholders by last week’s due date. We’ll let you parse through the details on Bloomberg here and here.

Either way, Russia’s credit rating is only heading in one direction: Moody’s has cut Russia’s rating deeper into junk territory, downgrading it to Ca from B3 with a negative outlook, less than a week after the ratings agency took away Russia’s investment-grade rating. The downgrade was “driven by severe concerns around Russia’s willingness and ability to pay its debt obligations,” Moody’s said in a statement.

LEGISLATION WATCH

Real estate brokers could soon face regulatory scrutiny after the House of Representatives approved in principle amendments to the law regulating commercial and real estate brokerage, Al Borsa reported yesterday. The changes would see an electronic registry set up for licensed brokers, set rules for their activities, regulate the fees they charge (and how those fees are collected) in a bid to bring into the light an industry that often flies below the radar of the formal economy.

The line from the domestic press: The changes will help clamp down on fraud and money laundering. Lawmakers also say that the amendments will make it easier for authorities to hold to account any broker that misleads a client.

Brokers that violate the regulations could face penalties under the new amendments, which hopefully means less unwanted phone calls from simsars trying to sell you overpriced chalets in Sahel.

Licensing real estate agents isn’t a new idea: Anyone who wants to work as a real estate broker in Canada or the United States needs to pass a licensing exam, though requirements vary by province and state.

ALSO IN THE HOUSE-

MPs also gave the preliminary greenlight to amendments to the law regulating the safety of vessels at sea, Al Shorouk reported yesterday. The changes will make it mandatory for ship owners to report the sale or rent of their units to the authorities, and will establish a mechanism that enables stronger oversight of actions taking place on board ships and vessels, in efforts to prevent illegal activities such as smuggling migrants.

Tough penalties to be imposed: Ship owners who violate the rules could face up to one year in prison and fines ranging between EGP 50k-500k.

Next steps: The amendments will head back to the House for a final vote, and if passed, will be handed to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to be ratified into law.

DEBT WATCH

Misr Italia eyes EGP 700 mn securitized bond sale in 4Q 2022

Misr Italia Properties is looking to issue securitized bonds worth EGP 700 mn during 4Q2022, Al Shorouk quoted CEO and Managing Director Mohamed Hany El Assal as saying. The issuance would be the second tranche of the property developer’s EGP 2.5 bn securitization program. The first EGP 794 mn tranche closed late last month.

The company is also in talks with several banks for an EGP 1.2 bn loan alongside the securitization, El Assal reportedly said, adding that our friends at EFG Hermes is advising on both the potential loan and the securitization.

OTHER DEBT NEWS- Palm Hills Developments (PHD) is taking a EGP 3.25 bn sukuk issuance to market within the next three weeks, Al Borsa reported yesterday, after the company’s board of directors gave its go-ahead last week. The sale, which would mark Egypt’s first corporate sukuk of 2022, will finance the real estate developer’s Badya project.

Advisors: The sale will be managed by Contact Financial Holdings’ sukuk arm, and the company has appointed Banque Misr and its investment arm Misr Capital as underwriters and promoters for the issuance. Our friends at ALC Alieldean Weshahi & Partners are legal advisors, while KPMG Hazem Hassan is serving as auditor.

IPO WATCH

FedEx Express not considering an EGX IPO for its Egypt unit

FACT CHECK- FedEx Express is not currently considering an IPO of its Egypt unit on the EGX, a company spokesperson told Enterprise yesterday. An article published by Al Shorouk yesterday quoted the company’s regional head for the Middle East, India and Africa, Jack Muhs, as saying the company was intending to IPO.

The shipping giant last week launched direct services in Egypt, having operated through its local agent Egypt Express for decades.

EARNINGS WATCH

Macro Group’s net income rose 10% in 2021

Macro Group saw its net income rise 10% y-o-y to EGP 148 mn in 2021, according to the company’s maiden earnings release (pdf). Revenues grew 38% y-o-y to record EGP 594.3 mn last year. Macro made its EGP 1.3 bn debut on the EGX last month.

The breakdown: The company attributed the rise in revenues to a 23% uptick in average pricing, coupled with a 13% increase in sales volumes. One-time costs associated with the company’s IPO stood at EGP 30.7 mn. “Revenue growth was primarily a result of our ongoing strategy to improve our product mix by selling more high-value SKUs,” said Chairman Ahmed Elnayeb.

Macro acquired Genova Pharma Company in November, Elnayeb wrote. The non-operational company holds registrations for 12 nutraceutical and cosmeceutical products. .

Macro is eyeing a second acquisition, Elnayeb added, without naming the target company or specifying a timeline. The company also plans to launch c. 60 new SKUs in the coming years and expand its presence in high-growth segments such as nutraceuticals and medical devices, while raising prices through direct price hikes, product face-lifts and rebranding.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Will the Central Bank of Egypt raise interest rates to combat higher prices fuelled by the Ukraine war? Noaman Khalid, associate director at Arqaam Capital, thinks so. A rise in interest rates in the CBE’s upcoming monetary policy committee meeting later this month is “a very big possibility,” he said during a phone-in with Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime 5:21). With the war’s economic consequences now expected to last more than just a few weeks, the CBE could raise interest rates “in efforts to contain local inflation imported from abroad,” Khalid said. The CBE will meet to review interest rates on 24 March.

Other analysts have flagged a 2022 hike, but this is by far the earliest call: A number of analysts told us in our most recent interest rate poll that they expect the CBE to tighten policy later in the year in response to rising inflation and higher global rates. The folks at the central bank have left rates unchanged in recent months despite forecasts for higher prices and a tighter policy environment.

The surging cost of oil and goods took center stage on our airwaves last night, with the talking heads discussing reasons behind global price increases and their ramifications on Egyptian markets, including: Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime 35:41 | 4:04), El Hekaya (watch, runtime 4:41), and Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime 7:57).

And in non-war news: Our old Thanaweya Amma system is history, Education Minister Tarek Shawki told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib in a phone-in last night (watch, runtime 4:00), responding to rumors that the old system was about to make a comeback. The old high school testing system measured the students’ memorizing skills, while the new tests measure students’ levels of understanding, he said.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Judge Radwa Helmy on Saturday became Egypt’s first female judge to sit on the bench of Egypt’s Council of State (Maglis El Dawla), marking a “historic step” for gender equality, AFP reports. The 98 women judges appointed to the Council officially assumed their positions this week.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Egypt’s banks processed 1 bn electronic transactions in 2021 worth a total of EGP 2.8 tn, said the Central Bank of Egypt’s Sub-Governor for Payment Systems and Business Technology Ayman Hussein, according to Hapi Journal. Hussein didn’t give a comparative figure for 2020.

Atrees Group acquires 100% of Remco subsidiary Empain: Tourism developer Remco has approved the EGP 364.4 mn sale of its subsidiary Empain Tourism Investments to Atrees Group, according to a statement to the EGX (pdf). The sale matches the fair value set in a study by Alpha Capital, and is slightly higher than an initial valuation which valued the company at EGP 347.7 mn .

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

PLANET FINANCE

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The USD is getting stronger because of the Ukraine war: The USD has surged to its highest level since the pandemic-panic days of May 2020 as investors seek havens in response to the conflict in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reports. The ICE USD index finished the week up 2.1%, one of its largest jumps in the past five years, due to Russia’s military campaign and retaliatory sanctions by western nations. When global equity markets slump, investors tend to run towards safe-haven assets such as gold or the USD — which has already been gaining strength in recent months amid expectations of higher interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

Blackrock-led group gets mandate to finance Aramco pipeline acquisition: A syndicate of 19 international banks will provide USD 13.4 bn to the investor consortium that recently acquired a stake in Saudi Aramco’s natgas pipelines subsidiary, Al Arabiya reports citing unnamed sources. HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered are reportedly among the international lenders participating in the seven-year loan, alongside Gulf banks including Riyad Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, and three Chinese lenders. The Blackrock-led group last month acquired a 49% stake in the business for USD 15.5 bn.

Down

EGX30

11,095

-1.9% (YTD: -7.2%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

12,804

+0.4% (YTD: +13.5%)

Down

ADX

9,683

-0.6% (YTD: +14.1%)

Down

DFM

3,449

-0.9% (YTD: +7.9%)

Down

S&P 500

4,329

-0.8% (YTD: -9.2%)

Down

FTSE 100

6,987

-3.5% (YTD: -5.4%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 118.11

+6.9%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.02

+6.2%

Up

Gold

USD 1,967

+1.6%

Down

BTC

USD 38,399

-2.8% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 1.9% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 763 mn (19.7% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 7.2% YTD.

In the green: Ezz Steel (+4.8%), Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (+1.7%) and Mopco (+1.2%).

In the red: Rameda (-4.4%), Telecom Egypt (-4.0%) and Ibnsina Pharma (-3.9%).

blackboard

Wish you really did learn something new every day? Whether you’re looking to upskill your resume, get answers to a burning question, or dip your toe into a new field, the explosion of accessible, bite-sized online education means that you don’t need to pour time or funds into gaining some extra knowledge. YouTube has become the go-to edutainment platform for many, serving up mns of hours of online learning without charge. But the sheer amount of information (and misinformation) out there means it’s more important than ever to pick your sources wisely. To help orient you on your quest for online wisdom, we present our roundup of some of the most interesting and factually rigorous channels out there right now.

The old faithful: A YouTube classic and one of the most useful online tools for students, Khan Academy saved us from complete wreckage on tons of homework back in the day. But while the test prep videos come recommended, you don’t have to be preparing for a high school calculus exam to gain from this channel. Head here for reams of playlists with detailed lessons on topics ranging from the fundamentals of macroeconomics to cosmology, chemistry and computer animation.

Another of our favorite channels aimed primarily at high-school students is CrashCourse, which offers in-depth multi-episode classes on almost every subject you can think of and can be a helpful introductory resource for adults looking to learn the basics about something new. There’s an Arabic equivalent for CrashCourse’s world history series on DW Arabic, too.

Your basic gateway for fun facts: Why don’t we cover the desert in solar panels? Do you have a ghost twin? Why do cats have vertical pupils? On the TED-Ed channel, the people who reinvented the conference presentation answer questions you never knew you had in intricately animated, 5-10 minute clips. These videos are pitched to the absolute beginner and work for school-age kids, too – a good starting point for reliable (if at times basic) information from across the sciences and humanities.

On the quirkier end of the spectrum: Get your dose of pop-science with Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell. The tone is humorous, the animated visuals are striking, and the topics are current: The Futurism playlist features videos on interstellar mining and how to terraform Venus, while the Existential Crisis section includes a clip on what dinosaurs probably looked like, and another on what would happen if Earth got kicked out of the solar system in 10 minutes or less.

Go beyond the headlines: If you’re looking to get a better handle on the drivers behind current affairs, news site Vox’s YouTube offering has you covered. From the war in Ukraine to the anti-vax movement, Vox’s videos use interviews with experts, rigorous research, and animation to help break down what’s happening in the world. (If you liked Netflix’s Explained series of short documentaries — produced in partnership with Vox — then this is the channel for you).

If you’re looking for hard science, check out Veritasium. Some of our fave eps include how to launch a nuclear missile, laser hair removal and the invention of video, and they also run a cool series about common scientific misconceptions that’s worth checking out. Bonus: Some — though not all — the videos published in the channel’s 10 year history are dubbed in Arabic. The videos made by scientific journal Nature also score high on our chart for visual representations of the most cutting edge scientific experiments and discoveries. Check out: How vaccines work, searching for supernovas and why leaky pipes can be better for moving water. Nature Arabic has some of the same content with Arabic subtitles.

For the number-crunchers: Want to know how to scientifically cut a birthday cake or the problems with zero? Numberphile’s rotating list of impassioned hosts will help guide you through some of the most fascinating and challenging concepts in the world of math.

For those who prefer their learning mediated through a familiar face: On Big Think, your teachers are high profile thinkers, academics, and public intellectuals. It’s a broad church, with some of the “expert” teachers perhaps more deserving of the title than others. Recurring personalities like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku and Malcom Gladwell rub virtual shoulders with Ricky Gervais, Jordan Petersen, and Richard Branson. One caveat: the curators seem to lean male and white in their choice of speakers.

Searching for some guidance? The School of Life aims to address the day-to-day challenges school never prepared you for. The channel delves into the knotty emotional and psychological conundrums we face at work and in our relationships, using key concepts from the social sciences and humanities to try and unravel them. They typically publish a new video every week.


Your top education stories for the week:

  • The design of a new campus for the French University in Egypt has been awarded to a French-Egyptian consortium that includes French architecture firm Jakob + Macfarlane and Cairo-based Raafat Miller Consulting.
  • The government has launched an online registration form for Egyptians studying in Ukraine amid efforts to repatriate the 6k-strong community of Egyptian expats from the war-torn country.
  • Online law education platform Kouncel raised funding and support worth EUR 1.2 mn in a pre-seed round.
  • Egyvax clinical trials kick off: Forty-five volunteers will be given doses of Egypt’s second experimental covid-19 vaccine in clinical trials that launched last week,

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.

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.

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

15 March: The first edition of Export Smart at Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski

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.

24 March (Thursday): GB Auto Extraordinary General Assembly (pdf).

24 March-1 April: Ahlan Ramadan Supermarket Expo, Cairo International Convention Center.

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.

3Q2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release first financing product.

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.

August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 300 MW to be completed.

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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