Monday, 18 July 2022

AM — MNHD wants SODIC to bump up its offer price

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends. We have a compact, business-heavy issue for you today after the policy- and macro-heavy reads we served up yesterday (and before the Eid break).

Before we get started, though:

PSA- Fourth covid shots have landed: People who have received three doses of a covid vaccine can now receive their fourth jabs, Youm7 reported, citing a statement from the Health Ministry. Anyone over the age of 65 or suffering from a chronic illness can get the booster if it’s been more than three months since their third shot. Everyone else will become eligible six months after receiving the third jab. The ministry has already begun administering the fourth shots, and there’s no need to re-register if you want to get jabbed.

Covid cases are on the rise nationwide, with the official case count not at about 35 new cases and five covid-related deaths each day, acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said earlier this week. Remember: The official case count underestimates the true number of cases as it captures data only from government labs.

Covid patients need to quarantine for 5-7 days, head of the government’s covid committee, Hossam Hosni, told Salet El Tahrir yesterday (watch, runtime: 3:24), adding that despite the increase in reported cases, most patients are reporting comparatively mild symptoms. Hosni called on people to continue practicing preventive measures including mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing.

Officials haven’t specified that we’re in the midst of the same BA.4 and BA.5 wave that is sweeping North America and much of Europe, but…


WATCH THIS SPACE #1: Brace yourselves for more bad news on global growth. The IMF is poised to downgrade its global economic growth outlook “substantially” later this month on the back of soaring food and energy prices, a slowing economy in China, and reduced capital flows to emerging markets, Bloomberg reports.

“It’s shock after shock after shock which are really hitting the global economy,” IMF official Ceyla Pazarbasioglu said Sunday at a panel in Indonesia following the G20 finance ministers’ meeting, which ended in division on Saturday. The IMF already downgraded its 2022 global growth forecast in April to 3.6%, from 4.4%, due to the economic fallout caused by the war in Ukraine.

The next signpost on the road: The Fund will publish an update to its World Economic Outlook on Tuesday, 26 July — a week from tomorrow.

*** WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Is the respected activist Alaa Abdel Fattah up for a pardon? That’s the contention of Tarek El Awadi, a member of the presidential pardons commission, who said on Al Kahera wal Nas’ Hadith Al Qahera that Alaa’s name is on a pardon list being prepared by the commission. Other prominent activists including Ahmed Douma are also up for pardons, El Awadi said, adding that “competent authorities” are reviewing the list and have so far raised no objections. The story is getting play in state-owned media including Al Ahram’s breaking news website as well as in Youm7.

Alaa, now a UK national, has been on a hunger strike since April and his case has in recent months won significant international media attention.


WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is co-chairing this year’s Petersberg Climate Dialogue alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ittihadiya said in a statement. The two-day event starts today in Berlin and is one of several international climate meetings ahead of COP27 in November.

Egypt will play Cape Verde in the final of the 2022 African Men's Handball Championship today at 9pm. A victory for the Pharaohs would see them claim the title for the second year in a row. The national team sealed their place in the final on Saturday by beating Tunisia, a match that also secured a berth in the 2023 championship.

TOMORROW-

GASC goes direct to some far-flung wheat suppliers: State grain buyer GASC is again looking to purchase more wheat directly from traders and will tomorrow invite offers from suppliers in the US, Canada, Australia, Argentina and Brazil, it said on its website. GASC wants offers on a cost and freight basis to be shipped in September-November. The authority has, by our math, bought more than 500k tons of wheat outside the normal tender process this month (here and here) and has sought to diversify its suppliers following the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

AND THIS WEEK-

Russian President Vladimir Putin is coming to our neck of the woods(ish). Putin will meet with his counterparts in Iran and Turkey as the Kremlin ups efforts to court global south allies in the wake of its rift with the West, the Wall Street Journal reports. The rare diplomatic visit — only Putin’s second since Russia went to war in Ukraine — will start on Tuesday in Tehran.

Cold War diplomacy vibes: The visit comes hot on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East, where he also sought to firm up ties with regional allies and counter the growing influence of China and Russia.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- There’s no single story dominating the international front pages this morning:

  • The latest from Ukraine: President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has fired his national security head and chief prosecutor while Russia prepares the next phase of its push to seize the entirety of the Donbas. (Reuters | AP | Bloomberg)
  • US media is focused on a report published yesterday on the mass shooting in Uvalde in May, which found “systemic failures” in how the police responded to the situation. (Washington Post | NYT)

MARKET WATCH-

The global financial press is fretting about two things this morning:

#1 The red-hot greenback: The USD posted its strongest first half in more than a decade this year, rising to its highest level in 20 years as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates and unease about the direction of the global economy grows. The EUR reached parity with the USD for the first time since 2002 last week and the USD-JPY rate is at its highest in 24 years. That sees Bloomberg reporting that the strengthening greenback has triggered capital flight from Asian equities (excluding China) to the tune of USD 71 bn so far this year.

The doom loop: Hedge fund advisor Jon Turek tells the business newswire that we’re entering a “USD doom loop” where the strengthening currency becomes self-reinforcing. “We have a European problem, which creates pressure on the euro, which sends the dollar higher, which worsens the manufacturing cycle, which does this whole thing again,” he says. “It’s a little hard to see what kind of stops this.”

Everyone’s feeling the pressure: Commodity importers (us), countries with USD-denominated debt (us), and the US’ top trading partners are all feeling the pain as currencies across the world fall heavily against the greenback. The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are also out with pieces examining the currency’s ascent.

#2 Corporate earnings: US earnings season continues this week, and — among the other headwinds currently threatening businesses — the USD is expected to have weighed on corporate revenues in the second quarter. “The USD is definitely going to be a huge earnings headwind,” one analyst told the Wall Street Journal.

It hasn’t been a great start to earnings season: “Lackluster,” “inauspicious,” and “slow” all find their way into the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the first week of 2Q earnings, which saw JPMorgan, Chase and Delta Airlines all warn about hard times ahead. Of the few S&P 500 companies that have released their earnings for the second quarter of the year, nearly 60% beat earning expectations in comparison to the usual 77% recorded over the past five years on the back of rising costs.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

State’s national dialogue meetings to resume on Tuesday: The board overseeing the Sisi administration’s national dialogue will hold its second meeting this week, during which it will set a schedule of debate, discuss the agenda and form subcommittees.

Need a refresher on the national dialogue? We’ve got you covered.

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: The skill gap between what Egypt’s fresh graduates need in the workforce and what they leave university with is often cited as a reason for poor performance or low productivity. So Enterprise asked representatives from a range of sectors what exactly they look for in the fresh graduates they hire. Their answers? Although different sectors sometimes require quite different skills and experience, candidates who are proactive and understand the broader meaning behind the tasks they work on will go much further than those who rely on being spoon fed instructions, they say.

enterprise

A sizzling summer awaits you by the bay: We’ve saved you the hassle of planning by bringing you a lineup of unmatched energy and fun-packed vacation activities to last you all season long. It’s time to create magical memories with relaxed beachside days and excitingly fresh nights. From pumping up the adrenaline with Footgolf and Go-Karting to turning up the music and heat at Sobar with ladies’ nights, groovy beats, and lots of dancing. From BBQ beach parties at S-cape to riding horses by the sea — there’s a little special something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you at the bay.

M&A WATCH

MNHD wants SODIC to bump up its offer price

MNHD says the price isn’t right on SODIC’s acquisition bid: Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (MNHD) has rejected a takeover bid by SODIC and called on the company to bump up its offer. SODIC before Eid Al Adha offered to purchase up to 100% of MNHD for EGP 3.20-3.40 per share. MNHD’s board said in a letter (pdf) to Aldar Properties (SODIC’s majority owner) that the offer price does not match the “real value” of the company.

MNHD has invited SODIC to go higher: The board said in its letter that it could be interested in a bid if SODIC were to reconsider its offer and peg it at a “fair” value. MNHD’s shares rose 3.1% yesterday on the news to close at EGP 2.68, implying SODIC’s offer is (at the top end of the range) a premium of about 27% to the current share price. SODIC shares fell 2.4% to EGP 10.83.

What happens now? MNHD’s board said it would not recommend allowing SODIC to conduct due diligence on the firm with the offer price as it stands, though the final decision on whether to allow the request rests with the company’s shareholders, MNHD board member Salah Katamish told us. Our friends at SODIC declined to comment when we asked yesterday.

Look out for a final decision soon: MNHD has 21 working days to convene its general assembly and decide whether to allow SODIC to do due diligence, Katamish said.

MNHD’s current owners: State-owned institutions collectively own the largest stake in MNHD, with the Holding Company for Construction and Development holding 15.2%, the National Investment Bank owning 3.7% and Banque Misr holding 3.5%. BIG Investment Group is the largest single shareholder with a 19.9% stake, B Investments owns 7.5% and 20.4% is held by foreign institutions.

This isn’t the first time SODIC and MNHD have danced. The two started talking about combining their businesses in early 2018, which months later saw SODIC make an offer to acquire at least 51% of MNHD through a direct share swap that the two positioned as what would have been Egypt’s largest-ever M&A at the time. Talks fell through after they failed to reach an agreement on the share-swap ratio.

Advisors: CI Capital is acting as SODIC’s financial advisor, while MNHD has yet to tap an investment bank. Zaki Hashem & Partners is MNHD’s legal counsel.

The news got attention internationally: Reuters.

M&A WATCH

Swvl is entering Mexico with another acquisition

Swvl expands to Mexico with fourth acquisition of 2022: Cairo-born mass transport app Swvl is continuing its buying spree with the acquisition of Mexico-based transport firm Urbvan Mobility, giving the Nasdaq-listed startup access to the second most populated market in Latin America. In an announcement last week, Swvl said it had reached an agreement to acquire the firm and expects the process to be finalized by the end of 3Q 2022. The acquisition is being done via a share-swap worth almost USD 28 mn based on Swvl’s current share price, Swvl CFO Youssef Salem told Enterprise.

The details: Urbvan shareholders will get 12 mn shares in Swvl over the next two years in return for their company, provided they deliver on the business plan, Salem said. The company didn’t disclose the price per share at which the swap was agreed. Swvl’s shares closed at USD 2.31 in New York at the end of last week.

About Urbvan: Founded in 2016, the bus transport app operates in 18 cities in Mexico, running regular urban and intercity routes as well as buses for private firms. The company has more than 450k registered users and has posted a compounded annual revenue growth rate of 138% since 2017.

The move is the latest in a string of acquisitions… Swvl has made four acquisitions so far this year and six to date as it continues to pursue global expansion. After acquiring Barcelona-based Shotl and Chile / Argentina-based Viapool last year, earlier this year the company bought Turkish firm Volt Lines, German SaaS platform Door2Door and the UK-based Zeelo.

…and announced major layoffs and operational cutbacks: The company slashed its headcount by a third in May in an attempt to keep it on track to become cash flow positive next year. It also imposed a hiring freeze, cut executive pay, and announced plans to scrap unprofitable routes.

Swvl has had a rough ride in the public markets: Swvl’s shares have plunged more than 75% since it debuted on the Nasdaq in April via a SPAC merger amid a broad sell-off on Wall Street of tech stocks and companies that went public via blank check firms.

The move is part of Swvl’s pivot toward its most profitable segments, transport as a service (TaaS) and software as a service (SaaS), it said in the statement. “Urbvan has high profit margins given relatively higher income levels in Mexico” compared with other Swvl markets, Salem told us.

A pause in all the M&A for now? The company hasn’t identified any specific firms it’s interested in acquiring next but will “continue to seek profitable targets who are open to all-share agreements,” Salem said.

ENERGY

Subsidized bakeries won’t be affected by recent diesel price hike

Subsidized bakeries won’t be affected by the recent diesel price hike: The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) will subsidize the difference in the cost of diesel for subsidized bakeries following the recent price hike, Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy said in a statement. The price of subsidized loaves of baladi bread will remain unchanged at EGP 0.50, he said. The government currently pays EGP 0.70 in subsidies per loaf and has allocated EGP 90 bn to cover food subsidies in FY 2022-2023.

The government raised the price of diesel last week for the first time in three years in efforts to reduce its subsidy bill amid rising global energy prices. In its latest quarterly review, the fuel pricing committee increased the price to EGP 7.25 per liter from EGP 6.75, and hiked petrol prices by up to 10%. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said the state will pay out EGP 55 bn in diesel subsidies this year following the price hike.

Half of the countries’ subsidized bakeries still rely on diesel, while the other half are natural gas powered, Abdallah Ghorab, head of the bakery division at the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Commerce, told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi last night (watch, runtime: 22:19). The government plans to eventually hook all bakeries up with natural gas instead of diesel.

The price rises have raised fears of further inflation: Higher diesel prices are likely to feed through to goods and services. The fuel is used to transport commodities, operate agricultural machinery and power public transport. Taxi, bus and microbus fares rose by 5-7% across the country following the hike.

What are ride-hailing firms saying? Careem is still looking into how it will address the recent hike in petrol prices, Haitham Essam, head of the company’s Egypt business, told Al Borsa. The company is currently assessing the market and no decisions have been made, he said.

MOVES

The Transport Ministry has appointed Major General Sherif Leil to head the National Authority for Tunnels, it said in a statement yesterday. The former head of the authority, Major General Essam Wali, has been made an advisor to Minister Kamal El Wazir, it said.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The nation’s talking heads had a lot to cover last night between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi landing in Berlin, the future of subsidized bread and the national team making it to the 2022 African Men's Handball Championship final.

El Sisi’s visit to Berlin to co-chair this year’s Petersberg Climate Dialogue received coverage from Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 2:07), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 4:50 | 1:45) and Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:04).

There will be no changes to the price of subsidized bread following last week’s diesel price hike, head of the bakeries division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Attia Hamad told Salet El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 4:52), adding that the state will bear any additional costs due to the global increase on commodity and oil prices. Neither subsidized or unsubsidized bread will see any increases in prices unless the prime minister or supply minister issue an official statement, he added. We have more on this in this morning’s news well, above.

The final of the 2022 African Men's Handball Championship got plenty of attention: The final will see tournament hosts Egypt play Cape Verde. A victory for the Pharaohs would see the national team claim the trophy for the second year in a row. Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 9:28), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 36:01) and Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 3:11) all had the story.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Hear that? That’s the sound of not very much happening in the foreign press this morning. The only piece of note is brought to us by the Jerusalem Post, which is looking at the Egypt-Israel-EU gas export agreement and Europe’s need for East Med gas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

CBE gives greenlight to BdC’s Telda prepaid card: Banque du Caire has received final approval from the Central Bank of Egypt to launch a prepaid card in collaboration with digital banking app Telda, according to Hapi Journal. The Telda card can be used online and in-store, for money transfers, and for ATM withdrawals inside and outside Egypt. Customers can use the card without being banked.

Those who illegally encroach on the Nile will be referred to military prosecution, as the government continues its crackdown on construction and pollution on the river, Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty said in a statement. The government has taken new punitive measures against encroachments on agricultural land this year, suspending food and fertilizer subsidy payments to more than 8k people in Kafr El Sheikh. Draft legal amendments approved by the cabinet in March would introduce new fines and jail terms for offenders if passed by the House.

PLANET FINANCE

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‘50 is the new 25’ when it comes to rate hikes: Central banks globally are being pushed to impose bigger interest rate hikes under efforts to keep up with the Federal Reserve’s tightening cycle, prop up their currencies, and tame soaring inflation, the Financial Times says. Smaller rate hikes of 25 bps or less were once the norm during tightening cycles, but according to the salmon-colored paper’s data, some 55 central banks have made 62 policy rate hikes of at least 50 bps in the three months to June, while another 17 of these bumper hikes were announced in July. That means we’re living through the biggest monetary policy moves made at any time this century.

Forex is key: The strengthening USD is a key driver for the bigger hikes as countries — and particularly emerging markets — try to get a handle on inflation. “We’re seeing a rate hike feeding frenzy,” one investment portfolio manager told the FT. “Nowadays the last thing anyone wants is a weak currency.”

50 is small fry in the US these days: The Federal Reserve will likely hike rates by 75 bps for the second consecutive meeting when it meets later this month, according to the Wall Street Journal. Worsening inflation data out last week fuelled speculation that the central bank could step up its tightening cycle with a huge 100-bps hike, but some policymakers have since sought to dial back expectations for a full-point increase and publicly came out in favor of 75 bps.

Also worth noting:

  • The Bank of England’s independence could be under threat: Two of the leading candidates vying to succeed Boris Johnson as UK prime minister have signaled that they would bring the Bank of England under greater government control amid criticism of the bank’s failure to tackle inflation and opposition to financial deregulation. (FT | FT)
  • Hydro-powered planes? Rolls Royce will trial the use of hydrogen to power small aircraft, an innovation which ⁠— if it works ⁠— would help the aviation industry reduce carbon emissions. (FT)

Up

EGX30

8,773

+0.1% (YTD: -26.6%)

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USD (CBE)

Buy 18.83

Sell 18.91

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USD at CIB

Buy 18.85

Sell 18.91

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Interest rates CBE

11.25% deposit

12.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

11,292

+1.2% (YTD: +0.1%)

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ADX

9,250

+0.1% (YTD: +9.0%)

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DFM

3,160

+0.2% (YTD: -1.1%)

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S&P 500

3,863

+1.9% (YTD: -19.0%)

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FTSE 100

7,159

+1.7% (YTD: -3.1%)

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Euro Stoxx 50

3,477

+2.4% (YTD: -19.1%)

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Brent crude

USD 101.16

+2.1%

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Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 7.02

+6.3%

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Gold

USD 1,703.60

-0.1%

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BTC

USD 21,004

-0.9% (YTD: -54.6%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.1% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 318.46 mn (61.4% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is down 26.6% YTD.

In the green: Cleopatra Hospitals (+3.1%), Madinet Nasr Housing (+3.1%) and EFG Hermes (+2.4%).

In the red: ِAbu Dhabi Islamic Bank- Egypt (-2.3%), Fawry (-2.1%) and Orascom Development Egypt (-2.0%).

Asian markets are solidly in the green this morning and futures suggest stocks in much of Europe, the US and Canada will follow suit later today at the opening bell.

DIPLOMACY

Israel will investigate media reports of an unmarked mass grave in Jerusalem believed to contain the remains of Egyptian soldiers killed in the 1967 war, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in a phone call, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. Israeli media Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth earlier published archival data and accounts on dozens of Egyptian commandos believed to be buried under what is now an Israeli tourist attraction.

ALSO IN THE DIPLO SPHERE-

  • Shoukry talks COP with the UN: Foreign Minister and COP27 President Sameh Shoukry discussed preparations for the global climate summit with the UN’s interim climate change head, Ibrahim Thiaw, ahead of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. (Statement)
  • El Sisi meets Lurssen chief: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with Lürssen for Maritime Industries CEO Peter Lurssen in Berlin. (Statement)
  • Al Mashat talks startup climate innovation with Google + Meta: International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat met with officials from Google and Meta to discuss ways of supporting innovation among startups to combat climate change. (Statement)

AROUND THE WORLD

Libya’s oil fields are coming back online: Libya has ended its ban on oil production and exports after reaching an agreement with demonstrators who had shuttered the country’s oil facilities for three months. The lifting of the force majeure could allow exports to return to full capacity, adding 850k barrels of oil a day to the global market. (Bloomberg | Reuters)

blackboard

What skills do Egyptian businesses look for in fresh graduates? The gap between the skill sets needed in Egypt’s labor market and those seen in university graduates is often cited as a reason for relatively low levels of productivity. This is a regional problem, notes a 2022 joint report (pdf) on MENA’s private sector growth by the EIB, EBRD and World Bank. Even within MENA, workers in Egypt — along with Jordan and Tunisia — perform significantly fewer tasks related to “the jobs of the future,” requiring nonroutine interpersonal and analytical skills, the report notes.

We asked private sector firms what they want to see in fresh grads: Enterprise sat down with representatives from a range of sectors — law firms, startups, and companies in a range of industries — to ask what they’re looking for in the fresh graduates they hire.

What they said, in a nutshell: Obviously, different sectors can have quite specific needs when it comes to subject-matter knowledge and experience. But a common theme ran through our conversations: Candidates who can demonstrate a proactive approach to learning and are ready to apply their knowledge to a work environment are far more desirable than those who rely on rote memorization and being spoon-fed instructions. Unfortunately, while some universities are taking steps to equip students with these skill sets in certain ways, few appear able to provide students with them across the board, sources tell us.

For law firms, being able to adapt and apply legal knowledge is key: Law firms look for candidates who can apply their knowledge creatively to solve problems facing their business clients, representatives of leading Egyptian firms tell Enterprise. “We aren’t just lawyers; we’re business lawyers,” says Shalakany Senior Partner Moataz El Mahdy. As such, they look for candidates who will eventually be able to apply their legal knowledge to the business context their clients operate in — which involves thinking creatively and solving problems, to guide the clients on commercial decisions, he adds.

So candidates need to demonstrate strong research skills: Knowing how to research effectively — which legal tools to use and how to follow a logical sequence of thought and action, to find solutions to particular issues — is essential, says Firas El Samad, managing partner at Zulficar and Partners. This process involves research and reasoning to reach a pragmatic solution to a client’s issue, he adds.

They need to work well in a team: The case work that fresh grads might do — whether in a law firm’s corporate department, in arbitration or in litigation — by its very nature involves working in a team, so applicants need to demonstrate they can do this well, notes El Mahdy.

And language skills are also vital: A high level of proficiency in English is essential for business law, because it’s the language in which many contracts are drafted and much of the work is conducted, note El Mahdy and El Samad. Excellent Arabic is obviously also mandatory, and a knowledge of French is advantageous, says El Samad. But just as important as mastering sophisticated contractual language to draft contracts is the ability to not bombard clients with legal jargon, they add. “Often your clients don’t have a legal background, so you need to inform them of their options and risks using layman’s terms, getting straight to the point,” says El Samad.

For startups, some sector-specific knowledge is good — but what’s really needed is experience: The most valuable skill set for startups is practical exposure to the work of the startup, coupled with maturity, says Yousef ElSammaa, Managing Director of venture studio firm Fibonacci Studio. “Of course, if you’re looking for a more technical job, you’d want to see more technical skills. Developers would want people who know certain languages and have experience of coding with them. But technical skills aren’t that valuable if they don’t come with experience.”

The key thing is how they approach the job: “As a startup you’re always understaffed, so people need to do everything — within and outside their job descriptions,” says Kamal El Soueni, co-founder and CEO of Rabbit Mobility. “We need people with the right attitude, who take ownership of their work.” Part of Rabbit’s interview process involves assessing how a candidate responds to feedback, whether they show resistance or see it as a positive form of coaching, notes El Soueni. A big part of adapting quickly to working life involves working proactively, so startups look for people who understand that it’s their responsibility to develop themselves, says ElSammaa. “Startups need people who will take the initiative and then learn as they go,” he adds.

And it’s also beneficial to think critically about the job, rather than go through the motions: “When we delegate tasks to fresh grads, the ones that do best are those who understand why we’re doing the task, rather than just the task’s parameters,” says Hussein El Kheshen, co-founder and CTO of Sakneen. “Then they can gauge as they move along how to build on the task, without constantly depending on guidance from another team member.”

Sector-specific companies — whether multinational or domestic — may look for certain hard skills and industry knowledge, representatives say. “We work in the industrial sector,” notes Wafik Beshara, VP of HR at CEMEX Egypt. “So we typically need fresh grads who are mechanical or electrical engineers if they are working in the plant, or civil or construction engineers if they’re working in our commercial or technical sites.” When TBS hires fresh grads as operational team members — including baristas — assessing functional competencies, like how quickly they can make coffee and set a table, is part of the hiring process, says Tarek Nour, TBS General Manager.

But many firms don’t expect to see large cohorts of fresh grads with specific technical skills: It isn’t possible to hire fresh grads for many of the jobs in TBS requiring specific hard skills, including team members working in supply chain management, procurement, warehousing, and finished goods, notes Nour. This skill and knowledge acquisition comes with work experience, he adds. And while the majority of fresh grads that apply to HSBC Egypt majored in accounting or business, the company still sees — and welcomes — applicants from multiple fields, says head of HR Moustafa Raouf.

So above all, they look for behavior traits like dynamism, curiosity and flexibility: PepsiCo Egypt primarily assesses candidates on several skills and qualities that indicate their long-term potential for growth in the organization — like curiosity and interest in learning, providing peer support, demonstrating emotional intelligence and flexibility, strong relationship management, being results oriented, and being able to look broadly at the needs of the organization, says HR Senior Director Naniece Fahmy.

Many of these can be demonstrated outside of an educational environment, and fresh grads often give examples in recruitment interviews of how they’ve exhibited these skills in their interpersonal relationships or extracurricular activities — rather than within a specific academic context, note Fahmy, Nour, Raouf and Beshara.


Your top education stories for the week:

  • Private sector to enter Japanese schools? Education Minister Tarek Shawki said he is drawing up a plan to build more local Japanese schools in partnership with the private sector.
  • New tech unis: Cabinet approved building six new technology universities in Giza, Alexandria, Port Said, Luxor, Assiut and Gharbiya governorates.
  • The government will launch more than 20 green projects at COP27 and host a pre-COP youth conference for young people to share their thoughts and suggestions for addressing the climate crisis.

CALENDAR

OUR CALENDAR APPEARS in two sections:

  • Events with specific dates or months are right here up top
  • Events happening in a quarter or other range of time with no specific date / month appear at the bottom of the calendar.

JULY

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

July: Actis’ expected sale of its majority stake in Lekela to Infinity and Masdar.

18-19 July (Monday-Tuesday): Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Berlin.

19 July (Tuesday): The national dialogue’s board to reconvene.

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

21-22 July (Thursday-Friday): The Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) and Supreme Standing Committee for Human Rights (SSCHR) human rights conference.

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

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July-14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

AUGUST

August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 600 MW to be completed.

August: Sharm El Sheikh will host the African Sumo Championship.

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

SEPTEMBER

September: Naval Power, Egypt’s first naval defense expo

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

September: Egyptian-German Joint Economic Committee.

September: A delegation from Germany’s Aldi will visit Egypt to look at potential investments.

6-9 September (Tuesday-Friday): Gate Travel Expo 2022, El Kobba Palace, Cairo.

7-9 September (Wednesday-Friday): African Finance Ministers to meet in Cairo to coordinate an African-led position during COP27.

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

18 September (Sunday): Deadline for brokerage firms, asset managers and financial advisors to register with the Egyptian Securities Federation.

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

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

26–27 September (Monday-Tuesday): The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) at the Cairo Marriott Hotel.

OCTOBER

October: Air Sphinx, EgyptAir’s low-cost subsidiary to commence operations.

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

1 October (Saturday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

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

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

10-16 October (Monday-Sunday): World Bank and IMF annual meetings chaired by CBE Governor Tarek Amer, Washington, DC.

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

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

Late October-14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

NOVEMBER

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.

3-5 November (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Fashion Week.

4-6 November (Friday-Sunday): Autotech auto exhibition, Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

6-18 November (Sunday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

7-13 November (Mon-Sun): The International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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.

DECEMBER

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

December: The Sixth of October dry port will begin operations.

JANUARY 2023

January 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.

MAY 2023

22-26 May (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

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 its first financing product.

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

2023: Egypt will host the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in 2023.

**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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