Sunday, 28 August 2022

AM — Abdalla lifts restrictions on cash deposits and will allow you to withdraw more cash in-branch

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends, and welcome to a very busy Sunday. It’s largely good news to start the week, with lots of fresh investment in green energy, a new head of the EGX, and the easing of cash deposit and withdrawal restrictions at banks setting the tone.

There are also signs we have another busy news week ahead of us:

The Madbouly government will roll out new emergency social protection measures this Thursday, saying the move will not trigger the folks at the IMF. The expansion of the social safety net will see some 1 mn families join the Takaful and Karama social security programs as the state also raises ration card allowances and disburses emergency aid, Prime Minister Mousatafa Madbouly, told reporters over the weekend.

The increased social spending is fine by the IMF, the prime minister suggested, downplaying the idea that the Fund is imposing harsh fiscal and monetary conditions in exchange for a fresh loan. “The Fund does not force us to take any measures that could affect the Egyptian citizen. On the contrary, it welcomed the exceptional social protection package that we announced,” the statement said. This echoes comments made by Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy last week, who suggested that the Fund may have taken bread subsidy reform off the negotiating table.

Talks with the IMF are still ongoing and Egypt “hopes to reach an agreement as soon as possible,” Madbouly said. We entered negotiations this past March as part of a bid to lock in financial support following the economic shocks caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, rising interest rates, and the global-risk off in financial markets. Madbouly said last week that the talks are in the “final stages.”

WATCH THIS SPACE- What’s on Hassan Abdalla’s mind? “I guess he [Abdalla] will go much faster in terms of currency adjustment. Not a sudden devaluation like Tarek did, [rather] a faster pace,” Reuters’ Patrick Werr quotes Hisham Ezz Al Arab as saying. The veteran banker and longtime CIB chef was speaking in his new capacity as a top advisor to the new central bank governor.

CLARIFICATION: Hisham Ezz Al Arab’s remarks regarding the expectation that CBE Governor Hassan Abdalla might “go faster” on allowing the EGP to float against the greenback were made hours prior to his being named advisor to the governor. Hisham was not speaking in his capacity as an advisor.

HAPPENING TODAY-

Prime Minister Mousafa Madbouly is in Tunis for the second day of Japan’s Africa investment conference. The first day of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) saw the PM hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and meet with business leaders including Toyota Tsusho. In his address to the gathering, the PM called on African nations to work together to strengthen food supply chains and reiterated calls for debt relief countries on the continent.

The headline from Day 1: Japan pledged USD 30 bn in development aid for Africa during the conference, with smaller, undisclosed sums committed to food security in partnership with the African Development Bank, Reuters reported. Japanese PM Kishida also promised to work on securing grain shipments to Africa in an effort to plug the food crises that have erupted across the continent following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It’s do or die for Ghazl El Mahalla’s micro-IPO: It’s deadline day for the retail component of the football club’s IPO, which has struggled to convince investors to subscribe. Ghazl El Mahalla has already extended the subscription period twice and as of the middle of August, had only received bids for 22% of the shares on offer.

The Madbouly government will hold consultations with representatives from the wood industry on its privatization strategy. The government is holding workshops and consultations with stakeholders from different industries every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday on its privatization plans. You can find more details on the schedule of the meetings here.

enterprise

WATCH THIS- COP27 will aim to attract concrete investments — and not just pledges — in fields including renewable energy, green hydrogen projects, agriculture, and food and water security, Egypt climate envoy Mahmoud Mohieldin said in an interview. (Masaa DMC | watch, runtime: 37:26)

Speaking of the road to COP27- “Global climate action remains insufficient,” EU says in draft negotiations mandate for COP27: The EU is planning to warn major economies that current climate change action is falling short, according to a draft of its mandate for this November’s COP27 summit seen by Reuters. The draft, which faces weeks of negotiations and amendments before approval in October, is pushing countries to set more ambitious pollution targets to stop global warming spiraling beyond 1.5°C.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

No story is dominating the global conversation this morning: The focus of the global financial press continues to be on Jackson Hole, where folks are trying to work out what Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech (more on this in this morning’s Planet Finance section, below) means for the markets and the global economy. (See: Bloomberg | Reuters | CNBC). Meanwhile, the attention of the US press is turned to the upcoming midterm elections and fate of Donald Trump (See: AP | Washington Post | NYT | WSJ), while the Financial Times leads with the devastating effects of the energy crisis on UK households.

MEANWHILE- China announces debt relief measures for African countries: China plans to write-off 23 zero-interest loans to 17 African nations and will send USD 10 bn of its IMF reserves to help poor and middle-income countries on the continent, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last week, according to Bloomberg. Wang did not disclose the value of the loans or specify which countries would have debts forgiven.

Beijing has signaled in recent months that it will put the brakes on the lending under Xi Jinping’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative as bns of USD of loans made across the developing world threaten to go bad. Chinese lenders had to renegotiate more than 6% of the USD 838 bn in BRI loans over the past two years as borrowers enter debt distress, but this year surging inflation worldwide, rising interest rates and a stronger greenback are heaping even more pressure on borrowers in developing economies.

THE HOMETOWN ANGLE- Egypt hasn’t turned to Chinese lenders in the same way other African countries have: Outside of the new capital business district and the light rail transit system, China has had little involvement financing infrastructure projects in Egypt, which has tended to rely far more heavily on western development finance institutions. A report (pdf) out last year estimated Egypt’s total sovereign and hidden debt to China to be in the region of USD 4.6 bn; small fry compared to Ethiopia (which owes USD 15.4 bn) or Africa’s most China-indebted country, Angola (with a USD 52.3 bn debt pile).

enterprise

*** It’s What’s Next day: We have our weekly deep-dive into what makes and shapes pre-listed companies and startups in Egypt, the UAE and KSA, touching on investment trends, future sector insights and growth journeys.

In today’s issue: Female technology (femtech) is being hailed as the next big thing for startups to capitalize on, with a growing appetite among consumers for the tech-enabled health platforms helping to reel in increased investor interest.

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enterprise

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BANKING

CBE lifts restrictions on cash deposits + raises ceiling on withdrawals

You can now deposit + withdraw more cash from your bank account: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has raised the daily limit that individuals and businesses can withdraw in-branch from their bank accounts and scrapped limits on cash deposits at both bank branches and at ATMs, it said in a circular (pdf) Thursday.

REFRESHER- The temporary caps were introduced during the pandemic to encourage people to move away from cash and reduce footfall at banks. With the worst of the health crisis now behind us, the CBE’s move is meant to make life easier for individual and corporate clients alike, the central bank said.

Per the new rules:

  • Individuals and companies can now withdraw up to EGP 150k daily at bank branches, up from a previous limit of EGP 50k.
  • Withdrawals from ATMs for both individuals and companies are still capped at EGP 20k daily.
  • Individuals and companies can now deposit whatever amount they wish, whether at bank branches or through ATMs. In-branch deposits had been limited to EGP 10k per day for individuals, while ATM deposits were capped at EGP 5k per day for individuals and companies alike.

There remains no ceiling on electronic transfers.

Thumbs up from the business community: The decision will help manufacturers access the liquidity they need to contract for raw materials and other goods, Mohamed El Sallab, deputy chair of the House Industry Committee, said in a statement (pdf).

The central bank last month also lifted its covid-era waiver on inter-bank ATM withdrawal fees. Fees on ATM withdrawals from a bank that is not your own are now capped at EGP 5, while the maximum amount that can be withdrawn in one go has been set at EGP 4k. Meanwhile, fee exemptions on inter-bank EGP transfers, e-payments, and new contactless cards and mobile wallets were extended until the end of the year.

The story got coverage from the foreign press: Reuters.

MOVES

Ramy El Dokany is the new head of the EGX

The EGX has a new boss: Rami El Dokany (LinkedIn) has been named head of the EGX for a one-year term by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, according to a cabinet statement Thursday. El Dokany succeeds Mohamed Farid, who was appointed acting chairman of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) earlier this month.

About El Dokany: El Dokany has nearly two decades in investment, corporate finance, and strategic planning. Since 2019 he has served as the secretary-general of the Arab Federation of Capital Markets (AFCM). His resume includes a seven-year stint at Al Ahly Capital Holding and service on boards including EGX-listed Alexandria Mineral Oils and Banque Misr’s leasing arm. He has worked as a part-time consultant to the World Bank for almost seven years and sat on the investment committee of the Social Fund for Development’s fund of funds VC program, in cooperation with the World Bank.

He was also an early player in our now-booming fintech sector: He was the co-founder and CEO VC firm Pride Capital, founded by Pharos and Kamelizer.

Madbouly also appointed Heba El Serafi (LinkedIn) as vice chairman of the EGX for the next year. El Serafi previously served as the bourse’s assistant chairman, where she led on disclosure and corporate governance.

El Dokany’s appointment met with optimism: El-Dokany will help “regain the trust of investors in the bourse,” Mubasher Capital Vice Chairman Ehab Rashad told Enterprise. He added that the EGX and the FRA will likely work “in harmony” due to “current good ties” between the bourse and the financial watchdog.

The job ahead: “We need to see smoother listing procedures, a reconsideration of price boundaries and the introduction of new products” like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by the EGX, as well as encouragement of short-selling, Rashad said.

CAPITAL MARKETS

Now is the time to invest in the EGX, says Tellimer

EGX-listed stocks are trading at a 50% discount to their recent five-year average, creating a good buy for investors, Hasnain Malik, head of equity research at Tellimer, tells Bloomberg (watch, runtime: 6:13). Undervalued EGX stocks represent a good “short-term trade” as the expected IMF loan, Gulf support, and a potential devaluation spur an economic recovery, Malik said.

Short term? Absent “root and branch” reform of how the Egyptian economy is structured, the country is unlikely to break the cycle of crisis and recovery, the prospect for which remains slim, according to Malik. “That’s why it’s a short-term thesis. It’s a trade around the stabilization of the macroeconomic indicators. It is not a root and branch reform.”

Another devaluation will be key for the return of portfolio investors, Malik said, joining calls on the CBE and its new governor to allow the EGP to depreciate further to help combat growing external imbalances. “Obviously as the IMF comes in, as Gulf funds come in, that will encourage portfolio investors to start reinvesting in Egypt, but not when there's a negative 2.5% real interest rate,” Malik said. “That's got to be fixed first.” Rising global interest rates as well as volatility in international financial markets have seen USD 20 bn in portfolio flows exit the country this year, putting pressure on the EGP, which has slipped almost 22% since March.

Double-digit deval? “I would expect a double-digit devaluation,” Malik said. “If you look at 12-month prices on the EGP you've got about a 15% further depreciation expected by the market.”

ECONOMY

Egyptian economy grew 6.6% in FY 2021-2022, says planning minister

The Egyptian economy grew at a 6.6% clip in FY 2021-2022, up from 3.3% the previous year, according to initial figures announced by Planning Minister Hala El Said during a cabinet meeting on Thursday. The state’s fiscal year runs 1 July-30 June.

The economy grew faster last year than gov’t was expecting: El Said last month told CNBC Arabia that the Egyptian economy grew 6.2% in FY 2021-2022. The original forecast in the 2021-2022 budget had penciled in 5.4% growth for the fiscal year.

The hospitality sector roared back after covid: Hotels and restaurants registered growth of 45.5% y-o-y in FY 2021-2022 — the highest of any sector — as tourism rebounded from its pandemic lows. Growth was also driven by telecoms (+16.3%), Suez Canal revenues (+11.7%) and manufacturing (+9.9%). Construction, health, and education also registered clear growth, she said, without disclosing the figures.

Figures for the final quarter of 2021-2022 weren’t as rosy (no surprise there): Annual GDP growth came in at 3.2% in 4Q 2021-2022, down from 7.7% during the same period last year. The April-June period coincided with the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rising US interest rates, and imported inflation put pressure on the EGP and spurred further contraction in the private sector.

The government sees the economy growing 5.5% in FY 2022-2023, having recently trimmed its GDP forecast by 0.2 percentage points. The IMF thinks we’ll do a bit better, saying it sees us growing at a 5.9% clip in the same period and then 4.8% in 2023.

Taking note of the story: Reuters.

ENERGY

Seven companies ink green energy MoUs

Lots more green energy investment: Seven international companies have signed early agreements to build facilities that will produce mns of tons of green fuel in the Ain Sokhna Industrial Zone, cabinet said in a statement on Thursday. The plants will have a combined annual capacity of around 5.5 mn tons, with the fuel will be exported abroad and sold to the shipping industry, the statement said.

Who’s in? The UK’s Globeleq, Saudi Arabia’s Al Fanar, Emirati firms Alcazar Energy and K&K, Mediterranean Energy Partners, Indian clean energy company ACME, and global private equity giant Actis all signed agreements.

In detail:

  • Globeleq’s 10 mn sqm plant — the largest of the seven in terms of land size — is set to produce 2 mn tons of green hydrogen once fully operational, with 55k tons produced during the trial phase. The plant is set to come online in 2026.
  • Actis expects to invest some USD 370 mn in its 200k-ton facility, which should become operational “within the coming year,” Actis partner and head of MENA Sherif El Kholy told Enterprise.
  • Al Fanar said its facility will produce 500k tons of green ammonia and 100k tons of green hydrogen a year.
  • ACME’s plant will have a maximum annual capacity of 2.2 mn tons.
  • Alcazar and K&K have proposed to build smaller 230k-ton per-year facilities.
  • Mediterranean Energy Partners has signed an agreement to construct a plant for producing green ammonia, which would output 120k tons a year.

What’s next: The companies will now begin conducting feasibility studies on the plants, the statement says.

What we don’t know: No details about the investment values of the facilities were disclosed. Aside from Globeleq, the statement does not include information about the expected timeline of completion for any of the plants.

What they said: Actis’ investment is “a continuation of our commitment to Egypt where we have a 20 year track-record of investing over USD 1 bn in some of the country’s most strategically important businesses and projects,” El Kholy said in a statement (pdf).

These agreements are the latest in a string of interest and investment in green hydrogen here in Egypt. International companies have signed USD 18 bn worth of preliminary agreements for green ammonia and hydrogen projects in Ain Sokhna this year. The push towards investing in green hydrogen comes as the government looks to capitalize on investment momentum in green energy in the lead-up to COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh this November.

NEED MORE BACKGROUND? We looked at what makes Egypt well-suited to grow a green hydrogen industry — and where the bottlenecks are in getting these projects off the ground in Going Green, our weekly look at the green economy in Egypt.

ENERGY

South Korea signs USD 2.2 bn contract with Rosatom for Dabaa nuclear plant

South Korea is getting in on Dabaa: South Korea’s state nuclear power company has signed a KRW 3 tn (USD 2.2 bn) contract with Rosatom to supply equipment and help build the 4.8 GW Dabaa nuclear plant, the companies said in separate statements (here and here) on Thursday.

In detail: Rosatom’s export arm Atomstroyexport has contracted Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power to supply equipment and materials for the turbines and build some 80 buildings, Rosatom said. The South Korean company was selected as the sole bidder for the contract after signing an early agreement at the beginning of 2022.

Construction began last month: The announcement comes nearly a month after Rosatom — which is handling construction and providing fuel for Dabaa — began construction at the USD 30 bn facility.

The Korean government consulted closely with the US on the agreement with Rosatom and confirmed that the transaction did not breach any sanctions against Moscow, Bloomberg reported South Korean Vice Trade Minister Park Il-joon as saying, citing statements picked up by the country’s news agency, Yonhap. Rosatom has so far not been subjected to Western sanctions that have restricted scores of Russian firms from doing international business. "We experienced many difficulties in the process of negotiating the contract due to unforeseen variables, such as Russia's war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia," a Korean government official said at a presser on the contract, according to Yonhap.

REMEMBER- Construction is expected to take eight years, putting Rosatom on track to get the plant online by the beginning of the next decade. The plant had been set to become operational by 2028-29 but saw delays due to the pandemic.

The news got international ink: Bloomberg | Reuters | AP | CNBC | The Economic Times.

EGAS AND ENI ARE LINING UP A NEW GAS CONCESSION-

In other news from the energy sector: Cabinet gave initial approval to award state-owned EGAS and Italy’s Eni the rights to explore for gas in the Northeast Arish offshore concession, according to a cabinet statement. The companies will need final approval before they start drilling. The move comes as Eni works to ramp up gas imports from Egypt to Italy and the rest of Europe, as the EU scrambles to find alternatives to Russian fossil fuels ahead of a looming winter energy crisis.

COMMODITIES

Egycomex could open later this year

Egypt’s commodities exchange (Egycomex) could go live before the end of the year, with trading of gold set to start as a first phase, Ibrahim Ashmawy, head of the Internal Trade Development Authority, told Bloomberg Asharq (watch, runtime: 15:25). Ashmawy told us back in 2020 that traders would be able to buy and sell wheat, oil, sugar, and rice when the exchange launches, and in a separate interview said that gold, steel and cotton would be added later.

Where things stand: “The electronic platform for the bourse is complete, and we have begun to create ID codes for some of the listed members,” Ashmawy said. The exchange began trading on a pilot basis last year.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Gov’t to buy local commodities via the exchange: The government will soon announce that most of its purchases of local, basic commodities will be made through Egycomex, Ashmawy said.

What about the law governing Egycomex? The law governing the forthcoming Egyptian commodities exchange — which has been in the works since February 2018 when it was made possible after amendments made to the Capital Markets Act — had been expected to be submitted to the House of Representatives last year after receiving cabinet approval in 2020, but we’ve heard nothing about it since.

STARTUP WATCH

SubsBase raises USD 2.4 mn in a seed round led by Global Ventures

Egyptian subscription management platform SubsBase has raised USD 2.4 mn in a seed round led by Global Ventures, according to a company press release (pdf). The round saw participation from HALA Ventures, P1 Ventures, Plus Venture Capital (+VC), Plug and Play, Ingressive Capital, Camel Ventures, and existing investors Falak Startups and Arzan Venture Capital.

Where the money’s going: The funding will go towards product innovation and development, recruiting talent and increasing the company’s regional presence.

About SubsBase: Founded in 2020 by Mohamed Farag and Sherif Aziz, SubsBase is subscription-based platform for managing corporate finances. The service allows businesses to record recurring revenues and provides analytics and billing tools to monitor collection. Interestingly, the company is targeting the NBFI and real estate industries to help them manage recurring payments.}

EARNINGS WATCH

CI Capital delivers solid 1H 2022 results

CI Capital reported EGP 1.61 bn in group revenues in 1H 2022, a 36% y-o-y increase (after normalizing for one-off adjustments), with net income after tax and minority interest almost doubling to EGP 341 mn compared to the same period last year, according to its earnings release (pdf). For 2Q 2022, CI Capital reported net income of EGP 187 mn (on par with the same quarter last year) on group revenues of EGP 848 mn.

Growth was driven by CI Capital’s non-bank financial services arm and the “resilient performance” of its investment bank, the firm said. CI Capital’s non-bank financial services (NBFS) platform accounted for 88% of the group’s bottom line in 1H 2022. The NBFS arm grew its on-balance-sheet financing to EGP 15.4 bn as of 30 June 2022, up 36% from the same date the year before. Net interest margin for the unit came in at 8.7%, a solid 111 bps expansion year-on-year. The company’s investment bank platform also saw “the successful execution of a number of high-profile IB advisory transactions, AUM growth, and garnered market share at the brokerage level” despite what it called “a challenging equity market backdrop.”

Commentary: The firm said its “resilient results were a function of the group’s scale, diversified business model, solid balance sheet, and sound liquidity position” and will continue to stand it in good stead amid current market conditions. Alongside its investment banking arm, CI Capital’s NBFS portfolio includes Corplease (leasing and its recently launched factoring unit), Reefy (microfinance) and greenfield mortgage arm CI Mortgage Finance. CI’s merchant banking function holds investments in education and healthcare.

MOVES

Madbouly appoints new FRA board

First a new boss, now a new board for the FRA: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has appointed a new board for a four-year term under a decree issued by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, according to a statement.

The board already has a new head: Former EGX boss Mohamed Farid was appointed as acting chairman of the FRA for one year earlier this month. He succeeds Mohamed Omran, who stepped down after five years at the helm of the regulator.

The FRA’s deputies are retaining their roles: Ahmed Abdel Rahman El Sheikh and Islam Azzam are staying in post as the FRA’s deputy chairmen.

Joining the board: One of the central bank’s two deputy governors will be selected by the new CBE Governor Hassan Abdalla to join the FRA’s board. Madbouly also appointed former planning minister Ashraf Al Arabi (bio), Rep. Marianne Azer (LinkedIn), former EGX boss Khaled Serry Seyam (bio), executive director of the National Training Academy of Egypt Rascha Ragheb (LinkedIn), and our good friend Tarek Mansour to sit on the board as economic, financial, and legal experts.


IN OTHER MOVES- Amr Ahmed Mostafa was appointed as non-executive chairman of the Holding Company for Maritime and Land Transport (HCMLT), Al Mal reported, citing a circular by Managing Director Abdelmotaleb Khedr.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

A lot of economy + finance talk on the airwaves last night: The challenges facing newly-appointed Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) governor Hassan Abdalla are still getting a lot of attention from the talking heads. Former CBE governor Mahmoud Abou El Oyoun went on Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 3:27 | 3:24 | 6:20 | 4:37) to off analysis of the current issues facing Abdalla and the government.

The gist of it: We’re in a crisis, and the CBE and government need to respond accordingly. This includes revisiting import restrictions that are currently stifling importers and businesses, postponing repayments for bank loans like during the covid-19 pandemic, and putting some public spending on the backburner, Abou El Oyoun said. The timing of implementing the rules requiring importers to use letters of credit (L/Cs) to purchase non-essential goods, instead of the previous system of documentary collection, at a time when the USD is gaining strength, was not ideal, he adds. “The new CBE governor now has a chance to calm the markets by exempting importers from having to issue L/Cs for urgent supplies like spare parts, raw materials, and car components,” he notes.

These measures would help stave off inflation — which, albeit harmful, is transitory, according to Abou El Oyoun — and relieve some of the pressure on people and the private sector, Abou El Oyoun said. It will also help reinstill business confidence, which has been on the decline over the past few months, he added. Helping the private sector by providing additional incentives like streamlining and accelerating operational license procedures will also help, he suggested.

Two other things were on the talking heads’ minds: coordination between the gov’t and the CBE + hope for some “positive measures” that could be coming our way. Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 7:39) for the second time suggested some “positive measures” from the CBE could be coming our way soon, while Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El Etreby suggested the same in a phone-in with Salet El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 11:40) (though neither elaborated much on what they meant). Key cabinet members have already been holding meetings with Abdalla in recent days, stoking expectations among business leaders that they may be looking for ways to ease the import restrictions that have hobbled everyone from manufacturers to retailers.

Also on the airwaves last night:

  • Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly’s participation in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Tunisia yesterday also got some attention. (Sada El Balad: watch, runtime: 4:14 | DMC: watch, runtime: 5:42)
  • The private sector — particularly microbusinesses and SMEs — needs new incentives from the government, Fakhry El Fiky, economist and head of the House Planning Committee, said. (Salat El Tahrir | watch, runtime: 5:26)

PLANET FINANCE

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Stocks sink after Fed chair promises to keep raising interest rates: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dashed market hopes that the central bank could slow interest rate hikes in a speech on Friday, triggering the biggest single-day rout in US stocks since June. Addressing the gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Powell said the Fed “must keep at it” until inflation is under control even if it means slower economic growth “for a sustained period.” Stocks — which have been rallying in recent weeks partly on the expectation that the Fed would pivot if the economy slows — immediately fell, with the S&P 500 slipping 3.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 dropping more than 4%.

The message: “Powell can’t come right out and say that the Fed is fine walking us right into recession in order to crush inflation, but that is what this messaging unequivocally implies,” one analyst told Bloomberg. “What does this mean for markets? Drastically reduces the chance of a soft landing and the bull case for new highs this year.”

ALSO FROM THE DEPT. OF BAD NEWS- Europe’s energy crisis keeps getting worse: European gas prices spiraled ever higher on Friday, reaching a record EUR 343 per MWh during trading (or more than 1.1k% higher than they were a year ago) and prompting warnings of coming shortages of fertilizers and glass.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- Household energy bills in the UK will rise as much as 80% in October. CNN has the details.

Up

EGX30

10,287

+1.8% (YTD: -13.9%)

Down

USD (CBE)

Buy 19.14

Sell 19.22

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 19.16

Sell 19.22

None

Interest rates CBE

11.25% deposit

12.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

12,592

+1.2% (YTD: +11.6%)

Up

ADX

10,079

+0.6% (YTD: +18.7%)

None

DFM

3,463

0.0% (YTD: +8.4%)

Down

S&P 500

4,058

-3.4% (YTD: -14.9%)

Down

FTSE 100

7,427

-0.7% (YTD: +0.6%)

Down

Euro Stoxx 50

3,604

-1.9% (YTD: -16.2%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 100.99

+1.7%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 9.30

-0.8%

Down

Gold

USD 1,749.80

-1.2%

Down

BTC

USD 19,917

-3.5% (YTD: -56.8%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 1.8% at Thursday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.54 bn (46.2% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 13.9% YTD.

In the green: GB Auto (+9.5%), Madinet Nasr Housing (+9.2%) and Heliopolis Housing (+5.6%).

In the red: Credit Agricole Egypt (-0.5%).

DIPLOMACY

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed the upcoming COP27 climate summit and bilateral relations in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a statement by Ittihadiya read. A readout by the British PM’s office said Johnson and El Sisi also discussed “resolving the consular case of Alaa Abdel Fattah,” with Johnson expressing “his hope for swift and positive progress on the issue.” The case of the imprisoned Egyptian-British national, who has been on hunger strike since April, has drawn significant attention from the international press in recent months.

whatsNext

The status of femtech in Egypt: Female technology (femtech) is being hailed as the next big thing on Planet Startup, with a growing appetite among consumers for the tech-enabled health platforms helping to drive investor interest. In the MENA region, the femtech market is projected to swell to USD 3.8 bn by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 15%, according to Flat6Labs.

What exactly are femtech players? Femtech companies provide a range of tech-enabled, consumer-centric solutions empowering women’s health and well-being, according to McKinsey. This technology can encompass a range of products and services, such as female-specific diagnostics, apps and software, medical devices, therapeutic meds, vitamins and supplements, digital platforms, and consumer products targeted at women.

Femtech players have begun sowing their seeds in Egypt — but the sector remains under tapped, industry players tell us. A growing number of online community groups addressing previously taboo or seemingly trivial issues relating to women’s wellness have been gaining traction, revealing Egypt’s femtech space to be a blue ocean, with an engaged and underserved target market. Still, our femtech scene pales in comparison to that of other parts of the region and on a global scale, but current players and investors tell us they see indicators of it burgeoning in the coming few years. “We have not yet scratched the surface. There is a big underserved market for femtech,” managing partner at VC fund Disruptech Ventures Mohamed Okasha explains.

The two femtech players getting most of the spotlight in Egypt: Motherbeing and Mumerz. Motherbeing is a femtech company that provides a range of accessible healthcare programs and treatments, designed by a team of specialists, educators and doctors, as well as reproductive and health wellness products for Arab women, according to founder and CEO Nour Emam. Mumerz is an e-commerce platform that sells “every substantial and minimal product targeted for mothers, babies and children,” with an advisory component that aims to guide mothers to the products that best suit their needs, according to cofounder Nadia Gamal El Din.

And both companies have raised investment rounds. Motherbeing recently closed a small USD 200k round, mostly from draculalespectacle.com, all of whom but one are male investors, Motherbeing Chief Strategy Officer Yousef El Sammaa told us. Mumerz also recently raised USD 1.2 mn in a pre-seed funding round led by Disruptech Ventures.

How did these companies validate their idea? For one, they were both built on the foundation of a massive social media following, which validated the need for their respective solutions, despite their focus on different subsectors of femtech. Emam founded Motherbeing as a social media platform, aiming to empower women in the MENA region through Arabic educational content about their reproductive and intimate health. To date, it has amassed a follower base of over 2.4 mn. Mumerz, on the other hand, was built through the mother support community Rahet Bally on social media, which was also founded by Gamal El Din. “Mumerz gained immediate traction, credibility and equity because of Rahet Bally’s existence,” and gave her and Mumerz cofounder Amir Shenouda insights into the products Egyptian mothers need, she tells us. The group was founded in 2015 and currently has an audience of about 4 mn Egyptian mothers.

What sold the idea of femtech to investors? The usual suspects, like any other startup: “Part of what attracted us to Mumerz is the founding team,” Okasha says. “They understand the segment, have been engaged with it, and have a reputation within the communities they are addressing. They also have experience with the logistical and operational aspects of the business,” he adds. El Sammaa joined Motherbeing’s team after an extensive track record in the investment sphere, because he “found someone who's doing something completely new and catering to a really big market that is really underserved.” He sees Motherbeing having strong potential to succeed and become the first mover in a big market.

And there’s general investor interest in healthtech — with femtech being categorized as a “health service”: El Sammaa partly attributes the positive sentiment to femtech falling under the umbrella of healthcare, which there has been an appetite for lately. “Women's health is very underserved and it's one of the areas where the online and disruptive model works better than the traditional model, So I expected this interest that we are seeing.” Femtech’s categorization as a health subsector has helped it grow, as opposed to other women-focused products such as those related to fashion, which can sometimes be dismissed as frivolous, Chief Media Officer and Executive Producer at Womena Amira Ahmed tells us.

Add to that renewed investor mandates: “There are a lot of funds that have a mandate to support women-led startups, so we've been getting a lot of initial interest from VCs, which is quite surprising,” El Sammaa explains. Investors who have historically snubbed women founders and companies focused on women’s wellbeing are now showing solid appetite for femtech, Ahmed agrees.

But awareness among investors about femtech is also still nascent. “There is a lack of awareness of the femtech sector, as investors have not had exposure to femtech in the way that they have had with other sectors such as fintech,” Okasha says. “A success story in the sector would serve as a gate-opener for startups addressing the same sector with a different proposition,” he believes.

And the same goes for consumers: “The femtech industry still suffers from barriers such as gender biases, lack of education and awareness amongst end-users and clinicians, socio-cultural stigma and taboo, and lack of clinical evidence,” Ragia Amr, senior program manager at Flat6Labs tells us. End-users also have concerns about trust, security, and privacy, she explained.

So what does the sector need to grow to its potential? Accelerators can play a pivotal role in giving up-and-coming femtechs access to funding, our sources agree. Flat6Labs and Organon, a global healthcare company, launched The Femtech Accelerator Program to support female-founded digital health startups in building products, testing market fit, and improving their business models. “Flat6Labs provides femtech startups support through business and technical training and access to our local and regional partner networks,” Amr tells us. “I think investment and investor interest are much more important than accelerators, but sometimes because of the way that the ecosystem is set up, there isn’t really access to investors and funds except through the pipeline of accelerators,” Ahmed tells us. “They help a great deal in giving mentorship, funding, and support to budding projects,” she believes.


Your top stories on future trends for the week:

  • OFH to launch new tech fund: Orascom Financial Holding is planning to establish a EGP 300-500 mn tech fund and invest in its fintech venture Klivvr using some of the proceeds from its sale of its shares in Beltone.
  • Egypt-born adtech startup ArabyAds secured USD 30 mn in a pre-series B round from pan-African investment platform AfricInvest.
  • EFG Hermes’ consumer finance arm valU has acquired 100% of digital HR and payroll platform Paynas.

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.

AUGUST

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

28 August (Sunday): Retail portion of Ghazl El Mahalla IPO ends.

28 August (Sunday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with representatives from the wood industry.

30 August (Tuesday): Deadline for companies to file 2Q financial statements.

30 August (Tuesday): Deadline to apply for government non-profit universities via the tansik (enrollment) website.

30 August (Tuesday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with representatives from the food and hospitality sector.

31 August (Wednesday): Late tax payment deadline.

31 August (Wednesday): Deadline for qualifying companies to submit offers to manage and operate a soon-to-be-established state company for EV charging stations.

31 August (Wednesday): Submission deadline for fall 2022 cycle of EGBank’s Mint Incubator.

31 August (Wednesday): Beltone convenes its general assembly to restructure the board following the change of ownership.

SEPTEMBER

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.

September: Government to launch an international promotional campaign for Egyptian tourism.

September: Egypt will host the second edition of the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (ICF).

1 September (Thursday): Credit hikes for ration card holders will come into effect.

1 September (Thursday): Madbouly government set to introduce new social protection measures.

1-2 September (Thursday-Friday): Third Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Santiago, Chile.

1-3 September (Thursday-Saturday): The Union of Arab Banks is organizing a forum on money laundering and terrorism financing in Sharm El Sheikh.

3 September (Saturday): The National Dialogue board of trustees holds its fifth meeting, which will set the agenda for the dialogue and choose rapporteurs for the involved committees.

4 September (Sunday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with electricity players.

4 September (Sunday): Industrial Development Authority’s deadline for companies interested in providing various services in the industrial zones in Qena and Sohag to submit a written expression of interest.

5-8 September (Monday-Thursday): Gastech 2022, Milan, Italy.

6 September (Tuesday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with building and construction players.

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

8 September (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with experts and think tanks.

11 September (Sunday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with accommodation and food services players.

13 September (Tuesday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with sports industry players.

11-13 September (Sunday-Tuesday): Environment and Development Forum (EDF), InterContinental City Stars, Cairo.

14 September (Wednesday): Expedition Investments’ MTO for Domty expires.

15 September (Thursday): Deadline for B Investments to respond to Adnoc’s bid for TotalEnergies Egypt.

15 September (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with water and sewage utilities players.

15 September (Thursday): Deadline to apply for the fifth phase of the export subsidy program.

15 September (Thursday): Fourth Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Beirut, Lebanon.

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

19-22 September (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes One on One Conference, Dubai.

20 September (Tuesday): Fifth Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Geneva, Switzerland.

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

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

22 September (Thursday): Deadline to submit prequalification applications for companies interested in submitting a proposal for sea water desalination projects

25-27 September (Sunday-Tuesday) A delegation of executives at Egyptian real estate companies visit Saudi Arabia to present developers with investment opportunities in Egypt’s real estate sector.

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

27-29 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Africa Renewables Investment Summit (ARIS), Cape Town, South Africa.

28-29 September (Wednesday-Thursday): The sixth edition of Arab Pensions and Social Insurance Conference in Sharm El Sheikh.

OCTOBER

October: House of Representatives reconvenes after summer recess

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.

1 October (Saturday): Start of 2022-2023 school year.

1 October (Saturday): 2022- 2023 academic year begins for public universities.

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, Washington, DC.

15 October (Saturday): Cairo Metro will launch a global tender for maintenance work on the power stations and overhead catenary system of Line 1.

16-19 October (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo Water Week 2022, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

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

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 November (Monday): The inauguration of the first line of the high-speed rail.

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.

DECEMBER

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

13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): US-Africa Leaders Summit.

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

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

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

December: Egypt to expand Sudan electricity link capacity to 300 MW.

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.

1 January (Sunday): Residential electricity bills are set to rise as per the government’s six-year roadmap (pdf) to restructure electricity prices by 2025.

7 January (Saturday): Coptic Christmas.

25 January (Wednesday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

26 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

FEBRUARY 2023

11 February (Saturday): Second semester of 2022-2023 academic year begins for public universities.

13-15 February (Monday-Wednesday): The Egypt Petroleum Show (Egyps), Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

MARCH 2023

March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

23 March (Wednesday) — First day of Ramadan (TBC). Maghreb will be at 6:08pm CLT.

APRIL 2023

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

22 April (Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day.

27 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC).

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2023 earnings season.

MAY 2023

1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

4 May (Thursday) National holiday in observance of Labor Day (TBC).

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

JUNE 2023

28 June-2 July (Wednesday-Sunday): Eid El Adha (TBC).

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.

JULY 2023

18 July (Tuesday): Islamic New Year.

20 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Islamic New Year (TBC).

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day.

27 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Revolution Day.

Late July-14 August: 2Q2023 earnings season.

SEPTEMBER 2023

26 September (Tuesday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

28 September (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

OCTOBER 2023

6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2023 earnings season.

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

2H 2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

2H 2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

2H 2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q 2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release its first financing product.

3Q 2022: Swvl to close acquisition of Urbvan Mobility.

4Q 2022: Infinity + Africa Finance Corporation to close acquisition of Lekela Power.

4Q2022: Raya Holding subsidiary Aman and Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia to launch their fintech company.

End of 2022: Decent Life first phase scheduled for completion.

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.

1Q 2023: Adnoc Distribution’s acquisition of 50% of TotalEnergies Egypt to close.

**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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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