Thursday, 1 September 2022

AM — Pakistan and Sri Lanka just got IMF facilities. Are we next?



Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to September. We hope those of you whose kids are not already back in school are able to enjoy what we think is effectively the last weekend of summer.

We have a busy news well and an absolutely packed What We’re Tracking Today for you, so read on, friends, and we’ll get to the weekend soon enough.

Oh, and before you do: A huge THANK YOU to all of you who have written in with kudos, comments and suggestions for Enterprise Climate. We’ll get back to each and every one of you in the coming days. Writing to you folks each day is the highlight of our professional career. 🙂

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- It looks like the IMF has just concluded its second bailout in four days: The IMF will today announce a preliminary agreement for an emergency loan to Sri Lanka, Reuters reported overnight, citing four sources it says are close to the talks. The sources didn’t disclose the size of the program. Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis in over seven decades and in July defaulted on its debt for the first time in its history.

This comes just a few days after the Fund came to an agreement with Pakistan for a USD 1.1 bn loan package to save the country from default.

Are we next in line? We’re still ironing out the final details of our own IMF facility, which BNP Paribas is now predicting will be in the USD 3-5 bn ballpark and could be announced in September or October. We have the full rundown in this morning’s Economy section, below.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- More measures to ease the import bottlenecks could be imminent: The Central Bank of Egypt could announce today or tomorrow its own measures to tackle the crisis in Egypt’s ports, where thousands of containers have been prevented from entering the country due to import restrictions introduced in March to address a shortage of foreign currency. This came from the head of the Customs Authority, El Shahat Ghatoury, who told Salet El Tahrir yesterday that the central bank could allow importers to pay open letters of guarantee in exchange for the immediate release of their shipments until they are able to retrieve a Form 4 to receive their letter of credit (L/C) (watch, runtime: 5:38). This would give them a grace period of six months, he added. This came a day after the Finance Ministry announced a raft of emergency measures to allow importers to clear shipments from the nation’s ports.

SPEAKING FOR ITSELF- Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly is meeting daily with the new central bank governor, Hassan Abdalla, to discuss economic policy, cabinet said yesterday, without giving anything else away. Abdalla’s entry into the central bank two weeks ago has brought with it speculation about a possible policy u-turn on the currency and the bank’s Tarek Amer-era import rules. A firm consensus of Egypt-watchers now expect the EGP to fall against the USD in one way or another while a number of senior government officials have in recent days telegraphed a possible relaxation of import restrictions that have prevented many importers from accessing letters of credit.

Just as we were about to dig out those Ever Given memes… A 252-meter-long Singapore-flagged oil tanker — Affinity V — was close to being renamed Ever Givem II yesterday after it ran aground in the Suez Canal and blocked traffic. Thankfully, the Suez Canal Authority and its fleet of tug boats managed to release the vessel after five hours, sparing us the ignominy of single-handedly halting global trade twice in two years. (AP | Reuters | Daily Mail)

***Tell us how you’re feeling about your business and the wider economy and we’ll be back with the results just in time to give you a sense of what everyone else is thinking heading into budget season.

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The social safety net gets a bit wider today: Today another 900k families will be included in the Takaful and Karama program — and ration card holders will start to receive increased allowances for the next six months.

Rations are rising by more than we thought: Each one-family ration card will now see an EGP 300 increase in credit rather than EGP 100 as previously announced, state news agency MENA reported yesterday.

…and the gov’t will up its spend on bread subsidies: The government will Increase its allocations to the bread subsidy program by EGP 32 bn, bringing its total allocations to the program during the current fiscal year to EGP 87 bn. The measures come as the government steps up its support to vulnerable people in response to the surging cost of living.

M&A WATCH- We’re halfway through Expedition Investment’s mandatory tender offer for Domty and so far shareholders have so far agreed to sell 14.3% (40.46 mn) of their shares in the cheesemaker, Al Borsa reported yesterday. This accounts for nearly half of the shares eyed by Expedition, which is looking to acquire 34% of the company. Shareholders have until Wednesday, 14 September to make a decision.

FinMin doubles down on fiscal discipline: The Finance Ministry has concluded a review of ministerial “private funds” and will move to regulate them more closely starting in January 2023, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said in a statement. The move comes to improve management of public finances, Maait said, without giving any more details. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in February ratified a bill that provides for 5-15% of the annual surplus generated by private funds to be transferred to the state treasury, which is expected to raise EGP 2.5-3 bn for state revenues.

SOUND SMART- “Private funds” are ministerial-level slush funds through which some ministers are able to generate and retain earnings from a range of activities and then use the funds to support programs of their choosing, effectively putting those funds outside the formal budget process.

A new month begins, kicking off our monthly list of data points to keep your eye on:

  • PMI data: Data measuring activity in Egypt’s non-oil private sector will be released on Monday, 5 September.
  • Foreign reserves figures for August should be out during the first week of the month.
  • Inflation figures: Inflation data for August from CAPMAS will land on Saturday, 10 September. Expect the Central Bank of Egypt to follow up on Sunday, 11 September with its inflation report.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets on Thursday, 22 September to review interest rates.



Around 35k people have so far registered to participate in COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Saber Othman, head of local organization Earth’s Climate for Sustainable Development Foundation (EC4SDF), which is one of the observer NGOs for the summit, told reporters on Monday. Last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow was attended by more than 40k people.

Plans to launch carbon credits in Egypt are alive and well: The Financial Regulatory Authority is holding consultations about plans to set up a local carbon market, it said in a statement Wednesday. The idea of launching carbon credits in Egypt has been around for a few years and has been pushed by the Environment Ministry and the EGX under its former boss (and now head of the FRA) Mohamed Farid. In February the two sides were said to be preparing to present the plans to the cabinet but nothing has been heard since. Carbon credits are tradable certificates designed give companies incentives to lower emissions.

Gov’t taps Moharram & Partners for COP consultations: Our friends at public policy firm Moharram & Partners will be the government’s partner for COP27 consultations, the firm said in a statement (pdf). Moharram & Partners will work to coordinate between the private and public sectors and support their green transformation efforts ahead of the November conference in Sharm El Sheikh.

MARKET WATCH- The Fed will resort to recession to kill inflation, Bloomberg says: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell looks set to jettison hopes for a soft economic landing and will resort to intentionally provoking a recession in order to curb inflation, Bloomberg writes. The Fed has up to now insisted that it is possible to raise interest rates and reduce inflation without damaging the economy. But with the labor market showing no signs of softening and supply-side inflationary pressures not going away, the business newswire has concluded that the central bank now feels it has no option but to trigger a so-called “growth recession” and kill demand.

Meanwhile, over in Old Blighty: A British think tank has warned that people in the UK are set to face the biggest decline in living standards in a century unless the government comes up with radical solutions to address the series of crises engulfing the country, Bloomberg reports. Mns of people are set to be pushed into poverty this winter by surging energy bills, while the country suffers the worst spike in inflation in the G7, with some economists expecting it to rise as high as 22% next year. We have more on the latest batch of troubling figures coming from our neighbors to the north in this morning’s Planet Finance, below.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The Donald is back in the global press: The US Justice Department has accused former president Donald Trump of deliberately concealing classified documents from the FBI, and yesterday published photos of papers seized from his Florida estate in the raid last month. (Reuters | NYT | WSJ | Washington Post | The Independent | The Guardian)


The third Egypt- and UN-led regional climate roundtable takes place today in Santiago: The two-day event will see climate negotiators discuss climate finance with private- and public-sector stakeholders ahead of the COP27 summit in November.

The German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce will commemorate 70 years of German-Egyptian business and economic ties with a gala celebration on 15 September.

National dialogue agenda drops: The National Dialogue’s board of trustees will hold a meeting on Saturday, 3 September to set the agenda for the dialogue and choose rapporteurs for the involved committees.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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Correction: 3 September 2022

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the FRA was holding consultations to introduce a carbon offset tax.


2CELLOS – LIVE AT SOMABAY: World-renowned and wildly popular cellist duo, 2CELLOS, are bringing the magic of music to Somabay on 18 November 2022. Get ready for an unforgettable night of captivating performances and electric energy. Book your ticket here.


BNP Paribas thinks we’re getting USD 3-5 bn from the IMF

BNP Paribas has revised down its prediction on the size of the loan we’ll be getting from the IMF to USD 3-5 bn in a research note yesterday. The French bank in July said we would need USD 10 bn or more from the multilateral lender to plug our growing funding gap. Predictions of a mega-loan have been tempered by officials including Finance Minister Mohamed Maait as well as by Tarek Amer when he was still governor. Maait says we’re in talks for a “limited” support package, but has not put a figure on how big that could be in monetary terms.

Talks with the IMF could conclude by September or October, when the IMF and the World Bank will hold their annual meetings, BNP MENA economist Mohamed Abdelmeguid wrote in the note. Talks with the Washington-based lender are in the “final stages,” Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said last week, without providing any other details.

Egypt needs USD 26.2 bn in the current fiscal year to fund debt repayments and cover our current account deficit, “marginally lower than in previous years, but comes up against the challenging backdrop of depleted central bank reserves and a large net foreign liability for commercial banks,” Abdelmeguid wrote. BNP expects USD 11.2 bn to be covered by foreign direct investment inflows and another USD 6.3 bn from portfolio inflows, leaving a USD 8.7 bn funding gap in FY 2022-2023.

As was the case in 2016, we’re going to need to line up funding from other sources if we want to unlock an IMF facility. Here’s how BNP Paribas thinks it will play out in the coming weeks before an IMF facility is announced:

  • More development finance from non-IMF sources: BNP is predicting we’ll see “a number of loans, budget support programmes and trade credits to ease pressure on FX reserves.” We could be knocking on the door of multilateral lenders including the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, French Development Agency, and the African Development Bank for an additional USD 4 bn this fiscal year, BNP says.
  • More help from the GCC: “We also anticipate stepped up investment by Egypt’s regional allies — namely the GCC — as part of the funding framework agreed with the IMF,” the note reads. Qatar could be next to buy stakes in EGX-listed companies, the bank says, echoing recent murmurs in local media. The Saudi and Emirati wealth funds have invested bns of USD this year to buy stakes in big local names across the public and private sectors.
  • Moving FX reserves in the right direction: The IMF “is likely to make its support conditional on an increase in central bank reserves,” BNP writes. Foreign reserves slipped to USD 33.14 bn in July and have declined by almost 20% since March, as the central bank intervenes to cover portfolio outflows, finance imports and meet debt repayments.


#1- BNP is joining the gradual deval gang: The bank is the latest in a string of market-watchers to predict that new central bank governor Hassan Abdalla will gradually allow for more flexibility in the EGP exchange rate as the bank looks to address foreign portfolio outflows, rather than going for a 2016-style shock devaluation. The bank expects “increased flexibility” after the agreement with the IMF goes through and sees the currency sliding to EGP 23-24 to the USD by the end of the year. “In our view, a freefloat is still a distant scenario,” the note reads.

#2- Bread subsidy reform may not be off the negotiating table: “Bread subsidies have been untouched until now but are likely to be curtailed once the inflationary effects of the Ukrainian conflict start to subside,” Abdelmeguid wrote.

#3- It’ll need to sort out its privatization strategy: “The government will be expected to finalize a credible timeline for the acceleration of its privatization programme,” the note reads. Since opening talks with the Fund this year, the government has put its privatization strategy higher up the agenda and has been holding consultations with stakeholders over its plans to increase private sector involvement in the economy. Privatization has been slow in recent years, with the government only offering secondary stakes in two state-owned firms since its launch in 2018.


Alex Medical taps advisors to assess the Tawasol Holdings-LimeVest consortium’s acquisition bid

Alex Medical taps advisors to weigh in on acquisition bid: Alexandria Medical Services has appointed Andersen as its financial advisor to study Tawasol Holdings and LimeVest’s bid to acquire up to 74% of the company, it said in an EGX disclosure (pdf) yesterday. The company also hired Helmy, Hamza and Partners (Baker McKenzie’s Cairo office) as legal counsel on the issue.

Refresher: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) this week approved the consortium’s mandatory tender offer (MTO) to purchase up to 74% of Alexandria Medical Services for EGP 47.67 a share. This is an adjustment from the alliance’s last bid in June last year, which offered to purchase shares at EGP 52 apiece, because Alex Medical has since executed a capital increase, issuing 1.3 mn additional shares. This came amid a bidding war for the healthcare provider that at its peak saw eight companies and consortiums signal their interest before it fizzled out without a sale.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Shareholders have until 27 September to respond to the MTO. Alex Medical’s board will release a statement clarifying what it thinks of the bid by 20 September, the disclosure said yesterday.

The word among analysts is that the offer price is “fair,” especially “considering the decline in profits that Alex Medical saw in 1H 2022,” Al Mal quotes Aly Adel, vice president at Beltone Financial, as saying. The company’s net income more than halved to EGP 11.01 mn during the six-month period, according to its latest financials (pdf).

Buy-side advisors: Prime Holding are the brokers on the offer and Zaki Hashem and Partners are acting as legal advisors for Tawasol Holdings-LimeVest on the transaction.


Rowad Tourism has upped its stake in ceramics manufacturer Lecico Egypt to 3.92% from 2.24% in an EGP 13.76 mn transaction at EGP 10.24 per share. (Disclosure, pdf)

EDITOR’S NOTE- This story was amended on 19 September, 2022 to clarify that Tawasol Holdings and LimeVest’s most recent offer for Alex Medical adjusts the price to account for the company’s capital increase, and is not a discount from its initial offer.


Anything for our first green hydrogen plant

Cabinet assigned land plots for the solar and wind plants that will power the country’s first green hydrogen plant in its weekly meeting on Wednesday, according to a statement. The alliance behind the 100-MW green hydrogen plant being built in Ain Sokhna — Norway’s Scatec, Nassef Sawiris-backed ammonia producer Fertiglobe and Orascom Construction — will receive land for a 70 MW solar plant in Benban and a 205 MW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez. The alliance will contract the plots from the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) under the usufruct system, according to the statement.

The race to COP27: The government is hoping to get at least part of the green hydrogen facility up and running in time to showcase it at the COP27 summit in November and has promised the consortium extra electricity from the grid, derived from renewable sources, to make it happen.

Many others are jostling to get in on Egypt’s nascent green hydro industry: Dozens of firms have since pledged USD bns of investment for green hydrogen and green fuel projects here. The latest round of MoUs came last week when seven regional and European firms signed up to explore building facilities with a combined annual capacity of 5.5 mn.


  • Investment for dummies: Cabinet asked all ministries to brush up on state guidance on how to contract with foreign investors, and will ask the National Training Academy to teach civil servants how to “handle the contractual process professionally.”
  • Siemens got the nod for a contract to improve energy efficiency in North Cairo, Alexandria, and the Delta as part of a project funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.
  • More presidential pardons on the way? A number of unnamed prisoners could get an early release to mark Armed Forces Day on 6 October.


Orascom Construction sees profitability improve q-o-q in 2Q 2022 as US margins improve; eyes new infrastructure and data center projects

Orascom Construction (OC) reported an 8% y-o-y rise in revenues to USD 934.9 mn in 2Q 2022, with net income of USD 20.8 mn (down 13% in a high-inflation environment), according to its latest earnings release (pdf). Net income in the period was up nearly 60% over 1Q 2022, the company noted. OC’s EBITDA margin came under pressure in the Middle East and Africa at the same time as the group’s margins in the US improved substantially. The construction giant's net income eased 29% to USD 33.9 mn in the first six months of the year, while revenues were up 14% to USD 1.9 bn.

OC’s consolidated backlog rose more than 10% to USD 6.5 bn in 1H 2022, with new awards jumping 32% y-o-y to USD 2.4 bn. Egypt accounted for 69% of the company’s backlog, followed by the US (25%) and Saudi Arabia (2%). Standalone backlog at Besix, in which OC holds a 50% share, rose 15% y-o-y to reach EUR 4.9 bn by the end of 1H. OC’s pro forma backlog including its 50% share in Besix rose 7% y-o-y to record USD 9 bn.

BESIX returns to profitability: Belgium-based Besix recorded net income of USD 4.5 mn in 2Q 2022, bouncing back from losses of USD 11 mn in the first quarter of the year.

In a challenging, high-inflation environment, OC is focused on “project execution, controls, supply chain and collections,” CEO Osama Bishai said, with the result being a quarter-on-quarter improvement in profitability as well as an improving net cash position as the group generated positive operating cashflows in 2Q 2022. The company’s business development priorities include infrastructure projects and data centers.


Beltone Financial shareholders have elected four new board members as part of its restructuring of the board following Chimera Investments’ acquisition of a majority stake in the firm, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). For a period of three years, the board will now include:

  • Dalia Khorshid (LinkedIn) as managing director and CEO. Khorshid is a former investment minister and the current Masar chairwoman, and was appointed to head Beltone by Chimera earlier this month;
  • Syed Shueb (LinkedIn) as non-executive chairman. Shueb is the managing director of the UAE’s International Holdings Company;
  • Andrea Mollica (LinkedIn) as a non-executive board member. Mollica is currently an investment manager at the UAE’s Royal Group, which owns Chimera;
  • Mirian Khalaf (LinkedIn) as a non-executive board member. Khalaf is the head of private equity at Chimera.

Background: Abu Dhabi-based investment company Chimera Investments replaced Orascom Financial Holding as Beltone’s controlling shareholder earlier this month after purchasing its 56% stake at EGP 1.485 per share.


The IFLR1000 is out with its rankings of top law firms for M&A in Egypt. The rankings see firms grouped into four tiers plus “other notable” firms. More than 30 firms here in Omm El Donia made the list. In tier one are Al Kamel Law Firm, Helmy Hamza & Partners (Baker McKenzie’s Cairo office) Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy, Zaki Hashem & Partners, and Zulficar & Partners. You can check out the list for yourself here.



Making headlines on the airwaves last night: Yesterday’s expansion of social protection measures announced got coverage from Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 8:42) and Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 3:12). The increase in allocations to subsidy cards will cost the government an additional EGP 12 bn annually, Essam Khalil, head of the Free Egyptians Party, told Masaa DMC. Social Solidarity Minister Nevine El Qabbaj also phoned into Salet El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 3:47 | 3:51) to give a rundown of the social security measures coming into effect as of today, as well as some stats on the Takaful and Karama social security program. We have more on the new measures in this morning’s What We’re Tracking Today section, above.

Also getting attention: The government’s improved offer for local wheat next year got a lot of praise from agriculture players. Salet El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 4:15), Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 6:23) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 6:27) all had coverage. We have the details in Also on our Radar, below.


It’s another slow morning in the foreign press. Check back here next week.


Selling electricity to Greece. Plus: Philip Morris is making smokes here now and farmers will get more for wheat

More energy cooperation with Greek partners? Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker yesterday discussed expanding cooperation and investment with Greek energy and infrastructure giant Copelouzos Group, according to a cabinet statement. Company head Dimitris Copelouzos expressed interest in implementing solar, wind, and electricity interconnection projects in the local market.

Copelouzos is a key player in a proposed electricity link between Egypt and Greece: The Greek infrastructure investor is one half of the JV planning the Greece-Egypt Interconnector (GREGY), a 3-GW electricity link that will allow Egypt to export electricity generated by renewable energy.

Egypt is pursuing closer energy and electricity ties with Greece (among other Mediterranean neighbors), including a potential gas pipeline and the USD 4 bn EuroAfrica project to connect our grid with Greece and Cyprus later this decade.

Local farmers will get more for their wheat next year: The government will pay farmers an “indicative price” of EGP 1k per ardeb of wheat next season, a hike of nearly 15% from the EGP 865-885 per ardeb it paid this year, cabinet said in a statement yesterday. Farmers had called on the government earlier this year to raise prices to EGP 1k to help the industry cope with inflation and meet production targets.

The government didn’t hit its ambitious local wheat targets this year: The government procured around 4.2 mn tons of wheat from local farmers during this year’s harvest, Al Mal quotes Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy as telling reporters yesterday. This missed the ambitious 6 mn-ton target set after spiking food prices forced it to increase its reliance on local production.

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

  • Philip Morris’ United Tobacco has begun producing cigarettes locally, after it reached an agreement with Eastern Company to become the country’s second tobacco manufacturer earlier this year. (Statement, pdf)
  • Civil lawsuits could go paperless: An MoU was signed between the justice and communications ministries to launch an electronic platform to file paperwork for civil proceedings, a cabinet statement read. The two ministries launched an e-litigation platform for the economic courts in December.
  • It’s going to get easier today for owners of overseas yachts to pitch up in Egypt: The Transport Ministry is launching its one-stop-shop for yacht owners to get the permits they need to come to Egypt and moor at marina’s across the country.
  • Banque Du Caire and digital banking app Telda have launched their prepaid cards, which 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. (Statement, pdf)
  • Saudi SME fintech player Geidea could invest USD 10 mn in Egypt by the end of 2022. (Al Mal)
  • AAIB signed a EGP 200 mn agreement with the government’s SME development agency to finance small projects with loans of up to EGP 5 mn. (Masrawy)
  • IT firm Orchida Soft is expanding its e-invoicing services here and in Saudi Arabia. (Statement, pdf).


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Oil prices fell for a third consecutive month in August as the combination of global monetary tightening to check rampant inflation and China’s ongoing zero-covid strategy put the brakes on demand, Bloomberg reports. The three-month slump in prices is the longest since the pandemic-era and breaks a months-long bull run in the global oil markets on the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tighter supply. Brent crude futures fell 8.6% during the month, ending yesterday’s trading session at USD 95 per barrel.

What’s the outlook on supply? OPEC+ has slashed in half its supply forecasts for this year as some of its members reduce production, according to Bloomberg. The alliance of oil producers now expects there to be a surplus of 400k barrels a day this year, and is forecasting a 300k bpd deficit next year after having previously predicted a 900k bpd surplus. The forecast will likely increase speculation that OPEC+ members could soon cut production to support prices, as the Saudi energy minister indicated last week.

The terrible economic and market data continue to roll in from Europe, the UK and the US:

  • Say hello to the world’s newest emerging market: The GBP has suffered its biggest monthly fall since the Brexit vote in 2016 and is nearing record lows, while yields on government bonds saw their biggest monthly rise on record as investors head for the exits. (Bloomberg | FT)
  • If anything, it’s worse in Europe: A Bloomberg index measuring corporate and investment-grade government bonds suffered its biggest monthly loss ever, losing 5.3% in August to Tuesday as fears about the energy crisis and rising interest rates grip the markets.. (FT)
  • Prices just keep on rising: Preliminary data out yesterday showed eurozone inflation hitting a new record high of 9.1% in August, while Goldman Sachs now expects UK inflation to hit 22% next year. (Eurostat | The Guardian)
  • Equity volatility is back stateside: The turbulent end to August on Wall Street continued in earnest yesterday as all three major stock indexes extended their recent run of losses to a fourth day. US stocks reversed all the gains made earlier in August to end the month almost 4% in the red. (Bloomberg)




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The EGX30 fell 1.3% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.49 bn (42.1% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 16.3% YTD.

In the green: Mopco (+7.4%), Palm Hills Development (+3.1%) and Sidi Kerir Petchem (+0.8%).

In the red: Eastern Company (-6.1%), Madinet Nasr Housing (-3.6%) and CIB (-3.1%).

It’s red as far as the eye can see in Asia this morning. The Nikkei, Kospi and ASX are all down more than 1.5% while the Hang Seng is off almost 1% and shares in Shanghai have just clawed back earlier losses to rise 0.2%. Futures suggest major indexes in Western Europe, the US and Canada will follow suit at the opening bell later today.


Israel has agreed to release Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh, whose release was lobbied for by Egypt when it brokered the ceasefire on Gaza earlier this month, Reuters reports. This comes following recent reports in Israeli media of tensions between Israel and Egypt over Israel’s killing of three Palestinians in the West Bank following the ceasefire.


Hisham El Nazer, Google Egypt country director and director of MENA startups and geo-expansion: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Hisham El Nazer, Google Egypt country director and director of MENA startups and geo-expansion (LinkedIn). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

I like to introduce myself personally first, before professionally. I’m married with three children, aged 11, nine, and almost two — the youngest keeps us on our toes. I’m a US-Egyptian who was born and raised in New York for the first half of my life. My passion in life is traveling. Keeping fit and music are also a very big part of my life.

From a professional standpoint, I’m currently the country director for Google in Egypt. I also manage startups for Google across the Middle East and Africa. I’ve been working for about 25 years now, including five years with Google. Prior to that, I started my career in consumer goods, working for P&G, the Gillette Company, and Mars. I was based in Dubai for a number of years, and spent a year in London and Turkey as well.

I would say my role is divided into three parts. The first part is really the heart of what we’re doing as Google, which is helping develop Egypt as a whole — helping everyday people in their everyday lives, and looking at how to maximize the number of people that are online and using the internet and using our products that can be helpful to them. We help businesses in Egypt by helping people get jobs and helping businesses get more servers. And we help the economy overall in creating value.

I also run a sales operation. That would be the second piece. And then the third bit would be developing people in my team, growing their careers and building their capabilities, and seeing them succeed. Their growth really is a success for everyone.

I’m a very structured person. The very first thing I do when I get up is work out. I do that five days a week, religiously because it helps me maintain my focus through the day. Then I shower, have breakfast, and I watch the newsbeat on broadcast TV or online, just to know what’s going on. Enterprise is literally the very first thing that I look at; I find it very informative, and I love how it’s formatted to allow me to read headlines before diving into areas that I’m more interested in. And then I prepare for my day through a quick review of my to-do list and my meeting lineup. I always prepare my plan for the day the evening before.

My workdays are usually jam-packed, often with meetings with my team, customers, people from other functions across Google regionally or globally. I also meet with many government officials — that’s a big part of my role. I try to cap meetings at 30 minutes each.

Then I like to carve out focus time for myself. It’s very hard to do that, but it’s actually time where I can do a bit more thinking, planning, course correcting and actually getting desk work done.

The one constant in my day is planning and structure. I never stop planning and scheduling things to do and people to meet. I eat almost at the exact same time every day: My main meal of the day is at 12:30-1pm. I have two cups of coffee a day, one in the morning, one after lunch and that’s it. I also prioritize my sleep — I need to get at least 6.5-7 hours to be at my best and avoid being cranky or losing focus. I’ve always been organized and structured and it’s an important trait for me to juggle my work and life outside of it.

I’m a very big believer in work-life balance, and I do walk the walk. I like to be a role model for others on my team by working hard and playing hard. In my case, playing means making time for my family, including spending time with my kids every day after school, and staying connected to friends and family by phone. I believe you work to live, you don’t live to work.

I make it a point to take vacations. Those are the times that you'll remember most in your life, and I try to do that at least twice a year.

When everybody goes to bed, I have my me-time where I wind down — I love watching a little bit of TV. I don’t get that much time for it, but I try to carve out 30-45 minutes at the end of the day where I can try and take my mind off of everything.

I recently watched a couple of shows that I thought were fantastic: WeCrashed, which is the story of WeWork, and Super Pumped — the story of Uber. I’m in the tech industry, so this is probably why they pertain to me.

A lot of people have read it, but I only recently read Sapiens. I really recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it yet; I think reading is very important in continuing to learn.

One thing I learned is that there are no shortcuts. Everybody wants to grow their careers and be as successful as they can be as quickly as possible, but I learned that patience is very important. It takes consistent hard work. It’s not about the short term gains. It’s a marathon and you have to put in that time, hard work and effort and look at the trajectory.


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.


29 August-2 September (Monday-Friday): Africa Climate Week, Gabon.


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): 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.

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 September (Monday): The National Dialogue board of trustees holds a meeting to set the agenda for the dialogue and choose rapporteurs for the involved committees.

5 September (Monday): OPEC+ meets to decide on production levels for October.

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): 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 potential investments 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 Ins. Conference in Sharm El Sheikh.


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.

4-8 October (Tuesday-Saturday): The Chemical and Fertilizers Export Council of the Trade and Industry Ministry is organizing a trade mission to Kenya.

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.


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.


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: 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.


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.


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

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


6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2023 earnings season.


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.

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