Tuesday, 20 September 2022

AM — EFG Hermes’ outlook is “extremely bullish” — especially in the GCC.



Good morning, wonderful people, and hello from day two of the EFG Hermes One on One investor conference in Dubai. We try reasonably hard around here not to fall back on hyperbole, but: The excitement in the air is palpable. Investors and issuers are delighted by the fact that they’re finally speaking face-to-face after more than two years of suffering through Zoom / Teams / Google Meet / Webex / whatever.

Among the highlights yesterday: EFG’s live research poll, the only one we know of in frontier emerging markets. The poll capped an opening session that included an on-stage interview with DFM boss Helal Almarri and opening remarks from our friend Karim Awad, group CEO of EFG Hermes Holding. We have a rundown on the poll in this morning’s news well, below, and we’ll have more from the conference for you tomorrow.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Egypt-IMF talks will “be completed soon,” says senior IMF official. Loan talks between Egypt and the IMF are “in continuous progress,” according to Jihad Azour, IMF director for the Middle East and North Africa, who told Bloomberg Asharq that they will be completed “soon.” Azour did not indicate how much we will be borrowing, saying only that the amount will be set “when the negotiations are over.” Talks between the fund and Tunisia on a similar type of facility are also nearing an endgame, Azour said.

Six months and counting: Egypt has been in negotiations with the IMF since March in a bid to secure financial assistance following the economic shocks brought on by Russia’s war in Ukraine, rising interest rates in advanced economies, and a off in global-risk financial markets. Neither the IMF nor Madbouly government officials will say how much we’re looking for, though officials including Finance Minister Mohamed Maait have said the sum will be significantly lower than the USD 15 bn that some analysts have forecast.

With or without an IMF loan, EFG Hermes reckons Egypt has covered most of its funding needs for the next 18 months: Egypt should be able to cover most of its external financing needs for the next 18 months, EFG Hermes Head of Research Ahmed Shams El Din told Asharq from Dubai. Shams El Din said we should be able to bring in USD 15-20 bn through tourism receipts, foreign direct investment, and other sources of foreign currency, including the Suez Canal. Securing an IMF loan would be a “certificate of quality” for the economy, he added.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- The US might have something to say about our plans to link with Mir: Egypt could risk running afoul of Washington’s sanctions regime on Moscow if it moves forward with plans to allow Russia’s Mir payment system to operate in the country. The US Treasury last week published guidance warning financial institutions against using the payment system and said that it could impose sanctions in response.

The message has already caused one overseas bank to rethink its plans: Turkey’s largest private bank, Isbank, has stopped processing payments through the system while it assesses the US’ warning, it told Bloomberg.

SOUND SMART- We’re not the only ones looking to link up with Mir. In addition to Turkey, the system is being tested in the UAE.


Live, from New York, it’s the UN General Assembly: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in the Big Apple for the UNGA. Shoukry started high-level talks in the US yesterday, speaking with officials including the foreign ministers of India, Cyprus and the Netherlands, and the US envoy to Yemen.

The general debate starts today and finishes next Monday: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will deliver an address at the event. It’s not clear when, though: The full schedule is still TBA.

Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir is in Germany for talks with industry players and heads of German companies working on projects in Egypt. El Wazir toured Siemens’ plant in Krefeld, where trains for the high-speed railway project will start being manufactured in November, the ministry said in a statement.

The Federal Reserve kicks off its two-day policy meeting today amid rising economic uncertainty and market volatility surrounding the pace at which it’s raising interest rates. The central bank is widely expected to announce a third successive 75-bps hike when the meeting wraps tomorrow on the back of last week’s disappointing inflation data. An increase of this magnitude would take the Fed Funds Rate to its highest level since March 2008.


Intellectual property strategy coming: Egypt will launch its intellectual property strategy tomorrow. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director-General Daren Tang will make an appearance at a ceremony being put on to launch the program.


The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to discuss interest rates on Thursday, and the signs are pointing towards a third hike of 2022. Six of seven analysts and economists surveyed in our regular poll expect the Monetary Policy Committee to raise rates as inflation rises and the EGP continues to weaken.

Make that seven of eight: HC Securities sees the central bank raising rates by 100 bps on Thursday and another 100 bps in the November meeting due to Egypt’s deteriorating external position and expectations for inflation to accelerate in the coming months.


Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral yesterday is dominating the headlines in the global press this morning: Reuters | AP | BBC | NYT | Washington Post | Bloomberg | FT.

MEANWHILE- Sri Lanka to face its creditors: Sri Lanka will present to its foreign creditors on Friday its plans for restructuring its debt and the objectives of the USD 2.9 bn bailout agreed with the IMF last month, Reuters reports. Sri Lanka defaulted in May on its debt for the first time in its history, plunging the country into a severe financial and economic crisis. The country owes more than USD 50 bn to external creditors.


Our friends at HSBC are hosting an energy transition webinar series next Tuesday-Thursday, 27-29 September. The series will look at the “latest climate analysis in relation to the global energy market and transition to net zero” in six different sessions covering energy security, what is required to ensure the success of COP27, financing and investment needs for the energy transition, and the scaling up of renewables in the region, among other topics. You can register for the series here.

WANT MORE on the region’s energy transition? Catch this op-ed in EnterpriseAM by HSBC’s Group Head, Center of Sustainable Finance and Head of Climate Change Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Zoe Knight on to the capital that’s needed to help drive that shift.

A Spanish business delegation will be in town next Tuesday and Wednesday (27-28 September) for the Egypt-Spain Multilateral Partnership Forum, organized by the Spanish Institute for Export and Investment, according to a press release (pdf). The two-day conference will include seminars and panel discussions on trade and investment in transport, energy, and water with Egyptian ministers and representatives from government bodies, alongside officials from international financing institutions and Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Xiana Méndez Bértolo. The agenda for the conference is available here (pdf).

GITEX Global is being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center from 10-14 October. The event, which is running under the theme “enter the next digital universe,” will bring together players in Big Tech to discuss AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, the metaverse, and more.

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


*** It’s Going Green day — your weekly briefing of all things green in Egypt: Enterprise’s green economy vertical focuses each Tuesday on the business of renewable energy and sustainable practices in Egypt, everything from solar and wind energy through to water, waste management, sustainable building practices and how you can make your business greener, whatever the sector.

In today’s issue: Private solar stations could cut down on electricity costs for homeowners and small businesses, but are upfront costs and a lack of space or permissions prohibiting them from making the switch?


The Somabay Endurance Festival, organized by The TriFactory, returns this month for the fourth time. Featuring four different races that combine swimming, cycling, and running, as well as the 1K Kids Race (ages 5-10) and the 10K Race, the Somabay Endurance Festival has got something for everyone. Taking place from 29 September though 1 October, spots are running out for Egypt’s favorite multi-sport event. To find out more and sign up, head to www.thetrifactory.com/somabay.


EFG’s outlook is “extremely bullish” — especially in the GCC

EFG Hermes Group CEO Karim Awad welcomed more than 655 global investors as well as CEOs, C-suite execs and IR folks from more than 200 companies spanning from Nigeria to Vietnam and beyond, on the second day of the EFG Hermes One on One investor conference in Dubai. “Nothing beats the warmth of face-to-face human interaction,” Karim said. Everyone in the finance industry — issuer, investor and banker alike — has suffered through a lifetime’s worth of virtual meetings since covid-19 kicked off in March 2020.

Awad is “extremely bullish” on the countries in which EFG does business — and singled out the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Business growth in the GCC is being driven not just by high oil prices, but by “strong and pragmatic leadership” that is diversifying economies and transforming stock exchanges with globally compelling transactions, he said.

EFG Hermes has changed massively since we all last gathered in Dubai in March 2019, Karim noted, pointing to the group’s acquisition of aiBANK in Egypt, valU growing to the point that it attracted investment from Amazon, and the investment bank’s involvement in IPOs including Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), ADNOC Drilling, Borouge, Ali AlGhanim & Sons, and ACWA Power, among others.

KEY TAKEAWAYS from EFG Hermes Research’s “The Consensus 2023,” the only live research poll we know of in frontier emerging markets. Participants had 10 seconds to vote live on each of 10 questions. The results:

  • 69% of respondents see the US Federal Reserve raising rates another 1.5 percentage points or more during the current cycle.
  • 46% of respondents believe Brent crude will be at an average of about USD 80 / bbl in 2023 — and 41% see it averaging USD 100.

^^ Why this matters: Interest rates and oil are central themes for the region, EFG Hermes Research said in a note to clients yesterday after the poll.

  • The markets likely to give the best return in 2023 (in USD terms): KSA (39%), followed by Egypt (21%) and the UAE (17%).
  • Investors were evenly split on what asset class they’d choose to buy and hold for three years: 29% tap emerging markets equity ETFs, while the same number would hold an S&P 500 equity ETF. In third place: Gold, at 19%, with US 10-year bonds (13%) and a basket of cryptocurrencies (11%) bringing up the rear.
  • The best performing US stock in 2023? That would be Amazon, which was tipped by 27% of respondents, narrowly edging out JP Morgan (24%), Tesla, Exxon, and Walmart.
  • The biggest source of risk for your business over the next year: A dead heat between finding good people (23%) and rising interest rates (24%).

Tap or click here to see the full poll results (pdf)

ALSO YESTERDAY- DFM boss Helal Saeed Almarri did an on-stage interview with EFG Hermes Research Head of Strategy Simon Kitchen. Almarri wears many hats, including that of director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism. He’s smart, well-spoken and absolutely worth hearing from on the importance to the private sector of clear, transparent and dependable regulatory frameworks, among other issues.

The One on One continues through Thursday. We’ll be bringing you daily coverage in EnterpriseAM.


Part 2 of our exclusive sitdown with Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN climate change high-level champion for Egypt

The role of the private sector in tackling the climate crisis: On a global scale, the world has barely made a dent in the climate finance target of USD 100 bn — bearing in mind the true bill is actually in tns of USD — UN High-level Climate Champion for Egypt Mahmoud Mohieldin told us in the first part of our two-part interview. With so much still left to do, the big questions are: How can we tackle this daunting funding gap? And whose responsibility is it to fix: governments or the private sector?

In this second part of our talk, Mohieldin tackles the hard questions on climate finance: from the role of the private sector — and especially mid-sized business — vs the role of governments, to climate debt vs climate investment. He also gives us a sneak preview on what to expect during COP27.

MISSED PART 1 OF OUR TALK? You can read it here.


  • The private sector is best-positioned to lead on “mitigation” (cutting our collective carbon footprint) while governments need to lead on “adaptation” (tackling the fallout, including the washing away of coastal areas and how to keep cities habitable);
  • More debt is not the answer — developed economies need to invest in mitigation and adaptation in EM;
  • COP27 is just the beginning — he will work through COP28 with whoever the UAE presidency appoints as its champion;
  • Mohieldin provides a day-by-day overview of what you can expect if you’re attending COP for the first time.

ENTERPRISE: What’s the role of the private sector versus that of the state in plugging the financing gap?

MM: With the climate gaps being in the USD tns — not USD bns — the private sector isn’t the singular answer, but it has a big role.

The private sector more or less knows its way on how to engage in mitigation, decarbonization, solar projects like in Benban in Egypt or in Ouarzazate in Morocco. Private businesses are investing in wind farms, and in the case of Egypt, in green hydrogen and ammonia. Those are all private-public partnerships (PPPs). And I’m saying private first because the private sector brings the technology and the finance while the public sector provides land and the regulatory framework.

ENTERPRISE: Does the private sector have a role to play in adaptation?

MM: I think it’s struggling there. What are the commercial benefits? They’re not as clear in all aspects of the adaptation work. But if you look at the nexus of energy, water, food and agriculture, I think you can see room for the private sector to do nicely on adaptation.

ENTERPRISE: What about the state?

MM: Well, that’s the elephant in the room. Public finance in developing economies is responsible for a huge part of the climate action agenda, especially in adaptation, and also in mitigation, where we see all of this investment in solar, wind and green hydrogen. That’s either public or through PPPs.

I would say that mitigation needs really to be given more to the private sector to lead, domestic and foreign, under the regulatory framework of the public sector with some room for development finance institutions.

But adaptation is mainly the responsibility of state budgets. My argument here is that we need full alignment of the state budget with sustainability at a minimum. This then needs to progress to a shadow budget for sustainability or, on a great day, an SDG-sustainability budget that includes infrastructure, health, education, resilience, governance. Anybody who benefits from the state budget should be aligned with the SDG priorities for the current challenges and for the future.

ENTERPRISE: You spoke earlier about the need to do all of this without adding to debt…

MM: Absolutely. More than 60% of finance for climate action is coming from debt instruments. I’m concerned that just c. 12-13% of this debt-based finance is concessional. In a world that faces a variety of debt challenges, with rising cost of investment, with rising interest rates. We need debt-reduction mechanisms and the emphasis instead needs to be on investment.

Look, it’s not fair to ask countries that were not responsible for the deterioration of the climate to borrow commercially. I’ve been saying this for years, and the simple reality is that today countries of the developing world are one of three things: Those with a debt management problem; those with a debt management crisis; and those with a debt management catastrophe. The reality is that debt issues can be handled and there are technical and innovative solutions. What I’m saying is: Don’t add to the problem further.

Tap or click here to catch the rest of the interview in this morning’s Enterprise Climate here.


Another bidder is back for Alex Medical

Yas Holding relaunches its bid to acquire Alex Medical: The UAE’s Yas Holding (formerly known as Emirates Advanced Investments) appears to be reentering the bidding war for Alexandria Medical Services. The company has upped the per-share price of the offer it made for a majority stake in Alex Medical last year by some 10.5% to EGP 48.62 per share, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) said in a statement (pdf) to the EGX yesterday. The offer values Alex Medical at some EGP 757 mn by our math — and comes in some 2% higher than the mandatory tender offer for Alex Medical currently in play from the Tawasol Holdings-LimeVest consortium.

REMEMBER- We’re expecting Alex Medical’s board to say what it thinks of another acquisition offer today. The Tawasol-LimeVest consortium is offering EGP 47.67 a share as it looks to purchase up to 74% of Alex Medical, relaunching its bid from last year at the same valuation, with an adjustment in the pre-share price to account for the capital increase the healthcare provider made in the interim. Tawasol already owns 26% of Alex Medical, meaning the acquisition could give the consortium 100% ownership. Alex Medical’s board has said it will share its view on the consortium’s offer today, after appointing Andersen as its financial advisor to study the bid. Alex Medical’s shareholders have until 27 September to weigh in.

Will Tawasol-LimeVest up its offer? The Tawasol-LimeVest consortium is still deciding how to respond to the amended offer from Yas, a source close to the transaction tells Enterprise. The Yas offer is pending healthcare-sector specific approvals and the greenlight from the FRA, according to the regulator’s statement.

Who’s selling? Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) wants to sell its 51.5% stake in the company that it acquired from NMC Healthcare’s disgraced founder, BR Shetty. Another 9.8% is owned by an individual shareholder.

Advisors: Al Ahly Pharos is reportedly Yas’ financial advisor on the transaction, according to sources quoted by Hapi Journal at the time the offer was launched. Prime Holding are the brokers on the Tawasol-Limevest offer and Zaki Hashem and Partners are acting the consortium’s legal advisors.

In context: Yas and the Tawasol-LimeVest consortium had both put in offers for Alex Medical in June last year, 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.



Maersk could work with Egypt on USD 15 bn clean fuel project

Egypt and Danish shipping giant Maersk could cooperate on a USD 15 bn project to produce clean fuel for ships, Ittihadiya said yesterday following talks between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Maersk CEO Soren Skou. The statement said El Sisi directed the government to start working with the company to set up a national network to produce and distribute green energy and fuel for ships, providing no further details on how the two sides will cooperate. The project is set to create more than 100k jobs, according to the statement.

What they said: Egypt could be a main hub for supplying ships with green fuel in the region, Skou said, according to the statement by Ittihadiya.

REMEMBER- The government is aiming to position Egypt as a regional hub for green energy, with the government making moves to capitalize on investment momentum ahead of COP27. Major global companies have signed USD 18 bn worth of preliminary agreements to establish green ammonia and hydrogen projects in Ain Sokhna this year.

This is Maersk’s second venture in Egypt in two months: Maersk signed an agreement with the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) to invest USD 500 mn to expand the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) in East Port Said port in August.

The news was picked up internationally: Reuters.


Cairo Angels’ micro-VC fund nears final close + a new fund in the works

Angel investment group Cairo Angels will reach a third and final close of USD 5 mn on its micro-VC fund this quarter, CEO Aly El Shalakany (LinkedIn) told us, confirming news first published by Amwal El Ghad. The fund reached its second close earlier this year, after closing its first round in late 2021, El Shalakany said, without mentioning the size of either round.

About the fund: The Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund (CASF) was launched last year with the aim of investing USD 100-250k in 20 startups in the Middle East and Africa over two and a half years, with a focus on Egypt, the UAE, KSA, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

CASF has so far deployed eight of those 20 investments: The fund has invested in scientific research startup Nawah Scientific, edtech startup Orcas, Kenyan fintech startup FlexPay, fintech startup Finclusion Group, and Nigerian BNPL fintech startup CredPal. The remaining three investments are yet to be announced, El Shalakany told us.

More investments earmarked for 2022: The fund will invest in three more startups before the end of the year — a local fintech firm, an Egyptian agritech company, and a third startup that has yet to be chosen, El Shalakany said, without disclosing any further details.

Another fund already in the works: Cairo Angels is looking to launch its second, larger fund before the end of the year, El Shalakany said, without specifying figures. It will have a very similar strategy to CASF, with a focus on early-stage startups across Egypt, Africa and the Middle East, he added.



No single story dominated airwaves yesterday, with talking heads devoting coverage to an assortment of issues from Egypt’s debt levels to more details on the Smart Green Governorates initiative.

The Smart Green Governorates initiative received more coverage, with the initiative’s coordinator, Hisham Badr, telling Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 2:27) that 162 projects selected out of 5.4k bids would be presented at a national conference by the end of October for the private sector. “We will then select 18 projects represented under the initiative’s six categories to be presented at COP27 in November to vie for [international] funding,” he said.

Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa took it on himself to assure citizens that the government’s rising debt levels remain safe, despite investor unease about the possibility of default. A day after former PM Hazem El Beblawy appeared on his show to warn about the country’s indebtedness, Moussa sang from the same hymn sheet as the Finance Ministry, which yesterday released an infograph to fight what it called “false rumors” about the country’s debt levels (watch, runtime: 11:25).


It’s a slow morning in the international press as far as Egypt is concerned.


The drive of your life + USAID backs CFC technical schools

Shalakany Law Office successfully defended a “major French automotive company” against an EGP 3 bn claim before a Cairo Court, the law firm said in an emailed statement. Shalakany partner Omar Sherif declined to comment on the subject of the litigation or disclose the names of the parties.

Guess who: Those looking to decode the mystery French company might look to Peugeot and its years-long legal battle with Arabia Investments Holding (AIH). AIH filed an EUR 150 mn lawsuit against Peugeot in 2018, after the French firm unexpectedly ended the 41 year-old partnership. A Cairo court in March upheld AIH’s appeal of a January 2021 ruling from an Egyptian court that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the case.

CFC to launch two technical schools to train industrial workers: Emirati fertilizer company CFC Group will establish two technical schools for heavy industries and fertilizer production at a total investment cost of EGP 70 mn, in cooperation with our friends at USAID and the Education Ministry, CFC CEO Ahmed Khalifa reportedly told Al Mal. The schools will be located in Qena and Menoufia and are set to kick off operations in the 2023-2024 academic year. CFC will earmark EGP 12 mn for the projects. CFC recently said it will invest USD 400 mn to build an industrial complex in Qena under the new joint industrial partnership between Egypt, the UAE, Jordan and Bahrain.

More polymer banknotes in the making: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will kick off 2023 with the release of EGP 20 polymer banknotes, Masrawy reports, citing unnamed banking sources. The central bank introduced the first polymer notes in July with the debut of the EGP 10 note.


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Emerging Asia could offer a haven from stagflation: Investors are pivoting towards emerging Asian bonds and currencies amid global market turmoil, Bloomberg reports. Emerging Asia bonds made total losses of around 9% this year, beating out the 11% loss seen by US treasuries and the 16% dip in global EM bond markets. The favorable positioning is mainly thanks to the record FX reserves that Asian countries have been building since the Asian financial crisis, and prudent fiscal policy keeping inflationary pressures low. That’s laid the groundwork for the region’s bonds and currencies to outperform traditional safe-haven assets like the EUR, as developed economies struggle to balance the need to raise interest rates with the threat of a looming global recession.

Fed rate hikes take the shine off gold: Gold is down 20% from all-time highs recorded in August 2020, on high US treasury yields and a surging USD which has reached its highest level in more than 20 years, according to Wall Street Journal. Gold is usually a key safe haven asset during market turmoil but the most actively-traded contract has lost 14% over the past six months, as rising yields attract investors to US treasuries. Analysts expect the Fed to apply a third successive 75 bps hike in its meetings today and tomorrow.

US Climate Envoy John Kerry warned against long-term investments in gas projects in Africa, telling Reuters that long-term projects may not be viable post-2030 when many developed countries should have transitioned to mostly renewable energy sources. "We are not saying no gas,” Kerry said on the sidelines of an African environment ministers' conference in Senegal’s Dakar. "What we are saying is, over the next few years, gas replaces coal or replaces oil," he said.

This could set up a clash with African nations at COP27 who are asserting their right to continue investing in oil and gas, arguing that the move is key to their development even as some wealthier nations step up calls to phase out fossil fuels.

The UAE wants to pump more, faster: The UAE wants to accelerate a plan to raise its oil production capacity to 5 mn barrels a day, bringing forward its target by five years to 2025 as it looks to capitalize on elevated oil prices, Bloomberg reports, citing people it says are familiar with the matter. Abu Dhabi energy giant Adnoc currently has the capacity to produce a little over 4 mn barrels a day, but is capped from reaching those levels by the OPEC cartel, which imposes production limits to balance the global market. The UAE’s daily crude output was nearly 3.4 mn barrels last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

UAE could help Germany limit the gas crunch: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to sign gas delivery contracts with the UAE during a two-day visit to the region next week, which will also include visits to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Bloomberg reports.




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The EGX30 rose 0.9% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 829.43 mn (12.8% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 17.5% YTD.

In the green: Rameda (+4.8%), Palm Hills (+3.1%) and Fawry (+2.7%).

In the red: Telecom Egypt (-2.0%), Mopco (-2.0%) and Orascom Construction (-0.6%).


Egypt + India to share military tech? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh discussed cooperating over military manufacturing and the sharing of technologies during talks yesterday, Ittihadiya said in a statement.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London yesterday on behalf of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, cabinet said in a statement.


The US would militarily defend Taiwan against an attack, US President Joe Biden has said — marking the second time the president appears to have strayed from the official US policy of not explicitly saying whether it would come to Taiwan’s defense if China were to invade the island. The Biden administration was forced to clarify that it has made no change to its policy of “strategic ambiguity” over Taiwan, after the president said the country could intervene militarily “if there was an unprecedented attack," in an interview Sunday with CBS News (watch, runtime: 00:53). Tensions have been escalating between the US and China over the status of Taiwan, with Beijing stepping up military drills around the island in response to US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit last month.


The challenges of small-scale solar in Egypt: Though it could be possible for some small businesses and households to break even on solar panels within four to five years, the high costs and the lack of space prohibit many in Egypt’s dense urban neighborhoods from tapping the sun’s rays, industry experts tell Enterprise.

The costs are prohibitive for many: Installing a solar system is a long-term investment that comes with a big-ticket upfront cost. It can cost anywhere between EGP 65k and upwards of EGP 250k for small-scale consumers to make the switch to solar, industry players say.

Net metering and feed-in tariffs could improve the economics: Net metering and feed-in tariffs allow residential and commercial consumers to sell excess electricity generated back to the national grid, allowing them to offset the cost of electricity bills and shortening the time it takes to break even.

But tariffs don’t pay out much: Under the FY 2021-2022 net metering tariff structure, households and businesses can make only EGP 1.0288 per kWh and EGP 1.0858 per kWh respectively selling power back to the grid.

Urban planning presents a challenge: Heavily built-up neighborhoods lack sunlit areas and satellite dishes take up a lot of rooftop space, making it nearly impossible to install solar stations for individual apartments and shops, KarmSolar CEO Ahmed Zahran tells Enterprise.

And you need to own your property to go solar: Currently, the law doesn’t allow the installation of rooftop solar panels unless you own the building or get the backing of the building’s homeowner association.

All of this means that rooftop solar adoption remains low: In the eight years since the government introduced the net metering scheme, just 749 rooftop units have been installed around the country, according to the Economist.

Some in the industry say that the break-even point doesn’t have to be years in the future: “It’s a misconception that solar energy installation is too expensive and the payback period is too long,” says Hend Farouh, the national project manager at Egypt-PV, a government-run program funded by the UN and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) that helps households and SMEs switch to solar. “We see payback periods end within four to five years in some sectors.”

Rising electricity bills provides an incentive to switch: The government’s decision to phase out subsidies back in 2016 has significantly increased electricity bills for households and businesses, improving the long-term cost-effectiveness of solar generation. Residential bills are expected to rise by another 21% next year.

And some households are willing to bite the bullet for a more reliable power supply: “​​Where I live, the electricity swings between 150 and 270 watts throughout the day, which can destroy electrical appliances,” one homeowner tells us. “I installed a rather large system on my land, so our electric bills have been reduced drastically almost to zero — but it cost me up to EGP 250k.”

Finance can soften the blow: National projects like Egypt-PV and development loans can make it easier for households and businesses to shoulder the upfront costs of installing solar. Through Egypt-PV, residential and commercial consumers can pay up to 25% less for solar systems, while on-lending programs by multilateral lenders like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have given SMEs access to finance to cover the costs of adopting greener technologies. Since its launch in 2018, Egypt-PV has helped install 132 solar systems producing 12.5 MW of electricity, Farouh tells us.

Some say more incentives are needed: “The VAT on solar installation is currently either 5% or 14% depending on the industry sector plus a 5% contractors tax, so lower taxes and tariffs on solar could incentivize businesses to make the switch,” Cairo Solar Managing Director and Solar Energy Development Association (SEDA) spokesperson Hatem Tawfik says.

Some providers are helping consumers make the switch. SolarizEgypt is absorbing the upfront costs for its customers and installs the system without charge, says the company’s founder and managing director, Yaseen Abdel Ghaffar. “Let’s say your current bill is EGP 2k [per month]. We'll bill you EGP 2.2k for five years and at the end of the five years, you’ll get 20 years of free power.”

Can communities club together to bring solar to the whole neighborhood? To supply whole areas with electricity from a dedicated solar station, a private sector solar company needs permits from the Egyptian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Egyptera) for power distribution and agreements from all the people in the participating area. That’s what some Marsa Alam hotels and resorts have done, entering into an agreement with KarmSolar to build the Marsa Alam Solar Grid which now supplies hotels, shops and some residential meters. “When you get a permit to do power distribution in a certain area, you are required to distribute to that entire region regardless of whether it’s residential or commercial,” Zahran says.

Looking forward, some are calling for legislation to ease the onboarding process and distribute solar energy within a building. “It's 100% a legislative issue. There are technical solutions that allow for a single solar system on top of a building with different meters for each person to access cheaper green electricity, but we're not able to do it because of the way the legislation is built,” says Abdel Ghaffar.

Next week: We’ll take a look at how real estate developers, multinational corporations, and resort towns are turning to solar energy for cost effective and energy efficient operations.

Your top green economy stories for the week:

  • Nile cleanup initiative VeryNile built “the world’s largest plastic pyramid” to mark World Cleanup Day on Saturday, using 225k compressed plastic bottles collected by 60 fishermen. (Statement)
  • The European Investment Bank could lend EUR 100 mn to the Environmental Affairs Agency for on-lending to public and private industrial companies to green their manufacturing processes.
  • Putting the climate crisis into perspective: We sat down with UN high-level climate champion Mahmoud Mohieldin.


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.


September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 50 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.

13-27 September (Tuesday-Tuesday): UN General Assembly, New York.

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

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

21 September (Wednesday): The Egyptian Virtual Food Show (pdf).

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.

27-28 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Egypt-Spain Multilateral Partnership Forum, Sofitel Gezira, Cairo, Egypt.

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

27-29 September (Tuesday-Thursday): HSBC Energy Transition Webinar series.

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

30 September (Friday): Winter opening hours for shops and restaurants begin.


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 public 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 October (Monday): The CEO Women Conference.

10-14 October (Monday-Friday): Gitex Global, Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Dubai, UAE.

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.

17 October (Monday): Fifth Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Geneva, Switzerland.

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

Late October-14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

Late October: First Abu Dhabi Bank to complete full integration with Bank Audi’s Egyptian operations after merger.


1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Arab League annual summit, Algiers, Algeria.

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.


3 December (Saturday): Dior Men’s pre-fall collection show in Giza.

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.

24 January-6 February: The 54th Cairo International Book Fair, Egypt International Exhibition Center

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

19-21 June (Monday-Wednesday) Egypt Infrastructure and Water Expo debuts at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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.

4Q 2022: Electricity Ministry to tender six solar projects in Aswan Governorate.

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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