Tuesday, 4 October 2022

AM — Gov’t lines up fresh infrastructure investment in logistics, transport + customs



Good morning folks, and welcome to hump day. The upcoming 6 October holiday technically means we’re already over the hump and sliding into the last long weekend of the year.

THE BIG STORY HERE AT HOME- Talks with the IMF are really, nearly (almost) (but not quite) done: The International Monetary Fund should reach staff-level agreements on loans to Egypt and Tunisia “within days or weeks, hard to predict but it will be very soon," IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told Reuters yesterday during a visit to Riyadh.

A “sizeable” package: Georgieva demurred on just how big the loan from the multilateral lender will be, saying only that the programs with Egypt and Tunisia are “sizeable” and will be set at the very end of negotiations. Only time will tell whether “sizeable” turns out to be in the USD 3-5 bn range that BNP Paribas has penciled in, or closer to the USD 15 bn Goldman Sachs has suggested (an estimate that officials including Finance Minister Mohamed Maait have said is too large).

For those of you keeping score at home: 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 and rising interest rates in advanced economies. Policymakers have kept us on the edge of our seats, with talks said to be in the “final stages” or wrapping up “soon” for weeks now.

EGP WATCH- Yesterday marked a fresh low for the EGP against the soaring greenback. The EGP fell as much as 10 piasters yesterday, closing the day at 19.6683 against the greenback. That marks a new record low against the rising US currency.

The EGP has lost 24.8% of its value against the USD this year, including the sudden 15.9% devaluation in March and the slow slide the central bank has allowed since then. Yesterday saw the quickest weakening of the EGP in four months, according to Reuters. The currency last week breached the record low of 19.5605 set five years ago on the back of the historic 2016 float.

Y’all think the EGP has further to slide: Enterprise readers see the EGP dropping to 22.12 on average, according to our Fall 2022 Reader Survey. Goldman Sachs sees the EGP settling in the 22-24 band, while BNP Paribas is forecasting the currency to fall to 22-23 by the end of the year.

The USD is on a tear: The US Federal Reserve’s tightening cycle and a wave of risk-off sentiment in global markets has sent the USD on a strong rally in recent weeks and months. That has seen the EGP strengthen against the GBP, JPY and EUR as the three big currencies have lost ground against the greenback.

Currency defenders, assemble? Speculation is rising that major central banks could launch coordinated action to defend their currencies against the greenback, which has surged to two-decade highs this year, Bloomberg reports, citing the latest MLIV Pulse survey. Around 45% of the 795 respondents expect countries to begin working together to tackle USD strength, which is putting increasing amounts of stress on weaker economies and commodity importers which have been hit by the economic impact of the war in Ukraine.

China is first mover: The Chinese central bank has instructed state-owned banks to have offshore branches prepared to sell USD and buy CNY as it intervenes to prevent further depreciation of its currency, which has fallen to its lowest level against the greenback since 2008. (Reuters)

Take our EV survey: Are you an ex-petrolhead shopping around for your first electric vehicle? EV-curious and wondering what all the fuss is about? Or are you not ready to say goodbye to that sweet smell of benzene as you wait at the gas station?

We want to hear from you: We’re taking the pulse on how the nation feels about Egypt’s nascent EV transition. Take a few minutes to fill out our short survey. We’ll be back with the results in a couple of weeks.


It’s PMI day: S&P Global will release September’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) at 6:15 CLT this morning. You can catch it here. The downturn in Egypt’s private sector eased in August on the back of slowing inflation but remained firmly in contraction territory as the fallout from the war in Ukraine continued to impact the economy. The Saudi PMI is also due out today, while the UAE gauge will follow tomorrow.

Austrian water companies continue investment talks in Egypt: Eight Austrian water companies are in Egypt (pdf) to meet with government officials and local business leaders to discuss investment in Egypt’s water, wastewater and desalination projects

The Nobel Prize laureate(s) for physics will be announced today at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo was awarded the prize for physiology or medicine yesterday for his work on mapping the genome of Neanderthals.

Up next:

  • Chemistry — Wednesday
  • Literature — Thursday
  • Peace — Friday
  • Economics — Monday, 10 October

PSA #1- We’re approaching the final long weekend of the year: Banks and the stock market will be off on Thursday, 6 October, in observance of Armed Forces Day, according to the Central Bank of Egypt and the EGX. The cabinet had already announced the holiday for both public and private sector workers. For those who usually work Saturdays, this coming Saturday, 8 October, is also an official holiday to mark the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

Those are the final holidays for 2022, boys and girls. Your next day off will be 1 January (falling on a Sunday and traditionally a holiday for banks) and then Coptic Christmas (January 7, which falls on a Saturday in 2023).

PSA #2- Fall weather looks like it’s here to stay. You can expect sunny skies and cooler weather this weekend. Look for the mercury to peak at 30°C on Thursday in the capital city (28°C in Alexandria) and an overnight low of 17°C. The long-range forecast on our favorite weather app shows temps won’t break above 28°C in Cairo during the day for the next two weeks.


Expect a significant oil supply cut when OPEC+ meets on Wednesday as the alliance of oil producers intervenes to support prices, which have fallen to 2022 lows on elevated recession risk, but have picked up again on the news. Brent crude futures jumped nearly USD 4 a barrel (up 4.4%) on the news to USD 88.86 yesterday, bucking weeks of declines on fears that a coming global recession would dent demand.


UNCTAD says global recession is a choice, not an inevitability — and there’s still time for policymakers to switch into reverse. “There is still time to step back from the edge of recession,” said UN Conference on Trade and Development head Rebeca Grynspan, calling the matter one of “policy choices and political will.”

Tighter times spell suffering for EMs: Grynspan warned that stringent monetary tightening in developed economies — paired with a lack of safety-net mechanisms for the world’s most vulnerable — could trigger a wave of debt defaults in emerging markets and plunge the economy into a stagnation worse than the 2007 financial crisis. She made the comments on the launch of a new UNCTAD report titled “Development prospects in a fractured world,” which paints a grim picture for global growth amid high inflation.

US stocks perked up when September ended: US equities rallied on their first day of October trading yesterday after closing out a bad 3Q with historic drops in September. A U-turn from the British government on its controversial mini-budget (which last week sent the GBP tumbling and almost crashed the country's pension market) helped spur gains in all three major US indices, the Financial Times reports, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq notching their best daily performances since August. The WSJ and Reuters also had the story.

The bears aren’t done yet: “What we’re seeing today is not necessarily healthy. People are very hopeful and wishful and want to put September behind them, but the underlying problems are still out there,” one strategist told the FT.

COUNTDOWN TO COP (34 days to go)-

Pre-COP27 is underway: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Egypt is co-hosting a pre-COP meeting of some 50 environment ministers from around the world. During his opening remarks, Shoukry highlighted the effects of climate change in Africa and the challenges this poses to the continent’s development, and stressed the “implementation” theme of this year’s COP, according to a statement. On the sidelines of the event, UN chief Antonio Guterres told reporters that “solidarity and decisive action” is the only solution to the climate crisis.

International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat gave the opening remarks this morning at a conference on blended climate finance hosted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore in cooperation with McKinsey and the Global Blended Finance Alliance, according to a statement. Al Mashat is also set to hold meetings with Singaporean officials and international financial institutions on the sidelines of the conference.

A rare warning from Egypt to the UK not to abandon its climate agenda: Egypt is warning the UK over fears regarding newly-appointed UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’ climate priorities — or lack of them, the Guardian writes. This comes shortly after news broke that UK’s King Charles III will not be attending COP27 at Truss’ request. “We hope that this doesn’t indicate that the UK is backtracking from the global climate agenda after presiding over COP26,” a COP27 spokesperson said.

Charles may be a no-show — but 90 state heads and counting will soon start packing for Sharm. Some 90 state heads have so far confirmed their attendance at COP27, said special representative for the COP27 presidency Wael Aboulmagd, adding that the confirmations keep pouring in, according to Reuters.


UPCOMING NEWS TRIGGERS- Here are some data points and news triggers to be on the lookout for in this month:

  • Foreign reserves: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) should be out with September’s foreign reserves figures later this week. Reserves remained flat at around USD 33.1 bn in August, having fallen 20% since March due to headwinds caused by the war in Ukraine and tightening financial conditions.
  • Inflation to notch new highs? Analysts are expecting inflation to have continued rising in September due to the weakening EGP after reaching highs not seen since November 2018 in August. We’ll find out when Capmas and the CBE release the figures next week.

Fuel prices to rise this month? We’re expecting the government to hike fuel prices for the seventh consecutive quarter when the fuel pricing committee meets this month. Fuel prices have risen by as much as 28% over the past 18 months in response to heightened international oil prices, which surged earlier this year on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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: We talk to Hisham Badr, head of the Smart Green Governorates initiative, to find out more about the program in the lead-up to COP27.


Somabay Golf Open Tournament 6-8 October: The Somabay Golf Open in Partnership with the Cascades Golf Resort Spa and Thalasso is just around the corner. This event has been a permanent fixture of the Egyptian Golf Calendar for over 20 years and is a great weekend of friendly competition that brings together players from across Egypt and the Region. The event features a practice round and two days of competition, a lavish welcome reception, and gala dinner. Room rates start from EGP 6,250 per person. For booking inquiries, contact +20 (0)100 340 0300 or reservation@thecascadeshotel.com.


Kuwait’s Agility to invest USD 60 mn setting up hubs for logistics and customs

Kuwait’s Agility Logistics plans to invest USD 60 mn to set up and operate two customs and logistics services hubs in Ain Sokhna and East Port Said, according to a Suez Canal Zone (SCZone) statement. The two hubs will automate and digitize customs processes through a digital link to all relevant government agencies, feeding into the Nafeza single digital customs window implemented last year. The move should expedite customs clearance and improve the Customs Authority’s oversight. Construction of the hubs is expected to commence by 2H 2023, the statement reads.

GO DEEPER- Want the inside track on Nafeza? We explain everything here.

BACKGROUND- Kuwaiti companies are kicking the tires on investments in Egypt: The agreement was signed between the company and the SCZone on the sidelines of the Egyptian-Kuwaiti business forum yesterday in Cairo, according to a cabinet statement, with Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir meeting a delegation of 48 Kuwaiti investors. There’s been speculation in recent months that Kuwait could send inflows our way, following in the footsteps of its Gulf neighbors who have pledged some USD 22 bn in investment to help shore up our economy amid global headwinds.

What Kuwaitis have appetite for: renewables, real estate, telecoms, transport, logistics, tourism, agriculture, and food sectors, according to a separate statement. The delegation also expressed its interest in our banking sector, citing a track record of success here for Kuwaiti banking firms.


World Bank approves USD 400 mn in funding for freight rail network

A more efficient and low-carbon freight railway system is coming: The World Bank has approved a USD 400 mn financing agreement to boost the performance of the country’s transport and logistics sectors and support a shift towards low-carbon rail systems, the World Bank (pdf) and the International Cooperation Ministry said yesterday.

Making rail freight faster and more efficient: The money will help finance the construction of a railway bypass that avoids the congested Greater Cairo-Sixth of October rail corridor. The bypass will allow freight trains to travel between the Port of Alexandria and the newly-constructed Sixth of October dry port via an alternative route to the west of Greater Cairo. The bypass will be able to handle 15 container trains per day by 2030 and up to 50 trains by 2060.

Reducing transport emissions: Reliance on road freight means that the country’s transport sector currently accounts for 19% of our total greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank says. Increasing the use of rail to transport goods will lower Egypt’s carbon output by around 965k tons over 30 years, the bank estimates. This falls in line with the government’s mission to reduce emissions in three sectors — energy, oil and gas, and transport — that represent around 45% of Egypt's total emissions.

The private sector will be able to operate their trains on national rail lines for a fee through a new infrastructure access charging scheme. The project will support a fee scheme similar to road tolls or airport landing fees, boosting the National Railways Authority’s finances.

What they said: “Increasing the number of containers moved by rail from zero to 184k per year is one of the project’s key objectives,” Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said.


Lots of investment flowing into logistics hubs and … cooking oil complexes

Supply Ministry tenders logistics + cooking oil complex projects, with more in the pipeline: The Supply Ministry has four logistics and retail hubs in the pipeline, along with three cooking-oil complexes worth a combined USD 321 mn — and signaled we could see another cooking oil complex in partnership with Malaysia.

#1- Retail & logistics hubs: The ministry is currently tendering two logistics and retail hubs in Kafr El Sheikh and Suez, Internal Trade Development Authority (ITDA) Deputy Chairman Walid Seif El Din told Enterprise. The ministry issued the conditions booklets for the two hubs, ITDA Chairman Ibrahim El Ashmawy said at a press conference this week. Sherif Younes’ US-based Vernbro Global Investment purchased the booklet for the Kafr El Sheikh logistics hub, while Al Rowad bought the booklet for the Suez retail hub, Seif El Din told us. The tenders will be awarded in two months, he added.

#2- Logistics hubs: The ministry is separately planning to contract for two two logistics hubs through direct order, Seif El Din confirmed to Enterprise. The first hub will be set up in the New Valley for sorting, freezing, packaging, and storing dates, while the second will be set up in South Sinai’s El Tor, Seif El Din told us. He declined to confirm to Enterprise the investment values for the hubs, but had previously told Hapi Journal that the ministry could offer up two hubs worth EGP 5.5 bn.

#3- Cooking oil complexes: Meanwhile, there are fresh tenders for three cooking oil complexes worth a combined USD 321 mn in Alexandria, Sohag and Al Sadat City, BDO Managing Partner Mohanad Taha said at a presser yesterday with Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy, according to Al Ahram.

#4- More coming with Malaysia? We could also see another cooking oil complex in the Suez Canal Economic Zone with Malaysian partners, El Moselhy said at the press conference, according to Al Shorouk. The complex will serve as a collection point and a platform for exporting oil products, including palm oil.



Senate readies EV legislation that could create an industry fund + regulatory body

The Senate will discuss today legislation that could set up a new regulatory body to make policy for the electric vehicles (EV) industry, Enterprise Climate reports this morning. Sen. Mohamed Halawa, who leads the Senate’s industry and trade committee, told reporters yesterday that the bill will also set up a fund to provide financial incentives for EV assembly.

The mandate: The Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing will be headed by the prime minister and will draft policies, strategies, regulations and legislation governing the wider automotive industry, including EVs.

SMART POLICY- Halawa told reporters reflects input from big auto industry players including our friends at GB Auto and Abu Ghali Motors as well as Mansour Automotive, Toyota Egypt and Ezz Al Arab.

GO DEEPER- Tap or click here to read the full story in this morning’s edition of Enterprise Climate.

BUT BEFORE YOU GO: Take our EV survey and tell us if you’re likely to buy an electric vehicle any time soon. It will only take a moment or two and we’ll be back with the results in a couple of weeks.


EFG Hermes unit targets education providers in Klickit tie-up

EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions eyes schools in Klickit’s network: EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions will provide leasing and factoring services to education providers in local fintech startup Klickit’s network, according to a statement (pdf). The agreement between EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions and Klickit will provide more than 55k education service providers with access to financing for capital expenditure, including headquarters, school equipment, and buses, and allow them to fill cashflow gaps by borrowing against forecasted tuition revenues.

What they said: “Schools face difficulties when accessing finance; hence we want to facilitate this access to narrow the cashflow gap and help contribute to the development of the education industry,” said EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions CEO Talal Elayat.

The agreement comes as NBFS providers make inroads in the education space: We’ve seen similar agreements in the past few years, including EFG Hermes’ ValU signing partnerships with school operator GEMS and the American University in Cairo to provide tuition financing. Beltone Financial’s consumer financing arm BelCash last year signed an agreement with EGX-listed education outfit CIRA to provide parents whose children attend any of CIRA’s schools with tuition fee loans with a 12-month repayment period, and Contact Financial’s consumer financing arm has its own tuition facilitation agreements with several education institutions. For more on how NBFS players are taking on the burden of education financing, check out our recent deep dive.

Not sure what factoring is? Our explainer has got you covered.


Smart device maker CardoO secures USD 660k in (pretty unique) seed funding

Homegrown smart device startup CardoO has landed USD 660k in a seed funding round led by Alexandria Angels with investment from Sofico, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Saudi angel investors, the company said in a statement (pdf) yesterday.

What does CardoO do? CardoO sells affordable smart devices including smart watches, wireless earbuds, mobile game joysticks, and VR headsets. The company also operates an app which allows users to control products and link their devices with each other. The company has sold more than 100k units since its launch in 2019 via online stores and major retailers including BTECH, Amazon, and Virgin Megastore.

This type of financing is a first for the local market: CardoO obtained the funds via a hybrid revenue-based and equity financing arrangement, which the company says is a first in Egypt. Under the arrangement, investors were able to split their investment between receiving equity and a portion of the company’s revenues. They will now receive 3% of the company’s monthly revenues until they receive three times the amount they paid in.

The rationale: “The benefit of this type of financing is it allows you to raise funds without giving up a lot of equity to secure financing,” CardoO CEO Ahmed Adel tells Enterprise. “It also gives us the opportunity to revisit the same investors and raise more funding without going through another round and valuations.”

CardoO has offshored its manufacturing — but says it’s committed to localizing its operations: The company currently manufactures its devices in China but has signed several agreements with local factories to onshore production. The company will produce 100% of its devices in Egypt by next year, Adel says.

Expansion plans: The funding will allow CardoO to expand its product line and scale the quantity of inventory, adding two or three devices by the end of 2023. The company is also exploring expanding into a similar emerging market either in the GCC or Africa by 2024, Adel says.



The Saudi PIF’s acquisition of 34% of local electronics retailer BTECH got top billing on a mixed night on the airwaves. After breaking the good news in a sit-down with Enterprise yesterday, BTECH CEO Mahmoud Khattab joined El Hekaya last night (watch, runtime: 5:39) to discuss what the acquisition means for the company.

ELSEWHERE- A second tragedy mars the start of the school year: An eight-year-old girl has died after falling from the third-storey window of a primary school in Agouza, marking the second death in an Giza school within the first days of the academic year. The Education Ministry will offer EGP 100k to the child’s family and has launched an investigation into the matter, according to a statement. Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 3:32) and Hadrat El Mowaten (watch, runtime: 2:27) covered the story.

The incidents have put school safety in the spotlight: Several members of staff at the Agouza school have been suspended and face Education Ministry and legal investigations, the statement read. Having second-graders on the third floor is itself a violation of ministry regulations, Education Ministry spokesman Shady Zalata told El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 6:35). Zalata declined to comment on local media reports that the girl fell to her death trying to escape physical punishment from her teacher. The ministry will conduct spot-safety inspections at schools across the country in light of the incidents.


The Rosetta Stone once again gets top billing on a mixed day for mentions of Egypt in the foreign press. The polyglottic rock has been moved from one room in the British Museum to another for the first time in 18 years, for an exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of its discovery. The Telegraph frets that the event could be overshadowed (gasp!) by the campaign to have the stone moved a little further — back to Egypt, where it was found.

Also making headlines:

  • Organ donation could become a thing in Egypt despite cultural obstacles as the Health Ministry considers introducing a donation option on ID cards. (The National)
  • COP27 + human rights: Local and international human rights groups continue to amp up the pressure on Egypt to release detainees and open up civic space ahead of the summit in November. (BBC)
  • The study of Ancient Nubia is finally emerging from the “long shadow” cast by Egyptology. (New Scientist)



Manufacturers can expect to get a “clear” strategy on how the government plans to shore up local industry at the upcoming economic conference, which is scheduled for 23-25 October, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said, according to a cabinet statement. The strategy is being drafted in coordination with industry players and will build on the outcomes of the public consultations with stakeholders in different industries to discuss the government’s state ownership policy document. You can refresh your memory of what went down with the pharma industry, engineering and automotive industry reps, FMCG players, textiles and garments manufacturers, and the printing and packaging industry in our previous editions of Inside Industry.

More subsidies on the table for exports to Africa: The finance and trade ministries stand ready to increase export subsidies for Africa-bound products as part of the wider strategy to boost exports, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, according to a statement. The government is also in negotiations to establish a logistics zone in an African country, in addition to an existing zone in Tanzania, Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs Sherif Eissa said, without disclosing any more details.

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

  • The first phase of the Ring Road expansion — covering 76 km between Alexandria Agriculture road and New Cairo — is complete. (Statement)
  • Suez Canal Bank has granted home appliances player Fresh Group a EGP 450 mn revolving loan at an 8% declining interest rate under the central bank’s soft loans program that supports exporters. (Al Mal)
  • Bus to Damascus: Transport Minister Kamel Al Wazir and his Jordanian counterpart discussed launching a Cairo-Damascus bus line in coordination with several transport companies. (Statement)
  • Mas Electric wants to establish an EGP 40 mn freezers and display refrigerators factory in Tenth of Ramadan City this year, to start operations in 2024. (Al Borsa)


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Struggling emerging economies should be hoping for a recession in the US if it forces the Federal Reserve to reverse course and loosen monetary policy, David Lubin, Citi’s chief EM economist, writes for the Financial Times. Rapidly rising US interest rates and the strengthening USD have piled pressure on indebted emerging markets this year, locking them out of international capital markets, weakening their currencies, and pushing them closer to default. A pivot by the central bank would likely push investors back into EM assets due to falling US rates and a weakening greenback.

That’s a big if, though: The Fed has not given any indication that it would reverse course in the event of a recession. Despite rising fears of an economic contraction, officials have held the line and insisted that curbing soaring inflation remains the central bank’s overriding priority.

More economic turmoil in Turkey: Turkish debt just became junkier, after S&P Global cut the country’s credit rating deeper into junk territory due to the government’s ultra-loose fiscal and monetary policies. The ratings downgrade came as inflation hit nearly 84% y-o-y last month, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute — a level last seen in 1998 — and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to continue cutting interest rates to fall below 10% by year-end. Meanwhile, Turkish officials arrested eight suspects as part of an investigation into alleged market manipulation that preceded a plunge in equities, which Erdogan said last week was caused by “speculative moves,” according to Bloomberg.

Also worth noting:

  • Eurozone inflation shows no signs of slowing: Inflation in the eurozone accelerated to 10% in September from 9.1% in August on the back of rising energy and food costs. (Eurostat, pdf)
  • Israeli interest rates at 11-year high: Israel’s central bank hiked rates for the fifth meeting in a row, and telegraphed further increases in the coming months. (Bloomberg)
  • Credit Suisse shares pared losses after plunging as much as 12% to a record low on Monday, after what was meant to be a reassuring memo from the bank’s CEO instead caused a panic selloff. (Bloomberg)
  • Porsche shares slid as much as 1.8% below the price on their debut last week, as Europe’s biggest IPO in more than a decade falters on choppy markets. (Bloomberg)




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The EGX30 was almost flat at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 915.82 mn (3.9% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 18.9% YTD.

In the green: Rameda (+1.9%), TMG Holding (+1.8%) and EFG Hermes (+1.8%).

In the red: Orascom Construction (-4.5%), Credit Agricole (-2.1%) and Elsewedy Electric (-1.9%).


We’re not fans of a fresh Libyan-Turkish energy exploration agreement: We’ve joined Greece in rejecting a preliminary energy exploration agreement signed between Turkey and the Tripoli-based government in Libya. The Tripoli government — one of two rival governing factions in Libya — does not have the authority to conclude any international agreements or MoUs, our Foreign Ministry said in a statement, following a phone call between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias to discuss the move.

What agreement? While the details of the Libyan-Turkish agreement weren’t immediately clear, Reuters is reporting that it could include exploration rights in the so-called “exclusive economic zone” drawn up by the two countries back in 2019, which Egypt and Greece have disputed with their own rival agreement demarcating maritime borders in the oil and gas-rich East Med.


An interview with Hisham Badr, co-ordinator of the Smart Green Governorates initiative: With COP27 fast approaching, Egypt's Smart Green Governorates initiative is getting ready to reveal its top projects that will be presented to the world at the global climate summit. The initiative, which aims to showcase green projects in Egypt during the global gathering and help them attract finance from global lenders, is in the process of whittling down the more than 6k applications to just 18 projects, which will be put in front of investors at COP27.

The initiative focuses on six types of green projects: Large projects, medium-sized projects, small-scale domestic projects (implemented within the Decent Life Initiative), startups, nonprofit community initiatives and activities, and gender-related and sustainability-focused projects.

We got a taste of what to expect earlier this week when the initiative’s co-ordinator, Hisham Badr, announced the first batch of shortlisted projects. Eighteen candidates were selected from Alexandria, Beheira and Matrouh governorates, including a project to produce green hydrogen from agricultural wastewater, a flood early warning system, and a soilless cultivation project.

What’s next: Six projects from each governorate (one for each category) will make the shortlist. The 162 candidates will be put to a jury, including UN High-level Climate Champion for Egypt Mahmoud Mohieldin and other senior officials and climate experts, which will choose three projects from each category to go to COP27.

We spoke with Badr about the initiative and the government’s upcoming plans for the top projects. Below are edited excerpts of our conversation:

How many projects were submitted? The number of projects submitted reached 6.2k and the governorates are currently selecting their six finalists. At the end of October, we will hold a national conference to present the 162 projects. We will invite the private sector, international financial institutions, and financiers to learn about the projects. At the end of the conference, we will select 18 projects, and their founders will be presented at COP27 as ambassadors for the best smart green projects, so that the rest of the world can learn about Egyptian solutions.

What is the ultimate goal of these projects after they are announced? Many benefits can come from the initiative. As the host country of COP27, Egypt must first and foremost play a significant role in raising awareness of the problem of climate change and encouraging entrepreneurs to come up with solutions. The second benefit is that, for the first time, there is now a map of smart green projects in each of Egypt's governorates. This means that any investor who wants to invest in a specific field, such as emissions management, solar or wind energy, will have access to a database of projects.

Funding will be awarded to the top projects. COP27 sponsors can also contribute to project financing, capacity building, and the acceleration of startup ideas, and many investors are already looking for investment opportunities.

How much will the awards be worth, and how will the funding be handled? The amounts will be determined later. As for funding, whenever we go to a bank, financial institution, or foreign country and tell them we have climate-related problems and are looking for financing, they usually tell us: “Give me a good project, and I will give you financing.” If you present the lender with an integrated project that includes the necessary feasibility studies, you will be approved.

And the initiative will not be limited to this year. Every year, the state intends to hold a similar competition for smart green projects. Egypt will take the winning projects to next year’s COP28 in the UAE. The following year, we will take them to the climate summit in Australia, and so on.

Will the government provide project incentives, such as licenses or land allocation? Of course. The 18 winning projects are expected to be completed and attract investment as soon as possible. The rest of the 162 projects will be available for investment this year and in the following years. If a project is missing a key element, such as the tech element, an investor can come in and support it in this area, and so on.

What’s the plan for the rest of the 162 projects? We will hold a large national conference, attended by the private sector and high-level financing institutions. It will be an opportunity for these projects to present an integrated proposal to the interested parties over a period of two days.

What is the amount of funding expected from this initiative? I can't anticipate that now. That will depend on the size of the winning projects.

Will the 18 projects be the only ones submitted by Egypt during COP27? Smart Green Governorates is one of several initiatives that Egypt will introduce during the summit. It is an unprecedented initiative globally, which could be a model for other countries to implement afterward.

Your top green economy stories for the week:

  • Egypt wants to include “loss and damage” on the COP agenda: The Sisi administration wants to prioritize the conversation on compensation for countries that have experienced major economic losses on the back of climate changes.
  • The Local Development Ministry launched a tender for the construction of four solid waste recycling and treatment facilities in Dakahlia and Kafr El Sheikh.
  • A delegation of Kuwaiti investors discussed potential investment in renewable energy, among other sectors, with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.



27 September-27 October (Tuesday-Thursday): The Egyptian Museum and the Manial Palace Museum host a book fair.


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

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

3-4 October (Monday-Tuesday): Pre-COP27 Climate Summit, Kinshasa, Congo.

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.

18 October (Tuesday): The Egyptian-Swedish business forum, Stockholm, Sweden.

23-25 ​​October (Sunday-Tuesday): Egypt economic conference, Cairo, Egypt.

24 October (Monday): Empowering Sustainable Trade Flows with Factoring conference, St. Regis Cairo.

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

27-30 October (Thursday-Sunday): Cairo ICT, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

30 October – 1 November (Sunday – Tuesday): Egypt Energy, Egypt International Exhibition Centre (EIEC) in New Cairo.

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.

9 November (Wednesday): Finance Ministry to host “Finance Day” at COP27.

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: Egyptian Automotive Summit.

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): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

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.

23-27 February (Thursday-Monday): The eighth annual Business Women of Egypt’s Women for Success conference.

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.

4Q 2022: Saudi Jamjoom Pharma to inaugurate its EGP 1 bn pharma factory in El Obour.

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.

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