Monday, 24 October 2022

AM — Expect more on state ownership and industry on Day 2 of gov’t’s economic conference



Good morning, friends. As those of you who tuned in yesterday know, we expect this week’s newsflow to be dominated by three major economic gatherings, including the Madbouly government’s Egypt Economic Conference (EEC) 2022; a joint economic conference with the UAE; and the ongoing gas exporting countries forum.

Day one of the EEC was yesterday, and cabinet members set the table by reviewing the government’s achievements in recent years, including a much-needed program to build infrastructure (roads, bridges, logistics, power generation, natural gas — A+, we think); its handling of global crises including covid-19 (an A, in our view); and the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine (class is still in session, but they squeaked out a C on the midterm).

Cabinet members speaking at the opening sessions highlighted policy priorities including curbing population growth (smart) and building an industrial base (absolutely necessary). There was comparatively little on how to drive export growth and — in the words of one of the smartest people we know, who was in the audience — “really little sense of needing new policy ideas, of needing to do something different or to turn a new page.”

We’re more convinced than ever that our five-point recipe for building a new Egyptian economy based on exports and FDI holds water. The feedback from so many of you in the community has been both rich and intense (we’ll be talking more about that in the weeks and months to come)…

…and Mahmoud Mohieldin was on-point yesterday, saying that while we have an import problem, we have an export crisis. Dr. Mahmoud is brilliant, and he also speaks from experience, having run a focused investment promotion campaign when he was in cabinet. The solution to our economic challenges, he suggested (watch, runtime: 25:59), is in growing our export base. “Is our problem rising imports — or low exports? We have an import problem, but an export crisis,” Dr. Mahmoud said, suggesting that our ratio of imports to GDP is low by global standards — and that most of what we import are goods necessary to support manufacturing, agriculture and services.

“The real problem is not high imports, but the low contribution of exports to GDP. Egypt’s exports per capita are lower than almost any other country — we must take steps to grow exports,” Dr. Mahmoud said.

Part of the solution is capturing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to integrate with global supply chains — to make ourselves permanently part of the energy, manufacturing and services base serving Europe, the GCC and Africa.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM- We’re taking careful steps in the right direction, but everyone else in our neighborhood is running. As Enterprise Climate reports this morning, Saudi Arabia wants to become a global supply chain hub with a special focus on renewable energy. It is also looking to supply India with renewable energy. And Morocco — which already ate our first-mover advantage in automotive assembly and has turned itself into an aerospace hub — is now hammering its position as the top supplier of renewable energy to Europe.

Friends, we need to get moving, and we need to be focused. It’s time Egypt launched a private-sector-back investment promotion agency that can speak the language of CEOs around the world — and pitch them on how they _specifically_ can capitalize on our natural position as a global export hub.

TODAY IS DAY TWO of EEC 2022. Attendees will discuss:

  • The state’s policy document on where it will remain in the economy and where it plans to back off;
  • How to boost FDI, especially for green projects;
  • Sessions on “priority industries” including renewable energy, electricity, EVs, waste-to-energy, desalination, and real estate.

Tomorrow is all about industry, including how to drive industrial investment, develop national industries, and address the financing gap for manufacturers, as well as solutions to recent import troubles, according to a cabinet statement.

MEANWHILE- Talks with the IMF on an assistance package are set to continue “the first week of November” in Cairo, according to remarks to journalists by a top fund official. Jihad Azour, the IMF’s director for the Middle East and Central Asia, told reporters that the two sides agreed last week that “I would visit Cairo to resume these negotiations until we reach a new loan agreement,” according to the print edition of state-owned Al Akhbar.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said yesterday that Egypt and the IMF are putting “the final touches” on the agreement. The PM made the remarks at the opening day of the Egypt Economic Conference 2022.


Egypt is playing host to the annual Gas Exporting Countries Forum meetings: Ministers from the 19 member countries as well as eight observer nations are in Cairo until tomorrow for the annual meetings of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

Why this matters: Egypt has been positioning itself for some years now as the premier energy hub in the Eastern Mediterranean, serving as a hub for natural gas and electricity exports to Europe, the Levant, GCC, Sudan and North Africa. Throw in the energy war between Russia and Europe and things look very interesting right now.


Egypt and the UAE will host a gathering marking 50 years of bilateral ties: The conference takes place Wednesday-Friday (26-28 October) and is being produced in association with the two governments. Day one is an economic forum featuring ministers, senior officials and business leaders from the two countries, while the following day will feature a cultural forum.

Davos in the Desert is this week: Saudi Arabia tomorrow kicks off this year’s edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII). The kingdom’s annual conference seeks to drum up foreign direct investment for its Vision 2030 plan, which hopes to future-proof the oil-dependent economy by investing in new sectors including tourism and tech. The event will run from Tuesday through Thursday this week.

Wall Street bankers are attending, regardless of what Uncle Joe says: Top Wall Street execs have no plans to cancel their attendance at the summit, despite an escalating war of words between the US and Saudi leadership over recent OPEC+ supply cuts, Reuters and Bloomberg report.

COUNTDOWN TO COP (12 days to go)-

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry wants COP27 to focus on climate change without getting bogged down in “political polarization,” he said in an interview with state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM). While the conference is being held during a time of “strong geopolitical and geo-economic tension,” Shoukry hopes it will not impede tackling common global challenges like climate change as any backtracking on climate pledges would take the world to a “point of no return.”

A storm is brewing: Unfortunately, political polarization — or, as Bloomberg describes it, a “geopolitical hurricane” — looks like a dead certainty for the summit, as Western-Russian relations suffer their biggest crisis since the Cold War and US-China tensions rise. Europe is turning to coal and natural gas to mitigate an historic energy crisis triggered by its sanctions war with Moscow, threatening to undo some of the gains made at last year’s COP26. Meanwhile, there’s growing friction between the global haves and have-nots as poorer countries insist rich nations stump up the bulk of the money for the green transition in the developing world — a demand which they are yet to seriously entertain.

Sharm El Sheikh bids adieu to single-use plastic bags: The Red Sea resort town, playing host to COP27 in less than two weeks, is officially free of all single-use plastic bags, which have been swapped for more environmentally-friendly cloth bags, Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad said during a presser yesterday.


Rare earth elements in Egypt: EnterprisePM’s Inside Industry vertical took a deep dive yesterday into the Hassan Allam-built black sands plant in Burullus. Inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi earlier this week, the EGP 4 bn project maks Egypt’s foray into rare earth elements.

Why we care: Local black sand deposits are rich not only in a host of heavy minerals used in a wide variety of industries, but also in rare earth elements that are key to the production of everything from solar panels and EVs and to mobile phones. That’s good news for our trade balance — it will save on exports and open up a new export avenue for the country. At present, China produces more than 90% of global rare earth output.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Former UK chancellor Rishi Sunak could today be named the UK’s latest prime minister after a comeback bid by Boris Johnson fell wide of the mark. Sunak will be named PM this afternoon if no other contenders can gather the required 100 signatures from Conservative MPs to stand against him. His only remaining public rival, Penny Mordaunt, had fewer than 30 signatures as of yesterday. A leadership race was triggered within the governing Conservative Party after former PM Liz Truss resigned over her disastrous mini-budget, which sent the UK financial markets haywire. (FT | Bloomberg | Washington Post | AP | Reuters | NYT)

AND- Rising inflation is driving a wave of strikes and protests across Europe: Growing dissatisfaction with the rising cost of living threatens to trigger political unrest, the Associated Press reports. German pilots and British railway workers participated in strikes to demand higher pay. Protesters in Romania, France and the Czech Republic expressed outrage over the rising cost of living, called for pay rises that keep up with inflation, and voiced their concerns over the government's handling of the energy crisis.


PSA- The LRT has extended its hours: The new light rail transit system (LRT) has extended its operating hours to 7:30 AM – 9 PM, operator RATP Dev said yesterday.

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

CLARIFICATION- In our story on S&P Global Ratings’ latest Egypt rating yesterday, we wrote that S&P Global Ratings had affirmed Egypt's credit ratings at BB. This referred to the agency's foreign and local-currency ratings, each of which were held at B.


*** It’s Blackboard day: We have our weekly look at the business of education in Egypt, from pre-K through the highest reaches of higher ed.

In today’s issue: We delve into the topic of financial literacy and ask what needs to be done to boost the population’s money smarts.


2CELLOS — LIVE AT SOMABAY on 18 November, 2022: Mark your calendars — world-renowned and wildly popular cellist duo, 2CELLOS will be performing at Somabay on 18 November, 2022. Having racked up a bn-plus audio streams, countless sold-out concerts, and mns of fans across the globe in their 10 years together as 2CELLOS, the Croatian duo of Luka Šulić and HAUSER will be visiting Egypt in their long-awaited 2022 Dedicated World Tour. Book your ticket now: Call us 16390.


A packed first day at the Egypt Economic Conference 2022

The first day of the Egypt Economic Conference 2022 saw speeches from government and central bank officials. Policymakers ran us through a brief history of our economy as they laid the groundwork to talk solutions today and tomorrow. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly each took to the stage to open proceedings, before Planning Minister Hala El Said, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, and CBE governor Hassan Abdalla led separate sessions on next steps for the country’s fiscal and monetary policy.

Some of the most important points to note out of yesterday’s sessions:

  • The CBE is looking at a new indicator for the value of the EGP that doesn’t compare it directly with the USD, Abdalla said. The indicator would compare the EGP against a (presumably trade-weighted) basket of currencies and potentially also gold, he added.
  • The letters of credit (L/C) system for importers to get their goods released from ports will be scrapped “soon,” according to Madbouly.
  • Slashing red tape and boosting efficiency will be key to strengthening the private sector and boosting FDI, non-state actors at the conference stressed yesterday.

REMEMBER- The gathering sees government officials, experts, and economists come together with the aim of creating a roadmap for the country’s economic future. Yesterday was macro-focused. Today, delegates will discuss the state ownership policy document laying out plans to up the private sector’s role in the economy, and ways to boost FDI. The third and final day, tomorrow, should address ways to stimulate industrial investment, develop national industries, and address the financing gap for manufacturers, as well as solutions to recent import troubles.

We’ve got some big ideas of our own — and we’d like you to join us: If you’re attending the conference, consider plugging our five-step recipe for how to build a new Egyptian economy that puts FDI and exports at the heart of everything we do.


We’re getting a new currency index: We need to stop measuring the EGP against the greenback to help people get used to the idea of a free-floating currency that is not pegged to the USD, CBE governor Hassan Abdalla said. The central bank will introduce its own EGP index, which will measure the EGP against certain currencies and potentially also gold, he said.

“I don't know why people are always fixated on the USD [exchange rate],” Abdalla said, noting that Egypt is neither an oil exporter nor a major trading partner of the US. Abdalla stopped short of explaining how the indicator will work. Reuters also has the story.

On hedging: The CBE is working to introduce currency hedging and has concluded futures contracts, Abdalla said.

Devaluation can be a good thing, Madbouly said: “Many countries take measures to devalue their currency to become more competitive,” Madbouly said, adding that a weak EGP does not necessarily point to a battered economy. “The value of the currency is not an issue; the real issue is curbing the impact of inflation,” he added.

REMEMBER- The EGP has lost a little more than a quarter of its value against the greenback this year, including March’s steep devaluation. That said, a big part of the decline has been a strong rally in the USD on the back of the US Federal Reserve’s tightening cycle. The EGP has actually strengthened against the GBP, JPY and EUR as the three big currencies have lost ground against the greenback.

Exchange rate flexibility has been one of the IMF’s key conditions for an assistance package, which officials have said could happen “very soon.” Abdalla’s statement comes on the heels of more signals from Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and Planning Minister Hala El Said that we have become more open to a flexible exchange rate policy.


Are we going to say goodbye to L/Cs soon? The government is working to reverse the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) decision requiring importers to issue letters of credit to buy goods “soon,” Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said during the conference (watch, runtime: 2:34:07). This comes weeks after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that import challenges facing manufacturers should be solved within two months.

Stay tuned: According to the schedule, we should get more news on solutions to import troubles out of the conference tomorrow.


Slashing red tape + improving coordination is key for a stronger private sector: Business leaders got the chance to suggest ways to strengthen the economy and help ensure its resilience to crises during a session led by El Said. Among the suggestions made were the importance of slashing red tape (we couldn’t agree more), and establishing a coordinating body to help streamline processes across different ministries and authorities.

We also need to make use of our EGP 3 tn worth of unused resources and assets, MP Ghada Ali said during the session, adding that establishing a new, dedicated fund for these assets under the purview of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) could help get the ball rolling.

Practical steps to boost investment: Former deputy prime minister Ziad Bahaa El Din laid out a handful of common-sense steps to increase confidence in our market among foreign investors, according to Al Mal. They included:

  • Respond to investors who have pending requests to push forward existing projects;
  • Respect administrative decisions that have already been made to keep promises to investors;
  • Implement the helpful legislation that has already been passed (like the Bankruptcy Act);
  • Have the General Authority for Investments (Gafi) be the main point of contact for investors.


El Sisi and Madbouly spoke at length about the returns on investments we’ve reaped from several different national projects, including investments to expand natural gas production, improve roads and construct bridges, and in public transport.

National projects have cost the government more than EGP 7 tn so far, Madbouly said, adding that 90% of those projects were implemented by the private sector. Meanwhile, construction of new cities has brought some EGP 10 tn into the Egyptian economy, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said during his speech (watch, runtime: 53:36) at the conference.

“Without the Zohr natural gas field, Egypt would have been in the dark,” El Sisi said, adding that we would have paid USD 2 bn on natural gas imports every month over the past few years. The 2018 discovery of the supergiant Zohr gas field — the Mediterranean’s largest — and the investments made to bring it online faster allowed us to pull the plug on gas imports. Egypt now produces an average of 58.5 bn cubic meters of natural gas every year, Madbouly added.


Our debt-to-GDP ratio could reach 90% this year, Madbouly said, adding that this does not affect the government’s target to reduce it over the next five years. Some “72.9% of our external debt is medium- or long-term, so we still have a while before the repayments are due,” Madbouly said. The government had been planning to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to 84% for the current fiscal year.

We’re targeting a 72% debt-to-GDP ratio by FY2026-2027, and a primary surplus of 2.3%, up from 1.3% in FY 2021-2022, Maait said during the session he led on public debt and fiscal policies. The targeted debt-to-GDP ratio would be our lowest on record.


“The worst is yet to come” for the global economy, two high-profile thinkers said as the gathering got underway. Markets sage Mohamed El Erian, appearing in a video, emphasized the importance of economic resilience during global challenges and crises, as he pointed out how inflation, coupled with heightened interest rates and global supply chain issues, have impacted not just Egypt, but some of the most advanced economies in the world.

Center for Global Development President Masood Ahmed made a similar point, noting that next year will “feel like we’re in a recession,” while pointing out that emerging markets will face the brunt of the pressure. “Financial markets are going to be more reluctant, and they will be harder to access,” Ahmed warns, adding that debt pressures are going to be felt by many EMs. “The shocks may be global, but the response will have to be primarily national economic policies,” he said, pointing to the importance of how we manage the exchange rate as well as addressing “underlying fundamentals” like private sector involvement in the economy and our approach to debt.


Hassan Allam latest to target green investment in Morocco

Hassan Allam eyes renewables, desalination projects in Morocco: Our friends at Hassan Allam Holding are mulling investing in renewable energy and desalination projects in Morocco, and could deploy an initial USD 50-150 mn within the next year, CEO Amr Allam told Bloomberg Asharq on the sidelines of the Africa Business Forum in Casablanca.

“We are ready to invest in Morocco and we have international partners ready to join us as investors,” Allam said. “The funding is available and the experience is there.”

Expect more details soon: Company representatives are planning another trip to the country to discuss potential investments with government officials, Allam said.

OIH is also interested: Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) is eyeing an initial USD 100 mn investment in renewable energy, EVs charging stations and agro-industrial sectors in the North African country, CEO Naguib Sawiris said on the sidelines of the forum earlier this week.

Moroccan renewables could one day feature heavily in Europe’s energy mix: Morocco and the EU last week agreed to establish a “green partnership” that could boost the country’s ambitions to become a renewable energy export hub to Europe (a goal it shares with Egypt). Enterprise Climate has more.


Real estate player Seqoon secures USD 500k in pre-seed round + B2B services marketplace Unlock lands first round of funding

Two local startups — one in real estate, the other in B2B services — announced six-figure funding rounds yesterday.

Real estate startup Seqoon has secured USD 500k in a pre-seed round led by Banque Misr through the lender’s fintech-focused pilot program. A number of angel investors also participated, according to a statement (pdf). Seqoon will use the capital to grow its team.

About Seqoon: Founded by Omar Eldessouky (LinkedIn) and Mohamed Elkhatieb (LinkedIn) last year, the startup lets people go in with up to eight other parties to buy part of a vacation home. The company currently only operates in El Gouna with plans to expand into other Red Sea destinations and the North Coast next year.

Timeshare startups are getting some love lately: Last month proptech startup Partment secured USD 1.5 mn in a pre-seed round led by Nclude. Its online platform allows people to purchase shares in a second home with up to seven other people. The company allocates each owner a quota of days to use the property and handles the management and maintenance.


Egypt-based B2B services marketplace Unlock closed an undisclosed USD six-figure investment in its first funding round, the company said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The angel investment round was led by Tarek Roushdy, head of local VC UI Investments, as well as other undisclosed angel investors.

What is Unlock? Launched in 2020 by Fady Younan (LinkedIn) and Mona El Kheshen (LinkedIn), the company operates an AI-powered B2B marketplace connecting businesses with agencies offering professional services such as marketing, software development, accounting, and consultancy. Two hundred agencies are currently using the platform and have received service matching requests worth more than USD 3 mn from some 600 companies, El Kheshen tells Enterprise.

Where will the money go? The funds — which El Kheshen tells us came in at less than USD 500k — will be used to further develop the company’s AI-matching, procurement, and payments tech and to expand Unlock’s services to reach new companies.



UAE investor snaps up 3% of Edita

Emirati investment firm Rimco Investments acquired a 3.0% stake in Edita for EGP 192 mn in a transaction Thursday, Bloomberg Asharq reports, citing unnamed market participants. The Dubai-based company reportedly purchased 20 mn shares at EGP 9.60 per share. A representative from Edita declined to comment when asked by Enterprise yesterday.

The seller: One source told Asharq that UK-based investor Kingsway Capital was the selling shareholder. Al Ahly Pharos reportedly executed the transaction.

Who owns what: Kingsway would now hold 8.9% of the company, having owned 11.9% prior to the transaction according to a disclosure (pdf) earlier this month. Netherlands-based PE player Quantum Investment owns 42.7% while the remainder of the company is in freefloat.

Buybacks: This comes as Edita proceeds with a share repurchase program that will see it buy back 4.8% of its shares by January.


Fawry has appointed Hesham Bahaa (LinkedIn) as chief financial officer, effective 1 November, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. Bahaa previously served as Fawry’s finance director after nearly two decades of experience in financial management in major corporations including Mobily, Orange Egypt, and TE Data. He succeeds AbdelMeguid Afifi (LinkedIn) who has been with the company for more than a decade.



Last night’s talk shows were all about the first day of the economic conference. The Madbouly government’s high-profile gathering has the talking heads focused on economic reform and upping private sector participation. We have full coverage of the first day of the three-day event in today’s news well, above.

We’ll finally get our hands on the long-awaited state ownership policy: Today should kick off with a session focused on the state ownership policy. This is the last chance to discuss the state’s roadmap to restructure the economy in favor of the private sector. Tomorrow, the policy will be unveiled with the rest of the conference’s outcomes, Cabinet Spokesperson Nader Saad told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 4:06).

Tourism needs to be a priority sector, Banque Misr chief Mohamed Eletreby told Al Hayah Al Youm on the sidelines of the conference (watch, runtime: 7:53). “I believe that we can attract double the amount of tourists we are currently seeing. We are not lesser than Greece, which sees 35 mn tourists a year, or Turkey with 45 mn tourists,” he said. Around 13 mn tourists visited Egypt in 2019 and the government is hoping to attract 30 mn tourists a year.

More coverage: Investors Association Chairman Mohamed Khamis Shaaban praised the timing of the conference on Salet El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 2:28), which also held an interview on the day’s events with Senate member Abdel Moneim Saeed (watch, runtime: 11: 38). Lamees El Hadidy’s Kelma Akhira focused on comments yesterday from Center for Global Development President Masood Ahmed, who suggested national policy would determine how well Egypt rides out the global crisis (watch, runtime: 2:31 | 3:38).


Contact Financial eyes push into African markets, GCC

Contact Financial Holding wants to expand in Africa, GCC: Contact is looking to step into new markets next year including Uganda, countries in the Horn of Africa, and the GCC next year, Contact CEO Said Zater was quoted as saying by Al Borsa. Contact launched operations in Kenya last year, through an EGP 80 mn joint venture with Mansour Group’s Mantrac, which is the distributor of Caterpillar machinery in Egypt. The JV offers financial leasing for heavy and agricultural equipment, with plans to expand to consumer financing, according to Al Borsa.

Green financing products in the pipeline: Contact is looking to launch green financing to cover solar power plants and modern irrigation systems as soon as next month, Zater reportedly said.

MEANWHILE- KarmSolar secured an EGP 47 mn loan from QNB AlAhli to fund its solar power purchase agreement (PPA) battery storage system at Cairo 3A’s Giza poultry farm. (Statement, pdf)

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

  • Ibnsina Pharma signed an agreement to become the primary local distributor of global medical device company Omron Healthcare’s products. (Statement, pdf)
  • Air Cairo will begin operating regular domestic flights from Sphinx International Airport near the Giza pyramids from 1 November, the Civil Aviation Ministry’s media office told us.
  • The International Maritime Organization will open a regional office in Alexandria. (Statement)
  • The government is extending the rice export ban. (Statement)
  • The Musicians’ Syndicate has released new conditions for licensing mahraganat singers, including that they must perform with a twelve-member accompanying band of syndicate member musicians and ensure their lyrics are in line with “Egyptian values.” (Ahram Online)


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Debt relief? What debt relief? Policymakers, investors and campaigners have been left disappointed by a lack of progress by the G20 to agree debt relief measures for poorer nations, Reuters reports. Rich nations are yet to make headway on the G20 Common Framework proposed in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic two years ago as key creditors drag their heels. According to the World Bank, low-income nations face USD 35 bn in debt-service payments to creditors this year, with more than 40% of that debt due to China.

No debt relief, no green transition: Highly indebted poor nations will struggle to gather the financial resources necessary to decarbonize their economies, making meaningful debt relief all the more important, according to The Banker, which cites statements by former World Bank special envoy for climate change Rachel Kyte. “It is very difficult to talk about climate finance or financing a green transition if you are debt distressed,” she said, adding that 60% of low-income countries and 30% of emerging markets are in debt distress.

Are we a step closer to a regional green IPO? The Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) borrowed USD 1.5 bn from Emirates NBD Bank, in part to fund a special dividend payment ahead of a potential IPO, Bloomberg reports. Empower is looking to raise as much as USD 700 mn from the IPO as early as next week. We bring have more in this morning’s edition of Enterprise Climate.




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The EGX30 fell 0.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 976.9 mn (3.7% below the 90-day average). International investors were net sellers. The index is down 14.2% YTD.

In the green: GB Auto (+2.0%), Fawry (+1.7%) and Alexandria Containers and Cargo Handling (+1.6%).

In the red: Egypt Kuwait Holding-EGP (-3.7%), Telecom Egypt (-1.9%) and Cleopatra Hospitals (-1.8%).

Asian markets are mostly up in early trading this morning and futures suggest the major European indices will also open in the green, with a similarly upbeat picture shaping up for Wall Street when it opens a little later on.


Financial literacy in Egypt and the world is lagging: As financial markets become more advanced and developed — and with a wave of turbulence in global markets to boot — being financially savvy is gaining increasing importance. The concept of financial literacy is by no means a new one, but it appears to be slow on the uptake both here in Egypt and on a global scale, research shows. There are some attempts both within and beyond traditional educational institutions, but these remain limited in scope, our sources tell us.

First things first: Financial literacy is holding the necessary knowledge and skills to make big financial decisions, including managing your personal finances, budgeting, managing debt and tracking your spending. Think of it like this: Financial literacy is the core of your relationship with money, with it being a lifelong journey that is easier to walk through if you begin early. Being financially literate underpins achieving investment or saving-related goals, business management, or even setting up successful retirement plans.

Only 33% of the world’s population are financially literate, according to Standard & Poor’s 2014 Global Financial Literacy Survey (pdf), which surveyed over 150k people from 140 countries. The survey measures the concept of financial literacy using questions gauging the basic knowledge of four fundamental concepts related to financial decision-making, including their knowledge of interest rates, interest compounding, inflation and risk diversification.

In Egypt, the picture is only slightly worse: Around 27% of Egypt’s population is financially literate (some 30% of our male population and 25% of women in the country) qualify as financially literate, according to the survey.

Financial illiteracy is clearly common — but there are also significant geographic and demographic-based disparities: The report notes that women, individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and those with lower levels of education tend to suffer gaps in financial knowledge. This trend holds up within developing and developed economies alike, the report says. But individuals surveyed in major advanced economies had a stronger grasp on financial concepts than those in major emerging economies, the report notes.

Integrating FinLit in education as early on as possible is critical to improve these statistics, May University in Cairo (MUC) finance and investment assistant lecturer Ramy El Galy told Enterprise. El Galy suggests that weaving in some basic money knowledge at the preparatory and secondary stages of schooling would be most effective, since these are formative stages for students’ knowledge. “This would help students understand everything related to their finances and allow them to define their future course and best options in terms of studies and others in the future,” he said.

So far, we’re seeing some of that educational integration — but only at the university level. MUC business administration students study courses related to financial knowledge in their freshman year, such as accounting, finance and its fundamentals, including finance for institutions, individuals, and non-finance professionals. These courses provide them with theoretical financial knowledge and practical knowledge of its application in their personal lives. Students also take investment courses — including financial markets and institutions, as well as how to invest in the bourse — later on in their junior and senior years, once they’ve declared their majors, El Galy told us.

There are other institutions outside the formal education system that are working on pushing FinLit education: Several institutions currently offer financial literacy courses in Egypt, most notably the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI), the Central Bank of Egypt’s training. The EBI offers financial literacy under its Training for Employment (TFE) e-learning program. The program, offered in two versions for governmental and private universities, targets commerce, economics, and political science seniors, as well as fresh grads, according to the EBI’s website. The EBI’s website also offers access to FinLit e-learning, including educational videos for adults and children. In 2012, the EBI launched the “Shaping the Future” initiative, which received several awards for spreading awareness on financial literacy, enhancing the ability to manage finance, and the understanding and utilization of various financial services to achieve financial inclusion. Also jumping on the bandwagon: The National Council for Women, which joined forces with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to provide a financial literacy program under the Decent Work for Women initiative in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. The latest round of the program was held in August.

But even these options are limited: Only business administration students at MUC have access to these courses, he said. Other universities integrate financial literacy concepts in their finance management courses — but this is typically at the discretion of each professor. El Galy suggested it would be far more beneficial to expand them to the entire student body, regardless of their area of study, to ensure a wider reach. Meanwhile, the EBI’s training is specifically geared towards preparing and qualifying students for the job market, rather than for a general understanding of financial concepts in daily life, he said.

There are, however, some options for independent learning when it comes to FinLit: The ILO’s affiliated online learning platform offers an online training course in English, French, and Arabic that aims to unlock financial literacy for participants to manage their personal finances better. It uses examples of women and men in their daily lives, and interactive activities, exercises and assignments to ensure that the provided material is informative and entertaining. It includes four modules and 15 sessions, with the modules including determining financial goals, managing funds wisely, using services by financial institutions efficiently and managing risks and ins.

Your top education stories for the week:

  • Egypt Education Platform is acquiring a 51% stake in education platform Selah El Telmeez. The Sovereign Fund of Egypt is acquiring a 5% stake.
  • The Madbouly government aims to finish developing all technical education curricula by September 2024. The Higher Education Ministry has so far developed 86 out of a total 125 curricula.
  • Tutoring centers could go legit: Private tutoring centers will have to get licensed by the Education Ministry, Education Minister Reda Hegazy told MPs.
  • 5-star schools? Private schools will soon be classified using the star system, like hotels, Hegazy told the House. The rating will measure the quality of education and will affect the price points set by certain schools.
  • Swiss education lands in Gouna: Naguib and Samih Sawiris last week inaugurated the first building of the Uri-Schule El Gouna campus, the first Swiss school in MENA and Africa to be directly supervised by Swiss authorities.



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

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

23-25 ​​October (Sunday-Tuesday): Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Cairo.

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

26-28 October (Wednesday-Friday): Egypt celebrates 50 years of ties with the UAE.

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 Center (EIEC), 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.


First week of November: IMF delegation to visit Egypt for negotiations on loan agreement.

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): Middle East Green Initiative, 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.

11-12 November (Friday-Saturday): Saudi Green Initiative, Sharm El Sheikh.

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

21 November-18 December (Monday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

27 – 28 November (Thursday-Friday): The first edition of the Egypt Media Forum.


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.

30 January-1 February (Monday-Wednesday): CI Capital’s Annual MENA Investor Conference 2023, Cairo, Egypt.


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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