Wednesday, 2 November 2022

AM — Egypt could host the world’s second-largest wind farm



Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to another very brisk news day. We have a bit of everything this morning, from M&A to investments in energy, and the imminent release of some goods from customs.

Also today: It’s PMI and Fed day (as we note below) and the second-to-last business day before COP27 kicks off — there will be plenty for us to think about together over the next 48 hours before the news storm that is COP begins.

MORE OF THIS, PLEASE Mubadala Energy is going to set up a regional headquarters in Cairo, CEO Mansoor Al Hamed told Oil Minister Tarek El Molla. Mubadala Energy (formerly known as Mubadala Petroleum) also wants to invest in our renewables and LNG sectors, the Oil Ministry said.

In context: Mubadala’s move underscores the success of the Oil Ministry’s consistent, focused effort to transform Egypt into an energy hub for the Eastern Med. The Oil Ministry understands long-term planning horizons and has for years helped lead the charge to turn us into a significant exporter of LNG (ours and more from Israel). Together with the Electricity Ministry, officials are now aiming higher, positioning us as the region’s premier energy hub by adding electricity to the mix (we have excess generation capacity and links in place or coming to Europe, Jordan, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, among others) and getting into the burgeoning green hydrogen and green ammonia markets.

Other industries should follow suit. Our rents, abundance of talent and land, and geographic location make Egypt an ideal base for regional and multinational countries that want to export to (or otherwise do business in) any two of Southeastern Europe, the GCC and Africa. It’s almost like — if we thought about it and were focused — we could become a magnet for FDI and exports

EGP WATCH- The EGP edged slightly lower against the greenback yesterday, slipping another 0.2% to close the day at 24.2417, according to central bank figures. The currency has now fallen 22.6% since the central bank moved to what it called a “durably flexible” exchange rate last Thursday, and is down 53.6% since the initial devaluation in March.

PSA #1- The always-on-point Charlie Robertson is doing a talk on his new book, The Time Traveling Economist tomorrow (Thursday, 3 November) at 5pm CLT. The chat will “outline what has held Egypt back in the 20th century and why we should expect a boom time for the economy from about 2025-30 onwards,” Charlie says. The talk is being hosted by the Egyptian Private Equity Association’s Sara Badran and you can sign up here.

PSA #2- There is no rain in the Cairo forecast for today after the surprise showers yesterday in the capital city. Look for a high today of 26°C in Cairo and Alex (29°C in El Gouna) and an overnight lwow of around 14°C.


It’s PMI day: We’ll know how Egypt’s private sector fared in October tomorrow when S&P Global releases the latest purchasing managers’ index at 6:15 CLT. A 22-month contraction in private sector activity didn’t show signs of abating in September as high inflation continued to weigh on demand and output.

The Arab League summit wraps in Algeria: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is among the attendees at the regional summit, which will be the first since the start of the covid-19 pandemic two years ago. Attendance isn’t exactly strong this year, with a third of Arab leaders absent from the gathering for various reasons, while a diplomatic spat between the hosts and Morocco mean that the chances of any diplomatic breakthroughs are slim.

Yesterday: El Sisi discussed COP27 with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the summit, according to an Ittihadiya readout that was otherwise short on details.

Adipec 2022 continues in Abu Dhabi: Expect more headlines today from Oil Minister Tarek El Molla who is in the Emirati capital for the oil and gas expo. Highlights from day two of the conference:

  • Egypt plans to hold new international tenders for oil and gas exploration before the end of the year, El Molla told Al Arabiya (watch, runtime: 1:55). The tenders will cover exploration blocks in the Mediterranean, Western Desert and the Eastern Desert, he said. Egypt will also hold an international tender for minerals other than gold in the Eastern Desert before the end of the year, he revealed.
  • Egypt to export Libyan gas? Libya’s National Oil Corporation is considering building new gas pipelines to Damietta — home to one of Egypt’s two LNG facilities — and Greece, Chairman Farhat bin Qadara told CNBC Arabia.


Simplifying property registration in new cities: MPs could take a final vote today on amendments that will simplify the real estate registry and notarization process in new urban communities. Under the changes, owners of property and plots of land in new cities won’t be required to interact with the real estate registry and notarization offices and will only need to submit registration paperwork to the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA). The move is aimed at creating a more attractive environment for private investment in new cities, said Ibrahim El Heneidy, who chairs the House Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. MPs gave preliminary approval to the bill yesterday.

Local Development Minister Hesham Amna will be in the hot seat today, answering MPs’ questions on the growing rate of illegal construction, the proliferation of garbage in the streets, and what the government is doing to prepare for what meteorologists suggest could be heavy rainfall and floods this winter.


It’s Fed day: The US Federal Reserve is expected to announce its fourth consecutive 75-bps interest rate hike at the end of its two-day policy meeting later today. Recent data has shown that inflation continued apace in September despite the central bank raising rates by 300 bps over the past seven months, all but guaranteeing another hawkish move today. A 75-bps hike would raise the central bank’s target range to 3.75-4% — its highest level since early 2008.

How long will the Fed keep this up? Analysts are again warning about the possibility of a US recession, which will only get more severe the longer the Fed tries to fight inflation with aggressive rate hikes. The Financial Times has the story.

The Bank of England is expected to follow suit tomorrow in what Bloomberg says would be its largest rate-hike since 1989.

The BOE is the canary in the coalmine: The BOE yesterday became the first major central bank to begin unwinding its massive GBP 830 bn bond portfolio built up via quantitative easing since 2008. The central bank sold GBP 750 mn worth of bonds yesterday in an auction that was more than 3x oversubscribed, Bloomberg reported. “Tightening monetary policy through the interest-rate channel is tried and tested,” Paul Hollingsworth, chief European economist at BNP Paribas, told the news outlet. “With [quantitative tightening], central banks are entering uncharted waters — the risks of unintended consequences are clearly higher.”

REMEMBER- There’s no interest rate meeting here at home this week after the Central Bank of Egypt raised rates by 200 bps at an extraordinary meeting last Thursday.


COUNTDOWN TO COP (4 days to go)-

Compensation to emerging economies for climate loss and damage looks increasingly on track to be the #1 topic of discussion at COP27, Enterprise Climate reports this morning.

G20 nations are backsliding on climate pledges: Financing out of G20 countries for fossil fuels rose 16% in 2021 to USD 693 bn, delivering a setback to global climate pledges, according to a Bloomberg report. This is the highest amount of annual financing since 2014. Such financing “distorted prices, encouraged potentially wasteful use and production of fossil fuels, and resulted in investment into long-lived, emission-intensive equipment and infrastructure,” the report’s analysts said.

GFANZ wants G20 nations to do better with their climate ambitions: The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) has called on G20 policymakers to set more ambitious climate targets and to publish more detailed decarbonization strategies, according to Reuters. Current targets set by G20 countries are not enough to meet global climate goals.

Our friends at the UAE’s Mashreq Bank are now sponsors of COP27 after the bank signed an MoU with Egypt’s COP Presidency, according to a statement (pdf). Mashreq will take part in panel discussions on Finance Day (9 November) and Energy Day (15 November). It will also hold separate discussions with customers and partners on the ground to provide guidance and advice for those exploring sustainable financing, the statement adds. The bank has facilitated the provision of some USD 11.7 bn in sustainable finance across the GCC, Africa, Turkey and India in the past two years, according to the statement.

What they said: Group CEO Ahmed Abdelaal noted that beyond the clear need to “protect people and planet,” Mashreq sees “the transition to a low carbon and resilient economy as a real opportunity to double our commitment to sustainable finance and invest in sectors that will drive economic growth and create the jobs of tomorrow.”

Mashreq joins a roster of corporate backers of COP27 that includes our friends at: Al Mansour Automotive, Infinity Power, Orascom Construction, Hassan Allam Holding, SODIC, Google, and Coca-Cola, among others.


A familiar face is on the verge of winning power in Israel: Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on track to return to power according to exit polls from yesterday’s general election that gave his right-wing coalition a slender majority in the Knesset. Netanyahu, whose bid for the premiership comes despite him being on trial on corruption charges, looked on course to take 61 or 62 seats in the 120-seat legislature. It’s Israel’s fifth election in four years. (Associated Press | Reuters | Bloomberg | WSJ).

Musk’s shake-up at Twitter is getting attention in the business press: Twitter’s new CEO says the company will offer a USD 8 per month premium subscription service, allowing users to obtain the coveted “blue tick” verification, increase engagement with posts and reduce ads. (WSJ | FT)

Erdogan is trying to save the Ukraine grain pact: Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he was working to “to solve the problems with all parties” and save the landmark agreement that has enabled Ukraine to export mns of tones of grain, according to the Financial Times reported. Russia pulled out of the UN- and Turkey-brokered agreement last week following a drone attack on its Black Sea fleet in Crimea, which it blamed on Ukraine. Though ships are continuing to set sail through the Black Sea, global wheat prices have soared and traders say that grain deliveries to Ukraine’s ports are slowing.

Keep calm and carry on: Our wheat supply may be “temporarily affected” by Russia’s exit from the UN-brokered grain pact with Ukraine, but the country can “adjust,” Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy reportedly told Reuters yesterday. Global wheat supply is sufficient to cover the world’s needs, he added.

CLARIFICATION- We wrote in Monday’s edition of EnterpriseAM that importers, exporters and customs agents had until 1 November to register to join the Finance Ministry’s digital customs system Nafeza before they can no longer clear goods out of customs at seaports. In fact, yesterday was the deadline by which shippers were encouraged to have registered to receive an e-signature in order to process transactions through the Nafeza system, sources at the Finance Ministry told Enterprise.


Key news triggers coming up over the next week:

  • Foreign reserves figures for October will be released next week.
  • Inflation: Capmas and the central bank will release October’s inflation figures on Thursday, 10 November.

SPX to open for international flights next month: Sphinx International Airport will begin operating international flights to several European and Arab countries starting 1 December, state-owned Al Akhbar Al Yom reported yesterday. The airport is opening to domestic flights this month and yesterday received the first flight operated by Air Cairo from Sharm El Sheikh, Al Ahram reported.

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


*** It’s Hardhat day — your weekly briefing of all things infrastructure in Egypt: Enterprise’s industry vertical focuses each Wednesday on infrastructure, covering everything from energy, water, transportation, and urban development, as well as social infrastructure such as health and education.

In today’s issue: How our plans to build a new commercial maritime fleet are faring: Earlier this year, the government began working on boosting the country’s commercial maritime fleet to increase the number of vessels sailing under the country’s flag. Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir held meetings in September with the maritime transport sector and private shipping companies, and recently pitched Belgian companies on investing in Egypt’s commercial maritime fleet. Although the government is pushing forward with the plan, it could meet some headwinds from a projected fall in freight rates and higher costs of shipbuilding and shipyards development at ports, industry sources told Enterprise.


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.


ACWA unit looks to build world’s second-largest wind farm in Egypt

ACWA Power could build one of the world’s largest wind farms in Egypt: Saudi renewable energy developer ACWA Power will build a 10-GW wind farm in Egypt after signing an MoU with Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) yesterday, the Saudi Energy Ministry said in a statement yesterday. The MoU was signed during a meeting in Riyadh between Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker and Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

This would be one of the largest wind farms in the world: The ACWA plant would be the second-largest wind farm in the world after the Gansu project in China which has a planned capacity of 20 GW. For comparison, India’s largest wind farm ⁠— Jaisalmer ⁠— has a capacity of 1.6 GW while the 1.55 GW Alta Wind Energy Center in California is the biggest in the US. Currently, Egypt’s largest wind farm is the 545-MW facility in Zafarana.

What’s next: Egypt will provide land to conduct feasibility studies for the project ahead of the signing of final contracts, the statement said.

Two days, two wind farms: The news out of Saudi comes a day after Orascom Construction announced it had broken ground on the 500-MW Ras Ghareb wind farm it’s working on alongside Engie and Toyota Tsusho.

This isn’t the only large-scale wind project ACWA is looking at in Egypt: ACWA and Hassan Allam signed in June a 25-year power purchase agreement with the EETC to develop a 1.1 GW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez. The USD 1.5 bn project is expected to reach financial close by 4Q 2024 and begin commercial operations by the end of 2026.

Egypt has set itself an ambitious renewable energy target: Egypt is aiming to produce 42% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, a target announced during last year’s COP26 summit. This is five years earlier than its previous target.

ALSO FROM SHAKER’S VISIT- The ministers discussed progress over the USD 1.8 bn Egypt-Saudi electricity interconnection project, and cooperation in renewable energy and hydrogen. Work is underway to prepare a MoU between the two countries on the fields of electricity, renewable energy and clean hydrogen, according to the statement.


Suez Cement is investing USD 25 mn in the waste heat recovery facility at its Helwan plant, Al Mal reports. The plant will use excess heat from production lines to generate 20 MW of power, replacing 30% of the plant’s electricity needs.

Intro Power is pouring more into our renewables sector: Intro Group subsidiary Intro Power and Utilities’ renewables investments will reach USD 80 mn by the end of the year CEO Hani Helali reportedly told Al Mal. The company is currently in negotiations with three banks to secure a USD 12 mn loan to cover some of its investment costs, Helali is quoted as saying.


Qatar is eyeing a USD 1 bn green hydrogen and ammonia project

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund might want in on our green hydrogen ambitions: The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is considering investing in a green hydrogen and ammonia project in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, Al Borsa reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

What we know: More than USD 1 bn will be invested in the facility, which will produce green fuel for ships and for export, the newspaper reports. Qatar Energy and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt agreed on the project’s specs during President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Doha in September, Al Borsa quotes its sources as saying. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla joined El Sisi on the trip.

What we don’t: The report didn’t provide any information on how much fuel the facility will produce, when QIA could finish feasibility studies, or what the construction timeline might look like.

We’re expecting inflows from Qatar: Following Doha’s pledge to invest USD 5 bn in Egypt, the two sides have been in talks over potential investments from Qatari firms and the QIA, but nothing has yet been officially announced. The wealth fund could join other Gulf nations buying up Egypt’s ports with an investment in Damietta Port, and the two countries have held talks about joint investments in oil and gas and in local listed firms, while Qatar Energy has been deepening its presence in our oil and gas sector this year.

Egypt is positioning itself as a regional hub for green energy: The government is making moves to capitalize on investment momentum ahead of COP27 by establishing the SCZone as a regional green energy hub. International companies have signed USD 33 bn worth of preliminary agreements for green ammonia and hydrogen projects this year, the most recent of which was with Maersk for a huge USD 15 bn facility capable of producing 3 mn tons of fuel a year.

Expect more on this at COP: The government is expected to make a string of green hydrogen announcements — including the national hydrogen strategy — and sign final agreement with a number of companies at COP27.


Camel Flour Mills acquires majority stake in Five Star Mills

Camel Flour acquires struggling flour producer: Al Moatabar Group’s Camel Flour Mills (CFM) has acquired a majority stake in the distressed high-end flour producer Five Stars, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday.

Five Stars has fallen on hard times: Described by CFM as formerly “one of the most successful milling operators in Egypt,” the company has faced financial difficulties in particular due to significant FX exposure.

CFM did not disclose the size and value of the transaction, but said the acquisition involved agreement on significant debt restructuring and settlement with major banks. The statement described the acquisition as one that offered “a successful closure and all-party-win for all the stakeholders.”

Reaping the benefits: The acquisition will increase CFM’s combined milling platform to a total capacity of more than 4.5k mt/day. Five Stars has an integrated facility in Suez and automated port-integrated grain loading and unloading facilities. The facility’s location is a primary hub for receiving and handling high quality Australian wheat and is an export hub to Africa.

Advisors: The transaction’s advisory team included Zulficar & Partners, EFG-Hermes, Ripples Impact, Moore Egypt and others.


EFG Hermes’ BNPL platform valU has invested in MENA e-commerce platform Hoods in a bid to tap into the fast-growing virtual shopping space, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The company did not say how much it invested in Hoods or disclose whether it has acquired shares in the firm.

valU has had a busy 2022: The consumer finance player acquired fintech Kiwe last month and digital HR and in August bought payroll platform Paynas. It also entered the Saudi market with the purchase of a minority stake in local fintech player Fas Finance.


Impact investor Catalyst Partners’ Catalyst Capital Egypt Fund wants to deploy EGP 100-120 mn this month, split between a pharma firm and an industrial development company, according to Al Mal.


Some imports will be released immediately from ports

A small sigh of relief: The Trade and Industry Ministry will allow the immediate release of some goods imported for private use in a bid to reduce the clutter at ports, according to a ministry letter sent to the Customs Authority seen by Enterprise.

The date matters: The ministry will exempt goods imported for private use before 26 October from import regulations, allowing them to be released from ports.

But it doesn’t matter who you are: Custom Authority sources told Enterprise that the decision will apply to individuals, companies and factories — provided that the imports are for private use.

No need for a L/C or a Form 4: They added that per the new decision the shipments would be immediately released without the need for L/Cs or a Form 4 customs document. They will only have to submit the authorization for release and proof of payment.

Form 4? Form 4 is an important customs document importers submit to banks to release their goods. The paper represents a pledge to pay, allowing the bank to provide either a letter of credit (L/C) or to finalize the process of documentary collection.

REMEMBER- Import restrictions are expected to be a thing of the past before the year is out: The Central Bank of Egypt announced last week that it would gradually phase out import restrictions introduced in February to prevent a shortage of FX from intensifying. The central bank made it mandatory for importers to use letters of credit to pay for imports, a requirement which made it almost impossible for businesses to get goods into the country, causing shortages of industrial and consumer goods and disrupting production in a range of industries.


House approves EGP 300 bonus for public sector workers, pensioners

House gives final sign-off on public-sector, pensioner bonuses: The House of Representatives approved disbursing a EGP 300 bonus to public-sector employees and pensioners this month to help mitigate the impact of the EGP float.

What they said: The payment will help vulnerable and low-income people bear the high cost of living triggered by the drop in the EGP’s purchasing power, said Adel Abdel Fadil, chair of the House Manpower Committee. “This is an exceptional EGP 300 bonus which will help mns of citizens absorb the shock of the current difficult economic crises gripping Egypt and the entire region,” he said. Some 4.6 mn state employees and 10.5 mn pensioners stand to benefit from the bonus.

The amendment is part of a broader package of measures announced by the government last week to protect low-income households from effects of the currency devaluation, which is expected to drive up inflation and worsen poverty rates. Among the measures are a EGP 300 increase in the public-sector minimum wage and an extension to the freeze on household electricity bills.

What’s next: The bill will be published in the Official Gazette and go into force on 1 November.


Tax breaks for FX: The House yesterday received a new government-drafted bill granting income tax breaks to investors who use FX to finance at least half of the cost of their projects, less than two weeks after ministers approved the plans. Under proposed amendments to the 2017 Investment Act, companies would receive a tax cut of up to 55% on income generated by projects funded by FX, a move designed to attract more hard currency into the country and shore up its external position.

What we know:

  • At least 50% of the project’s cost must be funded by FX;
  • The project should be in operation within six years of the law coming into force;
  • Cabinet will determine which industries will benefit from the incentives;
  • Companies will be receive the tax deduction for up to 10 years;
  • The rebate would be paid to companies within 45 days of the tax return submission deadline.



EGX’s Emirati roadshow is a wrap + EFG Hermes tops EGX brokerage table in October

EGX boss Rami El Dokany has wrapped up the UAE leg of the bourse roadshow, the EGX said in a statement (pdf). El Dokany met with representatives from 16 regional and international financial institutions, including the Arab Monetary Fund’s Abdulrahman Al Hamidy and the Dubai International Financial Center’s Arif Amiri.

The roadshow saw the EGX boss promote listed companies and work to restore confidence among investors in the market. El Dokany said the recent loan agreement reached with the IMF would partially improve the market, according to the statement, adding that central bank moves to ease the imports crisis would help stabilize the economy. He also showcased plans to give the market a competitive edge by introducing new products like derivatives trading and Sharia-compliant indices.

Investors took the opportunity to urge El Dokany to speed up state IPOs in order to revive the EGX and boost liquidity in the market. They also suggested looking into mechanisms to allow dual listing with Arab exchanges to help boost liquidity, and training investor relations officials to allow for smoother communication channels with foreign financial institutions, the statement read.


EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table once again in October with a market share of 19.0%, according to figures from the EGX (pdf). Rounding out the top five were Beltone (10.1%), CI Capital (7.3%), Mubasher (3.9%) and Pioneers (3.6%).


Mahmoud Mohieldin has been unanimously re-elected as an executive director at the IMF by Arab states, according to the Fund’s website.



It was a mixed bag on the talk shows yesterday, with the aftermath of Thursday’s EGP float, preparation for next week’s COP27 summit, and the Arab League summit in Algeria all getting lots of attention.

COP prep: Yesterday’s visit by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly to Sharm El Sheikh to inspect the final preparations for the COP27 summit was picked up by Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 6:03), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 3:25) and others. In an interview on Kelma Akhira, Health Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar assured that Egyptian emergency services are ready to respond to medical emergencies during the summit (watch, runtime: 2:19).

After the float: The EGP float has sent steel prices soaring by EGP 1.9k-EGP 2k per ton to an average selling price of EGP 19.5k per tonne, Ahmed El Zeiny, head of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce’s Building Materials Division, told Salet El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 7:40). Meanwhile, Lamees had her daily wrap-up on what happened with the EGP last day, noting that even though its decline against the greenback has slowed this could change in the days ahead (watch, runtime: 1:13).

In Algiers: President El Sisi’s schedule during the Arab Summit in Algeria got coverage, with Ittihadiya spokesperson Bassam Rady phoning in to Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 9:51) to provide updates on El Sisi’s meeting with UN Chief António Guterres on COP27 preparations in Sharm and developments in the region, including the crisis in Libya. El Sisi’s schedule is also getting a mention from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 5:09). A no-show by nearly a third of Arab leaders for different reasons was noted by Kelma Akhira’s El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 5:29).

Also getting attention:

  • Public-sector bonuses: Yesterday’s House vote approving the disbursement of EGP 300 bonuses to public-sector employees and pensioners this month received attention from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 2:30).
  • 11/11: Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa was ecstatic about a counter-hashtag on Twitter against 11/11 protests, excitedly telling viewers that it was top-trending in Egypt (watch, runtime: 1:02). Unfortunately, no-one thought to tell him about the hashtags that were trending just a few hours earlier.


Human rights is still leading headlines in the foreign press: The family of imprisoned political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah said yesterday that he has begun a full hunger strike, days before the start of COP27. Abdel Fattah has been on a partial hunger strike for more than six months but will now escalate his protest while the world’s attention is on Egypt for the global climate summit. The news is getting wide coverage from the Associated Press, CBS News, BBC, and the UK’s PA News Agency.

Also getting ink: AFP and Reuters are covering calls on social media for protests later this month.


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OPEC wants more than USD 12 tn in oil investment: OPEC has called for USD 12.1 tn to be invested in the global oil sector over the next 23 years ⁠— equal to around USD 500 bn every year ⁠— to meet demand. “Chronic underinvestment into the global oil industry in recent years, due to industry downturns, the covid-19 pandemic, as well as policies centered on ending financing in fossil fuel projects, is a major cause of concern,” OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais wrote in OPEC’s 2022 World Oil Outlook this week.

Why the need for so much investment? The cartel expects global oil demand to rise by 13% to 109.5 mn barrels a day by 2035. Other analysts have forecast demand to peak before the end of the decade because of growth of renewable energy and electric cars.

OPEC isn’t totally on board with the green transition: “The prevailing view that the energy transition is a linear trajectory from oil and other fossil fuels to renewables was misleading and potentially dangerous to a world that will continue to be thirsty for all energy sources,” Al Ghais wrote.

Aramco + BP hit the jackpot: Saudi Aramco and BP both reported huge profits for 3Q 2022 on the back of high energy prices. Aramco reported (pdf) a net income of USD 42.4 bn — its second-biggest quarterly profits since its 2019 IPO — while BP’s profits more than doubled (pdf) to hit USD 8.2 bn.

Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corp (Empower) responded to high demand for its IPO by increasing the number of shares on offer by 50%. The company will now sell 1.5 bn shares (equal to a 15% stake) to raise as much as AED 2 bn (USD 543 mn), according to Bloomberg.

Up EGX30 11,433 +0.5% (YTD: -4.3%)
Up USD (CBE) Buy 24.11 Sell 24.24
Up USD at CIB Buy 24.03 Sell 24.13
None Interest rates CBE 13.25% deposit 14.25% lending
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None ADX 10,416 0.0% (YTD: +22.7%)
Down DFM 3,327 -0.1% (YTD: +4.1%)
Down S&P 500 3,856 -0.4% (YTD: -19.1%)
Up FTSE 100 7,186 +1.3% (YTD: -2.7%)
Up Euro Stoxx 50 3,651 +0.9% (YTD: -15.1%)
Up Brent crude USD 94.65 +2.0%
Down Natural gas (Nymex) USD 5.71 -10.1%
Up Gold USD 1,649.70 +0.6%
Up BTC USD 20,472 +0.4% (YTD: -55.7%)


The EGX30 rose 0.5% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.53 bn (30.8% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 4.3% YTD.

In the green: Cleopatra Hospitals (+7.7%), Madinet Nasr Housing and Development (+4.7%) and Credit Agricole Egypt (+3.0%).

In the red: Juhayna (-4.7%), Eastern Company (-2.5%) and Palm Hills Development (-1.0%).


How our plans to build a new commercial maritime fleet are faring: Earlier this year, the government began working on boosting the country’s commercial maritime fleet to increase the number of vessels sailing under the country’s flag. Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir held meetings in September with the maritime transport sector and private shipping companies, and recently pitched Belgian companies on investing in Egypt’s commercial maritime fleet. Although the government is pushing forward with the plan, it could meet some headwinds from a projected fall in freight rates and higher costs of shipbuilding and shipyards development at ports, industry sources told Enterprise.

The ambitious plan comes at a time when the world is hit by supply chain snags and higher shipping costs (including at the Suez Canal), making it all the more necessary to have dry bulk carriers (mostly used to transport wheat and commodities) and other commercial ships at our disposal here at home to help lower import costs and alleviate pressure on the EGP. This is particularly important after the Central Bank of Egypt moved last week to a new “durably flexible” foreign exchange rate regime, leading the EGP to lose c.23% of its value since Thursday — and more than 53% since the CBE’s first devaluation this year in March.

Where our fleet currently stands: There were around 118 vessels in our commercial fleet by the end of 2021, according to government data shared with Enterprise. However, our sources say that the fleet does not exceed 13 medium-sized vessels. Vessel traffic at Egyptian ports — distributed across our 3k km coastlines — rose 2% y-o-y in 2021 to 11.59k vessels.

Global shipment rates are on the decline as fleet capacities grow: Drewry Shipping Consultants forecasts a 9% growth in global fleet for vessels in the upcoming period until 2024, although growth in container volume would only account for just 2 percentage points. A report by The Kiel Institute for World Economy showed a significant m-o-m decline in freight rates for container ships in October.

A well-established commercial fleet would help in the marketing of goods and open up new markets, Egytrans Chairperson Abir Leheta told Enterprise. It would allow diversity in goods offered in quantity and quality, while taking into consideration the impact of the economies of scale in shipping in large quantities, she said. Large shipped quantities and lower shipping rates would lead to a decline in aggregate costs for goods, and therefore a decline in prices, she said.

…And it could be a major asset for the economy: “Establishing a commercial fleet is a tremendous economic tool and a main pillar of the national economy,” Leheta said, describing it as a “manifestation of national political and economic sovereignty.” It is also essential during times of wars and crises to meet the state’s needs of strategic items, she added. (We learned that lesson with the suspension of wheat cargo shipments out of Ukraine during the first several months of its war with Russia.) Beyond that, having a strong commercial maritime fleet creates jobs for the sector, since it requires workers on ships and at ports, in addition to laborers focused on ship maintenance and other activities related to the fleet.

But this plan is not without its challenges: Companies that own Egyptian vessels have exited the market for several reasons, including a reliance on family business and hurdles in keeping pace with the third generation. Among the key challenges our sources cited:

  • Legislative barriers related to the maritime law, which stipulates that companies obtain necessary approvals by the transport minister before the purchase or sale of ships;
  • On the other hand, a lack of legislation requiring Egyptian carriers — as opposed to foreign shipping agencies — to ship commodities for the public sector;
  • Prohibitively high costs to build and own ships, which are nearly the same as the cost of investing in container terminals;
  • Higher docking fees for local ships, making them almost on par with those set for foreign ships;
  • A more expensive used ships market and input materials;
  • Tax and finance burdens for companies. For example, ships sailing under the Egyptian flag bear payable taxes 75% higher than taxes paid by counterparts sailing under other countries’ flags;
  • Weak ship maintenance, fueling and catering services;
  • A fall in the volume of transferred cargo through the government’s e-catalogue for Egyptian products, Gosoor, due to increased competition with other shipping lanes.

Still, there’s plenty of work underway: The Transport Ministry is currently undergoing an overhaul of shipyards to have the necessary capacity to receive more vessels under efforts to boost the country’s commercial fleet, industry sources told Enterprise. This is crucial as the country will soon have a new terminal at the Alexandria Port and is developing berths in the Damietta and Sokhna ports, in the biggest infrastructure boost to the sector. This infrastructure overhaul has more than doubled carrying capacity for containers and cargo to reach 22 mn containers annually from 10 mn last year, according to our sources.

It’s not a cheap undertaking: An increase in shipbuilding costs is close to the cost of establishing container terminals, Mahoney Chairman Ahmed El Akkad said. The cost of building five new dry-bulk ships could cost nearly USD 500 mn, a similar cost to the second container at Damietta port, he said.

We’re hungry for funding: Negotiations are underway with the Export-Import Bank of Korea to boost the fleet, including financing the procurement of Korean vessels, the sources said. The talks have not yet been concluded due to the hefty price tag on ships, which the Korean side conditioned for the funding.

The private sector’s role — and, therefore, incentives — is key: Sources told us that there are ongoing partnerships with shipping lines to enter public-private sector partnerships, including Alexandria’s Tahya Misr terminal, which will be operated through the CMA-CGM line to join a European consortium that includes Germany’s Eurogate and global operator Hapag–Lloyd. A second container terminal was agreed with Hapag–Lloyd in Damietta port. But to truly set up a proper commercial fleet, the government needs to introduce legislative amendments, as well as tax and finance incentives, maritime industry player Mohamed Dawoud told Enterprise. These incentives could include alternative financing options that would help alleviate the cost-intensive burden of investing in the sector, he suggested.

Your top infrastructure stories for the week:

  • EGAS signed a letter of intent with Shell, Pyramid Navigation, and Eagle Gas, exploring LNG bunkering services in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
  • The Egypt Energy conference brought together policymakers and business leaders to dive deep into power generation, clean energy, PPP and FDI.
  • The House of Representatives approved amendments to the river transport bill designed to attract more investment into the country’s inland waterways.
  • Telecom Egypt inaugurated its Red2Med submarine cable — “the shortest, fastest and most secure way to transfer data between the east and west.”
  • The National Authority for Tunnels, El Didi Group and Gama Construction inked an MoU to establish an electric train project in public-private sector partnership.



1 November (Tuesday): Deadline for importers, exporters and customs brokers to join Nafeza.

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

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

3-5 November (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Fashion Week.

4-6 November (Friday-Sunday): Autotech auto exhibition, Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

5-8 November (Sunday-Tuesday): Techne Summit for Investment and Entrepreneurship, Alexandria, Egypt

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.

13 November (Sunday): Senate back in session.

15-16 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): G20 summit, Bali, Indonesia.

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

22 November- 23 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Fingerprint Summit will be held at the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel.

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

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


1 December (Thursday): Sphinx International Airport will begin operating international flights.

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

10-12 December (Saturday-Monday): The 2nd edition of the Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry kicks off.

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): 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.

End of November: SFE’s pre-IPO fund to kick off roadshow.

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.

1Q2023: Internal trade database to launch.

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