Thursday, 10 November 2022

AM — COP27: Egypt to get USD 15 bn in climate funding + EGX to set up carbon trading platform



Good morning, friends, and welcome to the final workday of the week — at least for those of you who are not in Sharm, where tomorrow is not the weekend, but instead decarbonization day. Have heart: COP27 takes a mandatory one-day break on Sunday.

It’s another big day of business news: We’ve now announced 28 GW of new renewable energy generation capacity, have lined up bns of other green investment, and finance day saw the EGX announce a new continental carbon market. We have all of this and more in this morning’s news well — and you can check out additional coverage in Enterprise Climate to get more of the regional flavor.


Day five of COP27 is Science Day, where sessions will be focusing on advances in climate science and the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, biodiversity, and global communities in a bid to ensure actionable steps are based on credible science. Youth & Future Generations Day will be happening at the same time, bringing high-level policymakers together with representatives of the Conference of Youth to present the “global youth statement.”

THIS WEEKEND- Friday is decarbonization day, and Saturday is adaptation and agriculture day.

MEANWHILE- World leaders in Sharm are continuing to press for the release of imprisoned rights activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who said on Sunday he would stop drinking water. US President Joe Biden is expected to bring up Abdel Fattah’s case when he arrives in Sharm tomorrow. The issue dominates the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press, as we note in this morning’s Egypt in the News. Also below: The nation’s talk show hosts are also covering the story as our ambassador to the UN pushes back on the subject and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry hit the airwaves last night.

AND- World leaders continue to talk behind the scenes about the shape of an agreement or communique at the end of the summit. Don’t expect to hear anything until the final day of the gathering.

PLAY WITH THIS- Climate Trace is a new interactive tool that zeroes in on the estimated emissions of the world’s top 70k-or-so polluters, including airports, plants and refineries in our part of the world.

IN MEMORIAM- GB Auto’s Raouf Ghabbour passed away yesterday at age 69 after a long battle with cancer.

Raouf was one of the good guys. A leading figure in our community, he became CEO in 1985 of a decades-old family business, growing it and taking it public in a landmark IPO. Raouf went on to transform the business a second time, taking it outside the nation’s borders and turning it into a pioneer of Egypt’s now-booming non-bank financial services industry. The business’ GB Capital unit has become a business that’s even more compelling than the core automotive unit.

He was smart, hilarious, and profane — and thoughtful, kind, and one hell of a strategist. Raouf was a guy who reveled in the intricacies of the distribution and retail industries, but who built a world-class assembly and manufacturing business and prided himself in creating meaningful jobs that made a lasting contribution to the nation’s economic development.

Raouf Ghabbour was a patriot in the best sense of the word. He thought critically about a country he loved and — in his own, colorful way — was never shy about making sure everyone knew where we were doing well, and where we could do better. We’ll miss you, Doc.


EGX WATCH- The EGX30 jumped 4.6% yesterday, a day after Fitch’s decision to cut Egypt’s credit outlook to negative sent the benchmark index down 1.5%. Yesterday’s trading session — the best since the central bank announced the EGP float last month — came on the same day as the Qatari sovereign wealth fund deposited another USD 1 bn at the Central Bank of Egypt while it continues to negotiate acquiring stakes in several Egyptian companies. We have more on this in this morning’s news well, below.

EGP WATCH- The EGP was stable against the greenback yesterday, closing at 24.4344 compared to 24.4153 on Tuesday, according to central bank figures.

US inflation figures for October are out today and traders will be hoping for a positive release that could keep the Federal Reserve from making its fifth-consecutive 75-bps interest rate hike next month. Despite the Fed embarking on its most aggressive tightening cycle in years, inflation has fallen back only slightly from 40-year highs in June. Analysts are forecasting prices to have cooled slightly y-o-y in October but still expect inflation to remain elevated, potentially meaning another huge rate hike in December, according to Bloomberg.


Five to seven agreements will be signed with companies to export renewable energy at the SCZone, Planning Minister Hala El Said told Bloomberg Asharq (watch, runtime: 1:36). The SCZone has long been expected to sign agreements with international companies to establish green hydrogen and ammonia plants at COP27. Initial agreements worth bns of USD have been signed 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.


Taqa Arabia IPO next year? Wait and see. An EGX debut for Qalaa Holding subsidiary Taqa Arabia next year will depend on market conditions, Chairman Ahmed Heikal told CNBC Arabia yesterday (watch, runtime: 7:00). “Market conditions are unstable. We have an agreement with shareholders to offer Taqa Arabia on the EGX next year, but this would depend on global and local conditions and other factors,” he said.


The Enterprise Climate X Forum, our first industry-specific conference, is taking place on Tuesday, 6 December. The Enterprise Climate X Forum will give insiders and newcomers alike the chance to talk about how to build a climate-centered business — and how to make sure your business continues to have access to the funds it needs to grow. Expect it to be heavy on lessons learned in Egypt and other global growth markets — and lots of success stories.

Stay tuned very soon when we reveal the venue. You’ll love it, we promise.

Some of the biggest names in business and finance are on board — are you? The Enterprise Climate X Forum is taking place with the generous support of our friends, including:

  • Banking partners: HSBC | Mashreq | Attijariwafa Bank
  • Telecom partner: Etisalat by e&
  • Event partners: Hassan Allam Utilities | Infinity

DO YOU WANT TO ATTEND? The first wave of invites is going out today. If you’re a C-suite exec, business owner, climate professional, DFI staff, investor or banker, please email us at to signal your interest, letting us know your name, title and where you work.


The big story in the business press: Crypto is melting down. Crypto continued to plunge for a second consecutive day after the world’s world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, abandoned plans to acquire FTX yesterday, saying that the firm’s issues were “beyond our control or ability to help”, CNN reported. Binance walking away from the deal has been brutal, pushing BTC down by nearly 13% to trade below USD 16k, its lowest in two years. ETH was down by nearly 13% to USD 1.1k. The collapse of the deal is leading on Bloomberg, CNBC and the Financial Times, and is getting prominent coverage on the Wall Street Journal.

The backstory: The latest volatility was triggered when Binance founder Changpeng Zhao helped to trigger a bank run against his rival, the head of the world’s third-largest crypto exchange, FTX. The outflows that followed has left the company on the verge of collapse, triggering fears of a new wave of bankruptcies in the crypto sector.

The final results of the US midterms aren’t yet in but it’s clear the vote didn’t go quite how Republicans had hoped: Predictions for a so-called “Red Wave” have failed to transpire, with the GOP looking like it will only take a marginal majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate race still too close to call. Republicans so far have 49 seats to the Democrats’ 48, with key contests in Arizona and Nevada still to be called. The Senate race in Georgia is so close it’s going to a run-off vote, potentially leaving the Senate race up in the air until next month. Get the latest on the results: AP | NYT | Washington Post.

Russia has suffered a major setback in its war in Ukraine after generals announced yesterday that they would pull its troops out of Kherson, saying they are unable to keep supply lines open. Kherson fell in the early days of the war and remains one of the only major cities captured by Russian forces. The retreat is getting ink from Bloomberg, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Guardian and others.


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.


We just lined up USD 15 bn in financing for NWFE projects

Egypt is getting USD 15 bn for energy, food + water projects under NWFE: Egypt has signed a number of partnerships with international finance institutions and development partners to implement projects worth USD 15 bn under its Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) program, the COP27 Presidency said in a statement yesterday. The program is the government’s flagship initiative for getting climate finance to some of our most important green projects.

The details: The sizable investments will fund the implementation of one main energy project worth USD 10 bn and eight food security, agriculture and irrigation and water projects, the statement said. They include scrapping 5 GW of gas-fired plants and replacing them with renewable energy, boosting small farmers’ adaptation against climate change, and raising crop yields and water efficiency. The projects aim to achieve the emissions targets in Egypt’s recently announced nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Where’s the money coming from? Officials from our friends at EBRD and HSBC were present at the signing ceremony, as were the good folks at African Development Bank, Citibank and Deutsche Bank, but the statement didn’t disclose the funding breakdown. Representatives of the multilateral lenders have in recent weeks announced their participation in the initiative, with the EBRD revealing it will provide USD 200-300 mn to the energy project and the AfDB saying it will give more than USD 1 bn to energy, food and water projects.


EGX announces Africa carbon market

The EGX yesterday announced it would set up Africa’s first voluntary carbon market on the sidelines of COP27. The market will allow companies in Egypt and Africa working on emissions-reducing projects to sell certified carbon credits, which can then be bought by other companies wanting to offset their emissions, the bourse said in a statement (pdf).

SOUND SMART- There are two primary types of carbon markets: compliance (which are created as part of a policy or regulatory requirement) and voluntary (where carbon credits are issued, bought, and sold on a voluntary basis).

The structure and regs are still pending: The EGX and Financial Regulatory Authority are still working on the framework, business model, and structure of the VCM. Among the key issues will be governance of certificate creation and registration. Look for an announcement later from Egypt’s prime minister, the statement says, without specifying a timeline.

What we still don’t know: The statement didn’t tell us whether participation in the VCM would be limited to specific industries and — if so — how eligibility would be determined. Also TBD is guidance on the pricing, size or time for first issuances and how the EGX sees marketing to buyers (local, regional or global) unfolding. The EGX was unable to reply to requests for comment by dispatch time.

We do know that newly-established Libra Carbon will supply the carbon offsets: A subsidiary of the EGX recently signed an agreement with the Agricultural Bank of Egypt and Enara Group’s Libra Capital to establish the Egyptian company Libra Carbon, which “will supply high-quality carbon offsets to the market,” head of project development Omar El Nemr told Enterprise Climate. As of now, the supply of carbon offsets being issued in the Egyptian market is relatively low, he said. “As Libra Carbon, we’ll work towards providing sufficient volume in the new market to kickstart trading operations.”

BACKGROUND- Voluntary carbon markets are gathering steam across the region. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) last month set up a regional voluntary carbon market company, which auctioned 1.4 mn tons of carbon credits at Davos in the Desert. Singapore is also said to be eyeing the purchase of carbon credits from Morocco, we noted.

ALSO YESTERDAY- US climate envoy John Kerry also announced a plan to unlock US capital for clean energy and other climate projects in emerging markets. Enterprise Climate has the rundown on that and more in this morning’s edition here.


Make that 28 GW…

Another wind farm courtesy of OC: Orascom Construction’s (OC) consortium with Engie and Toyota Tsusho has signed up to build a fresh 3-GW wind farm here, just days after breaking ground on their 500 MW wind project in Ras Ghareb, the EGX- and Nasdaq Dubai-listed contractor said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The consortium signed an MoU for the wind farm with Egyptian energy authorities on the sidelines of COP, with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly attending the signing ceremony.

This means Egypt has in less than two weeks lined up 28 GW of new renewable generation capacity — see our previous coverage here.

The details: OC is responsible for construction and will take an unspecified equity stake in the wind farm, which will be set up on a build, own, operate (BOO) basis, the statement said. We don’t yet know where this new farm could be built or what the timeline is for completion.

This would take the consortium’s wind portfolio in Egypt to almost 3.8 GW: The companies already operate a 262.5 MW wind farm in Ras Ghareb which went live in 2019, in addition to the in-progress 500-MW facility.

We’re going big on wind this COP: The project brings the total new wind-power generation capacity Egypt has locked in recent days to 28 GW. That’s nearly half of the country’s current installed capacity, which at the end of 2021 stood at 59.5 GW. It is also more than 8x greater than the country’s total renewable-energy generation capacity, which was 3.4 GW at the end of last year. The new projects include two separate 10-GW wind farms that are set to be two of the world’s largest: one from our friends at Infinity Power and Hassan Allam Utilities together with long-time partner Masdar; and the other from Saudi renewable energy developer ACWA Power.

What they said: “We have created through the success of our two other wind farms and this new project a wind energy investment platform in Egypt,” OC CEO Osama Bishai said. “We are proud to have set the stage for the development and the transformation of Egypt’s renewable energy sector.”


Egypt and the US will soon announce a mechanism for installing another 10 GW of renewable power generation capacity, Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad said yesterday, without providing further details on the project. The project will be announced under an Egypt-US cooperation framework, she said during a meeting with John Podesta, Biden’s chief clean energy advisor.

EU + Egypt working on green hydrogen cooperation: The EU and Egypt are currently working on setting up a “long-term partnership on renewable hydrogen” to support the decarbonization of the two sides’ energy systems by relying on renewable hydrogen (including green hydrogen), according to a joint statement (pdf). The partnership will see the two sides facilitating access to finance and investment along the green hydrogen value chain. It will also see them work on setting up policy and regulatory frameworks to support the nascent industry.

Al Nowais has green ammonia offtakers? Al Nowais subsidiary AMEA Power has reached an agreement to sell the green ammonia it will produce from the 500-MW Ain Sokhna facility it is establishing with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) and other government agencies, CEO Hussain Al Nowais reportedly told Al Mal.


The developing world takes center stage on COP27 Finance Day

The theme for Finance Day at COP27 was clear: The world needs to scale up climate financing to developing countries — and do it fast. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait was a persistent and passionate preacher on behalf of African and other emerging markets during many of yesterday’s sessions, calling for clear green financing frameworks that can take the debt burden off emerging markets’ shoulders, and for innovative financial tools to accelerate the progress of green projects.

Only 5% of global green finance goes to Africa, Maait said during one of the sessions — a miniscule figure for countries that are already carrying the burden of high debt in a high interest-rate and high inflation environment.

Climate change costs “tns, not bns”: Maait called on development finance institutions to step up with “more financing at a reasonable cost and on reasonable terms” to climate-exposed countries, in an interview with Bloomberg. A successful COP27 will drum up affordable financing for emerging markets, and will explore a ratings agency approved model that could tie sovereign debt to climate goals, he said. “The amounts required for implementation are huge,” Maait said. “Now, we are talking tns, not bns” of USD.

Egypt’s mitigation and adaptation policies will cost us some USD 250 bn, with USD 200 bn of that going to mitigation and USD 50 bn to adaptation, Maait said, without specifying the timeline for this target. We know that by 2050, the government aims to spend USD 211 bn on mitigation and USD 113 bn on adaptation, through key sectors like energy, transport, agriculture, and water.

The move from bns to tns was a key point of discussion yesterday: Everyone acknowledged that climate finance to emerging markets should be in the tns — not the bns — in the coming years, following a report yesterday that showed that developing countries will need USD 1 tn a year in external financing by the end of the decade to combat climate change.


Green bond issuances are important, but not feasible without guarantees: Maait pointed to the lack of guarantees offered by DFIs for green bonds as one of the key issues standing in the way of more green finance during one of the sessions. Some “95% of MDBs’ (multilateral development banks) flows are direct funding, and only 5% is directed towards guarantees,” he said, adding that this is “making our lives more difficult just because we’re African countries.” Hanan Morsy, economist and director of macroeconomic policy, forecasting, and research at the African Development Bank also pointed to the need for guarantees as well as credit enhancement for debtor countries to help them attract more green finance.

Carbon pricing is another crucial puzzle piece: A fixed carbon credit price is essential for the continent, a handful of speakers said, on the same day that the EGX announced it would set up Africa’s first carbon trading market (more on that in this morning’s Capital Markets section, above). IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva told Reuters on Monday that we need to put a minimum price tag of USD 75 a ton globally on carbon by the end of the decade for global climate goals to succeed.

Maait proposed a specialized green finance market: “Let’s work on creating a specialized market for green financing with all the tools — green bonds, green loans, green facilities — needed from MDBs to accelerate the transition,” he said. Diversifying green finance was a key talking point during yesterday’s sessions, with many officials calling for new tools to accelerate green finance to emerging markets — from debt swaps to debt-for-nature investments and blended finance programs.

We now have a debt coalition to help keep the conversation going: Maait yesterday launched the Sustainable Debt Coalition Initiative, a platform bringing together debtor and creditor countries, ratings agencies, DFIs, and MDBs in a bid to increase access to affordable green finance, reduce the cost of green debt and encourage fresh green investments among developing countries. The global coalition will work on “a set of new crucial commitments to alleviate the debt burden [on emerging markets], and launch consultations at the intersection of debt, climate, and development.”

A lot of the burden falls on MDBs: “We need MDBs to increase their capital, enhance and channel special drawing rights, and increase the level of risk-taking in their balance sheets,” Morsy said. Several speakers yesterday made the point that MDBs will need to stretch themselves to allow emerging markets to help meet global sustainable development goals.

But don’t underestimate the power of capital markets: “We rely on the sovereign wealth funds and the multilateral development institutions to support us, but given the scale needed, the only debt you will get is through capital markets,” Standard Chartered Middle East CEO Boutros Klink said. “This is the space that will provide green financing for the future.”


Qatar deposits USD 1 bn with the CBE as acquisition talks stretch out

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has deposited USD 1 bn with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) as it negotiates to acquire stakes in major companies owned by the government, Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Due diligence and negotiations are dragging on: The deposit comes as a stop-gap as the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) completes due diligence on the companies and finalizes agreements, which could still take some time, the people said. Officials from the two countries have been in talks for months over potential investments from the QIA and Qatari firms.

Qatar has now deposited USD 4 bn at the central bank this year: Official figures show that Doha earlier this year provided USD 3 bn to the CBE. The country has pledged to make USD 5 bn in central bank deposits and investments as part of a wider effort from our Gulf neighbors to prevent Egypt from sliding into an economic and financial crisis triggered by tightening financial conditions and the war in Ukraine.

Gulf money now accounts for almost all of Egypt’s foreign reserves, as Bloomberg economist Ziad Daoud pointed out yesterday. CBE figures show that Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have deposited USD 28 bn at the central bank, accounting for almost 85% of Egypt’s USD 33.4 bn FX stockpile.

Where could the Qataris invest? The Qatari wealth fund is reportedly lining up some USD 2.5 bn worth of investment in stake-held stakes in unlisted firms, including advanced talks to buy 20% of Vodafone Egypt from minority shareholder Telecom Egypt. The telecoms giant is in talks with three Arab sovereign funds to divest part of its stake in Vodafone Egypt and could come to an agreement with one of the funds by the end of the year, a source close to the matter previously confirmed to Enterprise. QIA has also been linked to a potential USD 1 bn green hydrogen and ammonia plant in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and an investment in Damietta Port.

Listed firms are also in the fund’s sights, with local media reporting its interest in EGX-listed firms from state-owned Alexandria Containers, Eastern Company, and e-Finance, to private e-payments giant Fawry.


Sipes abandons bid for Pachin, paving way for Emirati takeover

The way is clear for the UAE’s National Paints to acquire Paint and Chemical Industries (Pachin) after Universal Building Materials and Chemicals (Sipes) dropped its rival bid to take over the EGX-listed company. Pachin announced the development in a disclosure to the EGX (pdf) yesterday, leaving the Dubai-based company the only one left in the race for the state-owned paint company.

National Paints’ offer has blown its competitors out of the water: The Emirati company last week submitted an initial takeover bid that valued Pachin at almost EGP 700 mn. This is comfortably above the two rival bids from Sipes — which put Pachin at EGP 444 mn — and Saybad Industrial Investment, which withdrew its offer last month.

REMEMBER- The play for Pachin comes amid the government’s privatization push, which should see it reduce its involvement in or exit certain industries to make way for the private sector. Pachin is currently approximately 54% owned by state-owned companies and banks.

Advisors: Al Ahly Pharos is providing financial advice to Pachin while Adsero-Ragy Soliman & Partners is counsel.


Schneider Electric to supply electric power equipment for real estate developers

Schneider Electric + real estate players to sign EGP 1 bn in contracts: France’s Schneider Electric is expected to sign nine contracts worth more than EGP 1 bn with leading real estate developers to supply electric power equipment, Schneider MENA President Walid Sheta told Bloomberg Asharq in an interview (watch, runtime: 9:07). Sheta told the broadcaster that the companies would put pens to paper yesterday but we hadn’t heard anything by this morning.

Schneider is considering setting up a logistics center in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) within the next two years “to benefit from the zone’s strategic location in supplying equipment from one place to another globally,” Sheta said. The company’s total investments in Egypt were estimated at more than EUR 300 mn as of last year, he said.

ALSO- Turkish retailer Beko plans to break ground on its new Tenth of Ramadan factory on 7 December, cabinet said yesterday. The company has invested USD 100 mn in the facility, which is expected to come online during 4Q 2023, the statement said.


Consumer finance player Blnk sells EGP 202 mn in securitized bonds

BNPL lender Blnk has closed a EGP 202 mn securitized bond issuance, the first in a three-year, EGP 2 bn program, financial advisor CI Capital said in a statement (pdf) yesterday.

Advisors:The National Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire were co-underwriters. Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy acted as counsel, while Baker Tilly Wahid Abdel Ghaffar & Co served as auditors and the Egyptian Securitization Co. as issuers. Banque Misr acted as custodian.

2022 so far: This brings the total value of securitized bonds brought to market so far this year to almost EGP 43 bn, according to data tracked by Enterprise. That dwarfs the EGP 15.8 bn taken to market during the whole of 2021.



COP27 Finance Day + Alaa Abdel Fattah dominate the talk shows

Yesterday on COPTV…

Human rights got plenty of attention as talk show hosts continued to push back against criticism of our rights record by Western diplomats, journalists and NGOs. The back-and-forth unfolded as imprisoned activist Alaa Abdel Fattah ended his fourth day without water.

COP27 President and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 5:05) that the Abdel Fattah case is an “attempt to deflect attention” from COP27 and climate change in general.

Someone turned the dial on Ahmed Moussa up to 11: The firebrand talk show host accused UN human rights chief Volker Turk of “defending terrorists and criminals” and called the UK “the capital of terrorism” (watch, runtime: 4:44). Turk on Tuesday issued a public statement urging the government to release Abdel Fattah. Meanwhile, Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 5:50) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 5:00) had coverage of our UN ambassador, who yesterday replied to Turk in a public letter sent to Geneva.

Rep. Amr Darwish is still trying to drum up support after getting booted out of a press conference on Tuesday for shouting at Abdel Fattah’s sister, Sanaa Seif, while she was talking to journalists about her brother’s case. Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 2:12) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 5:11) had the story.

MEANWHILE- Al Hayah Al Youm had a full run-down on events on day four of the global climate summit, Finance Day (watch, runtime: 3:47), covering Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly’s statements on securing finance to fight climate change (watch, runtime: 2:23), the EGX’s announcement of a pan-African voluntary carbon market (watch, runtime: 0:30), and the joint statement from Egypt and the EU on establishing a new green hydrogen partnership (watch, runtime: 5:27). We have more on all of this in this morning’s news well, above.

A panel discussion by the World Youth Forum on how entrepreneurship can help achieve Egypt’s sustainable development goals got coverage from Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 0:57). Masaa DMC also has a clip of COP27 President and FM Sameh Shoukry enthusiastically talking to children about the importance of combating climate change (watch, runtime: 1:53).


  • Surging interest rates + rising inflation + decelerating economic growth + crunching living expenses for the public = a bad mix, our friend Qalaa Chairman Ahmed Heikal told Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime: 3:30)
  • Increased temperatures on the back of climate change could result in the spread of several diseases, Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar told Moussa (watch, runtime: 3:42)


Day four of jailed activist Alaa Abdel Fattah’s hunger- and water-strike continues to make human rights one of the big issues in Sharm El Sheikh: The leaders of France, Germany and the UK have all called on authorities to release Abdel Fattah this week and Politico reports that US President Joe Biden will bring up the issue when he arrives here tomorrow.

Abdel Fattah’s hunger strike is the singular issue in the conversation on Egypt (as opposed to climate change) in the international press. See: AFP | BBC | Washington Post | Foreign Policy | Deutsche Welle | The Hill | The Economist | Vice | Guardian

Also making headlines:

  • The cost of the green river: Egypt is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world but is planning to pump bns of liters of water into the desert to create a “green river” in the heart of the new administrative capital. (CNN)
  • A rare find: Non-COP news. Archaeologists discovered a hidden tunnel underneath a tomb near Alexandria that they say could lead to the long-lost tomb of Queen Cleopatra. (Newsweek)


YBG acquitted of corruption charges

A Cairo Criminal Court acquitted Mubarak-era finance minister Youssef Boutros Ghali of (frankly unjust) corruption charges in a retrial, according to the local press. This is the most recent acquittal in the case, dubbed the “license plates” case by the domestic press. Former prime minister Ahmed Nazif and interior minister Habib El Adly were both convicted in related cases; their convictions were later reversed in retrials.

Dr. Youssef is one of the good guys. It would be good to see him back home and able to contribute once again to public life.

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


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Three-figure oil = bad news for the global economy, says IEA chief: Oil prices moving back towards USD 100 a barrel will put more pressure on the global economy, the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, said yesterday, calling on OPEC+’s to rethink last month’s decision to cut supply. “This decision may put further upward pressure on inflation and weaken the global economy,” he said on the sidelines of COP27. Reuters and Bloomberg both talked to the IEA chief.


  • IPO Watch: UAE cooling systems firm Empower raised AED 2.7 bn (USD 724 mn) in its Dubai IPO, selling 2 bn shares priced at the top of its range. The company received some USD 34 bn of bids after doubling the offering due to high demand. (Bloomberg)
  • PIF backs private equity takeover of Vodafone’s towers business: A consortium including Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is set to purchase Vodafone’s EUR 14.8 bn towers business, trumping an offer by Spain’s Cellnex. (FT)
  • Saudi Arabia has tapped US-based investment bank Lazard to help it drum up funding for its USD 500 bn high-tech city Neom, with debt sales and a 2024 Riyadh IPO on the table. (Bloomberg)

GLOBAL HEADLINES worth knowing:

  • Bangladesh becomes the sixth country to agree to IMF bailout in 2022: Bangladesh has reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF for a USD 4.5 bn bailout. Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zambia have also inked facilities. (IMF)
  • Musk sells more Tesla shares: Elon Musk sold 19.5 mn shares worth nearly USD 4 bn in the EV maker, following his landmark USD 44 bn purchase of Twitter. The b’naire has now sold some USD 36 bn of Tesla stock in the past year. (Bloomberg)
  • Meta confirms huge layoffs: The social media company has fired 13% of its workforce — shedding some 11k jobs — following terrible 3Q earnings as it spends big on the metaverse. (Reuters)




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The EGX30 rose 4.6% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.24 bn (11.1% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is down 1.4% YTD.

In the green: Eastern Company (+15.7%), CIB (+11.4%) and Alexandria Containers and Cargo Handling (+4.7%).

In the red: QNB Alahli (-3.1%), Ezz Steel (-2.3%) and GB Auto (-1.9%).

It’s a sea of red in Asia this morning following yesterday’s sell-off on Wall Street. The Hang Seng is leading the declines (-2.0%) while the Kospi, the Nikkei and the Shanghai Composite are all lower. Stock futures for Europe and the US are mixed this morning.


El Sisi, Madbouly continue to make the rounds: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly held more meetings with international counterparts on the sidelines of COP:

  • El Sisi discussed the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Plant and Dam that Elsewedy Electric and Arab Contractors are building in Tanzania with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan. (Statement)
  • Madbouly was invited by Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawneh to head a bilateral Egyptian delegation to Amman in 1H 2023 (Statement);
  • Madbouly reaffirmed Egypt’s support for the Palestinian cause with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (Statement);
  • Madbouly thanked Vatican Prime Minister Cardinal Pietro Parolin for the hospital Pope Francis’ Human Fraternity Foundation is building in the new administrative capital (Statement).



6-18 November (Sunday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

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

10-13 November (Thursday-Sunday): Asian Tour — International Series Egypt, Madinaty, Egypt.

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

13 November (Sunday): Senate back in session.

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

20 November (Sunday): House back in session.

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.

1 December (Thursday): Contractors to break ground on Egypt-Saudi interconnection project.

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

5-8 December (Monday-Thursday): QS Reimagine Education Awards and Conference, multiple locations.

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

1 April (Saturday): Deadline for banks to establish sustainability unit.

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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