Thursday, 1 December 2022

AM — A step forward for the state ownership policy



Good morning, wonderful people. It’s another packed news day as we start the final month of the year — and much of the news relates to our favorite subject: FDI and exports.

On the FDI front: The Madbouly cabinet had a full agenda at its weekly meeting yesterday, approving its long-awaited state ownership policy document. Whether they want to invest alongside the government or not, foreign investors will be looking at that document for signs of how welcoming we plan to be to private capital (foreign and domestic alike). And for some, it will provide a roadmap to potential opportunities — the onus will then be on the state to package and market investments in terms that resonate with the private sector (again, foreign and domestic).

On the exports front: We’re watching with interest after 29 global firms including Amazon, Majid Al Futtaim, PepsiCo, and more have reportedly inked agreements to ramp up their presence in our fast-growing outsourcing market. The state thinks the fresh investment will create another USD 1 bn a year in revenues from the export of services by 2025 — and create tens of thousands of new jobs.

^^ We have more on both of these stories below in this morning’s news well.

AND- Our CEO Poll on FDI and exports continues this morning with our friend Todd Wilcox, CEO of HSBC Egypt.

PSA- Look for the beautiful late-fall weather to continue through the weekend in Cairo (a high of 24°C during the day), Alex (23°C) and Gouna (26°C). Expect largely sunny skies with the occasional cloud in all three cities.


The international business press is parsing hints from Federal Reserve head Jerome Powell that the era of jumbo rate hikes has come to a close. The US Federal Reserve could start to slow its tightening cycle as soon as its next meeting on 13-14 December, Powell said in a speech yesterday, Bloomberg reports. “The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting,” Powell said. The Fed has made a series of 75-basis-point rate hikes since June in a bid to curb high inflation. Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard has already signaled that the Fed will likely go for a smaller 50 bps hike during its next 13-14 December meeting

We’re not out of the woods on inflation yet: “We have not seen clear progress on slowing inflation,” Powell said. “It will take substantially more evidence to give comfort that inflation is actually declining.” Recent indicators have led some economists to suggest that global inflation appears to have peaked and could begin to decelerate. The Financial Times, AP, and Reuters have more.

The Dow exited bear territory yesterday, rallying on the back of Powell’s remarks. The S&P and Nasdaq are still dancing with bears.

MAKING TONS OF HEADLINES- Dethroned crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried says he “never tried to commit fraud” at FTX, but admitted the made “a lot of mistakes” that he “would give anything to be able to do over again” as his empire collapsed, revealing horribly disorganized books and suggestions that company funds may have been used for personal gain. SBF, as he was lauded at the height of his influence, was speaking publicly for the first time at the New York Times’ DealBook conference. You can catch snippets and the full rundown at the NYT here. The story is all over the front pages of the global business press: Reuters | Bloomberg | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times.

That makes THIS MORNING’S MUST READ: Doesn’t anyone do due diligence any more? by Brooke Masters in the Financial Times.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Will Russian ammonia exports resume soon? An agreement on restarting Russian ammonia exports through Ukraine is “quite close”, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told a Reuters event yesterday. "I think we're quite close, we're edging towards it this week,” he said. Restarting Russia’s fertilizer exports is “almost more important than grain” to food security, Griffiths said.


The window is closing to pro-qualify for the Sisi administration’s big desalination program: Developers interested in bidding for a piece of the state’s multi-bn USD water desalination program need to finish handing in pre-qualification files today. Applications opened last Thursday for the program, which will see the state offer 19 desalination projects to investors with a combined capacity of 3.3 mn cubic meters per day. More than 70 companies have reportedly purchased the tender booklets for the projects.

Business expo BizNex kicks off today at Mamsha Ahl Misr. The event will run through this Saturday, 3 December.


Competition Act up for a vote in the House: The House of Representatives is set to discuss and vote on draft amendments to the 2005 Competition Act when it reconvenes on Sunday. The House Economic Affairs Committee earlier this week held two closed-door meetings on the amendments, which were attended by Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) head Mahmoud Momtaz and Financial Regulatory Authority chief Mohamed Farid.

WHY IT MATTERS– Amendments to the existing law, which have been up in the air since last year, would among other things give the ECA more power to regulate M&A. The House discussed the amendments extensively with members of the business and legal communities during the last legislative session, but failed to reach common ground on a handful of contentious articles.

ALSO- Industry Minister Ahmed Samir will be in the hot seat on Tuesday to answer more than 100 questions from MPs on hurdles faced by manufacturers, including on licensing and exports. He will also face questions on the struggling automotive industry and record hikes in car prices.


It’s day 12 of the World Cup: Teams in Group E and F face off today (all times CLT):

  • Croatia v Belgium (5pm)
  • Canada v Morocco (5pm)
  • Japan v Spain (9pm)
  • Costa Rica v Germany (9pm)

Kudos — and commiserations — to Tunisia, which upset France 1-0 victory, yet bid the tournament farewell after Australia secured its spot in the knockout stage, beating Denmark 1-0. Meanwhile, Mexico defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1, but missed a chance to qualify to the last 16 for the first time since 1978 on goal difference, after Poland lost 2-0 to group lead Argentina.

Half the teams are now set for the knockout clashes:

  • England v Senegal
  • Netherlands v USA
  • France v Poland
  • Argentina v Australia


French luxury fashion house Dior is hosting its men’s pre-fall collection show against the backdrop of the Giza Pyramids on Saturday. The show will mark the first time Dior brings its traveling men’s pre-fall collection shows to Egypt.

The House Manpower Committee will continue hearings on the new draft Labor Act next Wednesday, 7 December. The session will see representatives from the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) and the Egyptian Trade Union Federation in attendance. The bill, which was approved by the Senate in February, extends both maternity leave and notice periods, caps working hours, and changes minimum raise increments, among other things. We have more on the bill’s finer points here.

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


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HSBC Egypt’s Todd Wilcox on why we should invest in EV manufacturing

We recently had breakfast with 20 top CEOs to talk about why exports and FDI are key to our economy going forward. After reading our five-step recipe for turning Egypt into a global export hub and FDI magnet, participating CEOs agreed to answer two questions on the record for our latest CEO Poll.

We have already heard from:

TODAY- Todd Wilcox (LinkedIn) is CEO and deputy chair at HSBC Egypt, the leading multinational bank in Egypt. The bank serves clients ranging from big multinational corporations and major Egyptian corporates through to SMEs and women-led businesses. We spoke with Todd earlier this year in our Coffee With… series. Excerpts from our discussion about FDI and exports:

ENTERPRISE- Which industry would you put on a focused short list for exports and FDI — and why?

TW- We need to grow manufacturing, and it's got to be value-added manufacturing. For example, what I like about the automotive industry here is that you've got an existing assembly industry to build on. The industry itself is also changing dramatically, and Egypt could be well-positioned to take advantage of some of the shifts we’re seeing. People are moving away from combustion engines, and it's not just cars. It's buses, construction equipment, the transport vehicles used at ports — everything is starting to shift in that direction.

The country dominating that space is China, so if you start partnering with some of those EV specialists there, you could start to bring some of that capacity here. Egypt is in a great location, and you can also produce and manufacture using green energy here, so your whole supply chain becomes more sustainable.

Everybody’s having to look for new production lines and pick the component of that technology or EV that they want to focus on. But that takes time to build, and you have to go out and find the projects and the investors. You have to go and find the FDI. But we've already got a small automotive industry here, so we just need to accelerate that, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel at this stage.

ENTERPRISE- What do you think is the biggest takeaway from our five-point strategy for boosting exports and FDI? What would you add to it?

TW- I too would focus on mid-market industries, like they did in Vietnam. The reason I use Vietnam as an example is because they really focused on automotive and electronics, and not just assembly. They’ve got Foxconn and Samsung, and this was not just about low-cost labor, but the knowledge and technical skills. You need both of those to work, because you’re manufacturing, but you're also adding value.

ENTERPRISE- If you had to give one policy recommendation to move this forward, what would it be?

TW- It would be any policy that would improve the ease of doing business. One thing you could do to start reducing bureaucracy is utilizing digital signature technology, because it cuts it off at the core. It’s what most people complain about, so it’s the most fundamental building block. That would then start to encourage and attract what I call the knowledge-based industries.


Todd is also joining us for the Enterprise Climate X Forum, taking place at the Grand Egyptian Museum this coming Tuesday. Are you? We’re delighted that Todd will be taking part in a discussion of how banks and corporates are tackling financing for the most compelling industry of our generation. Joining him on stage will be our friends Tarek El Nahas, group head of international banking at Mashreq, and Nader Abushadi, group treasurer at Dar Group.

They’re not the only ones: Among the top execs, bankers, and development finance folks speaking at the conference are: Amr Allam, co-CEO of Hassan Allam Holding; Mohamed Ismail Mansour, co-founder and CEO of Infinity; Sherif El Kholy, partner and head of MENA at Actis; Khalid Hamza, director and head of Egypt at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Simon Kitchen, head of strategy at EFG Hermes Research; Karim Hussein, managing partner at Algebra Ventures; Aly El Tayeb, CEO and co-founder of ShiftEV; Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe; Khaled Naguib, CEO of H2Egypt, and Leslie Reed, Mission director for Egypt, USAID.

Topics and live interviews will include:

  • What are green hydrogen and NWFE? Why do they matter to businesses, banks and investors?
  • How are CEOs across global emerging markets are dealing with (and being constrained by) climate change?
  • What’s keeping bankers awake at night when it comes to climate finance?
  • Meet the startup and VC in line to be Egypt’s first climate b’naires.

You can tap or click here to see the full agenda.

** Have you confirmed your attendance? We’ll be sending you on Sunday, 4 December the QR code you’ll need to gain admission to the Grand Egyptian Museum, along with a Google Maps link and some other pointers — including a reminder that the event takes place under Chatham House Rules. Only confirmed invitees who can present their personal QR codes will be able to gain admission to the GEM on event day.


Dozens of multinational firms agree to invest in our outsourcing industry

A major boost to our outsourcing industry: 29 global firms will up their investments in our outsourcing industry under agreements inked with the CIT Ministry’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), according to a cabinet statement. The agreements will see eight companies opening up offices in Egypt, while 21 firms with an existing presence in the market are set to expand their centers here.

Who’s involved: The 29 firms include IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, Majid Al Futtaim, Concentrix, Dell, PepsiCo, PWC, Vodafone, Atos, and Honeywell, among others.

What’s in it for us: The fresh investments are set to generate an additional USD 1 bn a year in digital export revenues by 2025, CIT Minister Amr Talaat said. The firms are set to create over 34k new jobs for young people, serving international markets through 35 service export hubs.

A vote of confidence for our investment climate: The agreements are the result of government efforts to create an attractive investment climate, PM Moustafa Madbouly said in his speech during the signing event, according to a separate cabinet statement.

We love to see it: We think the way forward for our economy is to focus on bringing in foreign investment to a few specific industries and turn them into export powerhouses. Outsourcing and customer relations management (CRM) could be perfect candidates, McKinsey’s Jalil Bensouda told us earlier this week as part of our CEO poll on FDI and exports.


Cabinet’s state ownership policy just advanced a notch, but we need an independent export promotion agency if we want to unlock its benefits

State ownership policy gets final nod from cabinet: The cabinet yesterday approved the final draft of the Madbouly government’s state ownership policy document, following amendments made after months of consultations with public and private-sector stakeholders, it said in a statement. The document will now be presented to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who is widely expected to send it to the board running the upcoming national dialogue for further debate.

It’s not clear how much the document has changed: The government held weeks of consultations with economic experts and various industry players before putting the policy up for discussion at its three-day conference on the future of the Egyptian economy in October. The document had been expected to be unveiled during the Egyptian Economic Conference, but was delayed. The cabinet statement doesn’t specify what amendments have since been made.

Or whether this version is final: The policy is set to be the topic of “the lion’s share” of debates by the national dialogue’s economic subcommittee, subcommittee rapporteur Rep. Ayman Mehasseb said yesterday. “Many” opposition members want the document put up for a vote in a public referendum, said Senator Mahmoud Sami, assistant subcommittee rapporteur and member of the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party. The national dialogue is slated to kick off within weeks.

What state ownership policy document? Launched by the Madbouly government in May as part of a wider plan to restructure the economy in favor of the private sector, the policy lays out a roadmap for large-scale privatization. The strategy envisions more than doubling the private sector’s role in the economy to 65% over the next three years, and attracting USD 40 bn in private investment by 2026.

How would it work? A draft of the document obtained by local media when it was first launched suggests the government intends to fully withdraw from as many as 79 industries and stage partial exits from others, while maintaining its presence in certain strategic sectors. The new privatization drive came following the economic crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine and during talks with the IMF for a new loan program.

The document could go into effect at the end of this year, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk told the Senate earlier this month.

Officials across state institutions are talking about how we can drum up more FDI: The Senate this week began discussing a report by the pro-government Mostaqbal Watan party that aims to overhaul how we approach foreign direct investment (FDI), which includes a chapter on the state ownership policy document. Meanwhile, the central bank is working with government on ways to boost investment as part of measures to increase FX liquidity.

Among the keys, we think: Create an independent investment promotion agency that speaks the language of global business. It is not enough for government officials to speak in general terms with CEOs coming in for a quick visit about how open Egypt is to FDI.

CASE STUDY- Canadian bureaucrats have spent months working directly with execs at Mercedes and Volkswagen as well as Canadian companies to prepare the ground for a weeklong trip to Europe by that country’s industry minister that just kicked off. The minister going to be meeting with the boards and management teams of the two global automakers and speak in concrete terms about Canada’s specific offer and the competitive advantages that the two German automakers would reap if they ink supply chain agreements with Canadian companies.


AMEA Power to kick off work on 1 GW renewable energy plants after securing USD 1.1 bn in funding

AMEA Power gets funding to build 1 GW of renewable energy plants in Egypt: Al Nowais subsidiary AMEA Power has locked in USD 1.1 bn in debt and equity for a 500 MW solar plant and 500 MW wind farm in Egypt, according to a cabinet statement. AMEA Power will build, manage, and operate the two plants, the company said in a statement.

The breakdown: The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), Dutch development bank FMO, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are collectively providing USD 500 mn for the solar plant. Meanwhile, the USD 800 mn wind farm is receiving USD 500 mn from the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, the IFC, and three commercial banks — Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank — covered in ins. by Nippon Export Investment Ins., according to a statement from lead arranger IFC. The IFC also managed to mobilize a working capital facility from CIB, the statement said, without disclosing the exact amount the bank is lending.

Refresher: The 500 MW wind farm in Ras Ghareb will be built by Amunet, a local special purpose vehicle in which AMEA Power owns a 60% stake and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation holds the remaining balance. AMEA Power’s solar plant, which is located in Kom Ombo, was expanded from 200 GW to 500 GW in 2020, and is tied to a contract that allows Al Nowais to obtain additional land for further expansions.

Most affordable power in Africa: Power from the solar park will be priced at USD 0.02 per KWh while wind will cost USD 0.03 per KWh, which the IFC says are the “lowest rates in Africa and among the least expensive globally.”

Project timeline: Construction on both projects is set to begin this month, according to the IFC statement. The solar plant is set to be completed in 18 months, while the wind farm should be finished in 30 months.

AMEA Power is also getting in on our green ammonia industry: AMEA Power put pen to paper at COP27 for a 390k-ton per-year green ammonia plant that could be up and running by the end of 2025 at its 500 MW green hydrogen plant in Ain Sokhna.

This is the latest in a string of green finance flowing into Egypt: The government managed to secure some USD 10.3 bn worth of climate funding agreements at COP27 for its flagship Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) program, which seeks to implement some USD 15 bn worth of projects to turbocharge the country’s green transition. The government will also be looking to drum up a whopping USD 119 bn to fund green hydrogen and wind power projects on which it signed initial agreements at the climate summit.

The news got attention in the foreign press: Reuters | Bloomberg.


ADQ’s Agthia now owns 60% of Auf Group

UAE’s Agthia is now the majority owner of Abu Auf: Emirati food and beverage major Agthia has completed its acquisition of a 60% stake in Egyptian food company Auf Group, Agthia said in a statement (pdf). The stake was sold by three members of the Auf family as well as Tanmiya Capital Ventures (TCV), leaving the three founders with a combined 30%, while TCV holds the remaining 10% stake. The transaction values Auf Group at some EGP 4.9 bn.

REFRESHER- Agthia, which is majority-owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ, approved the transaction in July. The Auf Group — which owns assets including the popular food brand Abu Auf — had as recently as April been eyeing an IPO on the EGX, but Agthia’s F&B experience in the region made the acquisition route the more attractive choice, Auf Chief Marketing Officer Rasha Ghaly told Enterprise at the time. Auf is keeping its existing executive management team including the three founders, and has no plans to move its HQ abroad for at least the next three years. The company plans to invest in Gulf expansion post-acquisition.

What they said: “This transaction represents a significant milestone in Auf Group’s history, and we look forward to working alongside the Agthia team to build on our success to date,” Auf Group CEO Ahmed Auf said in the statement. “Our focus remains on maintaining our unique position in the Egyptian snacking market while expanding our reach and footprint.”

Advisors: EFG Hermes were sole sell-side financial advisors to Auf Group on the transaction, they said in a statement (pdf), while CI Capital acted as financial advisor to Agthia. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy acted as Agthia’s legal counsel, while Al Tamimi & Co was Auf’s legal advisor.


Cabinet approves exec regs on the Water Resources Act

The Madbouly cabinet approved the executive regulations for the Water Resources Act in its weekly meeting yesterday, it said in a statement. The regulations lay out the details of the Water Resources Act, which was signed into law in October 2021 after years of back and forth between legislators. The executive regulations will become official when published in the Official Gazette.

Water Resources Act? The bill aims to regulate how we use our water resources in light of threats to supply, including from climate change and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. It includes regulations on groundwater management and storage, provisions against acts of vandalism near coasts, modernizing the irrigation system, and fees for pumping stations on the Nile and canals.

ALSO- Cabinet has signed off on all the hydrogen agreements out of COP27: Ministers approved the framework agreements signed with international energy companies to construct nine green hydrogen and ammonia facilities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone). The agreements, which were signed earlier this month during COP27, are worth as much as USD 83 bn in investments. The projects will collectively produce up to 4.6 mn tons of green ammonia and 2.7 mn tons of hydrogen a year when fully operational, putting Egypt on the road to becoming a regional hub for green hydrogen.

AND- Good news for freezone companies: The cabinet approved postponing a 15% hike on usufruct fees from companies operating in freezones for another year. The hike had been set to go into effect on 1 January, 2023, following an initial year-long postponement. Freezone investor associations requested the delay in view of global economic headwinds, the statement reads.


Fawry is planting roots in Kuwait next year

EGX-listed e-payments giant Fawry is planning to begin operating in Kuwait in 2023, with legal procedures currently underway, Fawry’s Investment, Financial Planning & Analysis, and IR Senior Manager Hassan Abdel Gelil told Enterprise. Abdel Gelil did not disclose further information about potential partners in Kuwait.

This will be the second international market outside Egypt where Fawry will have a presence, after it acquired an undisclosed minority stake in Sudan’s largest online classifieds platform and marketplace Alsoug in October last year. The investment was part of a USD 5 mn funding round co-led by Fawry and aimed at building out Alsoug’s fintech platform Cashi and developing its payments infrastructure.

No US listing on the horizon: The company still doesn’t think it is the right time to pull the trigger on its plans to list its shares in the US, CEO Ashraf Sabry told Al Mal.


CIRA Education net income, revenues rise in FY 2021/22

EGX-listed education outfit CIRA Education reported EGP 389.6 mn in adjusted net income in FY 2021/2022, up 16% y-o-y, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). CIRA Education’s fiscal year runs from September-August. The company’s revenues rose 19% y-o-y during the fiscal year to EGP 1.7 bn on increased enrollments in its higher education and K-12 segments. CIRA Education’s K-12 segment saw 8% y-o-y growth in enrollment rates, while enrollment at its universities rose 6% y-o-y.

Growth is still going strong, even with inflationary headwinds: “Our resilience amid ongoing market turmoil, and our ability to maintain strong margins all while executing a robust growth plan, is testament to the success of CIRA’s core mission: to deliver quality education across Egypt at affordable price points,” said CEO Mohamed El Kalla. Looking ahead, CIRA Education expects to launch the first phase of Saxony Egypt University, Egypt's first private technology university, in September 2023. Cairo Egypt for Education, a JV between CIRA Education and Elsewedy Capital, has also broken ground on two new schools in Cosmic Village: FuturesTech and Regent British School. Both are also expected to launch in September 2023. In the pre-K segment, CIRA Education has plans to operate 10 nurseries by the end of the upcoming academic year.

GO DEEPER- El Kalla recently walked us through the company’s recent rebranding and expansion plans and discussed his views on the education sector. You can read or listen to Part I here and read Part II here.



Last Night’s Talk Shows: Businesses have two weeks to register for e-invoicing — or face fines

It was a slow night for the talk shows yesterday as we slide into the weekend, with the rollout of the government’s e-invoicing system topping the business news.

A warning to businesses: There are consequences for failing to register to the new e-invoicing system. Those who don’t meet the Tax Authority’s 15 December deadline are at risk of being fined between EGP 20k and EGP 100k, the authority’s director of taxpayer services, Mohsen El Gayar, told Salet El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 3:11). The authority has started preparing a “blacklist” of those who have not yet registered. Those who aren’t in the system by 1 April, 2023 will not be able to claim VAT drawbacks and other tax rebates.

A lot of businesses need to get a move on: Around 1 mn companies will be required to start issuing electronic invoices for B2B and B2C transactions via the government portal from the middle of next month — but only c. 150k companies had registered as of last week.

Refresher- The government is working to digitize all B2B and B2C invoices, a move designed to give the government greater oversight over tax and reduce the size of the informal economy. The Tax Authority launched a pilot in late 2020 and has been gradually extending the system since then. All B2B and B2C invoices across the country are expected to be fully automated by December.

Also on the airwaves last night:


Give us back our stone

It’s another relatively quiet morning for Egypt in the international press — or maybe we just get used to everyone talking about us during COP.

The campaign to return the Rosetta Stone is back in the headlines: AP becomes the latest to report on Zahi Hawass’ petition calling for the stone to be returned, which has gathered more than 100k signatures, in addition to another petition created by Egyptologist Monica Hanna which has gathered 4.2 k signatures.

Also making headlines:

  • White sugar prices are on the rise as demand outstrips supply amid a slowdown in imports. The Canal Sugar Company has yet to make fully operational what is set be the world’s largest beet sugar factory in the world in West Minya. (Al-Monitor)
  • The WSJ reports a US-Egyptian dual national who had called for protest at COP27 may be extradited to Egypt following his arrest in the UAE.



New Egypt-China association to give AI + tech investments a shot in the arm: Egypt and China launched the Egyptian-Chinese Entrepreneurs Association (ECEA) this week, with an eye to drive Chinese investments in AI, space tech, and e-commerce, according to a Finance Ministry statement. The association creates a “platform for continuous communication to discuss cooperation,” Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said.


Contact Financial has added financial leasing to the factoring services it offers dental startup Toothpick, allowing dentists to finance their equipment purchases through Toothpick’s online marketplace, according to a Contact statement (pdf).


Haj Arafa wants to export Siwa dates to Africa and Asia: Natural food and cosmetics maker Haj Arafa plans to build a date packaging factory in Siwa Oasis with investments of more than EGP 100 mn within the next year, Al Borsa reports, citing company CEO Mohamed Arafa Al Attar. The company will look to export the dates to African and Asian markets.


FRA greenlights Misr Takaful Ins.-Hayat: The Financial Regulatory Authority has granted Misr Takaful Ins. Hayat — a joint venture between Misr Ins. Holding Company, Misr Life Ins., the National Bank of Egypt, and Banque Misr — a license to operate, according to a statement (pdf) from the regulator. The new company’s portfolio focuses on sharia-compliant (Takaful) ins. products and services, Zawya reports.


The government said it has succeeded in registering festivals related to the Holy Family’s journey in Egypt on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, according to a Culture Ministry statement. The Tourism Ministry recently launched the Holy Family Trail, which links together 25 destinations along the route said to have been walked by Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.


Powered by
EFG Hermes -

EM debt could be a standout asset as treasuries + credit take a nosedive: Jupiter Asset Management executive Mark Nash is shorting nearly every asset including US treasuries and credit — but sees value in emerging-market sovereign debt, he tells Bloomberg. Nash is buying securities sold by Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico — all of which have benefited from a commodities boom and enacted early rate hikes to protect positive real yields. His bond fund has posted 5.7% gains so far this year, beating 96% of its peers. Some EMs “have high real yields, they have better trade balances, and they generally have better fiscal coffers,” Nash said.

Is ethical debt the future of the loan market? At least 50% of corporate loans extended in Europe, the Middle East and Africa could be tied to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles next year, up from 36% this year, according to bankers interviewed by Bloomberg. Firms are beefing up their environmental credentials thanks to nudges from regulators and clients. “We keep seeing the increasing trend in the market that clients put sustainability higher on the agenda and want to embed sustainability characteristics in their financing,” ING Group’s head of sustainable finance for EMEA told the business news service.

ESG is one debt market where EMs aren’t excelling: ESG investors aren’t huge fans of EMs at the moment, thanks to worries over risk.

Also worth mentioning this morning:

  • Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF has secured a new USD 17 bn loan from a syndicate of 25 international lenders, the largest ever loan of its kind. (Statement)
  • Europe is not a fan of Musk’s Twitter: The European Commission has warned tech b’naire Elon Musk that Twitter is at risk of a ban unless he adheres to rules on content moderation. (FT)




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The EGX30 rose 0.6% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 3.53 bn. Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 11.0% YTD.

In the green: EFG Hermes (+5.8%), e-Finance (+4.1%) and Orascom Construction (+3.9%).

In the red: Eastern Company (-7.1%), Ibnsina Pharma (-2.3%) and Palm Hills Development (-2.2%).

Green as far as the eye can see: Asian markets are up across the board in early trading this morning, while futures suggest a similarly bright start for European markets and on Wall Street later on today.


Zainab El Sewedy, singer: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is singer Zainab El Sewedy (aka loulou). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

I’m Zainab El Sewedy, but I go by loulou on Apple Music and Spotify. I’m the youngest of four siblings, and because my three siblings are much older than me, I always felt like I had two moms and three dads growing up. Family is very important to me, so I feel like I was very fortunate in that sense.

I’m someone who really enjoys any sort of challenge. I think it comes from the idea of trying to prove other people wrong, which isn’t necessarily the best, but it’s worked so far. I’m a very curious person — I’m never satisfied with the information I have and always want to know more or see what else I can do and what potential I can explore.

I’m currently a sophomore at King’s College in London, where I’m studying international relations. Getting the chance to travel abroad for university was a priority for me to experience life outside of my bubble of privilege and get a sense of how real life actually works. It’s been transformational for me to interact with people without the context of my connections or my family. It’s how I became interested in music, and I think that’s what has made my personality as authentic to myself as I can be right now.

My morning routine changes depending on the day, but I have to spend my mornings alone. Unless I have class, I cannot interact with another human being before 1pm. I enjoy going for walks, which is one of the reasons I chose to live in London. In the morning, I have to walk for at least an hour, and I get the same coffee order I’ve had for three years: A soy milk cappuccino with cinnamon powder. I try to journal, which helps a lot with my lyrics because I frequently go back to highlight parts and think, you know, maybe this could work with this specific beat.

I read Enterprise every morning. I first started reading it in high school for my economics class. One day, I read an article on trade tariffs that saved me, and I haven’t stopped reading since.

In terms of making music, I find a beat and I just start humming while I'm walking, so I sometimes look a bit insane on the streets while I try to see what fits.

The one constant in my day is my support system, which includes my siblings and my best friends. Even in the darkest parts of my life, the five or six people that I surround myself with have helped me through so much. And they’re the reason this music is out in the first place — having people genuinely believe in me is a huge part of my confidence.

I have ADHD and I like to believe that I operate with organized chaos. There’s a lot of things that don’t appear to make sense in my routine or my living situation, but they do to me. For example, I always put makeup remover in the kitchen because I know whenever I come back home at night, I’m going to take my makeup off while I eat chocolate.

Staying focused is quite difficult for me, but staying driven is more important. I think that as long as you know what your goal is, or more importantly what you’re doing it for, it makes the biggest difference in terms of getting work done, whether that be school, work or something you’re passionate about.

I want to start understanding how I can apply what I learned in London when I come back to Egypt. I think there's a common misconception that people who leave never want to come back. But, as much as I love London and consider it a second home, there is nowhere I feel more at ease than in Egypt.

I also want to contribute to solving persistent issues in Egypt, like overpopulation, narrowing the wage gap, and even more importantly, narrowing the socioeconomic class gap. It seems impossible, but I’m sure that with people who are driven and passionate about it, there is a way to fix it.

On a professional level, what I’m most excited about is the album with my brother that’s coming out soon. It’s going to have a lot more different styles because he’s a lot more creative than I am and very experimental. I really can't wait to see how the two of us sound together.

After a long day, I switch off by watching a reality show like Love Island, even though I feel like I’m losing brain cells. Or documentaries that are about murder and serial killers. It’s true crime or utter stupidity. There's no in between.

One of the best books I ever read was Playing Nice by JP Delaney, and right now I’m reading The Judges’ List by Josh Grisham.

My brother gave me the best advice I’ve ever received: Don’t cry over things you can't control. And everything happens for a reason. They’re cliches, but once you accept that everything happens for a reason, you realize that the majority, I’d say 70%, of the things you’re stressed about aren’t even things you have any control over.



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

27-30 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT and Pafix, 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.

1-3 December (Thursday-Saturday): BiznEX kicks off at Mamsha Ahl Misr.

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

4 December (Sunday): House back in session.

4 December (Sunday): OPEC+ meeting.

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

5-7 December (Monday-Wednesday): Food Africa 2022 kicks off at Egypt International Exhibitions Center.

6 December (Tuesday): Enterprise Climate X Forum, Grand Egyptian Museum.

7 December (Wednesday): Euromoney Egypt 2022 conference

10 December (Saturday): The TriFactory’s Pyramids Half Marathon.

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.

20 December (Tuesday): EGX-listed Pachin will brief shareholders on offers received to acquire the company in an ordinary general assembly.

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.

December: Chinese President Xi Jinping visit to Saudi Arabia


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.

January: Infinity + Africa Finance Corporation to close acquisition of Lekela Power.

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): President El Sisi will visit India as “chief guest” at celebrations to mark the 74th anniversary of Indian independence.

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.

End of December/early January: SFE’s pre-IPO fund to kick off roadshow.

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

4Q 2022: Raya Holding subsidiary Aman and Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia to launch their fintech company.

4Q 2022: Saudi Arabia’s 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.

1Q 2023: Internal trade database to launch.

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