Thursday, 8 December 2022

AM — Egypt signs agreements for feasibility studies on seven more green hydrogen projects



Good morning, folks, and HAPPY THURSDAY. It’s been an exhilarating and exhausting week and we’re looking forward to getting some much-needed rest here at Enterprise HQ.

But first, we bring you yet another packed issue this morning. There’s plenty of encouraging news on foreign investment in our industrial and manufacturing sectors this morning, from fresh green hydrogen agreements, to cabinet moves to widen investment incentives, to positive sounds from automakers on plans to up local manufacturing. That ties in nicely with the latest installment of our CEO poll on our five-step recipe to boost FDI and exports, with Mansour Automotive’s Ankush Arora.

We also bring you more from Tuesday’s inaugural Enterprise Climate X Forum: Our panel on green hydrogen and the NWFE program saw Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe, Khalid Hamza, director and head of Egypt at the EBRD, and Khaled Nageib, CEO of Hydrogen Egypt, demystify two of the biggest opportunities for the private sector to have come out of COP27.

We’re expecting the IMF’s board meeting on our loan to go smoothly: Egypt expects the IMF to approve our USD 3 bn bailout package without any hiccups when its executive board meets next Friday, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said at a conference yesterday, according to Reuters. It’s “very accurate” to say that meeting is a formality, Kouchouk said.

REMEMBER- Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said earlier this week that we could receive the first USD 750 mn tranche of the rescue package before the end of this year. The 46-month loan agreement, which was announced in tandem with October’s EGP devaluation, is part of a series of measures to help shore up our economy amid the fallout of the war in Ukraine.


Dentists join the e-invoicing opposition club: The Egyptian Dental Syndicate is “rejecting” the requirement that self-employed professionals including doctors, engineers, lawyers, and artists register on the Tax Authority’s e-invoicing system by 15 December, according to a statement. The syndicate is the latest to join the chorus of voices opposing the requirement, including doctors, pharmacists and lawyers.

Enterprise says: Businesses pay taxes. You should pay yours. The majority of licensed professionals are good and honest people, but their versions of industry associations have for more than five years now aggressively pushed back on anything coming out of the Tax Authority or the Central Bank of Egypt that would make their finances more transparent to The Man. Incorporated businesses charge and remit VAT, file e-invoices, pay income taxes, etc, etc — solo practitioners and partnerships between them should be no different.

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla was appointed president of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum’s (EMGF) 2023 ministerial meeting, according to a joint declaration (pdf) out of the forum’s 2022 meeting yesterday, which was chaired by Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides.

Good news for our gas export ambitions: Cyprus’ Aphrodite field will see a new round of drilling in early 2023, Reuters reports, citing statements by Pilides in Cairo yesterday. Pilides said her country is trying to accelerate development so the first shipment could reach Egypt by 2027.

REMEMBER- Egypt and Cyprus are planning to lay a pipeline connecting the Aphrodite field to Egypt’s LNG facilities, where natural gas is liquified and exported to Europe. Egypt is the only country with LNG facilities in the Eastern Mediterranean, putting us in pole position to fill Europe’s energy supply gap as it rapidly transitions away from Russian fossil fuels.

WATCH THIS SPACE– SFE boss sees fresh Qatari investments coming in at the beginning of 2023: The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is expected to make more investments in the local market early next year, Al Borsa quotes Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) CEO Ayman Soliman as saying. Sovereign wealth funds from other unspecified countries are also set to invest in Egypt at the beginning of 2023, Soliman said, without giving further details on the expected investments. The SFE is planning a roadshow in late December or the beginning of January to market assets in its pre-IPO fund to regional wealth funds.

QIA has a number of investments in the pipeline: QIA earlier this year deposited USD 1 bn with the Central Bank of Egypt as a stop-gap while it completes due diligence and finalizes agreements to purchase as much as USD 2.5 bn worth of state-held stakes in unlisted companies. The fund already has its eye on a number of potential investments, including the port of Safaga, the Damietta port and Egypt’s container terminals.


We’ll find out today how the latest EGP devaluation impacted consumer prices in November when the central bank and CAPMAS publish the latest inflation data. A poll of analysts conducted by Reuters sees annual urban inflation rising to 18.75% from 16.2% in October, which would be the highest level in almost five years. The survey also sees core inflation reaching 21.6% in November — its highest since November 2017 — up from 19.0% the month prior. The EGP has tumbled 24.8% since 27 October, when the central bank said it was moving to a flexible exchange rate, opening the door to a new wave of imported inflation.


President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will be in Riyadh to attend the China-Arab summit that will coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the kingdom. Some 12-14 Arab leaders are expected to attend the summit on Friday.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD this morning is the political drama unfolding in Peru: Dina Boluarte was sworn in as Peru’s new president hours after former leader Pedro Castillo was ousted by lawmakers. Castillo has been arrested on charges of “rebellion” after he sought to dissolve the congress to avoid an impeachment vote. Bloomberg, Reuters, AP, and the FT have more.

The international press is also still buzzing with the bizarre – and somewhat scary — story of a foiled coup attempt by a rightwing fringe group in Germany. German police arrested 25 people accused of planning an armed coup to overthrow the government and install 71-year-old German aristocrat Heinrich XIII as the country’s leader. The Financial Times, the Guardian, and the BBC are among those with coverage.


The cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) will kick off the first session of its new intellectual forum today, according to a statement. The weekly forum will see experts including government officials, academics, representatives of multilateral institutions, MPs, and national dialogue members meet to discuss key policy questions and make recommendations on them to the prime minister.

The Egyptian Private Equity Association is hosting a healthcare summit next Monday, 12 December. The event will be held under the auspices of the finance and planning ministries. You can check out the agenda here (pdf) and register for the summit here.

Later this month: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets on Thursday, 22 December to review interest rates.

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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Green hydrogen and NWFE are key for the private sector coming out of COP27

Demystifying two of the biggest opportunities to have come out of COP27 — green hydrogen and NWFE: Our inaugural Enterprise Climate X Forum kicked off earlier this week with a panel on green hydrogen and the government’s flagship Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) program. The panel was a deep dive into how some of the biggest agreements out of COP27 could take shape over the coming years that brought together some of the biggest players in the global and local hydrogen industries, as well as one of the champions of NWFE, to discuss what needs to be done for hydrogen and renewable energy to take off over the coming decade, and the potential impact of the NWFE program on Egypt’s green transition and sustainability drive.

Joining us for the panel:

  • Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO, Hydrogen Europe
  • Khalid Hamza, director and head of Egypt, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
  • Khaled Nageib, CEO, Hydrogen Egypt

Refresher: Egypt signed framework agreements for c.USD 85 bn worth of green hydrogen projects during COP27, which will need some 40 GW of green energy to power them. We also locked in some USD 10.3 bn in funding for NWFE, which seeks to implement some USD 15 bn worth of projects to turbocharge the country’s green transition, including an energy project worth USD 10 bn and eight food security, agriculture, and irrigation and water projects.

Wait, what’s NWFE+? Where NWFE focuses on water, food and energy, NWFE+ adds transportation to the mix.

Those were two of our biggest achievements during COP27 — besides, of course, getting countries to agree to the landmark loss and damage fund (in our eyes, that last one makes Amb. Mohamed Nasr, our chief climate negotiator, a hero to emerging markets). It’s those agreements that allowed us to follow through with our commitment to move from “pledges” to “implementation,” helped the summit earn the title the hydrogen COP” from Hydrogen Europe’s Chatzimarkakis. Similarly, NWFE get plenty of honorable mentions among climate experts as a “pioneering model” for attracting investments to climate projects in emerging markets. But how can we ensure we can take these forward — and that the MoUs will translate into operational hydrogen plants?

Among the key takeaways from our discussion:


Major international players think Egypt will emerge as one of the key hubs of the global hydrogen economy, potentially just ahead of other big players including Saudi Arabia, Namibia and Chile.

Uh, what’s hydrogen, anyway? Boosters like Chatzimarkakis and Nageib think it’s the fuel of the future, and Europe is starting a wholesale adoption that will see it need to buy mns of tons per year to fuel industry and power generation.

Okay, but what can you do with it? In time, just about anything you can do with a fossil fuel. Hydrogen and derived “carrier molecules” such as ammonia and methanol can be used to power ships and cars, fire steel and other energy-intensive plants, maybe even power an airplane.

Yeah, but what can you do with it today? The technology is still maturing, but already the Swedish steel industry is switching entirely to hydrogen — and Chaztimarkakis drives to work each day in a zero-carbon-emissions hydrogen-powered car. He fills up at a growing network of hydrogen fueling stations. (The jury is still very much out on whether EVs or H2-powered cars will be the future).

So it replaces electricity? Nope. When it’s feasible, direct electrification wins just about 100% of the time. But the simple fact is that electricity accounts for just 20% of our global energy use. And with batteries being large, difficult to make, difficult to dispose of, and having limited lifespans, there’s an argument to be made that hydrogen is a critical part of our energy mix going forward.

How do we export it? Chatzimarkakis imagines we’ll be selling ammonia and methanol to Europe and sending it there by ship in the first phases, but ultimately wants to see a pipeline linking Egypt to Greece and Trieste. That pipeline could handle pure hydrogen or an oil-like carrier called LOHC, he says.

So, why Egypt? We get into that below, but essentially we’re one of the most affordable places in the world to make it — and we’re incredibly close to hydrogen-hungry Europe.


We’re building, using and exporting a massive amount of renewables over the next decade: The outcome of Egypt’s hydrogen strategy, on which EBRD is working with the Madbouly government as the lead on energy pillar of NWFE, suggests that Egypt will need some 40 GW of renewable energy in place to power our hydrogen ambitions, Hamza said. For that, we also need to develop and expand the national grid to absorb this energy, which requires some USD 2-3 bn in additional investment, Hamza said. To put that in context, our total installed renewables capacity was at 3.4 GW at the end of last year — 1.6 GW of which came from the Benban solar power park. “That means we need about 30x more Benbans,” Hamza said.

How close are we to seeing NWFE turn into reality? The program should be implemented over five or six years, Hamza said. “Egypt was able to raise USD 10.3 bn in just three months,” he said, adding that this is just an indication of what the program can achieve. “As we work on implementation, building a steering committee for donors, and identifying projects with the government, and hopefully sign them at the beginning of next year, I think it is happening,” he said.


Is this the decade of hydrogen? “The 2000s were the decade of wind, the 2010s the decade of solar, and the 2020s will be the decade of hydrogen,” Chatzimarkasis said during the panel, stressing that, despite being an embryonic technology, the clean energy has massive potential for the climate industry.

Egypt is primed to become a global hydrogen hub: “We will see Egypt being the hub for hydrogen,” Chatzimarkakis said. “The country at the crossroads, with the biggest opportunities, is Egypt; it’s a prime partner for the EU next to Namibia, but Namibia is far away.” Egypt’s proximity to the EU and the GCC, as well as our low costs of producing renewable energy (which accounts for 60% of the cost of producing hydrogen), gives it this competitive advantage, he explains.

There is a huge market for hydrogen: Europe wants to import 10 mn tons of hydrogen annually by 2030 — and that’s just one potential export market for Egypt, Chatzimarkakis said. “Then there are the low hanging fruits: the chemical industries that are already using hydrogen,” he added.

But we need to expand infrastructure — and fast: Projects like the Egypt-Greece pipeline can allow Egypt to become a first mover in the industry and attract investments, he said. “This is the project we need to pursue and rush,” he added. The pipeline is currently expected to come online in 2024 or 2025.

We also need to provide the appropriate policy environment: Fuel subsidies must be scrapped if we want hydrogen to be competitive, said the EBRD’s Hamza, who heads up the energy component of NWFE. “You need to have subsidies for hydrogen just like solar and wind” to initially make it cost-attractive for the industry, he said. “You can't compete with an established industry that is also subsidized, so you need to take away that subsidy over time,” he added, saying that he expects the phase-out to happen eventually.

There are several ways to produce green hydrogen — and that unlocks even more potential for a “hydrogen economy,” Chatzimarkasis said. One way is through electrolysis — where hydrogen and oxygen are separated from water via an electric current — and another is pyrolysis, which produces what is more accurately termed “turquoise hydrogen” — because it sits comfortably between green and blue hydrogen. Pyrolysis uses biomethane as feedstock to produce hydrogen and carbon as outputs, but carbon comes out in solid form, which means it can be used in applications like soil improvement and manufacturing.

A hydrogen economy also means chances for industry: “There’s a lot of industrialization that can happen around this sector, because you have scale,” Hamza said. “When you’re talking about 30-40 GW of needed renewables over the next ten years, that's a huge amount of investments required, and it's going to clog your ports, use your transport system; all of that needs to be expanded to cater to that,” he explained. Localizing an industry for components for wind and solar plants could be a game-changer, he added.


Hydrogen Egypt and Hydrogen Europe signed an agreement during Climate X to work together on piloting small-scale hydrogen projects across Egypt. The companies will be working on pitching projects to the oil and transport Ministries on everything from transitioning tuktuks to hydro-powered alternatives, to greening the steel industry, Nageib said during the forum.

“Every authority in Egypt has a hydrogen unit and they’re thinking of plans to develop hydrogen,” Nageib said. The companies’ agreement will see them help bring B2B opportunities from the public and private sector in Egypt to European offtakers to support those plans, he added — in what Chatzimarkakis described as “matchmaking” between European and Egyptian companies in the sector.

** The Enterprise Climate X Forum is proud to be supported by USAID, HSBC, Mashreq, Attijariwafa Bank, Etisalat by e&, Hassan Allam Utilities, and Infinity.


We could be getting even more green hydrogen projects

More green hydrogen momentum: Egypt signed MoUs with seven companies and consortiums to conduct feasibility studies on new projects to produce green hydrogen and its derivatives, according to a cabinet statement. The statement does not provide further details on the potential investment size, production capacity, or timeline for any of the projects.

Who’s signing? Saudi renewables player Acwa Power, a consortium of Benchmark and the Holding Company for Chemical Industries, China Energy, Germany’s DAI, India’s Ocior Energy, a consortium of France’s Voltalia and Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia, and BP.

There are plenty of familiar names there: French renewables company Voltalia has also been mulling new solar and wind energy investments here since last year, while Acwa Power could build a 10-GW wind farm here, as well as its planned 1.1 GW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez with our friends at Hassan Allam.

Demand is high for our green energy hub projects: The new MoUs come after Egypt signed a basket of agreements with international companies and consortiums to establish green hydrogen and green ammonia projects, including nine framework agreements for projects that would, if implemented, bring in north of USD 80 bn worh of investments.

Fortescue’s green hydrogen plant could be up and running within five years

MEANWHILE- Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) could begin production at its planned green hydrogen plant in 2027, FFI’s Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia President Moataz Kandil was quoted as saying by Al Borsa. FFI expects to complete the plant by 2030, Kandil said in an interview with Bloomberg Asharq (watch, runtime: 7:53).

The details: The project will have a 7.6 GW generation capacity — apparently down from the 9.2 GW facility the company had been looking into — and could produce as much as 330k tons of green hydrogen annually once complete, Kandil reportedly told Al Borsa. The company is in talks with the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) over land allocation, he added.

Where is the money coming from? The project will be financed through “equity capital, loans from multilateral development banks and commercial banks, and possibly a bond issuance,” Kandil told Asharq. The government is planning to chip in 20-25% of the cost of the project.

Boosting our energy export hub ambitions: The company is planning to export its production output to Europe, including Germany, with which FFI has contracts to export 5 mn tons of green hydrogen annually starting 2030, Kandil told Asharq. FFI also signed a framework agreement with the government to set up a green ammonia production facility with an annual production capacity of some 2 mn tons on the sidelines of COP27.


Sovereign sukuk + sustainable bond issuances coming this FY?

FinMin could take its maiden sovereign sukuk issuance to market in 1H 2023: The Finance Ministry is planning to sell USD 1.5-2.5 bn of sukuk, a shariah-compliant debt instrument, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Reuters yesterday. The timing of the issuance is still undetermined and the ministry will pull the trigger when market conditions look better, Maait said — though Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk signaled the sale is scheduled for the current fiscal year, which ends on 30 June, 2023. The ministry had previously penciled in a USD 2 bn issuance for FY 2021-2022.

Sustainable development bonds are still in the cards: The ministry is still on track to issue USD 500 mn of sustainable development bonds before the end of this fiscal year, Bloomberg Asharq quotes Maait as saying. The ministry is in talks with investment banks to promote the issuance, Maait said, without disclosing which banks are in the running.

SOUND SMART- Susdev bonds? FinMin earlier this year broadened its green financing framework to include sustainable development bonds, allowing the state to raise money for a wider array of social and environmental projects including the Decent Life initiative.

All part of our debt diversification strategy: The government has been working to diversify Egypt’s sources of financing and switch to longer-term debt since 2018 to help reduce the country’s debt service burden. The ministry is planning to take its debut CNY-denominated Panda bond issuance worth USD 500 mn to market in 1Q 2023, and is also looking to issue a “green” version of samurai and panda bonds, following its first JPY-denominated bond issuance in late March.


It just got easier for industry to get golden licenses

It was all about boosting foreign investment at the cabinet’s weekly meeting, where ministers widened the scope of industrial and automotive investment incentives and approved the first land sale in foreign currency to an unnamed Gulf investor.

Companies applying for the government’s golden license for industry will no longer need to meet a minimum issued capital requirement, after the Madbouly cabinet scrapped the rule during its meeting yesterday, according to a statement. Companies previously needed to have issued capital of at least 20% of the investment cost of their projects to qualify for a golden license, but many investors lobbied against the requirement, saying it was difficult to meet, General Authority for Freezones and Investment boss Mohamed Abdel Wahab said.

AND- Companies can now apply for a golden license online through the cabinet’s website, it said in a statement yesterday. The website now includes an application form and a guide for how to obtain the single-approval licenses. Companies need to fill out the form, which asks for details including annual exports and local component usage, as well as upload the relevant documents.

REFRESHER- The golden license (AKA single approval license) was introduced in the 2017 Investment Act to streamline implementation of key industrial and infrastructure projects. The licenses allow investors to obtain a single approval for all phases of a project, from land allocation through operation. The one-stop-shop license is given to investors working on strategically valuable national projects and those aligned with the government’s development strategy.

Automotive-linked engineering industries are getting incentives: Companies that work on the engineering side of the automotive industry will now be able to enjoy incentives provided to businesses under the Investment Act, after the cabinet agreed to add research, accreditation, and software development centers to the list of eligible activities, according to the statement. The move comes as part of the long-awaited automotive strategy, which aims to up local auto assembly and component manufacturing and boost auto exports.

Sale of state-owned land for FX sets a precedent

Cabinet approves land-for-FX sale: State-owned land in Sadat City will be sold to an unnamed Gulf investor to set up a housing project, with the investor set to pay for the plots in hard currency, according to a separate statement. Ministers agreed to set a precedent to approve similar cases where foreign investors agree to pay for land in FX.

This is the latest in a string of gov’t programs designed to attract FX: The government has recently rolled out a scheme offering a full rebate on customs fees, VAT, and other taxes in five years to Egyptian expats who bring cars into Egypt and pay the fees up front in FX. A separate program offers investors generous tax breaks if they use hard currency to fund at least half of the investment cost of industrial projects.


Stellantis wants to build 50k cars a year here

Automobile manufacturer Stellantis Egypt wants to locally produce 50k cars a year, Managing Director Hesham Hosny said at an industry conference this week (watch, runtime: 44:33). “We plan to have the Middle East and Africa produce 70% of its own automotive needs,” he said. Stellantis is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world and was formed in 2021 following a merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA. Its brands include Jeep, Peugeot, Fiat, Citroen and Chrysler.

Keeping up the EV momentum: Stellantis is waiting on the details of incentives laid out in the government’s automotive strategy to move forward with plans to locally manufacture electric vehicles in Egypt, Hosny said. He didn’t specify whether the 50k target includes EVs. Earlier this year Stellantis held talks with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly to express its interest in taking advantage of the coming industry incentives to establish an EV factory for the local market and exports.

The Madbouly gov’t wants more locally made cars: The government is working to launch its long-awaited automotive strategy, the Egyptian Automotive Industry Development Program (AIDP). The strategy will provide incentives to carmakers in a bid to increase local assembly and component manufacturing here, up the sector’s competitiveness to become a regional manufacturing hub, and bolster export volumes.

Others in the auto industry are keeping a close eye on the strategy: GB Auto is waiting for the government to formally launch AIDP before it starts working on its export plans, Chief Manufacturing Officer Ramez Adeeb said at the event. The company’s Sadat City passenger car factory will assemble 60k cars a year, Adeeb said.


Mansour Automotive’s Ankush Arora on why renewables could be our best shot to boost exports

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’ve already heard from: GSK’s Mohamed El Dababy | McKinsey’s Jalil Bensouda | Somabay’s Ibrahim El Missiri | ALC Alieldean Weshahi & Partners’ Bahaa Alieldean | HSBC Egypt’s Todd Wilcox | Actis’ Sherif El Kholy | Amazon’s Omar El Sahy | BII’s Sherine Shohdy.

TODAYAnkush Arora (LinkedIn) is president and CEO of Al Mansour Automotive, one of the biggest automotive distributors in Egypt. Starting with its partnership with General Motors, it has since scaled up to manufacture cars, trucks and pickups, and owns franchises for multiple global car brands. Arora was appointed as the company’s CEO last year, after serving as its director of operations for seven years. Arora’s experience in the automotive industry spans 30 years and includes former leadership roles at General Motors and India’s Tata Motors.

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

AA- When you need to really narrow down the industries that should be the areas of focus, you have to look at a couple of things. The first is, what is your natural resource capability? Second, what is your human capital capability? Third, what is the long-term opportunity that this capability can offer to the country? When you find the right match between the three, it tells you what industry you need to focus on. I could choose two or three, but if I had to pick a single industry — apart from my own — that would be renewable energy.

We have the natural resources, gas and wind. We have the technical capability, the knowhow, and the talent, who are either ready or can be trained over the years. We have a strategic location where we can be a supplier to our neighbors. The proximity of Egypt to Europe, the GCC, and Africa makes it very easy for it to become a renewable energy source. Some of it is already happening today, but we can do more.

More importantly, you also have a >100 mn consumer population. If you are able to fulfill the needs of that base first, you can reduce your energy bill, and then top it up with exports — which could be multiple times higher than where we are today. Emerging markets, which are low-cost producing markets, are becoming the next source of renewable energy. The renewables market today is about USD 1 tn globally, and it is estimated to grow to USD 2 tn by 2030. Gas is a huge opportunity, especially with the current geopolitical crisis. People are looking at alternative, cheaper sources.

E: Why are exports and FDI the way forward?

I'm a big fan of your five-point strategy. I believe this is the right recipe. There are many success stories, and of course, as with anything, there’ll be some failure. But failure should not deter us, especially if the successes are bigger. In order to build a stable, prosperous economy, industrialization is key. The advantage of a high domestic consumption rate also gives you the strong foundation required for any industry to prosper, and then you add export to that — it's the icing on the cake.

I’m not really worried about the EGP devaluation. Devaluation is a function of market forces and the geopolitical situation. It's a function of your net trade deficit. The question is, can we withstand these shocks of devaluation and still prosper? To do that, we have to become self-sufficient and self-reliant.

Take India as an example. India's currency has weakened by 12-15% over the last five to six months. But the economy is still growing at a 6.5-7.0% clip. Why? Because over the last decade to 15 years, they have been making themselves self-sufficient with the Make in India program. It’s the same story with Vietnam. Currencies will play up and down based on the market forces, but the point is: What can you digest and still continue to move forward?



It was a slow night on talk shows yesterday — sans Lamees Hadidi and Amr Adib — as we inch closer to the weekend. The biggest business story was the PM’s presser reassuring us on the state of the economy (watch, runtime: 20:05).

Everything is under control: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly held another presser on the economy yesterday, according to a cabinet statement, as the government looks to reassure the market on FX rates, the state of imports, and the rising cost of living. Madbouly ran through the raft of measures the government has taken to address global economic headwinds, from moves to boost foreign inflows and sell state-owned assets to the private sector, to an EGP 130 bn package of tax cuts and social spending meant to alleviate the burden of rising costs domestically.

The presser came as the government issued a report (pdf) responding to 17 claims and rumors circulating about the economy, including on the FX rate, the country’s external debt, and our IMF loan. Masa’a DMC’s Ramy Radwan had a rundown of the report (watch, runtime: 3:15).

The government is working on a plan to secure the nation’s FX needs until the end of FY 2022-2023, as well as a medium-term plan for the following two years, Madbouly said. Madbouly didn’t provide details on what the plan entails. Some of the steps the government is taking to secure FX shouldn’t be made public ahead of time to avoid negative repercussions, he said.

Building on the economic conference: A new board of trustees will follow up on how to implement the recommendations that came out of the state’s three-day economic conference in October, Madbouly said. A separate committee will prepare for a global conference to promote investment in Egypt in 1H 2023, Madbouly added.


Cairo Angels has a new face


Cairo Angels is now the Acasia Group: Local investor outfit Cairo Angels has rebranded as Acasia Group, according to a press release (pdf). The group is made up of three entities: VC firm Acasia Ventures, startup events and programs coordinator Acasia Impact, and angel investor group Acasia Angels.

What they said: “The startup ecosystem has given us so much since our 2011 beginnings. As it grows in size and complexity, so must we. With Acasia, we honor our mission to support founders and make tech startup investing readily available, while capturing the top tier opportunity that Africa and the Middle East has become,” said our friend Hossam Allam, the group’s non-executive chair.

CORRECTION- 12 December, 2022

An earlier version misspelled Acasia Group. 


Dior wants to set up shop here in two years: French luxury fashion brand Dior is planning to open retail outlets in Egypt in 4Q 2024, Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir said following a meeting with Jerome Baudy, president of Dior for Europe and the Middle East, cabinet said in a statement. The sit-down comes after Dior hosted its star-studded Pre-Fall Men 2023 runway show at the Giza Pyramids complex last weekend.

Shops are nice and all, but how about Dior makes its products here? Samir encouraged Baudy to invest in manufacturing some Dior products locally, highlighting our cheap operating costs, skilled labor, and affordable energy, the statement read.


European firms eye sugarcane ethanol factory: Italian, Indian, and French companies have submitted bids to build a EGP 1.5 bn sugarcane ethanol plant in partnership with a subsidiary of the state-owned Holding Company for Food Industries, Al Borsa reports.The subsidiary is also in talks with an unnamed Emirati investor to partner on a sugar factory in Tanzania, the newspaper reported separately.

Turkish garment maker Yesim’s Egyptian arm wants to invest as much as USD 70 mn to expand its operations, according to a cabinet statement.

Turkish retailer Beko broke ground on its USD 100 mn home appliances factory, according to a statement (pdf). The factory is set to produce 1.5 mn appliances annually. Some 60% of output will be exported to the EMEA region, generating as much as USD 250 mn in annual export revenue. Operations should kick off by 4Q 2023 at the 10th of Ramadan factory, which is the company’s first in the Middle East..

Kuwait’s Danah Fisheries plans to start building an EGP 100 mn seafood factory in Egypt by the end of next year, the company’s sales executive Mohamed El Qady reportedly told Al Borsa.


EGP 1 bn phase of waste management program kicks off: The planning, environment and local development ministers signed an EGP 1 bn contract to implement the fourth phase of the nationwide waste management project, according to a statement. The government will build nine sanitary landfills across five governorates and remove 2.1 mn tons of piled-up waste under the contract.


Consumer finance players Adva and One Finance are partnering on installment payment plans for services available through Adva, including school tuition, healthcare, travel, and ins., according to a joint statement out Monday.


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The EGX30 rose 2.0% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 3.2 bn. Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 23.8% YTD.

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In the red: Rameda Pharma (-4.8%), Egypt Kuwait Holding-EGP (-2.4%) and Fawry (-1.7%).

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Jimmy Khan,CEO, Lafarge Egypt: 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 Jimmy Khan (LinkedIn), CEO at Lafarge Egypt.

I am Jimmy Khan, CEO of Lafarge Egypt, a husband, and a father to Sophia — and the latter two are my highest priorities.

We are very lucky to have one of our largest businesses in the group operating in Egypt. We have got a very large — 10 mn ton — cement plant in Ain Sokhna, and we have nine or ten mixed plants all over the country. We also have a total of 2.2k direct employees and USD 500 mn in annual revenue, which equates to more than EGP 10 bn.

The current trend circulating our industry is LC3 [limestone calcined clay cement.] Only two earth materials are globally abundant: limestone and clay. We have recently discovered that you can make a reactive cement out of clay, and Egypt has an abundance of this natural material. Although the country’s building code hasn’t adopted this yet, we are going to be investing in producing LC3 locally in Egypt. Until we can use it here, we will export it to Europe — where LC3 has already been adopted as a replacement material for cement.

My morning routine starts at 5:30am, and I can confirm this because my communications director sees me at the gym every morning [laughs]. I quietly roll out of bed so as not to wake my daughter up, have a strong coffee, and bike to the gym.

I have to leave my house for the gym before the morning edition of Enterprise comes out. If I’m still at home when Enterprise arrives in my inbox, I will invariably start reading it without getting up, and that throws off my entire schedule. I get on the treadmill at 6am sharp, and those 15-20 minutes on the treadmill are probably my most important scheduled moment of zen. So technically, I owe Enterprise a lot of credit for the fact I’ve lost ten pounds over the last three months.

Afterwards, I go for a walk with my wife and daughter, and then head home for a quick breakfast. I know you’re going to laugh, but I’m an American and I’ll have a Diet Coke with breakfast. Then I jump into the car with my chauffeur Mahmoud, who does the hard work of driving in Cairo. That’s usually when I start doing my work.

My work day is usually very packed. I start by looking at sales and production numbers. We also have two leadership meetings every week. I schedule all my appointments a week in advance, so if someone would like to see me on a short notice, it’s usually between 7-8:30am or after 5:30pm. From an organizational perspective, I’d like to tell you that I do everything myself, but I can’t. I have an army of people who help me to be successful.

The one constant in my day — other than Diet Coke — is that I am so grateful for the opportunities God has given me. Honestly, if it all disappears tomorrow, I would only be thankful and happy for the experiences I have had. No regrets at all.

I’m not happy with my work-life balance. I think most of us believe or have convinced ourselves to believe that we have a good work-life balance, but the truth is that hypertension, weight gain, cardiac disease, and anxiety have all increased dramatically in the professional sectors. Now that I’m in my mid-life career, I think my focus both professionally and personally moving forward will be on finding a better balance.

I like to sit in peace and unwind whenever I have free time. After 10-12 hours of being at work, I like to sit quietly by myself for about an hour. Of course, my wife hates it — she sits there waiting impatiently and I can feel her foot tapping.

I also love working outside. I used to be a car mechanic when I was younger, and it’s always been a dream of mine to own a garage where I can get lost with my cars and motorcycles for hours everyday. I already bought a small garage and I am having it outfitted with tools. I’m really excited about it.

I wish I had a classier list of favorite shows and podcasts, but I guess my dirty secrets are the YouTube Channel Matt’s Off Road Recovery, and probably Joe Rogan and Lex Fridman podcasts.

The piece of advice that I live by is “Do or do not. There is no try.” Those are the immortal words of Master Yoda from Star Wars. In other words, have confidence and faith and if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried with all your heart and learned something.



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


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.

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

10-12 December (Saturday-Monday): Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry kicks off.

12 December (Monday): The Egyptian Private Equity Association’s healthcare summit.

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.

19-20 December (Monday-Tuesday): The Arab Administrative Development Organization’s conference on Modern Methods in Hospital Management, Cairo.

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: 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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.