Thursday, 19 January 2023

AM — Madbouly offers subsidized loans for manufacturers and growers, talks up backlog and new wheat pricing



Good morning, friends, and happy THURSDAY to you all. We have an absolutely packed issue for you this morning before you slide into what we hope will be a wonderful weekend.

Speaking of weekends: Next Thursday, 26 January will be a paid holiday for public and private sector workers to mark Police Day and the 25 January revolution, which both fall on the preceding Wednesday, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly confirmed in a statement. Expect the central bank and stock exchange to make their announcements following suit between today and early next week.

Next week will be our last long weekend until late in Ramadan, when we will observe holidays for Easter and Sham El Nessim.

PSA- Attention fellow iSheep, a new Mac just dropped. Apple unveiled its latest MacBook Pro in a surprise announcement on Tuesday. The new Mac is powered by the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which the company is calling “the world’s most powerful and efficient chip for a pro laptop.” It also refreshed its Mac Mini line, also with M2 processors. And yesterday, Apple announced a new HomePod, after having had only the “mini” version of the smart speaker in its lineup for some time.

Catch the video for the MacBook Pro here (watch, runtime 18:54), or see its announcements about the MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, HomePod or the M2 chip series.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- More job cuts in the tech scene:

  • Microsoft is planning to let go of some 10k employees before the end of March. (WSJ)
  • Amazon has kicked off a round of layoffs set to affect some 18k employees globally. (Bloomberg)


THE BIG STORY ABROAD- It’s all Davos, all the time as the global gathering enters day four: Today’s sessions at the World Economic Forum kick off at 9:15 CLT and run until 7pm. Here are some sessions we’ll be keeping out eyes on:

Taking the stage from our side: International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat will be among the speakers at a press conference titled “New Frontiers for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” at 4pm. She’ll also be speaking about next steps after the adoption of a new Global Biodiversity Framework in Montreal at 6:30pm, and will be participating in a session on development finance on Friday. Planning Minister Hala El Said will take the stage in a session titled “Between Liquidity and Fragility: Reforming in MENA” at 6:30pm.

ICYMI- What went down in Davos yesterday?

An Egyptian privatization update from the slopes: Egypt is seeing “great demand from different investors, high net worth individuals, sovereign funds,” to buy stakes in state-owned assets under the government’s privatization strategy, Planning Minister and Sovereign Fund of Egypt chair Hala El Said is quoted as telling Reuters at Davos. El Said expects we could raise some USD 2-2.5 bn through strategic stake sales in 1H 2022 ahead of listing state-owned companies on the bourse, she reportedly told Reuters.

“There is a lot of appetite to the Egyptian economy. I think definitely the stock market is at its best now,” El Said said. On the depreciation of the EGP, she said, “I think it's a temporary issue and we have taken already the necessary measures in the liberalization of the exchange rate and in rationalizing the foreign component of expenditure that we have, and also in terms of offering the right investment climate to ensure the influx of foreign exchange coming from FDI.”

Inflation is expected to fall during the second half of the year to between 7-9% by the end of 2023, El Said told Bloomberg Asharq. Inflation hit a fresh five-year high of 21.3% in December.

Saudi assistance will come with strings attached: Saudi Arabia wants to shift away from providing unconditional foreign assistance, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said at Davos yesterday, according to Bloomberg. Once a financier of direct grants and deposits “without strings,” Al-Jadaan said that future development assistance will be conditional on promises of economic reform. “We want to be a role model for the region…we are encouraging a lot of the countries around us to really do reforms”, Bloomberg quotes Al-Jadaan as saying.

Why we care: The kingdom has been a key backer of our economy for years and stepped up again amid the fallout of the war in Ukraine to deposit USD 5 bn at the Central Bank of Egypt. Saudi Arabia is also investing heavily here in a further boost to our external position, last year establishing an Egyptian arm of its sovereign wealth fund PIF to buy USD 1.3 bn worth of stakes in EGX-listed firms, the first of USD 10 bn worth of pledged investments.


Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council met in Abu Dhabi yesterday along with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Emirati official news agency WAM reports, without giving the specifics on what was discussed. The Egyptian and Jordanian leaders attended the GCC meeting one day after their summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo to discuss escalating tensions in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. .


Hurghada solar tender pushed to February: A planned tender for a 20-MW solar plant in Hurghada has been postponed to 22 February from 23 January, so bidders can reassess their figures following the recent volatility in the USD-EGP exchange rate, a source at the Electricity Ministry told Enterprise. Seven consortiums purchased the tender booklet ahead of potential bids.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani will visit Egypt this coming Saturday, 21 January and Sunday, 22 January, Italy’s Agenzia Nova reports.

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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PM Madbouly talks all things econ as cabinet approves subsidized loans to industry, bumps state wheat procurement price

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly has good news for manufacturers and growers: In a press conference following yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting, the PM announced the approval of new 11% subsidized loans for industry and agriculture as well as a 40% y-o-y increase in the price the state will pay local farmers for wheat this season.


Import backlog down, 2022 exports up: In other positive indicators for our economy, Madbouly said the imports backlog at ports had been all but cleared and gave some promising preliminary figures for last year’s exports. Cabinet has a summary of the press conference in a statement here; watch it yourself here (watch, runtime: 21:19); or get the key points below.

Some USD 2.2 bn worth of goods at ports: The current backlog of imported goods at our ports stands at some USD 5.3 bn, Madbouly said, of which more than half (USD 3 bn) is pending documents from importers rather than hard currency to be released. The government worked to clear goods worth some USD 4.8 bn in four days last week, Madbouly added, putting the total value cleared since 1 December at some USD 13.9 bn by our math.

Senior bankers we’ve spoken with agree that the backlog is quickly dwindling, but we not that we’ve yet to see what a substantial uptick in demand will mean as businesses place new orders.

FAIR POINT- Madbouly said that the regular flow of goods through ports means we shouldn’t be waiting for the value of goods at ports waiting for clearance to hit “0” for proof that the backlog has been solved, pointing to much improved FX liquidity and exchange-rate stability in the local market in recent days as promising signs.

On that note: The central bank has once again asked banks to provide it with estimates of their manufacturing clients’ hard currency needs through the end of the current fiscal year in June 2023, according to an unconfirmed report in Bloomberg Asharq.


On the other side of the FX ledger: Egypt’s total exports grew at a nearly 20% clip in 2022 to register a preliminary USD 53.8 bn, up from around USD 45 bn in 2021, while our non-oil imports remained unchanged at around USD 80 bn, Madbouly said. The export data got more coverage from Reuters. (Non-oil exports in 2021 came in about USD 31 bn.)


Madbouly set the stage for imminent announcements on the state’s new tax policy, saying the Finance Ministry would reveal its five- and ten-year tax policy document at a press conference “in the coming period.” He also said the government has a plan to ensure the availability of USD in the local market throughout 2023 with a “set of measures that will be announced when they are fully crystallized.”


Businesses in the industry and agriculture sectors can apply for 11% subsidized loans starting next week after cabinet approved the EGP 150 bn program in its weekly meeting, according to a statement. The new initiative comes to replace the 8% subsidized loans to industry, agriculture, and construction players that were scrapped by the central bank in November.

BACKGROUND- The state is using its own balance sheet to subsidize the cost of the loans — taking over a program that had previously been the province of the Central Bank of Egypt. The IMF had pushed Egypt to move responsibility for the program — which lent to strategic sectors and initiatives (including, at a time, mortgage finance) at below-market rates — to the fiscal side of the house.


Gov’t raises the local wheat purchase price by more than 40% y-o-y: The state will pay local farmers EGP 1.25k per ardeb of wheat in the 2023 season that kicks off in April, up 25% on the EGP 1k it had previously penciled in for this year — and more than 40% higher than last year’s price — cabinet decided yesterday. The state is hoping to give farmers incentives to produce more amid high inflation and rising import costs. The spiraling prices of both agricultural inputs and food imports helped drive food prices up 37.2% y-o-y in December. The government is hoping to buy 4 mn tons of wheat this harvest season, slightly less than the 4.2 mn tons it procured last year. Reuters has the story.

Expect the government to soon announce new pricing for other strategic commodities it wants to buy including corn, soybeans, and sunflowers, Madbouly added. All three are production inputs for cooking oils, an industry the state is working to localize.


Fitch Ratings is positive on IMF agreement, EGP float, but…

IMF pact, EGP flexibility get the thumbs up from Fitch: Our USD 3 bn loan agreement with the IMF and the move to a permanently flexible exchange rate regime have garnered praise in a note from Fitch Ratings. The catch: Our sovereign debt remains at risk of a downgrade if our external position continues to be squeezed in the short term, the rating agency warns.

TL;DR: “The EGP’s depreciation since the start of the year provides evidence of the authorities’ emerging commitment to exchange-rate flexibility, which, if sustained, should have a positive influence on the sovereign’s credit profile in the longer term,” Fitch writes. “In 2016 depreciation helped to boost fiscal revenues while eroding spending in real terms. Our baseline assumption is that a similar dynamic will play out in 2023, but less fiscally beneficial outcomes are possible.”

The caveat: “Further external financing strains, undermining recovery of international reserves and other liquidity buffers, could lead us to downgrade Egypt’s rating,” Fitch writes.

REMEMBER- The rating agency affirmed Egypt’s rating at “B+” in November while revising the outlook to “negative” down from “stable” due to “deterioration” in the country’s external liquidity position.

Reaching agreement on the IMF package helped unlock USD 6 bn in inflows this fiscal year, Fitch says, “including the first USD 750 mn disbursement from the [IMF], another USD 3.75 bn from multilateral sources and USD 1.5 bn from sukuk bond issuance.” Policymakers have penciled in another 12 bn in net FDI and proceeds from the privatization push in FY 2022-2023, Fitch says.

But we still have an external financing gap to fill: Fitch estimates our external financing needs at USD 19 bn this fiscal year and at least USD 22.5 bn next fiscal year. That includes “a narrowing but still large current-account deficit of 3.1% of GDP” or more than USD 13 bn, and external debt maturities of some USD 15.5 bn this fiscal year and next. It doesn’t include some USD 14 bn worth of bilateral debt maturing this fiscal year and next, including some of the recent deposits from our Gulf neighbors, which are expected to be rolled over.

The downside risks: “Shortfalls or volatility” in targeted net FDI, privatization proceeds, and portfolio inflows could see the country miss its external financing targets, Fitch says. Our current debt / GDP and interest / revenue ratios will likely remain “well above” the medians for the “B” rating in the short term thanks to the weaker EGP and high interest rates, the report adds.

Authorities should stay the course: The ratings agency is calling for EGP flexibility and higher interest rates to be sustained, advising policymakers not to “dilute fiscal and economic reforms” even if higher rates and inflation cause short-term disruption.


Tourism revenues projected to hit record high in 2023

Egypt’s tourism revenues will rise almost 20% in 2023 as more people visit the country on the back of a weaker EGP and the easing of covid-era travel curbs. Fitch Solutions forecasts revenues to reach a record high USD 13.6 bn this year, up 17.7% from 2022, according to a forecast picked up by Bloomberg Asharq. The research firm expects as many as 11.6 mn tourists to visit the country, up 46% from last year.

Tourism revenues have recovered from the pandemic: Tourists brought more than USD 4.9 bn into the country in the first half of 2022, up from USD 3.1 bn in the same period a year earlier, according to the most recently available central bank data. This came on the back of a surge in tourist numbers, which rose more than 85% to 4.9 mn during the six-month period.

Buoying the industry: The strong outlook for the industry comes on the back of the weaker value of the EGP and favorable market dynamics, co-head of research at CI Capital Monsef Morsy told Enterprise. Morsy projects revenues to increase to between USD 13.5 bn and USD 14 bn in FY 2023-2024. The EGP has tumbled against both the USD and the EUR since last March, making Egypt a significantly cheaper holiday destination for some foreign tourists.

The gov’t wants to go much bigger: The Tourism Ministry wants to attract as many as 30 mn tourists to the country by 2028, Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa said this week, more than double the number that visited the country in the year before the pandemic. The government plans to launch a new tourism strategy later this quarter to bring more people to the country.

Might we suggest? As well as boosting the number of tourists we welcome each year, we could also be finding ways to increase the average spend per tourist by improving our product and positioning. We recently spoke about exactly that with Somabay CEO Ibrahim El Missiri and Travco Holidays General Manager Moataz Sedky in our CEO poll on FDI and exports.


Real estate developers want more help overcoming the economic crisis

Real estate associations call on authorities for support: Some in the real estate industry are asking for state support as they battle the economic headwinds that the rest of the business community is presently facing. In a list of demands submitted earlier this week, the real estate divisions of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) and the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC) are asking the government for a package of measures that would provide favorable lending terms and loosen rules for delivery times in a bid to help them withstand soaring inflation rates. We spoke with a number of industry players to see what they’re looking for:

More time to deliver: Developers are asking authorities to give them a breather by extending project deadlines by 9-12 months and exempting them from late delivery fines, Mohamed El Bustani, chairman of El Bustani Group and head of the Real Estate Developers Association in New Cairo and the new administrative capital, told us. Contractors working on government projects are requesting a 4-6 month extension, according to Mohamed Sami Saad, head of the Contractors Union. Under regulations introduced last year, developers have to complete projects within a specific time frame agreed with the Housing Ministry and face legal penalties if they don’t deliver on time.

Preferential borrowing costs: Industry figures want companies in the real estate sector to be included in the government’s new subsidized loan program, which is set to offer EGP 150 bn worth of loans at a subsidized 11% interest rate. Announced last week, the soft loans are currently only expected to be made available to companies in the industrial and agriculture sectors. Construction and real estate companies previously had access to subsidized loans under the central bank-backed scheme which has been scrapped as part of Egypt’s UD 3 bn loan agreement with the IMF.

Debt restructure + favorable repayment terms: Developers are also angling for upcoming repayments to be rescheduled and for the government to collect payments for newly-sold lands over long-term periods of up to 10 years.

Attracting foreign investment: They reiterated demands for measures to increase their ability to sell property to foreigners in foreign currency and make it easier for them to purchase property.

A chat with Abdalla: Developers also want a meeting with CBE Governor Hassan Abdalla to discuss looser financing solutions to make it easier for prospective homebuyers to purchase property amid soaring prices. This includes pushing for an approach that collateralizes the property being purchased rather than the borrower’s credit capacity.

The real estate sector has been coping with heightened inflation for almost a year in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Soaring prices of building materials, import restrictions, and rising interest rates have pushed up costs dramatically and led to a slowdown in the industry. In parallel, the state has not reduced what it charges developers for land; industry players have for some years now warned that land prices are prohibitively high, driving up the prices of new builds.

Some firms are at risk of going bust: Prices of building materials have roughly doubled in price and the fall of the EGP against the USD in recent months could push some developers into insolvency, Alaa Fekry, chairman of Beta Egypt and member of the FEDCOC Real Estate Investment Division, told us. “The question is who will be able to continue and who will not. Not all companies will be able to continue.” Fikry anticipates property prices to rise by at least 30% this year on the back of rising material costs.

The government has provided some support already: In July, the government gave developers a six-month deadline extension to complete ongoing projects in new cities after the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association submitted a list of demands in April that included rescheduling repayments and extending project deadlines.



GBarena to acquire Tunisian gaming startup Galactech for USD 15 mn

GBarena will acquire Tunisian gaming startup Galactech in a USD 15 mn share swap that will boost the Egyptian e-sport platform’s presence in the MENA region, it said in a statement yesterday.

How much of GBarena Galactech will own is unclear: A company representative declined to disclose the details of the agreement when we reached out yesterday, saying the information is confidential.

More acquisitions in the pipeline: GBarena plans to make several more acquisitions in the tech and gaming industry later this year, the company told us. The company is focused on expanding in the GCC region including Saudi Arabia, according to the statement. GBarena already has an on-ground presence in Riyadh and Dubai.

Series A this year: GBarena hopes to close its series A round later this year with further funding from investors in the US, Singapore and the MENA region. The company is coming off a six-figure pre-series A round in October, led by angel investors including HIM Angels VC network, who have been hot on the startup since the company’s seed investment in 2019.

Growing management team: Galatech’s co-founder and CEO, Houcem Maiza (LinkedIn), will join GBarena as co-CEO, alongside Mustafa Zaza (LinkedIn) and Samer Wagdy (LinkedIn).

For the non-gamers among you: The home-grown startup has been offering users a platform that connects gamers with global tournaments and challenges that can be run through the platform, since 2016. Slightly younger, but just as popular, Galatech has attracted over 200k MENA gamers to its platform since 2019.

Advisors: Shehata & Partners is acting as the legal advisor and Youssef Salem is providing financial advice on the transaction.


Dubai’s Tabby raises whopper USD 58 mn series-C round

Dubai-based BNPL startup Tabby has been valued at USD 660 mn after it raised USD 58 mn in a series C funding round, the said in a statement yesterday. That makes it one of the most valuable startups in the MENA region.

The investors: Sequoia Capital India, Saudi venture capital firm STV, PayPal Ventures — which made its second MENA investment following its funding of Egyptian fintech startup Paymob in May — Mubadala Investment Capital, Arbor Ventures, and Endeavor Catalyst.

Egypt knows Tabby: The fintech startup launched in Egypt last September after raising USD 275 mn from unspecified global and regional investors. Its office here is headed by finance industry veteran Ahmed Khalil (LinkedIn) who in 2015 joined Uber, where he led operations in Egypt and then MENA before being named GM for Egypt.

Expansion plans: In an interview with Bloomberg, Tabby co-founder and CEO Hosam Arab (LinkedIn) said the raised funds will be used to expand the firm’s product offering and support its expansion plans, adding that taking Tabby public is “something that is potentially in the works once optimism does return to the markets.” Tabby plans to tap into the BNPL sector’s potential market of 150 mn users in the region to grow its 3 mn active users. The firm is also on the lookout for potential M&As.



Commodities once again took center stage on last night’s talk shows as the pundits parsed Prime Minister Madbouly’s presser on everything from wheat to imports — with a heavy side serving of bread talk as a new subsidies program gets underway.

Loaves too dear: The new initiative allowing all citizens to buy subsidized bread is meant to bring down prices in the wider market, Assistant Supply Minister Ibrahim Ashmawy told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 4:20), describing a recent rise in bread prices to EGP 2.25 per loaf as unjustified. The new scheme allows anyone with a prepaid card issued by post offices to buy bread at around EGP 0.90 per loaf or slightly higher.

No changes to ration-card bread: The price of bread for ration-card holders will remain unchanged at EGP 1.00 for 20 loaves, Ashmawy added.

Even as the bread subsidy bill spirals: The bread subsidy bill will more than double to EGP 90-95 bn in the new FY 2023-2024 budget, up from EGP 38 in the current fiscal year, thanks to hikes in global wheat and diesel prices, Cabinet Spokesperson Nader Saad told Moussa in a phone call (watch, runtime: 4:06).

Government intervention on feed imports brings down market prices: The black market price for corn used in feed decreased after state grain buyer GASC announced its maiden corn tender on the international market, Tharwat El Zeiny, the deputy chairman of the Egyptian Poultry Association, told Masaa DMC’s Ramy Rawdwan (watch, runtime: 7:49).

But it will take time to see that trickle down to poultry prices: Some 30-40% of poultry breeders were pushed out of the market by “greedy” traders and a feed shortage amid the FX crunch, El Zeiny said. He now expects feed prices to fall by up to 35%, resulting in a decrease in poultry prices by up to 25% after around 40 days, given the length of the production cycle.

AND- The Bank of Russia approves trade in EGP: Ahmed Moussa took note of the Bank or Russia’s decision to approve the EGP as a currency of trade (watch, runtime: 11:25.) The Russian central bank moved to set daily RUB exchange rates for the EGP, the Emirati AED, the Qatari QAR, and six other currencies from yesterday, RT reports.


Alexandria-born economist Nemat “Minouche” Shafik (official bio) has been hired as the new president of Columbia University, the university said in a statement. Shafik has served as the president of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) since 2017, following stints as deputy governor of the Bank of England, deputy managing director of the IMF, and other leadership roles at the World Bank and the UK’s Department for International Development. She is set to take over from Lee Bollinger in June, making her the first woman to hold the top job at the Ivy League university. The story got coverage in the NYT, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post, amongst others.

We couldn’t be more proud of Shafik, with whom we sat down for an exclusive interview back in 2019.

Also making headlines:

  • Foreign Policy takes a look at what it says are warming Egypt-China relations in the wake of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s visit to Cairo this week.
  • Eco-friendly building materials startup Tile Green gets ink from AFP, in the same week it was chosen as one of nine startups to receive help from the UK’s Climate Finance Accelerator.
  • CNN is the latest to use the “chicken feet” drama as a jumping-off point for a story on the state of our economy.
  • A poll by Al-Monitor claims to show that 86% of Egyptians worry about their ability to access food in the next six months.
  • Mummified crocodiles discovered in Aswan in 2018 are making a splash at the NYT.



BMWs are now being assembled in Egypt for the first time in almost five years: Global Auto Group — the new agent and importer for BMW in Egypt — has begun assembling BMWs in Egypt, Chairman Fahad Alghanim said during a presser yesterday, according to Al Mal. The company has started with the luxury SUV BMW X5 model at its Sixth of October plant and plans to start production of other models in the first half of 2023. Alghanim was speaking during the reopening of the factory yesterday, which was attended by BMW and Global Auto representatives.

The new face of BMW: Global Auto Group is a joint venture between Kuwait’s Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors, and local firms Organi Group and Al Safi Group. BMW made it its local agent in November, paving the way for its vehicles to be produced in Egypt following a five-year hiatus. The company plans to initially assemble 1.5k vehicles a year before expanding production and exporting them to other countries.


Masdar wants in on our desalination plants: UAE clean-energy giant Masdar has expressed interest in the Madbouly government’s multi-bn USD water desalination program, Aysha Al Aydaroos, the company’s head of business support, clean energy, told state news agency MENA.

Masdar has established itself as a key player in our energy scene: The company is partnering with Hassan Allam Utilities and Infinity on a huge 10-GW wind farm — set to be one of the largest in the world — and a 2-GW green hydrogen plant in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Its clean energy projects in Egypt have helped provide over 25k homes with electricity, according to Al Aydaroos.


Saudi Obeikan’s digital subsidiary sets shop in Egypt: Saudi Arabia’s Obeikan Investment Group has opened a head office in Cairo for its digital subsidiary Obeikan Digital Solutions, it said in a press release (pdf) yesterday. The company said it plans to forge several agreements with the government, including one with the Trade and Industry Ministry’s Industrial Modernization Center (IMC) to “drive digital transformation in manufacturing companies and provide industry 4.0 solutions.”


EEP finalizes acquisition of Selah El Telmeez: Egypt Education Platform (EEP) has acquired a “majority stake” comprising 71.4 mn shares in student lifeline Selah El Telmeez for EGP 646 mn, Al Mal reports, citing unnamed sources it says are in the know.

How much of the company does EEP now own? Al Mal doesn’t say how much of the company those 71.4 mn shares represent. EEP had been set to acquire a 51% stake in Selah El Telmeez, a source with knowledge of the transaction told Enterprise when news of the acquisition first broke in October. If that remains the case, the transaction would value the education platform at nearly EGP 1.3 bn by our math.

What about the SFE’s stake buy? EEP is owned by EFG Hermes and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE). The SFE had been set to separately acquire a 5% stake as part of the transaction.

ADVISORS- EEP tapped White & Case as legal advisor, while Adsero-Ragy Soliman and Partners was counsel to the SFE. Al Tamimi & Co had sell-side duties.


COMESA closes antitrust investigation into CAF brought on by our very own ECA: The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa’s (COMESA) competition commission has closed an investigation into how the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Lagardère Group (and its subsidiary Sportfive EMEA) marketed rights to broadcast African football tournaments, in a decision published yesterday (pdf). The move puts to rest a five-year legal battle and investigation that was prompted by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) back in 2017, who alleged at the time that CAF had breached COMESA antitrust regulation.

Background: At the ECA’s behest, COMESA had launched an investigation into how CAF awarded the media rights of African tournaments to Lagardère. CAF had terminated the contract back in 2019. COMESA’s competition commission continued investigating CAF’s bidding process until December 2022, after COMESA’s appeals board cleared CAF.


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China’s loosening of covid-19 restrictions is forecasted to boost oil demand to a record high this year of 101.7 mn barrels per day, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday. Expect to see a tighter market as “Russian supply slows under the full impact of sanctions [while] China will drive… global demand growth even as the shape and speed of its reopening remains uncertain,” the energy watchdog said. The IEA sees China taking India’s place as the world’s leader in oil demand growth, with the country set to account for half of the 1.9 mn barrel-per-day growth in demand next year. Oil supply growth, on the other hand, is expected to slow to 1.0 mn barrels per day, largely due to declines in Russian output on the back of the West’s price cap on Russian crude.

And that’s coming off a record-breaking year for the oil and gas industry: Western oil and gas giants are set to report combined record earnings of USD 200 bn in 2022 on the back of volatility in the energy markets triggered by the war in Ukraine, according to Reuters.

A bleak outlook for US stocks: Fund managers are abandoning Wall Street in favor of higher returns in Europe and emerging markets, with allocations to US stocks falling to a record 17-year low in January, the Financial Times reports citing a Bank of America survey. Some 39% of asset allocators were holding an underweight position in US stocks in January, up from 12% in December, the survey showed. US equities are struggling to keep pace with a rally in European stocks since the new year amid an “elevated and volatile inflationary environment which is likely to play havoc with profitability” for listed firms, the FT quotes one equity strategist at Morgan Stanley as saying.

All the more for EMs: More than a quarter of global fund managers are now overweight on emerging-market equities, the BoA survey showed.




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The EGX30 closed flat yesterday on turnover of EGP 946 mn (44.6% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 9.5% YTD.

In the green: Oriental Weavers (+3.3%), CIB (+3.2%) and QNB Al Ahli (+3.0%).

In the red: AMOC (-6.2%), Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (-4.2%) and GB Auto (-4.2%).


Hadeer Shalaby, managing director, Talabat: 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 Hadeer Shalaby (Linkedin), managing director at Talabat.

I'm Hadeer, and I'm an entrepreneur. I'm currently the managing director of Talabat in Egypt. My responsibilities include keeping 3k employees happy while ensuring that they are learning and that Talabat is an important part of their professional journey; demonstrating the responsibilities of a large, late stage startup; and serving as a role model for women who aspire to be leaders.

I usually wake up around 8am and have a mini breakfast of a banana or dates to give me energy for my workout. From 8-8:50am, I check my messages, Slack, email, read the news, and make sure there isn't an urgent issue I need to deal with.

I exercise four times a week from 9am to 10 am. I devote one hour to nothing but focusing on my health. Working out in the morning gets it out of the way and allows you to fully awaken, so you almost don't need coffee. Then, between 10 and 10.30 am, I take a quick shower and prepare a proper breakfast, which I sometimes eat during my first meeting at 10.30am.

I try to run or walk for 30 minutes after work and before dinner as much as possible. I have a treadmill and a television in front of it, which makes the time pass pretty fast. Or sometimes I put on the VR Oculus headset, which has a lot of games that encourage physical activity. I also spend the entire day obsessing over my Apple Watch. I stand up every hour when it notifies me, even if I'm in a meeting.

My workday varies. I work in the office two or three days per week, and fill those days with face-to-face meetings. I prefer to meet with my team in person whenever possible. Wednesdays are mainly dedicated to online meetings with our regional and international teams in Dubai and Germany. On Thursday, I try to focus as much as possible on things I need to get done, such as keeping up with emails, personal projects, and following up on certain things.

One constant in my day is that I drink a lot of water — around 3-4 liters per day. I religiously count the bottles of water I drink and I hate it if someone takes a sip from my bottle because it messes up the count. I also have to stay connected to my parents and my husband every single day.

I stay organized by writing things down. Everything in my life is on my calendar. Not just meetings, but outings, family gatherings, and everything else. My wedding and my honeymoon were on my calendar — and I declined by mistake [laughs]. My husband is the same, so if we have a date, it's obviously on the calendar. If something is not on the calendar, it doesn't exist and you can’t hold me accountable for it.

It's easy to become distracted when there's a lot going on, so I stay focused by reflecting. I do it a lot when I'm driving — you're forced not to check your phone. I'm constantly coming up with new ideas and solutions, whether for Talabat, startup ideas, or anything else.

On the professional level, a very big focus for us is profitability. We reached a significant milestone when we became profitable, and the challenge now is to maintain profitability while also maintaining exponential growth. We currently have a presence in over 20 cities and want to provide jobs for more riders, of whom we currently have over 13k. On the vendor side, we try to support and assist SMEs and new vendors. If they make the right kind of investment in their positioning and marketing, and provide a good experience, they have the potential to become a large vendor.

After work, I like to unwind by watching Netflix with my husband and eating good food. I'm a huge foodie so it’s funny that I work for a food company. I'm very specific about what I eat and if my family’s cooking, I provide constructive feedback on everything. My mom and sister both hate it, but my dad loves it because he takes the feedback and works to improve.

I'm currently reading a very cool book, Nudge by Richard H. Thaler, and I highly recommend it. My favorite show is This is Us. A lot of people think it's a lame chick flick, but it's really not. It's about family, raising kids, and the relationship between siblings.

During a college internship someone told me, "Do the dirty work now, so you don't have to do it when you graduate." That motivated me to work hard during my university years. And he was absolutely correct, because when I graduated, I went straight into doing things that required more leadership because I had gained experience through internships and extra-curricular activities.



January: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

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

January: Global Auto to restart BMW assembly in Egypt.

16-20 January (Monday-Friday): Davos 2023.

25 January (Wednesday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

26 January-6 February (Thursday-Monday): Cairo International Book Fair, Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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 (TBC).

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

31 January (Tuesday): The IMF will release its World Economic Outlook Update.


1 February (Wednesday): Capricorn Energy will hold a vote on its merger with Israel’s NewMed.

2 February (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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: 4Q2022 earnings season.

23 March (Wednesday): First day of Ramadan (TBC). Maghreb will be at 6:08pm CLT.

30 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.


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

10-16 April (Monday-Sunday): IMF / World Bank Spring Meetings, Marrakesh, Morocco.

16 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter

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).

30 April (Sunday): Deadline for self-employed to register for e-invoicing.

30 April (Sunday): End of Mediterranean, Nile Delta oil + gas exploration tender.

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2023 earnings season.


1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

4 May (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Labor Day (TBC).

4 May (Thursday): IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Cairo.

18 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

22-26 May (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.


10 June (Saturday): Thanaweya Amma examinations begin.

19-21 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Infrastructure and Water Expo debuts at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

22 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

28 June-2 July (Wednesday-Sunday): Eid El Adha (TBC).

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.


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.


3 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.


21 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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.


2 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.


21 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.


2023: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

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: Egypt + Qatar to launch joint business forum.

1Q 2023: FRA to introduce new rules for short selling.

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.