Tuesday, 31 January 2023

AM — Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund eyes stakes in two state-owned terminal operators — and investment banks vie for the eventual IPO



Good morning, wonderful people, and a very happy last day of January to you all — 8.3% of 2023 is now in our rearview mirror. Diplomacy and signs of life in the Madbouly government’s privatization program dominate the news agenda this morning.

TODAY’S WEATHER- Remember that 10-day-long cold front we spoke of yesterday? Add rain on the North Coast. Wind and light to medium rainfall is expected in several parts of the country today (though not in Cairo), according to a forecast from the Egyptian Meteorological Authority. Rain will be heaviest in coastal areas including Alexandria.

It’s shaping up to be a busy news day:


FM Shoukry is in Moscow: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry traveled to Moscow last night for meetings with officials including his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, according to a statement (pdf) by our Foreign Ministry. The two ministers will hold a press conference following their meeting. “The visit will allow the Egyptian and Russian sides to consult and exchange views on several regional and international issues….including the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and its various ramifications,” FM Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

We keep a wide social circle: Shoukry’s visit comes hot on the heels of his meeting yesterday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo. We have all the details on Blinken’s visit to Egypt in our Diplomacy section, below.

SAY BYE-BYE to high-interest CDs at NBE, Banque Misr, and Banque du Caire: Banque du Caire said it will join its state-owned peers National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr in suspending its one-year, 25% certificates of deposit by the end of the working day today, local media reports. The high-interest CDs were introduced earlier this month to combat inflation and dollarization ahead of the recent devaluation of the EGP. Private lenders CIB and QNB Alahli are yet to announce when they will follow suit, though we expect all the high-yield CDs to be pulled off the market in tandem.

AND- CI Capital’s annual MENA Investor Conference continues today: The three-day event runs through to Wednesday, 1 February. The gathering opened yesterday with an appearance by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, who gave a run-down of the government’s growth forecasts and fiscal targets, its efforts to address the economic crisis, and its strategy to boost private-sector investment. A parade of senior government officials followed, including members of the cabient economic team and the heads of the EGX and FRA, among others.

How much will Subsidized Loan Program 2.0 cost the public purse? EGP 10 bn, according to Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, who spoke during a panel discussion at the conference yesterday. The program is set to offer EGP 150 bn worth of loans at a subsidized 11% interest rate to industry and agriculture players. Maait added that the government is spending EGP 6 bn a year to subsidize electricity prices for the industrial sector.

EBRD + EU + GCF are holding a green finance event: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the EU, the Green Economic Financing Facility, and the Green Climate Fund will hold a green finance event today at the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel.


EGP WATCH- The EGP breached the 30 mark against the USD yesterday, dipping 0.4% against the greenback to 30.03 from 29.92 a day before, per the central bank exchange rate. The local currency has largely stabilized against the USD in recent days, following a sharper devaluation at the start of January that helped spur the return of foreign inflows and relieve a shortage of hard currency that had stymied imports. Trading on the interbank market continues to be active.

More predictions of an incoming rate hike: The CBE will likely raise interest rates by 150 bps when it meets this Thursday on the back of surging inflation, according to a Reuters poll. A median forecast of 13 analysts surveyed by the newswire sees the central bank hiking its deposit rate to 17.75% and its lending rate to 18.75% at the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) first meeting of the year.

Those we spoke to agree: Four of the seven analysts and economists we surveyed in our rate poll see the MPC raising rates by 100-200 bps later this week.

Fed meeting kicks off today: The Federal Reserve is expected to continue to slow the pace of its interest rate hikes when it holds its two-day policy meeting today and tomorrow.


The outdoor advertising industry weathered economic turbulence last year: Total outdoor advertising rental sales rose 6.5% y-o-y to reach EGP 3.1 bn in 2022, according to outdoor ad platform Admazad’s annual market report (pdf). Some 1k companies used outdoor advertising last year, up 5.6% from 2021.

Billboard buys are a telling sign as to who’s faring well — and not so well: Fintech, snack foods, and real estate firms led the growth in ad buys, followed by fast food, e-commerce, and telecoms. Spending on ads dropped sharply in the automotive sector, as well as among charities and consumer electronics firms.

** TAKE OUR JANUARY ENTERPRISE READER SURVEY and get a chance to have lunch with us: Give us your thoughts on how 2022 panned out for your business and industry, and what you’re expecting in the year ahead in our Enterprise Reader Survey.

We’re asking you to share your expectations on the EGP / USD rate in 2023, how you’re managing expenses amid the rising cost of living, where you see your industry as a whole heading, and whether you expect to make fresh investments — among a few other questions we ask our community on a regular basis. As is our custom, we’ll be sharing the results with all of you in a few weeks’ time to help you shape your view of the year.

You can take the Reader Survey here — it won’t take more than a few minutes to complete.

Want to have lunch with us? Leave your name, email, mobile number, and where you work in the box for “Is there anything else you want to tell us.” We’ll be inviting eight participating readers to breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants.


There’s no one story dominating the conversation in the international press this morning. Some are highlighting yesterday’s terror attack at a crowded mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar, which killed at least 59 people — including 27 police officials — and wounded more than 150 others. Reuters, AP, the BBC, and the Guardian have more. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry condemned the attack in a statement yesterday.

IN THE BUSINESS PAGES- (A little) more optimism on global growth from the IMF: The IMF has upgraded its global growth forecast for 2023 by 0.2 percentage points to 2.9% in its updated World Economic Outlook. The multilateral lender was quick to point out that “the balance of risks remains tilted to the downside,” noting that the expected growth is lower than the historical average of 3.8%. High interest rates, inflation, and the war in Ukraine will continue to slow economic growth this year, it said.

Driving the change to the upside: China’s recent reopening, which the IMF says “has paved the way for a faster-than-expected recovery,” as well as stronger-than-expected demand in advanced economies and cooler energy prices. The IMF is expecting growth to pick up to 3.1% in 2024. Bloomberg and Reuters have more.


OPEC+ is meeting remotely and delegates are expecting the committee to keep oil output unchanged as global demand picks up. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed “cooperation within OPEC+ to provide the stability of the global oil market” over the phone yesterday, according to a Kremlin statement.



We’re excited to unveil our next C-level event: The Enterprise FDI + Exports Forum, where we will take a deep dive into two of the most critical topics affecting our community.

Exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) have never been more important to our economy — or our businesses — than in the wake of the float of the EGP. We think we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build an export-led economy that makes us a magnet for FDI and all the benefits that will come with it for our nation.

Want to join the conversation? Drop us a line on events@enterprisemea.com.


It’s interest rate week here at home… The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) is likely to hike interest rates when it meets on Thursday as inflation continues to run high, according to our interest rate poll.

We’re still waiting to hear what’s happening with fuel prices this quarter: The government’s fuel pricing committee was due to meet earlier this month to set fuel prices for 1Q 2023. The government has increased prices at the pump by 23-28% since April 2021, and decided on a rare fuel oil price hike last July.

Expect prices to rise: The government has committed to changing local fuel prices in line with movements in the global markets under the USD 3 bn loan agreement with the IMF.

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


*** It’s Going Green day — your weekly briefing of all things green in Egypt: Enterprise’s green economy vertical focuses each Tuesday on the business of renewable energy and sustainable practices in Egypt, everything from solar and wind energy through to water, waste management, sustainable building practices and how you can make your business greener, whatever the sector.

In today’s issue: The world suffered USD 313 bn in economic losses in 2022 due to natural disasters. We look at how to pay for the damage and build back resiliently.


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Investment banks eye terminal operator IPOs — and Qatar’s SWF is looking for a strategic stake

A unit of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is eyeing majority stakes in two state-owned terminal operators as investment bankers angle for IPO mandates in what could be the first sign so far this year of significant new activity in the Madbouly government’s privatization program.

The Qatar Investment Authority’s Maha Capital has submitted an offer to take majority stakes in terminal operators Port Said Containers & Cargo Holding Company (PSCCHC) and Damietta Container & Cargo Handling Company (DCHC), both subsidiaries of the Holding Company for Maritime Transport. The news was first made public by Al Mal. Senior officials at PSCCHC and DCHC were unavailable for comment yesterday.

A team from Maha Capital talked “cooperation and investment” with PSCCHC last October, according to the port operator’s website. Damietta Port issued a statement about a Maha Capital visit the same day. The visits came a month after it inked an MoU with the Transport Ministry to invest in the nation’s port infrastructure. Qatar has pledged to invest USD 5 bn here to help shield us from the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

WATCH THIS SPACE- The Transport Ministry reportedly has reservations about ceding control of the companies, Al Mal’s sources claim. It’s possible that the two sides reach an agreement that would see QIA acquire smaller stakes, leaving the government with majority ownership, according to the newspaper.

The news suggests a one-two punch: That the state could bring in a strategic operator to help the ports up their competitive metabolism while retaining a stake large enough to monetize at a higher valuation in a later initial public offering on the EGX. Speaking of IPOs…


EFG Hermes, CI Capital and at least one other investment bank are reportedly bidding to work on an IPO of Port Said Containers, Al Mal reports, citing PSCCHC CEO Tarek Shaheen. A PSCCHC spokesperson was unavailable for comment yesterday; spokespersons for EFG Hermes and CI Capital declined to comment.

REFRESHER- PSCCHC and the DCHC listed their shares on the EGX in early December as a prelude to a future offering of equity. The approval gives the maritime companies six months to meet listing requirements including minimum quotas for the number of listed shares and shareholders, and to obtain regulatory approvals for an offering to the public.

What’s at stake? Both companies plan to sell 25% of their shares on the EGX in 1Q 2023, according to the domestic press.

Question the timeline, but not the intent: It’s the last day of January, investment bankers haven’t been appointed, and Ramadan starts in March — it’s too tight to go to market in March, and quite possibly too late for the May IPO window. We think it’s more likely that investment bankers are looking for mandates to (a) advise the Holding Company for Maritime Transport on the strategic sales to Maha and then (b) help take the companies public a bit further down the road.

BACKGROUND- The EGX has momentum now: It’s the best-performing market in the region (in local-currency terms) since the devaluation of the EGP, up nearly 17% since the start of the year. Saudi’s Tadawul is up just over 3% and the DFM is down 1%. Volumes are healthy, if still driven largely by local institutional and individual investors — daily turnover is now routinely north of EGP 1 bn. Against that backdrop, the various arms of government are readying companies for IPO or sale to strategic investors. Among them are the potential IPOs of Banque du Caire, Misr Life Ins, Egyptian Drilling Company, and Egyptian Linear Alkylbenzene Company (ELAB).


Israel-Palestine conflict dominates Blinken’s Cairo visit

Blinken talks Egypt-US partnership, Israel-Palestine conflict with El Sisi, Shoukry: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry yesterday before heading to Israel for the final leg of a three-day Middle East tour. Blinken had warm words for the “strategic partnership” between Egypt and the US, while also calling for “progress” on human rights. The Israel-Palestine conflict was also a key topic amid escalating violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Blinken and El Sisi “reaffirmed their strong commitment to the U.S.-Egypt strategic partnership,” according to statements from Ittihadiya and State Department spokesperson Ned Price. Blinken highlighted US support for the Egypt amid the “perfect storm” of high inflation sweeping the global economy, pointing to US finance for food security as well as a subsea telecoms cable, and Red Sea coral reef protection initiative backed by our friends at USAID, according to a US readout of his joint press conference with Shoukry following their meeting (watch, runtime: 29:34.)

Thumbs up for our IMF agreement: “The work that Egypt is doing, including under the new IMF program in terms of the reforms that it’s making, is very important for the long-term economic success of Egypt,” Blinken said. A new joint economic commission between the two countries would look at ways to up trade and investment between the two countries, he added.

No movement on GERD? Blinken reiterated to El Sisi “US support for a diplomatic resolution on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that would safeguard the interests of all parties,” according to Price.

Events in Israel and the West Bank drove much of the conversation: “Washington is counting on close coordination with Egypt… to restore stability, achieve calm and contain the situation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,” Ittihadiya Spokesperson Bassam Rady said Blinken told El Sisi. Violence in the wake of the ascension of Israel’s new far right government has killed 35 Palestinians and seven Israelis in recent days, with both Egypt and the US yesterday calling for de-escalation. Egypt has often acted as a mediator in the conflict.

One sticking point in the friendship: “Making tangible and lasting improvements on human rights is essential to strengthening even more our bilateral relationship,” Blinken said at the presser and in his meeting with El Sisi, according to the US statements. While praising steps including the launch of the national dialogue and the reactivation of the presidential pardons committee, Blinken also called for further reforms and the release of more prisoners. He raised the cases of individual detainees with Egyptian officials, he told reporters, without naming them. Blinken also met separately with civil society members, according to a separate statement by Price.

What’s next? Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after landing in Israel yesterday, where he called for “urgent steps” to restore calm. He will next meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, according to a summary of his travel plans from the US Department of State.

Blinken’s visit was the topic of the day on the nation’s talkshows, fueled by State Dept. Arabic Spokesperson Sam Weberg’s Energizer Bunny-like blanketing of the airwaves, as we note in Last Night’s Talk Shows, below.

Blinken’s visit is everywhere in the int’l press: AP | Reuters | AFP | BBC | Al Monitor | The National.


Transport Minister defends spending on Talgo trains, rail infrastructure

Transport Minister defends spending record at the House: Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir defended his ministry’s spending on trains and rail infrastructure at the House yesterday, responding to wide-ranging questions from MPs.

Our seven new Talgo trains were a smart buy, according to El Wazir: The government secured the Spanish-made trains at a 25% discount compared to the price paid by France for the same model, El Wazir said. The EUR 157 mn contract includes one gift train and 20 years of maintenance and is financed by a 30-year facility at 1% interest rate with a five-year grace period, he noted. “Some in the media claim that the Talgo trains cost the state budget too much money, but let me respond to this as I have nothing to fear,” said El-Wazir. “We are not brokers, but officials loyal to our country.” The Talgo trains will begin operating on the Upper Egypt line next week, he added.

The new Bashteel station in Giza will open its doors in March, El Wazir said. Bashteel lies between Ramses and Giza and aims to alleviate congestion at Ramses station. It will serve as Cairo’s main station for trains to and from Upper Egypt.

Road spending rise? The 10-year plan that the government kicked off in 2014 to upgrade some 10k km of roads will have cost as much as EGP 1.96 tn by the time it wraps in 2024, El Wazir said. That’s nearly 80% higher than the EGP 1.1 tn cost El Wazir estimated back in 2020. Some four-fifths of the roadworks are now complete, he added. “These roads are important to accommodate population growth and serve industrial and agricultural projects and the movement of trade,” El Wazir said.


  • The Economic Affairs Committee is this week set to conclude its discussion of the Unifed Ins. Act, which the Senate approved last April.
  • The Defense and National Security Committee approved a draft law that would give village mayors and sheikhs more security powers, as well as toughening penalties against them for ethics violations.
  • The CIT Committee approved a draft bill establishing the Digital Egypt Fund. The bill was approved by the Senate in December.

DATA POINT- Suez Canal revenues rose 46% y-o-y in January to USD 717 mn, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie told the House Defense and National Security Committee yesterday. Some 1.95k ships transited the canal this month, up 21% y-o-y. Net tonnage rose 16% y-o-y to 110.6 mn tons, he said.


Three in, three out as EGX30 rebalances

The EGX30’s semiannual rebalancing is done, the EGX said in a statement out yesterday.

In: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Egypt, snack food maker Edita, and Taaleem Management Services have all been added.

Out: Alexandria Containers and Cargo Handling, Housing and Development Bank, and QNB Al Ahli have all been rotated out.

SOUND SMART- Criteria to make the EGX30 include rules based on a stock’s freefloat market cap and how actively it is traded, with the idea being that the benchmark represents the EGX’s 30 largest and most liquid stocks.

Want to go deeper? We have everything you need to know about rebalancing the EGX and more in this Enterprise Explains piece.


Ambassador Ahmed Fahmy (LinkedIn) will assume the role of Ittihadiya spokesperson starting today, Ala Mas’ouleety reported outgoing spokesperson Bassam Rady as saying (watch, runtime: 2:50.) A veteran diplomat with nearly two decades of experience at the Foreign Ministry, Fahmy has represented Egypt at the UN in New York and at the Egyptian Embassy in Abidjan, according to Ahram Gate. Rady was named Egypt’s new ambassador to Italy back in May but had stayed in the spokesperson post until now.



American invasion on the airwaves

Blinken everywhere: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meetings with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry kept the talking heads busy last night.

State Department Arabic Spokesperson (and Cairo veteran) Sam Werberg made the rounds last night, managing to squeeze in interviews with no less than eight local and regional channels to discuss the Blinken visit. Egypt plays a pivotal role in de-escalating tensions between Palestinians and Israelis and in resolving other regional crises, including in Libya and Sudan and regarding the GERD dispute, Werberg told Masa’a DMC (watch, runtime: 5:30). Blinken’s visit also got coverage from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 9:35) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 8:02).

Some are hopeful for forthcoming US support on GERD: Blinken’s statements on GERD took into consideration the vital importance of Egypt’s water security interests, political analyst and writer Emil Amin told Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 4:40). “This gives a positive indicator that there might be a move by the US in the coming days to realize the rights [of involved parties],” Amin said. “Washington can act if it wants as a guarantor power to an agreement that achieves the interests of all,” he said.

Privatization plans also got a look in: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly reiterated that empowering the private sector and attracting foreign investors is a top priority for the government, in a speech during CI Capital’s annual MENA investor conference. Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 7:42) and Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 5:49) took note.

Now is the time for IPOs: The time is now suitable to offer new companies on the EGX given growing appetite from investors, CI Capital Chairman Mahmoud Attalla told Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 9:16.) Madbouly said earlier this week that the government will announce in two weeks the details of the state-owned firms it plans to offer on the EGX this year, as the state looks to reboot its privatization program.


Blinken bas: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Cairo is still dominating coverage of Egypt in the international press. We have all the details in our Diplomacy section, above.



Good news for our electronics localization drive? Chinese electronics and household appliance manufacturer Hisense is in talks with the government to assemble its products locally, Al Mal reports citing unnamed sources in the telecoms sector. Hisense in 2021 entered a partnership with El Araby Group to launch a home appliance assembly line here, with plans to invest USD 170 mn.


The military has been allocated desert land stretching 2 km on either side of 31 new roads, according to a decree by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi that was published in the Official Gazette. The General Authority for Urban Planning will take responsibility for planning the development of the allocated areas.


SolarizEgypt is looking to invest USD 100 mn in Egypt over the next three years, founder and managing director Yaseen Abdel Ghaffar reportedly told Al Mal. We can also expect to see Solariz expand its presence in Africa, with Abdel Ghaffar noting the company’s interest in entering Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa this year.


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More African nations at risk of debt distress may have to go to the G20 to negotiate restructuring their debts, a UN official told Bloomberg. Chad, Zambia, Ethiopia and Ghana have all sought to receive debt relief under the G20 framework and “four or five” additional African nations may soon join them on the back of rising rates and a stronger greenback, Antonio Pedro, the executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, told the business news outlet.

The EM bond market has stabilized since last summer: Bloomberg data points to as many as 15 emerging markets with average USD-bond yields trading in excess of 1k bps over that of the US Treasuries — an indicator of debt distress. This is down from 21 countries during the height of the market turmoil last year which saw almost a fifth of EM debt trading at distressed levels.

Egypt isn’t on the list, but it’s close: Yields on Egyptian USD debt are trading at 730 bps above US treasuries, according to Bloomberg. This is down from last summer when the spread between Egyptian and US treasuries was above 1k bps.

EARNINGS WATCH- Our friends at Mashreq had quite the year: Dubai-based lender Mashreq’s net income more than tripled to AED 3.7 bn in 2022, it said in its earnings release (pdf) yesterday. Revenues rose 29.1% during the year to AED 7.50 bn thanks to 50% growth in net interest income. “Double-digit growth was recorded across each and every business unit in 2022,” Chairman of Mashreq Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said.

CEO Ahmed Abdelaal noted “solid growth in all business activities” last year “as we continue to solidify our status in the market as a power digital disruptor and challenger bank,” zeroing in on the bank’s very healthy 39% ratio of non-interest-income to operating income, which he called “one of the industry’s best.”

On a quarterly basis: Mashreq’s net earnings surged 53% to AED 1.13 bn in 4Q 2022. Revenues were up 43% y-o-y to AED 2.15 bn on the back of a 83% rise in net interest income, which brought in AED 1.48 bn during the quarter.

Renewables could benefit from the war in Ukraine: That’s according to BP, which has cut its demand forecast for fossil fuels on the back of the disruption to global energy markets caused by the conflict. In its annual outlook (pdf), the energy company said that heightened concerns about energy security would cause renewables demand to grow 5% by 2035 and cause a shift away from hydrocarbons. Demand for oil will fall 5% and natural gas 6% in the same period, it said.

Embattled Adani receives vote of confidence from the UAE: The Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company (IHC) will invest USD 400 mn in Adani Enterprises’ secondary share sale, Bloomberg reports. The investment — which accounts for 16% of the offering — is a show of support for the Indian conglomerate which has lost USD 65 bn in market value on the back of a short seller’s report that accused it of committing fraud.




-2.2% (YTD: +16.6%)



Buy 29.93

Sell 30.03



Buy 30.00

Sell 30.10


Interest rates CBE

16.25% deposit

17.25% lending




-0.3% (YTD: +3.2%)




+0.7% (YTD: -4.0%)




-0.8% (YTD: -1.0%)


S&P 500


-1.3% (YTD: +4.6%)


FTSE 100


+0.3% (YTD: +4.5%)


Euro Stoxx 50


-0.5% (YTD: +9.6%)


Brent crude

USD 84.90



Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.68




USD 1,938.60




USD 22,824

-3.6% (YTD: +38.0%)


The EGX30 fell 2.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 2.9 bn (66% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 16.6% YTD.

In the green: Eastern Company (+4.4%), CIRA Education (+1.0%) and Egypt Kuwait Holding -EGP (+0.2%).

In the red: Telecom Egypt (-7.1%), Heliopolis Housing (-7.0%) and Madinet Nasr Housing and Development (-5.6%).


The world lost a lot of money due to climate change in 2022: The world suffered USD 313 bn in economic losses in 2022 due to natural disasters, most of which were caused by climate-related events, according to a report by Aon. The insurer estimates that disasters triggered by climate and weather events caused USD 299 bn in losses, less than half of which were covered by ins.

Most climate-related losses remain uninsured: Only USD 132 bn was covered by ins, equating to 42% of total losses suffered around the world. Despite this, insured losses were well above the short-, medium- and long-term averages, and resulted in 2022 being the fifth-costliest year on record for the industry.

More large-scale disasters were insured than usual: Of the 421 notable disasters that occurred in 2022, 39 caused more than USD 1 bn in economic losses and at least five exceeded USD 10 bn. Hurricane Ian, which struck the US and the Caribbean in September, caused almost USD 100 bn worth of damage, making it the most costly disaster in 2022 and one of the costliest weather events on record. Meanwhile, summer droughts in Europe and the US inflicted losses of USD 38 bn.

The problem is larger in developing countries: The lower protection gap was largely caused by several major disasters occurring in the US, whose mature ins. market was responsible for 75% of global insured losses. Disasters occurring elsewhere around the world are less likely to be covered. Insurers covered only 14% of losses seen in the Asia-Pacific region — where USD 15 bn of damage was caused by floods in Pakistan — and 26% in the Americas excluding the US.

This is why loss and damage and other climate finance initiatives are so important for the global south: Last year’s COP27 climate conference witnessed the signing of a landmark agreement to establish a loss and damage fund to help developing countries shoulder the costs of climate-related disasters. The fund is expected to be capitalized by rich nations and was a big victory for the global south which has long argued that advanced economies should pay up for disproportionately contributing to climate change.

Greater amounts of wealth and higher populations will inflict more losses on the ins. industry, even if climate risks remain the same, Aon says. With the world population now more than 8 bn and global GDP up 80% since the year 2000, economic losses caused by natural disasters are higher than they were the previous century.

Egypt has been spared large-scale disasters and hefty economic losses: The country suffered USD 346.7 mn in economic damages during the first two decades of the 21st century, according to World Bank (pdf) estimates. Almost 1.5k people lost their lives over the 20-year period.

But the country is at high risk of natural disasters: The UN (pdf) has named the Nile Delta as one of the world’s three “extreme” vulnerability areas, and risks are expected to heighten in the coming years due to rising sea levels, growing water scarcity and an increased likelihood of extreme weather events.

We only need to look at the Ever Given, which demonstrated the extent to which weather events — sandstorms in this case — can threaten critical trade routes, disrupt canal operations and global supply chains, according to a recent study (pdf) by global ins. broker Marsh. With use of the Suez Canal constituting 2-3% of Egypt’s GDP and a valuable FX and foreign trade source, ensuring reliable use and risk management of a key waterway is paramount, it says.

Insurers are taking notice: In a 2021 report (pdf), Allianz Egypt said that losses caused by natural disasters have increased, “implying high risk and volatility for the ins. industry.” Since setting up in Egypt, the insurer has paid out EGP 1.1 bn in compensation for natural disasters, it said at the time.

Industry figures are trying to develop the local ins. market to handle climate risks: The Ins. Federation of Egypt (IFE) is working with large reinsurers and reins. brokers to establish a natural disaster ins. pool, a move that would strengthen the industry’s capacity to underwrite natural catastrophe risk. The federation and the Financial Regulatory Authority have also been in discussions with the UN (pdf) about drawing up a roadmap for developing the local market for sustainable ins.

So where do we go? During COP27, UN high-level climate champions led by Egypt’s climate czar Mahmoud Mohieldin called on (pdf) the global ins. sector to expand direct support for climate risk reduction projects and develop a common framework for de-risking, financing and accelerating climate adaptation. A number of global organizations are coming up with mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of ins. to mitigate climate-related losses, including the Ins. Development Forum, Axa, whose researchers are developing new climate risk assessment tools, and Guy Carpenter, which has articulated how reinsurers and public-private partnerships can be utilized to harness the private sector.

Your top green economy stories for the week:

  • Dual-fuel engines for Careem vehicles: Ride hailing app Careem Egypt’s captains will have their cars equipped with dual-fuel engines capable of running on natural gas per an agreement between Careem, state-owned Natural Gas Vehicles Company (Car Gas) and I-check. (Statement)
  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held talks with several Indian firms to draw investments in Egypt’s green infrastructure, including renewables and green hydrogen.



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

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

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

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.

31 January (Tuesday): EBRD + EU + GCF will lay out their strategic plans to boost green finance in Egypt.

31 January-1 February (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.


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

1 February (Wednesday): OPEC will hold a joint ministerial monitoring committee meeting.

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

5 February (Sunday): The Senate reconvenes.

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.

21-22 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

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

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


April: GAFI to launch the country’s first integrated electronic platform to facilitate setting up a business.

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.

21 April (Friday): 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.

2-3 May (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

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.


7-10 (Wednesday-Saturday): The second edition of Africa Health Excon.

10 June (Saturday): Thanaweya Amma examinations begin.

13-14 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

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.

25-26 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

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.


19-20 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate 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.

31 October – 1 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.


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


12-13 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate 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.

1Q 2023: The Madbouly government will choose which state-owned hotels will be merged into a new hotels company ahead of an offering to foreign and Gulf investors.

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