Monday, 27 February 2023

AM — Madbouly, key cabinet members in Qatar to talk investment



Good morning, ladies and gents. Before we dive into another busy news day, we have an announcement to make:


We are delighted to share with you that the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum will be taking place on Monday, 15 May at the Four Seasons Hotel at Nile Plaza.

DO YOU WANT TO ATTEND? The first wave of invites is going out soon. If you’re a C-suite exec, exporter, investor, official, banker, or someone who should be part of the conversation, please TAP OR CLICK HERE to request a spot at this exclusive event.

What’s the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum? It is the latest in our series of must-attend, invitation-only gatherings for C-suite-level business leaders. The Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum will discuss the critical topics of exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) in Egypt.

We will be taking an in-depth look into some of the most vital industry topics, including:

  • How to effectively break into new export markets
  • How to leverage domestic trends in order to create export opportunities
  • What foreign investors are looking for
  • What the government’s role should be

Why now? 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.

Think of the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum as a hands-on lab for how to turn the devaluation of the EGP into something that will turbocharge your company and our economy.

Who’s on board? Some of the biggest names in business and finance are on board — are you? If you’d like to partner with us on the conference, ping a note to Moustafa Taalab, our head of commercial, here.


Madbouly, key cabinet members in Qatar: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly arrived in Doha yesterday evening and was met by Qatar’s transport minister on arrival, the cabinet and Qatar News Agency said. The prime minister is visiting the Gulf country to accelerate talks for sought fresh Qatari investment in Egypt, which have failed to make progress in recent weeks.

Accompanying the PM: The finance, planning, health, and trade and industry ministers, as well as the heads of the Suez Canal Economic Zone and GAFI are part of the delegation, cabinet said. His visit comes a few weeks after Planning Minister Hala El Said and Sovereign Fund of Egypt head Ayman Soliman visited the Gulf country to discuss investment.

Shoukry in Syria + Turkey: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is visiting Syria and Turkey today in what the ministry said was to “deliver a message of solidarity” following the earthquakes earlier this month. The ministry provided little information about the trip, though talk show host Ahmed Moussa suggested that Shoukry could meet personally with President Bashar Al Assad while in Damascus (watch, runtime: 7:18). While in Turkey, Shoukry will hold talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and visit the southern province of Adana where a shipment of Egyptian aid is expected to arrive, the Turkish foreign ministry said.

A month of firsts: Shoukry will be the first Egyptian foreign minister to visit Syria in more than a decade, a trip that comes a few weeks after President El Sisi spoke to Assad for the first time in the wake of the disaster.

Assad in from the cold: Shoukry’s trip to Damascus comes a day after a delegation of senior Arab lawmakers visited the Syrian capital to discuss bringing the country back into the Arab League. Egyptian House Speaker Hanafi El Gibali was among the visitors, becoming the highest-ranking Egyptian official to travel to Syria in more than a decade, according to the Associated Press.

REMEMBER- Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011 after Assad’s government brutally suppressed demonstrations against his rule. The rebellion escalated into a brutal civil war that ravaged the country.

The House is back in session: The House will discuss and vote on bills that will extend the government’s expat car import scheme and exempt phone components from being charged development fees. It will also discuss and vote on three foreign agreements on human rights, economic governance, and the Montreal Protocol, an environmental pact. Meanwhile, the House Industrial Committee will review the government’s industrial strategy.

TOMORROW- Social Solidarity Minister Nevine El Qabbaj will be in the hot seat to answer questions from MPs on pensions, social protection programs, and services offered to disabled people.

You can forget about these bills for a while: Amendments to the Investment Act, the draft Unified Ins. and Labor acts , the new building violation reconciliation law, and the bill to establish the Digital Egypt Fund aren’t expected to head to the House any time soon, officials say.

  • Unified Ins. Act in limbo: There has been no progress on the Unified Ins. Act since at least January, according to officials on the House Economic Committee. The government is currently amending the legislation, which was passed by the Senate last April.
  • Ditto the draft Labor Act: The legislation — passed by the Senate over a year ago — is undergoing a revision in response to objections from both the business community and labor unions.
  • We’re waiting on those Investment Act amendments: It is unknown when amendments to the Investment Act designed to attract more FX into the country will be voted on in the House. Senators approved the bill in November.
  • Digital Egypt Fund bill MIA: The legislation has been in the House since January but there are no signs that it will be put up for discussion any time soon. The bill has been in the works for over a year, and was given the greenlight by the House Communications Committee last month and the Senate in December.
  • Building reconciliation bill lost in the ether: The House Housing Committee approved in December the new bill that will make it easier for owners of illegal buildings to go legit, but it remains unknown when it will head to the general assembly for a vote.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- Another one bites the dust: Digital money circle (AKA gameya) provider MoneyMaster is winding down operations less than two years after launching, Al Mal reports, citing a company statement. The startup’s legal team will carry out the liquidation process and pay customers their dues before it shuts down. The Egypt-born company kicked off operations in 2021.

Tough times on Planet Startup: Emirati buy now, pay later firm Tabby last week said it would suspend its operations in Egypt six months after entering the country due to the challenging economic conditions. The news follows struggles at a number of more high-profile startups, including last year’s implosion of Capiter.


Egypt-UN Partnership week is taking place ahead of the signing of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2023-2027. International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat visited a refugee support center in Alexandria run by Caritas with UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Panova yesterday.


No single story is dominating the conversation on the global front pages this morning, though the latest from Ukraine is occupying most of the column space. Bloomberg leads with the Saudi foreign minister’s surprise visit to Kyiv, Reuters covers Washington’s latest warning to Beijing against providing arms to Russia while the New York Times says that the war has ended the European continent as we knew it.

US to back “China did it” covid theory? The US Energy Department now believes that the covid-19 pandemic occurred due to a lab leak after obtaining classified intelligence regarding its origins, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported yesterday. The department has until now held back from endorsing the idea that the virus was a creation of Chinese scientists but now says with “low confidence” that an accidental lab leak is the most likely cause of the pandemic, rather than natural transmission as Beijing maintains. Republican lawmakers have jumped on the reports and are calling for action to be taken against China.

When your boss realizes you’re using ChatGPT: JPMorgan Chase has restricted its staff’s use of ChatGPT’s AI bot, an anonymous employee told Bloomberg. The decision was made in line with the bank’s rules on third-party software, rather than in response to a specific incident involving use of the AI, the source said.

Egypt is going to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup: The Pharaohs qualified for the international competitions with two matches still to play after beating Tunisia 71-67 in Alexandria on Friday. The victory sees Egypt return to the tournament after a nine-year absence. The FIBA World Cup will run from 5 August until 10 September.


Missed this week’s Inside Industry? In our weekly vertical exploring all things industry and manufacturing, we looked at the government’s plans to revitalize the spinning and weaving industry.


The AUC Business Forum continues today and runs through to Tuesday. The event features five roundtables on the changing role of business schools and how to remain relevant and impactful in society, with a lineup of scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and executives from Egypt and abroad. You can follow the forum as it unfolds on the AUC School of Business Facebook page.

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla will be guest of honor at a dinner organized by the British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA Egypt) next month. The event will take place on Monday, 13 March at Cairo Marriott Hotel.

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


*** It’s Blackboard day: We have our weekly look at the business of education in Egypt, from pre-K through the highest reaches of higher ed.

In today’s issue: Private education players — from K-12 outfits to higher ed — are shelving construction plans amid worries over costs of raw materials and financing.


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Egypt, UAE, Jordan and Bahrain to establish 9 industrial projects under regional partnership

Egypt, UAE, Jordan + Bahrain sign agreements for USD 2 bn worth of industrial projects: Egypt, the UAE, Jordan and Bahrain signed agreements to establish nine joint industrial projects at an investment cost of USD 2 bn, the Egyptian Trade Ministry said yesterday. The four countries inked 12 agreements in Jordan yesterday for the projects, which span sectors including agriculture, electric vehicles, minerals, pharma, and petrochemicals.

This is part of the regional industrial partnership set up last year: The agreements were signed at the end of a two-day meeting in Amman to discuss the USD 10 bn industrial partnership established in 2022. Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ is contributing USD 10 bn to the initiative, which will channel finance into large-scale industrial projects in the four countries to bolster regional supply chains.

We’re expecting even more: The four countries last year said they had identified USD 3.4 bn-worth of joint investment projects for the first phase of the partnership.


#1- Emirati fertilizer company CFC Group signed MoUs to lock in raw materials for its USD 400 mn industrial complex in Qena Governorate. Jordan’s Arab Potash Company will supply the complex with potash, while Misr Phosphate will supply it with phosphates. The project, which was first announced last year, has since obtained a golden license from the government and has been allocated a plot.

Construction on the project will start in July, the ministry said. The complex is set to produce up to 500k tons of fertilizers, 500k tons of animal feed and 1.1k tons of phosphoric acid each year. CFC will also establish a school for applied science near the complex, which is set to start operations during the upcoming academic year.

#2- The Egyptian Soda Chemical Industries Company will invest USD 500 mn to produce 500k tons per year of sodium carbonate — a raw material used in glass and detergent production. The company inked an MoU with the Emirates Float Glass to buy the sodium carbonate.

#3- Emirates’ M Glory Holding has earmarked USD 550 mn to establish three EV factories with production and assembly lines in the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan. The factories are set to produce 40k vehicles in total during their first three years of operations. M Glory inked MoUs with the Egyptian military’s Arab Organization for Industrialization and the Jordan Design and Development Bureau (JODDB) to act as its partners and an agreement with Bahrain’s Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill (GARMCO) to supply aluminum sheets for the cars.

#4- The UAE’s Global Pharma inked a technology transfer partnership with Egypt’s Nerhadou to develop their meds and nutritional supplements manufacturing tech in the UAE. Global Pharma also inked an agreement with Jordan’s Savvy Pharma for research and development. The two agreements are together worth USD 60 mn in investment.


  • Egypt’s BioGeneric Pharma inked a technology transfer agreement with Bahraini firm Gulf Biotech to help it set up a USD 103 mn vaccines factory that is set to produce 105 mn doses a year.
  • Local firm Marcyrl Pharma signed an agreement to transfer its biosimilars manufacturing tech to Jordanian firm Itqan Pharma.


Scatec + Norway propose another Egypt-Europe interconnector

Scatec + Norway-backed Europe electricity link? The CEO of Norwegian renewable energy developer Scatec proposed a new electricity interconnection project between Egypt and Europe in a meeting with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly last week, according to a cabinet statement. The project would be backed by the Norwegian government and would export power generated by renewable energy to Europe via a 3-GW link, according to the plan put forward by CEO Terje Pilskog.

What they said: “We look forward to exporting electricity from Egypt to Europe, and we have a ready MoU to sign with the Egyptian government in that regard,” the statement quotes Pilskog as saying. He said the project would help secure Europe’s energy resources from clean energy and backs the continent’s green transition plans.

More study needed, says electricity minister: Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said that the proposal will require further discussions, though he expressed willingness to cooperate with the company.

We make that five proposed Europe interconnectors: Egypt has been preparing to link its electricity grids with Greece and Cyprus through a subsea cable as part of the USD 4 bn EuroAfrica Interconnector project since 2018, while two direct Egypt-Greece links — the 3-GW Greece-Egypt Interconnector (GREGY) and the 2-GW Greece–Africa Power Interconnector (GAP) — are both being studied. Egypt and Italy are also discussing a separate 3-GW link and could sign MoUs for the project in June. Our grid is currently linked with Jordan, Palestine, Libya, and most recently Sudan, and will link up with Saudi via a 3-GW interconnection in 2025.

Europe is looking across the Med as it faces a future without Russian gas: The EU is looking to import electricity and secure new long-term gas supplies from Egypt following the loss of Russian gas last year.

REMEMBER- Scatec has emerged as a key player in Egypt’s energy sector, building the country’s first green hydrogen plant with Fertiglobe, Orascom Construction, and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE). The Norwegian company plans to sign a joint development agreement for a USD 5.5 bn green ammonia plant in Ain Sokhna with Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM) and state fertilizer company Mopco, according to Thursday’s statement.


MNHD earnings surge in 2022 on record sales, GB Auto net income up on MNT stake sale

Record sales for MNHD in 2022: Madinet Nasr Housing and Development’s (MNHD) net income more than doubled in 2022 on the back of a surge in revenues, the company said in its earnings release (pdf) yesterday. Net income surged 165% y-o-y to EGP 747 mn during the year after a rise in deliveries and record-breaking gross contracted sales caused revenues to more than double to EGP 5.2 bn.

Sales climber in terms of both number and value of units sold: MNHD’s gross contracted sales more than tripled to a record EGP 11.2 bn on the sale of 3.2k units in 2022, triple the number of units it sold a year before. More than half of sales were in the company’s Taj City project, with the remainder coming from Sarai. Meanwhile, deliveries doubled to more than 2k during the year. MNHD’s newly-acquired subsidiaries Minka and related special purpose vehicle EgyCan generated another EGP 1.2 bn in sales that didn’t show up in MNHD’s consolidated results 2022, it said.

On a 4Q basis: Net income grew more than eightfold to EGP 202.5 mn on revenues of EGP 2.15 bn, up 173% on 4Q 2021.

Shareholders are in line for a payout: The board has proposed paying out a dividend of 15 piasters per share, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf).

What they said: “Despite a challenging operating environment, we pushed ahead with our growth,” management said. “While inflationary pressures have generally hindered consumer purchasing power, it benefitted MNHD as people resorted to the real estate market to safeguard their financial interests.”

SOUND SMART- In real estate, sales ≠ revenues. With off-plan sales dominating the industry, most real estate companies book a sale when you sign a contract to buy a home. But they only record (some or all) of the value of the unit it sold you when it (a) delivers the unit to you or (b) hits a percentage completion on a total project. In most cases, then, revenues are composed of sales from past periods, while sales in a given quarter will be recognized as revenues in the future when units are completed or delivered.


MNT stake sale boosts GB Auto amid challenging market conditions: GB Auto’s net income rose in 4Q 2022 thanks to the sale of its stake in MNT Investments, according to its earnings release (pdf) released yesterday. The company reported EGP 8.7 bn in net income in the final quarter of the year, up from EGP 412.6 mn the year prior, after recording a EGP 8.2 bn gain from the sale of a 7.5% stake in the Netherlands-based payments company.

FX shortage + import crisis hits revenues: The company’s revenues fell almost 25% y-o-y to EGP 6.9 bn during the quarter on what it described as “challenging market conditions.” A shortage of FX and import restrictions caused the passenger car market to contract by almost 75% during the quarter, causing revenues from the segment to decline by more than 60% to EGP 1.4 bn, it said.

Financing arm sees growth: GB Capital reported a 11% increase in revenues while net income rose 25% to EGP 847.1 mn excluding proceeds from the MNT sale.

In 2022: The company’s net income rose 26% to EGP 1.8 bn (excluding the MNT gains) in 2022 even as revenues slipped 5% to EGP 29.8 bn.

What they said: “The past year has truly tested the resilience of our business model and the strength of our market position. We believe that the CBE’s adoption of a flexible exchange rate will ease import restrictions and improve supply levels in the course of 2023. However, inflationary pressures are likely to persist. We expect the market will take a few quarters to stabilize and we will closely monitor the effects of inflation on purchasing power and consumer demand across our lines of business,” GB Auto CEO Nader Ghabbour said.


EasyCash appoints new chairman

Mobile payments player EasyCash has appointed Abdeen Abuarida (LinkedIn) as the company’s chairman, Al Mal reports. Abuarida currently also serves as chairman of several other companies including Incent and Wateen and serves as chairman and CEO of Abu Arida Sons Contracting Company.



It was a bit of a one-note night on the airwaves last night, with state media dedicating much of the airtime to covering statements by the president and prime minister yesterday about the government’s Sinai development plan. Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 6:33), Masa’a DMC (watch, runtime: 5:34), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:55), and Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 3:42) dedicated most of their coverage to the story.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s planned visit to Syria and Turkey today also got attention, with journalist Emad El Din Adib telling El Hekaya’s Amr Adib that the visit “resembles an opportunity [by Cairo] under the umbrella of humanitarian aid to help achieve peace and stability or de-escalate tensions in the region” (watch, runtime: 20:20). Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa said the visit by Shoukry is the first by an Egyptian FM in over a decade (watch, runtime: 7:18).

Chicken prices received far less attention than on Saturday, though Masa’a DMC dedicated a few minutes to noting a decline in prices on the back of increased imports entering the country (watch, runtime: 5:13).

Zamalek’s post-Mortada Mansour era received attention from Adib (who previously had beefs with the pugnacious club president). Sports pundit Mohamed Khairy told the show that naming a new head from among the board would lead to Mansour getting his club membership revoked (watch, runtime: 6:46).


The economic crisis is front and center in the international press this morning, foreign outlets commenting on the impact of surging prices on Egyptian society.

Koshary is food of the poor no more: Spiraling food prices are putting Koshary — a traditional food of the working class — beyond the reach of Egypt’s poorest. Bloomberg’s new Koshary index estimates that the average price of the dish’s ingredients has jumped almost 60% y-o-y in December.

Doctors are leaving Egypt amid poor pay + soaring inflation: Doctors are deserting Egypt’s public healthcare system for jobs abroad as low wages and soaring inflation leaves them unable to make ends meet, the Washington Post reports. More than 11.5k doctors left Egypt’s public healthcare system between 2019 and 2022, raising pressure on hospitals amid a shrinking supply of qualified doctors.


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Ibnsina to invest EGP 200 this year. Plus: Kima, e-finance, Aman, Luberef


Ibnsina Pharma to invest up to EGP 200 mn in 2023: EGX-listed pharma player Ibnsina Pharma plans to invest as much as EGP 200 mn to add warehouses and strengthen its meds distribution network this year, IR director Mohamed Shawky told Enterprise. The company could separately deploy more funds to its investment arm AIM, he said. The company invested some EGP 126.7 mn in its core business in the first nine months of 2022, according to its latest earnings release (pdf). It also spent EGP 430 mn to acquire El Shorouk Hospital, while EGP 200 mn was used to buy back shares, Shawky said.

El Shorouk Hospital open for business: Ibnsina Pharma has begun trial operations at its Shorouk City hospital ahead of a full launch by the end of 1Q 2023, Shawky added. The company acquired the hospital last May.


Kima wants to raise USD 300 mn: EGX-listed, state-controlled Egyptian Chemical Industries (Kima) is looking to secure USD 300 mn to fund its nitric acid and ammonium nitrate project — either through a loan or by partnering with a strategic investor, company head Abdelmeguid Hegazy told Al Mal. The company is set to sign contracts for the project within three months with Italian contractor Maire Tecnimont, with whom Kima late last year settled a dispute over former projects. It will produce some 600k tons of nitric acid and 800k tons of ammonium nitrate annually once operational, with construction expected to take two years.

Green ammonia in the works: Kima is also looking into adding three production lines at its existing fertilizer facilities to produce some 400k tons of green ammonia annually, Hegazy reportedly said. Al Ahly Pharos is advising the firm on both projects.


Aman could be preparing a sukuk issuance: Raya Holding’s non-banking financial services outfit Aman Financial Services could issue EGP 500 mn in sukuk this year, Hapi Journal reported, citing statements by CEO Hazem Moghazy. The company issued EGP 403 mn in securitized bonds a few weeks ago, kicking off a EGP 5 bn securitization program.


e-Finance x Giesecke+Devrient: State-owned tech company e-Finance signed a cooperation agreement with Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) that could see the German security tech company debut new card issuance and digital payments services in Egypt, according to a press release (pdf).


Petrojet awarded USD 150 mn Luberef contract: Saudi Aramco’s refining unit has awarded state-owned oil and gas contractor Petrojet a SAR 555 mn (c. USD 150 mn) contract to expand its base oils plant in Yanbu, it said in a disclosure to the Saudi stock exchange.


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The great 2023 global bond rally goes kaput: The rally in the global bond market that marked the first few weeks of the year has gone into reverse as stubborn inflation and a resilient US labor market reverse cause investors to rethink their assumptions that central banks are almost done raising interest rates, the Financial Times reports.

Riskier debt is bearing the brunt: Junk corporate bond funds have seen outflows of USD 7 bn so far this month, according to fund tracker EPFR, following net inflows of USD 3.9 bn in January. Meanwhile, emerging market bonds last week saw their largest outflows since October, a reversal from record-high inflows in January.

It’s all about interest rates: Futures markets are now expecting the Federal Reserve to continue to hike rates to 5.4% by July in a bid to curb sticky inflation, replacing optimism that the central bank would end its tightening cycle early in the year. The Fed trimmed the pace of its rate hikes earlier this month, raising the key rate by 25 bps to a target range of 4.5-4.75%, down from 50 bps in December.

MEANWHILE- Emerging-market assets are coming under pressure from a resurgent greenback: Rising uncertainty about the direction of interest rates has fuelled a USD rebound over the past four weeks and this is causing investors to rethink their previous bullish calls on emerging-market assets, according to Bloomberg. The MSCI gauge of EM currencies has almost erased all 2023 gains in February due to USD strength, leading major funds to drop their risk-on positioning on EM currencies.

What they said: “We are concerned on a more tactical basis that EMFX has moved too far too fast,” said a strategist at Abrdn. “The Federal Reserve is not yet done hiking, there remains much uncertainty around the inflation outlook, and we fully expect a US/global recession in the next six to 12 months.”





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The EGX30 rose 1.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.49 bn (25% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 17.9% YTD.

In the green: Egypt Kuwait Holding- EGP (+4.3%), Telecom Egypt (+4.2%) and Juhayna (+3.0%).

In the red: Taleem Management Services (-2.5%), Rameda Pharma (-0.8%) and Fawry (-0.5%).

Asian markets are mixed this morning amid selling pressure after Wall Street logged last week its worst week of the year so far. Benchmark indexes in Australia, Japan, and Korea were down in early trading, while the Hang Seng and Shanghai were seesawing between red and green. Futures suggest a mixed open for European markets later this morning. Likely opening up: EuroStoxx 50, FTSE 100, DAX 30. Set at dispatch time to open down: CAC 40, Athens 20. North American shares look largely set to post gains at the opening bell.


Israel to continue settlement expansion following Palestine talks: Palestinian and Israeli officials agreed to take steps to calm a surge in violence during rare face-to-face talks in Jordan yesterday. In a joint statement following the meeting, the two sides said they would refrain from unilateral measures and the Israelis committed to not discuss expanding settlements for the next four months or authorize more outposts for the next six months — though the country will continue with its plans to build 9.5k new settler homes in the West Bank and will not reverse its recent decision to legalize nine outposts. Officials from Egypt, Jordan and the US also attended the talks.

Members of Israel’s far-right government are unpacking the agreement: Israel’s far-right Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich — who is also in charge of governing Israeli areas of the West Bank — wrote on Twitter following the talks: “I have no idea what they did or didn’t say in Jordan. But one thing I do know: there will be no settlement freeze. Not even for one day.” He was then joined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who also denied that the government had agreed to freeze settlement activity.

And violence continues on the ground: Two Israelis were shot by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank as the talks were taking place. Later, a group of settlers entered a Palestinian village and set houses and fields on fire, according to the BBC.


Private schools + universities revisit construction plans amid hefty price tags: The education sector has by no means been spared from the tailspin the construction industry has been sent into as a result of the soaring cost and shortage of building materials in recent months. Many education outfits in Egypt are faced with the same challenges real estate developers have been up against for the past year but under even tighter budgetary constraints. With few options at their disposal school operators have almost entirely brought new projects to a standstill, potentially restricting the availability of quality education for new students over the coming years, according to insiders in the sector we spoke with.

REFRESHER- Since last year, higher energy, raw materials, freight and shipping costs have been pushing building material prices higher and causing real estate and infrastructure developers to suspend or drastically reevaluate their projects. Smaller contractors — which would include those hired to build new private schools — have been among those most vulnerable to the rising cost of building materials in their projects, which are showing no sign of slowing down this year.

For projects already in progress, some schools are cutting back on amenities: Some Schools are reconsidering materials and certain non-essential specifications to their ongoing projects to help cut back on costs. “We’ve made alterations to our designs to save more. Things like basements that were included in our initial plans might be removed to save on construction costs,” Mostafa tells us.

Others are opting to instead expedite their construction schedules to get ahead of future cost increases that are now inevitable: “We fast tracked the projects we’re working on, like a university in Assiut, for example, to help us save on rising costs,” CIRA CEO Mohamed El Kalla tells us.

But almost all new construction for schools is on standby: Price increases for steel (which currently sells for as much as EGP 28.5k per ton) and cement (which is being sold for as much as EGP 1.9k per ton) have weighed heavily on most schools’ construction plans. “We’re reassessing plans and reevaluating how feasible these projects are under the new climate,” Eduhive CEO Karim Mostafa tells us. For CIRA, new projects are also being restructured and revisited. “Every single project we have not yet started working on is back to the drawing board,” El Kalla tells us.

Halted construction could lead to a tighter supply of quality education: Since the cost of CAPEX has gone up by 30%, the only way for schools to move forward is by passing that cost on to consumers, El Kalla tells us. But the problem with doing so is that these higher fees exclude a large portion of the market looking for high-quality, affordable education. “The provision of quality education at decent campuses for middle-class students is going to be very scarce for the coming three years,” El Kalla tells us.

For existing schools, new construction prospects are stymied by tuition caps: For schools looking to expand their current campuses or build new facilities, construction costs are difficult to fully pass on in the form of higher student tuition due to regulations that prevent schools from raising tuition more than 7% annually.

But raising tuition fees by that much would have its own set of downsides: “Even if we were permitted to raise tuition by 40%, parents wouldn't be able to take that hit,” Mostafa tells us.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty looming when it comes to construction plans: “The picture is still foggy and it's hard to budget accurately, so under this climate I can't make decisions about new ventures. I have to let the dust settle in order for us to proceed with new things. We’re focused on what we have to ensure we can still provide quality service at a reasonable price,” Mostafa tells us.

Schools are still reeling from back to back crises: “In the past 10 years schools have been under a lot of strain. Schools have had to make it through the first devaluation in 2016, followed by covid-19 when they had to heavily invest in e-learning infrastructure and now we’re going through another cycle of devaluation — so schools are already depleted,” El Kalla says.

For now, most schools are focused on addressing internal challenges with their existing facilities: Even stationary and basic school infrastructure like tables, chairs, paper, and pens are seeing prices dramatically rise for schools and in many cases face difficulty sourcing these materials. “We’re trying to minimize risk and cost. Anything we need to purchase from abroad we’re putting off this year. We’re using what we already have in our possession,” El Alsson Executive Director Karim Rogers tells us. “Textbooks, teacher books, stationary — anything that might come from an overseas shipment isn’t here and no one knows if they will be available next year,” a teacher at a private school who requested to remain anonymous told Enterprise.

Your top education stories for the week:

  • The Higher Education Ministry will launch a national strategy for higher education and scientific research on 7 March, according to Higher Education Minister Ayman Ashour. The launch will be the start of a “serious societal dialogue to upgrade higher education and scientific research” in Egypt.
  • The British Embassy in Cairo launched a GBP 2 mn initiative to help Egyptian graduates improve employability skills and land jobs, in partnership with the Higher Education Ministry and the International Labour Organization.
  • Uppingham Cairo begins construction: Uppingham Cairo, the Egypt leg of UK’s Uppingham School, celebrated the first day of construction last week in a groundbreaking ceremony attended by representatives from Uppingham School, New Era Education, Bloom Education, New Giza and British Ambassador Gareth Bayley, according to Al Borsa.
  • AAST promises to launch affordable locally-assembled EVs: The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport stated that it will start assembling the country’s first Egypt-made EVs in the next six months, and will sell them at much lower prices than international auto firms.



19 February-11 March (Sunday-Saturday): 2023 Africa U20 Cup of Nations, Egypt, various locations.

23-27 February (Thursday-Monday): Annual Business Women of Egypt’s Women for Success conference.

24-26 February (Friday-Sunday): The Egyptian Private Equity Association and the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association are hosting a three-day private capital funds masterclass.

27 February (Monday): House reconvenes.


March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

March: Gov’t to launch the National Governance Index.

March: Palestine-Israel talks in Sharm El Sheikh.

Beginning of March: Rice to be added to the EMX.

3 March (Friday): Journalists’ Syndicate midterm elections.

5 March (Sunday): Senate reconvenes.

5 March (Sunday) Nahda Economic Forum, Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis.

6 March (Monday): Telecom Egypt to announce its 2022 results.

6-9 March (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes One-on-One conference, Atlantis, Dubai.

7 March (Tuesday): Higher Education Ministry to unveil national strategy for higher education.

11-12 March (Saturday-Sunday): The second edition of Techne Summit in Cairo.

11-12 March (Saturday-Sunday): Techne Summit, National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

13 March (Monday): BEBA Egypt hosts discussion and dinner with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla.

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.

9-11 May (Tuesday-Thursday): First edition of the Arab Actuarial Conference, Cairo.

16-18 May (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt will host its first conference on cybersecurity and defense intelligence systems (CDIS-Egypt).

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

20-21 May (Saturday-Sunday): eGlob Expo, St. Regis Almasa Hotel, Cairo.

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.

13 October- 20 October (Friday-Friday): The sixth edition of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF).

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: 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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