Thursday, 9 March 2023

AM — Did the Central Bank of Egypt just pave the way for Apple Pay and Samsung Pay to come to Egypt?



Good morning, wonderful people, and happy THURSDAY to you all. We hope you’ve all had a great week and are looking forward to the weekend.

We have a packed issue for you this morning — and we’re looking forward to breakfast in a couple of hours’ time with a baker’s dozen of our readers, all of whom participated in our 2023 Reader Poll.

UP FIRST- Strategic investors > public share sales: The state prefers selling stakes in state-owned companies to strategic investors over public share sales, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said following the cabinet’s weekly meeting yesterday. Madbouly, speaking alongside representatives of a number of international companies operating in Egypt, said that strategic stake sales will better maximize the value of state assets.

REMEMBER- The government last month unveiled the 32 companies included in the state privatization program, which will be sold off to strategic investors, via offerings on the EGX and a mix of both between now and 1Q 2024.

And secondary share sales are being considered: The prime minister said that the government was considering selling additional stakes in already-listed firms to investors, but didn’t provide more details.

EGP WATCH- The EGP continued its slow slide against the greenback yesterday, easing to 30.94 from 30.89 during banking hours yesterday, according to the official rate. The currency has fallen almost 1% so far this month amid increasing speculation that another sharp devaluation could be in store amid a rising FX shortage and widening gap with the parallel market.

ALSO THIS MORNING- Homegrown giant Infinity Power and Germany’s Conjuncta have inked a memorandum of understanding with Mauritania to build a massive green hydrogen plant in the West African country. Enterprise Climate has chapter and verse on the story this morning.

The CBE still hates crypto: The Central Bank of Egypt yesterday reiterated (pdf) warnings against the use of cryptocurrencies, which remain illegal in Egypt. The statement comes a few days after authorities arrested the people behind the Hoggpool app that allegedly stole a combined EGP 6 bn from thousands of Egyptians via a fraudulent crypto “investment” scheme.


It’s the final day of the EFG Hermes One-on-One conference at the Atlantis Dubai. The largest investor conference in frontier and emerging markets — which is running this year under the theme Outplaying Challenges — brings together more than 560 fund and portfolio managers and C-suite execs from almost 180 companies in 29 countries.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan is on the final day of his three-day visit to Egypt that will see him meet with Sameh Shoukry and participate in an Arab League session. This comes a month after President El Sisi visited the country as part of a diplomatic tour that also took him to Azerbaijan and India.

Austin in Israel: Fresh off talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi yesterday (more on that in this morning’s Diplomacy section, below), US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Tel Aviv today to hold talks with Israeli officials about calming the escalating violence in the West Bank. Plans to large-scale protests in the Israeli capital against the Netanyahu government’s judicial reforms forced the US delegation to postpone their arrival until this morning, and according to Axios will remain in the airport for talks with Netanyahu and his defense minister, Yoav Galant.


Inflation figures for February should be out today. Consumer prices accelerated at their fastest pace in five years in January on the back of record food price inflation triggered by the devaluation of the EGP.

The two-day Techne Summit starts on Saturday at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.


SCZone heads to Vietnam: The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) is heading to Hanoi from 12 to 17 March in the latest stop on its roadshow to drum up FDI to the zone, according to an SCZone statement. SCZone CEO Walid Gamal El Din met with Vietnamese Ambassador to Egypt Nguyen Huy Dung ahead of the visit, where he will discuss potential investment with Vietnamese textile, auto, tire and communications companies. Tokyo was the most recent stop on the SCZone roadshow, which is heading to China next month.

AUC is hosting its annual Research and Creativity Convention from March 12 to 16 at its New Cairo campus. Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad will give a keynote speech titled “Egypt and Climate Change: Post COP27” to open the event. Attendees can also visit Professor Bahia Shehab’s “Heaven or Hell in the Anthropocene” interactive exhibition, which made international headlines when it was featured at last year’s climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh.

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


Leading the conversation in the global business press this morning: Leading the front pages of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal is the news that JPMorgan is taking legal action against a former executive who had ties to pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. The US investment bank is facing a lawsuit from a woman who alleges that it aided Epstein by keeping him as a client and helping him send money to his victims.

CLOSER TO HOME- Arif Naqvi — the founder of one-time private equity giant Abraaj — has lost his UK legal battle to escape extradition to the US, where he will face trial on money laundering and fraud charges. Abraaj, once one of the leading lights of emerging-market private equity, collapsed in 2018 after some of its key investors began investigating its owners for misuse of funds. Bloomberg and the Financial Times have the story.

First the World Bank, now the IMF speaks on Tunisia: The IMF “is concerned about recent developments in Tunisia and notes the steps taken by the authorities to address the situation,” a spokesperson for the Fund said yesterday, according to Bloomberg. This comes a day after the World Bank said it would be suspending some cooperation with the North African country after an anti-migrant speech by its president triggered a wave of attacks on sub-Saharan Africans.


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.

WANT TO SHARE YOUR STORY ON STAGE? Drop a note to Patrick here and let’s talk.

WANT TO BECOME A COMMERCIAL PARTNER? Ping a note to Moustafa, our head of commercial, here.


Somabay brings out the best in majestic natural elements where raw beauty and endless activities reign supreme. Immerse yourself into a picturesque getaway all year long. This is simply Somabay. For more information, call 16390 or visit


In a bid to attract FDI, the gov’t is making it easier to acquire citizenship

It’s getting easier (and less expensive) for investors to acquire Egyptian citizenship: In its latest attempt to secure much-needed hard currency, the Madbouly government has come out with an expanded and more generous citizenship-for-FX program that would allowing foreigners additional paths to Egyptian citizenship.

How does it work? Under rules published in the Official Gazette yesterday, foreigners will be able to become green passport holders if they purchase assets — be it state-owned or private property — worth no less than USD 300k using USDs from abroad. They can also establish a solo or joint investment project with an USD 350k investment in addition to depositing USD 100k into the state treasury.

Direct deposits are also an option: Foreigners can also get in line for citizenship by depositing USD 500k into a zero-interest account at an Egyptian bank. This would be refunded after three years in EGP based on the exchange rate at the time. Alternatively, they still have the option of making a USD 250k non-refundable deposit into the state treasury.

The capital requirements have gone down: Under previous rules, foreigners were required to purchase property worth at least USD 500k while the minimum three-year refundable deposit was set at USD 1 mn.

To sweeten the pot even further: Foreigners can transfer in their capital over a 12-month period and would not be eligible for citizenship until after that period. The rules are silent on residency requirements.

International coverage: Bloomberg took note of the news.


Could investors submit bids for TE before Ramadan?

Could the gov’t field offers for up to 20% of TE in the next two weeks? The government reportedly hopes to wrap up a roadshow and receive offers for a 10-20% stake in national telecoms provider Telecom Egypt (TE) before the start of Ramadan, Hapi Journal reports, citing unnamed sources it says have knowledge of the matter.

REFRESHER- The Finance Ministry this week confirmed that it’s studying selling an undisclosed stake in TE, after Reuters reported that the government could part with 10% of the company. The state currently owns 80% of TE, while the remaining 20% is in freefloat.

A regional roadshow is reportedly underway: CI Capital, Al Ahly Pharos, and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) are reportedly gauging interest among Gulf and other regional investors for the sale, per Hapi’s sources.

No more than 3% per new investor? The government will look to onboard several new investors to TE in a bid to diversify its ownership, capping each stake sale at no more than 3% of the company, according to the newspaper.

Market reax: TE’s share price gained 4.8% to settle at EGP 26.77 during trading yesterday, having fallen more than 8% on Monday and Tuesday this week.

The rumor mill has been in full swing since the news broke on Monday. Reuters’ original report had said that regional interest in TE was low and the sale would likely go to a local investor. The Finance Ministry has said it’s still studying the feasibility of the stake sale and may decide not to go ahead with it after all. The company could instead choose to securitize future receivables as an alternative means of raising capital, a source told Asharq Business earlier this week.

Advisors: Our friends at CI Capital are reportedly managing the transaction alongside Al Ahly Pharos, while NBE is also said to be involved as an advisor. The ministry is still scouting for legal counsel, media reports suggest.


Pachin expects fresh bids after NPH ups its offer

Pachin is waiting on more offers before it moves forward with a sale: The shareholders of Paint and Chemical Industries (Pachin) will not consider National Paints Holding’s (NPH) revised acquisition offer until the two other bidders in the race respond to the latest from the Emirati company, Al Mal reports, citing unnamed sources it says have knowledge of the matter.

REFRESHER- NPH on Monday submitted a mandatory tender offer (MTO) for the company, upping its bid to EGP 34.00 per share from the EGP 29.00 it offered in November. The offer values the company at some EGP 816 mn, according to our math.

Shareholders are expecting more competitive offers to roll in: The two other bidders for Pachin — Compass Capital and Eagle Chemicals — are still wrapping up due diligence on the firm and are expected to submit their own MTOs. Pachin shareholders expect the two firms to submit competitive offers that could force NPH to revise its own bid, sparking a fresh bidding war for the company, Al Mal’s sources reportedly said.

All three bidders submitted offers for the firm last year but said they would revise them after Pachin was included in the list of 32 state-owned firms up for stake sales under the Madbouly government’s privatization program. Our friends at Compass Capital had offered to buy 51-90% of the company’s shares at EGP 30.00 apiece while Eagle Chemicals offered EGP 29.50 for up to 100% of the company.

Advisors: Al Ahly Pharos is advising Pachin, while Shalakany Law Office is counsel. The advisors on the buy side were not disclosed.


Another green hydrogen facility in the pipeline: China Energy could start working on a USD 5.1 bn green hydrogen facility in Egypt in May, the company’s CEO, Ye Jianming, said during a meeting with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. This comes a few months after the company signed an MoU with the government to conduct feasibility studies on establishing green hydrogen and ammonia plants.

What’s next? A China Energy delegation will visit Egypt next month to iron out the project details.

There are potentially many more hydrogen projects in the pipeline: The state inked framework agreements worth c. USD 83 bn for nine green hydrogen and ammonia plants at COP27 last year. The plants would produce up to 7.6 mn tons of green ammonia and 2.7 mn tons of hydrogen a year when fully operational.

Green hydrogen strategy coming soon: Sources in the know have told us that the Madbouly government’s long-awaited hydrogen strategy should be unveiled this month. The national hydrogen strategy has been in the works since 2021 and will provide a regulatory framework for the local production of green hydrogen, covering the whole value chain — supply, demand, and infrastructure. It was set to be unveiled during the COP27 climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh, but was delayed. We recently talked to a number of industry players to see what they expect to see from the strategy.

More to come from China Energy? The company is also interested in investing in Egypt’s electricity grid and partnering with the Housing Ministry to manufacture pumps for sewage and water desalination plants.

The news got coverage internationally from Reuters.


Cabinet signs off on new wage, pension hikes with higher price tag than originally projected

Cabinet approves package of wage + pension hikes, tax relief: Ministers yesterday approved the latest round of social support measures aimed at mitigating the impact of soaring inflation on the public. The program, announced last week by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, will from April raise public-sector wages and pensions, and provide tax relief by raising the income tax exemption threshold.

The initial cost is looks higher than calculated: The new round of public-sector wage and pension hikes will end up costing the state an initial EGP 190 bn, EGP 40 bn for the remaining quarter of the current fiscal year and EGP 150 bn in FY 2023-2024, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said during a presser (watch, runtime: 20:29). The Finance Ministry has initially calculated the cost to the public purse to be EGP 150 bn.

It’s all about inflation: Inflation hit a fresh five-year high of 25.8% in January as the impact of the ongoing depreciation of the EGP causes the cost of living to soar.

This comes on top of increased subsidies: Bread and food subsidies are costing the government an extra EGP 54 bn and it will pay out EGP 45 bn in fuel subsidies, Madbouly said.


Gulf, US players to boost local pharma manufacturing + more genetic screening labs

Gulf, US firms to build pharma manufacturing and screening labs: Government bodies signed agreements with international pharma firms including a Saudi and Emirati company to build pharma factories and diagnostic labs here, according to cabinet statements (here, here, and here).

#1- Gulf firms, Vacsera to build USD 10 mn medical supplies factory: UAE investment firm Scope, Saudi chemicals maker Oxide Chemicals, and state-owned vaccinemaker Vacsera will set up a JV to build, manage, and operate a factory for biodegradable syringes and other medical supplies. The factory will be built at a cost of USD 10 mn at Vacsera’s Sixth of October industrial complex.

#2- Screening for genetic disorders: US diagnostics firm PerkinElmer and its local agent HVD Life Sciences Egypt will partner with the government to build a beta thalassemia screening lab that the cabinet says will be the largest of its kind in the world. Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder that has high prevalence in the region. The lab will serve the government’s drive to expand mandatory medical screening for couples who marry. PerkinElmer will also look into working with the government on a pilot project to screen for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to help enable early detection and treatment of the disease, and present plans to develop the Health Ministry's newborn screening initiative and its central labs, including its genome lab.

#3- Manufacturing medical devices: PerkinElmer and HVD agreed with the government to conduct a feasibility study on assembling medical devices and packaging here for the local market. The companies will also consider setting up a factory to manufacture blotting paper used for screening for diseases. The two firms will look into the feasibility of using it for the newborn screening and pre-marriage thalassemia testing programs as well as exporting it to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.


Did the CBE just pave the way for Apple Pay and Samsung pay?

Your smartphone is about to become a full-fledged payments portal: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has issued new regulations allowing contactless card payments via mobile apps, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. Banks are expected to roll out the services to support these payments soon, the statement adds, without specifying a time frame.

How it works: Consumers will be able to register cards “of all kinds” to their smartphone e-wallets to make contactless and online payments. The statement says the system will be compatible with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, among other e-wallets.

Background: The CBE’s move is part of the government’s drive to move towards a cashless economy. It’s also the mandate of the National Council for Payments, which was set up in 2017 by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.



Chapeau Egyptian women: Egyptian women got a shoutout from our — ironically all-male — talking heads last night in celebration of International Women’s Day, celebrated globally on 8 March. Masa’a DMC (watch, runtime: 4:40) dove into the history of International Women’s Day, which was first celebrated by the UN in 1975, while Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 2:01) gave props to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for his support to Egyptian women. Al Hayah Al Youm interviewed Director of the African Migration Observatory Namira Negm to talk all things equality and what needs to be done to ensure the floor is equal for women (watch, runtime: 4:43).

Lamees El Hadidy, the queen of the nighttime talk shows, was off last night. Lamees is consistently the most informed and intelligent pro-business voice on the airwaves.

Preventing the medical brain drain: The Madbouly government is forming a committee to look into what needs to be done to improve the lives of Egyptian doctors in efforts to keep them from migrating abroad. “The committee will work on improving the conditions for doctors through three main pillars — finances, training and education, and law,” Health Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said on Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 15:18). A recent article in the Washington Post claimed that low wages and rising inflation led to more than 11.5k doctors leaving Egypt’s public healthcare system between 2019 and 2022, raising pressure on hospitals.

FACT CHECK- The central bank didn’t introduce new ATM withdrawal fees: ATM withdrawal fees are still capped at EGP 5, the cabinet said, putting an end to rumors that the CBE had raised withdrawal fees to EGP 20-50. Ten banks are now charging fees of between EGP 20-50 for withdrawing cash using credit cards, according to press reports. The news received coverage from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:56), Masa’a DMC (watch, runtime: 2:00) and Ala Mas’ouleety, which interviewed Banque Misr’s head of consumer banking, Ihab Dorra (watch, runtime: 12:13).


Powered by

Grant thornton -

Agthia wants to make Egypt into an export hub. PLUS: news from the Suez Canal, PIF, Agility and telecoms


Egypt an export hub for Agthia? ADQ-owned Emirati F&B company Agthia is looking to make Egypt an export hub for its products, CEO Alan Smith told Reuters. Agthia last year bought a 60% stake in Egyptian food company Auf Group, and in 2021 acquired 75% of Atyab brand owner Ismailia Agricultural and Industrial Investments. “Our intent [in Egypt] is really now to bed those acquisitions, consolidate them and unlock the potential there to see how we can build Egypt as an export hub as well,” Smith said. The company currently exports around USD 16.3 mn from Egypt, he added.


Another record year for Suez Canal revenues? The Suez Canal is eyeing USD 9 bn in revenues this year, up 12.5% from USD 8 bn in 2022, Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie told Asharq Business. Canal revenues rose to USD 1.5 bn in the first two months of the year, up from USD 1.1 bn in the same period in 2022, the authority said this week. The authority is planning to raise fees for oil ships transiting the waterway from the beginning of April.


PIF to invest in MIH subsidiary to up solar panel glass production: State-owned Metallurgical Industries Holding Company (MIH) signed a MoU with the Egyptian arm of Saudi wealth fund PIF to increase the capital of its subsidiary El Nasr Glass and Crystal Company, the cabinet said in a statement yesterday. The fresh investment will be used to add production lines making glass panels used in solar plants, the statement read, without specifying the value or mechanism of the investment. The agreement comes as part of the state ownership policy, which aims to more than double the private sector’s role in the economy and attract private investment.


More data centers, this time via Agility Logistics: Regional warehousing and industrial firm Agility Logistics Parks (ALP) will launch a string of data centers across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Ghana “with more to come,” according to a company statement. The centers will be built at “ALP warehousing complexes in fast-growing markets and mega-cities that are looking to add hyperscale data center capacity,” the statement reads, with the Egypt center set to be built in Cairo. Agility owns warehouses and industrial land in 12 emerging-market countries.

REMEMBER- El Sewedy Data Centers and Emirati firm Gulf Data Hub last month revealed plans to invest USD 2.1 bn to build three data center complexes here.


More FDI to our outsourcing sector: Paris-headquartered IT and consulting company Capgemini plans to double down on recruitment to grow its new outsourcing center here, according to a company statement (pdf). The company plans to expand the center’s workforce by hiring some 3k employees over the next three years, said Capgemini Egypt CEO Hossam Seifeldin. Capgemini was amongst 29 global firms to ink agreements with the Communications Ministry in December to expand their outsourcing operations to Egypt.


Vodafone Group, e& to cooperate everywhere (except Egypt): Telecoms outfits Etisalat Group (e&) and Vodafone Group will within weeks sign a cooperation framework for the 35 markets where only one of them currently has a presence, e& CEO Hatem Dowidar told Asharq Business. Egypt is the only country where the two firms’ operations overlap, Dowidar said. “Therefore we can cooperate in the rest of the markets in a way that improves our performance and theirs,” he is quoted as saying.

REFRESHER: e& increased its stake in Vodafone Group to 14% last month. The company acquired a 9.8% stake in Vodafone for USD 4.4 bn last May.


The national strategy for higher ed is here: Government officials put forth a host of recommendations to advance higher education at the launch of the new national strategy for higher education on Tuesday, the Higher Education Ministry said in a statement. The proposals cover investment, curriculum development, internationalization, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the advancement of university hospitals. They include setting “codified rules” to govern partnerships between the private sector and the state, working to make Egyptian universities attractive institutions for foreign students, and fully financing all stages of innovation.


Elevate Healthcare in talks to acquire majority stake in Nile Scan: Elevate Capital’s healthcare investment platform is looking to acquire a 70-80% stake in clinical radiology and lab service provider Nile Scan & Labs, Elevate comms head Bassel Chanaa told Enterprise. The company is valued at around EGP 500 mn, and the transaction is expected to close in the coming months, he added. Nile Scan provides radiology and clinical laboratory services and has 10 branches in the greater Cairo area and one in Alexandria, according to its website.

CLARIFICATION- A version of this story run on Wednesday, 8 March incorrectly reported the Elevate platform was seeking 100% of Nile Scan and said the transaction would close “in April.” Misr Capital, acting as a unit of Banque Misr, was the largest limited partner in the Elevate fund’s diagnostics vertical. We have removed that version of the story from our website.


Qalyub train crash: The death toll from Tuesday’s train crash in Qalyub has risen to four, the Health Ministry said yesterday. Twenty-three people were injured in the incident.

Driver arrested: The Public Prosecution yesterday ordered the arrest of the driver for four days while it carries out its investigation, it said in a statement. The incident occurred when the train hit a concrete barrier at a station, causing the locomotive and one of the carriages to derail, it said.


Powered by
EFG Hermes -

No decisions made on accelerating interest rate hikes -Fed’s Powell

Faster rate hikes not guaranteed, Powell says: That was the message from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell on the second day of his congressional testimony yesterday, clarifying remarks made the day before that the central bank could pick up the pace with its monetary tightening following a spate of strong economic data. “If -— and I stress that no decision has been made on this — but if the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we would be prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes,” he told the House Financial Services Committee yesterday. Reuters and the Wall Street Journal have more.

Market watchers now think the Fed could raise its key rate by 50 bps at its next meeting in two weeks time, after Powell this week suggested that the central bank could need to hike interest rates further and faster than previously expected on the back of strong February economic data.

MEANWHILE- A key recession signal hits more than 40-year peak in the US: Short-term yields have risen above longer-term ones to push the US Treasury yield curve into its deepest inversion in over 40 years — traditionally a key indicator of recession, says Reuters. Shorter-dated yields have soared to reach their highest rates since mid-2007 while long-term yields fell on the back of Powell’s hawkish comments, an indication that investors are expecting future interest rate hikes to hurt the economy and result in an eventual easing of monetary policy.


  • Abraj Energy Services completes Oman’s largest IPO in a decade: The oil-drilling arm of Oman’s state energy company raised USD 244 mn in an IPO that was 8x oversubscribed. Trading is set to start on 14 March. (Bloomberg)
  • MENA’s biggest alternative asset manager considering Abu Dhabi IPO: Bahrain’s Investcorp Holdings is in early preparations to list an investment vehicle in Abu Dhabi as soon as this year, in what would be the first IPO of its kind in the region. Other venues are also being considered for the listing. First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emirates NBD, Goldman Sachs, and Moelis & Co are working on the offering. (Bloomberg)




-0.7% (YTD: +11.8%)



Buy 30.83

Sell 30.94



Buy 30.83

Sell 30.93


Interest rates CBE

16.25% deposit

17.25% lending




-0.6% (YTD: -0.7%)




0.0% (YTD: -2.6%)




-0.1% (YTD: +2.7%)


S&P 500


+0.1% (YTD: +4.0%)


FTSE 100


+0.1% (YTD: +6.4%)


Euro Stoxx 50


+0.2% (YTD: +13.0%)


Brent crude

USD 82.52



Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.59




USD 1,818.30




USD 22,004

-0.2% (YTD: +33.7%)


The EGX30 fell 0.7% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.6 bn (21.9% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 11.8% YTD.

In the green: Telecom Egypt (+4.8%), CIB (+1.9%) and Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (+0.9%).

In the red: Eastern Company (-10.9%), CIRA Education (-5.4%) and Ibnsina Pharma (-4.8%).


President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed to strengthen defense ties during talks in Cairo yesterday focused on regional and global security issues. Austin called the US relationship with Egypt an “essential pillar” of Washington’s commitment to the region ahead of the talks, which saw the two sides discuss efforts to de-escalate Israeli-Palestinian tensions in the West Bank with El Sisi according to readouts from Ittihadiya and the Pentagon. The US defense minister also brought up the war in Ukraine and Iran’s nuclear program, according to the Pentagon statement. Austin also met with Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki, the Armed Forces said in a statement.

This was Austin’s third stop on a regional tour that earlier this week took him to Jordan and Iraq where he emphasized Washington’s commitment to regional security.

International attention: AP | AFP | Reuters | Financial Times

El Molla talks energy in Texas with US, EU, World Bank, private players: Oil Minister Tarek El Molla is making the rounds at S&P Global’s flagship CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Texas. El Molla discussed reducing emissions and the green transition with US Energy Minister Jennifer Granholm, and talked about upping natural gas exports to Europe with the European Commission’s energy director, Ditte Juul Jørgensen, according to a ministry statement. He also met with execs at multinational energy firms Eni, Bechtel, and Honeywell.


Mamdouh Eid, CEO of Pyramids FC: 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 Mamdouh Eid, CEO of Pyramids Football Club (LinkedIn). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

I'm Mamdouh Eid, CEO of Pyramids FC. I studied architectural engineering and got an additional sports management degree after graduating. I've spent a long time working across most sides of the football industry, from events to the commercial side, to the sporting side and management. My career in football took off after I retired from basketball. I used to play for Gezira Club; we were at the top of the league, and I was a member of Egypt's national basketball team.

I want Pyramids FC to have a positive impact on Egyptian football, sports investment, and Egypt’s economy as a whole. The global sports investment market has grown massively over the past few decades, and we believe Egypt has untapped potential in this area. We work hard to promote the club internationally, not just at home. Most of our sponsors are from other countries, which means we bring in the vast majority of investments and sponsorships in foreign currency.

Our goal is to lay the groundwork for a football club that will endure for many generations. The world has made strides in sports development, but our progress has sadly remained stagnant. Only two clubs have historically dominated Egyptian football and no one has had the ambition to oppose them. This is due to a mentality that has long viewed anyone who challenges the major clubs as an enemy — something that prevents the others from growing. We're trying to change that. We think that stronger competition can push Egyptian sports forward, and the league has been raising its standards yearly as part of these efforts.

Sports is a significant part of who I am and has always been my true passion. Even my architecture graduation project was designing and constructing a football stadium. I remember arriving for my thesis discussion fresh off the plane from Ghana, where I had attended the Africa Cup of Nations final game between Egypt and Cameroon — which Egypt won. The professors and I talked more about the game than the graduation project. I spent a lot of time learning, working, and growing to be able to become the person I am today.

My responsibility is to develop the club and help it achieve the greatest possible success. My direct responsibilities are… everything: the sporting, commercial, TV, legal, financial, and administrative sides. Every part of the football club is my direct responsibility.

The first thing I always do as soon as I wake up is to put myself in the best mental state possible before starting work. My morning routine shifts daily and depends on what I must do that day. Because we don't operate like a regular business, it's not an 8-9 hour job; my responsibility towards the club is 24/7/365 days a year. We don't have weekends or official holidays.

If I don't have to start my workday at 8am, I start with a bit of self-care, which could simply be eating a good breakfast, relaxing, or working out if time allows. Then, depending on what we're doing that day, I go to the office or the club. I sometimes don't start my day at home because the team frequently travels to play games outside of Cairo or Egypt, so I would be camping with the team wherever we're playing. My job requires a lot of traveling, and it's hard to develop a set routine when I'm not in Cairo. If you look at seven days a week, I doubt any of them will have a lot of similarities.

On a match day, I wake up with the team in the training camp, and we have breakfast together. Then I will meet with my sporting director and the coaches and check what we need to have ready for the game. Some matches take place at 2.30pm and others at 9pm. Depending on how the game turns out, sometimes I can go home right after, but other times the team will need to meet to take action or recap.

On a non-match day, I either go to the training ground, the office, or meetings outside of the office. And on sporadic days if my presence is not needed in the office, I can work from home. This is a rare treat because, as I told you before, I don't take weekends off.

The one constant in my day is my wife. She always has to be the first and last person I speak to.

I stay focused and organized by compartmentalizing everything I do. I developed a method for how I operate, and I fix issues one at a time. I simplify any problem to deal with the smallest aspect of it, and I never handle two issues simultaneously. If they must be handled together, I will address each separately and then combine them. I don't believe in multitasking when it comes to problem-solving.

My personal goal is to have an impact on sports and youth development, starting with football because it's such a massive part of the sporting world. I believe that education and sports provide the foundation for developing people who are mentally and psychologically capable of leading the country to where it deserves to be.

Work is a means of living. People strive to do better at work to live a better life. So work-life balance is crucial. It's essential for me to prioritize my personal life and do things that will help me grow, which will also help me do well at work. If someone is only working and not living, there is something wrong with their motivation for working.

After a hard day's work, I usually recharge by doing activities that don't require much brainpower. This could be playing sports, watching sports, or watching non-intense TV. And more importantly, connecting with friends who hold similar positive beliefs and outlooks to mine. Exchanging positive vibes with like-minded people helps foster creativity and leads to better productivity. I also spend a lot of time listening to music. I appreciate music that is happy, and relaxing, and further lifts my spirits so that when it’s time for work again, I'm at 100%.

I just finished season three of Pennyworth, the origin story of Alfred, Batman's butler, and it was a terrific show. I'm a huge fan of graphic novels, including those from Marvel and DC Comics.

My mother is the source of so much wisdom in my life, and she showed me early on how small gestures can have huge effects. She made sure I was always smiling, and she would always remind me of Prophet Muhammad's hadith, in which he said, “Smiling in the face of your brother is an act of charity.” She helped me realize this is the quickest and easiest way to get thawab, good credit, and spread positivity. And it's something I've never stopped doing. I usually don't stop smiling as much as I can. It's something so simple but has a considerable effect, and it's the reason for so many of the good things in my life.



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


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.

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

7-9 March (Tuesday-Thursday): Armenia foreign minister diplomatic visit.

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

12-17 March (Sunday-Friday): SCZone roadshow in Vietnam.

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

13 March (Monday): Italian foreign minister in Cairo.

16-18 March (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza.

19 March (Sunday): House reconvenes.

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.

26 March (Sunday): Senate reconvenes.

27-29 March (Monday-Wednesday): The first meeting of the COP transitional committee, focusing on adaptation, and loss and damage.

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

31 March (Friday): Finance Ministry to present draft budget to House of Representative by this date.


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

April: SCZone roadshow in China.

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): Tenth of Ramadan dry port tender deadline.

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.

12 May (Friday): Expat car import scheme ends.

15 May (Monday): Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza.

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.

12 June – 15 July (Monday-Saturday): Thanaweya Amma exams.

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

15 June (Thursday): Deadline for bids in EGPC’s mature oil fields tender.

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.

15-24 November (Wednesday-Friday): Cairo International Film Festival, Cairo.


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.

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.