Wednesday, 15 March 2023

AM — CI Capital to market at least 10% of Safi + Wataniya to strategics



Good morning ladies and gents. We have a little over a week before Ramadan begins, and a week before Ramadan trading hours come into effect — meaning that we can all spend a little longer eating out or doing a bit of retail therapy.


The SCZone is in Vietnam: Representatives from the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) are in Hanoi where they will meet with local businesses and investors in a bid to attract investment. The roadshow lasts through to Friday, 17 March.


RiseUp 2023: This year’s RiseUp Summit will take place at the Grand Egyptian Museum from 16-18 March.


The fallout from the SVB collapse is continuing to dominate headlines in the global business press this morning: Financial markets rebounded yesterday on investor optimism that Washington’s emergency measures have helped the US banking sector to dodge a full-blown crisis. Following several days of volatility, US treasuries fell and stocks rose, with regional bank shares regaining much of the losses triggered by the collapse of several US lenders last week. The tech-heavy Nasdaq had its best day in six weeks to close 2.1% up, while shares in First Republic Bank rose 27%, a day after plummeting more than 60%. Bloomberg and the Financial Times have more on yesterday’s market moves.

The gains were underpinned by not-terrible inflation data that has taken a bit of the pressure off the Fed to continue hiking interest rates through a banking crisis. Markets cheered the news that annual inflation continued to decline in February, reaching its lowest level since September 2021, in the hope of a dovish rate decision next week. Why “not-terrible”? Monthly core inflation hit its highest level in five months, making the Fed’s decision that much tougher.

The good vibes didn’t reach the EGX, which fell another 0.5% yesterday. Bank shares had a mixed day, with CIB — by far the largest constituent of the EGX30 — losing another 2% yesterday, though Credit Agricole Egypt pared some of its recent losses to rise 2.8%. The benchmark index has fallen almost 7% this week on the back of the US banking turmoil.

But the banking system isn’t out of the woods yet: Moody’s has downgraded its outlook for the US banking sector to negative from stable due to what it said was “the rapid deterioration in the operating environment” following the collapse of SVB, Signature Bank and Silvergate Bank.

Private equity giants are eyeing up SVB’s loan book: Banks may have turned down the opportunity to buy up SVB’s assets, but the private equity industry is giving it serious thought. The likes of Blackstone, Apollo Global, KKR, Carlyle Group and Ares Management have expressed interest in taking over parts of the bank’s USD 74 bn loan book, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

The rally is continuing in Asia this morning, with most bourses in the region solidly in the green ahead of dispatch. Shares in Europe are on course to follow them later this morning though the picture is less clear in the US, where according to stock futures, markets could open lower.

The story is getting coverage from: Reuters | Financial Times | New York Times | Washington Post | Wall Street Journal | CNBC | BBC.

Also receiving attention this morning: The Pentagon has accused Russia of downing a US drone over the Black Sea yesterday. A Russian fighter jet touched the propeller of the unmanned vehicle, forcing the US military to bring it down into the sea, it said. Moscow has denied that its aircraft made contact with it. (AP | Reuters | Washington Post | New York Times | Wall Street Journal | Bloomberg | BBC)

The Black Sea grain agreement expires in four days — and Russia still isn’t on board for a full renewal: Russia has indicated it is only willing to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative by 60 days due to restrictions on its agricultural exporters, the UN said Monday. The UN has been trying to negotiate another full, 120-day renewal of the pact, which allows for grain and fertilizers to be safely exported from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea. The agreement was brokered by the UN and Turkey last year to avert a global food crisis, and is up for renewal on Saturday.



Egyptian exports hit a new record high in 2022: Egyptian exports rose 18% last year to hit a record USD 51.6 bn, according to Al Mal, which cites data from state statistics agency Capmas.

Leading the way: Natural gas accounted for almost a fifth of total exports (USD 10 bn), while fertilizers brought in USD 3.3 bn and exports of crude and petroleum products USD 6 bn. On the non-oil front, Egyptian companies exported USD 2.5 bn of ready-made garments, USD 2 bn of fresh fruits and USD 1.8 bn of plastics.

Turkey was our single largest export market, purchasing USD 4 bn of Egyptian products during the year. Spain (USD 3.7 bn), Italy (USD 3.4 bn) and Saudi Arabia (USD 2.5 bn) rounded out the top four.

REMEMBER- The government wants to increase exports to USD 100 bn a year in the next four years and reduce dependency on imported products. The state has identified nine sectors to focus on, including food, textiles, pharma and metals, and is introducing a number of initiatives to push industrial sectors to step into new markets, which we dive into in Inside Industry.


The Oil Ministry will announce an updated low-carbon energy strategy in the coming weeks, the National quotes Minister Tarek El Molla as saying yesterday. The strategy is intended to align the country’s energy sector with new technologies and respond to the new global energy map that has emerged as a result of the war in Ukraine, he said.

Remember: The government wants to increase renewable energy’s share in the country’s energy mix to 42% by the end of the decade. It will also submit revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) by June and will consider committing to a net zero emissions target.


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.


The Finance Ministry will host the Public-Private Partnerships MENA Forum on 19-20 March at the Nile Ritz-Carlton, according to a Finance Ministry statement.

Attention local startups: Applications are open for Orange’s Social Venture 2023 competition, which recognizes tech projects in the Middle East and Africa that have a positive social impact. The three winning local startups will compete against regional firms for the chance to bag up to EUR 25k along with nine months of technical support and training, according to a statement (pdf). Interested social entrepreneurs have until 21 May to register,

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


*** It’s Hardhat day — your weekly briefing of all things infrastructure in Egypt: Enterprise’s industry vertical focuses each Wednesday on infrastructure, covering everything from energy, water, transportation, and urban development, as well as social infrastructure such as health and education.

In today’s issue: We look at some of the efforts underway to redevelop historic buildings in Cairo.


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CI Capital reportedly marketing at least 10% of Safi, Wataniya to strategics

CI Capital offering at least 10% of Safi, Wataniya to strategics? The Madbouly government has reportedly tapped CI Capital to market stakes of at least 10% in military-owned bottled drinks firm Safi and fuel retailer Wataniya to strategic investors, Asharq Business reports, citing an unnamed official it says has knowledge of the matter. Representatives of CI Capital declined to comment when we reached out yesterday.

The gov’t wants offers within a month: CI Capital will start promoting the offering to strategic investors today and hopes to wrap the roadshow within a month, according to Asharq.

Emirati interest: An unnamed UAE-based investor is “ready” to snap up a stake in Wataniya, a second source reportedly told the news outlet.

Expect stake sizes to change: One of the jobs of CI Capital will be to suss out appetite among potential investors. Strategic investors tend to look for sizable stakes so they can guide the management and growth of new acquisitions — something the government has reportedly been reluctant to agree to in the case of other potential privatization targets.

Background: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) was earlier reported to have planned to sell a 20-30% stake in Safi and Wataniya to strategic investors before proceeding with public share sales when global market conditions have improved. The SFE has been restructuring the two firms ahead of the share sale after they were reportedly added to its pre-IPO fund in January. Safi and Wataniya are also on the list of the 32 state-owned companies the Madbouly government plans to offer to strategic investors and on the EGX by the end of 1Q 2024 under its privatization drive.


Misr Ins. Holding now belongs to the SFE: State-owned Misr Ins. Holding has been transferred in its entirety to the ownership of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE), according to a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette. The company was previously owned by the Public Enterprises Ministry.

Is more of Misr Ins. Holding in line for privatization? The move indicates that the government may be working to make more Misr Ins. Holding subsidiaries ready for stake sales as part of the Madbouly government’s privatization plan. Two of the company’s subsidiaries — Misr Life Ins. and Misr Ins. — were named among the government’s list of 32 companies up for stake sales to strategic investors, via the EGX, or a mix of both.

What Misr Ins. Holding owns: The company holds six subsidiaries other than Misr Ins. and Misr Life Ins., according to its website. They include two mutual guarantee or sharia-compliant ins. firms — Misr Takaful Ins. and Misr Takaful Life Ins — in partnership with the National Bank of Egypt; a real estate firm; a real estate and tourism investment company; an asset management subsidiary; and a financial services firm.

Performance indicators: The holding company’s bottom line grew 19% y-o-y to EGP 5.3 bn in FY 2021-2022 on a 50% increase in revenues.


Local startups are starting to get their deposits from SVB

Local startups are regaining access to their SVB deposits: At least five local and regional startups have regained access to their deposits at the collapsed Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Enterprise learned yesterday from sources in the know. One of the firms has already initiated a transfer order to take the company’s deposits out of the US banking system, while the remaining four have either made partial transfers or are keeping the entirety of their deposits at SVB while they assess alternative banking options.

ICYMI- US authorities moved on Sunday to guarantee all deposits held at SVB in emergency measures aimed at preventing contagion and a wider crisis in the banking sector. Typically, only the first USD 250k is insured under US law.

Wait — why aren’t startups racing to pull their deposits from SVB? “It's counter intuitive, but actually a lot of companies have decided to at least leave some funding” at SVB, Acasia Ventures Managing Partner Aly El Shalakany told Enterprise yesterday. “Communication from the US regulator has been pretty unequivocal so in a way, ironically, SVB is probably now among the most protected banks in America,” he said.

REMEMBER- Scores of Egyptian startups banked with SVB: As many as 46 local startups and two VC firms (one of them global) have been said to have been banked with SVB. Two of Acasia’s 10 portfolio firms across the MEA region were affected, while fintech fund Nclude’s Basil Moftah told us that one of the VC’s eight portfolio firms banked with SVB.

Fawry wasn’t one of them: The fintech giant confirmed (pdf) yesterday that it is not banked with SVB or any other bank in the US, in a statement to the bourse (pdf).

Some technical glitches: “SVB’s system was unstable and in some cases depositors had technical difficulties setting up wire transfers, most likely due to high demand,” El Shalakany told Enterprise yesterday, adding that those he knows of who weren’t able to make transfers on Monday were able to do so on Tuesday.

Some firms are resorting to neo-banks: Some startups are moving their deposits to neo-banks or digital-only banks of the likes of Mercury Bank, several sources told us. Mercury has simplified its onboarding procedures for depositors exiting SVB in a bid to capture a larger market share, one startup exec said. Neo-bank Tribal Credit — founded by Egyptian Amr Shady — launched an initiative offering accounts to SVB-exposed businesses in MENA, Mexico and the US, Shady said on LinkedIn.

But that won’t be a long-term solution: Neo-banks “work as a short-term stop-gap but in the long term you’re not really better off,” El Shalakany says. “The holy grail is to create a relationship with a top-tier bank that’s more secure,” he told us, adding that Acasia is now working to help its depositors secure alternative banking relationships.

Diversification is now the name of the game: “The crisis has been averted, but the work that we are doing now is to help companies think about what’s next in terms of future safeguarding,” El Shalakany told us. “That’s also a question for us to think about as a VC. We need to consider our banking relationships and think about diversifying,” he added.


Growth slows in 2Q 2022-2023

Egypt’s economy grew 3.9% y-o-y in 2Q FY 2022-2023, according to preliminary data from the Planning Ministry. Growth in the three months from October-December 2022 remained strong despite ongoing global economic challenges and geopolitical uncertainty, Planning Minister Hala El Said said yesterday in a meeting with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly. The economy expanded at a 8.3% clip in the same period last year.

The economy grew an estimated 4.2% in 1H FY 2022-2023. GDP growth in the second quarter slowed from a 4.4% y-o-y pace in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

A downwards revision for the full-year forecast: The Planning Ministry is now expecting growth to come in at a 4.2% clip in the current fiscal year, down from a November estimate of 5.0%. That tallies with the Finance Ministry’s most recent estimate of 4.0-5.0%. The IMF, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a recent Reuters poll, the World Bank, and Fitch ratings are all predicting growth in the range of 4.0-4.8% this fiscal year.

REMEMBER- FinMin is expecting headwinds to take a toll on the budget. The Finance Ministry in March said it expects to miss earlier targets to reduce the budget deficit and debt-to-GDP ratio during the current fiscal year as the impact of the EGP devaluation and rising borrowing costs squeeze public finances.

Hold for the details of next year’s budget: FinMin will send the draft budget for FY 2023-2024 to the House of Representatives for discussion during the week of 26 March.


TCV plans to spend USD 30 mn to add two food companies to its portfolio

TCV to spend USD 30 mn on minority stakes in two firms this year: Private equity firm Tanmiya Capital Ventures (TCV) will spend USD 30 mn to add two unnamed food companies to its portfolio in 2023, Managing Partner Youssef Ayoub was quoted as telling Al Mal. TCV aims to acquire stakes of up to 49% in the firms, which it will acquire through capital increases rather than buying from existing shareholders, he said.

Some clues: The two food firms each have annual sales in the range of EGP 500 mn – EGP 1 bn and significant hard currency income streams from exports, the newspaper quotes him as saying.The company plans to exit both firms “after several years,” he added. TCV in November said it was planning to add three unnamed companies to its portfolio in 2023, which already contains Abu Auf, Hassan Allam Utilities, Mifad, Plant Form and Tamweel Holding.

Where the money’s coming from: The acquisitions will be financed with funds from TCV’s existing shareholders, the news outlet reports. TCV acts as a fund manager for the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, which has invested a total of USD 30 mn in TCV transactions since 2019 and last week told Enterprise it wants to continue its support for the asset manager as it sets out to fundraise again. TCV is also considering establishing partnerships with new investors to garner fresh funds, Ayoub said.


Flat6Labs launches USD 95 mn Africa-wide seed fund

Flat6Labs is investing almost USD 100 mn in startups across Africa: Egypt-based venture capital firm Flat6Labs launched a USD 95 mn Africa-focused seed fund, it said in a press release (pdf). The Africa Seed Fund (ASF) is both Flat6Labs first venture outside MENA and its first regional fund, TechCrunch quotes Flat6Labs CEO Ramez El Serafy as saying.

The timeline: The fund will onboard two cohorts of 10-15 startups annually, with the first investments to be disbursed before the end of the year, according to the release. The fund is aiming for an initial close this year, TechCrunch reports.

The Egypt-headquartered fund will focus on East, West, and North Africa, and will see Flat6Labs for the first time target startups in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Senegal, the release reads. Two-thirds of allocations will go to North African firms, according to TechCrunch. The fund wants to invest in more than 160 early-stage tech startups over the next five years, with a focus on health, fintech, education, agriculture, and sustainable solutions among other sectors.

Bigger investments: Ticket sizes will range from USD 150-400k, with potential follow-on investments of up to USD 500k, according to TechCrunch. That’s higher than Flat6Labs’ ticket sizes for previous funds, which have ranged from USD 30-100k, the news outlet reports.

And a track for experienced founders: Flat6Labs “will also be providing seed tickets to seasoned founders independently of the program,” the release reads.

Target impact: The fund wants to create 14k jobs, support more than 1.2k founders — some 20% of them women — and generate revenue of more than USD 700 mn, the release reads.

Germany is on board: The fund will be supported by German development agency GIZ through two of its agriculture-focused initiatives, the Egyptian Agricultural Innovation Project (AIP) and Scaling Digital Agricultural Innovations through Startups project (SAIS). The press release didn’t specify what form the support will take.


FinMin wants to pay women not to have more than 2 children

The Finance Ministry plans to introduce financial incentives for women not to have more than two children in a bid to manage population growth, according to a cabinet statement yesterday. The ministry is proposing to put EGP 1k into trust every year for every married woman between the ages of 21 and 45 who has a maximum of two children, the statement said. The accumulated savings will be paid out to women who participate in the program once they turn 45, provided they stick to the terms.

What terms? Women must get periodic check-ups at health centers and will forfeit any money they had been eligible to receive if they give birth to a third child. The amount to be paid to each woman will be based on her age at the time she signs up for the project and several other determinants, the statement says, without clarifying further.


Ramadan trading hours to kick in next week: Shops, malls, restaurants, cafes, and bazaars will be allowed to stay open until 2am during the month of Ramadan and the Eid Al Fitr holiday, per a cabinet decision. The working hours will come into effect on 22 March.

REMINDER- We’re still running on winter opening hours: Shops and malls must currently close at 10pm (11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and national holidays) while cafes and restaurants shutter at midnight. In summer hours, these businesses can stay open an hour later.

Cabinet also approved:

  • A USD 350k bump to a USD 3 mn grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development providing technical assistance for upgrades to Cairo Metro Line 1;
  • More than 140 projects under the Decent Life Initiative, including waste treatment plants, a governmental services complex, mother-and-child center, hospital, mosque, church, fire stations, and schools;
  • Egypt joining the Convention on Nuclear Safety, a multinational treaty that commits members to adhere to certain safety standards at nuclear plants.



It was a mixed bag on the talk shows last night: The nation’s talking heads continued to focus on the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and kicked off their Ramadan coverage, with news of the Ahlan Ramadan expo and the new trading hours next week.

The one message on the airwaves last night: Don’t worry. Most of the talking heads spent the night calming fears that the collapse of SVB will end up spilling over into the local economy or have serious implications for the global economy. Masa’a DMC (watch, runtime: 4:37), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 9:42), and Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime: 5:03) had the news.

There are more Ahlan Ramadan branches to come: That’s according to Assistant Supply Minister Ibrahim Ashmawy, who joined Yahduth Fi Masr last night to discuss the government’s efforts to offer cheaper food ahead of Ramadan amid soaring prices (watch, runtime: 5:40). There are currently more than 550 branches across the country, he said, indicating that more will open in the coming days. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly inaugurated the Nasr City Ahlan Ramadan discounted supermarket expo yesterday, promising discounts of up to 50%. The news received coverage from Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 5:38) and Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:05).

Also on the airwaves last night:

  • A new strategy to combat overpopulation: The financial incentives to control the Egyptian population (unveiled by the cabinet yesterday) have been in the works since 2020, Amira Tawadros, head of the Planning Ministry’s Demographic Center said. We have more on the story in this morning’s news well, above. (Al Hayah Al Youm | watch, runtime: 9:19) ( Masa’a DMC | watch, runtime: 6:35)
  • Ramadan trading hours also got some airtime: From 22 March, restaurants, malls, and other commercial spaces will be allowed to stay open until 2am during the holy month. (Yahduth Fi Masr | watch, runtime: 3:46) (Ala Mas’ouleety | watch, runtime: 4:09)


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Aman wants to launch in Saudi Arabia within 3 months. PLUS: Money GB Auto + Dara’s Ice Cream, FinMin appoints sukuk company board


Aman to launch in KSA within 3 months: Raya Holding’s non-banking financial services subsidiary Aman Financial Services intends to roll out installment services in Saudi Arabia within two to three months as part of its regional expansion plans, CEO Hazem Moghazi told Al Mal TV’s CEO Level program (watch, runtime: 27:58). The firm’s Saudi arm will be established in partnership with an undisclosed Saudi investor with a “large commercial presence,” Moghazi said, adding that the partners plan to launch other financial services in KSA in the future.

El Tarek Automotive customers can now make payments using valU: EFG Hermes Holding’s buy-now, pay-later platform valU has inked an agreement with El Tarek Automotive giving its customers access to valU’s payment solutions, according to a press release (pdf).


#1- The Finance Ministry has formed the general assembly of the state company responsible for issuing sovereign sukuk, according to a decision published in the Official Gazette. The Egyptian Financial Company for Sovereign Taskeek will be headed by Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and feature several other finance ministry officials. The officials will hold their seats for a three-year period.

Egyptian Company for Sovereign Taskeek? It is a Finance Ministry-owned joint-stock company for issuing sharia-compliant securities. The company issued the sukuk in Egypt’s debut USD 1.5 bn sale last month.

#2- valU, Azimut launch money market fund: EFG Hermes Holding’s buy-now, pay-later platform valU and Azimut Egypt have partnered to launch the AZ valU Fund, a money market fund for retail investors, according to a joint statement (pdf). Clients can subscribe to the fund at valU branches nationwide or Azimut’s Smart Village branch, with plans to launch subscription through the two firms’ apps in a second phase.


Germany grants EUR 6.5 mn to Ghabbour Auto, Dara’s Ice Cream to boost manufacturing jobs: The jobs investment arm of German development bank KfW will grant Dara’s Ice Cream EUR 5.5 mn towards a new EUR 13 mn ice cream factory, creating some 700 jobs, it said in a statement (pdf). Investing For Employment (IFE) will also provide EUR 1 mn to Ghabbour Auto subsidiary Ghabbour Foundation for Development for an EUR 1.3 mn project set to create some 500 jobs in the EV sector, the statement adds.

Egyptalum could partner with Emirati aluminum producer on new factory: The Public Enterprises Ministry has opened talks with aluminum conglomerate Emirates Global Aluminum to partner with Egyptalum to establish a new plant in Egypt, it said in a statement. EGA is jointly owned by Emirati sovereign funds Mubadala and the Investment Corporation of Dubai.


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Abraj Energy Services shares jumped 17% on their debut on the Oman stock exchange yesterday. The state-owned oil-drilling unit raised USD 244 mn by offering a 49% stake in Muscat, making it the country’s largest since 2010 and the second-largest in the region this year. Our friends at EFG Hermes (pdf), along with Ahli Bank of Oman and National Bank of Oman, managed the transaction. Anchor investors included Oman’s Royal Court of Affairs, the PIF-owned Saudi Omani Investment Company and Schlumberger Oman & Co.


  • Fresh financial woe for Lebanese depositors as commercial lenders go on strike: Lebanon’s banks closed yesterday for an “indefinite period” in response to “arbitrary” judicial decisions that had drained their already dwindling foreign currency reserves. The currency has lost almost 100% of its value against the USD since the country’s economic crisis began in 2019. (Financial Times)
  • Things aren’t getting any easier for Credit Suisse: Embattled Swiss lender Credit Suisse said it found “material weaknesses” in its reporting and control procedures for the past two years, the latest setback as it tries to recover from huge losses and a string of high-profile scandals. (Bloomberg | Financial Times | Reuters | Wall Street Journal)
  • More tech cutbacks: Facebook parent Meta is letting go of an additional 10k of its workforce just months after it cut some 11k jobs. Meanwhile, Apple is freezing bonuses and hiring in a bid to cut costs. (Associated Press | Bloomberg)




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The EGX30 fell 0.5% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.2 bn (41.7% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 5.2% YTD.

In the green: Heliopolis Housing and Development (+3.6%), Qalaa Holdings (+3.3%) and Credit Agricole Egypt (+2.8%).

In the red: Cleopatra Hospitals Group (-2.8%), Telecom Egypt (-2.5%) and Orascom Construction (-2.2%).


First Saudi Arabia, now Tehran wants to improve ties with Egypt: Iran wants to build on last week’s diplomatic breakthrough with Saudi Arabia and improve ties with Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday. “Egypt is an important country and the two countries value each other in the region … We believe in the need to take new steps to improve the relations between the two countries,” Nasser Kanaani said in comments at a press briefing picked up by Iranian state media. This came a few days after Tehran agreed to normalize diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, seven years after the two nations cut ties.

Italian FM in Cairo: President El Sisi and Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly yesterday met Italian Foreign Minister and deputy PM Antonio Tajani, who is heading a delegation of Italian companies to Egypt, cabinet and Ittihadiya said yesterday. The delegation, featuring representatives from 30 agriculture, irrigation, and food processing companies, banks, and financial institutions, sat with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly to discuss investment opportunities in Egypt. El Sisi discussed energy, migration and economic ties in his meeting with Tajani.


  • All options are on the table in GERD dispute -Shoukry: The government still has many cards to play amid the continued standoff with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Hadith El Qahera in an interview on Monday (watch, runtime: 18:08). Ethiopia is still not showing flexibility in advancing the negotiations and reaching a suitable agreement for all the concerned parties, Shoukry added.
  • Egypt calls for political settlement in Syria: Shoukry stressed the need to revive political negotiations in Syria to bring the 12-year-old war to an end during a meeting with the UN’s Syria envoy, Geir Otto Pedersen, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
  • Egyptian-Swedish business forum: Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir was in Stockholm yesterday for an Egyptian-Swedish business forum that saw business leaders discuss investment opportunities, according to a ministry statement.


Beijing wants to solidify its status as a major power broker in the Middle East with a regional summit: Fresh off brokering a landmark agreement that will see Saudi Arabia and Iran normalize ties, China wants to bring Gulf and Iranian leaders together for a major regional summit later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iran will come together in Beijing at the behest of the Chinese, who are looking to broker a wider detente between the two sides and end decades of hostilities in the region.


  • A good sign for warmer UAE-Qatar relations: UAE is backing Qatar to host the 2026 IMF / World Bank meetings after withdrawing its bid. This came following a phone call between UAE President MBZ and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. (WAM)
  • Tunisia’s political divides deepen: The country’s parliament convened on Monday for the first time since it was dissolved by President Kais Saied in 2021 but will not be recognised by the main opposition coalition. The new parliament’s members were chosen during largely boycotted elections in December and January that saw just 11% of voters cast ballots. (Associated Press)

PROJECT PROFILE- Developing historic Cairo: The government has been working on several landmark projects in central Cairo to develop old buildings and revamp the cultural landscape in different areas. The development project is also geared towards making several areas in the city attractive for investments. The focus on Cairo comes as the capital city is a historical and cultural center, and is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center thanks to the number of tourist and historical sites, along with the plethora of artifacts.

The price tag: The overall cost for the redevelopment of historic Cairo and slum areas, which spans 10k feddans, stands at around EGP 317 bn, Informal Settlements Development Fund (ISDF) head Khaled Seddik told Enterprise. This price tag includes around EGP 60-70 bn just for the historic Cairo portion of the plan, which is being financed from the Housing Ministry’s budget, Seddik said.

Over the past four years, the government has implemented several projects to develop historic Cairo, including addressing slums and informal buildings. This includes the development of the Maspero Triangle, the 75-acre stretch between the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry and the National Media Authority (historically known as the Egyptian Radio and Television Union, or the Maspero building). The project — the cost of which is estimated to have reached c.EGP 1.7 bnwas awarded to our friends at Orascom Construction, Hassan Allam Construction, Redcon, and Arab Contractors.

Where things currently stand with the broader development plans: The development of historic Cairo is around 90% complete, including patching up building exteriors and upgrading infrastructure such as repaving roads, Seddik told us. This phase of the plan comes ahead of offering investment projects — including building malls — to investors in the area, Seddik said.

What about the development of downtown Cairo? The ISDF has completed all its planned development projects in the area in cooperation with the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, Seddik told us. Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) CEO Ayman Soliman had previously said the fund is looking to work with private sector firms to develop several buildings in the area, including the old youth and sports, tourism, and interior ministry buildings to turn them into a hub for tech businesses. This hub development could help raise Egypt’s annual revenues from IT exports to USD 10 bn, from USD 4.9 bn in FY 2021-2022, Soliman said last month. The plan to repurpose the original ministry buildings comes as these ministries are set to begin moving to the new administrative capital as of next month.

There’s also the Cairo House project — aka the Mogamma’s new lease on life: The SFE introduced its plan to repurpose the Mogamma Tahrir building in downtown Cairo around two years ago. The project, which is expected to cost c.USD 200 mn, will see the iconic building transformed into a new 450-room, five-star hotel. It will have more than 85k sqm of meeting and events spaces, several entertainment venues and restaurants, and feature the capital’s largest rooftop venue. A consortium of US-based Global Ventures and Oxford Capital, along with the UAE’s Al Otaiba Investment signed the contract to take on the project at the end of 2021.

And the development of the former NDP headquarters: The land where the National Democratic Party (NDP) headquarters once stood has been tendered to private sector companies as part of the SFE’s development plans to develop the area. Last we heard, the SFE was planning to announce soon the companies that will be awarded the contract for the development project. The project has garnered plenty of investor interest, particularly as the HQ’s location on the Nile corniche is seen as prime real estate, our sources told us.

Some of these projects are going to see a financial re-evaluation: Financial studies that were previously conducted on several projects under the Cairo redevelopment plan are no longer feasible or applicable as a result of the changing economic landscape, Seddik told us. Pricing has changed drastically with the weakening of the EGP, Seddik noted, saying that the fund has moved to rely more on local resources for implementation to mitigate the cost impact of imported materials. The fund plans to crunch the numbers again on its ongoing projects at a later time to calculate the real cost, taking into account the changes in pricing and the FX rate, he said.

Your top infrastructure stories for the week:

  • AFC plans to invest USD 1 bn in Egypt’s energy + industrial sectors: The Africa Finance Corporation has identified an “immediate project pipeline” of investments worth more than USD 1 bn in Egyptian infrastructure projects.
  • New Africa infrastructure investment platform: Metito and British International Investment launched the Africa Water Infrastructure Development investment platform to target sustainable projects at scale to address the funding gap in water security.
  • Hassan Allam Utilities + Agility to build logistics parks: Hassan Allam Utilities has formed a joint venture — dubbed Yanmu — with regional warehousing and industrial developer Agility to set up and operate logistics parks in Egypt
  • More data centers this time via Agility: Regional warehousing and industrial firm Agility Logistics Parks will launch a string of data centers across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Ghana.
  • EuroAfrica project needs an electricity interconnector: Egypt and Greece are in the process of selecting a consultant to conduct feasibility studies for the USD 4 bn EuroAfrica Interconnector that will link their electricity grids.



March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

March: IMF to review USD 3 bn program.

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.

12-16 March (Sunday-Thursday): American University in Cairo’s annual Research and Creativity Convention, AUC New Cairo campus.

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

15 March (Wednesday): Government to start prepping Safi and Wataniya for offering.

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

19 March (Sunday): House reconvenes.

19-20 March (Sunday-Monday): PPP MENA Forum, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

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

22 March (Wednesday): Ramadan trading hours in effect.

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: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's social support measures program to be implemented.

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.

30 June (Friday): Egypt to exit Grains Trade Convention.


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.


August: Hassan Allam Utilities + Agility to open Yanmu East logistics park.

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


September: IMF to review USD 3 bn program.

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.

Summer 2023: EGX to launch a shariah-compliant index.

2H 2023: Egyptian government expected to sign agreements with a consultant for the EuroAfrica electricity interconnector.

4Q 2023: EGX to launch its new futures exchange.

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