Thursday, 16 March 2023

AM — April will be a key month for the rebooted privatization program



Good morning, friends. Happy THURSDAY to you all — and happy issue #2002 to us here at Enterprise. It’s the two thousand and second time we’ve written you here at EnterpriseAM, and we are honored that so many of you choose to start your mornings with us, whether you’ve been reading since issue #1 (the subject of today’s My Morning Routine column started with us right around then) or just joined us yesterday. Thank you, from the bottom of our collective heart.

It’s one of those mixed news days: We have plenty of good news on the foreign direct investment side of the equation this morning as well as increasingly positive signals on the privatization front. On the other hand, the big question of the day is where European and US traders will take us today. Will a multi-day slide in bank shares become the Great Bank Share Rout of 2023?

PSA- You may want to leave for work a tad early this morning: The Greater Cairo area is in for a foggy morning — and will likely see dusty winds throughout the day, according to the latest from the national weather service. The dust will carry over into Friday and will be replaced by good old wind on Saturday, when the mercury will hit lows of 13°C.


RiseUp 2023: The RiseUp Summit starts today at the Grand Egyptian Museum. The three-day event runs through to Saturday.

Another Italian minister is here: Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi is in Cairo to discuss illegal migration with Egyptian officials, according to Italian news agency Nova. Piantedosi will be the second Italian minister to visit the country following Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who met President El Sisi and PM Madbouly to discuss migration, energy and economic ties.

The SCZone is in Vietnam: Representatives from the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) are in Hanoi where they’re meeting with local businesses and investors in a bid to attract investment. The roadshow lasts through to tomorrow.


Israel-Palestine summit to take place in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday: Palestinian and Israeli officials are meeting in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday as part of a five-party meeting with Egyptian, Jordanian and US officials, Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein El Sheikh said in a tweet. An agreement made during a first round of talks in Jordan last month failed to calm escalating violence in the West Bank.

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.

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


The Finance Ministry has already begun implementing its financial incentives program encouraging women not to have more than two children, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Enterprise earlier this week.

No means testing: The program is open to all Egyptian women regardless of their income, Maait said. FinMin will issue bonds on the public treasury for eligible women, funded directly from the state budget, he added.

ICYMI- FinMin will 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, in the government’s latest bid to tackle the rapid rate of population increase. The accumulated savings will be paid out to women who participate in the program once they turn 45, provided they stick to the terms.



The US banking crisis is no longer just a US banking crisis: Tremors in the US banking sector arrived in Europe in dramatic fashion yesterday after a vote of no confidence by Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder sent the embattled Swiss lender’s share price plunging as much as 31% and the cost of insuring its debt spiking.

Shares in Europe dived: The turmoil at Credit Suisse — Switzerland’s (long-struggling) second-largest bank and member of the “too big to fail” club — triggered a heavy sell-off in European equities, with many bourses suffering their worst day since the invasion of Ukraine. More than GBP 75 bn was erased from the FTSE100, which fell 3.8%, while Germany’s Dax was down 3.3% and bourses in Spain and Italy lost more than 4%. Losses on Wall Street were comparatively slight, with the S&P 500 finishing 0.7% in the red and the Dow down 0.9%.

Flight to safety + plunging oil prices signal recession: Bond yields across the world fell dramatically, the USD rallied and gold prices rose as investors turned to safe haven assets. Meanwhile, oil prices plunged almost 5% to their lowest level since 2021 as traders bet on an oncoming recession.

BlackRock isn’t doing anything to calm fears: The US banking system could be entering a “slow rolling crisis” akin to the Savings and Loan Crisis in the 1980s, with potentially “more seizures and shutdowns coming,” BlackRock CEO Larry Fink wrote in his annual letter to investors yesterday. “Are the dominoes starting to fall?” he wondered.

Swiss authorities are trying to instill calm: Credit Suisse will borrow as much as USD 54 bn from the Swiss central bank and will buy back some of its debt in a bid to improve liquidity and quell investors’ fears, it said last night.

The move may have (at least) triggered a pause, with European and US equity futures rising this morning and losses in Asia easing.

SOUND SMART- Why are European bank shares falling when the problems are so-far limited to (a) the United States and (b) to three banks that were heavily exposed to tech and crypto? Traders are jittery — and they’re herd animals. Traders have become anxious about everything from the pace at which the US Fed is raising interest rates to amorphous concerns about rising risk in the banking system, particularly amid the belief that rising rates were at the root of Silicon Valley Bank’s meltdown. In Europe, those generalized fears are tangled up in the troubled history of Credit Suisse — and the negative sentiment washed over the shares of much stronger financial institutions including BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Commerzbank, all of which saw their shares hammered yesterday.

The story is everywhere on the global front pages this morning: Reuters | Financial Times | Bloomberg | New York Times | Washington Post | Wall Street Journal | CNBC | BBC.

China could be driving a major diplomatic realignment in the Middle East: Fresh off signing a landmark agreement to normalize ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia is now signaling that it is prepared to take things to the next level and strengthen economic ties with its once arch foe. Riyadh is open to making investments in Iran “very quickly” on the condition that “the terms of any agreement would be respected,” Reuters reports Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan as saying yesterday. “We have no reason not to invest in Iran, and we have no reason not to allow them to invest in Saudi Arabia. It is in our interest to make sure that both nations benefit from each other's resources and competitive advantage,” Al Jadaan said.

ICYMI- China last week pulled off a major diplomatic coup by brokering an agreement between the two rivals that will see them reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies for the first time in seven years.

It’s not just the Saudis: Iran’s national security chief and a number of Iranian banking and security officials will visit the UAE today, Iranian state media reported yesterday. The delegation has been invited by the UAE’s national security advisor, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to discuss “mutual interests as well as regional and international developments,” the report said, without providing further details.


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.

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Gov’t to start marketing state companies to investors in April, says Maait

Mark April on your calendars: The Madbouly government will take to market some of the state-owned companies earmarked for privatization in its rebooted offering program, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said yesterday, according to Bloomberg. “The implementation has already started and some of these assets are going to the market next month,” the minister said on the sidelines of a financial conference in Riyadh.

Privatization program could expand further: The government could add another eight names to its list of companies destined for privatization, Maait said, without elaborating. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said last month that the government plans to partially privatize 32 companies by March 2024 via public offerings on the EGX, sales to strategic investors, or a mix of both.

Our candidates: We had been expecting to see Alexbank, eMethanex, Enppi, Assiut Oil Refining Company, and MIDOR on the list unveiled last month. Each of these companies were flagged by the EGX earlier this year as being in line for privatization.

Five banks could be sold: The program could include up to five state-owned banks, Maait said, name-checking the state’s 20% stake in Alexbank as well as Banque du Caire, AAIB, and United Bank. All of them are already on the list and the United Bank has attracted interest from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, but talks have reportedly stalled due to disagreements on valuation. It’s not clear to us which other bank(s) the state may be willing to exit, in whole or in part.

A roadshow for military firms has begun: CI Capital has reportedly started marketing military-owned firms Safi and Wataniya to strategic investors, and is looking to sell at 10% of each company.

REMEMBER- The privatization push is part of the country’s new state ownership policy which outlines how the government intends to more than double the private sector’s role in the economy to 65% and attract USD 40 bn in private investment by 2026. Under its recent loan agreement with the IMF, the government has committed to reducing the role of state- and military-owned firms in the economy, which it will do via public share offerings, stake sales to strategic investors, and expanding public-private partnerships.


SFE to sell up to 20% of Misr Ins. Holding to strategic investors

SFE wants to offer a slice of Misr Ins. Holding to strategic investors: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) plans to offer a 10-20% stake in Misr Ins. Holding (MIH) to strategic investors, sources close to the transaction told Enterprise. The information was first reported by Al Borsa, which cited anonymous sources.

ICYMI- The government earlier this week transferred the company to the SFE, raising the possibility that it could look to offer more of the company to investors than the two subsidiaries — Misr Ins. and Misr Life Ins. — that had already been earmarked for privatization.

The SFE plans to add MIH to its pre-IPO fund, Al Borsa quotes unnamed sources it says have knowledge of the matter as saying. The fund is preparing a number of state-owned enterprises for sales to strategic investors ahead of potential listings on the EGX.

Misr Life Ins. still headed for an IPO: Misr Life Ins. is set to list 25% of its shares on the EGX during 2H 2023, Al Borsa’s sources said, adding that the parent company’s planned stake sale is unlikely to affect long-standing plans of the EGX listing. Asharq Business previously reported that the company would see a stake sale by the end of the current fiscal year in June, without specifying the size of the stake or whether it would be offered privately or publicly on the bourse.


EGX suffers biggest single-day loss since 2020 on global banking turmoil

Global banking turmoil hits EGX: The EGX30 saw its biggest single-day drop in three years yesterday as the fallout from the US banking crisis continued to send tremors through global financial markets. The benchmark index slipped 4.2% during trading, its worst day since 18 March 2020 at the height of the covid-triggered market panic.

The index has now fallen almost 11% this week: The EGX30 has suffered a four-day losing streak in the wake of the collapse of three banks in the US last week, almost erasing all of its 2023 gains.

Leading the declines: Qalaa Holding suffered the heaviest losses, slipping 14.9%, followed closely by Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (-13.2%), and Heliopolis Housing and Development (-13.1%). Only two EGX30 companies — CIRA and Eastern Company — finished higher.

Banking stocks continued to fall: The EGX30 Banks Index fell another 3.2% yesterday, taking its losses to more than 10% since Silvergate Bank announced last Wednesday that it would be winding down operations. Credit Agricole Egypt led declines, falling -8.3% during the session, while Export Development Bank of Egypt (-7.6%) and QNB Alahli (-7.4%) also saw hefty losses. CIB — the largest constituent of the EGX30 — slipped 1%, leaving it down 8.6% this week.

Contagion: The declines on the EGX are being triggered by foreign investors exiting the market amid panic triggered by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and the potential contagion in European and Asian banking sectors, EGX board member and president of 3way Securities Rania Yacoub told Enterprise. Fears that the crisis could cause embattled Credit Suisse to collapse caused shares in the banking giant to plunge as much as 30% yesterday, triggering a heavy sell-off in European bank shares.

Okay, but if European shares are tumbling, why are we going along for the ride? There are probably two factors. First, fund and portfolio managers might choose to cash out gains in Egypt to cover losses elsewhere. Second: There’s a bit of a risk-off sentiment these days, so it’s natural enough for EM to get hit. And third: There’s no more a “herd” investor than a local day trader — retail investors accounted for 68% of all selling activity yesterday.

Local factors also played a part: Arab and foreign investors also sold shares ahead of an anticipated rate hike by the Central Bank of Egypt later this month and EGP-USD exchange-rate volatility, said Prime Securities Managing Director Shawkat El Maraghy. Some analysts expect the central bank to deliver a huge 300-bps rate hike when the Monetary Policy Committee meets on 30 March in a bid to curb soaring inflation and bring investors back into the market.

SOUND SMART- What does all this mean for the privatization program? It’s TBD. Renewed volatility in the global financial markets comes as Egypt is moving ahead with the sale of stakes in state companies to investors as part of its rebooted privatization program. Volatility and a downward swing in prices of public assets is generally a bad thing. At this juncture, though, we’d be much more concerned if the state were planning to exit stakes through IPOs — but senior officials have made clear they prefer (at this juncture) to do stake sales through private placements rather than via initial public offerings. Privatization drives have been derailed several times by global market turmoil.


Gov’t signs USD 1.6 bn agreements with int’l firms to develop Sokhna + Dekheila ports

Hutchison Ports and co. to build two new container terminals at Ain Sokhna + Dekheila ports: The Madbouly government yesterday signed two agreements worth USD 1.6 bn with two international consortiums to develop new container terminals at the Ain Sokhna and Dekheila ports, cabinet said in a statement yesterday.

Who was contracted? Hutchison Ports has entered a consortium with Cosco and CMA CGM to construct a new terminal at Sokhna port, and is working with MSC on a terminal at Dekheila. The companies will operate and maintain the terminals for 30 years.

The two terminals will almost triple the two ports’ combined capacity: The Sokhna terminal will add 3.5 mn TEU in annual capacity while capacity at Dekheila terminal will increase by 1.5 mn TEU. Sokna currently has a 1.75 mn TEU capacity while Dekheila has 1 mn TEU. The new terminals will also create some 2k direct and indirect jobs.

Months in the making: The companies inked the initial agreements for the projects last August. The House gave the agreements the greenlight earlier this year.

The container terminals could draw in as much as USD 5 bn: The two terminals are expected to bring in around USD 5 bn in revenues over the duration of the 30-year contracts, cabinet said.


Hilton to open 13 new hotels in Egypt by 2028

Spotlight: JJ Sleiffer, Hilton’s president for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. JJ Sleiffer (LinkedIn) started working at Hilton in 1990 as chief steward at Hilton Amsterdam and climbed the corporate ladder over the following years, becoming a regional exec for the hotel’s European operations a decade ago. For a little over two years now he’s been managing 186 hotels as the company’s president for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Hilton plans to nearly double the portfolio of properties it operates in Egypt over the next 3-5 years to reach 27 from a current 14, he tells us. The company is looking to hire 2k more employees here in the next three years, adding to its current workforce of around 6.5k people, he adds.

Two new locations to launch this summer: Hilton will introduce the Waldorf Astoria brand to Egypt with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Cairo Heliopolis, and is also planning to open the doors of the Hilton Cairo Nile Maadi, both this summer, Sleiffer says. Both hotels had been set to launch this spring, according to earlier statements from the company (here and here). The Waldorf Astoria Heliopolis has been in the works since 2018. The company is also set to fully refurbish its downtown Conrad Cairo hotel by the end of 2023, he adds.

We sat down with Sleiffer at the Hilton Cairo Heliopolis to talk more about the company’s expansion plans in Egypt, against the backdrop of changing dynamics in the sector following the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the Madbouly government’s target to double the number of tourists to Egypt to 30 mn annually by 2028. Below are edited excerpts from our conversation.

ENTERPRISE: What can you tell us about how Hilton’s local business has rebounded from the pandemic?

JJ: In 2022, we welcomed nearly 500k international guests at our properties in Egypt — a 20% increase from the numbers in 2019 and up 50% from 2021. Visitors from the GCC accounted for close to 25% of Hilton’s international guests at its hotels in Egypt in 2022. Our brands have been here for over 60 years, making it the company’s longest operating market in the Middle East.

E: How have you been dealing with the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on tourism to Egypt? How has it impacted your business and the industry at large?

JJ: The number of flights to Egypt from Russia and Ukraine diminished rapidly when the conflict started, but luckily we're not dependent on one particular market.

We have seen a lot of travel agents start to put more business into Egypt and that translated into a big uptake out of the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. In 2022, we saw a 60% y-o-y increase in room bookings from the US and 20% from the UK. Bookings doubled on average from our top five European markets — Spain, France, Germany, Poland, and Italy.

Don't forget that there was a lot of pent-up demand post-covid. People were desperate to travel and make that trip of a lifetime. They want to come to Egypt. I flew in with British Airways and the plane was full.

E: Many in the industry are closely following the government’s tourism strategy, which aims to double the inflow of tourists to Egypt to 30 mn a year by 2028. What do you think needs to be done to achieve this ambitious target?

JJ: I think we all agree that we want to bring the service level up. If you want to get 30 mn visitors, you have to make sure that the service is even better than it is now.

We need to have branded hotels in the places where people want them — Luxor, Aswan, Cairo and other cities too. We also have to bring home some of those Egyptians who have been learning the trade in more advanced markets to make sure we really up the game here.

It’s also all the more important to work on training people. That’s something that Hilton is very good at, and to the end we have several partnerships with local vocational schools to build the next generation of industry leaders.

E: Generally speaking, there are two ways to grow the tourism industry — upping the number of arrivals, and increasing the spend per tourist. What do you think should be the focus?

JJ: I think it should be both. I think the share of wallet is very, very important, and Egypt is already making strides on that front by offering more experiences across the country. Egypt is big enough to have many things to do, and small enough to do them all in one trip. People want to do beach and culture on the same day without having to make a long trip or fly and Egypt has that, as well as a longstanding culture of hospitality. I think Egypt really has to capture that legacy of hospitality and make sure the quality of service is of the highest standard.

E: What do you think we need to be doing to promote the industry abroad?

JJ: Well, last year’s “Follow the Sun” campaign by the Tourism Ministry was impressive and I think we need more of that. It was screened on CNN and across social media platforms, targeting tourists from the UK, Germany, Italy, France and the US.

The opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is another big focus. Everybody is talking about it and they really did very well at creating this hype around it. I think it's going to be fabulous.

E: From a policy perspective, what else could be done to shore up the industry?

JJ: There are excellent policies being rolled out to support the demand you’re looking to get — for example, making electronic visas available to visitors from more countries last year is a great policy, making it easier for visitors from 180 countries to visit Egypt. So things are looking better and we've seen the impact of that on the hotel industry.

Another thing that has already been in the government’s focus for a long time is building new infrastructure to make it easier for visitors to get around and see more of the country, giving them the chance to drive themselves around — especially since some don't necessarily want to be in groups all the time.

I met with Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa during my trip and he has a clear focus on overhauling the industry over the next couple of years. I told the minister that we will be working to get more investors to our brands and develop certain areas in Egypt.

I also told the minister that we are happy to help them set up systems and work with them on imagining what future hotels should look like. Maintaining the highest possible fire and other life safety codes comes top of the list.


Meet Mastercard Egypt’s new VP. PLUS: Bassem Rady arrives in Rome

Inji Borai (LinkedIn) has been appointed vice president and country manager for Mastercard Egypt, according to a press release (pdf). Borai joined Mastercard in 2020 as a senior managing consultant after four years as CEO at Acumen Consulting, where she is a co-founder. She also serves on the board of several MENA startups, is a senior advisor to German development agency GIZ, and works as an ambassador for the Lean Startup Company. Borai has held policy advisory, investment analysis and management consulting roles across the region.

Former presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady took up his new post as Egypt’s ambassador to Italy yesterday after presenting his credentials to Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Rome, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Rady was named as Egypt’s ambassador to Italy nearly a year ago but continued to serve in his former position as Ittihadiya spokesperson until Ahmed Fahmy took over in January.

Rady also met with UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu to present his credentials as a permanent representative of Egypt to the FAO, which is headquartered in Rome, the Foreign Ministry said.



It was a light night on the airwave, wrapping up an econ-heavy week. The nation’s talking heads had coverage of the latest meat to hit the Egyptian market and our growing fertilizer production.

Forget Brazilian meat, we now have Chadian meat: All the talk shows were raving about plans to import meat from Chad. Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 3:02), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 3:07) and Masa’a DMC (watch, runtime: 5:47) all had coverage.

A new fertilizer complex got a lot of attention: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi inaugurated yesterday a new nitrogenous fertilizer complex in Ain Sokhna. The complex currently includes six fertilizer factories with an annual production capacity of 1.7 mn tons, and was constructed by German industrial engineering company Thyssenkrupp and local contractor Petrojet. This is a major jump, Masa’a DMC’s Ramy Radwan says (watch, runtime: 5:25), drawing comparison to 2015 when the nation’s fertilizer production sat at a mere 220k tons a year.

As did agriculture, following comments from the president about the need to increase agricultural land to 12 mn feddans by 2024 from 9.7 mn currently, Radwan said. Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 5:04) had coverage, while Al Hayah Al Youm interviewed Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Mohamed El Kersh (watch, runtime: 4:28).

More on the state’s latest bid to curb population growth: The financial incentives to control the Egyptian population are all inclusive, Planning Minister Hala El Said said during a phone-in with Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime: 4:20 | 3:14), explaining that it won’t be limited to a certain group of people. Earlier this week the Finance Ministry unveiled plans to introduce financial incentives for women not to have more than two children in a bid to manage population growth

Local is global: Following the pandemic and current geopolitical tensions, countries have become more aware of the necessity of not fully relying on imports, El Said said. The government in recent months has placed greater emphasis on developing local supply chains as a means to upgrade industrial production and lower the country’s vulnerability to external shocks.


The latest on the Mo Salah burglary is leading the conversation in the foreign press this morning: Authorities have arrested two men connected to the break in and theft at Liverpool star Mohamed Salah’s Cairo home. (Associated Press | BBC | The National)

How much will we save leaving the grain treaty? Exiting the UN grain treaty will save Egypt almost USD 58k a year, Arnaud Petit, the executive director of the council managing the convention, told the National. “We can understand that, for the time being, the [foreign currency crunch] has had a huge impact,” he said. “The cost of the exchange rate has really been a double burden for importing countries.”


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Egypt could welcome a record 15 mn tourists this year -Eissa. PLUS: More wheat, social protection measures


Another record year for tourism? The Tourism Ministry is expecting to receive a record 15 mn tourists this year, up 28% from last year, Minister Ahmed Issa said yesterday. Arrivals in January and February jumped 34% from the same period in 2022, he said earlier this week. The ministry wants to attract as many as 30 mn tourists per year by 2028.


GASC wants more int’l wheat: State grain buyer GASC has launched an international tender for 30-60k tons of wheat for delivery on 15-25 April on a free-on-board basis, Reuters reports. GASC will pay its suppliers in 180-day letters of credit. Interested traders need to submit their bids today.


House committee approves wage, pension hikes: The House Manpower Committee approved yesterday the new round of wage and pension hikes announced earlier this month to mitigate the impact of soaring inflation. The bill will move to the House for discussion and voting when it reconvenes on Sunday. The measures will go into effect on 1 April.


CIT, UNDP link up to promote AI: The Communications Ministry inked an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to support the ministry’s Applied Innovation Center in efforts to promote the use of artificial intelligence, it said in a statement Tuesday.

New tech firm in town: Dubai-based software company Ziwo has landed in Egypt, Gulf News reports. The company, which offers software solutions for call centers, has opened a new branch in Downtown Cairo’s Greek Campus that includes a sales department and an R&D center. Ziwo operates across the GCC and serves companies including Carrefour, Tabby, Floward, and Deliveroo.


Military firm to construct rail parts factory: The Transport Ministry has signed an MoU with military-affiliated company Lenza Egypt to build a factory producing spare parts for the Egyptian Railway Authority, it said Tuesday. The factory will cost EGP 3 bn, according to Al Borsa. Lenza Egypt is specialized in manufacturing water pumps.


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What a difference a week (and a banking crisis) makes: Just a week after fretting about the potential for a larger-than-expected interest rate hike, investors are now expecting the Federal Reserve to begin to cut interest rates as soon as June as the threat of a major banking crisis forces policymakers to prioritize financial stability over fighting inflation, according to the Financial Times. The collapse of two large regional banks last week and the potential knock-on effects in Europe mean that many bond traders now expect the Fed to leave rates unchanged when it meets next week, despite data on Tuesday showing that core inflation accelerated in February.

But analysts are torn: Trying to predict whether the central bank will hold rates steady or follow through with a smaller 25-bps increase is a fool’s game, with analysts split on how it will react to the crisis, Reuters says.

Whichever way the Fed swings could have major implications: Yet another rate hike risks further destabilizing the US banking sector, but a pause could end up undermining all the Fed has done over the past year to fight inflation. “I think they do indeed hike 25 bps next week,” one analyst said. “They need to keep up the fight on inflation to maintain credibility, and a pause here at these levels isn’t going to stop the bleeding in the markets.”




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The EGX30 fell 4.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.91 bn (7.6% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 0.9% YTD.

In the green: CIRA Education (+10.3%), Eastern Company (+2.4%).

In the red: Qalaa Holding (-14.9%), Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (-13.2%) and Heliopolis Housing and Development (-13.1%).


Rana El Nahal, partner at Zulficar & Partners: 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 Rana El Nahal, partner at Zulficar & Partners Law Firm (LinkedIn). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

I'm Rana El Nahal, partner at Zulficar & Partners. I'm a proud daughter and wife, a loving mother of two, and a dedicated lawyer. I've got an enormous passion for what I do, which is strange because I come from a family of doctors. You could say I'm the odd one out.

I graduated from Cairo University in 2008 and received my master's degree from Georgetown in 2014 — the same year I had my first son. I had him one month before my finals but with tremendous support from my parents and husband, I managed to pull through and graduated with honors.

I'm an ever-evolving human being. I grow through experiences, whether good or bad, and never stop learning. I am quite proud of the journey that has brought me to where I am today.

My responsibilities at work are wide-ranging and encompass both strategic and operational aspects. I handle legal matters, advise clients, and work with my partners to manage a team of dynamic lawyers. I also play a role in business planning and development.

Contrary to popular belief, the field is so much more than just reading books and memorizing laws like you see on TV. Being a lawyer is challenging and enjoyable. There are so many different angles to it. One thing I really enjoy is that moment when we finish our research and build conclusions with our findings. It feels like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. I also enjoy drafting and negotiating contracts. A web of connected contracts or a transaction with an unusual structure feels like an art form — like writing a book with a premise and a story, connected from the first page to the last.

I have two kids, aged nine and two. They're my super early alarm clock every morning. It's a blessing because waking up early helps me get through so many tasks. I get up and get them ready for school and nursery, and either my husband or I drop them off, depending on the day. After that, I work out for 45 minutes. I do either yoga or kickboxing and I like to explore new sports every once in a while. Working out really helps me focus and set the tone for the rest of the day.

A typical workday for me is busy and fast-paced. My workday usually starts with a quick review of my emails, which always includes reading Enterprise. Believe it or not, I've been subscribed for eight years now. After that, I catch up with my colleagues to see if any pressing issues need to be addressed and to strategize tasks. Then I jump into meetings and calls, or work on legal documents.

The one constant in my day is that I prioritize and connect with the people I care about. This means making time for my family, whether checking in with my husband and kids or chatting with my parents. Family brings you back to reality and makes you feel that life is worthwhile. I take my responsibilities very seriously. But I also know the importance of taking time for myself and my family to recharge and be my best self.

One thing that helps me maintain balance is setting clear boundaries and sticking to them. I make sure that I have time in the evenings to spend with my children. I also do my best to prioritize self-care activities, such as exercise, reading a book, or listening to music. And I have to give credit to the firm and my team. The supportive environment at Zulficar & Partners and my partners' understanding of the importance of work-life balance make it all possible.

Staying focused and organized can be a challenge in today's fast-paced world, but with the right habits, it becomes easier. One of my secrets to staying on top of things is prioritizing tasks and breaking them down into smaller, manageable chunks. This helps me tackle each one more efficiently.

On a professional level, I am looking for new and innovative ways to challenge myself. I want to expand my expertise and stay updated with the latest developments.

On a personal level, I'm all about living life to the fullest. I have a bucket list of travel destinations that I would like to tick off. I'm always excited to explore new cultures, taste new cuisines, and immerse myself in new experiences.

I've been obsessed with podcasts recently — you can listen to content about anything and everything you're interested in and have them play while you're driving. I like the Lex Friedman Podcast and Diary of a CEO, where a British entrepreneur talks to some of the most interesting characters in business, entertainment, and sports. He had Egyptian Mo Gawdat on a couple of times which was very interesting.

I got two pieces of advice that I often reflect on from two inspiring women. The first was from my mother when I was much younger — quite simply to always do my best to be independent and take charge of my life. I live by it till this day.

The second was given to me by Ms. Mona Zulficar, who told me that lawyers are the dealmakers. This has taught me that while taking a more aggressive approach in legal negotiations may be tempting, it can be counterproductive. By focusing on being a dealmaker, you can help clients achieve their goals, build positive relationships with other parties, and establish yourself as a trusted legal advisor.



March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

March: IMF to review USD 3 bn program.

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

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.

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

19 March (Sunday): House reconvenes.

19 March (Sunday): Palestine-Israel talks in Sharm El Sheikh.

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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