Sunday, 27 November 2022

PM — Financial inclusion for >50% of Egyptians



Good afternoon, wonderful people. The very busy week we anticipated this morning has yet to materialize — but it’s only Sunday.


The CBE’s financial inclusion drive, in numbers: Egypt’s financial inclusion rate — the percentage of citizens above the age of 16 with “transactional” bank accounts — has grown 131% between 2016 and 2022, according to a Central Bank of Egypt report (pdf) published today. There are now nearly 40 mn adults in Egypt who are banked, the report says.


Leading the conversation in the international business press this afternoon: Protests in Shanghai against China’s strict covid-19 rules. Demonstrations broke out in the country’s financial hub overnight after hundreds of people attended vigils for 10 people who died in a high-rise building fire on Thursday. Social media users have suggested that the people were unable to flee from the building in time because it was partially locked down — a claim authorities have denied. The story is on the front pages of Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • Why GSK’s Mohamed El Dababy thinks exports and FDI are the way forward: After reading our five-step recipe for turning Egypt into a global export hub and FDI magnet, participating CEOs — including GSK General Manager Mohamed El Dababy — agreed to answer two questions on the record.
  • Qatar’s sovereign fund wants the port of Safaga: The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is reportedly in talks with the Madbouly government to develop and manage the port of Safaga under a 25-year contract.
  • Israel’s NewMed plans floating LNG expansion: Israel’s NewMed will likely build a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to boost energy exports to Europe from its Leviathan gas field in Israel, instead of a pipeline that links Israeli fields to Egypt’s LNG terminals.


We’re in the countdown stage for the Enterprise Climate X Forum with just nine days to go before we meet with some of you in Cairo at the Grand Egyptian Museum on Tuesday, 6 December 2022. Invitations are out, and judging by the emails we’ve gotten, it sounds like some of you’re as excited as we are.

*** YOU MUST REGISTER TO ATTEND by clicking the link on your registration email. Attendance is by invitation only and your invite is personalized. You will require a special QR code to gain access to the GEM on event day — we’ll be sending them out at the end of the week.

Have you not received an invitation? If you’re a C-suite exec, business owner, climate professional, DFI staff, investor, or senior banker, please email us at to signal your interest, letting us know your name, title, and where you work. You can learn more on our conference website here.

The agenda: We get underway with a networking breakfast at 8am CLT. Then we jump right in with live interviews and panels made up of CEOs, execs, bankers, and development finance folks, who will mull over a variety of topics, including:

  • Is there truly a business case for green hydrogen in Egypt?
  • What policies, regulation and legislation should the government be looking at to drive investment in the green economy?
  • Practical advice from industry insiders on how to get your climate-focused business started.
  • How do we finance our green transition?
  • How startups and VCs are embracing the green economy.


*** It’s Inside Industry day — your weekly briefing of all things industrial in Egypt. Inside Industry focuses each Sunday on what it takes to turn Egypt into a manufacturing and export powerhouse, ranging from initial investment and planning to product distribution, through to land allocation to industrial processes, supply chain management, labor, automation and technology, inputs and exports, regulation and policy.

In today’s issue: We look at Green Star, the recently-announced government program laying out guidelines for companies that will favor low-carbon products for government purchases. The program will be offering a number of incentives to businesses compliant with the new environmental standards.


Payment and fintech conference Pafix will be held as part of Cairo ICT 2022 from today until Wednesday at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre in New Cairo.

The US and Russia will hold nuclear talks in Cairo this week: Washington and Moscow will discuss resuming mutual nuclear inspections during week-long talks from Tuesday, 29 November through to 6 December, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to CNN.

PSA- The deadline to apply for the Chicago Booth Executive Program in El Gouna has been pushed one week to next Sunday, 4 December. The two-week program, which kicks off in March 2023, offers executives from Egyptian public and private sector the skills to help them “become a better leader for your organization and support Egypt’s growth in the years ahead.” You can find more information here.

☀️TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect a partially cloudy day tomorrow with temperatures expected to hit 23°C during the day before falling to 13°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.



Why the collapse of crypto hasn’t really tainted the world’s economy: Crypto, which was once valued at around USD 3 tn, has lost 72% of its value y-o-y, with little to no impact on the traditional financial sector, according to Wall Street Journal’s chief economics commentator Greg Ip. Because the asset class isn’t linked to the rest of the financial world, its issues haven’t spilled over. Things could have turned out differently if the crash were to take place in a couple of years, given the increasing pressure on regulators and banks to accept crypto into the traditional financial world.

The crypto space is “largely circular,” meaning when crypto platforms get money from their investors, they use the funds to trade and finance themselves. They barely interact with businesses that benefit the real economy, according to economists. Unlike government bonds, mortgages, commercial loans, and even derivatives, cryptocurrency had no practical application and thus provided little incentive for traditional finance to connect to it. Because of its lack of regulation and overall volatile nature, regulators and institutional investors were already wary of crypto, while mainstream investors such as Warren Buffett avoided it entirely. This would have changed over time, but not because crypto became useful, writes Ip. It would have changed due to the amount of money it generated for speculators and the ecosystem that supported them.

From Face ID to drug-administering mini robots: The US’ Bionaut Labs has employed the team behind Apple’s Face ID to develop remote-controlled small robots to deliver meds into the brain to target difficult-to-treat diseases, the Financial Times reports. The company secured USD 43.2 mn in a second funding round, led by Khosla Ventures, to finance the first clinical trials to prove the robots' safety and effectiveness. Israel’s Deep Insight and Canada’s Sixty Degree Capital, were among the seven new investors that joined the round. Bionaut Labs is beginning trials to administer drugs to treat a form of brain tumor and Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a rare pediatric neurological illness, in which the robot will poke a hole in a cyst. Biopsies taken by the robots could also be used to diagnose diseases. The company ultimately wants to tackle more difficult and common diseases including Parkinson’s, Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and strokes.



(all times CLT)

Hope floats in The Swimmers: The Syrian Mardini sisters’ true-life story is so extraordinary that it should come as no surprise that director Sally El Hosaini made a film about them. Sara and Yusra Mardini fled their war-torn hometown of Damascus by boat in 2015 in search of a better life in Germany (along with their aspiring DJ cousin — played by Egypt’s talented Ahmed Malek). The sisters have a strong relationship, and they both love swimming, with Yusra being especially gifted and competitive, hoping to qualify for the then-upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. After a perilous journey, they arrive in Germany, where they meet coach Sven (Matthias Schweighöfer), who thinks Yusra’s dream just might come true. With a running time of nearly 2.5 hours, this is a long film that may require two sittings to get through, but it’s hard not to be inspired by this true story, especially as Sia’s pop-powered ballads rage on in the background. The movie is available to watch on Netflix (watch trailer, runtime 2:25).

We’re halfway through day eight of the World Cup, and the matches keep getting more interesting. Costa Rica — which lost to Spain 7-0 last week — beat Japan today 1-0.

Currently on the pitch: Belgium and Morocco kicked off their match a few minutes before we hit “send” on this afternoon’s edition.

Later tonight: Croatia meets Canada at 6pm, and Spain v Germany is scheduled for 9pm.

JOIN US FOR OUR ENTERPRISE FANTASY WORLD CUP LEAGUE. Sign up with the code SZJ507VP to compete against other members of the Enterprise community. The top finisher will take home something special from us.








🇪🇸 Spain







🇯🇵 Japan







🇨🇷 Costa Rica







🇩🇪 Germany














🇧🇪 Belgium







🇭🇷 Croatia







🇲🇦 Morocco







🇨🇦 Canada








Start your day on the right note with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and a yummy sandwich from Toasted. The Sheikh Zayed eatery kept its concept basic, giving you a taste of the good ol’ days and proving that less is more when it comes to choosing sandwich ingredients. We enjoyed the delicious basics, from grilled cheese to roast beef and spicy tuna — all of which appeal to picky eaters. Toasted also offers a variety of salad options for folks who don’t eat bread, and a selection of dessert toasts for those with a sweet tooth. We’re especially fond of the lotus delight toast, hugged between special buttered toast slices, and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, salted caramel goodness, and walnuts.

(all times CLT)

Don’t miss Irtigalia, a live improv and interactive comedy theater performance, tonight at 9pm at Room Art Space New Cairo.

Head to ZED Park’s Winter Festival for rides, activities and live performances. You can get your tickets online beforehand to skip the queues.


Are you a parent trying to raise your child to be a confident decision-maker? Sincerely, Me is the journal to give to your kids. Amina Diab, an Egyptian psychologist specializing in therapy for kids, teens, and parents, began experiencing power struggles with her child, who reached an age of stubbornness and “refuses to listen” to her advice. Given Diab’s professional experience with teens and understanding their mental health, she quickly realized the importance of giving him his space. Her search for a tool to help him make decisions on his own was fruitless, leading her to publish a book for youngsters to read themselves in a bid to help parents going through the all-too-common struggle. It serves as a guide — with everything a parent wishes to teach their children, just without the parent’s lecturing — to gain confidence, learn positive self-talk, and grasp the fundamental tools to overcome challenges.


The EGX30 rose 1.8% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.93 bn (36.2% above the 90-day average). Regional investors were net sellers. The index is up 8.9% YTD.

In the green: AMOC (+9.3%), Ibnsina Pharma (+7.8%) and Alexandria Containers and Cargo Handling (+7.4%).

In the red: Credit Agricole (-1.1%), GB Auto (-0.8%) and Fawry (-0.8%).


The Enterprise guide to the Green Star program: The government earlier this month announced a set of guidelines for companies that will favor low-carbon products for government purchases, dubbed Green Star. The program will be offering a number of incentives to businesses compliant with the new environmental standards.

Keep your eyes peeled for what the incentives actually entail: Though still not yet clear, details on these new incentives will be spelled out in the new Environment Act currently under review at the House of Representatives, a source familiar with the matter told Enterprise. What is clear for now is that bringing down industrial emissions to EU standards — especially for products geared for export — will be the goal for the incentives, which could give us an edge for boosting exports.

A number of initiatives are simultaneously trying to reduce industrial emissions: In addition to the Green Star program, which will give preference to low-carbon products for government purchases, a national emissions trading scheme could help expand low-carbon technologies in the local market, Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir said.

Ecolabeling will also soon come into the mix: Placing standards for environmentally sound production methods will also be a part of the larger strategy to bring down emissions. Verifying and granting producers who meet these standards with eco-labels to display on their products is also in the pipeline. The Industrial Development Authority and the air quality division at the Environment Ministry’s Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) will be responsible for verifying that producers are in line with regulations and issuing labels, division head Mostafa Mourad told Enterprise.

Green Star certification has already gained some ground in the tourism sector: At resort destinations like Sharm El Sheikh and El Gouna, Green Star certification has already been distributed, Mourad told us. There’s been a lot of effort and consultation with international experts before the green label program took off in places like Sharm El Sheikh, Waste Management Regulatory Authority Deputy Head Yasser Mahgoub told Enterprise.

Who decides what gets Green Star certification? A committee put together by the Trade and Industry Ministry and includes representatives from the Industrial Development Authority and the Waste Management Regulatory Authority has been tasked with organizing and monitoring industrial waste management operations, Mahgoub tells us. This same committee is also tasked with granting approvals for green labels to compliant manufacturers, he adds.

The eligibility criteria: In order for manufacturers to become eligible for a green star rating they must use fewer hazardous materials in their production processes; minimize their use of natural resources like water and electricity; and design recyclable products that produce minimal industrial waste.

We’ve been making some progress when it comes to cutting down on emissions: Egypt has managed to reduce the levels of air pollution in recent years — thanks in part to government initiatives — but still more effort is needed to bring down the concentration of particulate matter in the air, Mourad told us. The country’s industrial sector’s carbon emissions fell to 0.67 kilograms per manufacturing value added (MVA) in 2019, from 0.83 kg in 2000, according to Environment Ministry data. It’s a step in the right direction, but we still lag behind most of our African peers: On average, African countries have nearly halved their industrial emissions in the same time period to 0.63 kg per MVA in 2019, from 1.03 kg in 2000.

Can we reduce emissions even further? A number of manufacturers voiced their support for the green push but are concerned with the pressure it puts on the industrial sector. The shift away from fossil fuels and towards a greener industry is costly and requires intellectual property and specific imported programs to help measure emissions and fuel consumption, Badr City Investors Association Chairman Bahaa El Adly told Enterprise. He highlighted the importance of setting targets that support the industry, and the government’s role in setting the timetable and cost. Industry has been on the receiving end of one shock after another, which hurts its plans for industrial expansion and boosting exports, he said. The push to go green requires more cost-sensitive incentives instead of legal obligations, he said.

Funding also remains a key issue, head of the Chamber of Engineering Industries Mohamed Al Mohandes tells us. Factories don’t always have the funds to enact the eco-friendly policies that are required to get their hands on the Green Star, especially in light of recent inflationary pressures and increasing cost of production, Al Mohandes said. Factories have limited capabilities to expand their plans to reduce emissions, he said. Plans to increase Egyptian exports to USD 100 bn mainly depend on industry, he said, adding that a gradual transformation will work better for the sector.

Your top industrial development stories for the week:

  • CBE exits subsidized loan program: A decision by the government to end the central bank’s role in subsidizing loans for industry and other key areas of the economy has not been received well by some sections of the business community, with the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) and some MPs calling on ministers to rethink their plans.
  • ACI rollout for air freight postponed: The rollout of the Advance Customs Information (ACI) customs system to air freight has been pushed for a second time to give importers, customs brokers, shipping agents and overseas companies more time to get used to the system amid volatility in the global economy.
  • Forward Egypt, the company that is manufacturing footballs for the World Cup, is getting its own freezone in Tenth of Ramadan city. The zone will have three factories for the manufacture of footballs, sports shoes, and sportswear with a capital of USD 10 mn and investment costs estimated at USD 22 mn.



20 November-18 December (Sunday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

27 November (Sunday): Senate in session.

27-28 November (Sunday-Monday): The first edition of the Egypt Media Forum.

27-30 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT and Pafix, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

29 November – 6 December (Tuesday-Tuesday): US and Russia to hold talks on resuming mutual nuclear inspections in Cairo.


1 December (Thursday): Sphinx International Airport will begin operating international flights.

1 December (Thursday): Contractors to break ground on Egypt-Saudi interconnection project.

3 December (Saturday): Dior Men’s pre-fall collection show in Giza.

4 December (Sunday): House back in session.

4 December (Sunday): OPEC+ meeting.

5-8 December (Monday-Thursday): QS Reimagine Education Awards and Conference, multiple locations.

5-7 December (Monday-Wednesday): Food Africa 2022 kicks off at Egypt International Exhibitions Center.

6 December (Tuesday): Enterprise Climate X Forum, Grand Egyptian Museum.

7 December (Wednesday): Euromoney Egypt 2022 conference

10 December (Saturday): The TriFactory’s Pyramids Half Marathon.

10-12 December (Saturday-Monday): The 2nd edition of the Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry kicks off.

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

13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): US-Africa Leaders Summit.

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

December: The Sixth of October dry port will begin operations.

December: Egyptian Automotive Summit.

December: Egypt to expand Sudan electricity link capacity to 300 MW.

December: Chinese President Xi Jinping visit to Saudi Arabia


January: EGX-listed companies and non-bank lenders will submit ESG reports for the first time.

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

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

1 January (Sunday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

1 January (Sunday): Residential electricity bills are set to rise as per the government’s six-year roadmap (pdf) to restructure electricity prices by 2025.

7 January (Saturday): Coptic Christmas.

24 January-6 February: The 54th Cairo International Book Fair, Egypt International Exhibition Center

25 January (Wednesday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

26 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

30 January-1 February (Monday-Wednesday): CI Capital’s Annual MENA Investor Conference 2023, Cairo, Egypt.


11 February (Saturday): Second semester of 2022-2023 academic year begins for public universities.

13-15 February (Monday-Wednesday): The Egypt Petroleum Show (Egyps), Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

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

MARCH 2023

March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

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

APRIL 2023

1 April (Saturday): Deadline for banks to establish sustainability unit.

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

22 April (Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day.

27 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC).

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2023 earnings season.

MAY 2023

1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

4 May (Thursday) National holiday in observance of Labor Day (TBC).

22-26 May (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.

JUNE 2023

19-21 June (Monday-Wednesday) Egypt Infrastructure and Water Expo debuts at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

28 June-2 July (Wednesday-Sunday): Eid El Adha (TBC).

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.

JULY 2023

18 July (Tuesday): Islamic New Year.

20 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Islamic New Year (TBC).

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day.

27 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Revolution Day.

Late July-14 August: 2Q2023 earnings season.


26 September (Tuesday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

28 September (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).


6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2023 earnings season.


2H 2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

2H 2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

2H 2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q 2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release its first financing product.

3Q 2022: Swvl to close acquisition of Urbvan Mobility.

End of December/early January: SFE’s pre-IPO fund to kick off roadshow.

4Q 2022: Electricity Ministry to tender six solar projects in Aswan Governorate.

4Q 2022: Raya Holding subsidiary Aman and Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia to launch their fintech company.

4Q 2022: Saudi Arabia’s Jamjoom Pharma to inaugurate its EGP 1 bn pharma factory in El Obour.

End of 2022: Decent Life first phase scheduled for completion.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

2023: Egypt will host the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in 2023.

1Q 2023: Adnoc Distribution’s acquisition of 50% of TotalEnergies Egypt to close.

1Q 2023: 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.

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