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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

What we’re tracking on 04 April 2017

The only thing anyone is talking about this morning: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Washington, DC, which included a sit-down in the Oval Office yesterday.

The only thing you need to know about that: It went very, very well from the point of view of both leaders. According to a readout from the White House, Trump told reporters before their sit-down: “I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President al-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. And the United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing. … I just want to say to you, Mr. President, that you have a great friend and ally in the United States and in me.”

El Sisi’s obligatory Fox News sit-down will air on Wednesday at 6pm Eastern (that’s midnight CLT) in the form of an interview with anchor Bret Baier. Fox’s take: “President Trump has made it clear that there is going to be a new dawn in relations between the United States and Egypt.” (Watch the teaser, run time: 0:45)

The one story about the trip that everyone in the business community seemed to be sharing yesterday is a piece by former US Ambassador to Cairo Frank Wisner for the National Interest headlined simply: “America and Egypt need each other.” We couldn’t agree more. H/t Hisham E.

The story policy wonks are circulating: “What Trump Should Ask Sisi” by Mokhtar Awad, Daniel Benaim and Brian Katulis for Politico Magazine.

We have full coverage of the president’s visit to Washington in Speed Round and Egypt in the News.

What everyone will be talking about later this morning: We now officially have four IPOs in the market following ADES International Holding’s announcement yesterday of its intention to float. ADES joins offshoring outfit Raya Contact Center (which has a price range announcement out this morning), retail and distribution play MTI (which announced overnight final pricing on its IPO) and real estate developer Misr Italia in the market.

One of Egypt’s best friends has retired: Vodafone Egypt Chairman Ian Gray marked his last day on the job yesterday after a 17-year run with a farewell reception at the UK embassy in Cairo. We’ve known and admired Ian, now the CEO of Vodafone Qatar, since he arrived in Egypt for his 2002-2007 stint at chief executive and have admired not just his vision and passion for the job, but the way he developed Egyptian talent that has since spread across the industry. He plans to remain involved with Egypt through the UK-Egypt bilateral business councils. Ian was replaced yesterday by Hany Mahmoud, the former minister of communications and IT (2012) and one-time minister of local development (2013), an 11-year veteran of Vodafone Egypt.

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