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Monday, 30 April 2018

What we’re tracking on 30 April

Up next on the government’s legislative agenda: Changes to the Banking Act and executive regulations for the Capital Markets Act. The board of the Central Bank of Egypt is expected to review the latest draft of the Banking Act today, according to statements yesterday by CBE Governor Tarek Amer. We have more on that in the Speed Round.

Second, the final draft of the executive regulations of the Capital Markets Act will be ready this week, said Financial Regulator Authority (FRA) Vice Chairman Khaled El Nashar, according to Al Mal. He gave no further detail on the forthcoming changes, but we’re looking for frameworks that will regulate the launch of new financial instruments under the amended Capital Markets Act, which passed back in February. Procedures for the issuance of sukuks will almost certainly be laid out in the executive regulations. Less clear is whether the FRA will introduce rules on short-selling or short-term bonds.

Shares of CI Capital make their EGX debut this morning, opening at EGP 7.70. Jefferies and CI Capital were joint global coordinators and bookrunners. Norton Rose Fulbright was international counsel to the issuer, while White & Case was counsel to the underwriters. Matouk Bassiouny was local counsel; Pharos Securities Brokerage and HC Brokerage acted as placements agents.

Will we see a gas pipeline agreement with Cyprus this week? Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Greek counterpart, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, will arrive today in Egypt, ostensibly for the “Nostos The Return” initiative, which brings together second and third generation immigrants from each others’ countries, according to the Cyprus Mail. But in light of all the energy cooperation talks we’ve seen these past few weeks (or months, if you count the USD 15 bn Israel gas import agreement) we should expect to hear some progress on a pipeline connecting Cyprus’ Aphrodite field to Egypt’s LNG facilities as Egypt continues to emerge as the clear East Med natural gas export hub for Europe. The Cyprus Mail also has a timeline of how the Oil Ministry has worked since 2013 to position Egypt as the regional hub.

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said as much in a talk on Sunday with the American Chambers of Commerce. Egypt aims to sign an agreement with Cyprus to connect the island’s Aphrodite gas field with Egypt, El Molla said, according to Reuters. “We intend to have a bid round in this area shortly,” he added. The other kicker: Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis is expected in Cairo during the trip.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is visiting Cairo today, Ahram Gate reports. Mogherini is in town for a meeting of the Libya Quartet being hosted by the Arab League. Members of the quartet include the EU, the UN, the Arab League, and the African Union. Mogherini is expected to sign a number of cooperation agreements with Egypt while in town.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin’s visit to Cairo continues today as the Ukraine is planning joint projects worth USD 280 mn, according to statements byUkrainian Minister of Economic Development Stepan Kubiv, UNIAN news agency reports.

KUDOS- Cairo American College entered two teams in this year’s Injaz Egypt entrepreneur competition. The first team, called More and led by CEO Hashem Abdou, produced what they billed as a stylish and innovative personalized laptop case with white board built in. (If you’ve been to our offices, you know we’re suckers for white boards and tech gadgets, so color us interested…) More took the grand prize as “Company of the Year” and will represent Egypt at the Injaz regional competition in Kuwait next fall. The second team, called Nomad and led by CEO Riad Khawam, took home the prize for best marketing campaign.

Among the global headlines worth your attention this morning:

The World Bank has a new chief economist, and she’s an EM specialist from Yale whose work has focused largely on the effects of trade liberalization on developing economies. Pinelopi Goldberg is a Greek and US national. The Financial Times is applauding her appointment, her Yale Economics home page is still up here if you’d like to read her bio, her CV and an outline of recent research is here, or you can check out the World Bank’s press release announcing her appointment.

Heba Saleh has got Mo Salah on the brain. One of our favorite journalists writing about one of our favorite footballers. What could be better? Read: Mo Salah brings hope and pride back to weary Egyptians. (See also our coverage today of the resolution of Salah’s dispute with the Egyptian Football Association in Last Night’s Talk Shows, below.)

US wants Quartet to drop Qatar blockade: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told Saudi officials in blunt terms that it’s time to drop the blockade of Qatar, the New York Times reports. The former CIA director made the demand while in the midst of a swing through the Mideast that some have positioned as a bid to further ringfence Iran.

US mobile network operator T-Mobile has agreed to buy rival Sprint in a USD 26 bn transaction. Think of it as “Vodafone Egypt buys Orange Egypt” and you’ll understand why it’s all over the front pages of US newspapers this morning. See Reuters and the Wall Street Journal for more.

Saudi Aramco has appointed its first female director. We’d scoff, but it’s not like we here in Omm El Donia are doing vastly better, CIB aside.

Food for thought: Cold shipping is in hot demand as the world craves more fresh food, the Wall Street Journal reports. The paper writes that demand to ship food across the oceans in reefers that keep it fresh for more than a month is twice as high as it is for other products.

PSA #1: Get your umbrellas ready? Parts of the nation’s Mediterranean coast could see thunderstorms this week, and the national weather service has extended the warning to Cairo, Sinai and the Delta. Our favorite weather app suggests Cairo faces a chance of rain Thursday through Sunday. Look for a high today of 38°C in Cairo and 31°C in Alexandria. Cabinet says it is on alert through Thursday as it aims to head off flooding if there is rain, it said in a statement.

PSA #2: It’s a short work week. Tomorrow is a day off in observance of Labor Day. Banks and the stock exchange will be closed. We’ll be off, too, and back in your inboxes on Wednesday.

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