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Sunday, 14 July 2019

What we’re tracking on 14 July 2019

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back from what we hope was a relaxing weekend with family and loved ones. We have a packed issue for you to start your week with, so let’s get to it.

The central bank chose to leave rates on hold last week: Not ones to be tempted by the unexpectedly low inflation numbers in June, the Monetary Policy Committee maintained the overnight deposit and lending rates at 15.75% and 16.75%, respectively. Although some of us were entertaining the idea of a CBE curveball, the decision was made with an eye on how the fuel subsidy cuts will impact next month’s inflation reading. We have chapter and verse in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Sahel will have to wait another week for our elected representatives: The end of the legislative cycle and the start of the summer recess has been pushed back another week for reps to vote on several outstanding pieces of legislation, according to Ahram Online. At the top of the agenda: The NGOs law, a draft law on the Senate, and legislation regulating rents of non-residential buildings. We have a rundown of the latest goings-on at the House in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Tarek El Kady, founder and chairman of the Mediterranean Business Angel Networks, has been chosen to represent Egypt at the World Business Angels Investment Forum, according to a statement (pdf). The WBAF is a G20 Global Partnerships for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) affiliate and aims to make accessing finance easier for businesses.

The African Cup of Nations semi-final round is today, with Tunisia facing Senegal at 6 pm CLT at 30 June Stadium and Algeria facing Nigeria at 9 pm CLT at Cairo International Stadium. The winners from each match will meet for the final battle on Friday.

In other sporting news, Serena Williams lost the Wimbledon women’s final match yesterday (and her chance to earn a record 24 Grand Slam titles) to 27-year-old Romanian Simona Halep as she seems to have “confronted age and injury,” says the New York Times. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are playing for the men’s title at 3 pm CLT today.

Egypt and Cyprus’ gas infrastructure has “significant potential” to draw in capital as part of a drive from Cyprus-based investment firm Cynergy Group to raise a total of USD 10 bn to “consolidate Eastern Mediterranean gas assets,” Cynergy co-founder Mike Germanos tells the National. Cynergy is “setting its sights on Gulf sovereign wealth funds to revitalise the Eastern Mediterranean energy value chain,” and Egypt’s LNG terminals are part of that chain, particularly as Germanos sees the region’s infrastructure as ill-equipped to “fully leverage its discoveries … and realise its ambition to become a regional hub” for natural gas.

Ghosts of privacy blunders past catch up to Facebook with USD 5 bn fine: The US’ Federal Trade Commission has voted in favor of slapping a USD 5 bn fine on El Face as part of a settlement for the social media company’s privacy violations, people familiar with the matter tell the Wall Street Journal. It remains unclear thus far what else the settlement — which still requires sign-off from the Justice Department — entails, including “whether the FTC will force Facebook to make any meaningful changes to how it handles user data,” the Associated Press notes.

The FTC vote comes as execs from Amazon, Google and Facebook are due to testify at a hearing looking at whether to curtail Big Tech’s reach on Tuesday, WSJ reported. This forms part of a broader congressional investigation by the House antitrust subcommittee into antitrust concerns in the tech sector.

Credit rating agency Fitch has downgraded Turkey’s sovereign debt rating after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacked his central bank boss, Reuters reports.

PSA- 500 Startups has launched a new edition of its Misk 500 Accelerator Program. The 14-week program will teach growth hacking techniques and provide expertise to promising tech startups in the MENA region. Find out more about the program and how to apply here (pdf).

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