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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

What we’re tracking on 27 November 2019

The nature and timing of an expected cabinet shuffle continues to be the top story about Egypt in the minds of the chattering class. The most significant development in the past 24 hours is a proposal by House Deputy Speaker Soliman Wahdan to resurrect the former Ministry of Information (which fellow grey hairs will recall was once the purview of Mubarak-era fixture Safwat El Sherif) as part of the shuffle. Wahdan’s suggestion has the backing of MPs including Nabil El Gammal and Ehab El Tamawy. Bringing back the ministry (which was dissolved in 2014) is consistently floated when a cabinet shuffle is in the air, but this is the first time we remember the notion having support at this senior a level.

When can we expect the shuffle? El Tamawy expects the House to receive a letter from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi before it’s back from recess on 8 December and for the shuffle to happen “within days.” But House approval of the change-up is unlikely to come by during an “extraordinary session” scheduled for Thursday, he told Al Shorouk. The only known topic the agenda tomorrow is the reappointment of CBE Governor Tarek Amer for a second term, Rep. Mohamed Abou Hamed tells the newspaper, although he conceded that its conceivable MPs would discuss a shuffle when they convene.

Meanwhile, as many as 13 provincial governors and 27 of their deputies will reportedly be replaced or reassigned today, Al Masry Al Youm claims, citing sources with knowledge of the shuffle.

Expect a measure of quiet in international markets — and here in the streets of the capital city — as Thanksgiving weekend kicks off tomorrow. US markets are closed on Thursday and have a short trading day on Friday. Many international schools in Egypt that follow a US curriculum are off for the day, too.

And beware: Egypt (like much of the rest of the world) has wholeheartedly embraced “Black Friday,” which some retailers in a fit of piety insist must be called White Friday. Unless you have a particularly compelling reason to venture out, we strongly suggest you refrain from visiting major malls this weekend.

The annual RiseUp Summit kicks off a week from tomorrow at the AUC new campus in New Cairo. The startupfest will run through Saturday, 7 December, under the theme “Journey to Growth.” Tap or click here for the full agenda.

The summit will be followed by the Pitch by the Pyramids competition, a multi-stage regional startup pitch contest involving countries from around the MENA region with the grand final event at the Great Pyramids of Giza.


A delegation from China’s Dongfeng Motor Corporation will be in town next week to discuss the possibility of manufacturing electric cars in cooperation with state-owned El Nasr Automotive, according to a Public Enterprises Ministry statement (pdf). The Chinese company had previously expressed its interest in manufacturing electric cars in Egypt for sale to the state, for use as taxis (presumably on a state-backed financing program as with the “white taxi” initiative of about a decade ago), and for export to Europe.

Other key dates to pencil into your agenda:

  • The purchasing managers’ index for Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia will be released on Tuesday, 3 December at 6:15am CLT.
  • The Central Bank of Egypt is expected to release net foreign reserves figures for November on Wednesday, 4 December.
  • Monthly inflation figures for November are due on Tuesday, 10 December.

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot’s PSA Group are set to sign a binding merger agreement in the coming weeks, according to internal communications obtained by Reuters. The merger would create the world’s fourth-largest carmaker, with previous reports indicating the new entity would be worth some USD 46 bn.

China’s Nongfu Spring deliberates possible USD 1 bn IPO: One of China’s biggest bottled water and beverage companies, Nongfu Spring Co, is working with financial advisors over a possible IPO in Hong Kong that could raise over USD 1 bn, according to Bloomberg. The listing could materialize as early as 1H2020.

Lebanon’s search for a new prime minister begins tomorrow. President Michel Aoun will begin consulting with parliament tomorrow to select a replacement prime minister for Saad Hariri, who resigned last month in an effort to appease mass protests against his government, Bloomberg says. Consultations reportedly take two days, meaning that the country could have a new PM by Saturday.


The next episode of our new podcast Making It appears this coming Friday, wherein a husband and wife team that set a fundraising record with their startup talk with co-host Hisham about everything from building a business together to the limits of artificial intelligence. Look for episode two in your inbox or podcast feed on Friday at 8am.

Our first episode with Jalal Abu Gazaleh, CEO of Gourmet Egypt, is already out. Listen here on our website or find us on Apple Podcast or Google Podcast. You can also listen on Spotify if you are listening outside of MENA (the local edition of the streamer doesn’t presently offer podcasts).

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