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Wednesday, 11 December 2019

What we’re tracking on 11 December 2019

Today will largely be shaped by how two IPOs will fare in their market debuts. Here at home, Rameda Pharma shares will begin trading under the ticker RMDA today, marking the second and last IPO for Egypt in 2019.

Meanwhile, the international press will be closely watching the long-awaited start of trading on Saudi Aramco. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman isn’t giving up on that USD 2 tn valuation, with the kingdom apparently still pushing Saudi’s wealthiest families and institutions to pile into Aramco’s shares once they hit the Tadawul, according to the Financial Times.

The Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development kicks off today. Government ministers, senior foreign officials and representatives from international institutions are gathering in Aswan for the two-day gathering, which will discuss ways to reduce conflict in Africa and help countries meet their sustainable development goals.

On legendary central banker Paul Volcker’s Cairo connection: Paul Volcker, the former US Fed boss who passed away earlier this week at age 92 (and who enshrined the role of central bank chairs as leaders who solve economic problems regardless of political considerations) had a Cairo connection that will surprise many readers: He was senior advisor to CIB’s board of directors for a three-year period ending in 2008.

CIB Chairman Hisham Ezz El Arab eulogized Volcker in an email to staff yesterday, a copy of which Enterprise obtained. Ezz El Arab, who said he counts Volcker as a friend and mentor, last saw the former Fed chairman turned global troubleshooter in March of this year. He noted in particular Volcker’s wise counsel to the CIB board and leadership in helping create the bank’s employee stock ownership program. You can read the full text of Ezz El Arab’s email here (pdf).


Jumia on the rocks: African e-commerce giant Jumia has announced it will close shop in Rwanda, only weeks after exiting Cameroon and Tanzania, the Financial Times reports. The company’s share price has plunged 90% from its peak in July as it struggles to cope with the realities of running an e-commerce business on a continent with limited infrastructure, a lack of trust of internet services, and weak logistics.

In global miscellany:

  • US Democrats have officially filed two impeachment articles against The Donald, marking the fourth time this has happened in the country’s history, the Wall Street Journal reports. Trump could be impeached as early as next week, setting up a trial in the Senate early in January, the New York Times suggests.
  • The US, Canada, and Mexico have agreed on a new trade pact to replace NAFTA, according to Reuters. The new agreement, which will be known as the United States, Mexico, Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), would create new rules for e-commerce and add new intellectual property protection measures, among other stipulations. The Washington Post has the full rundown and a list of winners and losers.
  • Qatar PM in Riyadh: Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani attended an annual gathering of Gulf monarchs in Riyadh in what may be the latest sign that tensions between Saudi Arabia and the island state are thawing, Bloomberg reports.
  • Voters in the UK are headed to the polls tomorrow in a general election and the Tories appear likely to form a government, a large poll suggests. (Guardian)

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year: “they.” Increasing awareness of nonbinary gender issues has sparked curiosity around use of the word, leading to a 313% y-o-y increase in look-ups on the dictionary’s website. Runner-ups included “quid pro quo,” “impeach,” "crawdad,” “snitty,” and the fantastic “tergiversation.”

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