What we’re tracking on 19 January 2020
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is in Berlin for the Libya peace conference, which kicks off today. A summit in Moscow last week failed to produce an agreement between eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar and UN-recognized Fayez Al Serraj after Haftar walked out on the talks. Haftar has reportedly signaled his commitment to observe the existing ceasefire, Reuters reports.
Haftar’s play for leverage: Militia allied to Haftar have shut down oil export terminals in the east of the country ahead of the conference, causing the country’s oil output to more than halve, Bloomberg reported yesterday.
Turkey’s Recep Erdogan is in a war of words with Haftar, who he threatened to “teach a lesson” after his Moscow walk-out. The Turkish president also penned a column in Politico on Saturday calling on Europe to intervene against what he described as a “coup” by Haftar and his “anti-democratic” supporters Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. All of the antagonism is because Ankara wants to advance political Islam, Kori Schake argues in an opinion piece for Bloomberg.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is in London tomorrow alongside 21 other African leaders for the UK-Africa Investment Summit, according to a CBC report (watch, run time: 2:58).
The private-sector gets a day off on Saturday in observance of Police Day, which is also the anniversary of the 25 January revolution, Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan said on Friday.
The World Economic Forum gets underway on Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland. CNBC and Bloomberg have previews or you can tap or click here to check out the full agenda.
Tax on bourse transactions to be decided next month: The Finance Ministry will decide next month whether it’s implementing a capital gains tax on EGX transactions, the local press quoted unnamed sources as saying. You can check our rundown on the tax here.
International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat has been the made the government’s representative at the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Masrawy reported.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, part 1- Epidemiologists are warning about a mysterious, deadly virus out of China that has infected as many as 1.7k people — some 35x more than previously reported, according to the Financial Times. The coronavirus has now been detected in Japan, and US airports including JFK in New York are screening some passengers arriving from central China. The virus could spread faster this week as mn of Chinese travel for the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday which falls this year on 25 January, Reuters wants. Business Insider also has the story, noting that the virus is related to the deadly SARS bug.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, part 2- A company you’ve never heard of is about to end public anonymity by making your face searchable, the New York Times reports. “Searching someone by face could become as easy as Googling a name. Strangers would be able to listen in on sensitive conversations, take photos of the participants and know personal secrets. Someone walking down the street would be immediately identifiable — and his or her home address would be only a few clicks away,,” the piece concludes. The service operates by scraping your image from social media feeds including Facebook and Twitter.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, part 3- Egypt’s sovereign credit rating is at risk from rising sea levels, which will pose a long-term threat to income, assets, health and safety, according to a recently-released report from Moody’s (paywall). Look for disruptions to farming, tourism and trade, an increase in natural disasters, loss of life and widespread health issues, and forced migration — all of which threaten the economy, according to Reuters, which cites the report. Other countries flagged as particularly vulnerable include Vietnam, Suriname, and the Bahamas.
Wall Street’s biggest (not longest) bull run may be close at hand as the benchmark S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite set record highs for an eighth consecutive trading session on Friday, the Financial Times and Reuters reported, noting that “the S&P 500 … is 5% away from posting its largest ever rise without falling more than 20%.” Bank of America analysts appear to be concerned that valuations are becoming stretched, according to Bloomberg, which cautioned in a separate op-ed against using valuation as an indicator for jumping in and out of the market.
The Trump impeachment trial is set to dominate the news cycle across much of the Western press over the next two weeks: Opening statements will begin this week after the House impeachment managers and the president’s defense were selected over the weekend. Trump’s team — made up of his personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, the White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr — yesterday called the charges as a “brazen and unlawful” attempt to kick him out of office in its formal response to the impeachment charges, the New York Times reports.
Oh, and Harry and Meghan have decided to drop drop their royal titles, stop receiving public funds, and spend most of their time outside of the UK in a move that’s being described as a decisive break with the royal family, the BBC reports.
The CEO of Edita teaches us a few lessons in finding inspiration and pursuing dreams: Edita was always the dream for Hani Berzi, the CEO and founder of the food manufacturing brand. Berzi played football, studied engineering, and went into trading for a while, but nothing called to him. Not until he had a packed croissant and decided that he would create the “second generation of snack foods” for the Egyptian public. It goes to show that inspiration can come from the most simple places. And come it did. Fast forward over two decades later and the company has become a household name here in Egypt.
You can listen to the episode (runtime: 36:11) on: Our website | Apple Podcast | Google Podcast