What we’re tracking on 22 November 2020
Good morning, friends, and welcome to a new workweek. We hope you’ve finished bailing out after Friday’s unexpected (but still frankly delightful) rain. Keep your eye on the forecast for later this week as the weather office and our favourite weather app both suggest we could see more “instability” starting Wednesday. That means a chance of rain, though it seems more likely right now in coastal areas than in the capital city.
The big story of the day: The Sisi administration has preemptively authorized a second wave of stimulus be readied and left on standby as we head deeper into this second wave of covid-19.
PSA- If you don’t have one of those electronic vehicle stickers on your windshield this morning, you’re in violation of the traffic law and may want to schedule a little visit to the moroor. Yesterday was the deadline for all vehicles to comply with the requirement to have one of the RFID stickers placed on your windshield to make it easier for authorities to track your car.
The Cairo ICT expo gets underway today and runs through Wednesday. This year’s iteration of the fair focuses on “the big reset” of how we look at business, the economy, and life in general post-covid.
Want a hint about what that post-covid life is gonna look like? The anti-vaxxers won’t be happy. “As she rushes to her gate, the traveller can see her plane through the airport window, sitting on the tarmac, loaded and ready to leave. After a year of drastically reduced travel, the airport is bustling. As she approaches the desk, she pulls out her usual passport and boarding pass, then opens a new app. She shows it to the boarding agent, and it flashes her confirmation: She has the required vaccine.”
^^ From the Toronto Star’s really awesome So we get a COVID-19 vaccine. Then what? A glimpse of how the coming months could play out. From Toronto to New York to East Africa, it envisions a future where your vaccine status will determine your mobility — from whether you can cross a border down to whether you get into a concert.
It’s also Thanksgiving week, so give an American a (virtual) hug — and if you’re mulling a Thanksgiving get-together here in Omm El Donia, consider limiting it to just the people you live with? As the Madbouly government has made clear the past week, we’re very much in the early days of the second wave of covid-19.
The (virtual) Canada-Arab Business Forum runs Tuesday and Wednesday, making the case for more trade and investment between Canada and the Arab world. Ministers and industry experts will be talking, and you can sign up here.
Also coming up: The latest edition of the Cairo Art Fair, hosted by our friends at TAM Gallery. The fair, which will feature some 1,500 works of art from 140 artists, kicks off on Saturday, 4 December and runs until 31 January 2021.
(Want to hear TAM’s origin story? We sat down with co-founder Lina Mowafy for an episode of our podcast, Making It, in which she told us how her struggle to find an entryway to the Egyptian art scene led to the creation of TAM. Listen on our website, Apple Podcast, or Google Podcast.)
More into collecting books than art? The FT is ready to help you pad your TBR list as we slide into the holiday season. Check out the Financial Times’ Books of 2020 list. Browse the critics’ picks or delve into the category of your liking, with recommendations available on: Business | science | food and drink | politics | fiction and more. The landing page is here.
The Health Ministry reported 358 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 363 the day before, but still above the figure we reported in last Thursday’s issue. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 112,676 confirmed cases of covid-19. The daily death count is holding steady at 13-14 each day since Thursday.
There’s now more disagreement over treatment protocols for covid-19 after a World Health Organization panel said on Friday that there is “no evidence” Remdesivir improves survival rates or eliminates patients’ need for ventilators, according to the Associated Press. The panel’s statement comes as preliminary findings on other meds — including the anti-inflammatory tocilizumab and baricitinib — suggest they could be helpful, but have yet to be confirmed and widely accepted as standard practice.
On a related note: Are we over-treating covid in Egypt? That’s the suggestion from this Twitter exchange between prominent cardiologist Hany Ragy and University of Maryland infectious diseases expert Faheem Younus.
Sinopharm has tested its vaccine on 1 mn people and is reporting what it says are promising results with scant data to back it up, the New York Times reports. The chairman of the company said that only a handful of people had contracted the virus after having the inoculation, and claimed that it is “leading the world in all aspects.”
Listed German companies with management boards of three or more people must now include at least one woman, after Angela Merkel’s coalition government agreed to introduce a new gender quota, the Financial Times reports. Proposals for a quota came after a voluntary commitments system introduced in 2015 failed to result in more female board members.
Egypt isn’t doing better than the Germans: We got an “F” for gender parity on corporate boards in 2019. Women presently account for just 10% of board members in Egypt.
Investors are continuing to favor EM equities over growth stocks: Analysts are calling investors’ keenness on EM stocks the fastest emerging market rotation in over a decade as hopes for a covid-19 vaccine increases risk appetite, Bloomberg reports. Though Asia’s EM stocks in particular seem to have outperformed emerging market equities elsewhere, with the MSCI EM Asia index up 17.5% this year, and the MSCI EM index excluding Asia down 19.9%, equities outside of Asia, particularly those in energy and basic materials, stand to gain more from a covid-19 recovery, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The IMF’s firepower could grow at this weekend’s G20 virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia to help it support low-income countries facing default, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan told Bloomberg on Friday. Proposals to increase the fund’s reserves by USD 500 bn earlier this year had been vetoed by the US, the fund’s largest shareholder, but Jaadan expressed optimism that the 20 nations will find a breakthrough during the current meeting, which ends today.
Rising covid-19 cases and the US Treasury’s decision to end several of the Fed’s emergency lending programs drove down major US stock indices and bond yields on Friday, reports Reuters. The S&P, Dow and Nasdaq were all down by a little under 1%. Benchmark 10-year treasury yields also fell to an 11-day-low before bouncing back.
Trump isn’t the kind of guy to let a string of legal defeats stop him from desperately trying to cling to the presidency. His team’s attempts to roll back the results of the election were dealt another blow over the weekend after Republican lawmakers in Michigan rejected his pleas to hand him the state, and a hand recount in Georgia confirmed Biden’s win, the Financial Times reports. And in the early hours of this morning, an attempt to make use of a legal loophole to decertify the result in Pennsylvania was struck down by a judge, who criticized the president for relying on “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations,” the New York Times says.
*** HOW HAS BLENDED LEARNING BEEN TREATING YOU SO FAR? Tell us what you think. We’ve put together a quick survey asking parents and students how things are going on the blended front. We’ll have the results in an upcoming issue of Blackboard.
We’ll draw the names of three respondents who will receive an Enterprise mug and a bag of our favourite coffee from our friends at 30 North.
Tap or click here to take the survey. It’s quick and painless, we promise.