What we’re tracking on 24 November 2020
Good morning, wonderful people — and happy midweek. We have a pleasantly busy issue this morning, including two international stories with big implications for Egypt to start the day.
FIRST- From the Department of Awesome News — AstraZeneca’s shot can be up to 90% effective depending on the regimen used, the company said yesterday. The final clinical results showed 62% efficacy when administered in a single dose and 90% when patients take a half dose followed by a full dose one month later. This means that the vaccine is on average 70% effective, the company said, adding that it should be ready to supply hundreds of mns of doses after getting regulatory approval. Further clinical trials are ongoing in the US, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America. Reuters, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and others had the story.
Chart of the day: Despite delivering efficacy rates below Pfizer and Moderna at c. 94-95%, Astrazeneca is proving the most popular vaccine candidate. Even in developed countries that are more able to transport the Pfizer/Moderna mrna vaccines, Astrazeneca has orders for hundreds of mns more doses than its competitors, as this Bloomberg graphic shows.
Egypt has placed an order with AstraZeneca to cover about 30% of the population and plans to get enough to cover at least 20% of us with Pfizer’s vaccine, Health Minister Hala Zayed said last week.
Why it matters: Critically, the AstraZeneca vaccine — also called the “Oxford” vaccine as it was developed in partnership with scientists from the university — can be stored at 2-8°C, roughly the same temperature as your refrigerator at home. The slightly more efficient Pfizer and Moderna shots need to be stored at -70°C until just before use.
SECOND- It looks like Agent Orange has finally thrown in the towel after his administration said overnight it would allow President-elect Joe Biden to begin his transition. That means Biden will start to receive the presidential daily briefing from the intelligence community and that his team will have access to office space in government, be able to get security clearances for its people, and begin holding briefings with current office holders and career civil servants. Writing on Twitter that although he will “keep up the good fight,” The Donald announced that he would allow the agency tasked with overseeing transitions to get to work.
The first ever female Fed chair may become the first female US treasury secretary: President-elect Joe Biden appears set to nominate former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary, US media reported yesterday. A veteran central banker, Yellen was appointed Fed vice chair by the Obama administration in 2010 before entering the hot seat from 2014-2018. In maybe her toughest job yet, Yellen would helm the treasury with an economy still struggling from the blow of the pandemic, and a divided Congress still nowhere near agreeing on a vital stimulus package. The story dominates the global business press from Reuters to the Wall Street Journal.
PSA #1- Batten down the hatches — more rain could be on the way. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly called governorates to prepare for more severe weather over the coming days, a cabinet statement said. The Egyptian Meteorological Authority is currently forecasting moderate rain in Cairo and along the north coast tomorrow and Thursday. Our favourite weather app agrees, showing a good chance of rain Wednesday and Thursday and then again next Monday. Youm7 has more.
PSA #2- We’re taking a publication holiday on Thursday: Enterprise will be off as we put the final touches on something new. We’ll be back in your inboxes at our customary 6am CLT on Sunday.
WATCH THIS SPACE- Just a little over half of the EGX30’s constituents are currently in compliance with regulations requiring at least one seat of their board of directors be occupied by a woman. Of the benchmark index’s 30 current constituents, 12 have all-male boards, including Credit Agricole Egypt, Egypt Kuwait Holding, Egyptian Iron & Steel, Elsewedy Electric, Emaar Misr, Ezz Steel, Palm Hills Developments, Pioneers Holding, Orascom Investment Holding, Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals, Sodic, and TMG Holding.
SMART POLICY #1- Listed companies are required to have at least one woman sitting on their board by the end of 2020, under regulations the Financial Regulatory Authority issued last year. The FRA recently floated a trial balloon about the notion of bumping that figure to 25%.
SMART POLICY #2- The Central Bank of Egypt will allow the boards of commercial banks to continue meeting virtually until December 2021, according to Hapi Journal. The CBE issued directives in March to allow for more meetings by conference call or video — including meetings by bank boards of directors.
The (virtual) Canada-Arab Business Forum runs today and tomorrow, 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.
Polling stations in 14 governorates will close at 9pm tonight in the first round of House runoff elections. Voters in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh can all cast their ballots today.
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.
The Cairo International Book Fair has been postponed to June of next year due to the pandemic, a cabinet statement said on Monday.
The Health Ministry reported 354 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 351 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 113,381 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 12 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,560.
The purchasing needs of state hospitals and health facilities will be determined during ad-hoc meetings currently being held by the Unified Medical Procurement Authority through mid-December, the local press reports. The Madbouly government earlier this week said the health system is not facing a shortage of medical supplies.
Bringing you the latest in delicious dining options for you and your family to enjoy, Somabay has proudly expanded its F&B outlets and welcomes aboard our latest additions. Say hello to the Burger Factory and Baladina, now open at the Marina for mouthwatering meals.
Goldman joins the chorus singing the potential of EM equities: Emerging markets will have their star moment in 2Q2021, outperforming stocks elsewhere as a global economic rebound takes hold off the back of a successful vaccine, Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note, according to Bloomberg. RenCap also threw their chips behind EMs, saying the Biden presidency will increase FDI inflows to emerging and frontier markets.
Is Israel cozying up to Saudi? Saudi’s foreign ministry has denied that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement on Monday. Reuters.had reported that MBS met with Bibi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing the Israeli press. Israeli Education Minister Yoav Galant confirmed the meeting in a radio interview Monday afternoon, the NYT reported, though Netanyahu’s office made no comment. Saudi Arabia has not formally normalized ties with Israel, though it supports the possibility of normalization following a comprehensive Palestinian peace agreement.
The UAE is for the first time allowing domestic companies to be wholly owned by foreign investors after abolishing a law that required companies to have Emirati shareholders, Bloomberg reports.
The pandemic hasn’t done the gender employment and pay gap any favors, with job cuts in service industries that mainly employ women, and job creation now focused in male-dominated industries like tech, the Financial Times reports. FT analysis of official data found that 880k jobs were created in tech across five industry leaders this year but the new jobs were more widely filled by men than women, said Trudy Norris-Grey, who chairs a UK campaign for greater diversity in tech and urged companies to push for greater gender balance in the industry. Across the 34 OECD countries women were also more likely to be in temporary and low paying jobs than men.
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