A brand new look, same great taste
Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to Enterprise 2.0. Six years into this journey, we’re honoured to write to 150k or so of you every morning, whether you’re here for your 6am fix of Egyptian business, finance and economy news; to dive deeper with us into infrastructure and education in our weekly industry verticals; to listen to Making It, our podcast on how to build a great business here in Egypt; or to expand your horizons with Your Wealth on the first Friday of every month.
Our goal is simple: To make you smarter, faster by giving you the news you need to start your day. And because no person is an island, each issue includes trendlines alongside headlines plus major emerging market and global stories to help you stay connected. We also include a sprinkling of stuff that we hope speaks to you as a human being: Where to spend your time and money. How to manage your team or your business. What to eat / watch / read tonight. How to be a better person.
We think this morning’s redesign makes Enterprise a lot easier to navigate. We outgrew our old format. Stories are now bounded in grey boxes. Most have their own headlines and images, making them easier to find as you scroll through — particularly if you’re reading in your mail phone’s mail app. The emphasis is on what our friends at Axios call “smart brevity”: Longer where we need to be longer, and just one sentence where a sentence is all you need.
Everything you love about Enterprise is still here, but it may have moved. To get oriented, you may want to start this morning my scrolling through to get oriented — then zip back up to the top and start reading.
The changes aren’t only on the surface — our dev team is laying the groundwork that will allow us to roll out much smarter search results, a new homepage, and support the launch of a bunch of exciting new products in the months to come.
As we roll out new stuff, we’ll have more room to play. Room for more analysis pieces, more context, more background, more explainers and more interviews.
THE ISSUES THAT DEFINE OUR GENERATION are going to be front and center in everything we do: Financial inclusion. Infrastructure. Healthcare. Education. Consumerism. Climate. Artificial intelligence. Gender equity. Major realignments in foreign policy. In Egypt, in MENA and in emerging markets, and around the world.
ON A MORE PROSAIC NOTE: Technical limitations stink. You still can’t click the tl;dr links on your mobile. We’re sorry, we really are — but that’s thanks to the nice folks at Apple and Google, who don’t support the use of a very simple (very old, very secure) technology called “anchor points” in mail clients on iOS and Android.
Oh, and we’re kinda ugly this morning if you hit “froward” on your email. We hope to fix that and to spruce up our website a bit in the days to come.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you like about the redesign, where you think we could do better, or anything else you think would make your morning read richer and easier to navigate.
A SPECIAL THANKS THIS MORNING to our advertisers: Pharos Live, CIB, Sodic, Somabay, Orascom Construction and CIRA. Your support allows us to bring Enterprise to readers without charge every weekday morning, and for that we are eternally grateful.
THE WORLD IS ON THE EDGE OF ITS SEAT this week amid hopes that a covid-19 vaccine could start rolling out any day now. The UK hopes to start rolling out Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine as early as Monday 7 December, the Financial Times writes in an exclusive. Across the pond, United Airlines has started charter flights to preposition doses of the two-shot serum. “Pfizer has been laying the groundwork to move quickly if it gets approval from the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators world-wide,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
What about AstraZeneca’s less-expensive, easier to transport shot? A few days after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi cautioned that we may be waiting until the middle of next year until we get our hands on a vaccine, one of our jabs-of-choice suffered a setback that could extend the wait for regulatory approval. After announcing up to 90% effectiveness for their vaccine, AstraZeneca’s data and methodology came under scrutiny over the weekend after it was revealed that the magic half-dose full-dose combo that saw biggest success was actually administered by mistake — and that the inoculation had barely been tested on people over 55. Wired has the A-Z of the latest on the Astra vax.
The company is responding by launching a new large-scale trial across multiple countries, while assuring that the original timeline for regulatory approval should remain unchanged, the Guardian reports. The British government certainly doesn’t seem to have qualms about the study, reportedly asking the regulator to move ahead with the approval process.
Egypt has ordered enough of the shots to cover some 30% of the population, the health minister said last week. The vaccine is proving popular among much of the developing world, both because of its low-cost but because it is able to be transported via normal distribution chains (and not super-cold ones like is required by the Pfizer and Modern mRNA vaccines).
Vaccine optimism is keeping investors bullish on emerging market stocks, with EM equity funds attracting more than USD 14 bn over the past two weeks, according to the Financial Times. Prospects of a vaccine breakthrough have increased risk appetite, reversing the more than USD 90 bn outflows from EM equities at the outset of covid-19 lockdowns in March. Analysts predict EM value stocks, traditionally in volatile sectors such as energy and finance, will get a boost compared to tech’s highly priced growth stocks. Renaissance Capital’s Charles Robertson had said earlier this month that EM and FM will begin attracting portfolio flows, and recommended looking at local-currency bonds in Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola.
Egyptian investment banks aren’t the only ones who’d love to transmogrify themselves into commercial banks. Automaker General Motors is set to seek a banking charter in the United States, hoping that being allowed to take deposits will let it grow its automotive business while avoiding the near-disaster that befell it the last time it got into non-bank financial services, the WSJ reports.
SOUND SMART- When will Saudi Arabia ❤️ Israel? ‘Round about the time Joe Biden sits in the White House. Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman plans to offer to end the freezout of the Statelet of Qatar, the Financial Times reports, while also holding out the prospect of normalizing relations with our neighbors to the east. The WSJ quotes aides as saying MbS declined during his recent (not so) secret meeting with Bibi Netanyahu in the hope of having more bargaining power with the Biden administration.
Meanwhile: Agent Orange said for the first time this weekend that he will leave office if the electoral college votes for Biden on 14 December, CNN reports.
SIGN OF THE TIMES- Covid is the best thing to have happened to financial inclusion in … forever. Egyptians did 9.9 mn electronic transactions in October — a 156% rise over the comparable figure for March of this year, according to the National Telecoms Regulatory Authority. The whole WFH thing is also fuelling growth in the mobile segment, with the nation’s total stock of mobile subscribers growing 2% to 96.58 mn subscribers in 2Q2020.
Circle your calendar:
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK? You can expect final results tomorrow for Giza and other ridings after runoff elections for the House of Representatives. Results for Cairo are expected on 14 December, the day before the current crop of MPs reconvenes in the House for its final season.
The newly-reconstituted Senate will begin reviewing its draft bylaws today, kick-starting a process that is expected to take several sessions, Youm7 reports.
The Egypt Economic Summit will take place this Wednesday at the St. Regis Hotel in Cairo. You can learn more about the event here.
It’s a big weekend coming up for: Art lovers, as the Cairo Art Fair kicks off on Friday and runs through 31 January 2021.
HEADING INTO DECEMBER- The domestic press expects another round of trade talks with the US of A and a meeting of the Egypt-Iraq higher committee as the two countries continue to draw closer. The CBE will next review interest rates on Christmas Eve.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.