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Tuesday, 8 December 2020

What we’re tracking on 8 December 2020

IT’S A BIG DAY FOR- Every single one of us, really, as the United Kingdom is set to become the first major country to begin the public rollout of a vaccine for covid-19. A top UK health official called the start of the vaccination drive today a “decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus.” Front-line healthcare staff and folks over the age of 80 are the first in line.

The UK’s supply of vaccines is limited right now after AstraZeneca joined Pfizer / BioNTech in saying it was experiencing manufacturing delays. Vaccines won’t be rolling out in Canada or Europe in significant quantities until January, the way things stand now.

So, when will a vaccine be available in Egypt? We’ll likely get our first doses some time in the first three months of 2021 and we know for certain we’ll have enough on hand to cover 10% of the population in May. That’s when Health Ministry officials expect to receive orders placed through the WHO’s Covax program for enough to cover 10 mn people. We’ve also lined up enough Sputnik V from Russia to inoculate a further 12.5 mn and are believed to have placed an order for jabs from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Expect more clarity in the coming days: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in late November that talks to secure stocks of vaccines could drag on for a few months yet. Ittihadiya spokesman Bassem Rady subseuqently told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi on 24 November that the Health Ministry’s covid-19 committee would wrap up a study of available vaccines in about 10 days’ time.

The big question: Can we get the rights to manufacture an effective vaccine at Vacsera, one of Africa’s top vaccine makers.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi wraps up a two-day visit to France after meeting with President Emmanuel Macron yesterday. We have the full story below.

It’s the second and final day of runoffs in elections for the House in Cairo and 11 other governorates. Day one yesterday passed smoothly.

The Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund is hosting a webinar on the future of Egypt’s private sector at 6pm CLT (11am EST) today. Speakers include our friends Ashraf Sabry (Fawry) and Magda Habib (Dawi Clinics). You can register for the event here and check out the flyer here (pdf).

SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- For the first time in 20 years, Davos isn’t happening in Davos next May, moving instead to Singapore amid continued concerns over Europe’s mounting covid-19 case count, the Financial Times reports.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- The quintessential New York firm is plotting an escape to Florida. Goldman Sachs is said to be looking at real estate in Florida with a view to moving much or all of its asset management business there in search of “tax and lifestyle” benefits, Bloomberg reports. Cue a new generation of “Florida man” jokes.

WAIT — how can you short something that’s not publicly traded? Meet the hedgie who isn’t letting practicality be an obstacle to her plan to short venture-backed startups. A must-read for finance nerds and all the folks on Planet Startup alike.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Upcoming news triggers:

  • Inflation data for November will be released on Thursday, 10 December.
  • The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet on 24 December to review interest rates.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.


CONDOLENCES- It has come to our attention that Amr Chawky, the founder and managing director of Azur Hotels & Resorts, passed away late last month.

CORRECTION- Apparently we can do business, but not space science. In our note about this month’s unique celestial phenomenon yesterday, we wrote that Jupiter and Saturn are 400 mn light years apart — which as reader Ahmed D. kindly pointed out — is a little bit of an exaggeration. We have since updated the piece with the correct distance: 400 mn miles.

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