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Sunday, 20 December 2020

What we’re tracking on 20 December 2020

Good morning, friends. It’s both interest rate week and Christmas week — happy holidays to all those who celebrate. It is also — blessedly — the second-last business week of 2020.

Look for the central bank to leave rates on hold when it meets this Thursday, according to our poll of analysts and economists. We have the full rundown below.

Because it’s Christmas week: It’s Deck The Halls — but also, War Pigs (watch, runtime: 0:53).

Not in the resident 13-year-old’s stocking: Cyberpunk 2077, the most hotly anticipated video game in years — whose hype machine fell apart last week.

Holiday tip: Take photos. Lots of photos. And print them. You’ll one day be very grateful you did. As the photographer, podcaster and Welsh sage Kevin Mullins says: A photo doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be important to you.

Will you travel in the new year? Probably in the second half, and almost certainly only once you’ve been vaccinated.

Oh, and those side effects? They’re normal. And they’re really, really, really unlikely to do you any lasting harm at all.

But first: You ain’t gonna party like it’s 1999. The Tourism Ministry issued this weekend a ban on hotels, restaurants, and other establishments from holding large events around the end of the year in a bid to curb the spread of covid-19. We have the full story in this morning’s Covid Watch, below.


We’ve added to our roster of lobbyists in DC, recruiting former Senator Mark Begich (a Democrat) to a bipartisan team of lobbyists from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, according to Politico, as the Sisi administration prepares to navigate the transition from the Trump administration to a White House led by Joe Biden.

Egypt has been given the green light by the IMF to draw the second, USD 1.67 bn tranch of its USD 5.2 bn standby loan after the international lender’s executive board completed its first review of the country’s reform program, the IMF said in a statement on Friday. This brings the total disbursement under the 12-month agreement to USD 3.6 bn.

The Fund lauded Egypt’s handling of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic, but warned that the government will face challenges implementing the reform program due to global uncertainty. It called for transparent policymaking to maintain public support for the reform program, which aims to strengthen market competition, improve transparency, and reduce public debt.

The funds should be safely tucked away in our treasury within a week, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi. A third and final review is scheduled for June 2021, Maait said (watch, runtime: 1:26).


AUC’s Women on Boards Observatory has launched its Board Ready Women database to help companies find qualified women board members, according to a press release (pdf). The database has over 400 qualified women with backgrounds from a variety of industries.

Reminder: FRA regulations require listed companies to have at least one female board member by the end of the year. When we checked earlier this month, almost half of EGX30 companies still had all-male boards.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly will headline the Arab Media Forum with a keynote address. The event takes place virtually on Wednesday, 23 December.

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

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