What we’re tracking on 21 January 2021
Good morning, friends. We’ve made it through another workweek together, and our rewards are two-fold: A big news day here at home and abroad — and confirmation that we’re off Thursday-Saturday next week.
LOTS OF NEWS here at home: FAB is buying Bank Audi’s Egypt arm in the latest sale of a Lebanese lender here, e-Finance may be looking to IPO in 1H2021, joining at least two others who are testing the waters, and the Education Ministry has overturned foreign ownership limits on investment in the industry. We have the full story on each of these and more in the news well this morning.
PSA- Thursday, 28 January will be a national holiday in observance of Revolution / Police Day, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly confirmed in a statement yesterday. Police Day and the revolution anniversary fall on Monday, but will be observed on Thursday as is now customary for mid-week holidays.
THE BIG STORY globally: Joe Biden is now the 46th president of the United States after being sworn in at the Capitol yesterday. He delivered a heartfelt speech that pledged to unify a deeply divided nation and overcome the covid-19 crisis — and restore ties with the rest of the world. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge,” Biden said. “Unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, … we will not fail.”
Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman and first person of color to serve as vice president, taking her oath shortly before the president. You can see the moment here (watch, runtime: 1:47). We loved her double-fist bump with Barack Obama, who attended the inauguration alongside former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush. Agent Orange departed the White House early in the moring and became the first president in more than century to skip his successor’s searing in.
Biden is making his presence felt, signing 17 executive orders to start undoing King Cheeto’s reign of furious incompetence. They include rejoining the Paris climate agreement, reversing the withdrawal from the World Health Organization, and ending the flight ban on people from Muslim-majority countries. CNN has the full list here.
KSA is watching the Biden White House warily after a top Biden intelligence nominee said the US would declassify its report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi columnist and critic, the Guardian reports.
Trump’s parting gift: 73 pardons and 70 commutations to former aides, Silicon Valley execs — and rappers. The list includes former White House Chief Strategist and alt-right godfather Steve Bannon (who faced charges of fraud) former Google executive Anthony Levandowski (who was doing time for stealing trade secrets) and rapper Lil Wayne, Bloomberg reports. Trump did not give himself or his family preemptive pardons.
US stocks surged to a record high at the close of play yesterday amid optimism that the newly inaugurated Biden administration’s USD 1.9 tn stimulus bill will shield the market takes hold, says the Financial Times.
Want to go deeper on Biden? Read How Joe Biden became a steady hand amid so much chaos in the New York Times or get to know him better through this photo essay on his life and decades-long career in politics.
HERE AT HOME-
Al Mashat gives House rundown on economic diplomacy: Multilateral and bilateral cooperation with development partners, infrastructure and sustainable development, investing in human resources, and the principles of economic diplomacy were among the topics covered by International Cooperation Rania Al Mashat during her statement to the House of Representatives yesterday. Al Mashat also laid out the latest in the homegrown “Egypt Takes Off” development program — which aims to boost job creation, government performance and raise living standards.
Gamea in Sudan for trade fair: Trade Minister Nevine Gamea is at the International Khartoum Fair in Sudan this week, where she’ll sign a couple of agreements related to business and SMEs with the Sudanese Trade and Industry Ministry, according to Al Shorouk. The minister is also expected to hold talks on manufacturing and trade cooperation, the ministry said in a press release (pdf).
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Egypt faces Belarus tomorrow at the 2021 Handball World Championships after defeating Russia 28-23 in the opening game of the main round yesterday. That places the Pharaohs second in the six-team main round group, with one point less than group leaders Sweden. Egypt will then play Slovenia on Saturday.
AUC’s School of Business is hosting a webinar next Tuesday, 26 January on “Rethinking Macroeconomics in the Digital Age” to discuss how technological change is changing the way we think about macroeconomics, investment, training the labor force and access to finance. The event will feature Subir Lall, the IMF’s deputy director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department. You can register for the webinar here.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.