What we’re tracking on 17 February 2021
Good morning, nice people. We’ve made it through another workweek together.
THE BIG STORY here at home on this fine Thursday: What are the big investment stories in Egypt right now? Healthcare, education and infrastructure? Absolutely. But we’d add to that the quiet revolution in funding for SMEs and startups. Emad Barsoum tells us this morning that his Ezdehar is aiming for first close by mid-year on its next USD 180-200 mn SME fund — and is looking at raising an impact investing fund. Blue-chip limited partners are already on board. Meanwhile, last night’s Columbia webinar on venture capital and entrepreneurism in Egypt points out that as fast as our VC industry has grown, we have plenty of room left to run — and in which to innovate. We have chapter and verse on both stories in this morning’s news well.
- There appears to be a bidding war in the red-hot healthcare sector, with Tawasol Holdings seeking full ownership of Alexandria Medical Services, in which it already owns a 25.92% stake.
- Mitsubishi Motors is reportedly planning to start assembling cars in Egypt using a Nissan-owned plant.
- Orascom Investment Holding was overbought and Orascom Financial Holding was oversold as their shares resumed trading after their horizontal demerger.
NICE NEWS on which to end the week: Egypt had the third-fastest rate of improvement in digital inclusion last year, rising two spots to 50 (from 52 in 2017) in management consultancy Roland Berger’s Digital Inclusion Index (pdf). Our score jumped eight points thanks to “significant infrastructure improvements in mobile data availability and coverage,” the report says. The two top improvers were Myanmar and Vietnam.
CLARIFICATION on a story we picked up on Tuesday afternoon: The former owners of Adwia Pharma are getting into toll manufacturing, not fully re-entering the market, as we reported. A toll manufacturer typically takes in raw material or semi-finished goods from a third party and uses its facilities to make a product on contract. Toll manufacturers typically do not make own-brand products, engage in sales and marketing, or carry out research and development. An industry source tells us that Dawana is 18 months or more out from obtaining licenses and starting production. The story has been updated on our website.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD this morning: “Facebook has defied Australia’s push to make Big Tech pay for news by banning the sharing of content on its platform in the country, the most far-reaching restrictions it has ever placed on publishers in any part of the world,” the Financial Times reports. Reuters is also leading with the story, while the Wall Street Journal trumpets that the economic recovery is broadening in the US as retail spending rebounds. Meanwhile, mns are still without power as another winter storm sweeps into parts of the US. France’s Figaro, meanwhile, notes that Biden is pursuing “iron fist” diplomacy toward Beijing in a clear break with his predecessor.
PSA- The weather is looking much better today after heavy winds died down overnight. It’s chilly out there right now and the most we can hope for is a daytime high of 15°C. With largely cloudy skies in the afternoon, it’s going to feel a bit colder, our favorite weather app suggests.
WATCH THIS SPACE- Saudi Arabia could be getting in on GERD talks in the near future with a special summit bringing together the eight nations of the Red Sea Council — of which Egypt and Sudan are members — to discuss the issue of the dam. The announcement came from African Affairs Minister (and Saudi’s former ambassador to Egypt) Ahmed Abdul-Aziz Al-Qattan after a meeting with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, although Al-Qattan did not specify when the summit might take place, according to Sky News Arabia. Our trilateral talks with Sudan and Ethiopia last month failed to make any headway and ended without an agreement on how to proceed with discussions.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
HAPPENING TODAY- Join a discussion on how to get innovation out of labs and into the hands of businesses just like yours. The Zoom webinar runs today starting at 1pm and will include a dive into the incentives business needs to establish joint ventures with universities to commercialize research. The talk is being organized by the USAID-funded Sustainable Services Activity for MSMEs in collaboration with the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) at the Higher Education Ministry. Sign up here.
ESG investing for Egyptian businesses: AmCham is hosting a webinar on investing for social and environmental impact next Monday, 22 February. Guest speakers include Qalaa Holdings’ Chief Sustainability and Marketing Officer Ghada Hammouda, Catalyst Partners co-founder Abdelaziz Abdel Nabi, executive advisor to the chairman of Egyptian Arab Land Bank Hanaa Al Hilaly, and Investia Capital Group Chairman Samir Al Alayli.
Madbouly to chat with the business community. AmCham and the Egypt-US Business Council will host a webinar headlined "Egypt: 2021 and Beyond" next Thursday, 25 February. The original date was today. Guest speaker Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly will talk about Egypt’s strategy to mitigate the effects of the global downturn as well as the country’s future plans to maintain economic growth.
The second edition of the Egypt International Art Fair will be held from 26-28 February, and will showcase the work of 120 regional artists at Dusit Thani Lakeview.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.