Wednesday, 24 February 2021

What we’re tracking on 24 February 2021

Good afternoon, everyone. You’re just in time for a flurry of news that has begun to flood in from an hour ago, starting with…

BREAKING- The Egyptian Drug Authority has given emergency approval for use of the Sputnik V and Astrazeneca vaccines, according to a statement from the authority picked up by Youm7. The move comes as Egypt is waiting on some 8.6 mn doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through international vaccine alliance GAVI to arrive in the coming days. This batch is part of a total of 40 mn doses expected before the end of the year. Egypt had signed on to receive a total of 100 mn doses from GAVI and individual companies.

The announcement also comes ahead of registration to receive the covid-19 vaccine online is due to begin next Sunday for Egyptians over the age of 40 and / or those with chronic illnesses, as we noted this morning.

HAPPENING NOW- Score one for infrastructure diplomacy: Talks over the Egypt-Iraq “oil-for-reconstruction” agreement appear to be picking up again, as the General Authority for Investment and Freezones (GAFI) CEO Mohamed Abdel Wahab is in Iraq to meet with the President of the Iraqi National Investment Authority Suha Dawud al-Najjar, reports Al Shorouk. The pair are reportedly discussing potential investment regulations and policies that could benefit Egyptian companies looking to enter Iraq. A number of Egyptian companies have expressed interest in taking part in development work in Iraq under the provisions of the agreement. Read more on how oil-for-reconstruction represents a key initiative in our infrastructure diplomacy.

Hungary looks to be wanting to be a stronger trading partner of ours: Egypt and Hungary could cooperate on manufacturing 200 sleeper train coaches, after talks started today between Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir and his Hungarian counterpart. This could see Hungarian companies work with the ministry and the Arab Organization for Industrialization and secure “the necessary financing,” the cabinet said in a statement. Hungary teamed up with Russia in 2019 to supply Egypt with 1,300 railcars made by Russian rail manufacturer Transmashholding, of which Egypt has received 260 so far. At the time, the Hungarian Export-Import Bank and Russia’s State Specialized Russian Export-Import Bank agreed to partially finance the EGP 22 bn contract.

This follows news this morning that Hungary plans to import Egyptian natural gas once a Greek-Bulgarian pipeline is complete.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The deadline to register for the standardized Egyptian Scholastic Test (EST) is tomorrow at 9pm CLT. The EST will replace the SAT for American Diploma students to gain admission into Egyptian universities, according to an Education Ministry statement. You can register using the ministry’s website.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly is talking about Egypt’s economy in a webinar held by AmCham and the Egypt-US Business Council tomorrow at 4pm. The event, headlined "Egypt: 2021 and Beyond," will have Madbouly tackling Egypt’s strategy to curb the effects of the global downturn as well as revealing the country’s future plans to maintain economic growth.

The Afro Future Summit is taking place tomorrow. The summit will be held virtually.

The Egypt International Art Fair kicks off Friday at Dusit Thani Lakeview Cairo, and is set to wrap on Saturday, 28 February. Don’t forget to request invitations using this link.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

Wondering how much you need to become one of the richest 1% in major countries? Gather up USD 8 mn and you’ll join the ranks of the richest 1% in Monaco — the country with the highest entry point globally, writes Bloomberg citing the soon-to-be-released Knight Frank’s 2021 Wealth Report. Switzerland and the US are a bit more affordable, requiring fortunes of USD 5.1 mn and USD 4.4 mn respectively, while in Singapore USD 2.9 mn will get you over the threshold.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

We haven’t touched base with any of our horror genre fans yet: We’re willing to remedy that situation by letting you know that season 2 of Two Sentence Horror Stories is dropping on Netflix today. The dark and unnerving anthology provides a new mini horror story with a freestanding storyline and characters in every 30-minute episode.

A film to watch after you put your kids to bed: What striked us most about Malcolm & Marie on Netflix is the amazing cinematography, with the entire film shot on 35mm black-and-white Kodak film and scenes with long takes that can span for almost 10 minutes. The storyline is simple: Malcolm (John David Washington) is a hotshot writer-director and Marie (Zendaya) is his girlfriend and muse, but after a successful film premiere where Malcolm forgets to thank Marie in his speech, all hell breaks loose and they fight about past, present and future. An interesting conversation about race is also tangled throughout the film that explores issues that often come up between couples in a long relationship. Vogue is a fan, The New Yorker is not, and The Atlantic describes it as a “meltdown” (though they didn’t mean it as a compliment).

Aswan and Sohag are currently going head-to-head in an Egypt Cup match that started at 2:30pm CLT and remained 0-0 at the end of the first half.

We have another round of European football tonight: There’s more Champions League action at 10pm, with Real Madrid playing Italian upstarts Atalanta and Man City taking on Borussia Mönchengladbach for places in the first leg of the round of 16. Meanwhile, in La Liga Barcelona will face off against relegation-threatened Elche at 8pm and Tottenham look a dead cert to make the Europa League quarter-finals when they play Wolfsberg at 7pm, having won the first tie 4-1.

🍪 EAT THIS TONIGHT-

Are all these dine-out options not tickling your fancy? How about ordering cookies to eat at home? Egypt’s cookie and sweets market has been flourishing in the past few years and we thought we’d highlight some of our favorite delivery platforms. Oven Heaven Bakery is a must-mention, with their oozing cookies and brownies, while NudeBakery also has great cookies (and blondies and donuts too — we recommend their Lotus crunch).

Not in the mood for cookies? We’ve also caught eye of a new creation that’s becoming all the rage: miniature donuts from @MiniMe_eg on Instagram. They’re so small that a cereal bowl could fit 50 donuts for you to dig in at your leisure. Looking for something bigger? How about a whole pie? Instagram seller @ThePieShop.eg makes pies so pretty that you’ll feel bad cutting into them. Side note: we need more pies in Egypt.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

Sheikh Zayed’s Cairo Jazz Club 610 has a shaabi night planned tonight with Islam Chipsy and Filo Dakhlaweya set to hit the stage at 9pm. Meanwhile Agouza’s Cairo Jazz Club will host a boogie night today with Egyptian DJ, DJUNKIE, at 8pm.

The Room New Cairo is hosting karaoke nights today and tomorrow starting from 7pm.

Darb 1718 is kicking off a month-long pottery workshop for beginners today that you can still register for. Giving the course is Abdelhakim Sayed, the Director of the Foustat Traditional Crafts Centre. The Old Cairo art and culture center also has a concert on tomorrow, with post rock Sufi-inspired band Bath Takhrebi set to perform alongside rock band Kayan.

Craving a city-wide detective experience this weekend? CluedUpp is organizing an outdoor detective adventure across the city this Saturday where participants will need to find clues and solve the case of The Cairo Ripper. You and a team of up to six people can throw on your Sherlock Holmes thinking hats on this weekend by signing up here.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

You don’t have to be extroverted to work a boardroom, Matthew Pollard argues in The Introvert’s Edge to Networking. The book is Matthew Pollard’s sequel to his first bestselling book (that also has a mouthful of a title) The Introvert’s Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone, which also draws on over a decade of self-proclaimed introvert Pollard’s research and real-world examples to provide an actionable blueprint for introverted networking and getting over discomfort while in social business situations. His first book was included in the list of Best Introvert Books of All Time by Book Authority.

🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The skies will be mostly sunny tomorrow, with daytime highs of 22℃ dropping to 11℃ at night. While we’re still recovering from the pouring rain in New Cairo and thunderstorms in Giza and Sixth of October yesterday, our favorite weather app says there is a 20% chance of rain tomorrow (which hopefully won’t manifest).

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