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Thursday, 25 February 2021

What we’re tracking on 25 February 2020

Good afternoon, everyone and congratulations for making it to the weekend. While we do have another covid-heavy issue, we got plenty of other choice reads for you to zonk out to.

It’s the unofficial research study issue today, as we take a deep dive into two key studies that you should keep your eye on:

  • Capmas issued what could be the most extensive data released on covid infections and deaths since the crisis began. We cover it chapter and verse in the Speed Round below.
  • The International Labor Organization’s study into the impact of the pandemic on global employment, which we cover in today’s Macro Picture.

But before we begin, we’d like to offer our condolences to the family of Egyptian businessman and civil engineer Hussein Sabbour, who passed away today at age 85, reports Youm7. Since establishing Sabbour Consulting in 1957, Sabbour became a mainstay in the Egyptian construction sector, working on many seminal projects, including the construction of the Semiramis Hotel and the Ring Road, writes Al Masry Al Youm in its profile on the builder. Most recently, his firm has been one of the builders tapped to install utilities in the New Administrative Capital. Sabbour was also the chairman of the Egyptian Businessmen Association and was on the board in a number of well established real estate institutions.

THE BIG GLOBAL BUSINESS STORY- Gamestop is baaack: US Markets are back to volatility, with GameStop resurging in the past two trading days. The company’s shares shot up 103.94% on Wednesday in a final-hour rally that brought the share up to monthly highs, reports Bloomberg. Trading in the video game retailer’s shares had to be halted twice yesterday, as stock exchanges’ automatic stabilisers kicked in. The surge comes about a month after a wild GameStop trading frenzy fueled by individual retail investors, many from the Reddit page WallStreetBets, causing the stock to jump around 1,600% in a matter of days. GameStop’s shares rose over 60% today in pre-market trading as of dispatch time.

Other meme stocks are also on the up, including AMC Entertainment, which rose 16% premarket after gaining 59% during the first three days of the week, while Koss Corp. surged 62% and Nokia Oyj climbed 7.2% in Europe.


The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum is coming into effect on 1 March, with the foreign ministers of Greece, and Cyprus expected to attend. The meeting is expected to see the organization’s charter, signed in September, activated next month and officially establish it as a regional organization.

First proposed in 2019, the Cairo-based forum will serve as a market platform for regional natgas players to develop existing resources and infrastructure, as well as regulate the region’s natgas policies. The founding member states — Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine — will exchange information and seismic data on potential gas finds, and negotiate ownership of fields that straddle maritime borders.

The timing is especially poignant, as the Damietta LNG plant came to life this month after an eight-year slumber. The final settlement of the ownership of the facility — our main gateway to LNG export markets and our ticket to global energy hub status — is expected to take place in the middle of the month, with trial runs taking place in the meantime.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly is talking about Egypt’s economy in a webinar held by AmCham and the Egypt-US Business Council today 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.

A virtual session titled “How to Stay Safe in Cyberspace” is set to take place on Monday, 1 March as part of the AUC SpeakUp Dialog series. Speakers include: Facebook’s MEA Safety Policy Manager Sylvia Musalagani; TikTok’s North Africa Content Operation Director Hani Mohamed Kamel; the National Council for Women’s Cooperation Specialist Dina El Serafy; and AUC’s Computer Science and Engineering Association President Ahmed Khater. The event will be held in Arabic with simultaneous translation into English.

The deadline to register for the standardized Egyptian Scholastic Test (EST) is today 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.

The World Shooting Championships is running until next Thursday, 4 March at the Shooting Club in 6th of October, the Youth Ministry announced in a statement.

The Aswan Forum for Peace and Development also begins on Monday, 1 March and will run until Friday, 5 March under the title “Shaping Africa’s new normal: Recovering stronger, rebuilding better.”

I-EVENTS is launching Egypt’s Entrepreneur Awards (EEA) which aims to acknowledge and honor the state’s brightest entrepreneurs across various industries, according to a press release (pdf). The website is now up to introduce the awards and allow nominees to submit their applications while the awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in May 2021.

Legendary Lebanese singer Majida El Roumi is set to perform at Egypt’s El Qubba Palace on 2 April, she announced on Facebook. The event will mark the first time the historic venue will host a public concert since it was built in the mid-19th century.


ESG revolution brought to you by crazy rich Asians: Impact funds and companies are turning to Asia to help fuel the ESG investing revolution. Among them is Warren Buffet’s grandson, who co-founded I(x) Investments, an impact investing asset manager that is marketing itself to rich East and Southeast Asian high net worth families, Bloomberg reports. So far, more than 65 families from 14 countries have so far invested in the company, supporting clean water, green homes and clean energy, under the promise of measurable impact.

Brazil’s rich, however, still haven’t gotten the ESG bug: The Moreira Salles family — worth over USD 20 bn — controls 80% of the world’s supply of a critical rare-earth metal. Bloomberg has a feature on how the family leveraged this to create one of the strongest family investment offices around.

Those bn’aires who made their wealth during covid, are at risk of their fortunes fading amidst the global covid-19 vaccine rollout, reports Bloomberg. These include covid-19 test kits makers, injection technology companies, and glove makers. Test kits maker Take Seegene and biotech company Alteogen saw their stocks rise at least 500% last year at their peak, with Seegene up as much as 919% by August. However, skepticism that the companies will be able to maintain such growth has seen Seegene’s 31% owner Chun Jong-yoon go from a wealth of USD 1.6 bn to USD 840 mn in the past few months, while Alteogen’s 25% owner Park Soon-jae is valued at USD 830 million compared with USD 1.4 bn at the peak.


Sherlock Holmes’ sister makes for the perfect family movie night: Enola Holmes features a teenage girl by the same name who uses her sleuthing skills to find her missing mother and outsmart her big brother, you guessed it, Sherlock Holmes. You can check out reviews from The New York Times and The Verge. Fun fact: The makers of Enola Holmes were sued by Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate for showing a humane side to the detective, reports The Guardian.

FUTURE STREAMING (AND ANSWERED PRAYERS)- Beloved classic comedy Frasier is getting a revival by Paramount’s new streaming site Paramount+. The revival has been promised to have everything you loved about the original series including coziness, great writing, and a cast led by Kelsey Grammar.

Football here and abroad: El Entag El Harby and Enppi are already on the field in The Egyptian Premier League, with the score currently at 0-0. Meanwhile, Al Ittihad will play against Wadi Degla at 5pm CLT and El Gouna will play against Pyramids at 7:30pm CLT.

The Europa League is going full force today with 15 matches scheduled. A few matches to look out: Arsenal will face off against Benfica at 7:55pm CLT, while Milan will play against Crvena Zvezda, Man United against Real Sociedad, and Leicester City against Slavia Praha, all at 10pm CLT.

Al Zamalek FC are coming under fire after allegedly “exploiting” Ghanian forward Benjamin Acheampong out of an owed USD 1 mn. Acheampong joined the Cairo club on a four-year contract in 2017 but terminated his contract after 11 months, saying Zamalek never paid him correctly. He then joined Petrojet on a five-month loan in 2018, but was tricked into signing a document which stated he would forego his Al Zamalek salary for all of his contract as opposed to just the time at Petrojet, Acheampong told BBC Sports.

Switzerland’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) ordered Al Zamalek to pay him the sum two months ago, accusing the Egyptian club of "immoral", "intimidating" and "merciless" behaviour. In another twist, Acheampong’s former agent — former Egypt captain Nader El Sayed — reportedly falsified papers to enable him to act on Acheampong's behalf and agreed with Al Zamalek to a settlement of USD 250k. The Ghanian player has yet to receive a check for either figure and says the USD 250 payment was handed to El Sayed.

FIFA opened criminal proceedings against Al Zamalek on Thursday which could see the club dealt a transfer ban and possibly a points deduction or relegation as well.

IN OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS- Algerian club ES Setif have requested to play their first group stages game in the CAF Confederation Cup in Egypt, reports KingFut. The game will be played against the Orlando Pirates on 10 March. While Egypt is the club’s first choice, Mali has been submitted as a second option.


What’s a better pairing than football and wings? With all these simultaneously-playing matches on today, we’re in need of a sports bar or two. First up, Buffalo Wings and Rings in Sheraton which has TVs up on almost every wall surface and serves some of our favorite wings in Cairo. We recommend their appetizer platter and their garlic parmesan and crazy wing flavors.

The Tap is also a good place to hunker down in front of a match, whether in their New Cairo, Zayed, or Maadi locations. Everyone raves about The Tap’s nero flavor wings, but we were personally a fan of their blazing Asian and mango habanero (and their nachos of course).

Finally, while we trying to rack our pre-covid brains as to whether Lord of The Wings has TVs set up (we’re pretty sure they do), their wings are *chef’s kiss*. The restaurant chain came out with a new menu last year that we’re still eating our way through and we haven’t been disappointed yet.

All three of these options also offer delivery, in case you’d like to end the week on the couch — or you’d like to surprise your housemates with a break from ‘akl beity’.


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

A cookalong sounds like a perfect pandemic activity right about now: Mother and cook Engi Aboulfadl is organizing virtual cooking classes, with the first set to take place on Sunday at 5:30 over Zoom. DM her on her Instagram handle @engiaboulfadl to book a spot and get a list of ingredients for this week’s Mexican-inspired cod with corn mash.

Underground band Do'souqa will be playing at The Room in Garden City today at 9pm CLT. Meanwhile the art space’s New Cairo branch will host a violin night with Amr Darwish on Friday night at 9pm CLT.

Maadi’s Osana Wellness Center has an array of yoga classes on this weekend. You can check out their full schedule here.


Get familiar with the history of culinary arts — from before the discovery of fire: Ferran Adrià, the chef of the revolutionary restaurant El Bulli, has released his new book The Origins of Cooking: Paleolithic and Neolithic Cooking which is meant to be the first volume in a series of eight books exploring systematic history of Western cuisine, writes Bloomberg. The 592-page anthology lays out an evolutionary timeline about why those in the food industry do what they do, pointing out ties with the past to set the present in context. The book is thick with stylish lists, maps, photographs, diagrams and chronological tables as well as prehistoric menus with delicacies such as fresh horse brain, cheek and tongue of mammoth, and mashed crocodile meat.

???? TOMORROW’S WEATHER- There’s a 40% chance of light rain tomorrow, with highs of 22℃ and lows of 12℃, our favorite weather app forecasts. Saturday is a bit warmer during the daytime at 23℃, but drops to 10℃ overnight.

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