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Thursday, 4 March 2021

What we’re tracking on 4 March 2020


It’s vaccine rollout day, with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly making the rounds and administering doses of Sinopharm and Astrazeneca. We cover the latest in the Speed Round below.

SUPERCYCLE ALERT- Egyptalum raised its prices by at least EGP 2k per tonne for March to EGP 40-49,000 per tonne after a global price jump of over USD 200 per ton to USD 2.2k, according to Al Mal. This comes as commodity prices have been rising since the beginning of lockdown measures. Iron and copper have risen more than 80% over the past year.

Globally, Bloomberg reports that the price for copper, a vital part of green infrastructure, was at a nine-year high at the start of the month, with analysts expecting them to rise even further. Currently standing at USD 8.6k per ton, forecasters are predicting the commodity to reach the big USD 10k mark, given the global direction towards renewable energy production, which requires a lot of copper cables. The global power grid is expected to grow by 48 mn km by 2050, as per Bloomberg projections, which would double copper demand to 3.6 mn metric tons.

Catch our rundown on what a post-covid commodities boom could mean for Egypt here.

On that note, OPEC+ members have begun meetings at 3pm CLT today to discuss April production policy, The two primary items on the agenda are a unilateral 500k bbl/-day production hike, which is strongly supported by Russia, the UAE and other members, and details on how Saudi Arabia will end its voluntary 1 mn barrel production cut, Bloomberg reports. Bilateral talks between Saudi Arabia and Russia yesterday gave few details beyond the former urging caution and the latter pressing to raise output. Crude prices could move higher if the group doesn’t deliver all of the extra barrels the market needs to fuel the economic recovery from the covid-19 pandemic, the article adds.

The Bank of England will put a bigger focus on green bonds in its corporate bond-buying strategy, after being given a direct government mandate to support efforts to make the UK economy greener, it said in a statement yesterday. The bank is set to reveal more about its proposed new approach in the coming months, with amendments due to be made by 4Q 2021 — when the round of reinvestment operations is scheduled — it says.The government has now made environmental and climate goals an explicit part of monetary policy.

This could be good news for us: Egypt is planning to make sovereign green bond issuances in FY2021-22, though their size and timings are as yet undetermined, government sources tell Enterprise. Meanwhile, Egypt’s private sector is also looking to make green bond issuances this year. Egypt’s USD 750 mn maiden sovereign green bond issuance was almost 5x oversubscribed last year, attracting some USD 3.8 bn in bids for the bonds. The government subsequently listed the bonds on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

UP NEXT WEEK- Elections for the Senate’s 14 committees will commence early next week as the upper house resumes its plenary sessions, Senate Speaker Mahmoud Ismail told Youm7. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified the Senate bylaws today which establish the 14 committees, which include committees for constitutional and legislative affairs, financial, economic and investment, foreign, Arab and African affairs, as well as defense and national security.

Also coming from the legislative branch next week: The House Economics Committee has a busy week with discussions taking place on key economic and business legislation, including the draft Unified Insurance Act, the Sovereign Sukuk Act and changes to the Competition Act.

FOR TOMORROW- China’s biggest political meeting of the year is taking place tomorrow: China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) is often used to to reveal major policy and personnel changes and will be held virtually for the second time due to the pandemic, reports Bloomberg.

This year’s agenda includes a close look at the post-pandemic economy and outlines Beijing's ambitious technology plans as the country aims to overtake the US, writes the NPC’s press the NPC Observer . The event might also see China announce changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system that would give Beijing more control over the colony as well as amendments to the country’s birth restrictions.

China might refrain from disclosing their GDP for the second time amidst covid-19, experts say.


AUC Press’s Mad March book sale will be ongoing for the rest of the month: The publisher’s biggest book sale of the year will see up to a 75% discount on all books. The book sale is open to the public everyday from 10am–6pm CLT at AUC Tahrir Bookstore & Garden.

Tough Mudder’s muddy endurance challenge is kicking off tomorrow at O West in 6 October. You can learn more about Tough Mudder Egypt and register for the event on their website.

The IDC Future of Work conference is kicking off next Monday, 8 March, under the theme “The Path to Business Resiliency”.

Photopia’s Cairo Photo Week 2021 will take place on 11-20 March with this year’s theme being Depth OFF Field. The photo festival will feature over 100 activities such as workshops, panels, photo challenges, exhibitions, portfolio reviews, and photo walks throughout the week given by over 80 local and international photographers. The event aims to cover almost all genres of image making including fashion, food, portraits , documentary, and photojournalism. You can check out the event program on Photopia’s website and both physical and virtual tickets are available here.

The Cairo International Furniture Show, Le Marche, is set to take place from 11-14 March at the Egypt International International Convention Centre, with over 300 local and international brands to showcase their pieces.

The Cairo Fashion & Tex trade show will take place at Cairo International Convention Center from 11-13 March.


Our friends at EFG Hermes were named Best Investment Bank in Frontier Markets in 2021 and Best Debt Bank in Africa by Global Finance magazine, the company said in a statement. EFG Hermes topped league tables on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, and was first by market share of international financial institutions on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. The investment bank was also second by value traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The firm’s investment banking team closed a record 24 transactions valued at USD 1.7 bn in 2020, 14 of which were in the debt capital market.

Egyptian soprano opera singer Fatma Said has been nominated for a 2021 BBC Music Magazine Award in the vocal category. Said signed a record contract with Warner classics last year and released her debut album El Nour.

Egyptian AI entrepreneur Rana El Kaliouby has been named a Harvard Executive Fellow and will begin co-teaching a variety of topics such as how to start an AI-based business, AI business models, and how to bring products to the market, she announced on her Instagram. El Kaliouby is the co-founder and CEO of MIT-spinoff Affectiva which aims to humanize technology using emotion AI.

Is there a better way to count down the days to International Women’s Day? The global celebration of females is coming up on 8 March.


Emaar Properties is effectively delisting Emaar Malls, through a buyback plan which would see it acquire a 15% stake in its subsidiary, the company said in a DFM disclosure on Tuesday. The move is meant to boost Emaar Properties’ financial and operational performance through full consolidation of Emaar Malls’ earnings and cashflow generation, the company said.

The decision to delist is driven by sluggish trading, a slump in prices and liquidity, as well as companies looking to avoid investor scrutiny in the current market, analysts told Bloomberg. The buyback would be conducted at a 36% discount to the company’s all-time high share price in 2014.

This is the second time in three months that a leading Emirati company announces delisting, raising concerns among investors. In December, state-controlled Meraas Holding proposed taking DXB Entertainments private at a 33% discount. “It could prove an impediment to companies looking to spin off small stakes of 10% or 15% as investors may shy away even if the stock is attractive," at Al Dhabi Capital’s chief strategy officer Mohammed Ali Yasin said. “Fears of minority shareholders not being protected will become a concern for international investors going forward" he adds.

We’re being watched 24/7 — from security cameras to license plate readers to smartphone trackers. To a large extent, these data streams are dissociated, with authorities needing to search one stream at a time, Arthur Michel writes in an investigative piece for Wired. However, companies such as Genetec are being called on by major countries and cities to solve this issue of being “data-rich but information-poor,” by allowing all public surveillance tools “to share a brain” and be able to analyze information from one another.

Genetec allows authorities to gather information from all surveillance tools in the city at once with a press of a button by using a correlation engine — a suite of algorithms that crawl through a city’s historical police records and live sensor feeds looking for patterns and connections. Programs have also been made to detect small crimes such as illegal parking all the way to rooting out trafficking rings and building a detailed profile of someone who might be radicalized.

This kind of system could be coming to our part of the world: Genetec itself began operations in the Middle East years ago with an office now based in Dubai. In 2018, Genetec expressed interest in Egypt’s market, reported the local press back then.


A little something for everyone on Netflix tonight: The crime watchers among you will like Murder Among the Mormons, a crime docuseries replete with greed and different flavors of deception. You can check out this review by AV Club. On the other hand, Moxie is out today, and after seeing the trailer pop up on our Facebook feed quite a few times, we’re quite excited for today’s movie night. The Amy Poehler-directed film follows a 16-year old who is fed up with sexist behavior in school and basically starts a riot — all with her mother’s support of course.

The Egyptian Premier League is back up and running starting today, with Ghazl El Mahalla and National Bank currently on the field, while tomorrow Wadi Degla will play against Ismaily at 3pm CLT, Al Ittihad will go up against El Entag El Harby at 5pm CLT, and El Gaish will play against Enppi at 7pm CLT. On Saturday, Aswan has a match against Pyramids at 7pm CLT.

The English Premier League is finishing up its gameweek 26 matches today, with the double matchweek showcasing players such as Spur’s Gareth Bale and Heung-Min Son as well as Man City’s Riyad Mahrez. The day’s matches will kick off at 8pm CLT with Fulham to go head-to-head with the Spurs and West Brom to go up against Everton. Liverpool and Chelsea will top off the night with a match at 10:15pm. Gameweek 27 will pick up on Saturday with four matches scheduled.

Parma and Inter Milan have a match scheduled for 9:45pm tonight in Serie A, while Saturday will see Spezia play versus Benevento at 4pm CLT, Udinese against Sassuolo at 7pm CLT, and Juventus against Lazio at 9:45pm CLT.

La Liga will pick up tomorrow, with Valencia and Villarreal set to play at 10pm CLT, while Saturday boasts a total of four matches starting off with Valladolid against Getafe at 3pm CLT, Elche against Sevilla at 5:15pm CLT, Cadiz against Eibar at 7:30pm CLT, and Osasuna versus Barcelona at 10pm CLT.

Barcelona has reserved a spot in the Copa del Rey finals after winning against Sevilla 3-0 yesterday in the semi-final game. The final will be played on 4 April.

Back at home, the annual FIBA Africa Women's Champions Cup 2020 has been postponed, FIBA said without specifying the reason behind the decision. The African basketball championship was meant to take place in Egypt from March 12-20.


We’ve decided to let you in one of our worst-kept secrets: Rooftop — a laid back restobar atop the Nile Zamalek Hotel, the place offers panoramic views of the Nile River and the city and is a great place to sit back and enjoy a drink. Rooftop (Google Maps) has its own food menu featuring Egyptian classics and American cuisines, but also allows you to order food from the Chinese restaurant in the hotel, Golden Dragon, which is one of our top ten Asian restaurants in Cairo. We recommend the kung pao chicken (which is a bit spicy), mongolian beef, and the steamed dumplings. The portions aren’t huge though, so don’t depend on one dish to fill you up.


The famous Om Kalthoum puppet will hit the stage today at Sawy Culture Wheel for two renditions of Alf Leila We Leila and El Atlal. The first Sawy Puppet Theatre performance will take place at 6pm CLT and the second at 8pm CLT.

Stephan Jolk will be partying in Egypt for the first time tonight at Sheikh Zayed’s Cairo Jazz Club 610. Aly Goede will play the opening set, before Jolk takes the stage with his techno melodies. You can check out the rest of CJC’s events for this weekend from their calendar.

The Gypsy Jazz Project is playing at The Room Art Space in Garden City tonight at 9pm CLT, to play their Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli influenced music.

AUC’s Theatre Department is organizing the Egyptian Women Playwrights and Directors Conference tomorrow at 2pm CLT in Ewart Hall at the Tahrir campus. A live streaming link should also be posted to the announcement page tomorrow for viewers to join in from home. The discussions at the conference will pave the way for new programs and fellowships to support female creatives in the Egyptian theatre scene in cooperation with Culture Minister Enas Abdel Dayem. The event will also feature an exhibition dedicated to the late theatre critic Nehad Selaiha.

Galleria 40 Mall in Sheikh Zayed has a handmade products exhibition on this weekend, titled Crafted Exhibition.

Uptown Cairo will be holding their art & deco event, featuring “a fusion of art and furniture”, with the grand opening set to take place today at 6pm CLT.


Continuing on with what books to look out for at AUC Press’s book sale, we’re highlighting a local author we love: Reem Bassiouney has had several of her Arabic-written books translated into English and published by AUC Press. We recommend Mortal Designs, which follows the love story between Asma and Hazem, which Bassiouney uses to tell a tale of corruption, classism, and gender issues in Egypt’s pre-1952 revolution society. You can also check out Bassiouney’s large collection of Arabic-published books, most anchored in local and regional history that transport you to a different time while giving you another outlook on stories you’ve heard many times before.

Bassiouney was awarded the 2019-2020 Naguib Mahfouz Award for Best Egyptian Novel for her best-selling book, Children of the People: The Mamluk Trilogy. The novel explores the history of the Mamluks in Egypt with a deeper insight into their human experiences.

???? TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We’re might be in for some fog tomorrow, says Youm7. Our favorite weather app expects daytime highs of 22℃ tomorrow and lows of 11℃. The gauge will go up to 25℃ on Saturday and Sunday.

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