What we’re tracking on 7 March 2021
It’s a workaday afternoon, friends, as corporate Egypt and government alike tackle a new workweek. No single story is dominating the news agenda here at home, while abroad the news cycle is still dominated by the US Senate’s passage of President Joe Biden's USD 1.9 tn covid relief plan in a party-lines vote. It leads the global business press on both sides of the ocean (Wall Street Journal and Financial Times).
HAPPENING NOW- 16 Egyptian CEOs and business leaders have made the Forbes Top 100 CEOs in the Middle East in 2021 list. The lineup was selected based on the size of the company, the growth it had shown over the past year, and the impact the CEO has had on their respective industry as a whole.
- 10 – Suez Canal chief Osama Rabie
- 16 – National Bank of Egypt chairman Hisham Okasha
- 22 – Etisalat Group CEO Hatem Dowidar
- 43 – Banque Misr chairman Mohamed El Etreby
- 49 – CIB CEO Hussein Abaza
- 51 – Mashreq Bank CEO Ahmed Abdelaal
- 53 – Qatar Islamic Bank Group CEO Bassel Gamal
- 59 – Ahli United Bank CEO and MD Adel El-Labban
- 67 – TMG CEO and MD Hisham Talaat Mostafa
- 72 – Orascom Construction CEO Osama Bishai
- 81 – Commercial Bank of Kuwait CEO Elham Mahfouz
- 83 – EgyptAir Holding CEO Roshdy Zakaria
- 88 – Telecom Egypt CEO Adel Hamed
- 90 – Mohamed & Obaid Almulla Group Group CEO Sherif Beshara
- 95 – Arab Contractors CEO Sayed Farouk
- 99 – EFG Hermes Group CEO Karim Awad
Honorable mention: Fine Hygienic Holding CEO James Lafferty, who isn’t Egyptian, but made the Forbes list at #87 and was our Christmas Eve Work From Home Routine last year.
CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from this morning’s edition of EnterpriseAM:
- More than 1k citizens have already been vaccinated against covid-19 as the rollout of jabs from AstraZeneca and Sinopharm continues — and the tourism industry wants to offer shots to anybody heading to hajj this year.
- It looks like the state is edging toward selling another stake in Abu Qir Fertilizers in a secondary sale on the EGX just in time for what many analysts claim will be a commodities supercycle.
- Vezeeta isn’t rolling over under pressure from the Pharmacists Syndicate, saying its newly launched online store is fully compliant with the law.
FOR TOMORROW- The IDC Future of Work conference gets underway with a theme of “the path to business resiliency.”
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Photopia’s Cairo Photo Week 2021 kicks off this Thursday and runs through 20 March. The photo festival will feature over 100 activities including workshops, panels, photo challenges, exhibitions, portfolio reviews and photo walks throughout the week, all led by more than 80 local and international photographers. Genres including fashion, food, portraits, documentary and photojournalism are all in the spotlight. You can check out the event program on Photopia’s website, there’s plenty to look at on the group’s Instagram feed @cairophotoweek, and both physical and virtual tickets are available here.
Also on Thursday: The next iteration of Le Marché, an anchor of the annual expo scene, takes place 11-14 March at the Egypt International Convention Centre, with over 300 local and international brands set to showcase their wares. Full details and digital catalogue on the show’s website.
The Cairo Fashion & Textile Expo trade show is set to open at the Cairo International Convention Center on Thursday, running through 13 March.
Higher education fair EduGate runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski on the Ring Road. Participants include universities, colleges and training institutions as well as scholarship and grant providers. There’s also an online-only version taking place 18-20 March.
AUC Press’s Mad March book sale will be ongoing for the rest of the month. The sale is open to the general public every day from 10am–6pm CLT at AUC Tahrir Bookstore & Garden.
🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
If your company runs on the Microsoft Exchange Server, you want to pay attention to this: An attack on Microsoft’s business email platform that began on 26 February is growing into a global cybersecurity crisis and is raising concerns among national security experts, Bloomberg reports. Microsoft says the attack started with a Chinese government-backed hacking group called Hafnium, which was initially trying to steal information from groups such as infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions and defence contractors.
Microsoft has since issued security updates to protect customers running Exchange Server, claiming there’s no evidence that Hafnium targeted individual consumers or that other Microsoft products are vulnerable.
The attack is estimated to have impacted up to 60k global companies, a former senior U.S. official told Bloomberg. This is the first major cybersecurity crisis since the SolarWinds incident last year where Russian hackers breached nine federal agencies, including the US Treasury and Commerce departments, and at least 100 companies.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- As a country we’re loving the whole “tap to pay” thing, with Visa saying at a recent Egyptian Banking Institute webinar that the number of active contactless cards in use here was up ten-fold in the year ending September 2020. Some 78% of Egyptians surveyed are making more contactless payments.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- Robots are being given pedestrian status as they roam sidewalks and cross city streets in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Idaho, Florida and Wisconsin, writes Axios. The change in legislation comes as Amazon, Fedex, Postmates and other delivery companies have added robots and drones to their delivery fleet and are currently being tested in urban and suburban settings. The NIMBYs are unimpressed, but Big Tech insists we all welcome a future in which household items show up in a matter of hours, with fewer delivery vans blocking traffic and spewing emissions, according to Wired.
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
(All times CLT)
Maybe it's time to blow the dust off of your TV receiver: While many of us have given up the commercial-riddled, uncontrollable aspects of the TV, we do still sometimes feel nostalgic about having a channel decide what we’re watching as opposed to hours of scrolling down Netflix. So if you’d like to check out the good ol’ satellite TV tonight, you can catch Dumb and Dumber To on MBC2 at 8pm or The Man from U.N.C.L.E on Dubai One at 8pm.
⚽ The Premier League is going strong, with West Brom just about finishing up their match against Newcastle at the moment. Mo Salah’s Liverpool are up soon, playing Fulham at 4pm, while Man City will face off with Man United at 6:30pm and Tottenham take on Crystal Palace at 9:45pm.
Roma and Genoa are already on the field in Serie A, but you have three matches with 4pm kickoffs from which to choose: Crotone versus Torino, Fiorentina versus Parma, and Verona versus Milan. Sampdoria will face off against Cagliari at 7pm, while Napoli plays Bologna and Inter Milan take on Atalanta, both at 9:45pm.
La Liga is also already playing today, with Huesca currently head-to-head with Celta Vigo. You’ll want to take note of the match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid tonight at 5:15pm, while Real Sociedad and Levante will play at 7:30pm and Athletic Club will go up against Granada at 10pm.
MEANWHILE: FC Barcelona is getting caught up in politics: The largest football club in the world by revenue is picking a new president today and the outcome may have widespread impact on the Catalonia independence movement, Bloomberg reports. While the club is one of the largest Catalan institutions remaining outside seperatist control — and candidates have mostly avoided publicly addressing the issue — behind the scenes efforts are being made to ensure that whoever wins will be firmly aligned with the separatist cause, unnamed sources tell the publication.
🏀 Team LeBron faces Team Durant at 3am on Monday in the 2021 NBA all-star exhibition game: This is the first time the all-star weekend is condensed into one night, with the skills, three-point, and dunk contests all taking place tonight as well. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who was diagnosed with a mild hamstring strain in February, is replaced on the roster by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. Also worth noting: This is the first time Lakers’ LeBron James and Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry play on the same team.
Can’t wait for tonight? Enjoy this highlight reel of the top all-star plays of the decade.
🥐EAT THIS TONIGHT-
A good day starts with a good breakfast. Or so our moms have always claimed, and it’s a notion likely supported by the marketing people for Canada’s Eggspectation at Cairo Festival City. The Montréal-born chain came to Egypt last year as part of its international expansion — and quickly gained popularity with the New Cairo crowd for its heaping plates. They serve all the classics, from poached eggs to pancakes, but make sure to add a twist to each plate with ingredients such as lobster or their house sauces. We’re addicted to their chicken and waffles and their beef bacon and eggs. You can visit Eggspectation for brunch, lunch, or dinner with their all-day breakfast menu or their lunch menu, which features pastas, burgers, and a few main dishes.
🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
Art D'Égypte is currently displaying the UN Women-sponsored exhibition “Mu'anath” featuring a variety of artists exploring the feminine in our cultural identity through photography, painting and sculpture. The opening is today from 6-10 pm in Downtown, with the exhibition set to run through 1 April.
It’s getting big notice: US ambassador Johnathan Cohen, French ambassador Stéphane Romatet and business icon Naguib Sawiris were among the attendees at a private showing last night.
The Comedy Bunker is on stage for standup comedy night at The Room Art Space in New Cairo today at 9pm CLT. The lineup includes Mohamed Helmy, Pola Samwel, Hamza Bahaa, Hossam Edris, Mina Nader, and the musical comedy duo ElNo Talents.
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think is the perfect bedside read to pick up every once in a while for a bitesized tale. Author Brianna Wiest complies her writing that explores pursuing purpose over passion, embracing negative thinking, seeing the wisdom in daily routine, and becoming aware of the cognitive biases affecting your perspective on life.
🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect sunny skies tomorrow, with highs of 25°C (which with the sun we’re sure will feel like more) and nighttime lows of 15°C. Our favorite weather app is warning that we’re looking at a heat wave, with a high of 32°C in the capital city on Tuesday and 35°C on Wednesday.