Monday, 17 May 2021

TONIGHT: Gaza unrest prompts calls of calm from El Sisi; Sporting clubs offering jabs; Are Spacs dead? RenCap MENA conference tomorrow.

The post Eid hangover has hit, ladies and gentlemen, with a packed news day, work needing some extra shots of espressos, and some of us vigorously applying aloe vera to our once sun-starved skins.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- Will the Health Ministry be distributing jabs through other players? Following reports just prior to the Eid break that sporting clubs might become centers for members to receive jabs, reports have emerged today that the Federation of Egyptian Industries might have signed an agreement with the ministry that would allow them to distribute jabs to their employees at factories. We explore these and more in the Speed Round below.

THE BIG BUSINESS STORY TODAY- Another CHG healthcare merger in the offing: Cleopatra Hospitals Group (CHG) appears undaunted by its cancelled plans to acquire Alameda Healthcare Group’s Egypt assets, lodging an offer to acquire 100% of Alexandria Medical Services. We cover the details in the Speed Round below.

HAPPENING NOW- The Sovereign Sukuk Act has received a preliminary nod from the Senate in a plenary session this afternoon, reports Youm7. The bill, which would govern how government-issued sharia-compliant debt is securitized and traded, will be shipped to the House of Representatives, the country’s legislative branch, once the approval is finalized by the upper house of parliament. Egypt’s maiden sovereign sukuk sale is expected after it clears the House general assembly in a final vote, is ratified by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and its executive regulations are published.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • The only real good news of the day: EM-focused PE firm Actis is planning to double its energy investments in Egypt and other African countries to USD 2 bn within five years.
  • A blow to tourism recovery? The Russians could likely hold off on resuming direct flights to Egyptian resort towns as Egypt’s covid numbers continue to spike — a particularly damaging prospect as analysts see Egypt among the EMs that desperately need it to recover.
  • We hope you got the fun out of your system this Eid: Lockdown measures imposed before the Eid break might be extended past the 21 May deadline as the so-called “third wave” continues.

EGX-listed Fawry has replaced Elsewedy Electric on the MSCI emerging markets index in the index’s most recent rebalancing (pdf). The change will take place on 27 May. The payments giant is also due to make it into the FTSE EMs index when the gauge’s next rebalancing rolls around on 21 September.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to dominate global headlines, with the latest round of Israeli attacks killing a senior Islamic Jihad commander, Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is appealing for calming unreset and putting an end to violence in Gaza in recent days prior to his back-to-back summits today and tomorrow in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron. El Sisi told France24 (watch, runtime: 0:37) that Egypt is embarking on diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the Israel-Palestine conflict, which, according to the president, has a direct impact on regional stability. El Sisi landed on Sunday in the French capital to attend with Macron one summit on supporting Sudan’s political transition and another on plugging African countries’ post-covid financing shortfalls. He also met with CEO of Rafale jet maker Dassault, which Cairo is said to purchase 30 Rafale fighter jets from.

What a post-vaccine recovery could look like: Dubai has relaxed covid-19 restrictions as the emirate’s case count starts to fall. Under the new decision, hotels have been allowed to open at full capacity, bars have been allowed to reopen and restaurant capacity has increased, according to an announcement by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management. Meanwhile, live concerts and sporting events will be allowed to resume on the condition that attendees have been vaccinated against the covid-19 virus.

FOR TOMORROW- Renaissance Capital’s annual MENA Investor Conference is kicking off tomorrow and running until Thursday. The conference will provide a macroeconomic update

on the MENA region and first-hand information from some of the region’s prominent policy makers and business leaders. You can check out the event schedule here.


Africa-based startups have until 26 May to sign up for the French government-sponsored AFD Digital Challenge, an annual startup competition (pdf) run by the French Development Agency (AFD). This year, the competition is targeting startups that work on environmental protection and tackle carbon emissions. The 10 startups chosen will receive a package of technical and financial support worth EUR 20k.

The IMF will complete at the end of June a second review of targets set under Egypt’s USD 5.2 bn standby loan. The loan was approved in June 2020.

The El Gouna International Squash Open 2021 and the CIB PSA World Tour Finals will go ahead as planned, PSA World Tour announced. The El Gouna Open will take place on 20-28 May, while the CIB-sponsored World Tour Finals will run on 22-27 June in Cairo. It’s still unclear whether fans will be allowed into the stands, with tickets said to be “on sale soon”.


The global race for semiconductors is heating up: South Korea is the latest world government to make a push in the race to dominate the semiconductor industry since the global chip shortage took hold after it announced a USD 452 bn 2030 investment strategy to build a chipmaking base led primarily by private companies including Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, CNBC reported. The decision follows similar announcements from the US, where president Joe Biden called for USD 50 bn to boost the chip industry, China’s Xi Jinping promised bigger spending on high tech industries and emphasized semiconductors, while the EU hopes to up manufacturing in Europe to 20% of global capacity from the current 10%% by 2030.

A new backlash against Beijing Winter Olympics as boycott calls snowball (pun intended): A rights coalition supporting minorities in China has urged for a “full-blown” boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over accusations of rights abuses, according to a statement. These include Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others. “The time for talking with the IOC [International Olympic Committee] is over,” Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute told the Associated Press, elaborating “It’s clear the IOC is completely uninterested in what the real impacts on the ground for people are.” But China’s foreign ministry noted that any boycott is “doomed to failure” amid the country’s denial of all allegations. The Beijing Games are scheduled to kick off on 4 February 2022.


Season two of Love, Death & Robots is out on Netflix. The series features standalone animation shorts, each done by a different animation team in their own visual style. The episodes all widely revolve around the theme of how technology will change the future of the world and of humanity, from killer vacuum cleaners to human immortality negating the need for more babies. With most of the shorts clocking in at less than 15 minutes, you could go for an easy trial run of whichever episode sounds best. The series is definitely worth a watch, with each animation thought-provoking it it’s own right.

Not much football for today, with the single match to note being Verona versus Bologna in Serie A today at 8:45pm.

The Premier League wraps up on Sunday 23 May, with the top two positions and Champions League qualifiers going to Manchester City and Manchester United. Leicester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool are three points apart and each have two remaining games to decide the third and fourth qualifying spots for next season’s Champions League. Chelsea face Leicester City tomorrow at 9:15pm, and Aston Villa on Sunday 23 May at 5:00pm. Liverpool go up against Burnley on Wednesday 19 May at 9:15pm, and Crystal Palace on Sunday 23 May at 5:00pm.

Maybe tune into basketball instead? El Zamalek’s basketball team will go up against Mozambique’s Ferroviàrio de Maputo in a match for the inaugural edition of the Basketball Africa League tonight at 9pm. El Zamalek qualified for the tournament after coming out on top in the 2018/19 Egyptian Super League, reports ESPN. Egypt is one of six countries that have sealed a spot for their domestic champion, while the other six earn their spots through International Basketball Federation (FIBA) competitions.The Basketball Africa League was created in partnership with the NBA and FIBA, reports The Atlantic Council in a piece detailing why this league should get attention. After being delayed a year due to covid-19, the league started off yesterday with an unusual crossover, with the Rwanda Patriots signing rapper J. Cole as a player for the inaugural season.


Treat yourself post-Ramadan with modern Italian cuisine at Lexie’s. The restobar has some of the most delicious and Instagrammable dishes around, with exciting pasta dishes and classic pizzas. Overlooking the Lake House club in New Cairo, the view itself is worth a visit to chill and indulge. We love the diavola pizza, lasagna, and seafood branzino. Lexie’s also boasts wagyu steak and Norwegian salmon main dishes that are sure to hit the spot. For dessert, make sure to try out their towering banana tart that looks just as good as it tastes.


In honor of a Eid break that still felt short, we bring you Freedom by Sebastian Junger is an account of the author’s 400-mile journey, walking along the railroad tracks on the east coast of the US, all while being accompanied by two Afghan War vets, a conflict photographer, and a dog. The long walk was a way to untether themselves from modern day, and go back to the most basic of actions in efforts to rediscover what it means to be human. Junger recounts his thoughts during the journey, including everything from women’s resistance and labor strikes to Apache raiders.

???? TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The AC is staying on until the weekend. The mercury will hit 36°C tomorrow and gradually go up in the coming few days, our favorite weather app tells us. The weather will cool down a bit to 33°C and 32°C on Saturday and Sunday for more tolerable daytimes.

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