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Thursday, 27 May 2021

TONIGHT: El Sisi in Djibouti; HSBC exits US retail banking; point of no return on climate change approaching; Zidan leaves Real Madrid.

You made it through five full work days in May. Give yourselves a pat on the back and enjoy the weekend.

We encourage you to spend it watching the Friends reunion show, which airs overnight tonight. Want to watch it in Omm El Donia? You’ll want to download the OSN app from your app store of choice and sign up for a seven day trial. We did just that this morning and were pleasantly surprised by the volume of quality HBO and Disney+ content on offer.

THE BIG STORY TODAY is the big announcement that Misr Insurance Holding is forming an education investment platform with a group of school operators and private equity. The platform plans to invest an initial EGP 700-800 mn on the development of schools before graduating to universities.

And we end this very diplomacy-heavy news week with… (you guessed it) more diplomacy: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi was in Djibouti this morning for a face-to-face meeting with that country’s president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, and the first official visit of an Egyptian leader to the Arab-speaking country. The two discussed across-the-board cooperation, with a focus on supporting Djibouti’s economic reform and development efforts. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was also on the agenda, and both leaders agreed on the need for Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to reach an agreement on filling and operating the dam. We have more on the GERD issue as well as Cairo’s role in events in Israel and Palestine in this afternoon’s news well, below.

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

  • Washington + Cairo are getting (strategically) chummier, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit yesterday following two calls between Joe Biden and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. But western journalists prodded Blinken again yesterday to make Cairo’s human rights record an issue.
  • Good news for the nation’s FX stockpile: Tourism revenues could come in ahead of projections for this year on the back of rising arrivals from Eastern European and Gulf visitors. Fingers crossed that Moscow allows direct flights to the Red Sea to restart sooner rather than later.
  • CIB, TMG set up real estate SPV for commercial properties, the new venture will acquire, sell and lease commercial properties.


Informa Markets’ Nextmove real estate exhibition kicked off today at the Cairo International Convention Center and will run until Saturday. The exhibit will bring developers together under one roof to show off their property offerings.

Egypt is hosting Trescon Global’s World AI Show on Monday with the support of ITIDA. The virtual gathering will feature CEOs, CTOs, and CIOs from around the world to discuss issues and trends within the AI space. Among the speakers are Communications Minister Amr Talaat, Samsung’s VP of Artificial Intelligence Patrick Bangert, World Economic Forum’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Lead Arunima Sarkar, and Microsoft Egypt General Manager Mirna Arif.


Good news if you love to stream: Amazon’s acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM will see Amazon Prime add some hit films and TV shows to its roster — 4k movies and 17k TV shows to be exact. Fortune says that some of the classics include The Magnificent Seven, Thelma & Louise, Raging Bull, Legally Blonde, Casino Royale, The Hobbit, Ben-Hur, and The Thomas Crown Affair — and speculates that reboots and sequels could be in the works.

HSBC is (kinda sorta) a universal bank no more (at least in the US of A). The lender has exited the bulk of its US retail banking business as it pivots to Asia, the bank said yesterday (pdf). The news comes after it has long struggled to compete against big American banks. The European giant will sell 90 of its 148 US branches in pacts with Citizens Bank and Cathay Bank. It will later let go of a further 35-40, a move HSBC Group Chief Executive Noel Quinn says will help it refocus its competitive edge. The bank will ultimately only keep close to 24 locations clustered in major cities and only serve wealthy clients and businesses with turnover of over USD 5 mn. The Wall Street Journal has more.

The chance of global warming temporarily hitting the 1.5°C mark in the next five years has risen to more than 40%, roughly doubling from the 2020 estimated likelihood, according to the World Meteorological Organization which studied monitoring data from the Arctic. The figure 1.5°C refers to an increase in the pre-industrial global temperature baseline and scientists believe it to be the threshold at which catastrophic natural events will begin to occur. The United Nations body also estimates that one of the next five years will be the warmest on record in history, beating out the year 2016 for the title. Last week, the G7 group of countries pledged to boost climate targets limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C from the previously agreed upon 2°C. The Financial Times has the story.

Because this could never end badly: Europeans would rather AI take the political lead. A poll by the IE University’s Center for the Governance of Change found that 51% of Europeans are in favour of replacing national lawmakers in their country with AI that has access to their data, according to CNBC. The idea of having algorithms rule was most popular in Spain, Italy, and Estonia, while the UK recorded the most pushback. IE University’s Oscar Jonsson explained that the results reflected a “decades-long decline of belief in democracy as a form of governance” as well as increased political polarization and distrust in politicians.


Nail Bomber: Manhunt is Netflix’s newest crime documentary, diving into the crimes of right-wing extremist David Copeland, who set off three nail bombs in London in 1999 with the motivation of starting a race war. Digital Spy says the documentary managed to avoid doing something that most crime documentaries fall into: romanticizing the killer. Nail Bomber: Manhunt instead sheds light on the trauma wrought on people involved as well as the way authorities were able to track Copeland down. The work uses archival footage of the bombings, interviews with people who survived the crimes, and sitdowns with the police who helped capture the perpetrator.

El Zamalek and Ismaily have a round of 16 Egypt Cup match today at 9pm.

Al Ahly has made it to the final of the CAF Super Cup and will play Morocco’s RS Berkane tomorrow at 6pm.

IN MAJOR SPORTING NEWS- Zinedine Zidane is stepping down as Real Madrid’s coach, bringing “an end to his current spell,” the club announced in a statement. This is the second time Zidane has left the club, following a year-long stint in 2018 where he said that it was time for a change and that his leadership wouldn’t necessarily keep the club on top anymore. Zidane was in charge when the football star-studded club took home three consecutive Champions League trophies, as well as two Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, one Spanish league and one Spanish Super Cup.

Meanwhile, Massimiliano Allegri might return to Juventus as head coach, replacing Andrea Pirlo, reports Sky News. Allegri was believed to be one of Zidane’s replacements, while other possible candidates include Antonio Conte and Raúl González, according to Bloomberg.

???? The Gouna International Squash Open 2021 is now at the semi-finals stage. Egypt’s Tarek Momen (ranked #2 worldwide) will go up against New Zealand’s Paul Coll (ranked #3) tonight at 7:15pm, while Egyptians Mohamed ElShorbagy (#1) and Fares Dessouky (#6) will compete at 8:45pm. In the women’s league, USA’s Amanda Sobhy (#6) will go head-to-head with Egypt’s Nouran Gohar (#2) at 6:30pm while Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini (#1) and fellow citizen Hania El Hammamy (#7) will play at 8pm.

You can tune in to the matches live on PSA Squash YouTube page and on OnTime Sports 2. Spectators have been allowed to attend the matches in person and tickets are currently being sold. The event is supported by our good friends at CIB.

Also for fans of racquet sports: The CIB PSA World Tour Finals will run on 22-27 June in Cairo.


We’re in the mood for Greek street food vendor Seecoz. Sticking to just a few items on the menu (and perfecting them), Seecoz has become known for their gyros. You can customize your own delicious wrap, choosing between chicken, beef, veal, or halloumi, as well as a topping of cheese or a sauce, and all the vegetables you like. It's a great treat, with the master of the show being their signature bread that brings everything together. Get a side of their halloumi fries or spicy feta fries for an extra oomph to your meal. To top it all off, Seecoz offers zalabya-like Loukamades covered in either chocolate or Lotus.


Subtraction might be one of the keys to success: Subtract by Leidy Klotz points out a common misstep people tend to take without realizing it: adding without subtracting. That could range from adding new rules at the office without removing some of the existing ones, adding more tasks and activities to your day without phasing out some of them, or even buying new products to add to your collection of stuff. Subtracting and doing less doesn’t necessarily mean getting to less, but rather giving yourself more time to think and internalize the tasks you decide are important enough to stay. Klotz looks at Nobel Laureates, rockstars, and everyday heroes who used subtraction to let their creativity and productivity flow. Behavioural Scientist is out with a great review.

???? TOMORROW’S WEATHER- This weekend boasts moderately good weather, with the mercury staying in the range of 35-36°C through to Sunday and falling to 20°C at night, according to our favorite weather app.

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