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Monday, 21 June 2021

TONIGHT: Greek PM in Egypt. + Abu Dhabi could get its first IPO in four years. ALSO: No World Cup 2022 for the unvaccinated

It’s an action-packed Monday news cycle today, ladies and gentlemen, with our energy diversification and transition plans guiding the conversation. This was followed by a number of key securitization, debt and VC funding news, so we hope you’re strapped in.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- Bringing tuk-tuks to the fold: The government is planning to bring tuk-tuks into the natural gas transition program, with the Finance Ministry likely to extend financial incentives to licensed tuk-tuks to join in the transition.

HAPPENING NOW- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Cairo today (watch, runtime: 20:30) Both sides stressed the importance of the East Med Gas Forum, with Mitsotakis saying that he hopes the agreement will be a unifying factor for the region. El Sisi also stressed the importance of pushing ahead with projects including linking our electricity grid to that of Greece and Cyprus.

Greece shows us love on GERD: Mitsotakis also called for a quick and peaceful resolution to the GERD impasse, saying the dispute has become a matter of life and death for Egyptians.

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

  • USD 20 bn Saudi investment drive + more from China: Saudi Arabia could invest as much as USD 20 bn in Egypt over the next five years, Egyptian-Saudi Joint Business Council Chairman Bandar Al Ameri said.
  • Vacsera’s new facility set to be biggest in MENA/Africa as vaccine rollout gains speed: State-owned vaccine maker Vacsera’s second manufacturing facility in Sixth of October City is set to become the largest in the Middle East and Africa, churning out 3 mn doses of Sinovac a day.
  • The EGP will hold up better than most other emerging-market currencies in the event of the Fed’s monetary tightening, given their attractive real interest rates, analysts are saying.

THE BIG FOREIGN BUSINESS STORY- Abu Dhabi could see its first IPO in four years next month: The emirate’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala is planning to list up to 40% of one of its subsidiaries, satellite operator Yahsat, Bloomberg reports. The company is expected to be listed on 14 July, with the price and size of the offering to be finalized on 9 July. This comes as UAE state companies aim to advance the domestic equity market and diversify the economy away from oil, with local listings of stakes in Mubadala subsidiary Emirates Global Aluminum, as well as an Abu Dhabi National Oil Company drilling business and a fertilizer joint venture expected to soon follow.

CORRECTION- HSBC has helped facilitate financing to Chinese companies working on USD 20 bn-worth of projects in Egypt, as well as provided support to the companies in other areas. The global lender didn’t provide the amount in direct funding, and the projects it supported weren’t just limited to infrastructure as a story we picked up yesterday from Asharq Business and featured in EnterpriseAM incorrectly suggested. The story has since been corrected on our website.


The CIB PSA World Tour Finals 2020-2021 are kicking off tomorrow at The Park in Mall of Arabia and will run until 27 June. Tickets are currently on sale for the final two days on TicketsMarche.


The Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) MENA are holding a webinar titled Energy Efficiency in the MENA region: Status and Outlook on 6 July at 3:30pm. The session will focus on energy efficiency developments and provide recommendations for businesses and policymakers. Later on next month, CEBC will also host the webinar Women Entrepreneurs in Clean Energy on 21 July at 3pm in cooperation with the initiative, Women in Clean Energy MENA and WiRE.

The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) is organizing a virtual education week from 5-6 July with three seminars planned. The first, taking place at 10am on 5 July, will discuss skills-based learning while the future of investment in education will be the topic on the table at 12:30pm the same day. On 6 July, a talk on the digitalization of education in Egypt will be held at 12pm.


China has apparently been taking credit for global commodities prices tapering off, Bloomberg reports. The country has been testing several schemes to tone down price growth, from releasing its metals stockpiles to implementing trading curbs. So far, commodities are giving in, but it’s too early for China to declare victory. Though prices of commodities such as steel have fallen from highs in May, China’s markets are still fluctuating, with Shanghai copper at a two-month low and coal hitting a five-week high. But the US Federal Reserve’s announcement that it may hike interest rates sooner than expected may also have played a factor in the global cool-down of commodities, with the global nature of this boom curbing China’s ability to significantly influence prices.

The ethical use of facial recognition tech is the latest concern for conscientious ESG investors, with over 50 global asset managers pledging earlier this month to push for the technology’s ethical use by the companies they invest in, Bloomberg reports. Though governments and corporations alike have utilized facial recognition for everything from law enforcement to marketing, the rapid utilization of the technology has outpaced the issuance of privacy rules that ensure data collection does not overstep civil liberties.

This new dilemma could soon be the next ESG factor that investors need to keep in mind before pouring funding into firms or governments. Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, and Tencent have flourished due to the lack of data laws, but the clock might be ticking on their free reign, with high level officials in the UK and elsewhere wagging fingers at the unregulated use of facial recognition software.

Meanwhile, shares of EV startups remain unaffected in the face of market challenges, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lordstown Motors, Nikola and Canoo are among the EV startups that have maintained their share prices, despite missing production targets and failing to actually begin production of any vehicles. Amateur investors who remain keen on an EV-powered future could be fuelling the continued upwards trajectory of these companies, despite the obvious setbacks, market experts say.

Qatar will only allow vaccinated fans to attend the World Cup 2022 in November next year, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani told state news agency QNA, according to Reuters. Doha is hosting the 2021 Arab Cup in December and will use the tournament to evaluate their preparedness for the World Cup, Sheikh Khalid added. The Gulf country is in talks to obtain 1 mn doses of an unspecified covid vaccine to immunize some of the people coming to Qatar in case global rollouts lag, the PM said, though he did not specify how the vaccines would be administered.


One of our guilty pleasures is out with a new season: Season four of Elite is currently on Netflix. The highschool TV show set in Madrid has a touch of murder mystery, classism, and of course heaping scoops of drama that never fail to shock. The TV show started off with a number of scholarship students joining an elite private school with some of Spain’s richest children and followed them through their struggles of fitting in and eventually joining forces with those who were at first their enemies. Three seasons in — and the debauchery, deception, and revenge plots have been elevated to new levels, yet we can’t seem to look away.

Today in Euro 2020: Two Group C matches are taking place at 6pm, with Austria playing against Ukraine and the Netherlands playing against North Macedonia. Meanwhile, Group B has taken over the 9pm slot with Denmark going up against Russia and Finland competing with Belgium.

Last night’s fixtures: Italy continued its victory streak, beating Wales 1-0, while Switzerland won against Turkey 3-1.


Zar ensemble Mazaher is performing at Darb 1718 on Friday at 8pm. Mazaher features some of the last remaining Zar practitioners in Egypt.

Horendi, a documentary film by cinéma vérité pioneer Jean Roche is being shown at The French Institute in Downtown Cairo on Wednesday at 6pm. The film documents a ritual week-long dance put on by West African women to exorcise spirits.

A Go Padel tournament is taking place in Mall of Egypt from Thursday, 24 June to Saturday, 26 June, with prize-money of EGP 40k.

Still shying away from going out? Art Cafe Maadi is holding an online city sketching workshop on Wednesday at 7pm.


A celebration of flavours from the Southern Mediterranean, Bilhana: Wholefood Recipes From Egypt, Lebanon, And Morocco is due out this week. Published by AUC Press, written by Yasmine and Shewekar Elgharably, and photographed by Yehia El Alaily. The book brings together recipes from all over the region with a contemporary twist and healthy cooking methods. From simple mezze to elaborate stews and seafood dishes, Bilhana showcases the color and variety of Middle Eastern cuisine, coupled with gorgeous images that will make your mouth water. Among the recipes featured are roasted eggplant with tahini, Alexandrian grilled shrimp, shakshuka, Moroccan lamb stew, and pomegranate and guava salad.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect daytime highs of 38°C in the capital city tomorrow, falling to 22°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

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