Tuesday, 29 June 2021

TONIGHT: Our condolences to the Sawiris family. + G20 ministers meet in Italy. ALSO: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s first visit is to UAE.

We have one more sleep cycle to go before the three-day weekend, ladies and gentlemen. We hope you’re looking forward to it as much as us.

The business community bids farewell to Onsi Sawiris Sr: Before we dive into today’s stories, we are sorry to report that Sawiris family patriarch, Onsi Sawiris, has passed away at the age of 91, according to several local press sources from Youm7 to Al Masry Al Youm and Masrawy. Bloomberg also had the story.

A titan of Egyptian business: Onsi started out his career in construction with the founding of Lamei and Onsi in 1952 — the predecessor of construction behemoth Orascom Construction Industries (OCI). Sawiris had a net worth standing at around USD 1 bn as of 2021, according to Forbes data.

His story mirrors the ups and downs of Egypt’s private sector: Being the consummate survivor, Sawiris had withstood Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalization efforts. He took his business to Libya before returning to Egypt 12 years later to set up his construction empire in 1976.

Hear his amazing life story in his own words here (watch, runtime 16:11).

He is survived by his three sons Naguib, Nassef, and Samih who are the heads of Orascom Investment Holding, NNS Holding, and Orascom Development Holding respectively and his grandson Onsi, who heads VC firm HOF Capital.

His work has also spawned several major corporations that are now household names with outstanding stories, including Orascom Construction, Orascom Financial Holding, and OCI NV, the region’s largest fertilizer producer.

The funeral service will be limited to family members, yet the exact date has not yet been set, sources told Youm7. Funeral mass is being held today in Gouna.


THE BIG STORY TODAY- Is the privatization program coming back to life in September? That’s the message coming from Financial Regulatory Authority boss Mohamed Omran, who suggested in a presser today that up to three state companies might sell shares in the bourse.

AND THERE’S MORE- Omran is apparently going to announce tomorrow Egypt’s maiden corporate green bond sale. While he’s keeping quiet about who’s issuing the bonds, we speculate that our friends at CIB will be the ones to pull the trigger. We cover details of his statement in the Speed Round below.

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

  • Private-sector workers are getting a minimum wage of EGP 2.4k starting next year after a decision by the National Council for Wages. Employees will also be given a mandatory bonus equal to 7% of the basic salary.
  • Egypt does not need additional external financing at the moment thanks to structural policy and fiscal reforms that have course-corrected the economy, the IMF said yesterday after disbursing the final tranche of the USD 5.2 bn standby loan.
  • Waste management 2.0: The private sector waste management companies we spoke with see the Waste Management Act, which aims to provide structure for a fragmented industry, as a step in the right direction. That said, they would still need to see more before committing to new investments.

The deadline for Egypt’s first international oil and gas E&P tender of 2021 will be on 30 September, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla announced during a panel session organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt). Several international oil companies had requested that the deadline be extended from the previously announced date of 1 August.

The Egyptian General Petroleum Company (EGPC) is offering 24 blocks at the Gulf of Suez, the Western Desert, and the Mediterranean through the Egypt Upstream Gateway (EUG), which allows IOCs to expand their exploration and production activities via geological data.

HAPPENING NOW- The G20 foreign ministers are meeting face-to-face for the first time in two years in Italy as we speak, according to a statement

The US appears to be gearing to make a push for the 15% minimum global corporate tax proposal at the meeting, according to a statement from the US State Department, which states that the country will seek “building a global tax system that is equitable.” The global tax proposal aims to block large firms from dodging tax by operating in low-tax jurisdictions and was put on the table at the G7 summit last month. The pact will set a minimum level of corporate tax in all countries of 15%, with the figure possibly changing as more talks take place.

Enterprise sat down with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire who told Enterprise he thinks the global tax proposal is “fair and efficient” for nations such as Egypt. “All the digital giants which have made huge [gains] off the pandemic will have to pay their fair share of taxes,” he said, stressing the readiness of countries to adopt such a move.

The uneven distribution of jabs is also sure to be brought up as ministers express unease at geopolitical biases coming in the way of a global vaccine rollout. Italy, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20 countries, is planning to put global food security and nutrition on the table for discussion, while international trade and climate concerns are also expected to be at the forefront of the talks. However, while analysts do not see the summit bearing concrete results, they are pleased with the resumption of in-person meetings that rally behind increased cooperation. Reuters has more on this.

Today’s meeting comes ahead of a G20 leaders’ summit in October in Rome that is expected to bring together US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time, writes AFP.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

It’s the final day of the Big 5 Construct Egypt at the Cairo International Convention Center.

Planning a summer trip abroad? You’ll need to get a travel insurance certificate ready as travellers won’t be allowed to leave the country without it starting July under a new FRA decision, FRA head Mohamed Omran said today.

The Cairo International Book Fair will open its doors at the Egypt International Exhibition Center tomorrow. The two-week event will run through to 15 July.

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.

The Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) MENA is holding a webinar titled Energy Efficiency in the MENA region: Status and Outlook on 6 July at 3:30pm.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is in the UAE for his first official visit since both countries became besties last year, Lapid tweeted. Lapid is slated to open Israel’s embassy in Abu Dhabi and its consulate in Dubai.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

Nascar’s Netflix sitcom The Crew promises a good time: Crew chief Kevin Gibson (played by the King of Queens’ Kevin James) has been heading a Nascar race team for 25 years, and he keeps the tight-knit crew going. But the team hasn’t snagged many victories lately, prompting the team owner to retire and pass the reins to his twenty-something daughter Catherine (Jillian Mueller). Catherine, who used to be a Silicon Valley executive, wants to put her own stamp on the team, and the show revolves around the old crew keeping up with the new changes and ideas brought on by fresh blood.

Today in Euro 2020: In the last two matches to determine which teams are going to the quarter finals, England is playing against Germany at 6pm while Sweden is going up against Ukraine at 9pm. The two match victors will play each other on 3 July in Rome.

Yesterday’s *insane* matches: The game between Croatia and Spain was heated to say the least, and after a stellar performance from both sides, Spain took the lead 5-3. Meanwhile, in the twist of all twists, Switzerland came out on top against France. The two teams were tied 3-3, but Switzerland took home the win after getting in all five penalties while France faltered at the last second.

🥐 EAT THIS DURING THE WEEKEND-

With the long weekend coming up, we’re sure a ton of you are heading to Sahel to get some vitamin D (and much needed rest). One of the best parts of the Sahel experience is undoubtedly getting some yummy food on the beach and what’s more delicious than shawarma? Akleh is opening up shop at Stella Walk this summer offering a wide range of manaqish, sandwiches, fatteh, and roasted chicken. It’s a great option for a quick bite to eat on the go, or for a group of friends wanting to get a Lebanese fix. If you’re in Cairo, Akleh is also available in Sheikh Zayed and will definitely make these hot summer days more bearable.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

The duo behind O7 Therapy are giving a talk at the Greek Campus today at 5pm, titled “Bridge the Gap, Shape the Future: The Power of Mental Wellness in the Workplace”.

Downtown Cairo’s Lamassat Gallery is hosting the ‘Meltaka El Etegahat’ exhibition that brings together works of art from various styles and schools. The exhibit will run until 2 July.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

YOUR SAHEL WEEKEND READ- Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything takes readers on a journey through the universe and ourselves, making connections between past and present to show how we finally made it to the modern world. He explains complex scientific concepts using easily accessible language. Bryson’s book is the aftermath of his own personal quest of following around archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps over the years and asking them all the questions he could think of. Sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always well explained, A Short History of Nearly Everything is your introduction to the human realm starting from the beginning of time.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The mercury will be at 41°C tomorrow during the day, falling to 25°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

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