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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

TONIGHT: AstraZeneca jab won’t let you into Europe. + Egypt’s Tax Authority rolls out invoicing app.

Good afternoon, wonderful people, and welcome to another very brisk afternoon. The Sisi administration dominates today’s news cycle with word of a new EGP 100 bn mortgage finance initiative for low- and middle-income earners and new ESG reporting requirements for all EGX-listed companies as well as most providers of non-bank financial services. We have chapter and verse in this afternoon’s Speed Round, below.

HAPPENING NOW- Remember that new requirement that all invoices be logged with the Tax Authority? It’s real, and companies can now issue invoices through an app rolled out by the Egyptian Tax Authority, according to a press release (pdf). Companies registered with the electronic invoice system can use the app to send invoices in real time to the authority with an approved e-signature and receive notifications with updates on the status of the invoice. The application, called Egyptian eInvoicing, is available on the iOS App Store and Google Play App Store, with more options currently available for Android operating systems.

Egyptians stranded in the UAE have until Thursday, 15 July, to register their data with the Immigration Ministry to return to Cairo via Emirati carrier FlyDubai, Minister Nabila Makram said in a statement. The ministry is coordinating with as many as 38 travel agencies to repatriate people and change the route of their round-trips to Dubai-Cairo rather than from Saudi Arabia, which suspended flights with the UAE last week, with no timeframe in sight for the lifting of restrictions. As of last Wednesday, some 1.26k Egyptians had asked to return home. Stuck in the UAE? You can register here.

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

  • Tobacco license tender goes live in August: Players will be able to bid to establish Egypt’s second major tobacco company in the second iteration of a tender that was pulled earlier this year over accusations of unfair terms.
  • USD 494 arbitration ruling against Damietta Port Authority overturned: An ICC ruling had stipulated the payment as compensation to the Damietta International Ports Company in a dispute over the termination of a contract to construct a container terminal at Damietta Port.
  • MPs authorize President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to do whatever it takes to solve GERD: The mandate appears to allow the presidency to take any measure he chooses — up to and including military action — to mitigate the dam’s threat to Egypt’s water supply.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The crawler on CNBC says it all: “stock futures fall as hot inflation report overshadows better-than-expected earnings results.” JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are making bank, but the United States saw consumer prices jump sharply in June, according to new data that has the WSJ warning that “economists expect a prolonged increase in inflation, as expansion accelerates amid pandemic-related supply-and-demand imbalances.”

But the White House isn’t sure we should all be freaking out, with the Biden administration’s Council of Economic Advisors writing in a blog post that “the inflationary period after World War II is likely a better comparison for the current economic situation than the 1970s and suggests that inflation could quickly decline once supply chains are fully online and pent-up demand levels off.” Read the full post here.

YOUR MANDATORY COVID STORY- Your AstraZeneca jab isn’t going to get you into Europe: The European Union (EU) isn’t recognizing India-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines — the ones being administered in Egypt as part of the Gavi/Covax initiative, according to the Associated Press. The EU says that the pharma company hasn’t completed the necessary paperwork on its Indian factory, including details on production practices and quality control standards. The EU’s stance has been called discriminatory by the World Health Organization, which approved the vaccine after a visit to the Serum Institute of India factory. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca shots produced in Europe have been greenlit for EU residents wishing to travel throughout the bloc.

HAPPENING TOMORROW- The EGX will hold its board elections for the 2021-2025 term. Here’s a rundown (pdf) of the candidates vying to fill board positions, updated yesterday after Porto Group Chairman Gamal Fathallah withdrew from the race.


You have two more days to visit the Cairo International Book Fair at the Egypt International Exhibition Center. The event will run through 15 July and the fair’s committee has now allowed the exhibition ground to operate at 70% capacity.

The Clean Energy Business Council’s webinar Women Entrepreneurs in Canada and the Middle East is taking place on 28 July at 3pm, showcasing female entrepreneurs working in climate tech in the two regions, and highlighting the challenges they face.


YouTube Shorts has landed in Egypt, with the new short-form video experience allowing mobile creators to edit short videos on their phones, according to a press release (pdf). Shorts’ creation tools include a multi-segment camera, music recording, the ability to add text, and automatically-added captions. The feature, which can be accessed within YouTube’s app, was rolled out in September 2020 and is already available in 26 countries. The new expansion, which includes MENA, will see Shorts brought to 100 countries worldwide.

Want to buy a ticket to the space station? Virgin Galactic says soon you can: Following bn'aire Richard Branson’s successful test flight to the edge of space at the weekend, his company plans to kick off its very own commercial ticketed space-tourism trips in 2022, the Financial Times reports. The company is aiming to make available around 400 flights a year at every spaceport. More than 600 people have already paid up to USD 130k apiece for tickets, while another 1k have each put down a USD 1k deposit to join the line when sales open. Also vying for a slice of the space tourism market: Jeff Bezos has also planned a trip to space with his Blue Origin spacecraft, while Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to send four passengers on a three-day orbit around earth.

Google is being asked to cough up USD 593 mn in fines after violating a French antitrust order to fairly compensate publishers for showing their news content on Google News, Bloomberg reports. This comes after the company earlier this year paid a USD 270 mn settlement fee to French regulators in an antitrust case that alleged the tech company had abused its leading role in the digital advertising sector, as well as an ongoing antitrust probe in Germany.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is now on Netflix. The multidimensional storyline and ingenious visuals saw the animated film reel in the Best Animated Feature award at the Oscars and Golden Globes in 2019. The film begins with teenager Miles Morales developing mysterious powers after being bitten by a spider. Morales soon realizes that there are others who share his special, high-flying talents from across many dimensions and the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker, takes him under his wing. The team of Spider-men and spider-women team up to defeat Kingpin, a hulking villain who can open portals to other universes.

When are the international leagues coming back?

  • Ligue 1 will be the first to kick off, starting on 8 August.
  • The new Bundesliga season will commence on 13 August.
  • La Liga will also be back on screens on 13 August.
  • The English Premier League’s new season will begin on 12 September.
  • Serie A will be back on 19 September.


By far the best desserts we’ve ever had: This imposingly yellow shop on Road 261 in Maadi is a sweet-lover’s best-kept secret. Run by two bubbly sisters, Hagar and Hoda, Conitta had us drooling in front of their elaborate displays. Their specialties are their homemade colorful stuffed cones that you can fill with anything from Nutella and Lotus spread to white chocolate or sweet potato. To top it off, add some of their delicious soft serve. Conitta also makes a range of other desserts including oozing and gooey brownies in a variety of flavors, molten cakes, and our personal favorite, their truffle cookies which we found positively exquisite. Don’t leave without trying out their cinnamon butter truffle cookie — it will be nothing short of life-changing.


Maadi’s Arcade Gallery is inaugurating a new month-long exhibition titled Blue tonight at 7pm.

Watch the rare conjunction of Venus and Mars tonight at a 7:30 pm event called Space1 in Sheikh Zayed, featuring professional astronomers and equipment. Space1 will kick off at 7:30.


Combining science fiction, mythology, and techno-thriller, Appleseed by Matt Bell is a one of a kind reading experience. The book weaves together three stories from different centuries and civilizations with one common denominator: climate change is ravaging the Earth and someone must combat it. In the eighteenth century, two brothers with a tense relationship trek across the land planting apple trees to profit off of in the next few years, but end up remaking the wilderness in an unsustainable way. Meanwhile, 50 years into the future, one genetic engineering and food science company now owns all the world’s resources, but its founder has decided to undo his own work for the sake of humanity. Even farther down the line, 1k years in the future, North America is covered by a massive sheet of ice and a survivor tries to find any remnants of human life. The Los Angeles Review of Books are out with a great piece on Bell’s novel.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We spoke too soon about 40°C weather… Tomorrow is the last day of 40°C, before the mercury goes up to 42°C and 44°C on Thursday and Friday, according to our favorite weather app. Meanwhile, Sahel is for 33°C weather tomorrow, with temperatures expected to stay in that range throughout the rest of the week.

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