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Monday, 26 July 2021

TONIGHT: Egypt takes home two bronze medals for taekwondo. + Tunisian democracy in crisis. ALSO: Netflix to expand into gaming.

Good afternoon, wonderful people, and welcome to a busy news day. We have plenty of business news for you, but first:

THE BIG STORY OF THE DAY has to be Egypt’s first medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Hedeya Malak took home a bronze in taekwondo, downing American Paige McPherson. Malak’s teammate Seif Eissa quickly followed, also taking home a bronze medal. The handball team, meanwhile, is still in contention despite losing today to world champion Denmark. We have all the details in today’s Olympic update, below.

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

  • Egypt beats 2020-21 budget deficit, primary surplus targets: Egypt recorded a primary surplus of 1.4% of GDP, or around EGP 93.1 bn, during FY2020-2021, exceeding the 0.9% targeted by the government and the 1% forecast by the IMF.
  • IMF expects FDI to grow in Egypt over coming four years: Egypt could see FDI jump as much as 60% this fiscal year compared to last year, the International Monetary Fund believes, pointing also to a resurgence in tourism.
  • Sawiris family invests in proptech startup: Egyptian proptech startup Nawy will use the seven-figure seed funding to improve its technology, diversify its services, and expand the team.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- No single story is driving the news cycle in the western business press. The Financial Times is leading with a massive Chinese crackdown on foreign investment in education (we have more in Speed Round, below), while CNBC notes that US IPOs are on track for a record year “as companies cash in on sky-high stock prices.” The question, it adds, is how long that can last.

GETTING LOTS OF ATTENTION: Crypto, after BTC jumped as much as 20% to a six-week high. The story is getting play in the Wall Street Journal (where it leads the homepage this afternoon) and CNBC.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- The world’s largest (listed) hedgie says cryptocurrencies have “no inherent worth.” They’re great fun to trade, says Man Group boss Luke Ellis, but “If you look at cryptocurrencies as a whole, it is a pure trading instrument. There is no inherent worth in it whatsoever. It is a tulip bulb.” The Financial Times’ interview this afternoon with Ellis is a must-read for finance and crypto nerds alike.

ON THE WIRES: “Tunisian democracy is in crisis after president ousts government” leads on Reuters, which has dumped coverage of the Olympics from the #1 spot to cover the upheaval in Tunisia. The Associated Press, meanwhile, says police tried to prevent clashes between protesters supporting President Kais Saeid, on the one hand, and lawmakers from the Islamist Ennahdha party. Troops are reported to have “surrounded Tunisia’s parliament and blocked its speaker from entering.” The story is also getting big play in the Financial Times.

Speaking of Tunisia: What’s the view from Cairo? As you might expect, Islamist lawmakers are … unpopular, to say the least, in these parts. That has the domestic press giving plenty of attention to pro-Saeid demonstrators, who took to the streets overnight to cheer his locking out the Islamists. Youm7 notes that Tunisians are “rejoicing,” saying citizens have “stormed” Ennahdha’s party HQ and adding that the military has surrounded key installations. The development, the newspaper writes, is “politically welcome.” On the airwaves here, talkshow screamer Amr Adib (who we have yet to forgive for siding against us on this whole “highway through Maadi” thing) is cheering, saying that what’s happening in Tunisia is on par with the run-up to the 30 June Revolution here in Egypt.

YOUR STATUTORILY REQUIRED COVID STORY- Even those of us who are fully vaccinated may need to wear masks a while longer, some scientists are warning, citing the aggressive “delta” variant of the virus that causes covid-19 as “the biggest risk to the world at the moment,” Reuters writes. The issue: Delta doesn’t make you sicker, but it spreads faster from person-to-person — driving hospitalization among the unvaccinated. There’s also a suggestion that it can infect fully vaccinated people easier than other variants.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Clean Energy Business Council will host a webinar focused on female entrepreneurs in the MENA renewable energy scene at 3 pm on Wednesday, 28 July.

Egypt will host the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center on 2-4 August.

The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 5 August.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

Modelling might have underestimated the impact of climate change on extreme weather: Speaking to Reuters ahead of the release of the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 9 August, climate scientists say that they have likely underestimated, “the potential for the dramatic rise in persistent weather extremes.” The report will update projections of climate change impacts by looking at new science on greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to help governments craft more appropriate policies.

You may soon to be able to play game versions of your favourite Netflix shows: The streaming giant is planning to entice subscribers with the rollout of games as early as next year, with plans to add ad-free games onto the platform at no extra charge to counter the slowdown in subscriptions as competition reaches a peak, according to CNET. The company will take a Disney-style approach, creating franchises from existing fandoms of shows and movies on its platform to allow “fans to go deeper,” into their favourite fictional worlds, Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief product officer, told the Financial Times. Analysts are divided on how effective the move will be, with critics pointing to the company’s existing debt, as well as the lack of shows that could be effectively gamified — save for maybe Stranger Things or Black Mirror (we’d play those in a heartbeat). Netflix has said it plans to focus on mobile gaming, rather than the more competitive sector of console games.

🏅 TODAY IN THE TOKYO OLYMPICS-

Hedeya Malak became the first Egyptian to step on the winners’ podium, taking home a bronze today after four intense taekwondo matches in the women’s 67kg class. She first beat France’s Magda Wiet-Hénin (11-10) before losing 12-13 to Britain’s Lauren Williams. Malak blasted past Tonga’s Malia Paseka 19-0 in a repechage match that sent her through to the bronze medal match against the United States’ Paige McPherson, who she beat 17-6.

Seif Eissa was quick to follow, taking bronze in the men's taekwondo 80kg weight class. Eissa won three of his four matches today. He beat Australia’s Jack Marton (11-1) and then Italy’s Simone Alessio (6-5) in the quarter finals, before losing to Russian Maksim Khramtsov 1-13. His final match was against Norway’s Richard Ordemann, who he downed 12-4.

Egypt’s handball team lost 27-32 to world champion Denmark, but is still in the running to qualify for the next round. Egypt has two points, while Denmark has four and Sweden two as of dispatch. Our next match is on Wednesday at 7:15am CLT against Japan.

Omar Assar won round two of the table tennis men’s singles, beating Ukraine’s Kou Lei 4-3. His next match is tomorrow.

Fencer Mohamed Hamza lost in the men's individual foil quarter final to Czech Republic’s Alexander Choupenitch.

Fencer Alaaeldin Abouelkassem also lost in the men’s individual foil quarter final to Japan’s Takahiro Shikine.

Nada Hafez lost the fencing women's individual sabre to South Korea’s Kim Je-yeon.

Doha Hany and Adham Hatem Elgamal lost in the badminton mixed doubles against the Netherlands’ Selena Piek and Robin Tabeling.

Azmy Mehelba came out #19 in the men’s skeet qualification round at the shooting competition.

Aly Badawy ranked #34 and #33 in two opening series sailing laser races today.

WORLD STANDINGS- Japan is now on top, having taken home eight gold medals, followed by the US with seven, and China with six, as of dispatch. Egypt is now ranked at #42 after the two bronze medals won today.

WHAT TO WATCH tonight and tomorrow-

  • 11:30pm: Basmla ElSalamoney will compete in the women’s triathlon final at
  • 2:00am: Samy Abdel Razek and Radwa Abdel Latif are competing in a qualification round for the mixed shooting 10m air pistol.
  • 3:00am: Table tennis player Dina Meshref will play against Britt Eerland from the Netherlands in round three of the women’s singles.
  • 4:06am: Judoka Mohamed Abdelaal is up against Attila Ungvari in a men’s 81kg elimination round.
  • 4:20am: Doha Hany is competing against Turkey’s Neslihan Yiğit in a group A badminton game.
  • 5:00am: Youssof Tolba is playing a men’s individual archery contest against Kazakhastan’s Denis Gankin.
  • 6:15am: Osama Elsaeid and Alzahraa Shaban are competing in a qualification round for the mixed shooting 10m air rifle.
  • 8:30am: Omar Assar is going up against Sweden’s Mattias Flack in round three of the table tennis men’s singles.
  • 11:40am: Hadia Hosny and Doha Hany are competing in a women’s doubles badminton match for Group B against Canadians Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsia.
  • 12:11pm: Swimmer Ali Khalafalla is competing tomorrow in the men's 100m freestyle heats.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

Startup Haus Cairo is hosting Under The Microscope, an event that brings together biology experts for talks, advice, and networking with biology enthusiasts. You can catch the event on Thursday at 9am.

City tour guide Qahrawya is taking people across modern Cairo, specifically Garden city and Mounira, on Saturday at 1:30pm.


☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Cairo is in the 40°C zone and is staying there for a while, with the mercury expected to rise to 43°C later this week. Nighttime lows will reach 24°C tomorrow, but will go all the way up to 29°C next workweek, our favorite weather app adds.

Meanwhile, Sahel is also heating up, recording temperatures of 31°C today, and 35°C by the end of the week.

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