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Wednesday, 11 August 2021

THIS MORNING: Cabinet <3 startups + Get ready for the new iPhone 13

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the final business day of the week. We’re heading into our last long weekend until October, so we hope you plan to enjoy every minute of it.

Startups are getting some very public love from cabinet, with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and International cooperation minister Rania El Mashat meeting yesterday with representatives of Swvl, PayNas, Fatura, Bypass, and Garment IO to express their full support for Egypt’s startup scene — and their commitment to removing red tape and improving Egypt’s business climate to encourage would-be entrepreneurs, according to a statement.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- US President Joe Biden’s USD 1 tn infrastructure package got the go ahead from the Senate yesterday in a rare display of bipartisan cooperation, the Financial Times reports. The bill will now head to the House of Representatives, though it won’t land on lawmakers’ desks till after the summer recess ends. Look for debate to heat up next month as the bill gets caught up in a wider USD 3.5 tn budget debate in September. The once-in-a-generation bill is also at the top of the Wall Street Journal.

Spending would ultimately start on “hard” rather than “human” infrastructure. Hard infrastructure (beloved of Republicans) covers roads, bridges, tunnels, power generation, clean drinking water and the like. Human infrastructure is what we’d call “social” infrastructure, but beefed up to include money for social programs. The Financial Times has solid explainer on how the program — which falls short of the USD 2.3 tn the Biden administration originally pushed for — would work.

ALSO- The foreign press is digging deep into the biggest US politician yet to fall in a [redacted] harassment scandal as the Cuomo political dynasty comes to an end (for the currently-serving generation, at least) following the resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The story leads or is above the fold in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and FT.

AND- ‘Cause this ends well: Nobel peace prize laureate Abiy Ahmed is calling on “all capable Ethiopians” to go fight Tigrayan forces. The Ethiopian leader said he is calling on people to flock to a motley crew of “defence forces, regional special forces and militias.” The story made the front page of the FT and the Guardian.

*** CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from yesterday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

  • City life is getting a little more expensive: Annual urban inflation accelerated to 5.4% in July — its fastest rate in 2021 — due to higher fuel and electricity prices.
  • Egypt, UAE join forces to create dual-fuel trucks: The Egyptian Emirates Automotive Company — a joint venture between UAE industrial firm M Glory Holding and the Egyptian military — will start assembling nat gas powered pickup trucks in 1H2022.
  • NBK Egypt a step closer to delisting: The board of directors of National Bank of Kuwait Egypt yesterday agreed to voluntarily delist from the EGX.

MORNING MUST READ- Get ready for the new iPhone 13: Exciting features are coming to the next iPhone lineup, Bloomberg reports in the latest piece from Apple watcher Mark Gurman. Tentpole figures will include a much-improved display, portrait mode for video, first-party filters and ProRes Raw (a higher quality video format beloved of professional editors). Battery capacity is also expected to increase by 15-20%, according to ZDNet. Industry observers will be watching closely for any signs that supply of this year’s models will be constrained. This year’s iPhones are likely to share the same design as the current models. As good iSheep, we’re particularly excited about Gurman’s assertion that a new iPad Mini could be in the works.

Apple typically unveils its new iPhone in September, but last year’s event was postponed to October thanks to covid-19.

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