THIS MORNING: AUC campus access to require vaccine + Feryal Abdelaziz is getting her own bridge
Good morning, friends, and welcome to a really big news morning, with plenty of news on everything from IPOs to M&A and public policy. We have the full rundown on it all in this morning’s Speed Round, below.
We hope you had a wonderful long weekend. Your next scheduled break (for those of you not taking annual leave in August to enjoy some Sahel time) will be Thursday, 7 October. That’s when we will observe Armed Forces Day.
A busy news morning is the perfect way to start easing back into fall. Why fall, you ask? Because summer’s coming to an end, ladies and gents. Classes resume at Cairo American College this week, with BISC and NCBIS set to follow later this month. Most other private and international school students will start trudging back into class next month — enjoy your final weeks of good rush-hour traffic.
Speaking of school: Thanaweya Amma results will be announced this Tuesday 17 August, the local press reports, with the Education Ministry live-streaming a press conference at 1 pm during which the minister will also announce preliminary indicators for university allocations.
SMART POLICY #1- Want to access the AUC campus? You’re going to need a vaccine: As of the start of the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year, AUC students and staff will need to present proof of vaccination in order to access the campus, the university said last week (pdf). AUC is working with the Health Ministry to help vaccinate teachers, students and faculty staff ahead of the start of the academic year, when all of its students return to campus for in-class teaching. Students with medical or other valid reasons not to get vaccinated can apply to be exempted from the rule.
SMART POLICY #2- Egypt is planning to install 1.5 mn energy-efficient street lamps nationwide this year — a plan that will cost state coffers some EGP 201 mn, but will save at least EGP 1.6 bn from the government’s FY 2021/2022 budget, Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy said in a statement. As many as 2.7 mn LED street lights have already been installed across the country, contributing to around EGP 9.5 bn in state savings, Shaarawy said, noting that Cairo will get some 184k LED street lamps during the current fiscal year.
** CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from Wednesday’s edition of EnterprisePM:
- NIB will not be liquidated, only restructured: The National Investment Bank vice chairman denied on Wednesday reports that the bank is being liquidated, saying in a statement that the institution is being restructured. In its final review of Egypt’s recent loan programme, the IMF said that the government is “winding down” the bank.
- Egyptian telecom companies to pay EGP 2 mn combined to reimburse clients for service failures: The National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) mandated the fine after having completed its first ever semi-annual report (pdf).
- Earnings: Beltone Financial and National Bank of Kuwait Egypt were among the listed companies to report 2Q financials on Wednesday.
THE BIGGEST STORY INTERNATIONALLY- The Taliban have nearly overrun Afghanistan, and the capital, Kabul, is about to fall. Tens of thousands have fled their homes as a dozen cities fell to a rapid advance by Taliban forces, who now control large swathes of the country. US troops are scrambling to extract from the capital embassy staff and Afghans who assisted the American-led coalition of foreign troops during its 20-year presence in the country — with the US Saturday pledging an additional 1k troops to the evacuation effort — as Taliban militants rush to fill the vacuum left by the abrupt exit of US forces. The Washington Post, FT, Reuters, and every other international outlet are tracking events. For an insight into the human cost of the crisis, one Afghan woman journalist who is currently in hiding tells her story in the Guardian.
Everything is still on fire: Wildfires in Algeria continued to blaze into Saturday, with local press putting the death toll so far at 90. Flames have cooled in Greece and Turkey for the time being, though wildfires in the Western US and Canada continue to cause widespread destruction.
OTHER STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW-
Calcio, live on YouTube in the Middle East: Fans of Italian football in the MENA region will be able to watch some of the biggest matches in Serie A live on YouTube this season after the league was unable to agree a TV rights sale with broadcasters in the region, Reuters reports. The league will launch an Arabic-language channel on the Google-owned platform to screen the games across the region after talks with Qatar’s Bein Sports and Saudi Sports Company failed to produce an agreement.
Egypt’s first-ever female Olympic gold medalist is getting a bridge named after her: A new bridge in New Cairo will be named after Feryal Abdelaziz, who became the first Egyptian woman to earn a gold medal at the Olympics earlier this month when she won the kumite karate (+61 kg), Ittihadiya said in a statement on Wednesday. The other five athletes who won medals at Tokyo 2020 will also have sites named after them, the statement said. This year’s Games was Egypt’s most successful ever, with the nation’s athletes bringing home one gold, two silver and four bronze medals.
MORNING MUST READ- China appears to have begun building “a potential intercontinental ballistic missile” (ICBM) silo site, suggesting that the country has departed from its declared strategy of keeping a moderate nuclear arsenal for “deterrence” purposes, according to a note published at the weekend by the China Aerospace Studies Institute. China has lately been expanding its nuclear capabilities, with two other large missile silo fields — which are reportedly set to include more than 200 ICBMs — identified by nuclear weapons experts in past months, the Financial Times reports.
MARKET WATCH- The world’s appetite for oil will be lower than expected this year as the ongoing spread of the covid-19 delta variant continues to drag on global economies and new restrictions in Asia are set to reduce demand, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly oil report. The IEA has reduced its demand outlook by 500k barrels per day in the second half of 2021 — and does not expect demand to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2022, possibly leaving a glut of unwanted oil in the market especially “if OPEC+ continues to undo its cuts and producers not taking part in the deal ramp up in response to higher prices.” China, the world’s biggest oil importer, has scaled back imports by 5.6% cumulatively y-o-y in 2021 so far.
Santa Claus could be a little bit late this year: The surge of the delta variant in Asia is also expected to wreak havoc on supply chains — and cause delays that could ripple into the Christmas shopping season, Bloomberg reports. Shutdowns of container ports in China and factories in Southeast Asia due to covid-19 outbreaks mean supplies of electronics, garments, and other products from Asia — where almost 42% of global exports are sourced — could be sluggish well into the end of the year.