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Monday, 23 August 2021

THIS MORNING: US could push back Afghanistan withdrawal + Are headed for an “asynchronous” work life?

Good morning, wonderful people. It’s a typical late-August Monday — just a bit slower than usual on the news front as businesses and journalists alike (here and abroad) are more into summer vacation than they are work.

THE BIG STORY OF THE DAY here at home: Would-be travellers can now apply to get a booster shot if the jab they’ve already taken is not recognized by the country to which they’re headed.

The catch: Only Egyptians who need to travel for either work or study are presently eligible to apply for the boosters. We have more on the story and a link to the registration site in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Covid dominates the news cycle here at home, and it’s the #2 story abroad behind Afghanistan. With the fourth wave now gaining amplitude around the world, the case for booster shots for everyone is growing as delta sees more people going back to WFH in the developed world. This comes as businesses in hard-hit countries are starting to think that employees could be working from home for another six months. That’s got some wondering how folks who entered the workforce during covid will adapt to life in the office.

One of the better questions now being asked is whether we’re all headed for an “asynchronous” work life for the long term — one in which you punch out from your desk at home at, say, 1:30pm to squeeze in a workout and pick up the kid from school before getting back to work from late afternoon until sometime in the evening. Read: We are not ready for the asynchronous future.

Also: Are you seeing more employee turnover than usual? You can probably blame covid. At least if the US trend applies to the rest of us. A poll of US workplaces by PwC suggests that up to 65% of workers may be looking to change jobs — and nine out of 10 companies surveyed said they’re seeing higher than normal turnover in the ranks.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- It’s still Afghanistan, where the Biden administration has said troops may stay beyond the 31 August withdrawal deadline. Washington has ordered six US commercial airlines to help with the evacuation drive (picking up travelers in the UAE and Qatar who had been airlifted out of Kabul). The story leads the front pages of the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the Financial Times.

From the Dept. of the Horse has Already Fled the Barn: Boris is hosting G7 talks on the crisis in Afghanistan tomorrow, he tweeted. The Financial Times thinks the gathering could present an opening for China and Russia to gain more influence over regional affairs.

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

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY- The local seasonal merchandise liquidation sale will be extended until 15 September under a decision issued by the Supply Ministry. The sale sees sticker prices cut by up to 50%, with over 3k merchants taking part with products ranging from clothing and footwear to home appliances. It’s the second seasonal sale the ministry has organized this year, with the previous one having contributed “heavily” to revitalizing domestic trade, Supply Minister Aly El Moselhy said.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will begin on Tuesday 24 August and run through 5 September, with Egypt sending a 49-athlete-strong team to the games.

MEED will hold a webinar named Energy Transition in the Middle East, at 12pm CLT on Tuesday 24 August.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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*** It’s Blackboard day: We have our weekly look at the business of education in Egypt, from pre-K through the highest reaches of higher ed. Blackboard appears every Monday in Enterprise in the place of our traditional industry news roundups.

In today’s issue: Fresh off of our poll of Egyptian businesses’ vaccine policies, we surveyed private sector schools on how they’re preparing to implement the government directive that makes vaccination compulsory for all school staff and students aged over 18.

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