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Monday, 23 August 2021

TONIGHT: The delta variant has made its way to Umm El Donia. Women paid 40% less in FTSE firms. ALSO: Liverpool hogs Mo Salah.

Our covid and vaccine week continues this afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, with the government sounding a call to arms to get things rolling.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- The government disclosed Egypt’s first cases of the delta variant today, with Health Minister Hala Zayed noting that all cases did not lead to hospitalization. That said, the minister has urged Egyptians to register for the vaccine, announcing new centers, shipments of doses, and an agreement that would see a European vaccine-maker produce a vaccine that would be “100% acceptable globally.” She also raised the specter of vaccine passes in Egypt.

If ever there was a reason to get us out of the “red list”: The Egyptian Football Association has released a statement saying that Mohamed Salah will not be allowed to leave on international duty for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers due to covid concerns. Since Egypt is on the UK’s dreaded red list, Liverpool is refusing to release Salah along with three other players. This means that Salah won’t be playing against Angola next week. Salah, however, can play in any country that is outside the list, which includes Gabon’s match on 5 September.

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

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Afghanistan again: The US is considering pushing back its 31 August deadline to evacuate US troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said during a news conference (watch, runtime: 25:22), citing the Taliban’s takeover as the reason for the delay. US-led forces have increased their access in Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, where earlier today a firefight involving Western forces erupted, according to German officials. Meanwhile, the WHO has arranged for three flights carrying over 500 tonnes of medical aid to be transported to Afghanistan, but due to the airport restrictions the aid is stuck in the organization’s logistical hub in Dubai.

FOR TOMORROW-

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will kick off tomorrow 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 tomorrow.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual gathering of central bankers and policy makers at Jackson Hole will take place on Friday, 27 August. This is the second year in a row that the gathering will be online as the local case count climbed in Wyoming.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

FTSE’s female board members are paid 40% less than men: Executive board members in UK’s largest companies were likely to take on average GBP 1 mn less if they were women, according to data obtained last year, the Financial Times reports. Women in non-executive roles took on average GBP 65k less than their male counterparts every month. As for the broader market, women were paid 15.5% less. The gender pay gap is said to be attributed to the limited number of women in executive jobs, despite the fact that that number has significantly risen in recent years to 34.3% women in board positions across the FTSE, up from 21.9% six years ago.

Here in Egypt, we’re still struggling to get female representation in listed companies’ boards. Women in Egypt took only about 13% of board positions in 2020, with a total of 714 holding seats, the Women on Boards Observatory annual report stated. While this was already a 30% y-o-y increase from 2019’s figures, the observatory notes that in order to meet its 2030 strategy target, an average of 95 women need to be hired every year. The FRA has been pushing for changing this, mandating that boards of all EGX-listed firms and non-banking financial services companies be at least 25% women. Almost 85% of EGX companies now have at least one woman on their boards.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

A sitcom that isn’t for the kiddies: Archer is an animated series that follows a manchild named Archer who works at his mother’s (now unfortunately named) spy agency… and isn’t very good at it. The series follows the permanently drunk secret agent as he bumbles his way through increasingly absurd international capers, accidentally solving terrorist plots, stopping narcotics traffickers and exposing geopolitical conspiracies. This definitely isn’t a family-friendly cartoon though, with most of the jokes being firmly in the Rated R category.

In the English Premier League: West Ham and Leicester will play the final tie of gameweek 2, kicking off at the London Stadium at 9pm.

In the local Premier League: Ismaily plays El Gaish and Wadi Degla faces Ceramica Cleopatra in games that both kick off at 7pm. Later, Al Masry hosts Enppi at 9pm.

In Italy: AC Milan kicks off its campaign with a trip to Sampdoria at 8:45pm, while Cagliari plays Spezia in the early kick-off at 6:30pm.

And over in La Liga: Sevilla will be looking to make it two wins from two when they travel to Getafe (kick off: 8pm) while Celta Vigo will want to bounce back from an opening day defeat when it plays Osasuna later (kick off: 10pm).

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

Sheraton Hotel is hosting AfroLatin Night at its Rawi Restaurant & Bar today at 8pm. The night will include live music as well as Kizomba, Salsa, and Bachata dancing.

The Fabrica Academy is performing a jukebox musical titled Psych It Up at El Sawy Culturewheel at 8pm. As a pre-show, members of the youth vocal academy will perform songs from the hit movie, The Greatest Showman.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Obsession, murder, and a mindblowing twist at the end are all main characteristics of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. The novel tells the tale of Mariana Andros, a therapist who becomes obsessed with the idea that renowned Cambridge professor Edward Fosca is a murderer. A handsome and charismatic man and an expert in Greek mythology, he is well liked by all and especially by a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. However, when members of the group start to show up dead, troubled Andros goes after Fosca, despite his having an alibi. Her obsession threatens to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships, but she is persistent in her pursuit of the truth and continues on even if it means she might lose her life.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect daytime highs of 38°C in Cairo tomorrow and nighttime lows of 25°C, our favorite weather app tells us. As usual, it’s a bit cooler in Sahel, with temperatures of 32°C during the day and 22°C at night.

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