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Sunday, 24 October 2021

THIS MORNING: Cairo Water Week + inflationary pressure isn’t going to be so transient

Good morning, friends, and welcome to a packed issue to start this last full week of October. You can expect lots more newsflow this week: Market watchers are digesting e-Finance’s IPO (and hoping for others to declare their 2022 IPO intentions). The kinks in the global supply chain are getting worse and worse, helping drive inflation in tandem with the global energy crunch. Everyone’s attention is turning to Glasgow, which will host the high-profile COP 26 global climate summit next week. And, of course, we have the Central Bank of Egypt meeting on Thursday to review interest rates.

And that’s just the beginning.

HAPPENING TODAY- EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi in in town today for Cairo Water Week and is expected to address climate and environmental issues, the circular economy and clean energy transition, healthcare, digital economy, migration, and other issues on which the EU and Egypt can cooperate, according to a press statement (pdf). Cairo Water Week begins today and will wrap this Thursday, 28 October.

Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty met with water ministers from Iraq, South Sudan, Uganda, and Burundi yesterday, as well World Water Council President Loïc Fauchon ahead of the event, according to a ministry statement.

On a related note: The European Investment Bank (EIB) will hold a seminar on financing water infrastructure (pdf) on Tuesday, 26 October at the Nile Ritz Carlton. Held in partnership with the France’s AFD and Germany’s KfW as part of Cairo Water Week, the session will discuss Egypt’s 20-year water resources plan and how we can obtain finance for desalination and other water projects. Attend in person or online (online registration details here | agenda here (pdf).

AUC is holding a series of panel discussions this afternoon to mark the inauguration of Ahmed Dallal as the university’s new president. Three panel sessions will include discussions of climate change, migration and AI, according to a statement (pdf) out last week. Dallal is replacing outgoing president Francis Ricciardone, who stepped down at the end of June.

It’s the final day of Le Marché, the Cairo Furniture Show, the MENA region’s largest furniture, material and home accessories exhibition.

A high-level delegation of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development arrived in town yesterday to meet with government officials and visit projects. The delegation will be here through Thursday.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD this morning: Saudi Arabia says it will hit net carbon zero by 2060, making the pledge of the COP 26 global climate summit that gets underway in the UK next week. The story leads the front pages of the Financial Times and Bloomberg and is getting ink from the Wall Street Journal as well. It’s going to be a bad week for Facebook, which leads the front pages of the Journal and the New York Times with the suggestion that its services are being used to “spread religious hatred in India.” Other news outlets are piling into the Facebook Papers leak and the company also expected to rebrand this week.

The guy in Ankara is REALLY bent on alienating everyone: “Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that he had told his foreign ministry to expel the ambassadors of the United States and nine other Western countries for demanding the release of philanthropist Osman Kavala,” according to Reuters. Look for the ambassadors of Canada, France and Germany, among others, to get the boot, the newswire suggests.

MARKET WATCH- Remember that “transient” inflationary pressure? Well… US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has walked back the Fed’s insistence that inflationary pressure in the US is temporary, saying on Friday that supply chain woes pushing prices higher are “likely to last … well into next year.” The Fed now expects to begin tapering off its crisis-era bond buying program soon, Powell said, reversing the ultra-loose policy that some say has been the culprit behind runaway inflation.

Inflation is spiraling out of control primarily due to a squeeze in supply chains, with widespread shortages owing to a global shipping crisis, according to the the Financial Times, which writes that there is “pressure on every link” from factory closures earlier in the covid-19 outbreak to difficulty finding workers and overwhelmed seaports.

What the chattering class is saying: Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted yesterday that “Hyperinflation is going to change everything. It’s happening.” The New York Times, meanwhile, confesses that until very recently it didn’t even have a logistics beat. Its primer How the supply chain broke, and why it won’t be fixed anytime soon, is worth a read. So, too, is this excellent thread from Flexport CEO Ryan Peterson.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Fall conference season is still going strong. Among the exhibitions and business events here and throughout the region:

  • The two-day Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference takes place this Wednesday and Thursday, 27 and 28 October.
  • The Middle East Angel Investment Network’s Angel Oasis runs from Wednesday to Friday in El Gouna, with separate pricing for in-person and virtual attendance.

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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