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Monday, 15 November 2021

TONIGHT: The PPP Act passes the House + It’s a good day for VC investment in edtech

It’s a busy day here in the local press, ladies and gentlemen, with key legislation getting approval from the House of Representatives and new funding lining up for edtech. Meanwhile, US-China relations dominated the conversation in the foreign press.

The government is not allowing unvaccinated civil servants into their offices as of today. Ministries and other public sector bodies are strictly implementing the cabinet directive barring employees from entering these buildings without proof of at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine or a PCR test, according to statements from the finance, agriculture, irrigation, and local development ministries, among others.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY-

#1- The House of Representatives gave final approval to the PPP Act today after a number of amendments were given the go-ahead in the plenary session, having received approval from the House Planning Committee in January, according to Masrawy. The act aims to streamline public-private partnership (PPP) contracts in fields including transport, energy, communications, and healthcare. It would also add provisions meant to ensure higher quality standards and simplify the tender process through which government contracts with private businesses. The bill will now move on to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to be ratified into law.

#2- It’s a busy day in the world of edtech: Edventures is investing USD 200k in career advice startup Career 180, the VC firm said in a press release. The funding is set to help Career 180 build a new integrated job-search platform that integrates freelance gig site The Freelance Yard. It’s the second investment for Edventures in as many weeks, after the VC arm of Nahdet Misr for Publishing last week announced it would pump USD 400k to distance-learning platform OTO Courses.

…And one edtech startup is acquiring another: Tyro, which offers one-to-one and group distance-learning courses, is acquiring edu-content creator Nafham in a share swap transaction, according to a press release. Flat6Labs, and NXL Partners will invest in a kickoff fund for the merger of the two companies, which the release says will together form one of our biggest edtech firms. We hope to have more details on both of those edtech stories for tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.


CORRECTION- We incorrectly reported net income figures in our coverage of e-Finance’s earnings this morning.

On a nine-month basis, net income rose 35% y-o-y to EGP 374.8 mn during 9M2021 while revenues rose 59% y-o-y to reach EGP 1.3 bn, according to their maiden earnings release (pdf) as a publicly-listed company. We’ve updated the story on our website.

Executive Chairman and CEO Ibrahim Sarhan emphasized in a call with us this afternoon that the company’s spending in 3Q2021 rose as e-Finance continued to invest in its growth strategy. Sarhan noted that costs associated with the rollout of that strategy hit the income statement “primarily during the third quarter” as opex rose through new subsidiaries on the back of “new hires and the development of new infrastructure and solutions to roll out new lines of business” including offerings in tourism (among them for the nation’s museums) and transport. The company announced new e-card transportation solutions at TransMea last week and expects the solution to be launched and operational at the start of 1Q2022. “This is all a clear investment in our strategy and in our growth — and revenues will ramp up to more than cover the uptick in expenses,” Sarhan noted.


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

  • The jury is out on the tax + fee incentives on the EGX: Market watchers want specifics on a basket of EGX-centric tax incentives and fee cuts unveiled last week, with several traders and parliamentarians still clamoring for the capital gains tax to be scrapped entirely out of concern that the tax will discourage trading volumes.
  • Al Gioshy Steel is considering an IPO on the EGX and wants to list on the bourse as soon as market indicators improve after the steel manufacturer said back in June 2019 that it was looking to offer up to 25% of its shares in 2020.
  • Clinical trials have started on an Egyptian-made covid jab: Our locally made Covi Vax has made it through the laboratory testing and is currently in clinical trials, which will begin with tens of participants before they’re expanded to include hundreds and thousands of people.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

US President Joe Biden’s contentious virtual meeting later today with Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping is capturing the attention of most of the foreign press, with speculations over how successful the talks will be at easing heightened tensions between the two world superpowers. Among the topics set to be discussed are disagreements over trade policies, nuclear power upgrades, human rights abuses, and China’s increased aggression towards Taiwan.

Nobody’s expecting these two to kiss and make up — but it would be nice if they could avoid a more serious conflict. “Both leaders are dissatisfied with the state of the relationship,” one official told the Wall Street Journal. “They are both very mindful that some type of incident could occur that would create a problem that neither can afford right now.”(BBC | Financial Times | Reuters).

FOR TOMORROW-

The two-day Africa Fintech summit kicks off tomorrow: The summit looks at innovation in the fintech ecosystem, venture capital and other forms of investing, and will also discuss the rise of healthtech.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The International Finance Corporation is hosting an invite-only forum in Cairo on Wednesday with a focus on sustainable finance in Africa. Egyptian speakers include Central Bank of Egypt First Sub-Governor May Abulnaga, the Financial Regulatory Authority’s Sina Hbous and CIB’s Dalia Abdel Kader.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will be in Cairo on Thursday and Friday (18-19 November). Charles will meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Al Azhar’s Grand Imam, Ahmed El Tayyeb, among other government officials. Expect climate change to be high on the prince’s agenda given his personal interest in the topic and Egypt’s selection as host of COP27 next year.

Comesa summit next week in Sharm: Egypt will host the 2021 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) summit on 23 November in Sharm El Sheikh.

KfW is launching a call for projects contributing to sustainable job creation: Companies and public bodies working on projects related to the green economy transformation will be able to submit proposals to the KfW Development Bank’s Investing for Employment facility, which will see co-financing grants ranging from 1 mn to 10 mn EUR awarded to to each project, the German development bank said in a press release (pdf). The facility will award grants to projects that contribute towards job creation. You can find out more about the facility and the application process here.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect a daytime high of 26°C in this unusually warm November, with the mercury dropping to 18°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us. There will also be intermittent light showers in some parts of Cairo between 10pm tomorrow and early Wednesday morning, according to the Egyptian Meteorological Authority.

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