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Thursday, 9 December 2021

THIS MORNING: It’s going to be a busy day for diplomacy + inflation figures are due out later today

Good morning, wonderful people, and happy THURSDAY. It’s shaping up to be a diplomacy-heavy day as Egypt is consulted on a handful of key regional issues — and we have tons of business news for you below to get your day started.

Thank you — each and every one of you — for deciding to start your day with Enterprise, for writing in with comments and story ideas, for being the best readers we could have ever asked for…

UP FIRST- Israeli Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid will be in town today for a meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss developments in Palestine, state-run MENA reports.

Feltman is also dropping by to talk about the war in Ethiopia: US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman is kicking off today a regional tour of Egypt, the UAE, and Turkey to “discuss international support for diplomatic efforts” to stop the civil war in Ethiopia, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, according to Reuters. Stop their war? Sure. But what about that dam, Mr. Feltman?

IT’S INFLATION DAY- Inflation figures for November will be released today by Capmas and the Central Bank of Egypt. Urban inflation slipped slightly to 6.3% in October from 6.6% the month before, which was the highest reading since January 2020.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- African startups could hit an all-time fundraising record this year, with the continent’s startups on track to end 2021 with USD 5 bn in the kitty — more than the past three years combined, an industry forecast showed, according to Bloomberg. With three more weeks left in the year, African startups have already raised a total of USD 4.8 bn in funding. The rise in inflows also helped deliver at least four new unicorns on the continent, one of which was Egypt-born (and Nasdaq-bound) Swvl.

We can thank the rise of fintech and the growing interest of foreign investors for the jump, according to analysts. China and the US were responsible for a large portion of the inflows, as well as institutional bankers, one analyst noted, with most foreign investors taking positions in startups with a fintech component.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- US whitecollar workers are looking forward to returning to the office in January. More than three quarters of US workers in a Fortune poll say they’re returning to the office at the start of the new year — and more than half are looking forward to it.

SIGN OF THE TIMES #3- The Big Four accountancy firms have had their best year in nearly two decades, delivering their best collective revenue performance since before Arthur Andersen collapsed (turning the Big Five into the Big Four) in the wake of the Enron scandal that turned a spotlight on ugly practices in the industry. The Financial Times has the story.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD is probably Joe Biden signalling that he’s not going to send US troops to Ukraine to discourage Vladimir Putin from invading. The story leads the Financial Times and Reuters and we have more in Around the World, below.

Also worth a read: Is Beijing taking reining in China’s central bank? That’s the contention in a Wall Street Journal story sure not to make it past the Great Firewall. The Journal reports that the bank, never fully independent as central banks are in many other countries, is losing the measure of autonomy and special status that it has previously enjoyed.


The FRA’s sustainable finance training program launches today: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) is kicking off its Regional Center for Sustainable Finance training program today, the authority said in a statement. The program aims to help SMEs access green financing tools without having to hire international experts to meet requirements. The FRA’s Regional Center for Sustainable Finance was established earlier this year. Partners in the program include the Climate Bonds Initiative, the UK government-funded North Africa Technical Assistance Facility and the British Embassy in Cairo

Schools and ports in Alexandria are back open today as weather conditions stabilize across the country, director of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority’s forecasting center Mahmoud Shahin told Ala Masouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 3:07). Alexandria’s decision to suspend schools yesterday helped the governorate get ahead of the rainfall and clear its streets of accumulated water, Alexandria Governor Mohamed El Sherif told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 5:42).

Bouts of heavy winds and rain led to three deaths in Beheira, Gharbia, and Sharqia, where lampposts and trees fell on passersby, Local Development Ministry spokesperson Khaled Qassem told Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 5:22). Alexandria suffered similar incidents, but no injuries or deaths have been reported, although a number of cars were reportedly destroyed, Radwan also noted (watch, runtime: 1:08).

Also today: Walk-ins for second vaccine doses will be allowed. Individuals who received the first dose of their covid-19 vaccine but missed the appointment for their second jab can visit the center where they got their first dose and get their second on the spot, acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said earlier this week.


The Cairo Woodshow kicks off today at the Cairo International Convention Center

It’s the second day of the Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research which runs through to tomorrow at the St. Regis Al Masa Convention Center.

The new round of Silicon Waha’s Startup Factory will kick off tomorrow at the Assiut Technology Zone. The program will offer marketing tips and tricks for startup founders, who can apply here.

Young professionals have until next Sunday to apply to the McKinsey Forward program which focuses on leadership, business, and the transition to digital, McKinsey announced in a press release (pdf). The six-month program aims to teach participants how their business can combat challenges and use them to their advantage, integrate tech, and be adaptable and resilient during times of change. Forward will be available without charge to those eligible to apply, and one of the requirements is having less than five years of work experience. You can apply via this link before the deadline.


Booster shot registration: The Health Ministry will begin allowing senior citizens with chronic medical conditions, as well as all medical staff, to register for a booster covid-19 vaccine as of next Sunday, 12 December.

Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will hold its final meeting for the year to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 December.

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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