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Wednesday, 5 January 2022

TONIGHT: Parliament had a busy day before the long weekend. Plus: IMF’s World Economic Outlook postponed to account for omicron

Mabrouk, ladies and gents. You made it through the first (albeit abridged) workweek of the year. Merry Christmas to everyone who will be celebrating this Friday — and we hope all our readers enjoy the long weekend.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY-

#1- First look at next fiscal year’s budget: The Finance Ministry is penciling in 5.7% growth for its FY2022-2023 state budget, Minister Mohamed Maait said in a statement this morning. The ministry is looking to achieve a 2% primary surplus, along with narrowing the budget deficit to 6.1% from the 6.7% targeted in the current fiscal year.

#2- The House of Representatives had an eventful plenary session ahead of the long weekend, signing off on a number of important pieces of legislation. These bills include the Fintech Act, which is set to govern fintech use by non-banking financial services providers, as well as put the Financial Regulatory Authority in charge of overseeing the fintech space; a law channeling a portion of the surpluses from ministerial “private funds” to state coffers; and the Unified Planning Act, which got its final nod after receiving preliminary approval yesterday.

^^ We’ll have more on these stories in Sunday’s edition of EnterpriseAM.

Egypt’s foreign reserves rose to USD 40.94 bn in December from USD 40.91 bn in November, according to official figures released today.

Egypt swept the 2021 Global Startup Awards for North Africa: A number of names from the Egyptian startup scene were given a nod from the Copenhagen-based competition that covers 124 countries worldwide. Among the laureates in the North Africa category:

  • AUC’s Venture Lab (best accelerator/incubator program);
  • Textile manufacturing software solution provider Garment IO (best startup of the year);
  • Food charity app Tekeya (women in tech).

HAPPENING NOW-

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

  • PMI outlook improves, but remains in contraction territory: Egypt’s non-oil business activity “inched closer to stabilisation” in December, contracting at its slowest pace in four months, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index survey.
  • GB Lease returns to securitization market with EGP 4.3 bn sale: GB Lease has completed the sale of EGP 4.3 bn of securitized bonds to investors in two separate issuances with tranches rated A through AA+.
  • ​​Solar energy players are lobbying to scrap a newly-imposed 5% import tariff on solar panels, warning that the new levy will hurt the industry.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook is going to be published a week later than planned to factor in covid-19 developments, with the publishing date now set for 25 January, reports Reuters. Considering the developments include the fast spread of the omicron variant, the postponement is unlikely to bring with it a more positive outlook. In October, the IMF had forecast global economic growth of 5.9% in 2021 and 4.9% this year, but the spread of the omicron variant has put a dent in expected growth, especially amid returning travel restrictions and the threat of further measures and lockdowns.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will hold its first policy meeting of 2022 on Thursday, 3 February.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations gets underway in Cameroon next Sunday, 9 January. The championship will run until Sunday, 6 February.

The World Youth Forum kicks off in Sharm El Sheikh next Monday, 10 January and runs until Thursday, 13 January.

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

☁️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Cloudy with a side of rain: It looks like it will be a cloudy day tomorrow with a daytime high of 19°C and a nighttime low of 10°C, according to our favorite weather app. There’s a 30% chance that it will rain tomorrow.

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