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Tuesday, 15 February 2022

THIS EVENING: Unemployment is down + El Sisi heads to Brussels for EU-AU summit. Plus: The beginning of the end for Russia v Ukraine

Happy hump day, ladies and gentlemen. As we expected, the news flow is picking up this afternoon, with a solid selection of stories to track as we slide into the second half of the week.

THE BIG STORY TODAY

#1- Unemployment falls in 4Q2021: Egypt's unemployment rate declined to 7.4% in 4Q2021 from 7.5% the previous quarter, according to the latest data by statistics agency CAPMAS (pdf). The jobless rate has remained steady over the past year, with mild fluctuations since reaching a near-two-year high in 2Q2020 on the back of the pandemic and nation-wide lockdowns.

#2- From London to Riyadh: Offshore oil and gas services company ADES International plans to IPO on the Saudi stock exchange in early 2023, less than two years after it was delisted from the London Stock Exchange following a Saudi-backed takeover, Al Mal reports, quoting the chairman of the company’s majority shareholder. ADES started life here in Egypt before going public in London in 2017. In the years since, it has expanded into several markets in the region, including Kuwait and Algeria. Here in Egypt, the company operates (pdf) eight rigs, an offshore barge, and a mobile onshore drilling unit.

^^We’ll cover these stories and more in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

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

  • Importers, get your letters of credit ASAP: Documentary collection from exporters will no longer be accepted by banks to facilitate the import of goods into Egypt from the beginning of March, according to a decision by the Central Bank of Egypt taken over the weekend.
  • Fintech Act is the law of the land: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified the Fintech Act, which regulates robo-advisory, nano-finance, insurtech, and (tech-enabled) consumer finance, among other sectors.
  • Alameda Healthcare will purchase four surgical robots from British medical robotics firm CMR Surgical, under an MoU signed between the two companies.

HAPPENING NOW-

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is in Brussels ahead of the two-day EU-AU Summit, which kicks off this Thursday, 17 February, according to an Ittihadiya statement. El Sisi is set to meet with Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo to talk diplomatic relations and regional issues. The president is also scheduled to meet a group of Belgian business leaders to discuss growing economic cooperation, trade, and investments between Egypt and Belgium.

On the agenda for the summit: Look for El Sisi to speak at the summit about integrating African states in the global economy, ramping up foreign investments to Africa, and supporting developing countries in their green transition — all of which are key action points for COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh this November.

It’s the final day of the Arab sustainable development week. Some 400 participants including the EU, World Bank and other institutions are chewing over how to tackle in a sustainable way the development challenges of the Arab world.

AND- Orange Ventures’ deadline to receive applications from seed-stage fintech startups for its seed challenge is also today.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD

Russia v. Ukraine denouement? Russia is pulling some of its troops back from the Ukrainian border, the Russian defense ministry announced today, after conducting war games in neighboring Belarus. The move took place hours before German leader Olaf Scholz’s scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, as part of ongoing shuttle diplomacy efforts to avoid an invasion.

Ukraine’s reaction was guarded, with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba saying Kyiv would “believe in de-escalation” when it sees a full pullout.

Investors had a stronger response, with markets rallying on the news: European stocks and US futures rose on signs of the easing tensions. Shares of Tesla, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft all rose between 1.6% and 3.0% in premarket trading, Reuters reported, along with travel stocks. This largely contradicts yesterday’s trading, when major equities markets were hit by invasion fears. Russia’s RUB also rose 1.5% against the USD.

Not having such a good day? Oil. Brent crude prices fell after reaching seven-year highs on fears that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could disrupt supplies.

The story is everywhere this afternoon: Bloomberg | Reuters | Financial Times | BBC | CNN

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

A call for tech startups: The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and US-based VC firm Plug and Play have launched an incubator and accelerator program for digital transformation-focused startups in partnership with our friends at USAID. The newly launched “Smart Cities” innovation hub will select 20-30 Egypt-based companies for its inaugural three-month program, which starts in March. Startups can apply here before applications close on 28 February.

PSA- Your commute is about to get worse. Public universities begin the second term of their 2021-2022 academic year this Saturday, 19 February.

The Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry 2022 kicks off this Saturday, 19 February and wraps on Monday, 21 February.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The mercury will rise to 21°C during the day tomorrow before falling to 11°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

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