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Sunday, 20 February 2022

THIS EVENING: GERD officially starts generating electricity + the debt market is heating up. Plus: House gives its first nod to Capital Markets Act amendments

Good afternoon, wonderful people. It’s shaping up to be a brisk week, if today’s news cycle is any indication.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY

#1- GERD is officially generating electricity: Ethiopia began generating power from one of 13 turbines in the USD 4.2 bn Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) at an event attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Associated Press reports. Ahmed continued to assure that the dam won’t harm downstream countries Egypt and Sudan, saying that Addis Ababa wants to “export our [no-pollution] electricity to Europe through Sudan and Egypt.” The dam has been a source of tension between the three countries as talks on the filling and operations of the dam were deadlocked again over the summer and Ethiopia moved ahead with two fillings without an accord with Cairo and Khartoum.

Egypt responds: Today’s milestone represented a “further breach of obligations” under the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed between the three countries, according to a Foreign Ministry statement (pdf).

The news is getting heavy coverage abroad: Reuters | AFP | Financial Times | Bloomberg | BBC.

#2- It’s a debt-heavy news day: Misr Italia Properties closed its first EGP 794 mn securitized bond issuance in its EGP 2.5 bn securitization program, sole financial advisor, transaction manager, bookrunner, underwriter, and arranger EFG Hermes said (pdf) earlier today. Meanwhile, Raya Holding is reportedly eyeing issuing EGP 2 bn of securitized bonds this year, and Banque Misr has received a USD 250 mn loan from a Gulf banking syndicate.

ALSO- The Hyatt Regency Cairo West hotel is hosting its grand opening event this evening, according to a press release (pdf). The luxury 250-room hotel, which opened its doors in its soft opening in September, marks the return of the Hyatt brand to Cairo after a 10-year hiatus. Hyatt signed a franchise agreement for its establishment with Al Dau Development back in 2019. Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El Enany, Hyatt Hotels Group President Peter Fulton, and Al Dau Chairman Bassel Sami Saad are among those set to attend the event.


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

  • Goldman to advise on FAB’s EFG acquisition bid? Sources told Bloomberg over the weekend that EFG Hermes is poised to appoint Goldman Sachs to advise it on First Abu Dhabi Bank’s acquisition bid. The Emirati lender earlier this month offered to purchase at least 51% of EFG’s shares for EGP 19.00 apiece.
  • Alpha Dhabi eyes Egypt: Alpha Dhabi Holding — one of the UAE’s biggest companies — is looking for potential acquisitions in the “promising” Egyptian market.
  • Egypt to manufacture mRNA covid vaccines… eventually: Egypt is among six African countries that have been selected by the World Health Organization to locally manufacture Moderna / Pfizer-esque mRNA vaccines. The catch: The global health body says that we might be waiting until 2024 until the shots receive approval.

HAPPENING NOW-

The Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry 2022 continues today at the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski Hotel in New Cairo. The event wraps tomorrow

The House of Representatives preliminarily approved proposed amendments to the Capital Markets Act, which would allow utilities and other companies to raise capital by securitizing future cashflows, among other things, according to Al Ahram.

US climate envoy John Kerry is in town today for a two-day visit, during which he will meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry for the inaugural meeting of a US-Egypt climate working group ahead of this November’s COP27 summit in Sharm El Sheikh, according to a US State Department statement. Kerry will also deliver an address at the American University in Cairo on the future of international climate action.

The closing ceremony at the 2022 Winter Olympics was wrapping up as we dispatched this afternoon’s edition. We have the full rundown on the Games, including the biggest medal hauls and the political issues that peppered the conversation about the event, in For Your Commute, below.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD

UKRAINE WATCH- Russian troops will continue their military drills near the Ukrainian border in Belarus “indefinitely,” Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said today. The estimated 30k troops will not leave today as planned due to the “increase in military activity near the external borders” in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas, where there’s an uptick in shelling between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces.

The decision on sanctions is split: After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the west to impose sanctions against Russia before any potential invasion, not after, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it would be more prudent to keep Russia guessing and avoid any escalation that imposing sanctions preemptively could cause.

The story is getting ink from CNBC, Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Financial Times.

🗓 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.

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

TOMORROW’S WEATHER- There’s a slight chance of rain tomorrow while the weather gets a nudge warmer at 22°C during the day and 11°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

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