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Monday, 28 March 2022

THIS EVENING: Altibbi lands USD 44 mn series B investment + Shoukry to meet with Greek FM Nikos Dendias in Cairo today + Russia-Ukraine peace talks continue

Good afternoon, wonderful people. Picking up where we left off this morning, the news cycle is still giving us a bit of a breather, suggesting that the fabled Ramadan slowdown could indeed be in the cards.

THE BIG STORY TODAY

Digital healthcare platform Altibbi has landed a USD 44 mn series B investment in a round led by Foundation Holdings, Hikma Ventures and others, according to a press release (pdf). The funding marks the largest single funding round for a digital health company in the Middle East. Altibbi will use the investments to grow its presence in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, “and expand into online pharmacy and diagnostics to enhance AI-based health services.”

HAPPENING NOW-

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is in Cairo to meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, according to a Greek Foreign Ministry statement. The talks will cover deepening bilateral cooperation, matters pertaining to international law and maritime law, as well as developments in Ukraine, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, Libya, and sub-Saharan Africa.

The two sides are expected to have a joint press conference at around 6:30pm.

Shoukry’s meeting with Dendias comes as he heads home from the landmark Middle East Summit in Israel, where Shoukry met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the top diplomats from the UAE, Morocco, and Bahrain.

At the top of the agenda was the Iran nuclear agreement, which the Arab countries are concerned could leave Iran “with the means to build a bomb and bolster Tehran-backed guerrillas,” reports Reuters. The US is pushing to renew a previous 2015 agreement with Iran, but in the case of that failing, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered reassurances to the Arab countries.

Also on the agenda: The Israel-Palestine conflict: The summit renewed long-stalled peacemaking talks about the issue, with all sides backing the two-state solution.

^^We’ll have more on these stories and others in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

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

  • EIB supports 4G expansion with EUR 150 mn loan to TE: Telecom Egypt has secured a EUR 150 mn medium-term loan from the European Investment Bank to expand its 4G broadband network.
  • Covid restrictions are being eased during Ramadan: Shops, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to stay open until 2 am, mawa’id rahman (charity table) gatherings are back, and event halls at major mosques will reopen.
  • High-speed rail: Coming June 2024. The first phase of the high-speed electric railway — connecting Ain Sokhna to Matrouh — will start operating in June 2024, Transport Ministry Kamel El Wazir said.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD

Ukrainian and Russian delegations are arriving in Istanbul for yet another round of talks, which the Kremlin says could start tomorrow and are expected to span three days, the Financial Times reports. NATO member Turkey will act as an intermediary during the talks, the Washington Post writes, days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the need for a cease-fire in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The talks come after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday signaled his willingness to declare neutrality and potentially give up sovereignty over some parts of the country.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

PSA #1: Companies have a little less than two weeks to file their first quarterly ESG compliance report: Listed firms and non-bank financial services companies need to submit their first quarterly ESG report by 10 April, the FRA has said (pdf). The regulator is making it mandatory for corporates to publicly disclose their performance on key environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics each year when they submit their annual financial statements, starting 2023.

Then why does the FRA need ESG reports this April? Companies are required to make quarterly updates throughout 2022 to get feedback from the FRA on the steps they’re taking, before making the official submission at the end of the current financial year.

Check out our Going Green series, where we outlined the new rules around ESG reporting: Part I | Part II.

(** NEED HELP GETTING READY? ** Our parent company can help. Inktank is Egypt’s leading investor relations, ESG and corporate reporting firm. Reach out to Moustafa Taalab on mtaalab@inktankir.com if you’d like to get the conversation started.)

PSA #2– All individual taxpayers have until this Thursday, 31 March, to submit their 2021 tax returns to the Tax Authority. The deadline for companies with January-December fiscal years is 30 April.

PSA #3- Banks are moving to customary shortened Ramadan hours as of next week: The nation’s banks will open at 9:30am and close at 1:30pm during Ramadan, which begins next Saturday, the Central Bank of Egypt announced (pdf). Employees will begin their workdays 30 minutes before doors open to the public and wrap up 30 minutes after branches close.


Afreximbank and the Angolan Embassy in Egypt are hosting (pdf) an Angola-Egypt investment roundtable on Wednesday at the Hilton Cairo Heliopolis Hotel. Click here to RSVP and join the discussion.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Sunny days ahead: Spend some time on a balcony these coming afternoons to catch some much-needed sunlight. Expect daytime highs of 28°C while the mercury will fall to lows of 11°C tomorrow and 14°C on Wednesday, our favorite weather app tells us.

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