THIS MORNING: All about startups + Look out for our podcast on Sunday
Good morning, wonderful people, and HAPPY THURSDAY. We have plenty of news with which to send you off into the first full weekend of Ramadan.
THE BIG STORY THIS MORNING- It’s all about Planet Startup today, starting with news that key regulators have agreed to work together on regulatory changes that could make it much more attractive for venture capital (and private equity) to invest directly here. The regulations could formally allow for things like founder-control clauses, drag- and tag-along rights and the like. We have an initial rundown on what’s happening (below, in the news well) and will bring you more next week.
Also this morning, we’re happy to have exclusive news about Shift EV closing a landmark funding round. Shift is a startup that aims to change the physical world around us — and it is exiting “stealth mode” this morning. The company retrofits delivery fleets, converting them into electric vehicles here in Cairo using proprietary, home-grown battery tech. Shift has global ambitions, as you’ll find when you read this morning’s Coffee With… column.
Last, but not least, all of you fintech folks out there will want to check out our weekly What’s Next vertical on Sunday. That’s when you’ll be able to read or listen to our podcast interview with the founders of hot startups Khazna and Kashat, two of the VCs that have backed them (our friends at Cairo Angels and Accion), along with special guest Dr. Rasha Negm, who leads on fintech and innovation at the Central Bank of Egypt.
OH, AND SPEAKING OF RAMADAN, consider this a gentle reminder that you have 24 days left until Sunday, 1 May, when it will (a) still be Ramadan but also (b) be a national holiday in observance of Labour Day. 2 May looks set to be a workday, while 3-5 May is likely to be Eid Al Fitr.
SO, WHEN DO WE EAT? You’ll be breaking your fast at 6:17pm CLT this evening in the capital city. Fajr prayers are at 4:08am tomorrow morning.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The business press is indulging in more Fed talk this morning. Minutes (pdf) from the US Fed’s last get-together in March, released yesterday, confirmed that the US central bank plans to take drastic measures to curb inflation at its upcoming May meeting. The bank’s plan is to slash its USD 9 tn balance sheet by about USD 95 bn/month starting in May, while “many” officials back one or several steeper-than-usual 0.5-point rate hikes in tandem. The markets weren’t especially rattled by the news, given that they’ve already priced in up to 2.5 points worth of hikes this year. The Financial Times and Reuters have more.
SMART POLICY- Abu Dhabi will ban single-use plastic bags starting June, the Emirate announced yesterday. The Abu Dhabi Environment Agency plans to implement measures to slash demand for about 16 single-use plastic products that include cups, stirrers, lids and cutlery. Dubai had said in February that it would outlaw their use within two years; it also plans to phase out single-use styrofoam cups, plates and food containers by 2024.
We did something similar a few years back: The Red Sea governorate banned single-use plastic products back in 2019 in a step designed to protect marine life and the coastal environment.
Now, the attention turns to the rest of the country: The new Waste Management Act contains provisions to restrict the distribution of single-use plastics nationwide but stops short of laying out a roadmap to ban their use entirely.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Last chance for brokerages to join the new securities federation: The Financial Regulatory Authority is again extending the deadline for brokerage firms, asset managers and financial advisors to sign up to the Egyptian Securities Federation to 18 September, ahead of the convening of its first general assembly, according to Al Borsa. The regulator said this would be the last time the deadline is extended. The federation has struggled to attract members since it was launched in 2019. Membership is mandatory only for new firms.
Expect movement on fuel prices this week or the next: The government’s fuel pricing committee is due to have its quarterly meeting at the beginning of this month, when it will likely opt to hike prices in 2Q. If it does so, it would be the fifth time in less than a year. The committee increased prices of 80, 92 and 95-octane by EGP 0.25 when it last met in February in response to rising international prices, and since then, the war in Ukraine has sent Brent up yet again, with a barrel of the stuff going for almost USD 103 at dispatch time this morning. Prices at the pump have risen by up to 16% since April last year.
ALSO THIS WEEK AND NEXT-
- Foreign reserves: March’s foreign reserves figures will be announced in the next few days;
- Inflation figures for March are expected on Sunday, 10 April.
Companies have just under 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 20 April, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) announced last week. The regulator is making it mandatory for corporates to publicly disclose their performance on key environmental, social and governance metrics each year when they submit their annual financial statements, starting 2023. Reach out to Moustafa Taalab at InkankIR, our parent company, if you need some help.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.