THIS EVENING: Shoukry is in Copenhagen for climate meetings + Madbouly leads cabinet delegation to Tunisia. Plus: Finland and Sweden want in on NATO
Good afternoon, friends, and a happy THURSDAY to you all. It’s one of those (very) rare occasions where we have no big or interesting news on the home front to speak of today. But considering how busy the post-Eid news cycle has been, we’re certainly not complaining.
A LOT OF DIPLOMACY HAPPENING- Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly is in Tunisia today and tomorrow for a meeting of the Egyptian-Tunisian Cooperation Council, according to a cabinet statement. Joining Madbouly in Tunisia are Education Minister Tarek Shawki, Higher Education Minister and acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat, CIT Minister Amr Talaat, Housing Minister Assem El Gazzar, Agriculture Minister El Sayed El Quseir, GAFI head Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Financial Regulatory Authority head Mohamed Omran, and the head of the Trade and Industry Ministry’s Egyptian Commercial Service, Yehia Elwathik Bellah.
Foreign Minister and COP27 Sameh Shoukry is co-chairing a two-day meeting of climate leaders in Copenhagen, alongside Denmark’s Climate, Energy, and Public Utilities Minister Dan Jørgensen and COP26 President Alok Sharma, according to a ministry statement. Shoukry met earlier today with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, a separate statement reads.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman could be in town next week for talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa said last night, without giving any details (watch, runtime: 3:01).
THE BIG STORY ABROAD
Finland and Sweden plan to formally seek NATO membership amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement, with Sweden expected to follow suit, Reuters reports. The Nordic countries are the two biggest EU nations who had stayed out of NATO, and the move would be a monumental shift for the two countries’ long history of wartime neutrality. It would also result in the expansion of the Western military alliance, delivering a blow to President Vladimir Putin’s ambition to weaken it. Putin had cited NATO expansion as one of the main reasons for the country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine. Finland’s announcement drew anger from the Kremlin, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov threatening an unspecified response.
ALSO ON THE FRONT PAGES- Remember what it was like when covid-19 first landed within our borders? North Korea is just now catching up with what the rest of the world already experienced in early 2020, reporting its very first outbreak of the virus and imposing a national lockdown in a bid to contain the spread. Pyongyang — which so far has not vaccinated its population — has said the outbreak is the “gravest national emergency.” Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times have more.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Another step towards sustainable bonds: Ministers have approved a plan by the Finance Ministry to broaden its green financing framework to include sustainable development bonds, allowing the state to raise money for a wider array of social and environmental projects, cabinet said yesterday.
- Total Eren + Enara Capital to build green ammonia facility in SCZone: Egypt inked a memorandum of understanding with an alliance that includes Total Eren and Africa-focused SME investor Enara Capital to build a green ammonia plant in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
- Cairo-based logistics startup Mylerz has raised USD 9.6 mn in equity funding from private equity outfit Lorax Capital Partners, with participation from e-payments giant Fawry, which will also provide payments services for the company.
The PSA world squash championships get underway tomorrow. The men’s and women’s finals will be played on 22 May. There is USD 550k at stake for each of the men’s and women’s championships, making this the biggest purse on record for a squash tourney. The CIB-sponsored championships will play out at SODIC’s Club S Allegria and at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
???? CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Keep an eye out for Madbouly’s big presser at the start of next week: The promised press conference to announce new details of the state’s response to the economic turmoil fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine will take place early next week, cabinet said in a statement yesterday following its weekly meeting. Cabinet is expected to reveal new details on how the government intends to attract more FDI and expand the private sector’s role in the economy.
A huge US “GreenTech business mission” is inbound next week. More than 40 US companies will be in Egypt during 15-17 May to kick the tires on green investment and potential business partnerships in sectors ranging from energy to healthcare, agriculture, aviation, construction and water resource management. The high-level delegation will meet with members of the business community and senior government officials, including Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and other members of cabinet. The mission is being organized by AmCham and the US Chamber of Commerce.
It’s interest rate week: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 19 May. Our customary poll of analysts sees the central bank getting more aggressive with its tightening cycle, with five of seven respondents expecting rates to rise by as much as 200 bps on the back of rising inflation and emerging-market outflows.
☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Brace yourselves — a heatwave is coming: Expect the mercury to rise in the capital city over the weekend, reaching a daytime high of 33°C before cooling to a low of 22°C tomorrow, the Egyptian Meteorological Authority said yesterday. Saturday is expected to see a high of 34°C and low of 20°C.