THIS EVENING: We have more clarity on consumer refunds on car payments + monetary policy is top of mind for the global business press
Give yourselves a pat on the back for making it to this very well-earned THURSDAY afternoon, friends. It’s been a marathon week, and today is no exception.
THE BIG STORY TODAY
We have more clarity on consumer refunds on car payments: Customers who made a down payment or paid partial installments on a car before 12 April but have yet to receive their cars are entitled to receive a full refund of their payments plus 18% annual interest, according to a Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) decision published in the Official Gazette today. The decision gives consumers the upper hand in providing them with the option to decide whether to take the refund and interest, or reach a “better” agreement with their car dealer. Dealers will have a maximum period of five weeks — including a two-week deadline on notifying the CPA of why they are unable to deliver cars to consumers and another three-week period to actually dole out the refunds — to comply with the decision.
^^We’ll have more details on this story in Sunday’s edition of EnterpriseAM.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD
Monetary policy across different markets is broadly driving the conversation in the international press this afternoon. The Financial Times’ front-page story is the possibility of the US Fed adopting a more hawkish position and enacting more aggressive interest rate hikes in a bid to tamp down inflation, which some officials at this month’s Federal Open Market Committee said “may well become appropriate.” Elsewhere, Reuters takes note of the Russia Central Bank’s decision to enact a 300 bps interest rate cut at an extraordinary meeting today as inflationary pressures are beginning to ease, while the Turkish central bank’s decision to maintain its interest rates unchanged despite currency pressure and inflation risk is the big story for Bloomberg.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- The Madbouly government is looking to attract foreign investors with major new projects: In a meeting with US and Egyptian CEOs yesterday, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said his government will launch a string of major new projects in the coming months and pledged fresh incentives to draw foreign investors into the country.
- Construction of the pipeline connecting Cyprus’ Aphrodite natural gas field to Egypt will begin by the end of the year, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said.
- Gov’t responds to MP reservations about budget allocations: MPs now reviewing the draft FY 2022-2023 state budget should view the spending plan as “tentative” as global conditions continue to shift the goalposts, Madbouly told House committee heads this week.
CORRECTION- The Egypt Education Fund is currently 80% owned by EFG Hermes, with the remaining 20% owned by GEMS Education, Amr Sherif, communications director at the fund’s manager, Egypt Education Platform, told Enterprise. We earlier this week reported that the fund is a 50/50 JV between the two companies — as was the case when it was established in 2018. EFG has been gradually increasing its stake in EEP over the past few years, Sherif said.
The Fin Expo Egypt is kicking off tomorrow and will run until Thursday at the Intercontinental Citystars. The expo will feature over 25 companies exhibiting their fintech products and services with 3k visitors expected.
El Gouna International Squash Open 2022 will kick off tomorrow and run until the following Friday, 3 June. The competition will feature some of Egypt’s top seeds including world #1 Nouran Gohar and world #2 Ali Farag (who just earned the PSA squash championship cup). The prize pool for each of the men’s and women’s competitions is USD 180k.
???? CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The Madbouly government will hold public consultations on its privatization plans over three months, according to a cabinet statement. “We as a government are ready to hear all opinions and approaches because our objective is the interest of the country and the advancement of the economy,” PM Moustafa Madbouly said at a Cabinet meeting.
PSA- Companies have another month to bid for the government’s PPP schools program: The Finance Ministry has extended the deadline for receiving bids from private sector companies to build and operate schools under its public-private partnership (PPP) schools program to 26 June, instead of 25 May, Al Mal quoted Ater Hanoura, head of the Finance Ministry’s Private Partnership Unit, as saying.
** Amcham AGM: Our friends at Amcham are hosting their annual general meeting on Sunday, 29 May at the St. Regis Cairo Hotel. Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir will give a guest speech.
☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The mercury is set to rise steadily from 36°C today in the capital city to 40°C by Sunday and to stay between 38-44°C as far into the future as the weather witches who run our favorite app can see.
LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST ON WHAT AI CAN MEAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS. Last month, we explored how the government has made artificial intelligence a national priority. We spoke with the former ICT Ministry’s advisor for AI Sally Radwan about the government’s national AI strategy and how it is being implemented (Part 1 | Part 2).
In another of our podcast roundtables, we sat down with the companies building AI systems in Egypt to get a bird’s eye view on what’s happening in the sector: Who’s adopting it, how they’re going about it, and what challenges they’re facing.