THIS MORNING: Egypt wants to include “loss and damage” on the COP agenda
Good morning, wonderful people, and happy THURSDAY. We hope the last business day of September treats you well and, as is our custom for seven of the eight years we’ve been at this, we’re sending off the month with Green Day’s melancholic Wake me up when September ends. We hope October (and 4Q) is good to us all.
THE BIG NEWS here at home: We have dates for the Madbouly government’s economic conference. Ministers will get together with senior members of the business community 23-25 October, according to a cabinet statement. Cabinet will release a detailed agenda and launch a website to receive proposals and opinions from the public next week, according to the statement. The venue is still TBD, but we figure we’re all heading to the new administrative capital for this one.
WATCH THIS SPACE- The Egypt and Qatar are edging toward their first joint business council meeting in years. After agreeing in June to revive the council, the two sides are now discussing when to hold the first meeting, cabinet said yesterday following talks between Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Qatari ambassador to Egypt Salem Mubarak Al Shafi.
Remember: Qatar has pledged to invest as much as USD 5 bn in Egyptian companies as part of wider Gulf efforts to shore up our economy and provide us with vital FX. In recent weeks, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has traveled to Doha for talks with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Madbouly has discussed investments with the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
ICYMI- Did you miss the results of our Enterprise Fall 2022 Reader Survey? Your expectations that 2022 would be a good year to do business in Egypt have been dampened by global and domestic conditions — but you’re still optimistic that next year will bring a change in fortunes. What’s your view on the M&A and IPO outlook? Do you think the government is in sync with the needs of business?
PSA #1- The last gasp of summer? The national weather service is suggesting we’re in for some warm weather through to Monday, with daytime highs of 35-38°C in the capital city and overnight lows in the 33-36°C range, it said (pdf) yesterday.
Things will then get really nice, really fast: Look for the mercury to drop to 32°C on Tuesday and as low as 28°C by next weekend, according to our favourite weather app.
It’s the final day of HSBC’s webinar series on the energy transition: The series looks at the “latest climate analysis in relation to the global energy market and transition to net zero” in six different sessions covering energy security, what is required to ensure the success of COP27, financing and investment needs for the energy transition, and the scaling up of renewables in the region, among other topics. You can register for the series here.
The Arab Pensions and Social Ins. Conference continues in Sharm El Sheikh, bringing together industry figures to exchange expertise on reforming and developing pension systems in the Arab region, according to a cabinet statement. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait will be among the attendees at the two-day gathering.
It’s the second and final day of the UN World Food Program and the International Cooperation Ministry’s conference on food security at the St. Regis Cairo Hotel, according to a press release (pdf). The conference is mainly focusing on the digitization of the agricultural sector, financial inclusion and social protection.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD-
No single story has captured the imagination of the global business press on this fine Thursday morning.
#1- The state of the UK economy is getting lots of ink after the central bank “took emergency action on Wednesday to avoid a meltdown in the UK pensions sector, unleashing a GBP 65 bn bond-buying programme to stem a crisis in government debt markets.” The FT and Bloomberg have more.
Want to kick the English while they’re down? Go read Janan Ganesh’s absolutely trenchant “Truss learns the hard way that Britain isn’t America.” We haven’t felt this bad for our UK friends since Brexit.
#2- Hurricane Ian has made landfall in Florida, knocking out power to more than 1.8 mn homes. It’s one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States in decades and leads the front pages of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and is getting lots of ink from Reuters.
#3- Russia will formally annex a big chunk of Ukraine as early as tomorrow. Billboards have been spotted claiming the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions as Russian. “The results are clear. Welcome home, to Russia,” former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Telegram. (Reuters | AP | Wall Street Journal)
ALSO WORTH KNOWING ABOUT- Iran is still simmering following widespread anti-government protests sparked by the death of a woman who was in custody for not living up to the country’s standards for public dress. “Iran is open to reviewing how it applies strict Islamic laws at the heart of widespread protests — but not the values that underpin them,” Bloomberg quotes President Ebrahim Raisi as having said.
COUNTDOWN TO COP-
Egypt wants to include “loss and damage” on the COP agenda. The Sisi administration wants to prioritize the conversation on compensation for countries that have experienced major economic losses on the back of climate change and its consequences, Egypt’s special representative of COP27 Wael Aboulmagd told reporters yesterday. The summit needs to address this issue “particularly when it comes to finding a creative way … to find financing for countries who are in extreme need to address the immediate losses and damages that wipe out a significant part of their annual GDP,” Aboulmagd said.
Leave politics at the door: Egypt is urging nations to not let tensions over the war in Ukraine and the food and energy crises that followed distract from the issue at hand during COP, Aboulmagd said. “Animosity will have a cost. We as responsible diplomats ask everyone to rise to the occasion and show leadership … Put political differences aside and come together.”
FROM THE DEPT. OF GOOD NEWS- Our friends at Hassan Allam Utilities have finished work on a 5 MW solar plant in Sharm: The investment and development arm of Egypt’s Hassan Allam Holding completed the construction of its 5 MW solar plant in Sharm El Sheikh, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The plant was partially financed by Afreximbank and will generate over 10 GWh of power each year. The project “is the first to reach completion among other projects awarded under the [Grid to Power COP27] scheme,” the statement notes. Egypt’s hosting of COP27 underscores the country’s “commitment to a greener future and its ability to deliver on its pledges and translate them into actual implementation,” Hassan Allam Holding CEO Amr Allam said.
Europe’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchases this winter could rise as much as 40% y-o-y to compensate for a complete cut-off of Russian imports, Bloomberg reports, citing a report from BloombergNEF. This increase in LNG purchase, coupled with an expected drop in demand from soaring energy prices for consumers, is expected to satisfy the continent’s LNG needs, the report says. Russian LNG, meanwhile, will likely be diverted to China.
Overall market supply is expected to remain tight, pushing up LNG prices, the report notes. BloombergNEF points to unspecified “supply issues” in Egypt and Nigeria, as well as delays in the US restarting its Freeport LNG facility in Texas. Egypt recently kicked off an electricity rationing strategy in a bid to redirect some of the country’s natural gas supplies for exports, particularly to Europe.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The Egyptian Museum and the Manial Palace Museum are hosting a month-long book fair, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The book fair kicked off earlier this week and is running through 27 October.
PSA #2- Women entrepreneurs: Are you looking for funding? The Facility Investing for Employment is looking to write co-financing tickets in the EUR 1-10 mn range for new projects at businesses that “contribute to sustainable job creation.” Its focus is on women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses, according to a press release (pdf). Entrants can apply starting 14 November.
PSA #3- Nominations for the “Africa grows green awards” are now open through 10 October. The initiative, launched by Egyptian NGO Istidama, aims to celebrate stakeholders involved in climate change action among COMESA member states, according to a statement (pdf). The awards also seek to develop climate entrepreneurship by connecting companies with VCs. For more information and to apply, you can visit the initiative’s website.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.