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Thursday, 2 March 2023

THIS MORNING: Shoukry in India for G-20 foreign ministers meeting

Good morning, friends, and welcome to a super-brisk news morning. We hope you’re looking forward to the weekend as much as we are.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Progress (of sorts) on the green hydrogen strategy: The Electricity Ministry has received the near-final draft of the national hydrogen strategy and is working to finish it, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. Sources told us last month that the government is aiming to publish the strategy before the beginning of Ramadan at the end of this month. The plan was originally supposed to be unveiled before the end of 2022.

Incentives decided in two weeks: Recommendations on the incentives the government will offer to foreign companies to get involved in its green hydrogen plans will be submitted in two weeks by a working group formed yesterday by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad said.

REMEMBER- The national hydrogen strategy has been in the works since 2021 and will provide a regulatory framework for the local production of green hydrogen, covering the whole value chain — supply, demand, and infrastructure.

But what does the industry want? We spoke with private-sector players and industry experts this week to find out what they want to see in the strategy.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Are some banks slow-walking imports? Asharq Business reports that some state-owned and private-sector banks have stopped extending new letters of credit and documentary collection for importers amid the ongoing shortage of foreign currency. It’s unclear to us whether the story represents a new change in trade finance dynamics or whether imports of staples and other Ramadan essentials are crowding out lower-priority goods. Demand for FX always peaks in the months ahead of Ramadan as importers bring in goods for the month. We understand that many orders were delayed late last year and early this year amid the FX shortage, leading to a crush of seasonal demand when the central bank brought back documentary collection.

WATCH THIS SPACE #3- Port management contract to be signed in two weeks: The government will sign a port management and operation contract with Hutchison Ports, COSCO, CMA CMG, and MSC on 15 March, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir told Ala Mas’ouleety last night (watch, runtime: 5:46). Under an initial agreement signed last year, the consortium could invest as much as USD 800 mn to develop, operate and manage two new container terminals at the Ain Sokhna and Dekheila ports.

FROM THE DEPT. OF WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US? As we report in this morning’s news well (below), Cabinet is looking into whether to bring back daylight savings time. We still have whiplash from the year in which we sprang forward in spring, then fell back for Ramadan, sprang forward immediately after Ramadan, and then fell back again in fall. That was 2014, and yes — four time changes in one year.

Does daylight saving time really save energy? It’s long been controversial, and one of the most well-respected papers on the subject suggests it actually increased energy use slightly in one US state, where households used more energy to cool their houses in summer.

One thing DST will do: Give us all jetlag for a few days when it comes into effect.


Shoukry is in New Delhi for the G-20 meetings: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in India for the second day of the meeting of G-20 foreign ministers. As this year’s G-20 president, India has invited Egypt to attend the summits as a guest nation.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Forum kicks off in Somabay. The event will run until Sunday, 5 March and aims to further the discussions had at COP27 to boost private and public sector cooperation on climate action.


It’s another mixed morning in the international front pages: The Associated Press, Reuters and the New York Times have the latest from Ukraine where Kyiv is reportedly thinking about withdrawing troops from a city in the country’s east. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that western nations are stepping up pressure on the UAE over alleged Russia sanctions violations, the Wall Street Journal says that there are signs that the US labor market is cooling.

New prez in Nigeria: Nigeria’s ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu has been declared president-elect following disputed elections, Reuters reported. Tinubi, known as the “godfather” of Nigerian politics, received 37% of the vote which saw the lowest turnout in Nigerian history. Peter Obi, one of his biggest opponents, said he plans to mount a legal challenge against teh ballot.


We are delighted to share with you that the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum will be taking place on Monday, 15 May at the Four Seasons Hotel at Nile Plaza.

DO YOU WANT TO ATTEND? The first wave of invites is going out soon. If you’re a C-suite exec, exporter, investor, official, banker, or someone who should be part of the conversation, please TAP OR CLICK HERE to request a spot at this exclusive event.

What’s the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum? It is the latest in our series of must-attend, invitation-only gatherings for C-suite-level business leaders. The Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum will discuss the critical topics of exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) in Egypt.

We will be taking an in-depth look into some of the most vital industry topics, including:

  • How to effectively break into new export markets
  • How to leverage domestic trends in order to create export opportunities
  • What foreign investors are looking for
  • What the government's role should be

Why now? Exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) have never been more important to our economy — or our businesses — than in the wake of the float of the EGP. We think we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build an export-led economy that makes us a magnet for FDI, and all the benefits that will come with it for our nation.

Think of the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum as a hands-on lab for how to turn the devaluation of the EGP into something that will turbocharge your company and our economy.

WANT TO ATTEND? Hit this link to let us know.

WANT TO SHARE YOUR STORY ON STAGE? Drop a note to Patrick here and let’s talk.

WANT TO BECOME A COMMERCIAL PARTNER? Ping a note to Moustafa, our head of commercial, here.


It’s the beginning of a new month:

  • PMI: S&P Global will release Egypt’s February purchasing managers’ index on Sunday, 5 March.
  • Foreign reserves: Expect the central bank to release February’s foreign reserves figures sometime next week.
  • Inflation: Inflation data for February will land at the end of next week.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will hold its second policy meeting of the year at the end of the month on 30 March.

OUR FRIENDS AT EFG HERMES are hosting their annual One on One investor conference in Dubai next week. It’s the largest frontier and emerging markets investor conference globally.

We have a date for CIFF: The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) will kick off at the Cairo Opera House on Wednesday 15 November and run through to Friday 24 November, the festival’s admins said in a statement yesterday.

CORRECTION- MPs have a few weeks off: The House will reconvene on Sunday, 19 March, not a week earlier as we previously reported. The story has been updated on our website.

Thanaweya Amma exam schedules are out: Thanaweya Amma exams are scheduled to take place between 12 June and 15 July, the Education Ministry said yesterday.

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

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