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Thursday, 9 March 2023

THIS MORNING: Strategic investors > public share sales, says Madbouly

Good morning, wonderful people, and happy THURSDAY to you all. We hope you’ve all had a great week and are looking forward to the weekend.

We have a packed issue for you this morning — and we’re looking forward to breakfast in a couple of hours’ time with a baker’s dozen of our readers, all of whom participated in our 2023 Reader Poll.

UP FIRST- Strategic investors > public share sales: The state prefers selling stakes in state-owned companies to strategic investors over public share sales, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said following the cabinet’s weekly meeting yesterday. Madbouly, speaking alongside representatives of a number of international companies operating in Egypt, said that strategic stake sales will better maximize the value of state assets.

REMEMBER- The government last month unveiled the 32 companies included in the state privatization program, which will be sold off to strategic investors, via offerings on the EGX and a mix of both between now and 1Q 2024.

And secondary share sales are being considered: The prime minister said that the government was considering selling additional stakes in already-listed firms to investors, but didn’t provide more details.

EGP WATCH- The EGP continued its slow slide against the greenback yesterday, easing to 30.94 from 30.89 during banking hours yesterday, according to the official rate. The currency has fallen almost 1% so far this month amid increasing speculation that another sharp devaluation could be in store amid a rising FX shortage and widening gap with the parallel market.

ALSO THIS MORNING- Homegrown giant Infinity Power and Germany’s Conjuncta have inked a memorandum of understanding with Mauritania to build a massive green hydrogen plant in the West African country. Enterprise Climate has chapter and verse on the story this morning.

The CBE still hates crypto: The Central Bank of Egypt yesterday reiterated (pdf) warnings against the use of cryptocurrencies, which remain illegal in Egypt. The statement comes a few days after authorities arrested the people behind the Hoggpool app that allegedly stole a combined EGP 6 bn from thousands of Egyptians via a fraudulent crypto “investment” scheme.


It’s the final day of the EFG Hermes One-on-One conference at the Atlantis Dubai. The largest investor conference in frontier and emerging markets — which is running this year under the theme Outplaying Challenges — brings together more than 560 fund and portfolio managers and C-suite execs from almost 180 companies in 29 countries.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan is on the final day of his three-day visit to Egypt that will see him meet with Sameh Shoukry and participate in an Arab League session. This comes a month after President El Sisi visited the country as part of a diplomatic tour that also took him to Azerbaijan and India.

Austin in Israel: Fresh off talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi yesterday (more on that in this morning’s Diplomacy section, below), US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Tel Aviv today to hold talks with Israeli officials about calming the escalating violence in the West Bank. Plans to large-scale protests in the Israeli capital against the Netanyahu government’s judicial reforms forced the US delegation to postpone their arrival until this morning, and according to Axios will remain in the airport for talks with Netanyahu and his defense minister, Yoav Galant.


Inflation figures for February should be out today. Consumer prices accelerated at their fastest pace in five years in January on the back of record food price inflation triggered by the devaluation of the EGP.

The two-day Techne Summit starts on Saturday at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.


SCZone heads to Vietnam: The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) is heading to Hanoi from 12 to 17 March in the latest stop on its roadshow to drum up FDI to the zone, according to an SCZone statement. SCZone CEO Walid Gamal El Din met with Vietnamese Ambassador to Egypt Nguyen Huy Dung ahead of the visit, where he will discuss potential investment with Vietnamese textile, auto, tire and communications companies. Tokyo was the most recent stop on the SCZone roadshow, which is heading to China next month.

AUC is hosting its annual Research and Creativity Convention from March 12 to 16 at its New Cairo campus. Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad will give a keynote speech titled “Egypt and Climate Change: Post COP27” to open the event. Attendees can also visit Professor Bahia Shehab’s “Heaven or Hell in the Anthropocene” interactive exhibition, which made international headlines when it was featured at last year’s climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh.

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


Leading the conversation in the global business press this morning: Leading the front pages of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal is the news that JPMorgan is taking legal action against a former executive who had ties to pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. The US investment bank is facing a lawsuit from a woman who alleges that it aided Epstein by keeping him as a client and helping him send money to his victims.

CLOSER TO HOME- Arif Naqvi — the founder of one-time private equity giant Abraaj — has lost his UK legal battle to escape extradition to the US, where he will face trial on money laundering and fraud charges. Abraaj, once one of the leading lights of emerging-market private equity, collapsed in 2018 after some of its key investors began investigating its owners for misuse of funds. Bloomberg and the Financial Times have the story.

First the World Bank, now the IMF speaks on Tunisia: The IMF “is concerned about recent developments in Tunisia and notes the steps taken by the authorities to address the situation,” a spokesperson for the Fund said yesterday, according to Bloomberg. This comes a day after the World Bank said it would be suspending some cooperation with the North African country after an anti-migrant speech by its president triggered a wave of attacks on sub-Saharan Africans.


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.

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