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Monday, 13 March 2023

Last Night’s Talk Shows: More privatization talk + the SVB fallout

Two topics dominated the airwaves last night: The state’s privatization plans + the local angle of SVB’s collapse. The Madbouly government yesterday said it will start on Wednesday preparing to offer two military-owned companies — bottled drinks firm Safi and fuel retailer Wataniya — to strategic investors. The news got coverage from Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 2:35), Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 6:02), and El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 7:38), who said that selling off stakes in state-owned companies will help bring inflows into the country and ease the hard currency shortage.

The hometown angle of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse: It wasn’t a total loss for Egyptian startups, according to Moneyfellows founder and CEO Ahmed Wadi, who told Kelma Akhira that some Egyptian firms with deposits in SVB were able to withdraw their funds before it was too late (watch, runtime: 7:20). Egyptian companies had a combined USD 60-70 mn deposited in the bank, he said.

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) needs to capitalize off of SVB’s downfall, Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi said last night (watch, runtime: 1:54). Policymakers at the central bank need to seize this chance and see how they can encourage startups to bank locally, rather than open accounts abroad, she said.

It’s not easy for startups to open up local bank accounts, Wadi said. “Most local startups, before deciding to work with SVB, tried to open up local bank accounts but the process was much harder and took much longer [than it would have if they worked with a foreign bank],” he said. Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 10:02) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 0:30) both had coverage.

We have coverage of both stories in the news well, above.

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