Business Today Egypt (BT) September 2021

g.clicksegypt06523

September 2021

Vol 27 Issue 9 LE 30

1

Upstream

investment

attraction

7

Digital

transformation

Structural

sector

reform

2

6

Oil and gas

hub strategy

Human

resource

management

3

Upstream

performance

5

Downstream

performance and

energy efficiency

4

A Deeper Look into

Egypt’s Oil and Mining Sector



533-304-105

CLASSIC FUSION

Titanium case.

Self-winding chronograph movement.


Editor’s Note

Back to Business

Welcome Back to Business!

The summer is over and Cairo has witnessed many

important events targeting economic reform, aligning

with first phase of the successful economic and social reform

program launched in November 2016.

In this issue of Business Today Egypt, we focus on future of the

oil and mining sector in Egypt through a recent Oxford Business

Group report. It argued that Egypt is well-placed a cross-sector

trade hub, and its significant oil and gas deposits – combined

with efforts to modernize the industry and attract investment –

make it a potential regional energy leader. Additionally, while

the mining industry accounts for around 0.5% of the country’s

GDP, it is set to be one of the fastest-growing and most strategically

important sectors of the decade in light of recent public

policy priorities, with 42 initiatives in place to attract greater

investment in mining under Egypt’s overarching development

plan through to 2030.

The report focuses on recent petroleum and mining sector development,

their resilience during the pandemic, the development

and growth outlooks considering infrastructure investment

and the global renewables drive.

We also have special coverage of the Egypt International Cooperation

Forum (ICF) that emphasized the role of multilateral partnerships

in a post-COVID19 era to “Build Back Better” through a

valuable exchange of ideas and insightful discussions.

In its final statement, the ICF recommended a push for establishing

partnerships leveraging the comparative advantage of the

various stakeholders to deliver on the 2030 Agenda. Therefore,

the statement notes the significance of capitalizing on the private

sector, civil society and think tanks in solving global cooperation

challenges, ensuring optimal allocation of resources, strengthening

mutual accountability as well as achieving sustainable impact.

Smart cities is also on our agenda, as Egypt’s current era can

safely be called the “Age of Constructions” given the number of

cities, housing projects, and roads being built. Out of the new

31 cities being introduced in the country, there are 17 fourth

generation (smart) ones under the New Administrative Capital’s

domain.

Mohamed Abdel Baky

mabdelbaky@egypttoday.com

Founder William Harrison

(1940–1995)

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Mohamed Abdel Baky

Managing Editor

Noha Mohammed

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Yasmine Hassan

Editor

Yasmin El-Beih

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Hanan Mohamed

Christine Salzmann

Nourhan Magdi

Noha El Tawil

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Wael Wahba

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September 2021

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In This Issue

Vol. 27 No. 9 | September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com

Cover design by Heba Mekky

4 Editor’s Note

8 In Brief

News in Focus

18 Green Dominates EGX Trading

in August

Market capitalization gains were

around EGP 31.4 billion during the

month.

By Hanan Mohamed

20 Egypt-ICF Comes to Light

Egypt held the first edition of Egypt

– International Cooperation Forum

(Egypt-ICF) on September 8 and 9.

By Hanan Mohamed

28 Climathon Giza: Marathon of

Egyptian Ideas for Climate’s Sake

A conference to tackle local climate

challenges.

By Nourhan Magdi

Spotlight

32 Smart Cities: How Do They

Function?

Understanding Smart Cities’

Infrastructure and Features.

By Noha El Tawil

36 Can Universal ESG Standards

Eliminate Greenwashing?

The rising importance of ESG

reporting has raised questions about

greenwashing.

By Oxford Business Group

38 UN Lists Upper Egypt Local

Development Program as Best

Practice to Achieving 2030 SDGs

The Upper Egypt Local

Development Program is

strengthening the local

government's capacity to deliver

quality infrastructure and

6 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


In This Issue

services, thereby improving the

environment for private sector

development and job creation in

four governorates.

By The World Bank Organization

In-Depth

42 Culture Building Amidst

“Great Resignation”

The Great Resignation may be

a new phrase to many, but to

researchers, it’s been a long time

coming. It’s also a time to invest

in culture building.

By Christine Salzmann

46 How to Optimize Your Days

Off

It’s time to tackle a new kind of

challenge: How to properly take

a day-off.

By Christine Salzmann

48 Emotional Well-being During

the Crisis

How can the Internet help

mitigate the pandemic’s mental

and emotional toll?

By Hanan Mohamed

© COPYRIGHT BUSINESS TODAY EGYPT 2021.

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Office: 6 Wezaret el Zeraa, Mohandiseen.

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54 Keeping up with Industry |

A Look into Egypt’s Petroleum

and Mining Sectors

As demand slowly returns

amidst the world’s efforts to

recover from the pandemic’s

initial challenges, the Oxford

Business Group reports on the

progress of Egypt’s petroleum

and mining sectors.

By Oxford Business Group

64 bt Scene

73 Last Word

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

7


In Brief Egypt

Egypt records GDP of

3.3% during 2020/21:

Planning Minister

Egypt’s recorded a growth domestic

product (GDP) of 3.3 percent during

fiscal year of 2020/2021 according to

the initial results, Minister of Planning

Hala El-Said stated.

Hala El-Said reviewed the initial

indicators of the Egyptian economy ‹s

performance during the last quarter

of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, as the GDP

growth rate jumped during the last

fiscal year›s final quarter to reach about

7.7 percent.

She added that the growth rate is

expected to rise to 5.4 percent during

the current fiscal year, supported by

expected significant growth in the

performance indicators for the first and

second quarters.

The minister explained that the

achieved results confirm the increasing

trend of quarterly growth rates during

the fiscal year 2020-2021, which rose

from 0.7 percent in the first quarter

to 2 percent in the second quarter

and then to 2.9 percent in the third

quarter, despite the great challenges

that the Egyptian economy faced

during this period of the year due to the

repercussions of the Corona pandemic.

It should be noted that the fiscal year

in Egypt begins in July and ends in June

of each year.

Egypt’s gov’t IPO program to resume by

end 2021: Planning Minister

The resumption of the government offering program in the stock

market will be before the end of 2021, according to Minister of

Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said.

El-Said said in statements on the sidelines of the Egypt International

Cooperation Forum (ICF) that the offerings will include a number of

state-affiliated companies, refusing to mention their names until the

official announcement following the completion of various aspects.

Minister: 30 percent of investment plan in current fiscal year covers green projects

Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala

El Saeed said 30 percent of the government’s investment

plan for the current fiscal year covers green projects, adding

that the government is targeting to increase the ratio to 50

percent by the fiscal year 2024/2025.

The minister’s remarks were made during her

participation in an event titled “Green Financing in

Compliance with Sharia (Islamic Law)” held virtually on

the fringe of the meetings of the council of governors of the

Islamic Bank for Development (ISBD) held in Uzbekistan.

Addressing the gathering, El Saeed highlighted

the policies adopted by Egypt to ease the transition of

government and private investments to green economy,

citing the outcome of the first phase of Egypt’s economic

reform program which helped in lowering gas emissions

through reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and

enhancing power efficiency.

Saeed also said the Planning Ministry has cooperated with

the Ministry of Environment to issue green bonds valued at

dlrs 70 million to augment resources for the green projects,

noting that this made Egypt the first country in the Middle

East and Africa to issue such bonds.

The minister also reviewed a set of programs that aim

at changing Egypt’s economy to a more productive one

in conformity with the national strategy for sustainable

development for 2030.

8 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


In Brief Egypt

Egypt voices hope to soon export gas to provide electricity to Lebanon

Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Tarek El Molla

voiced hope that the country can soon export gas to

Jordan to help supply Lebanon with electricity.

Molla’s remarks were made during a meeting in the

Jordanian capital of Amman with the Lebanese, Syrian

and Jordanian energy ministers, Reuters reported.

The meeting addresses a US-backed plan to

facilitate the exportation of Egyptian gas to Jordan so

as to generate electricity and transmit it to Lebanon

via Syria.

Experimental operation

of asphalt production

plant in Egypt’s Suez to

start in October

Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla

said the experimental operation of

the asphalt production plant at Suez

Petroleum Manufacturing Company

will start in October.

The project will contribute to largely

securing the local market›s needs in

light of the boom witnessed in the new

road mechanism.

EBRD provides NBKE with $25B to promote energy efficiency, renewable

energy in Egypt

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

(EBRD) announced securing a loan of $25 billion to the

National Bank of Kuwait Egypt (NBKE).

EBRD clarified in a statement that this step

comes in its endeavors to boost renewable energy

and energy efficiency in Egypt.

According to EBRD, 15 percent of the total loan

amount is being co-financed by the Green Climate

Fund (GCF).

“The funds will be on lent to Egyptian small and

medium size enterprises (SMEs) and households

to finance investments to mitigate the impacts of

climate change. The application of new technologies is expected

to promote the transition to an environmentally sustainable,

low-carbon and climate resilient economy in Egypt,” it clarified.

It added that the GCF and EBRD’s partnership for

transformation has seen the GCF support six EBRD program to

the tune of $ 830 million, catalyzing more than $ 3.6

billion in total project value. The GCF is the world’s

largest climate fund, supporting developingcountry

efforts to respond to the challenges of

climate change.

This loan is being extended under the EBRD’s

Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF), which

provides finance and advice to private-sector

businesses to support Egypt’s green economy

transition. The facility has a financing pool worth €140 million

for energy-efficiency and renewable energy investments.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

9


In Brief Egypt

Egypt’s Programs, Performance budget contributes to achieving economic goals

“Programs and Performance” budget is one of the most

important tools for economic reform, achieving economic

goals, and meeting development needs in accordance with

the sustainable development vision “Egypt 2030”, Egypt’s

Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait, stated.

The Egyptian minister said in a statement, that the

budget includes speed and accuracy of achievement,

upgrading government performance, unifying efforts in

similar activities in various sectors, and linking ministries

and agencies’ programs with government goals, in a way

that contributes to the optimal implementation of it.

He pointed out that it contributes to raising the

efficiency of public spending, achieving optimal

utilization of state resources, making better use of

financial appropriations across various budget agencies,

setting spending priorities and following up on the

implementation of programs within various government

agencies and institutions.

The minister added that they have made great strides

in the procedures for gradually implementing the

“performance programs” budget in ministries, budgetary

bodies, and economic bodies, in conjunction with the

start of procedures for implementing the government

financial information system “GFMIS” on economic

bodies as well, to apply the highest standards of

controlling, directing and controlling public spending;

which contributes to strengthening the governance of the

financial system, achieving economic and development

goals, maximizing the use of the resources of these

bodies, and upgrading the services provided to citizens.

Egypt comes 2nd in

Economist index for

return to pre-pandemic

life

Egypt denies imposes new taxes on EGX:

Finance Minister

The Egyptian Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait, confirmed that no

new taxes have been imposed on the stock exchange, denying any intention

to do so.

The Egyptian minister said in a statement, that the imposition of laws can

only be done through legislation approved by the Cabinet and approved by

the House of Representatives, and not by ministerial decisions.

The minister explained that Ministerial Resolution No. 428 of 2021, which

came in implementation of the provisions of the laws in force, and which are

now in force, includes only the rules and instructions for the tax treatment

of capital gains resulting from the disposal of securities, shares and treasury

bills, as well as the stamp tax on dealing in securities.

He pointed out that it aims to clarify and simplify the procedures and tax

treatment of the various traded securities to facilitate for financiers and lay

the foundations for transparency, in a way that contributes to spreading tax

awareness.

Egypt’s Minister of Finance

Mohamed Maait affirmed that the

Egyptian economy has become more

capable of facing challenges and

meeting the people›s aspirations,

referring that it ranked second

globally in the “Economist” index for

the return to pre-pandemic life.

Maait stated that this reflects the

government’s success in the economic

reform program›s implementation,

in a way that contributed to enabling

the Egyptian economy to contain the

repercussions of the pandemic.

The Egyptian minister explained,

in a statement, that the last fiscal

year witnessed an improvement in

financial performance indicators,

as the total deficit decreased from 8

percent to 7.4 percent, and an initial

surplus of 1.4 percent of GDP was

achieved.

The minister added that all

international rating institutions

maintained Egypt’s credit rating with

a stable outlook despite the pandemic,

which reflects its confidence in the

solidity of the Egyptian economy and

its ability to deal flexibly with internal

and external challenges.

10 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com



In Brief Egypt

Egypt cooperates with Siemens, KAMS to connect oil platforms,

wells digitally

Minister of State for Military Production, Mohamed

Ahmed Morsy witnessed the signing ceremony of a

cooperation protocol and a memorandum of nondisclosure

of confidentiality between the National

Authority for Military Production, Siemens Industries

in Egypt and KAMS Engineering and Contracting, in

the presence of Helmut von Struve, CEO of Siemens

for the Middle East.

It was signed by Mohamed Mohamed Salah El-

Din, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the

National Authority for Military Production, Mostafa

El Bagoury, CEO of Siemens Egypt, and Wael Omar,

Senior Vice President of Digital Industries at Siemens.

In a statement today, Minister Morsy indicated

that this cooperation comes within the framework

of the special interest that the ministry attaches to

the development of performance in all its sectors

through effective participation in many digital

transformation projects in the country, pointing

out that the scope of the protocol is represented in

cooperation between the three parties. In the fields

of (connecting offshore oil platforms and ground oil

wells digitally to the central control room, as well as

cooperation in the manufacture of low and medium

voltage electrical panels, electric motors and speed

variators).

Global Finance names CBE’s Governor as one of world’s top 10 central bankers

Global Finance Magazine named Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt

(CBE) Tarek Amer as one of the world›s top ten central bankers for 2021.

The American magazine said that the world›s top ten central bankers received

an «A» rating for their excellent performance in curbing inflation, achieving

economic growth goals, stabilizing currency and managing interest rates.

Joseph Giarraputo, the publisher and editorial director of Global Finance,

said that the magazine›s annual assessment shows the success of fiscal policy

leaders in the face of adversity.

The top ten list also included the central bankers of Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada,

Chile, China, Czech Republic, Kuwait and Morocco, along with European

Central Bank Governor Christine Lagarde.

The Central Banker Report Cards, published annually by Global Finance

since 1994, grade the central bank governors of 101 key countries and

territories including the European Union, the Eastern Caribbean Central

Bank, the Bank of Central African States and the Central Bank of West

African States.

12 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


UGotBox Aims to be Egypt’s International

Shopping and Shipping Solution

Alternative title: Long-distance shopping to be made easy and affordable by

Egypt Post’s UGotBox.

Mainly driven by the lack of shopping tourism opportunities

due to travel restrictions, and increased

confidence in ecommerce, consumers are looking

for novel ways to obtain the latest trending pieces

or technologies from abroad without getting on a plane, a market

gap that UGotBox aims to capture.

Aiming to meet the significant jump in demand for cross-border

ecommerce and international goods, UGotBox provides Egyptians

with a one-stop-shop solution for shopping and shipping from international

online stores, including Amazon and eBay.

Unlocking some of the largest international selections and

platforms to local consumers, the Egypt Post-owned company

is looking to transform cross-border shopping, offering a new

cost-efficient and hassle-free way to shop from abroad with their

distinctive shipping model.

Introducing a “one-box” model, UGotBox allows users to select

items from several popular US-based online platforms and retailers

before placing them in the same shipment, helping reduce up

to 80% of additional shipping fees and charges alongside customs

clearance support.

The company does this by providing a tax-free US shipping

address when users create an account, which acts as a storage unit

until users have completed their shopping. Users are given 30 days

of free storage, and can use the address to ship personal items as

well.

Backed by the Egypt Post Office, the country’s most credible

shipping entity, Eglobal’s UGotBox focuses on transparency and

customer satisfaction, with shipping fees included upfront at

checkout, thorough FAQs, and strong customer service.

Users can estimate final international shipping rates through

UGotBox’s shipping calculator on its website. Users can also

contact the company’s customer service hotline for inquiries on

customs clearance fees and other possible fees.

The inaugural project of Eglobal, Egypt Post’s ecommerce arm,

UGotBox seeks to expand its service to include other markets beyond

the US to enable consumers to shop around the world from

the comfort of their homes.


In Brief Egypt

EGX approves proposal to study listing of family businesses

Chairman of the Egyptian Stock Exchange, Mohamed Farid,

approved the Banking and Exchange Committee of the Businessmen

Association›s proposal to work together to develop a map listing

family businesses willing to abide by the stock exchange›s terms and

procedures.

The committee presented the proposal during a meeting it

organized with the head of the Egyptian Stock Exchange via video

conference technology.

The committee will work to meet with family companies that are

members of the association and other companies, to find out the

challenges they face for listing on the stock exchange from a legal

and tax point of view.

Family businesses are not committed to regular audited accounts

that meet the required standards and other structural problems,

according to a statement by the committee.

The Banking and Exchanges Committee of the Businessmen

Association expects that the offering of family businesses will increase

the number of new initial public offerings (IPOs), and will also lead to

an increase in the daily rate of trading in the stock exchange.

SODIC, CIB sign cooperation protocol for mortgage financing

Sixth of October Development and Investment "SODIC"

signed a cooperation protocol with the Commercial

International Bank (CIB), to provide mortgage finance

programs.

The company stated that the protocol includes

providing various payment systems for the units that

were delivered in accordance with the provisions and

rules of the Egyptian Mortgage Finance Law, allowing the

purchase of ready-to-delivery units available for sale in the

various SODIC projects over a payment period of up to

20 years.

"This protocol comes within SODIC's efforts to meet

the different needs of customers, including providing

new and innovative financing solutions that facilitate

the company's existing and new customers to make the

decision to purchase their units,” Maged Sherif, Managing

Director of SODIC, said.

For his part, Amr El-Ganainy, CEO of the institutional

sector at CIB, said that the protocol will provide buyers with

payment systems of up to 20 years as an alternative to the

financing solutions available to them in the market, which

is in line with the bank's strategy aimed at supporting the

real estate market in particular, and contributing to the

development of this sector generally.

14 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


In Brief Egypt

Egypt produces 80%

of local market’s

ready-made garments

needs, says official

Mohamed Abdel Salam,

Chairman of the Ready-made

Garments Chamber at the

Federation of Egyptian Industries,

said that Egypt currently produces

80 percent of local market needs

of ready-made garments, and it

imports only 20 percent.

He added that the annual

exports of garments stand at $1.5

billion.

Some 150 garment factories

have qualified to increase their

production and boost exports,

Abdel Salam noted.

Standard & Poor warns of risks to

cost of Egyptian debt

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor warned in a report

that Egypt must find a way to reduce its debt payments if it

is to withstand a possible increase in global interest rates.

This comes as Egypt enjoys the highest differential

between nominal interest rates and inflation among

more than 50 economies followed by Bloomberg, making

Egyptian bonds and treasury bills among the preferred

instruments among international investors hungry for yield.

Foreign holdings of Egyptian banknotes amount to

more than 28 billion dollars, which is an important barrier

as tourism awaits a full recovery from the Corona virus

pandemic, according to Bloomberg.

But the world’s highest real interest rates also come with

a high financial cost and leave Egypt vulnerable to large

outflows if interest rates rise in developed countries —

particularly if the US Federal Reserve gradually reduces

quantitative easing policies faster than expected, according

to Standard & Poor Associate Director Zahabia Gupta.

According to Gupta, Egypt’s interest-to-revenue ratio

and interest payments as a percentage of GDP are among

the highest among all rated sovereigns. She said, « Egypt’s

potential path to lower the interest bill is to increase investor

confidence in its economic model so that investors reduce

the risk premium they demand on Egyptian government

debt.»

Annual inflation records

6.4% during August, declines

0.1% monthly

Egypt’s annual consumer price inflation

recorded 6.4 percent in August 2021, compared

to 3.6 percent in August 2020, state-statistics

body said.

On a monthly basis, inflation recorded 114.3

points in August 2021, marking a decrease of

0.1 percent compared to July 2021, the Central

Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics

(CAPMAS) said.

CAPMAS attributed the decrease in inflation

to the decline in the prices of the meat and

pourtly group by 4.3 percent, the fish and

seafood group by 0.8 percent, and the readymade

clothing group by 0.2 percent.

It also referred to the increase in the group

of the vegetables group by 4.7 percent, the

fruit group by 1.3 percent, dairy, cheese and

eggs group by 0.3), the group of purchasing

vehicles by 1.9 percent, the group of spending

on private transportation by 1.8 percent, the

group of hospital services by 0.5 percent.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

15


realme Solidifies Giant

Challenger Status by Ranking as

World’s 6th Smartphone Brand

Global market research company, Counterpoint

research, unveiled their most recent report highlighting

Chinese smartphone manufacturer realme

as the world’s top 6th smartphone vendor for the

first time in Q2 2021, making the leap as an industry giant

challenger.

According to the latest market insights conducted by Counterpoint

Research, realme shipments numbers increased by

135% YoY, hitting 15 million shipments in Q2 2021, making

it the fastest growing smartphone brand globally.

realme was ranked as the world’s top 6th smartphone brand

within a short span of 3 years, with its placement solidifying

the brand’s position as an industry challenger amongst older

and more established brands, recognizing it as one of the most

popular mainstream smartphone brands.

Though a young brand, realme has quickly climbed the

charts in terms of sales growth since its establishment in 2018,

winning 17 brand awards, 159 product awards and 5 top tier

design awards around the world in 2020 alone.

Further boosting its popularity, the brand recently launched

its “flagship killer,” the realme GT series, which promises to

challenge and disrupt both the local and international markets’

mid-to-high-end phone segment, offering a large number of

flagship features for its budget-minded consumers. The brand

is gearing up to launch a premium flagship option as well.

The GT series has already gained some acclaim with realme

introducing it as “the industry’s first concave vegan leather”

phone for its unique suitcase shape, alongside winning several

design awards, such as the IF design award. The GT series

product is set to arrive in the Egyptian market soon, writes a

previous announcement.

The smartphone manufacturer’s current “challenger” plan

aims to double its sales in the next 3 years with its dual 100

million sales strategy, as well as broadening its GT series, improving

its C series performance as an entry-level smartphone

line, and enhancing its popular gaming-centric Narzo series to

boost users’ gaming experience.

realme competes in a highly-competitive market as a fresh

brand, however, it has been able to defy expectations through

a combination of trendsetting design, young team members,

and a streamlined focus on affordable AIoT (Artificial Intelligence

of Things) devices ranging from smartphones to smart

TVs.

The brand has been a trailblazer as an AIoT popularizer


using its 1+5+T strategy, which highlights the mobile phone

as number 1, “5” separate technologies such as (smart TVs,

tablets and laptops, headphones, wearables, True Wireless

Stereo (TWS), and the “T” stands for Techlife; the strategy

enables realme to connect all devices for a cohesive “smart

life” through its exclusive realme Application link.

The company has long prioritized a user-oriented strategy

through using cutting-edge technology – realme was the first

smartphone manufacturer to launch using the Snapdragon 888

processor - to attract a young user base with the aim of creating

a tech trendsetters’ lifestyle for young people, which has

proved popular with it maintaining a total growth rate of over

100%.

Leading the 5G race in India as the first 5G capable smartphone

product in the budget phone market, realme aims to

continue creating affordable 5G products as emerging markets

further develop their communications infrastructure and

systems. Its 5G products account for 16% of its shipments,

beating out Oppo’s 15% and Xiaomi’s 9%.

Previously announcing its market expansion model - assetlight,

short channel and advancing from emerging to mature

markets, realme takes local operations seriously and makes

local staff key decision-makers in local operations. By entering

new markets with joint development partnerships with

local e-commerce companies, realme has been successful in

reaching their young audience which prefer online shopping.

With its mission emphasizing “Dare to Leap,” realme is

known for embracing challenges and youthful innovation, extending

to its young (on average 29 years old) employees and

passionate corporate culture. The brand has previously noted

its focus on empowering employees through a flat structure

that boosts the speed of internal communication across the

company.

The brand is aiming to ship another 100 million handsets by

the end of 2022, hitting a double 100 million target, with aspirations

to meet the same milestone within the 2023 calendar

year which means targeting 300 million shipments by 2023.


News in Focus

Green

Dominates EGX

Trading in August

Market capitalization gains were around EGP 31.4 billion during

the month.

By Hanan Mohamed

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) traded

in the green zone during August

2021, adding around EGP 31.4 billion

to market capitalization, on the back

of Arab purchases.

The benchmark EGX30 hiked 3.74% or

401.57 points to close August at 11,413.8 points,

compared to 10,742.23 points in July.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 jumped

4.35%, or 103.45 points, ending the month at

2,480.55 points, up from 2,377.1 points the prior

month.

The small and mid-cap index EGX70 rose

6.51% or 179.99 points, closing at 2,943.57

points, compared to 2,763.58 points at the last

session of July.

On the same vein, the broader index EGX100

climbed 5.47%, or 204.65 points; recording

3,946.65 points, from 3,742 points by the end of

the previous month.

As for market capitalization, the EGX recorded

LE 733 billion, compared to LE 701.6 billion

in July, marking an increase of 4.5%.

The total value traded in August recorded LE

121.2 billion, compared to LE 64.5 billion in

July.

Meanwhile, the total volume traded reached

13,730 million securities, up from 7,987 million

securities in July, executed over 1,339 thousand

transactions, and 797 thousand transactions, respectively.

Stocks trading accounted for 41.19% of the

main market’s total value traded, while the remaining

58.81% were captured by bonds during

the month.

Capital Increase

Capital increases in the Egyptian Stock Exchange

recorded about EGP 5 billion during

transactions in August, distributed among 4 registered

entities.

The largest value came in favor of the Commercial

International Bank (CIB) with a value of

EGP 4.9 billion, while capital increase volumes

in favor of the Egyptian Investment Fund for

Real Estate Investment amounted to about EGP

99.8 million.

Mondanes Insurance’s capital increased by

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News in Focus

about EGP 47.5 million, and the capital of the

First Real Estate Investment Company increased

by EGP 1.3 million.

Head of the Brokerage Sector for Development

at Pioneers Securities Amer Abdel-Qader

told local press that the petrochemical sector is

currently witnessing an upward performance,

supported by rising gas prices, which witnessed

strong leaps since the beginning of this year,

with the boom in global commodity prices, and

selectively, the real estate sector’s shares.

For his part, Adel Abdel-Fattah, Managing Director

of the Egyptian Arab Company “Themar”

for Securities Trading, said that the market will

head towards the 11,400-point level, and this will

include partial profit-taking operations following

the gains made in recent weeks, and as a result

of investors’ concern about the new trading

mechanisms that the stock exchange will implement

in early September.

New Mechanism

In August, Mohamed Farid, Chairman of the

Board of Directors of the Egyptian Stock Exchange,

issued Resolution No. (681) for 2021 regarding

the determinants of calculating closing

prices and price limits for temporary suspension.

The first article of the decision stipulates that

price limits shall be 20 percent of the last closing

price for the main market, with the application

of the temporary suspension at 10 percent, and

the rate of 10 percent for the small and mediumsized

companies’ market from the last closing

price with the application of temporary suspension

at 5 percent.

The second article stipulates calculating the

moving average of the intraday closing price of

restricted securities by calculating the moving average

price weighted by the quantities executed

during the last 30 minutes of executions with a

minimum of LE 100,000 or its equivalent in foreign

currencies.

The third article stipulated the creation of

an auction session to calculate the daily closing

price of listed securities before 2:30, and it is divided

into 3 periods: the closing price auction

period, the adjustment period, and the trading

period at the closing price.

Abdel-Fattah recommended that investors

seize buying opportunities when profit-taking,

pointing out that the shares of banks, the real

estate sector, education, and the medical sector

have strong opportunities on the horizon.

Egyptians Vs Foreigners and Arabs

Egyptians represented 88.6% of the value

traded in listed stocks after excluding deals during

the period. Foreigners accounted for 5.4%,

while Arabs captured 6.0%. Foreigners were net

sellers, with a net of EGP 99.6 million, and Arabs

were net buyers, with a net of EGP 222.0 million,

excluding deals in listed stocks.

Since the beginning of the year, Egyptians

represented 83.5% of the value traded in listed

stocks after excluding deals, Foreigners accounted

for 9.6%, while Arabs captured 6.9%.

Foreigners were net sellers by EGP 2,588.8 million,

and Arabs were net buyers by EGP 1,361.5

million, excluding deals in listed stocks during

this year since started.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

19


News in Focus

Egypt-ICF

Comes to Light

Egypt held the first edition of Egypt – International Cooperation

Forum (Egypt-ICF) on September 8 and 9.

By Hanan Mohamed

Egypt held the first edition of the

two-day Egypt – International Cooperation

Forum (Egypt-ICF) on September

8 and 9. Organized by the

Ministry of International Cooperation, the

forum was attended by high-level government

representatives and policymakers from Africa,

Europe, and Latin America, along with delegations

from international and regional financial

institutions as well as representatives from the

private sector and the civil society.

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Held under the theme “Engaging for Impact”,

the forum brought together relevant

stakeholders to promote joint action in aims

of supporting the 2030 United Nations Sustainable

Development Goals (SDGs), in addition

to mobilizing international efforts to address

global challenges as the world recovers from

the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first day of the forum included 4 panels,

discussing multilateralism and international

cooperation post-pandemic, accelerating development

cooperation towards the 2030 agenda,

the private sector engagement’s pivotal role in

progress, as well as the challenges and opportunities

developing countries witness in the green

transformation.

The forum’s activities included 6 workshops,

organized by the Ministry of International

Cooperation and myriad international institutions.

This included a discussion assessing

international experiences in the development

cooperation field, including the Egyptian experience

mapping the Official Development Assistance

(ODA) to the SDGs.

Sisi’s Speech

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi gave a

speech during Egypt-ICF saying that green recovery

has become a pressing necessity, a top

priority for governments.

Sisi referred to the difficult time citizens

experienced in the midst of the coronavirus

pandemic, noting how it imposes a new reality

requiring creative ideas and formulations

in decision-making processes, an awareness of

potential dangers and a balanced approach to

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21


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achieve sustainable and green economic development.

He stressed the need for global institutional

support for developing countries in achieving

the desired goals of this ambitious agenda.

“Egypt was at the forefront of countries that

developed a long-term strategic plan to achieve

Sustainable Development 2030 based on national

priorities and principles,” the President

stated.

“The development goals of ‘Egypt Vision

2030’ come in alignment with the UN 2030

Agenda for Sustainable Development and the

Africa 2063 Development Agenda to bolster

joint action and multilateral cooperation.”

“In this regard, we underscore the importance

of achieving African integration by invigorating

the African Continental Free Trade

Area agreement, a key axis in this forum’s deliberations.”

Praise and Congratulations

Deputy UN Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

hailed ICF Egypt’s first edition as an

important forum to explore development stakeholders’

potential to address development challenges.

She also hailed the ICF as an important platform

to explore stakeholder potential in sharing

catalytic solutions, especially in Africa.

“Our United Nations’ country teams around

the world stand ready to support you in adapting

these solutions and engaging with all relevant

stakeholders,” Mohammed said.

Moreover, the European Union Commissioner

for International Partnerships, Jutta

Urpilainen, expressed her optimism regarding

Egypt-ICF 2021’s potential in terms of a program

of work and recommendations through

its discussions.

Urpilainen noted the importance of issues

and topics within its partnerships’ framework to

achieve sustainable development.

In her speech, she said that the coronavirus

pandemic has claimed the lives of about 4.5

million people and noted the pandemic’s re-

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23


News in Focus

percussions of widening economic inequality.

The EU Commissioner stressed the need to

address the crisis through consistent international

efforts and to create promising and appropriate

opportunities to restore international

construction, increase exchanges and achieve

international goals.

The Role of Multilateral Partnerships in Post-

Covid 19 Reconstruction Efforts

The first session’s participants, within the

Egypt Forum for International Cooperation

and Development Finance’s activities, held under

the title: “The Role of Multilateral Partnerships

in Post-Covid 19 Reconstruction Efforts”,

stressed that the corona pandemic has caused

unprecedented challenges on the health, economic

and social levels. It has negative effects

on development work, and the participants

called for joint, inter-party action to achieve a

flexible and sustainable recovery from the repercussions

of the pandemic, especially as its

challenges are still increasing, highlighting the

importance of multilateral cooperation to recover

from the coronavirus pandemic through

discussions between leaders and decisionmakers

from the Middle East, Africa and international

financial institutions.

The panel discussion, moderated by Bloomberg

News Network presenter Manos Krane,

included high-level speakers, agreeing on the

need to use development finance to mobilize

resources. Such a move contributes to enhancing

social and economic stability, creating common

prosperity for the international community

and drawing attention to the importance and

necessity of enhancing the knowledge-sharing

process, and sharing successful experiences as

one of the most important mechanisms for creating

effective international cooperation and

achieving sustainable development.

For her part, Minister of International Cooperation,

Rania Al-Mashat, stressed that the

world requires joint action to achieve the sustainable

development goals, in order to rebuild

more effectively, thereby addressing the repercussions

and challenges posed by the coronavirus

pandemic. She explained that sharing

successful development experiences between

countries is a key tool for multilateral cooperation

and achieving integration in development

efforts.

Al-Mashat said that confronting Covid-19

pandemic and its repercussions will only be

achieved through joint cooperation, and that

the sustainable development goals will only be

achieved by collective action to ensure the cooperation

of governments, the private sector

and civil society in order to reach an inclusive

and green economy in line with the UN goals.

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President of the World Economic Forum,

Borge Brende, praised Egypt’s successes and reforms

in various economic sectors, noting that

it is one of the few emerging economies that

achieved growth of over 3% despite the repercussions

of the Corona pandemic.

“We are working and partnering with Egypt

in efforts to reduce the gender gap, increase

women’s workforce participation, and to reduce

and improve the wage gap,” Brende said.

Meanwhile, Netombo Nandi Ndayitwa, Namibia’s

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of

Foreign Affairs, said that the pandemic has added

more difficulties to the existing challenges

and called for the need to work to achieve the

UN Sustainable Development Goals so that the

world feels that it has recovered.

She added: “If we analyze the African Trade

Area’s role, we will find it must be played by governments,

the private sector and civil society,

and in our experience to provide the Corona

vaccine, there was a model for cooperation with

all parties, especially between the government

and the private sector.”

She pointed out that this does not achieve

justice, and Egypt has thus far only succeeded

in vaccinating 10% of the population. Ndayitwa

also stressed the importance of implementing

the Paris Agreement through multiple partnerships,

as well as the need to accelerate sustainable

development goals and achieve equality

in order to accelerate post-pandemic recovery,

noting the urgency of integrating women and

youth.

Cameroon’s Minister of Economy, Planning

and Regional Development, Alamine Ousmane

Mey, said that governments have attempted to

confront challenges, but more is needed in order

to confront the pandemic.

As Africa has developed a work program

across the African Trade Area and deepened

multilateralism, this must go along with rethinking

global development strategies affected

by wars, terrorism and epidemics showing global

economies’ fragility. He also called for attention

to industrialization, creating a global coalition

to confront global disasters, and bringing

in investments.

Solomon Quaynor, Vice President of the

African Development Bank Group for Private

Sector and Infrastructure, pointed out that if

vaccines are not distributed to Africa, doing

business there won’t be possible, and that Africa

is distinguished by the presence of a free

trade area and GDP of $3.4 trillion, with an infinite

number of people who need to encourage

and attract investment.

The private sector’s participation

The first day’s closing session witnessed broad

participation from major private sector companies

and international financial institutions,

discussing how to enhance comprehensive and

effective partnerships between the private sector

and international institutions to implement

development goals.

Moderated by Lubna Booza, Editor-in-Chief

of the Economics Department of Sky News Arabia,

the sessions stressed that what happened in

Egypt in recent years represents a great achievement

across sectors, and that the national

economy’s strength encourages financial institutions

to participate with the sector Egyptian

private in many projects.

Organized under the title “Dialogue with the

Private Sector – Towards Comprehensive and

Effective Partnerships”, the sessions discussed

cooperation mechanisms between the private

sector and international financial institutions,

as well as its impact on sustainable development.

The session aims to highlight contributions

made by private sector companies to development

and to explore partnerships with

international finance instituions.

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25


News in Focus

Osama Bishai, CEO of Orascom Construction,

said, “International financial institutions

are a major partner across our business, because

it was not easy to secure these large sums

needed by these development projects, stressing

that the Egyptian economy’s strength pushes

international institutions to increase their

investments with the private sector.”

He pointed out that the private sector has the

capabilities to obtain necessary project funding

by negotiating with international financial institutions,

especially infrastructure projects, given

their importance to a country of 100 million

people. He stressed the importance of supporting

small and medium-sized projects, noting

that the agricultural sector is an integral part of

the sustainable development plan.

Under the same context, Hassan Allam, Chairman

of Hassan Allam Holding Group, said that

their relationship with financial institutions is

very strong and we have resorted to these institutions

to increase our capital, especially since our

company is more than 85 years old.

Ahmed El Sewedy, Chairman of the Board of

Directors of El Sewedy Electric, explained that

Egypt’s accomplishments in recent years across

sectors is a great achievement, as more than 24

universities have been built and many development

projects in all sectors were established

with the private sector’s participation.

Heike Harmgart, Managing Director of the

Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region

at the European Bank for Reconstruction, said

that the private sector bears huge opportunities,

expanding public-private collaboration to

achieve development in a complimentary manner.

She pointed out that green investment is the

basis for development, as Egypt has huge opportunities

in new and renewable energy, as

well as water desalination using solar power

plants, coming in alignment with the sustainable

development goals.

Sherif El-Gabali, Head of the African Affairs

Committee at the House of Representatives,

said that a strong industrial base can only be obtained

with the presence of small and medium

enterprises. Moreover, he qualified the need a

clear roadmap for the sector’s development, in

addition to the need for financial resources for

training and technical support to allow accessing

new technologies.

Solomon Quaynor, Vice President of the African

Development Bank for the private sector

and infrastructure, said that the bank is fully

prepared to strengthen partnerships with any

private sector parties to reduce prospective

risks, explaining that strengthening infrastructure,

especially in the transport and energy sectors,

enhances Africa’s competitiveness.

Walid Labadi, Regional Director for Egypt,

Libya and Yemen at the International Finance

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Corporation of the World Bank Group, said,

“Our strategy focuses on three main axes: inclusion,

employment and inclusion, and Egypt provides

all these axes. The private sector has great

potential strongly preparing it to participate in

sustainable development projects across Egypt.”

The final day

Egypt concluded its International Cooperation

Forum’s (ICF) 1st edition with a session

focused on Egyptian efforts to invest in human

capital.

The final session also addressed Egypt’s role

in development through the “Decent Life” initiative

and other projects.

The Decent Life initiative was launched by

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in July to propel

rural areas to development.

International Cooperation Minister Rania

Al-Mashat, Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine

El-Qabbaj and Minister of Education Tarek

Shawki participated in the session.

Mashat said Egypt’s “Decent Life” initiative

to develop the countryside is inter-sector connected,

partially concerned with infrastructure

while another part is concerned with human

investment.

During the session, Qabbaj said investment in

human capital leads to decreasing poverty rates

and is connected to decent life, integration and

healthcare.

Digital transformation saves previously wasted

resources, Qabbaj said, noting that this caused

a decline in poverty rates to 29% from 32.5%.

In his remarks, Minister of Education Shawki

said the state, by developing the education process

aims to build upcoming generations since

the pre-kindergarten stage, noting that the

state will reap the fruits of this experience in

future years.

“We also help the current generation assess

their skills and modify their approach,” he added.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

27


News in Focus

Climathon Giza:

Marathon of

Egyptian Ideas for

Climate’s Sake

A conference to tackle local climate challenges.

By Nourhan Magdi

On the west bank of the Nile River opposite to Cairo, Giza is

slated to host its EU-supported city-based conference “Climathon”,

seeking solutions for local climate challenges.

Unliked any conference, Climathon is a call-to-action event taking

place in 150 cities around the world at the same time every year, aiming

to raise climate awareness, disrupt the status quo and rethink desired futures.

Climathon allows citizens the opportunity to pitch ideas for projects that

address climate change, with the most impactful ideas winning cash prizes to

finance their projects.

As they know their communities and cities best, local organizers carry the

mission to bring people together. In Egypt, the Najma Project organizes Climathon

Giza.

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“It is the third time Climathon is held in

Egypt, but the first time to be hosted in Giza,

the only Egyptian governorate that has a climate

change adaptation strategy,” Dr. Sawsan

el-Awady, the founder of Najma Project, tells

Business Today.

In an interview, held via Zoom, Awady explained

that Giza’s nature is very diverse,

from green patches, sweeping deserts, protectorates,

and the Nile River, a microcosm of

Egypt’s environmental climate.

As the city-based conference is held in many

countries on the same date, November 26-27,

2021, Awady believes this global event offers

Egypt a crucial to showcase its progress on the

environmental level.

She added, “Egypt already has an ambitious

strategy to address climate change, and our

role as a civil society organization is to initiate

work on problems that have yet to be approached.”

“Climathon is not just a conference that

brings politicians and experts together to discuss

climate change, it also hosts a competition,

which is the core event in the conference,

where participants pitch projects that can help

reduce the negative impact of climate change,”

she continued.

Awady explained that proposed projects

could be anything from waste management,

renewable energy, or any project that address

climate change issues while using green economy

or circular strategies.

“The door is open for young people to

propose their ideas and engage in warm-up

workshops, meeting with climate and entrepreneurship

experts ahead of the conference,

who help youth professionally compete with

sustainable projects that have economic and

environmental feasibility,” she said. According

to Awady, the winning projects will be

funded, and all participants will receive prizes

too. Financing mainly comes from the European

Union, with the Ministry of Environment

and the Federation of the Egyptian Industries

funding some projects too.

This year, the event will accept proposal

from 15 teams of 3-5 participants.

A running marathon, cycling ride and a forestation

campaign are scheduled to take place

in October, showcasing the beauty of Giza city

ahead of the event.

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News in Focus

Climate change not a myth

“This year we have witnessed lots of fires regionally,

floods and climate-related incidents,

leaving casualties among people and animals…

it is unfortunate that there are some people

still stick to a narrow focus, and believe climate

change is not a reality,” Awady said.

She continued, “climate change is a difficult

and harmful reality, … and this was evident in

the last UN environment report.”

In November, the United Nations Climate

Change Conference (COP 26) will be held in

Glasgow. At the last summit in Paris in 2015,

the world pledged to limit global warming to

1.5 °C.

“I am expecting this year’s summit to take

bold steps to drive climate action through

states’ policies, but I hope these policies are

not only closed-door talks, but rather aim to

raise awareness and engage people in the process,”

Awady said.

Touching grounds

In Egypt, President Abdel Fatah a-Sisi and

the Ministry of Environment are paying great

attention to environmental issues, Awady said,

adding “but people still not aware how climate

change could affect their lives, health and

even their incomes.”

Atop of Climathon’s discussions agenda

come water issues, according to Awady, who

said that “many people thought that the major

water desalination projects that Egypt is implementing

are back-up plans because of the

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis…but

people need to know that Egypt will [also] face

a water crisis due to climate change.”

Major projects like water desalination and

canal lining to reduce the water loss are great

alternative solutions that Egypt is mulling to

mitigate water scarcity issues.

“It’s important to convey this message to

people about how climate change affects their

lives directly. For example, this year, the mango

crop was affected by the climate change,

and its prices are 30 percent higher than last

year,” she explains.

However, Egypt’s new Waste Management

System has proven efficient in raising people’s

awareness to specific waste that they can recycle

more than once, according to Awady, who

explained that many citizens are now sending

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used oil and electronics to be recycled.

Green opportunities

Awady suggests adding environmental material

to schools’ curricula, raising public awareness

about environmental issues.

Believing that women play an important

role in the environment, Awady founded Najma

Project six months ago, training women to

launch their small enterprises tackling green

or circular economy projects.

“We seek to empower women to believe that

whatever their educational background, age

or expertise, they can earn a living from their

homes by running their projects even with a

starting budget of L.E. 1,000,” Awady said.

Women enrolling in Najma are trained on

marketing their projects, as well as developing

economic feasibility, she added.

Egypt’s National Strategy for Adaptation to

Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction’s

main objective is to increase the Egyptian

community’s agility in dealing with the risks

and disasters that might be caused by climate

change.

Although embedding environment-friendly

practices like waste recycling is important, Dr.

Awady raised a question in this regard, saying:

“Why does the government not have its own

recycling factories?”

Although the government currently signs

collaboration protocols with private companies

to supply them with the waste, it might be

a great economic and public benefit if there

were a recycling factory in every governorate.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

31


Spotlight

Smart Cities:

How Do They

Function?

Understanding Smart Cities’ Infrastructure and

Features.

By Noha El Tawil

The current era in Egypt can be safely called the “Age of

Constructions” given the number of cities, housing projects,

and roads being built. Out of the new 31 cities being

introduced in the country, there are 17 fourth generation

(smart) ones under the flagship of the New Administrative Capital.

The word “fourth generation cities” strikes in the mind images of automation

and modernity, but more has to be understood about such

cities.

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Characteristics of a Smart City

The European Commission’s definition of

a smart city makes digitalization the essence of

such place. The commission says a “smart city is

a place where traditional networks and services

are made more efficient with the use of digital

solutions for the benefit of its inhabitants and

business.” For a city to be smart, it must be efficient

in eight areas.

The aspects are mobility, healthcare, security,

water, waste, energy, community engagement,

economic development, and housing. A smart

city is characterized by “smarter urban transportation

networks, upgraded water supply and

waste disposal facilities, more efficient ways to

light and heat buildings, a more interactive and

responsive city administration, safer public spaces

and meeting the needs of an ageing population,”

according to the European Commission.

Layers of A Smart City’s Structure

As digital technology is the core of a smart city,

a research paper titled “Smart Cities: Fundamental

Concepts” and published on Springer in 2021

highlights the architecture of the technology

platform through four layers. The first is sensors

allowing edge computing, which is a form of

computing done near the data source or on site,

and not in a remote data center. The second is

the “fog”, the network between the data source

and the server. The third is a cloud, where it is

possible to carry out “analysis, prediction and

adaptation.” Lastly, there is “a neural network

core where independent learning occurs” automatically

“without human initiated or managed

intervention.” The neural network core can be

considered part of the cloud.

Speaking of the uses of those layers, sensors

can be installed in light poles, buildings, cars,

and even humans. The “fog” is the hub where

blockchain and transactions occur. Blockchain,

in simple words, is a database where different

data are stored in chained-together blocks. That

database is accessible to many people at a time.

Blockchain can facilitate the management of

banking, trade, and currency as well as the electrical

grid. In the judiciary, it can play a role in

“the provision, interpretation, and verification

of evidence and testimony.”

Blockchain can also help administer the voting

process. As for the neural network, this is

where “the algorithmic system prioritizes problems

and works to solve them on its own.” The

deep learning done by the neural network covers

the areas of “water consumption and conservation,

energy management, public health, and

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33


Spotlight

economic development.”

For all that to materialize, “reliable and rapid

connectivity” is key. That connectivity is crucial

for transportation systems in smart cities. Connectivity

makes possible the internet of things

(IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). Consequently,

in March, the Ministry of Telecommunications

and Information Technology signed with

France’s Thales a memorandum of understanding

(MoU) to cooperate in developing AI-powered

applications in smart cities, transportation,

digital government, and smart infrastructure.

Functions of Artificial Intelligence in Smart Cities

The United Nations’ International Telecommunications

Union (ITU) published in April

an article titled “How AI Will Shape Smart Cities”

explaining the role of AI in smart cities. In

the energy sector, for instance, AI enables the

existence of smart grids that incorporate data

analytics and achieve real-time responsiveness.

Those are necessary because smart cities rely on

renewables such as solar power and wind, “whose

output varies with seasons, the weather and time

of day.” Further, AI allows neural networks to determine

“how buildings consume energy, recommending

adjustments and guide occupant behavior.”

Such function of artificial intelligence

is dubbed AI for infrastructure as it enables

optimized infrastructure operation and maintenance,

including waste and water management,

transportation, energy grids, and urban lighting.

According to a briefing titled “Artificial Intelligence

in Smart Cities and Urban Mobility” issued

in July by the European Parliament Think

Tank, AI used in cities can be classified into seven

categories. In addition to the aforementioned,

there are AI for governance, which enables urban

planning, tailored subsidy provision, disas-

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Spotlight

ter prevention and management; AI for living

and livability, safety, security and healthcare, enabling

smart policing, personalized healthcare,

noise and nuisance management, and improved

cyber security; AI for education and citizen participation,

furthering informed decision-making;

AI for economy, allowing the efficiency of

supply chains and better customer solutions; AI

for mobility and logistics, enabling autonomous

and sustainable mobility, smart routing and parking

assistance, supply chain resiliency and traffic

management; and AI for the environment; furthering

biodiversity preservation, urban farming

and air quality management.

Smart cities powered by artificial intelligence

are a sustainability guarantor. That is because

“AI application contributes in damage detection,

damage prediction, damage classification,

damage localization, condition assessment and

lifetime prediction,” the briefing indicates. Yet,

“this requires accurate and real-time data on

the state of the assets, the utilization of these assets,

and on the environmental factors impacting

these assets.” That is why the sensor layers

are pivotal. The most precious resource this

function serves in saving is water as a result of

ensuring that pipelines are always maintained.

It also contributes to improved wastewater management.

Another use of AI is smart urban lighting

whereby lampposts are equipped with IoT devices

that can “collect, communicate and locally

analyze data on traffic and pedestrian flows,

environmental factors such as air quality, temperature,

wind speed and humidity, and acoustic

data” to detect gunshot and urban noise. As

for smart waste management, it entails installing

sensors at waste containers to measure the filling

rate, irregularities in its operation, and how,

when, and where waste is discarded. That allows

for “smart routing of collection according to the

filling rate, but also less nuisance for citizens

caused by full containers or defective containers.”

Additionally, incentives can be granted to

citizens for sorting their waste. Regarding transport,

AI can identify congested roads and automatically

regulate traffic flow by accordingly rotating

traffic lights. There is also the function of

identifying available parking spots.

From all the above, it is evident that smart

cities are concerned with inhibiting crises, and

the deterioration of utilities and facilities by detecting

any damages while still at an early stage,

better measuring environmental changes. Simultaneously,

their other main mission is ensuring

that residents’ needs are optimally fulfilled by

analyzing their behavior to better tailor services

and deliver them in the most compatible way.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

35


Spotlight

Can Universal ESG

Standards Eliminate

Greenwashing?

The rising importance of ESG reporting has raised questions about

greenwashing.

By Oxford Business Group

An initiative that encourages companies

to meet science-based emissions targets

has seen significant growth in recent

months. The success of the Science-

Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) has highlighted

the appetite for a more stringent and universal

approach to ESG reporting.

This year has seen an uptick in ESG reporting

around the world, partly in response to increasing

scrutiny on companies’ social and environmental

impacts.

Failure to adhere to ESG principles can have

real-world consequences. For instance, when food

delivery app Deliveroo went public on the London

Stock Exchange in early 2021 it lost more than

25% of its value on the first day. Some observers

attributed the steep decline to the company’s reliance

on gig-economy workers, to the detriment of

the “S” component of its ESG metrics.

ESG commitments have thus become a business

imperative. However, the absence of a globally recognised

ESG reporting system has led to accusations

that companies can easily misrepresent their

sustainability performance.

The rise of greenwashing

This is often called greenwashing, a blanket

term that covers activities such as selective or

incomplete disclosure, symbolic management,

deflection, and disconnect between companies’

statements and their business activities.

Greenwashing can lead investors to finance operations

that potentially harm the environment,

and allows companies to delay adopting more

conscientious policies.

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The problem of greenwashing has grown in tandem

with rising corporate awareness of ESG and

sustainability issues.

A report published in March this year by the

University of Oxford and the Energy and Climate

Intelligence Unit, a think tank, found that 21% of

the world’s 2000 largest public companies have

committed to net-zero emissions.

A majority of these firms had interim targets, a

published plan and a reporting mechanism, key

components of an effective net-zero strategy. But

only a quarter met a full set of “robustness criteria”

established by the UN Race to Zero Campaign.

Elsewhere, the UK saw the number of large companies

with net-zero policies more than double in

the year leading to July 2021. However, a third of

these do not take into account Scope-3 emissions

that arise from a company’s supply chain and often

make up the bulk of emissions.

Other companies are relying on offset credits to

meet their targets, a practice that shifts the problem

rather than eliminating it at source.

Such corporate tactics have given rise to concerted

efforts to encourage companies to provide

a more accurate picture.

A team at University College Dublin, for example,

developed algorithms that can detect and

quantify greenwashing. Called GreenWatch, the

tool uses artificial intelligence and machine learning

to scan corporate communications from 700

global companies. These are then compared to

the companies’ actual carbon footprints.

Based on these results, GreenWatch categorises

companies on a spectrum that includes “green

leadership”, “hidden green champion”, “green

incrementalist”, “potential” or “probable greenwasher”,

and “climate denier”. These classifications

help investors detect which companies are

sincere in their ESG efforts.

The need for global standards

Growing concerns about misrepresentation

could be alleviated by wider acceptance of sciencebased

targets.

The SBTi is a global body that provides companies

with a defined framework to reduce greenhouse

gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

According to the SBTI science-based targets

are driving decarbonisation: between 2015 and

2020 companies with validated targets cut emissions

by 25%.

In June 2021, more than 150 companies committed

to the initiative, bringing the total to more than

600 firms with a combined $13trn in market capitalisation

– a value just below that of China’s GDP.

A similar initiative is the Greenhouse Gas Protocol,

the world’s most widely used set of greenhouse

gas accounting standards.

Growing interest in science-based targets has

highlighted a broader appetite for globally recognised

ESG standards. Universal standards would

enable investors to better compare companies

within the same industry, as well as between industries,

helping them to cut through greenwash.

The non-profit International Financial Reporting

Standards Foundation is working on a global

sustainability reporting standard. Several international

bodies – among them the IMF and the UN

– have expressed support for these efforts.

The foundation has said it will provide an update

on its progress at the UN Climate Change

Conference in October or November of this year,

with draft standards issued mid-2022.

ESG standards and emerging economies

Many emerging economies are disproportionately

at risk of the effects of climate change,

including rising sea levels, extreme weather,

drought and agricultural disruption. The UAE,

for example, is among the countries that are most

vulnerable to rising global temperatures, while a

2020 study by Pictet Asset Management and the

University of Oxford found that water availability

issues are set to worsen in Mexico, Indonesia and

South Africa.

As such, emerging markets have a strong incentive

to cut through greenwash and support concrete,

verifiable ESG reporting. However, these

economies face a specific set of challenges in

adapting to a one-size-fits-all approach.

One such issue is language, as it will be necessary

to make the new set of ESG standards accessible

to a range of stakeholders. Moreover, it will

be important that the international protocol will

not dampen the performance of emerging economies,

many of which are in an energy-intensive

stage of development. Similarly, in emerging manufacturing

centres such as Vietnam job creation

and international competitiveness are key, which

may complicate “S” and “G” metrics.

A further significant consideration is of cost.

Papua New Guinea plans to switch to 100% renewable,

indigenous energy by 2050, as does Sri Lanka.

However, major investment will be required if

these targets are to be met, with Sri Lanka alone

needing between $54bn and $56bn to meet its

goals.

The pandemic highlighted the need to redouble

ESG considerations. Looking to the future, it

is hoped that internationally recognised, sciencebased

ESG standards will initiate a new phase in

the movement towards carbon neutrality, with the

particular needs of emerging markets taken into

account.

Greenwash

denotes

misreporting

or

misrepresenting

sustainability

targets

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

37


Spotlight

UN Lists Upper Egypt Local

Development Program as Best

Practice to Achieving 2030 SDGs

The Upper Egypt Local Development Program is strengthening the

capacity of local government to deliver quality infrastructure and

services, thereby improving the environment for private sector

development and job creation in four governorates.

By The World Bank Organization

‘“We, the residents, get to prioritize the

projects we need,’’ said Hassan Kamel, a

member of Sohag governorate’s local development

forum in Upper Egypt. ‘’This

has never happened here before; it has made

me feel that, as a citizen, I have an active role in

the development of my village.’’

The process Kamel referred to is a component

of the seven-year Upper Egypt Local Development

Program (UELDP), which has received

$500 million in World Bank financing.

Launched in 2017, the program supports the

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Spotlight

The program’s efforts have

been recognized by the

United Nations Department

of Economic and

Social Affairs, which listed

it as a best practice operation.

government’s efforts to develop Upper Egypt in

the south of the country where development has

lagged behind, by improving the local business

environment. This has spurred private sector-led

job creation and strengthened local government

capacity to deliver infrastructure and services.

The program, an innovative pilot for spatially

coordinated economic development and service

delivery, provides results-based financing in Sohag,

Qena, Minya, and Assiut governorates, integrating

citizen and business engagement for

greater local accountability.

In 2021, the United Nations Department of

Economic and Social Affairs listed it as an example

of best practice among development initiatives

aimed at meeting the universal targets

set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development

Goals for 2030. The program has also been

included as a key contributor to the Egyptian

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Spotlight

government’s programming for FY2018/19–

FY2021/22.

Egypt’s population passed 100 million in early

2020, with one third of it in Upper Egypt. Yet

the region falls behind the rest of the country

in terms of economic growth, generating employment,

connectivity to markets, and access to

quality services. Almost half of Egypt’s poor live

there, and the four governorates included in the

program are among the poorest in the country.

Since its launch, the UELDP has sought to redress

this lagging development. It has financed

infrastructure and services responsive to local

needs. The program has improved governorates’

capacity for: inter-sectoral, medium-term capital

investment planning; project design, appraisal,

and implementation; environmental and social

risk management; and the sustainability of local

infrastructure through asset management.

Infrastructure has been developed to improve

citizens’ quality of live, focusing on urban development,

city upgrading, and basic municipal services

(water, sanitation, roads, and electricity).

The infrastructure and services financed by

the program are estimated to have reached

about 5 million citizens so far in the first two

governorates—or one-third of their population.

Half of the estimated beneficiaries are women.

Infrastructure projects are improving people’s

wellbeing, often directly. An example is covering

of the water canal next to the village school in

Awlad Nosseir in Sohag. “The situation was very

bad before,’’ said Hassan Abbas, a local resident.

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Spotlight

‘’Garbage was dumped around the canal. This

led to terrible odors that reached the school and

very negatively affected teachers and students.”

School students used swim in the canal, even

though it was unsafe to do so. “I had a bad personal

experience with this canal,” Hassan added.

“My son was forced by his school colleagues to

go down into the canal. He almost drowned and

was rescued at the last minute. Now things are

different. Students can no longer swim in the canal,

garbage is picked up, and nice greenery has

replaced the open canal.’’

The program also introduced an integrated

approach to local competitiveness. This includes

improving government-to-business (G2B) services

by issuing shop licenses and construction

permits; encouraging sector competitiveness

through locally-driven Public-Private Dialogues

targeting four clusters (textiles, sugar cane, embroidery

and furniture); and improving management

and services in local industrial zones.

More than 3,300 local firms had felt the benefit

of these initiatives by 2021, with the occupancy

rate in industrial zones increasing by 20 percentage

points in Qena and 5 in Sohag since 2017.

The idea is to offer investors faster services at

technology centers serving as hubs for registering

construction plans and obtaining building

licenses and permits. To date, the program has

reduced the time required to obtain construction

permits by at least 25% in several, targeted

District Service Centers.

“I have been applying for construction permits

since 2012,” said Hashem Abdel Hamid, an

architect in Sohag, who made use of its upgraded

technology center. ‘’Previously,

permits took me two to three months.

Now, the duration is much shorter and

the process much more organized.”

Additionally, the program enhanced

citizen and business engagement

through a participatory process. Citizens,

including women and youth, are

involved in the selection of investment

projects through regular consultation.

Over 8,500 local citizens have participated,

almost one-third of them women,

and their inputs have informed the

choice of projects included in the annual

budget.

The program has increased public

access to information—and the degree

of transparency involved—by publicly

disclosing official documents left previously

unpublished, such as governorates’

annual budgets, audit reports,

procurement plans, citizen feedback

reports and complaint resolution data.

The program adopted a participatory

planning approach, consulting

people from a wide section of society

to identify, implement, and evaluate

the investments to be made.

It handles complaints from citizens on local services

via a new grievance mechanism.

Local businesses have convened public–private

meetings to identify their priorities, such

as Investor Forums in industrial zones and sector

competitiveness initiatives, where local businesses

develop action plans to challenge the constraints

they face.

‘’The program is creating an environment for

evidence-based policy reform and the institutional

reforms essential to improving the competitiveness

of lagging regions and to empowering

local governments on tackling community

needs and priorities,’’ said Marina Wes, World

Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and

Djibouti. ‘’The hope is to create a replicable

model for boosting the development of lagging

regions in Egypt and the Middle East.’’

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

41


In-Depth

Culture Building

Amidst

“Great Resignation”

The Great Resignation may be a new phrase to many, but to

researchers, it’s been a long time coming. It’s also a time to invest

in culture building.

42 September 2021

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In-Depth

By Christine Salzmann

Self-reflection and job satisfaction became

central to the workforce in the past year,

amidst the time for reassessment and reflection

posed by the pandemic.

Shifting careers, or simply moving from one

company to another, is often triggered by significant

shocks to the system; these range from positive

major life events such as a successful side business

launch or a new baby, or simply a global shift such as

those brought on by the pandemic.

According to a Microsoft survey of more than

30,000 global workers, around 41% were considering

quitting or changing professions this year, while

38% planned to quit in the next six months to a year

in a separate study by HR software company Personio

of workers in the UK and Ireland.

Researchers and economists have named the

mass-turnover event “the Great Resignation.”

There are numerous reasons for people to seek

change, and workers who had previously already

been on the fence about their workplaces – with issues

stemming from problematic managers to poor

existing company culture – might have had their

eyes opened by the pandemic and the precarity it

brought.

The pandemic’s atmosphere unlocked a new perspective

and focus for workers around the globe,

leading to renewed motivation to pursue dream

jobs, start a new business, or even transition to being

a stay-at-home parent; but for some, the pandemic

provided an opportunity to experience how employers

and their company cultures serve employees.

Ultimately, companies are in competition to attract

and keep top talent; with millennial and Gen-Z

knowledge workers stepping out of the pandemic’s

shadow with a new outlook on how they evaluate

their careers, work-life balance, and work satisfaction,

companies will need to take a step back and

assess their company culture to avoid or lessen the

effect of the “great resignation”.

Setting up a company culture of success

Building a strong and cohesive company culture

is one of the easiest ways to differentiate and boost

your employer brand, thereby reducing turnover

and attracting new top talent.

Despite common preconceptions, a company

culture doesn’t start when a plan and strategy is

drawn or even when you launch your new human

resources department, it begins as soon as your first

employee walks in through the door.

For those working in major companies, most leaders

jump into an already established culture, but it

is up to you whether to nurture or reconsider how

your company treats its employees.

For young startup founders and teams, the focus

is mainly directed to building a product and looking

for a product market fit, often kicking the idea of

establishing a company culture to the backburner;

as a supposed strategy to look at down the line when

they hit 50, 100 or more employees.

Yet culture is one of the highest impact activities

to dedicate your energy towards and thereby ensure

growth and productivity.

In an article for Forbes, Candida Brush, one of the

early pioneers in entrepreneurship research, said

that “Why is culture important in a new company?

The failure or quit rate of new ventures is around

50-60% during the first 2 years.”

“When a business closes their doors, one of leading

causes is leadership or management, which is

often stated as poor team composition, incompetence

(living too high for the business or emotional

decision-making), all of which can be linked directly

to culture,” she wrote.

A strong culture informs employees of what is expected

of them, courts the best and most motivated

employees, and builds the foundation for a longterm,

successful enterprise.

For startups, a positive company culture allows

them to compete with larger companies to attract

top talent, while more established companies use it

to strengthen their employer branding for attraction

and retention – ensuring that hours of employee

training and development stays within the company.

Companies will need to understand their culture

in-depth, and enforce it at all times, to keep ahead

of the “great resignation”, as it not only supports a

company’s brand and identity but also ties the company’s

employees together through shared vision

and expectations.

Setting the Culture

Setting the tone and building up the core of

company culture lies on everyone’s shoulders in an

organization, but oftentimes it is those at the top

who lead, furthering a company-wide culture in a

certain direction. Company culture tends to reflect

its founders or CEOs – their personality, strengths,

weaknesses, and attitude – making them defining

figures in its establishment. Through their actions, a

culture begins to form or evolve; founders or CEOs

who openly communicate with an open-door policy

or practices transparency with their teams will foster

the foundations of a culture of transparency.

The human resources department or lead is often

overlooked, particularly for startups with a small

number of employees, but play a vital role in promoting

and nurturing the culture based off of the

core values and actions of founders and CEOs.

Through this, an HR lead may elevate the culture

by creating a playbook or set of rules, and establishing

guidelines for hiring new individuals that fit the

culture.

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In-Depth

Defining the Mission

and Vision

It is

important to understand

the company’s purpose

and goals. By defining the company’s

mission and vision, employees are able to

better align themselves with the company’s

attitude and work style, which in turn leads

to more independent work successfully

in alignment with the company’s

overall mission and vision.

Creating the ideal

work environment

A positive work environment

enhances people’s productivity

and motivation. The daily grind

and occasional stressors are part in parcel

of work, although offsetting this by creating a

pleasant environment is essential for their sanity,

your success, and the business’ success.

Invest in your office space, hire a consultant if possible,

and select themes, colors and fun elements

that reflect the company’s values and industry.

Inspired by the world’s biggest tech companies,

consider a break area that promotes a

friendly atmosphere and encourages taking

breaks to reduce stress and raise

productivity.

Encouraging Team

Bonding

Company culture lies in its people and

how different teams and personalities work

and interact with each other, which is how

team building exercises, and even days, have

been growing in popularity.

It is essential to invest time in company retreats

and team building days, because an effective

team building exercise builds trust, mitigates

conflict, encourages communication, and

increases collaboration, particularly with

teams that don’t usually work together.

Friendly competition has also been

shown to increase productivity

in the workplace.

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In-Depth

Open a clear line of

communication

Giving the Freedom

to Fail

Admitting and accepting a

failed task, product or etc. allows people

to take ownership of their work and enhance

their accountability, which in turn lets

people be more open to innovating – whether it

is a new product or working methods.

Creating an environment that accepts failure,

encourages employees to propose solutions

and test options is key.

Failure is a part of experimenting, and

any business and industry can learn a

lot from mistakes and experience.

Another Microsoft survey states that 1 out of

5 workers say their employer doesn’t care about their

work-life balance, while a whopping 54% say they feel overworked

and 39% report feeling exhausted. These are all prime

reasons why people leave their jobs and current turnover behaviors.

Working from home a key feature of the pandemic’s effects on

the workforce, has forced workers to feel the pressure to keep up and

be available around the clock, which leads to burnout and drops in

job satisfaction levels. However, many leaders are only able to see

the higher productivity levels or ease of access to their employees

through ad-hoc virtual meetings at any time of the day.

Companies should train managers and team leaders on how to

facilitate an open communication culture to encourage team

members to speak up about issues or concerns.

Without fostering an open company culture, leaders

are unable to understand what happens behind computer

screens and are unable to catch issues

before they escalate to its final phase

– a push to resign.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

45


In-Depth

How to Optimize

Your Days Off

It’s time to tackle a new kind of challenge: how to properly take a

day-off.

By Christine Salzmann

We are accustomed to pushing ourselves when at work, and

often that follows us into our lives outside of work. When vacation

time arrives, whether it is a weekend or a long overdue

holiday, it can be hard to fully unplug.

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In-Depth

Alongside feeling the pressure to dedicate our

lives to the job, there is the unspoken pressure

to ensure that our days off are as “productive” as

our lives at the office.

The need to finish all the chores, reconnect

with friends and family, and enjoy time away can

take from how the unwinding of a day off, whether

it is meant to make us feel more relaxed, special,

or connected to ourselves and loved one.

When we take time off, we can fail to live up

to these personal expectations. We try to do it

all, and when we can’t, we feel bad and beat ourselves

up about it, sometimes making the days

set aside for self-care as exhausting as a workday.

However, it is important to remember why taking

time-off is essential. The Japanese have a serious

issue called “Karoshi,” an endemic that led

the Japanese government to form the National

Defense Counsel for Victims of Karoshi.

Karoshi is defined as “death due to over work,”

and the counsel claims that around 10,000 Japanese

workers die from overwork annually. The

government also passed the “Work Style Reform

Bill” in 2018, in a bid to encourage a less workaholic

culture that promotes taking time-off.

Across cultures, taking the time to rest and unwind

has proven essential.

So, if you have ever returned to the office feeling

sluggish and exhausted, how do you ensure

that the next weekend or day off leaves you ready

to take on the world?

First, figure out what you want from your time

off; the 3 types of day-off activities are relaxation,

productivity, and pleasure. Consider what you

need from your vacation or time-off; you can

include all three categories in one day, you can

include just two, or you can pick several activities

from the same category.

Relaxing activities could be those that feel

indulgent, be it napping all day, painting or reflecting

whilst staring out the window. Productive

activities can be deep-cleaning or gardening,

while pleasure activities are immensely personal

and could be cooking/baking, watching a movie

or playing video games.

“Planning” for the optimal day-off

While some people prefer to have unplanned

and ad hoc adventures during vacation days,

some people need structure to get started with

their recreational activities

Whichever the case, spending at least 10 minutes

with yourself, considering how you feel and

what kind of activities you are looking forward

to kicking off your day with a bit of confidence.

In doing so, you can still get the serotonin kick

from productivity without actually working.

You can also use your day-off as a time to plan

future days off, like researching and booking a

vacation, or looking up volunteering opportunities.

Get Ahead

If you have spent time planning, it is now time

to get ahead on the things you never seem to find

time to do – housework, errands, that haircut,

paperwork, and all those other elusive things.

While days-off are meant for relaxing and having

fun, it is rarely entirely separate from annoying

and unavoidable things such as errands. As

long as you are not burned out, using your day

to get ahead is always smart in the long term and

makes you feel productive and confident in the

short term.

I highly recommend putting your errands into

a to-list that can be done in a dedicated timeframe,

such as between 10 am – 12 pm, so it

won’t feel like errands are taking over your entire

day.

Dedicate Time to Connect and Socialize

The Harvard Business Review recommends

setting aside some time during your day-off to

catch up with friends and family.

It suggests splitting up your vacation into

small increments, whether it’s a short lunch on

a single day-off or most of the day in a longer

vacation, to opening up several opportunities to

connect with friends while not feeling like you

are sacrificing your family time.

“If you struggle to have an uninterrupted conversation

with your spouse because your kids are

always around, a similar strategy can be helpful.

Find days when one or both of you can take a

little time off to be together. An extra hour or

two will barely make a difference at work, but

could make a massive impact on the quality of

your relationship,” HBR explained.

Respect your way of recharging

Time-off is inherently very personal, and optimizable

according to your own wants and needs.

Some people feel more energized and recharge

by spending time with loved ones or

working on big projects, while others need less

stimuli, some alone time to reset and relax.

The most important thing is to know yourself

in order to have a nice relaxing day. Don’t let

others pressure you into “relaxing” in a way that

is actually stressful for you.

Finding the time to take a day off can be difficult,

and not everyone can do it regularly. So,

when you do have an extra day, make sure that it

truly restores and nourishes you.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

47


In-Depth

Emotional

Well-being

during the

Crisis

How can the Internet help mitigate

the pandemic’s mental and emotional

toll?

48 September 2021

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By Hanan Mohamed

The mental and emotional strain of

abruptly transitioning to telecommuting

or online learning, caring

for elderly or immunocompromised

relatives and mitigating the risks posed to

one’s health are just some of the challenges

many people dealt with during the outbreak

of the coronavirus pandemic. From both a

business and an individual perspective, managing

emotional well-being can seem elusive.

In Egypt, search interest for mental health

reached its 10-year high in May 2020. Globally,

Arabic search queries for “how to improve my

mental health” grew by 1,100% between 2016

and 2021, peaking in August 2020. These statistics

pushed Google to launch the Arabic version

of Google Assistant to respond to queries

related to emotional wellbeing with coping

mechanisms drafted by licensed therapists.

Business Today Egypt speaks with Najeeb Jarrar,

head of consumer product marketing at

Google MENA, to learn about the new feature

and how emotional advice can be offered online.

We also spoke to Yasmin A. Razek, MA,

RP, Registered Psychotherapist, and Marriage

& Family Therapist to understand how to resort

to an online help for such issues.

Tell us more about Google search trends related

to emotional well-being in Egypt and the

Arab world.

Najeeb: Google Trends data indicate that interest

in self-care and wellbeing reached their

ten-year high in the Arab world in 2020. We

also saw a lot of people turn to Google Assistant

for answers. In addition to commands to

set alarms, hear jokes and play music, millions

also told the Arabic Google Assistant they were

feeling sad, lonely and worried.

Why did Google decide to launch this feature

in Arabic?

Najeeb: Helping people reach that piece of

information, especially when they need it most,

is at the heart of everything we do at Google.

This new feature will offer millions of people

who use the Arabic Google Assistant everyday,

expert-reviewed responses about emotional

wellbeing in a simple and accessible fashion.

How is the Google Assistant taught to understand

Egyptian Arabic + respond in Modern

Standard Arabic?

Najeeb: Natural language generation (NLG)

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In-Depth

is the task of producing fluent text output. The

Assistant is conversational in the sense that it

speaks back to users, giving them the answers

they need, or asking for further clarifying information.

The Assistant’s language needs to

be correct in grammar and spelling, easy in

style and natural in tone. The responses have

been curated by highly-trained linguists and

creative writers, and pronounced by a Text-to-

Speech (TTS) system that has been developed

using the most advanced technology.

What is the role of UAE-based Company Safe

Space in this feature?

Najeeb: Safe Space works with a network of

licensed therapists. Several of these therapists

drafted a series of coping mechanisms in response

to the most frequent questions and

statements related to emotional wellbeing,

which the Assistant will use to base its answers.

In Egypt, search interest for mental health

reached its 10-year high in May 2020, according

to Google data. To what extent do you find

the new feature would help people in Egypt,

especially amidst the COVID-19 crisis?

Najeeb: This feature brings expert-reviewed

information much closer to anyone who tells

their Assistant that they feel sad, lonely, tired,

or angry. At the end of each response the Assistant

will also suggest consulting expert help

if necessary. I hope this new feature helps start

wider and more frequent conversations about

emotional and mental wellbeing in Egypt.

Why did Google tend to launch ‘The A to Z of

AI’ in Arabic, in collaboration with the Oxford

Internet Institute?

Najeeb: Search interest for ‘artificial intelligence’

related queries on Google Search have

grown due to the growing number of jobs requiring

AI skills around the world, including

the MENA region. While there’s plenty of information

out there on AI, it’s not always easy

to distinguish fact from fiction or find simple

explanations. This is why we collaborated with

the Oxford Internet Institute to help everyone

understand what AI is, how it works and how

it’s changing the world.

What is the aim of the USAID initiative in collaboration

with Google to train and mentor

hundreds of Egyptian women and youth business

owners, as well as business advisors, in

2021?

Najeeb: This collaboration aims to help entrepreneurs

build and promote their online

brands, equipping them with the essential

digital skills to develop their businesses online,

unlock online opportunities and reach more

customers.

Your work at Google is currently focused on

expanding and improving the Arabic versions

of the assistant and Google Search on an ongoing

basis; are there any other Arabic projects

slated to launch?

Najeeb: There’s constant work in the background

to help Search and Assistant get better

and better. My colleagues are working on

50 September 2021

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In-Depth

and guidance to individuals who report to the

Google Assistant that they are feeling lonely,

sad, scared, or angry.

Is online counselling helpful?

Yasmin: Online therapy is definitely very

helpful, especially during this global pandemic.

For example, the ease and convenience in offering

video-call sessions from the privacy of an

individual’s own space can be very encouraging

for those who may hesitate to start therapy for

different reasons, such as social distancing or

responsibilities at home. Online therapy can be

a great first step for those who may later need

more intensive counselling in a traditional setting,

for frequent travelers, or for people living

in remote areas without readily accessible mental

health practitioners.

upcoming Doodles, as well as new features and

products. We have nothing to announce at the

moment but you’ll surely hear about it before

we announce anything.

What other features were propelled by the

coronavirus pandemic?

Mental Health research output in the Arab

world increased by almost 160% in the past ten

years, in comparison to 57% for the rest of the

world.

Egypt-based mental health startup Shezlong

registered a 31% increase in the number of

therapy sessions booked on its platform from

February to March, matching a rise in the number

of psychiatrists looking to join its platform

since the start of the COVID outbreak.

The size of the MENA mental health software

market was valued at USD $0.1B in 2020 and is

estimated to be growing at a CAGR of 12.61%

to reach $0.18B by 2025

When is it necessary to stop asking for help online

and go to the doctor clinic?

Yasmin: Individuals who have serious mental

illnesses, addictions, or are at high risk to their

self or others will likely need more treatment

than online therapy can provide. If individuals

have tried online therapy and are uncomfortable

or prefer traditional, face-to-face therapy,

As for Yasmin A. Razek, Registered Psychotherapist,

Marriage & Family Therapist, she

thinks that in this digital era, having access to

information and resources in mental health is

becoming ever more crucial by the day. This

helps individuals see that treatment is now

more accessible and that their symptoms, conditions,

or mental health state can definitely be

supported and alleviated.

What is your role in the emotional well-being

feature in Google Assistant?

Yasmin: As a licensed psychotherapist, my

role was to review the coping mechanisms and

comforting responses aimed to offer support

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

51


In-Depth

The emergence and spread of coronavirus arguably

triggered mental issues. What is your advice

for people to overcome this period safely?

Yasmin: This is unfortunately very sad and

true. Social distancing has resulted in a huge

loss of connection, which is vital for our mental

health. Although lockdowns and social distancing

are still in effect in many areas, I highly encourage

individuals to try and meet their connection

needs by engaging with others in more

creative ways, such as: video chats, doing activities

together online, or at a safe distance in a

park, if possible. Open up about struggles you

may be facing during this difficult period, talk

to a therapist or to loved ones. Please get the

support you need because you don’t have to go

through it alone.

Did the pandemic push more people to take

care of their mental health and ask for help?

Yasmin: I think more people are becoming

aware of just how important human connection

is to our wellbeing. With that being so

limited now or perhaps even completely gone

for some, social isolation has resulted in a decline

in mental health and challenges for many

people. Many have also tragically lost friends

or family members, jobs, or income with the

spread of the coronavirus and so many therapists

may have seen an emergence in individuals

seeking support. It’s also been encouraging

to see more and more influential accounts online

tackling mental health, the challenges that

many people can relate to, and the importance

of asking for help so that we can all continue

working together on destigmatizing mental

health!

How important is it to have online features and

applications specialized in mental health?

Yasmin: In this digital era, I think having access

to information and resources in mental

health is becoming more crucial and necessary

by the day. This helps individuals see that

treatment is now more accessible and that their

symptoms, conditions, or mental health state

can definitely be supported and alleviated.

it is advisable they discuss this with their therapist

to explore further steps and possibly refer

them to therapists who provide sessions in-person.

Is there any positive aspect of this crisis?

Yasmin: The coronavirus pandemic has created

a lot of darkness and stress for many individuals,

and I believe we need to be mindful

and considerate when discussing the “positive

outcomes” of the crisis. However, there are

opportunities that may have risen amidst our

fears and uncertainties. Some have had the

chance to slow down their busy life and spend

some quality time with their families, reflect,

and reconsider their mindsets to instill positive

change. Others may have taken up more

opportunities to reconnect and help others

with the sense of “we’re in this together” that

has created more social unity and innovation,

empathy, modesty, and even environmental

protection efforts. Finally, we may have been

given the ultimate opportunity, time, so that

we can pave the way towards a healthier lifestyle

that prioritizes our mental health and

wellness.

52 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


Under the auspices of H.E President AbdelFattah El Sisi

Egypt Set to Host the EDEX 2021

this November

The Egyptian Armed Forces have announced the second

edition of the international defense and military

industries exhibition - Egypt Defence Expo (EDEX

2021), which will take place from 29 November to 2

December 2021, at Egypt International Exhibition Center under

the auspices of His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi,

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Supreme Commander

of the Armed Forces. The event reflects part the Egyptian

Armed Forces keenness to host major international gatherings on

Egyptian soil in the field of defense and military industries.

The expo is an opportunity to exchange expertise between professionals

from leading international and local bodies in the field

of armament systems and defense and military industries. This

year’s edition is expected to host more than 400 exhibitors from

around the world to showcase the latest defence and military

technologies across land, sea and air. Numerous military delegations

and more than 30,000 industry visitors are also expected to

attend this renowned exhibition.

General Mohamed Zaki, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed

Forces, Minister of Defense and Military Production, commented,

“We look forward to welcoming the international defence

industry to Egypt. We expect the expo to grow even more in size

and impact than the first overwhelmingly successful edition. The

Armed Force’s General Command will follow all the precautionary

measures during the expo, in order to ensure the safety of all

our visitors as our number one priority”.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces also stated

that the expo would open new horizons of cooperation between

Egypt and countries from around the world in the field of military

industries. “EDEX has become an influential international pivot

to showcase the latest in military, defense and technological industries

in the world.”

Managing Director, Clarion Defence & Security MEA, Thomas

Gaunt stated, “EDEX has become a key hub for the biggest

players in the defense and armaments industry around the world.

We are eager to host this event along with the Egyptian Minister

of Defense and Military Production.” He added that there is a

strong demand from companies to participate in the second edition

of the expo, indicated in the confirmations and reservations

of spaces, which triumphs the first edition significantly.

Gaunt added that, Clarion Defence and Security, the world’s

largest organizer of defence and security events, would apply the

maximum safety precautions to ensure the safety and health of all

attendees in the midst of the pandemic.

Several major international manufacturers of military equipment

have confirmed their participation as sponsors of EDEX

2021, including Fincantieri, MBDA, Lockheed Martin, Dassault

Aviation, Naval Group, Hensoldt and esri North Africa.



Keeping up with Industry

A Look into

Egypt’s Petroleum

and Mining

Sectors

As demand slowly returns amidst the world’s efforts to recover

from the pandemic’s initial challenges, the Oxford Business Group

reports on the progress of Egypt’s petroleum and mining sectors.


In-Depth

By Oxford Business Group

The petroleum sector has long been a

key pillar of Egypt’s economy, writes

the Oxford Business Group (OBG),

highlighting Egypt as Africa’s largest

oil producer that is not a member of the Organization

of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Due to its favorable geographic location on

the Mediterranean Sea and as the operator of

the Suez Canal, Egypt has easy access to markets

in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, making

it well-positioned for trade in the global energy

market, writes the Oxford Business Group in its

latest report highlighting Egypt’s oil and gas industry.

However, despite several positive local trends

prior to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a

drop in global oil consumption to 92.2 million

bpd, resulting in the Egyptian petroleum sector’s

GDP contribution’s contraction by 3 percentage

points to hit 24% in 2020.

Previously, the oil and gas sector contributed

27% to the country’s GDP in 2018/19 to record

EGP 1.4 trillion, writes OBG, quoting Minister of

Petroleum and Mining Resources, Tarek El Molla,

who says that a surplus in the trade balance

was achieved in 2018/19.

“During the past four years, the petroleum sector

has fought one of the strongest battles of development,

construction, and change, transforming

crises and challenges into success stories,

reaping the benefits for the people of this country.

It has also contributed to the advancement of

the national economy and continued to play its

role as a driver of growth,” the minister added.

Egypt does continue to be a net importer of oil

products due to the high energy needs of its large

population, but it expanded refining capacity in

recent years and has seen the import of gasoline

and diesel fall while lower-cost crude imports

rise, OBG explains.

Egypt has been a net oil importer since 2006,

but the government expects to return to self-sufficiency

in oil production by 2023.

Egypt’s refinery output is largely directed at

local demand, with its refinery capacity mostly

stable in the last decade at around 800,000 bpd.

Domestic demand is expected to rise over the

medium term amid accelerated post-pandemic

GDP growth, which is forecast at an annual average

expansion of 5.6% for 2022-24 by the IMF.

The pandemic’s lower-than-normal demand

for refined oil products in Egypt due to coronavirus

restrictions in 2020 contributed to positive

export figures, as did an increase in demand

56 September 2021

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In-Depth

Graph source: Egypt Oil & Gas

from Asia towards the end of the year. In 2020,

Egypt achieved a positive external trade balance

for refined products for the first time – equal to

17,000 bpd.

Modernizing the sector and creating long-term

strategies

Egypt’s downstream petroleum industry has

the potential to further develop and diversify the

country’s value-added manufacturing exports,

notes the OBG report, adding that the country’s

reliance on imported raw materials for many industries

counterbalances this through rising import

costs.

If Egypt manages to achieve self-sufficiency

in oil as it has done in natural gas, the industry

would be among the first to fully localize, and the

export of refined petroleum products could be a

significant boon to the economy.

Under its plans to become an oil and gas hub,

Egypt pushed for the creation of an organization

to strengthen cooperation among eastern Mediterranean

countries involved in the production

or trade of gas, which led to the January 2019

establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas

Forum.

Expanding pipeline connections will help

Egypt realize its aspirations of becoming a regional

leader in energy trade, boosting the country’s

capacity to export liquefied natural gas (LNG)

to Europe and reducing reliance on Russian gas,

the report explained.

Egypt previously introduced an oil and gas sector

modernization program in 2017, falling under

the broader objectives of Egypt Vision 2030’s

framework, in aims to improve industry appetite

to investors and its resilience to volatility in international

markets.

The program is expected to significantly in-

Graph source: Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

Graph source: Egypt Oil & Gas

57


In-Depth

Graph sources: BP; Egypt Oil & Gas

crease the availability of oil and gas, reducing

the need for imports to meet energy production

requirements and create opportunities for valueadded

downstream industries.

Focusing on 7 pillars, upstream investment

attraction; structural sector reform; human resource

management; downstream performance

and energy efficiency; upstream performance; oil

and gas hub strategy; and digital transformation;

the program aims to become a model for reform

and modernization for other sectors as well.

Results of the government’s reforms were visible

in the first international offshore bidding

round in 2019 for the exploration of oil and gas

in the Red Sea, as well as in the revised terms of

agreements regarding newly discovered areas –

such as those in the western Mediterranean and

Red Sea – which made them more competitive

and attractive to investors, the OBG explained.

Foreign interest in the Egyptian market was

driven by recent large-scale discoveries and efficient

discovery-to-production timelines, including

the El Zohr gas field, considered one of the

largest offshore natural gas fields in the Mediterranean,

with estimated reserves of 30trn standard

cu feet (scf).

Provisions that consider the costs and risks of

exploration and production in petroleum agreements

– ensuring a fairer return on investment

– were introduced to build upon those successes,

with expectations to generate more foreign activity.

The formation of joint ventures, in addition

to flexibility in the timing of filling certain positions,

is a positive sign for international oil companies

(IOCs) looking to expand their presence

in Egypt, writes the Oxford Business Group.

Prior to the pandemic, Egypt’s reforms and

investment attraction measures also helped to

make Egypt the number-one destination for foreign

direct investment (FDI) in Africa and second

in the MENA region in 2019.

This led Egypt to attract a record $9 billion that

year, according to the UN Conference on Trade

and Development. However, FDIs soon saw a decline

as the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect

Graph source: BP

58 September 2021

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In-Depth

industries, with FDIs in Egypt’s oil sector falling

fell from a net inflow of $744.2 million in the first

quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2019/2020 to a net outflow

of $75.3 million in the same period of FY

2020/2021.

Egypt opened the downstream gas segment

to the private sector in August 2017 through its

Natural Gas Regulatory Act, allowing private actors

to be involved in transmission, distribution,

storage, liquefaction and re-gasification, as well

as shipping and supply; all segments previously

managed by the government and its entities.

Under the law, private companies were also

able to import natural gas, with supervision provided

by the Regulatory Gas Authority.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining Resources

(MPMR) showed flexibility in the terms

of oil production sharing agreements in recent

years, amidst an effort to attract the experience

and capital of IOCs, OBG added.

Encouraging foreign investment is the country’s

progress on reducing outstanding payments

to IOCs; in mid-2020 the MPMR stated that money

owed to private operators stood at $850 million

– down $50 million from the previous year.

This showcases significant progress since June

Around

60 international

oil and gas

companies

operate in

Egypt

Infographic source:

Ministry of Petroleum

and

Mining Resources

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

59


In-Depth

Graph source: Central Bank of Egypt

2017, when the amount owed to IOCs stood at

approximately $2.3 billion, helping the industry’s

already active companies reinvest

funds and aiding new

firms to make the case for investment

to their boards.

In the years between 2014

and 2020, Egypt signed 86

agreements with several international

oil companies, recording

around $15 billion in

investments.

“Foreign direct investment

(FDI) in Egypt’s oil and gas

sector for FY 2020/21 is expected

to be $2.2 billion,

according to government

projections, accounting for

57.9% of the $3.8 billion in

FDI forecast to be invested in

the economy overall. The majority

of FDI in oil and gas is

set to be sourced from private

players (57.6%), followed by

public companies (38.4%),

central projects (3.7%) and

government agencies (0.3%).

In January 2021, the MPMR announced the

signing of $1 billion in oil and gas exploration

agreements, with six international and local companies

for areas in the Mediterranean and Red

Sea,” the report clarified.

Breaking ground in the mining sector

Although Egypt’s mining sector currently accounts

for around 0.5% of GDP, it is set to be

one of the fastest growing and most strategic sectors

of the decade, in light of public policy prioritization,

writes OBG, pointing out that there

are over 40 initiatives in place to attract greater

investment in mining under the country’s overarching

plan through to 2030.

Prior to the issuance of the new mining law

in August 2019, and its executive regulations

in January 2020, aiming to transition the sector

away from its reliance on the petroleum industry,

Egypt struggled to attract significant investment

in the mining sector.

The regulations worked to move the framework

from one that followed the petroleum

industry, mainly on the employment of production-sharing

agreements (which slowed growth),

to one better suited to the investment requirements

and production cycle of mining with regards

to tax, rents and royalties, wrote the report.

With the new legal framework, the industry is

poised to become a more vibrant mining sector,

60 September 2021

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In-Depth

Graphics sources: CAPMAS; Ministry of Petroleum and Mining Resources

one capable of attracting new investors, however

OBG writes that this may not be sufficient on its

own.

“According to an October 2020 report by the

global consultancy firm McKinsey, it is also necessary

to build local mining expertise and invest

in the proper direct and indirect infrastructure

to support activity. Just as Egypt has made investments

in oil refineries and LNG plants, the mining

sector requires investments in laboratories,

processing plants and mineto-port infrastructure,

such as railways,” it explained.

Previously, mining operations were largely limited

to ferrous and non-ferrous alloys, industrial

minerals, and mineral fuels, with only small-scale

exploitation of precious metals, and included

only 3 foreign players in the market despite

Egypt’s significant deposits of gold, copper, silver,

platinum, zinc, tantalite, and coal.

To remedy this, the new law took into consideration

the high costs associated with mineral

exploration and production – moving away from

the previous regulatory framework that mirrored

the oil and gas sector. The framework eliminated

the need for mining companies to form a joint

venture with the Egyptian government and limited

royalties to a maximum of 20%, writes OBG.

Following a bidding round in November 2020,

11 companies were awarded 82 gold exploration

concessions in the Eastern Desert.

The government aims to increase mining’s

contribution to GDP to 5% by 2025 from 0.6% in

early 2021. To do this, Egypt has embarked on a

multi-pronged strategy to catalyze the industry’s

transformation, with efforts to increase overall

investment, modernize the sector and reform

regulations.

Aligning with Egypt’s broader industrial plan,

the launch of the “gold city” in early 2021 aims

Graph source: BP

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

61


In-Depth

to make the city a logistical center for manufacturing

and crafts, featuring a refining factory for

gold and a school to train jewelers and craftspeople.

“In order for Egypt to capitalize on its deposits

of gold and other metals and minerals, it is necessary

to develop the kind of infrastructure that

already exists in the oil and gas industry. Similar

to hydrocarbons, the main priorities for the mining

industry include investing in processing and

value-added manufacturing capabilities, and establishing

a base of qualified talent,” the report

concluded.

Growing demands or past the peak?

When it comes to investment in the sector, international

prices and demand trends rank beside

domestic regulation and prospects as main

attracting features. Case in point is the COVID-19

pandemic, which pushed prices down and slowed

investment in the oil and gas industry on the

back of reduced worldwide demand for energy

and fuel.

The OBG report highlighted the conflicting

predictions of international oil and gas company

BP and the International Energy Agency regarding

global energy demand for the next few years.

In BP’s “rapid” scenario – which assumes that

carbon prices will increase significantly, causing

carbon emissions to drop by 70% by 2050 – the

company forecasts the pandemic will reduce demand

by 3m barrels per day (bpd) by 2025 and

2 million bpd by 2050 compared to pre-Covid-19

years, explained OBG.

In this scenario, as well as the “net zero” scenario

– which assumes that global carbon emissions

from energy use are down more than 95%

by 2050 – BP suggests that global oil demand may

have already peaked in 2019, it added.

On the other hand, the International Energy

Agency projects that while developed economies

have already reached peak demand, this will be

offset by emerging and developing economies,

which it forecasts will see an increase in demand

of 9 million bpd between 2019 and 2030.

Bloomberg NEF’s forecast is more optimistic,

predicting that demand for oil will plateau in

2050 after peaking at approximately 107 million

bpd in 2035, the inevitable slowdown, combined

with increasing public interest in climate

62 September 2021

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In-Depth

Infographic source: Ministry of Petroleum and Mining Resources

and sustainability issues, is driving the largest

global international oil companies (IOCs) to

reassess their exploration strategies and production

plans. This is likely to slow investment and

increase divestment by the largest global IOCs in

some instances.

While the first half of 2021 saw prices increase

on a limited return of demand, the slow rollout

of vaccines in some regions entails the pandemic

is likely to continue to dampen travel and economic

activity in many countries for another

year, notes the OBG report.

However, the situation could be a boon for

some, as it could create more investment opportunities

for smaller IOCs, with OBG using Shell

Egypt’s announcement of its sale of upstream assets

to Cheiron Petroleum and Cairn Energy for

$646-926 million as part of its global strategy to

downsize upstream operations as an example.

Meanwhile, appetite for petrochemicals will

likely be shaped by fast-growing economies such

as Egypt, where demand will be tied to efficiency

in packaging methods, the regulation of plastics

use and the rate of recycling, it concluded.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

63


BT Scene

Alameda Healthcare group signs cooperation protocol with the Ministry

of Petroleum’s Medical Affairs

Alameda Healthcare Group, the leading Egyptian private

healthcare group, inked a cooperation protocol with the Medical

Affairs division at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Recourses

to offer premium medical care services to the employees of the

petroleum companies.

Through this agreement, Alameda is slated to initiate a petroleum

advisory board that will include key consultants covering

various aspects from medical, operational to financing, if needed.

The advisory board will work on integrating the petroleum medical

centers all over Egypt, with Alameda’s strategically located network

especially in major procedures and organ transplantation.

Moreover, on-site doctors will be enrolled into training programs,

as it is extremely crucial and essential to provide training to

medical professionals to provide patient-centered care. In addition

to further benefits and privileges to the employees and their families

by presenting their company IDs only.

In this context, Neeraj Mishra, CEO of Alameda Healthcare Group

said, “we are really thrilled to sign today’s cooperation protocol

with the Ministry of Petroleum; it stems from our strong belief in

improving the quality and accessibility of medical services in Egypt.

Hence, we aim to expand the base of cooperation with the Ministry

of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in the fields of treatment,

healthcare, and the exchange of medical and other experiences”.

Alameda provides a diverse product offering catering to its customers’

needs through a strategically located and internationally

accredited network, as the group is the only healthcare provider in

the country that completes the spectrum from primary to after discharge

care at home, integrating continuum of care from primary,

and secondary, tertiary and quaternary levels.

Egypt’s B2B e-commerce startup Capiter raises $33 million Series A

Capiter, a Cairo-based B2B e-commerce startup bringing together

manufacturers, brands, wholesalers and retailers on one platform with

access to financial services, announced today it has raised a $33 million

Series A. Co-led by Quona Capital and MSA Capital alongside additional

investors Savola, Shorooq Partners, Foundation Ventures, Accion Venture

Lab, and Derayah Ventures. The round comes as Capiter ramps up its efforts

to expand its service across Egypt and

the region within 2022.

Capiter provides small, medium and enterprise

(SME) businesses with a single platform

that allows retailers to order a wide range of

inventory, obtain delivery, and access financing

all from a single platform. Using cutting

edge technology and machine learning, the

Capiter solution also helps brands and manufacturers

to gain critical insights into the markets

they serve, enabling them to access real

data to refine their distribution strategies and

increase efficiencies.

Capiter was launched in July 2020 by serial

entrepreneurs Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed

Nouh. Mahmoud was a co-founder and a former

COO of Egyptian ride hailing unicorn Swvl,

The Capiter funding comes only 3 weeks after

Swvl announced its potential through a SPAC deal at $1.5 billion, making

him the founder of two of the biggest startups in the region. Ahmed brings

a deep background as an entrepreneur in the shipping and logistics space.

In Capiter, the duo have attracted a global team that brings together the

expertise needed to achieve the company’s targets.

“As a homegrown startup, we are proud to have built such a sophisticated

solution in such a short amount of time,” said Mahmoud Nouh, Capiter’s

co-founder and CEO. “Our entire application can be easily customized

to each buyer’s needs, providing profitable insights into locations, walk-in

rates, best product types, sales volume and more. All of this adds up to

a machine a at learning model that can actually help the merchant know

which inventory items to purchase next. Combined with our value in providing

merchants with access to financing through our local bank partnerships,

we’ve created an economy-changing solution.”

Ahmed Nouh, the company’s COO, added, “We’re well-placed to scale

geographically to enable more retailers across the region to use Capiter’s

services while also expanding into new

verticals like agriculture and pharmaceutical

offerings.”

Capiter represents Quona Capital’s first

investment in Egypt. “Capiter’s embedded finance

model, combined with its expertise and

strong user engagement, can have a dramatic

impact on the financial lives of SMEs, helping

them optimize their income which helps

communities to thrive,” said Monica Brand

Engel, co-founder and Managing Partner at

Quona Capital. “Quona’s investment in Capiter

builds on our existing B2B e-commerce portfolio

and growing presence in MENA. We look

forward to helping Capiter on its journey to

revolutionize the retail landscape in the region

and provide a model for peers globally while

increasing services for the underbanked.”

“Capiter is providing a remarkable solution to some of the key challenges

we witness firsthand in our day-to-day business in Egypt. The

inefficiencies of the supply chain have been a pain point for suppliers and

merchants and that is being efficiently addressed by Capiter’s platform,”

said Mohamed Badran, Chief Strategy Officer of Savola Foods. Waleed

Khalid Fatani, Savola Group CEO added “We, at Savola Group, believe that

as part of Savola Group’s Corporate Venture Program, this investment is

an important milestone in our Egypt’s aspirations whilst allowing Capiter

to benefit from our deep knowledge and experience of the FMCG in the

broader MENAT region.”

64 September 2021

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bt scene

Bonjorno Coffee Mix launches mega promotion

to win 10 fully finished apartments

in different governorates across Egypt

Bonjorno Coffee Mix, Nestlé Egypt’s coffee brand, announced the launch of a

new competition granting the winning contestants their dream apartment, and

valuable instant gifts for all contestants. This comes under the company’s keenness

to conduct various competitions with valuable prizes that positively affect people’s

lives. Every year, Bonjorno Coffee Mix holds competitions and draws for various

prizes. All Bonjorno Coffee Mix customers can participate in the competition by

sending the code inside the sachet to the designated number to enter the draw,

after which they will be notified of the gift they won.

Yasmine El Fiqi, Head of Coffee and Beverages business, Nestlé Egypt, said, “At

Nestlé, we are constantly working to improve the quality of life for consumers by

providing a diversified portfolio of products that contain the necessary nutritional

elements and are delicious at the same time; we also aim to inspire individuals to

lead healthier and happier lives. With competitions and draws being very popular

and witness high participation rates among individuals and families, we are keen to

offer valuable prizes that fulfil some of the basic needs and enhances the quality of

life for consumers.”

She continued, “In previous competitions, Coffee Mix by Bonjorno held weekly

draws on motorcycles and a minivan. As part of Nestlé’s role to creating shared

values, this time Coffee Mix is providing one of the most required needs - housing.

This year, Coffee Mix’s prizes will be 10 fully finished apartments in 10 different

governorates – in partnership with governmental entities involved in housing in

Egypt including the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, in addition

to other prizes offered by telecom providers. We wish all participants the best

of luck.”

For her part, Mrs. Mai Abdel Hamid, CEO of the Social Housing and Mortgage

Finance Fund stated, “The Fund, in order to activate its societal role, had agreed to

sell 10 of its housing units in various governorates in the country to Nestlé Egypt.

This comes in preparation for its delivery of these units to the winning citizens in

the competition that will be carried out by Nestlé Egypt.

She also added that the offered units shall consist of three rooms, a reception, a

bathroom and a fully finished kitchen, adding that the winners will not be charged

any money, including the maintenance deposit, as Nestlé Egypt has covered all the

required funds.

Mrs. Mai Abdel Hamid indicated that the units are located in separate areas,

which are “Cairo, Giza, Ismailia, Alexandria, Qena, Fayoum, and Beheira”. The location

of the unit is subject to adjustment according to the residency of the winners.

This comes as part of the Fund’s attempt to facilitate the process for winners ensuring

they can permanently reside their new homes. She also pointed out that the

signing of the cooperation protocol comes as a commitment from the Social Housing

and Mortgage Finance Fund to support the various categories and socio-economic

classes of the Egyptian people with regard to their ability to obtain housing,

and the participation of the fund in achieving the goals of community development.”

The CEO of Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund confirmed that the Fund

seeks to sign more cooperation protocols with all companies in support of their

role in social responsibility and community development, noting its expectations of

holding more cooperation protocols in this field during the coming period.

Egypt-ICF releases Cairo Communiqué

to drive global sustainable

development agenda

A new document charting the way forward for

developing economies to achieve the UN’s 2030

sustainable development goals (SDGs) was released

in Cairo.

The Cairo Communiqué was released at the conclusion

of the Egypt - International Cooperation

Forum (Egypt – ICF) to provide a set of recommendations

for international policymakers to embed

into their sustainable development efforts.

The communiqué outlines how multilateralism,

international cooperation and public-private sector

collaborations can help generate the additional $3.7

trillion a year needed to bridge the SDGs financing

gap and put the world on a path to a green recovery

from the pandemic.

Commenting on the release of the communique,

during the event’s closing ceremony, Egypt’s Minister

of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A.

Al-Mashat, said: “We will be working hard over the

next 12 months to continue with the momentum

started here at the Egypt-ICF to ensure that the

recommendations outlined in this communiqué are

implemented, alongside our international partners.”

Earlier, at the start of day two of the Forum,

Al-Mashat presented the country’s pioneering approach

to the ODA-SDG mapping model to the

international community, noting that it “offers a

robust example of how we can align globally on the

sustainability agenda – due to its adaptability and

scalability.”

Egypt’s digital ODA-SDG model is being used

to measure the real-world impact of 377 ongoing

SDG-related projects in the country, worth more

than $25 billion. The “pioneering” initiative is now

ready to be “replicated in other countries,” the UN’s

Resident Coordinator for Egypt, Elena Panova, told

the Forum.

Earlier, the Egypt-ICF heard how Africa’s transition

to digital trade and its reliance on technology

to push towards food security are key for a green

and inclusive recovery.

“It is vital to have the perfect mix of policies to

foster the use of technology, skills development

and building future industrial competencies – including

advanced technology – to create a win-win

situation for everyone in Africa,” explained Ahmed

Rezk of UNIDO’s Regional Hub office in Egypt.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

65


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Egypt Becomes Africa Finance Corporation’s 32nd Member State, With a

Potential of US$1 Billion of Investments

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has welcomed Egypt as its

newest member state. Egypt’s Prime Minister, H.E. Dr Mostafa

Madbouly, committed North Africa’s most populous nation to become

the 32nd member of the region’s leading infrastructure solutions

provider, opening up a potential US$1billion of investments.

“With the increasing importance of public-private partnerships

in advancing the African continent and Egypt in particular,

we are pleased to accede to membership

of a renowned and trusted pan-African institution

like Africa Finance Corporation,” Prime Minister

H.E. Dr Mostafa Madbouly said. “We are already in

discussions with AFC on pipeline projects, some

of which includes supporting COVID-19 vaccine

manufacture, working closely with the Ministry

of Transportation to fund the high speed train and

the Cairo Monorail projects, as well as a collaboration with The

Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE) to fund renewable projects, and we

look forward to executing these projects in line with the country’s

Vision 2030.”

AFC has already invested over US$100 million in infrastructure

projects in Egypt, including the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation

and Carbon Holdings, a petrochemicals conglomerate. AFC

has identified a further US$600 million worth of projects across the

renewables, natural gas, as well as the transport and logistics sectors

and expects to invest over US$1billion in total.

Egypt’s accession expands AFC’s footprint in North Africa, after

Morocco joined in June 2021. As a member, Egypt will enjoy benefits

including increased investment allocation, preferred access

to AFC’s structuring and lending solutions, reduced

debt costs for projects, and access to advisory and

project development services.

The Corporation’s President & CEO, Samaila

Zubairu, led a delegation of senior AFC executives

for meetings in Cairo in July with senior government

officials, including Prime Minister Madbouly and Minister

of Finance Dr. Mohamed Maait, who signed the

instrument of adherence to AFC membership.

“We had several meetings with key government stakeholders in

Cairo and their urgency in driving the next phase of development is

consistent with AFC’s support for resilient and sustainable infrastructure

that will benefit not only Egypt but the entire continent,”

said Mr. Zubairu. “I look forward to working with our partners to

strengthen manufacturing on the continent, in particular, the production

of Covid-19 vaccines.”

Nestlé Waters Egypt Provides COVID Vaccination to Kafr El Arabeen and Gamgara

villagers in Qalyubiya

Continuing on its efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, Nestlé Waters

Egypt, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, offers COVID vaccinations

to all residents above 18 in Kafr El Arabeen and Gamgara in Qalyubia.

This comes in line with Nestlé’s global commitments to support communities

in which they operate in and is also among the initiatives launched by

the government in the current period, such as “Haya Kareema” initiative.

Since the outburst of the pandemic, Nestlé Waters Egypt has made the

villagers’ health its priority. In March 2020, the company collaborated with

the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Governor of

Qalyubia to support the local community by raising awareness on the virus,

its precautionary measures and the importance of vaccination

Throughout the past year, Nestlé Waters distributed over 20,000 personal

care kits including gloves, alcohol and soaps. In addition to distributing

Ramadan boxes catering to more than 1,000 families whose jobs were

affected during COVID-19, the company also donated over 400,000 water

bottles to quarantine hospitals.

“The company is eager to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to vaccinate

all residents in Kafr El Arabyeen and Gamgara with the goal to educate

villagers on the importance and benefits of getting vaccinated,” Rassem

Dabbas Business Executive Officer of Nestlé Water Egypt commented.

He continued, “This is not the first time Nestlé Waters prioritize the

residents’ health, the company previously organized a series of medical

convoys.The most prominent was the hepatitis C campaign that was

launched to declare Kafr El Arbeen, Gamgara and the surrounding villages

free of the disease. Villagers above 18 years received the medication,

pre-treatment tests and medical consultations needed. In addition to the

children’s medical convoy that provided free examination and medication

for children aging 2-12 with a total beneficiary of 3160 children.”

Dabbas recognized and praised the role of the Egyptian Ministry of

Health and its efforts to control the Coronavirus spread, and to provide the

vaccine in several outlets free of charge to citizens to protect them from

the setbacks of the pandemic.

General Abdel Hamid Al-Hajan, Governor of Qalyubia governorate,

praised Nestlé Water Egypt’s efforts in offering COVID vaccinations to all

residents in Kafr El Arabeen and Gamgara. Stressing on the prominent

role of economic institutions in supporting the government’s efforts to

provide free vaccines to the residents in villages and hamlets with the

intention of preventing the virus, in addition to their efforts in reducing the

governorate’s unemployment rates.

Al-Hagan affirmed that Qalyubia governorate is all set to provide all

forms of support to the CSR activities of companies, whether by providing

a database for the less privileged villages or facilitating the implementation

of any charitable projects and this comes in line with its continuous

efforts in supporting the surrounding communities in which it operates.

66 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


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Exclusive | Amazon Egypt GM discusses Egyptian expansion and new website

Amazon closed its acquisition of Souq.com’s Egyptian assets on

September 1st, launching the brand new Amazon.eg website around 4

years after Amazon’s official acquisition of Souq.com.

Souq.com has been an influential player in the blossoming

e-commerce sector since its launch, and many questions arose since

the rebranding annoucement.

Business Today had a quick chat with Omar Elsahy, General Manager

for Amazon Egypt to answer some of the biggest questions

consumers want answered and what will Amazon’s fully-integrated

expansion into the country mean for Egyptian consumers and the

ecommerce industry.

Egypt’s Souq.com was previously rebranded as an Amazon

company, integrating its logo and signature smile on the

packaging. Just how different will Amazon.eg be compared to

Souq.com in the last 4 years since the acquisition?

Amazon has been proudly supporting customers and selling in Egypt

since Amazon’s acquisition of Souq.com in 2017.

The launch of Amazon.eg is a continuation of this journey, offering

customers a wide selection of millions of quality items from local and

international brands, along with great prices, easy payment options

and reliable delivery.

What will Amazon be bringing to the table in terms of services

and products to both consumers and sellers, compared to

Souq’s current offerings?

Similar to Souq.com, customers of Amazon.eg will enjoy a great

shopping experience with low prices, wide selection, easy payment,

and reliable delivery. We want to offer everything that people in Egypt

want to buy and will continue to grow our selection.

Completely localized for a seamless experience, Amazon.eg lets

shoppers search for their favorite products and pay in Egyptian Pounds

(EGP) using credit, debit, and prepaid cards, including Visa and Master-

Card, in addition to the option of cash on delivery (COD).

Amazon.eg will also continue to offer customers free delivery on

orders above EGP 350, with Same-Day and Next-Day delivery options

available across select cities in Egypt. Amazon’s global expertise in

logistics will provide reliable delivery and shipment tracking as we

continue to invest in ways that improve the delivery experience.

Customers purchasing on Amazon.eg also have access to 24/7 customer

service support to help with any queries. If any item, including

those sold by Amazon Selling Partners, is unsatisfactory, customers

can report the problem to the customer service team for support. All

purchases on Amazon.eg are covered by the Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee,

which covers the timely delivery and condition of all items ordered

on Amazon.eg.

Will Amazon bring in more internationally shipped inventory,

and will local merchants have the chance to sell products to

international customers through Amazon’s network? What will

be the situation with the customs?

At launch, Amazon.eg will carry the selection that our customers

have told us they want, featuring thousands of local brands alongside

Egyptian businesses selling international brands through local distributors,

which are not subject to custom fees. With over 30 categories

including home and kitchen, beauty, fashion, health, sports, electronics,

grocery, and more, there is something for everyone on Amazon.eg.

As we combine Souq’s local know-how with over 20 years of Amazon’s

global expertise, we are taking steps with our logistics and customs

partners to move towards the import and export of international

products through Amazon.eg as we continue growing our selection.

Are there plans on a new warehouse based on Amazon’s efficiency

models/system, new headquarters or personnel expansion/reduction?

Amazon has a strong presence in Egypt as well as a robust and

growing operational infrastructure, already including Amazon’s main

Fulfillment Center in the 10th of Ramadan City, 15 delivery stations

across Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, Ismailia, and Assiut, and several established

corporate and customer service offices.

We were honored to host His Excellency Prime Minister Mostafa

Madbouly at our main Fulfillment Center in the 10th of Ramadan City, in

the Sharkia Governorate, as he witnessed its inauguration.

The renovated Amazon Fulfillment Center, located on an area of 28

thousand square meters, is part of our investments in the logistics

sector in Egypt, allowing Amazon to deliver a smarter, faster, and

more convenient experience for customers.

We also currently have a local workforce of over 3,000 employees

across corporate, customer service, and operations, and we expect to

create more roles over time to support our operations in Egypt.

Will international Amazon services such as Amazon Prime and

its benefits, Amazon reading, Amazon games, and Amazon

wardrobe be coming to Egyptian accounts? If not, is there a

possibility of these services to become available in the near

future?

We are taking steps to ensure any new Amazon service we introduce

on Amazon.eg is launched while we deliver on our promises to provide

great prices alongside fast and reliable delivery options to our customers.

How have customer behaviors, in terms of shopping, delivery

option preferences and payment preferences, changed since

the pandemic hit in March 2020?

The retail sector is constantly evolving to meet customers’ needs.

Consumers recognize the increasingly larger selection of products they

have access to online and appreciate the fact that they can scout for

the best prices, all from the comfort of their home.

We believe that the retail sector will continue to grow, as the region’s

economies continue to diversify economically, female empowerment

and their growing role in the workplace increases, logistics

improve, and the number of mobile users grows, broadening the pool

of consumers for retail to target.

With regards to payment options, while we continue to offer cash on

delivery (COD) as a payment option for Amazon.eg customers, we are

increasingly encouraging customers to use online payment methods

for contactless deliveries using credit, debit and prepaid cards, including

Visa and MasterCard.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

67


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Energize your life with GROHE shower systems

Awareness of one’s own health and wellbeing has never been higher.

Currently, everyone is spending more time at home and it is becoming increasingly

important to establish small yet crucial self-care routines in order

to recover from a long working day and recharge one’s batteries. The bathroom

is often the best place to experience this rare ‘metime’.

Here, everything revolves around showering, the

central element of daily routines and an ultimate source

of energy: Taking a shower vitalizes in the morning,

refreshes after an exhausting workout or physical work

during the day, and relaxes in the evening. GROHE’s

shower system portfolio offers a variety of products that

meet individual needs and provides the right product for

everyone. Perfectly matching head and hand showers

combined with a thermostat meet any shower desire.

At the same time, specific features and innovative technologies

like GROHE EcoJoy enable a more sustainable

lifestyle. Enjoy your shower with a clear conscience

towards the environment.

One size does not fit all!

GROHE presents triple shower power for your individual

energy boost: The GROHE Tempesta 250 shower system delights with

its 250 mm head shower with a full-face Rain spray, available in a round or

square shape. The system is rounded out with the Tempesta Cosmopolitan

100 hand shower and an exposed thermostat equipped with GROHE TurboStat

technology that ensures that the water has a constant temperature

with no unpleasant fluctuations. An additional highlight of the slim, minimalistic

head shower: GROHE EcoJoy technology saves water without compromising

the shower performance. Experience pure comfort and joy while

doing your bit for the planet.

The updated GROHE Euphoria shower system brings

fuss-free joy into the bathroom with the 260 mm head

shower coming with three spray types or the generous

310 mm variant which ensures full-body-coverage.

The shower system is completed by the Euphoria 110

Massage hand shower. For superior safety, the thermostat

is equipped with GROHE CoolTouch technology

to prevent the product surface from getting hot while

showering. Plus, the handles guarantee precise water

control – even with soapy hands. Thanks to FastFixation,

the shower systems are an easy upgrade as they can be

adapted to existing holes.

For personalized showering pleasure, the GROHE

Rainshower SmartActive shower system is equipped

with a smart hand shower highlight: The SmartTip control

allows easy switching between three sprays with

a touch of a finger. A tailor-made shower experience

has never been that easy. Moreover, GROHE DripStop minimizes annoying

dripping after turning off the hand shower in the Rain and Jet spray modes.

The matching 310 mm head shower provides full body coverage from the

top of your head and the exposed thermostat delivers water at a constant

temperature with no nasty surprises.

Inertia launches “Ayla”, a new phase in Jefaira North Coast

Inertia has announced the launch of “Ayla”, a new phase in Jefaira,

in line with its strategy to maximize its investments in its flagship

project in the North Coast. Located in the heart of Jefaira, Ayla has

a breathtaking and distinctive view on the Mediterranean Sea in the

North Coast and spans over an area of ​318,000 sqm. The new phase

provides exquisite architectural styles that correspond to the enticing

nature of Jefaira’s diverse designs. The project provides a variety of unit

types, which will be divided between villas, twin houses, townhouses,

and chalets ranging in size from two to four rooms, all of which have

breathtaking views.

Commenting on the launch of Ayla, Ahmed El-Adawy, CEO of Inertia,

stated, “The new phase is a manifestation of our vision for urban

development through which we offer residential units and serviced

apartments that cater to the different needs of our clientele.” He further

explained that quality, innovation and integration are the factors that can

make Jefaira one of the most prominent projects in the North Coast,

through which we offer a unique, modern, and botanique experience.

He continued, “Jefaira will be one of the fourth-generation projects

that will be sustainable and an extension for New Alamein City. The project

offers the full spectrum of services required for a whole year destination;

residential, healthcare, entertainment and educational facilities”.

Inertia will pump around EGP 2.3 bn in the launch of the new phase,

as part of Jefaira’s overall investments of EGP 66 bn divided among

the 25 phases of the project; four phases have been launched including

“Ayla”. The company announced the delivery dates of the previously

launched phases which are scheduled throughout the next two years.

“Furl” will be delivered by the end of this year, with achieved sales of

85%, “Quayside” in 2022, with achieved sales of 55%, and “Cribs” in

2023, with achieved sales of 80%.

Among the notable features of Ayla is the breathtaking large waterfront

view, in addition to 81.5% open space, varies from private and

public landscape areas, which includes swimmable lagoons with a total

area of approximately 40,000 to 60,000 sqm, as well as the distinctive

architectural style, which is inspired by the Mexican city “Tulum”. Jefaira

also features a boutique hotel with a private waterfront, with 95% of

the units overlooking the water and the remaining 5% overlooking the

calming view of natural green landscapes.

Jefaira’s facilities and amenities are diversified to include hotels,

clubhouses, a marina, a commercial area, a kid’s area, sports arenas,

cliffs and parks, a sports academy, a hospital, educational facilities, and

Jefaira’s pedestrian promenade. The company will also make sure that

some facilities will be available for the homeowners upon delivery of the

first phase of the project, including the beach, first phase of the commercial

district with the linked promenade, as well one of the project’s

hotels.

68 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


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TikTok Enhances Mental Wellbeing Resources and Bolsters Distressing Content

Regulation in Honor of World Suicide Prevention Month

In honor of World Suicide Prevention Month, TikTok is boosting

efforts to safeguard its users’ mental wellbeing. As people choose

to express themselves to their circles on the platform, conversation

around recovery from self harm and other mental health issues

is growing. Building on the support shown by users, TikTok

is stepping up its resources, search interventions and access to

expert provided guidance, across important mental health subject

areas.

Farah Tukan, Public Policy Manager METAP at TikTok said, “It is

inspiring to see our users come together to support one another

and drive forward the conversation around mental wellbeing

with such positivity and vigor. Our policies have always aimed to

prioritize people who may be struggling and we currently provide

access to expert emotional help from global leaders in the field,

alongside approved government resources. This is a continuously

evolving process, and we will build on our existing array of wellbeing

guides wherever possible, through insightful, verified information.

We aim to stay creative in our efforts when caring for our

community, and maintain the safe space offered by TikTok for this

important conversation.”

As a platform, TikTok’s strict Community Guidelines do not

allow content that promotes, glorifies or normalizes suicide, selfharm

or eating disorders. In addition to this, TikTok has unveiled

additional steps to make it easier for people to feel safe and find

support, including:

Adjusting search Interventions

When searching keywords related to self harm and suicide, in

addition to being directed to a local helpline, users will now be

able to view supportive and educational content, linking to further

resources and information about treatment options.

Creating additional resources

New well-being guides, developed with mental health experts

such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention, are

available on the platform’s Safety Centre. The guides provide the

community with tips on engaging with users who may be struggling

or are in distress. These will also guide users on how best

to safely share their recovery journey and raise awareness of key

mental health issues

Dedicated guide on eating disorders

Expanding on features rolled out earlier this year, supporting

users affected by eating disorders, a dedicated guide has been developed

alongside the National Eating Disorders Association, National

Eating Disorder Information Centre, Butterfly Foundation,

and Bodywhy. Now live on the Safety Centre, it provides support

and advice on eating disorders to teenagers, caregivers, and

educators. Taking the initiative a step further are the permanent

public service announcements (PSAs) on certain hashtags such

as #whatIeatinaday, to increase awareness and provide support to

the community.

Stronger content warnings

Updated labels for potentially upsetting content have been

rolled out, masking search results with a warning layer. This additional

step will require users to select ‘Show results’ to continue

to see content.

Empowering Partnerships

TikTok creators and safety experts have come together to share

inspirational stories about dealing with mental ill-health, offering

users an authentic, honest perspective on the discussion. This

content will also reiterate where to seek support and offer advice

on how to talk to loved ones about mental health issues.

A week of awareness

Set to take place in September, the platform will drive conversation

through activities centred on mental health. This time will

highlight content created by community members and experts,

and will sign-post available resources to further support users.

These videos will show up amongst results when searching for

relevant terms, giving the community the chance to opt-in to view

this content.

The developments follow the platform’s recent drive to promote

safety of teens, including improvements to DMs, notifications,

watch and download settings. Boosting supportive self

care focused content also aligns with wider community collaborations

with regional partners such as UNHCR, with whom TikTok

launched the #everygiftcounts challenge, raising funds during Ramadan

to aid displaced refugee communities. TikTok also worked

with UNICEF MENA last year to encourage users to keep their

masks on and dispose of them correctly, giving rise to a safer

environment for all. Through working closely with identified safety

experts, creators and the community, TikTok will continue its efforts

to offer a safe space for people to talk about mental health

and support each other.

For further information and access to the guides on TikTok,

visit the Safety Center.

Note: The guides and resources shared on the TIkTok platform

are purely for informational purposes and are not intended to be a

substitute for professional or medical advice.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

69


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Egyptian Fintech MNT-Halan Attracts Circa US$120 Million From Global

Investors

MNT-Halan, Egypt’s leading fintech ecosystem, announced

today a circa US$120 million investment by major global and

regional growth investors: Apis Growth Fund II, Development

Partners International (DPI), and Lorax Capital Partners. In

addition, the company has also attracted venture capital backing

from Middle East Venture Partners, Endeavor Catalyst,

and DisruptTech. This round of investment demonstrates

confidence in the fintech opportunity in Egypt and further institutionalizes

the capitalization table of MNT-Halan. Previous

investors of MNT-Halan have included GB Capital, DPI, Algebra

Ventures, Wamda, Nowaisi Capital, Unidelta, Egypt Ventures,

Battery Road Digital Holdings, and Shaka VC.

Capitalizing on MNT-Halan’s first mover advantage, proprietary

and highly scalable tech capabilities and strong brand

in Egypt, this funding endorses its strategy to drive further

innovation in its technology, product development, scale to

tens of millions of customers, and expand cross-border. The

investment also recognizes the scale and long-term potential

of MNT-Halan, which has been granted micro, consumer and

nano finance licenses from the Egyptian Financial Regulatory

Authority, as well as the first independent electronic wallet

license from the Central Bank of Egypt.

Committed to bringing seamless financial services to the

unbanked and underserved customers in Egypt and the surrounding

region, MNT-Halan has developed its scalable proprietary

fintech ecosystem in-house, connecting customers,

vendors and micro-enterprises through its consumer facing

app, merchant app, Halan Neuron (distributed lending and

payment processing software) and payment solutions (wallets

and cards).

More than 70% of the population of Egypt’s young and fast

growing population of over 100 million is financially underserved

and overlooked by traditional financial institutions, yet

mobile penetration exceeds 90%. MNT-Halan’s digital solutions,

including lending, BNPL, e-commerce, payments, and

on-demand logistics, support its mission to empower underserved

communities, address inequality and female economic

participation. With c.1 million monthly active users, MNT-

Halan serves more than 4 million customers in Egypt, of which

3.1 million are financial clients and 1.8 million are borrowers.

The company has disbursed more than US$1.7 billion of loans.

Its monthly throughput exceeds US$100 million which has

grown over 20x in the past five years.

Commenting on the investment, Matteo Stefanel and

Udayan Goyal, Managing Partners and Apis Partners Cofounders,

said, “We are thrilled to be investing in MNT-Halan,

which is our first investment in Egypt. Our belief is that they

will be the leading player digitizing the unbanked and bringing

financial services to millions of underserved customers in

the country, and we look forward to partnering with them to

extend their impressive growth trajectory. We believe Mounir

Nakhla’s track record, combined with MNT-Halan’s tech team

and operational expertise, provide the ideal opportunity to invest

in Egypt’s fintech sector.”

DPI Partner Sofiane Lahmar said: “Since our partnership

with Mounir and his team dating to 2018, MNT-Halan has

rapidly evolved into a market-leading financial technology

business, working to drive entrepreneurship and economic development

in critically underserved markets. The company is

well-positioned to benefit from Egypt and the region’s favourable

demographics and rising adoption of digital technologies

in its next growth phase. Our ADP III investment in MNT-Halan

reaffirms our belief in the management team, and our commitment

to the company and its long-term growth prospects,

as we continue our focus on investing in high-growth, impactdriven

companies from Africa’s fast growing middle class.”

Dr. Raouf Ghabbour, Executive Chairman of GB Auto, the

parent company of GB Capital, said, “Since GB Capital first supported

Nakhla, the business has delivered on its strategy and

has become the prime market player. MNT-Halan has huge potential

and we are very excited to welcome these sophisticated

investors with deep fintech and emerging markets expertise

into our capital structure, laying the foundation for explosive

growth in Egypt and beyond.”

MNT-Halan Founder and CEO, Mounir Nakhla, said, “We

are at the forefront of the digital revolution sweeping across

Egypt, bringing together the unbanked population with our

technology. We are on track to bring financial inclusion to tens

of millions of Egyptians. As a result, we will unleash this segment’s

earnings potential and drive greater participation in the

economy.”

The investor group includes:

•Apis Growth Fund II, a London based private equity fund

managed by Apis Partners LLP, an ESGI-native private equity

firm that specializes in financial services. MNT-Halan represents

Apis Partners’ first investment in Egypt;

•African Development Partners III (ADP III), a London based

private equity fund advised by Development Partners International

(DPI), one of the most active private equity investors in

Egypt and Africa with four investments made to date in Egypt.

DPI, through a predecessor fund to ADP III was an anchor investor

in MNT-Halan in 2018;

•Lorax Fund II, a private equity fund managed by Lorax

Capital Partners, an Egypt-focused investment firm with an

unmatched record of investing in high-growth opportunities;

•The largest venture capitalists in Egypt and the region,

including Algebra Ventures, DisrupTech, Endeavor Catalyst,

Egypt Ventures, MEVP, and Wamda, in addition to the backing

of Nowaisii Capital, Shaka Capital, Uber’s founding CTO Oscar

Salazar, Unidelta, and Battery Road Digital Holdings.

White & Case, Freshfields, Lexence, and Mattouk Bassiouny

& Hennawy served as legal advisors on the transaction.

70 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


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Sky Abu Dhabi’s first project “Residence Eight” achieves a EGP 1bn sales

in a record time in the New Administrative Capital

Sky Abu Dhabi Developments, the subsidiary of Diamond Group

and one of the leading Emirati real estate developers, achieved a

record of EGP 1bn sales through 600 sold residential units in its

first flagship project “Residence Eight” in the New Administrative

Capital.

The Emirati company, which kicked off its operations in the

Egyptian market last February, has accomplished significant milestones

in a record time starting with the development of a fully-integrated

investment plan of EGP 15bn over the period of two years,

moving on to the implementation of its first project over 23 acres in

the New Administrative Capital. With a promising vision and strong

commitment to its customers, Sky Abu Dhabi received the ministerial

approval to start construction in a record

time, which reflects the company’s successful

model of foreign investment in Egypt that goes

in line with the state’s development plan.

Eng. Abdelrahman Agami, CEO of Diamond

Group and Sky Abu Dhabi Developments expressed

his pride of Sky Abu Dhabi’s significant

contribution to the Egyptian real estate market,

owing to the company’s rich experience in the

implementation of successful mega projects in the United Arab

of Emirates in addition to the remarkable success achieved by

“Residence Eight” in offering an innovative real estate product that

serves as a model for integrated projects with unparalleled experience

compared to other market players as well as starting construction

works during the company’s ground breaking ceremony

last March.

Following the successful record of the EGP 1bn sales through

600 sold units, it is expected that Sky Abu Dhabi would achieve 200

sold residential units by the end of 2021, with the aim of achieving

50% of projected sales in less than 5 months amounting up to EGP

1.5 bn. The company is steadily growing its customer base that

has reached 500 customers in a record time; the number is still

expected to increase driven by the high demand on the project.

On the other hand, Sky Abu Dhabi supports the local labor market

with a magnificent increase in its employment rate selected

from qualified calibers to add distinctive experiences to the company’s

strong foundation, given the intense competitiveness in the

real estate industry. The leading development model of Sky Abu

Dhabi was recognized by the bt100 Business Awards Ceremony for

the company’s best real estate investment performance in the New

Administrative Capital.

The ‘Residence Eight’ project brings modern living solutions

to the Egyptian market with an equation of 80% allocated to the

residential buildings and 20% to the commercial

facilities, all designed with cutting-edge architecture

and advanced engineering techniques,

to meet the customers’ demands while ensuring

comfort, safety and privacy. The project also

encompasses large outdoor areas suitable for

events and other outdoor residential activities,

in addition to a luxury clubhouse experience

only few minutes away from residents’ homes.

Residence Eight is located in a prime location in the New Administrative

Capital in the R8 area, which is surrounded by the Diplomatic

Quarter from the west and overlooking 70 acres of green

areas from the north, as well as the Green River near the downtown

from the south. It also includes one thousand units ranging

from 80-360 square meters, some of which are apartments and

some are luxury “duplexes”.

It is noteworthy that Sky Abu Dhabi Real Estate Development

Company is a subsidiary of the UAE “Diamond” Group, a leading

real estate services provider specialized in a variety of projects and

activities. With investments amounting to USD 1bn and a portfolio

of more than 17 projects in the UAE.

Housing & Development Bank launches HDB Royal service addressed exclusively

to wealth clients.

On Wednesday, Housing & Development Bank (HDB) celebrated

the launch of HDB Royal exclusive service to wealth clients and the

opening of its first stand-alone Royal HUB and another 11 centers in

branches across Egypt.

Housing & Development Bank continues on reinforcing its positioning

as a strong competitive commercial bank. The launch of the wealth

platform is another solid leap added to the list of HDB’s achievements

executed in a remarkably short period.

Hassan Ghanem, Chairperson and Managing Director of Housing

& Development Bank, released that the bank’s launch of HDB Royal

comes with the aim of providing a distinguished service to the wealth

segment of its customers and fulfilling their requirements with the

highest quality and professionalism, as well as providing financial and

non-financial consultancy to help them optimize their portfolios.

Ghanem indicated that HDB Royal comes as concrete milestone

reflecting the bank’s transformational strategy in holistically approaching

retail banking by offering its existing customers and the Egyptian

market an exceptional service quality.

He added that the bank’s strategic plan also relied on expanding the

number of branches and developing existing branches in all governorates,

in addition to increasing the number of ATMs and diversifying

their locations to reach customers across Egypt, and all by providing

banking services with the highest level of efficiency and quality.

Ghanem stressed that HDB puts a lot of weight on the quality of the

human element hired, as it is one of the most important factors to ensure

the promised standard of service offered.

He stressed that the bank succeeded in maintaining the strength

of its financial position, achieving good growth rates with significant

development in all retail banking services, despite the exceptional circumstances

that the whole world witnessed as a result of the negative

effects and the repercussions of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The financial results of Housing & Development Bank for the fiscal

period ending 30 June 2021, showed a total profit, before taxes, of EGP

1.45bn, an increase of 10.8% y-o-y.

Ghanem explained that achieving these fruitful results is of the

ongoing development and expansion plans implemented by the bank,

which had a direct positive impact on the bank’s performance that reflects

the strength of its financial position.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

71


bt scene

Egyptians believe in power of collaboration, unity and diversity to address

global challenges, Expo 2020 Dubai survey shows

A new global survey by Expo 2020 Dubai reveals that an overwhelming

majority (86 per cent) of Egyptian respondents think

nations must work together to combat worldwide

challenges such as a pandemic.

The 2021 survey of more than 22,000 people

across 24 countries tracked sentiment in a world

irrevocably changed by COVID-19. Conducted in partnership

with YouGov, it followed a similar study carried

out in 2019, before the pandemic.

Egyptian respondents also believe in the unifying

role that technology can play in bringing the world

closer together, with half saying that they think digital

advancements and inventions will play a part in creating

a greater global togetherness.

The survey also gauged opinion on diversity, collaboration

and building communities. Three in five

Egyptians believe there will be greater commitment

to diversity and tolerance across nations and the

world in the next decade.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister

of State for International Cooperation and Director

General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo 2020 has developed

this latest global study to help us understand

how the citizens of the world believe we can shape

a better future. Overall, the findings are encouraging,

and show a collective desire to work together,

broaden our horizons and exchange ideas.

“In less than two months, when Expo 2020 opens

its doors, we look forward to welcoming millions of

visitors from across the globe, and harnessing the

kind of diversity this study reflects, as we join together

to build a new world, with a brighter future for

both people and the planet.”

The survey also shows that more than 50 percent

of Egyptian respondents have a positive outlook

about their nation’s prospects when it comes

to opportunities in driving economic development

and enabling individuals to meet their current needs

and future aspirations. Additionally, more than half

expressed positive sentiments about Egypt’s sustainable

future.

Echoing the above, more than three in five believe that Egypt

is likely to have a green infrastructure that supports green travel,

such as electric vehicles and charging stations, in the next decade,

while 64 per cent say a majority of the urban population will live in

sustainable smart cities.

The Egypt Pavilion at Expo 2020 will showcase the country’s

latest advancements and innovations, giving visitors the chance

to explore the country’s achievements past and present. Designed

by Egyptian architect Hazem Hamada, the pavilion will also include

a virtual tour, original antiquities and a 3D experience ‘to travel

through a time machine’.

Mohamed ElKhatib, Commercial Councellor of Egypt at Expo

2020 Dubai, said: “In line with the 2030 Agenda, the Egyptian Government

has launched a plan called Egypt’s Vision 2030, also known

as Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) which promotes economic

prosperity based on justice, social integrity and participation.

The global survey reveals that Egyptian’s are by and large optimistic

about their future and are united in their belief that by embracing

pluralism and co-existence, the country can build bridges for crosscultural

communication and mutual comprehension.”

The survey delves into a range of subjects, also including health

and wellness, sustainable travel, efficient food supply chains and

the development of both urban and rural communities, all of which

will be focuses of Expo 2020’s programming.

Under the mega-event’s Programme for People and Planet, Expo

2020’s participating countries, organisations, partners and visitors

will collaborate to discuss future-proofing solutions to the world’s

biggest challenges.

One of the first global mega-events to take place since the beginning

of the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 will run from 1 October

2021 to 31 March 2022, inviting visitors from around the world to

join the making of a new world, and experience a six-month celebration

of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.

72 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com


bt scene

Arab Bank Launches its FinTech Accelerating Program in Egypt

Arab Bank has recently launched its FinTech-focused corporate

accelerator program “AB Accelerator” in Egypt, following its successful

launch in Jordan back in 2018.

The launch of this program in Egypt comes as part of the bank’s

strategic efforts to foster and support innovation in the FinTech

sector towards offering responsive and agile banking solutions

in line with the evolving needs and expectations of clients across

different segments.

The “AB Accelerator” program aims to accelerate the adoption

of emerging technologies and solutions within Arab Bank, supporting

entrepreneurs with the opportunity to scale their market

ready FinTech startups across the MENA region. Driven by this

objective, the “AB Accelerator” program works to integrate into

Egypt’s startup scene through investing in early-stage startups

specialized in FinTech as well as other related technology verticals,

such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI), with a focus

on startups that demonstrate strategic alignment with Arab Bank.

Commenting on the launch of the program in Egypt, Hala Zahran,

Lead of AB Accelerator commented: “AB Accelerator is unique in a

way that applies a venture client as well as a venture capital model.

“AB Accelerator” provides early-stage startups with a banking and

commercial collaboration that not only helps them gain credibility

and validate their product, but also allows them to instantaneously

tap into multiple geographies. As such, “AB Accelerator” program

encompasses the essence of what a strategic investor is.” Zahran

also added: “Over the past two years, we have invested in a global

portfolio of startups from the US, Europe and in the MENA region,

including startups like Seclytics (Cybersecurity), Tabby (Buy Now Pay

Later) Hala Insurance (Digital Insurance).”

From her side Habiba Helmy, Innovation Lead at Arab Bank –

Egypt remarked: “We are very excited about this new opportunity

to connect with promising FinTech startups in Egypt, which has

one of the region’s most thriving ecosystems for innovation.” She

added: “Egypt is home for talented and passionate entrepreneurs

who we are eager to collaborate with and, eventually, help in expanding

their footprint both locally and regionally.”

Commenting on the benefits that startups receive upon joining

AB Accelerator program, Helmy pointed: “Not only will startups

be able to receive funding of up to $500,000, but they will also be

entitled to a host of unique benefits as part of their collaboration

with Arab Bank. These benefits include: creating a customized

Proof of Concept to test solutions which could potentially lead to

a pilot agreement with the bank, as well as instantly accessing

customers and markets across Arab Bank’s regional and global

network.”

Pharco introduces three new Carbapenems antibiotics

Pharco B International, a subsidiary of Pharco corporation, has

announced the launching of three antibiotic medicines of Carbapenems,

which are very efficient antibiotic agents in eradicating widely

used antibiotic-resistant bacteria and therefore helping to save patients’

lives from life-threatening infections in hospitals, following a

surgery, and in critical care units.

This falls within the scope of “Pharco B international’’ strategy

since inception, which has been centered on meeting the requirements

of the medical sector with medications and trying to produce

them locally according to stringent quality norms, whether locally or

worldwide. Moreover, it will also assist to sustain the pharmaceutical

industry by preserving Egypt’s regional leadership in the pharmaceuticals

sector and by recruiting more employees.

A ceremony was organized to highlight the statement in participation

of Dr. Sherine Helmy, Chief Executive Officer of Pharco Pharmaceutical

Company, and Ashraf Hatem, the former Minister of Health

as well as a group of the leading professors and officials in Egypt, to

discuss the importance of the medicines.

Pharco-B offers these medicines under the brand names Ertapenem-PBI

(the active ingredient Ertapenem), Ameropem (the active ingredient

Meropenem), and Implatinze (the active ingredient Imipenem

- Cilastatin) in various doses. Furthermore, the group received final

permits from the Egyptian Medicine Authority to commercialize the

drug after it met with remarkable success in large hospitals and shown

exceptional efficacy, no less efficient than its imported version.

Pharco Group has established a special unit for the manufacturing

of these medications using the most up-to-date technology in the

world, qualifying it to earn worldwide ISO and GMP certificates for

the strict adherence to quality standards. His Excellency Prime Minister

Dr. Mostafa Madbouly inaugurated this unit during the drug’s trial

production last year.

“The “Carbapenem” antibiotic series first emerged more than 15

years ago, and the active substance’s development has proceeded

until we are today ready to introduce the third generation of antibiotics,”

said Ashraf Hatem, Former Minister of Health. “This medication

is one of the most commonly used in hospitals and critical care units

to protect patients against bacteria, and the precise dose should only

be administered in the hospital under the supervision of a doctor,” he

added.

“Today, we celebrate the debut of a new series of broad-spectrum

antibiotics, which are required in the treatment of serious cases and

must be accessible in all public and private hospitals since their absence

poses a tremendous threat to patients’ lives,” Sherine Helmy,

CEO of Pharco cooperation said.

Dr. Mohamed Shawky, General Manager of Pharco B, stated that

the production of these antibiotics in Pharco B factories contributed

to a 40% decrease in the price of the medicinal product, which contributes

to securing the local demands of these drugs and reducing

reliance on the importer, thereby lowering the import bill and raising

foreign exchange reserves.

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com September 2021

73


Last Word

“Egypt is keen on respecting and protecting human

rights, as we realize that the citizen is the heart and

basis of any development plans.”

— President Abdel-Fatah El Sisi.

74 September 2021

www.BusinessTodayEgypt.com



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