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Tuesday, 6 September 2022

TODAY: Is Europe reversing course on climate gains? + Egypt could sign EV assembly contracts next month. ALSO- Kerry in Egypt this week ahead of COP27

Good morning, nice people. From a new platform to trade plastic waste, EV assembly in Egypt, and the latest signal that MENA businesses want governments to get serious about climate legislation, it’s a brisk news day in our corner of the world.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY is a mixed bag today: Omani investors are buying energy assets worth USD 1.5 bn — with a hefty carbon footprint. A consortium led by Omani private equity player Oman Investment Corporation is buying up Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries’ Indian unit. Why is Sembcorp selling? It wants to divest from that unit’s fossil fuel assets and hit its emission targets. The portfolio includes coal-fired power plants alongside a good-sized portfolio of renewables. We have more in this morning’s M&A Watch, below.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Possibly a win for climate: Egypt could sign contracts next month that would see the birth of a domestic EV assembly industry. Egyptian state-owned automaker El Nasr Automotive is reportedly expecting to sign final contracts for local electric vehicle (EV) assembly next month, if the Egyptian press is to be believed. Reports suggest El Nasr will sign the contracts with an unnamed Chinese company in mid-October. The Madbouly government has been tight-lipped about the identity of the company, but a source told Enterprise in June that El Nasr looked like it was going with BAIC Group.

Talks to get EV assembly in Egypt off the ground have been ongoing for years. El Nasr danced with auto giant Dongfeng back in 2019 only to pull out more than two years later apparently because the two sides were unable to agree on prices for imported components.

Want to read more? Check out Going Green, our weekly dive into Egypt’s green economy, in EnterpriseAM.


Catch the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies’s carbon market webinar on Zoom at 11 am CLT (12pm KSA / 1pm UAE) today. Discussions will revolve around how Egypt and African countries can create an integrated carbon market. You can register for the event here.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- Are pockets of Europe flirting with a non renewable-friendly direction? First up, the UK will get a new Tory prime minister today, and it may be bad news for the fight against climate change if the Guardian is anything to go by. Liz Truss, who was elected yesterday to lead the Conservative Party and replace Boris Johnson as UK PM, will likely give the go-ahead to 130 new drilling projects in the North Sea, according to reports compiled by the Guardian. Truss’ advisors have also been in talks with oil and gas firms to discuss ways to secure energy supplies ahead of the winter season, the Times writes.

Solar may not be her favo(u)rite: Truss also seems to hold a bit of a grudge against solar energy, repeatedly bashing the renewable energy source on the campaign trail last month. In party hustings events, she trivialized solar farms as “paraphernalia” and suggested that her government could make it harder for energy producers to obtain land for new plants.“Our fields, should be full of our fantastic produce … it shouldn’t be full of solar panels,” she told a campaign event.

On the other side of the channel, the German government will enforce a windfall tax on electricity-producing companies in a bid to fund a EUR 65 bn relief package against inflation and surging energy prices, Deutsche Welle reports, referencing a speech by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

What does this have to do with climate? The tax is expected to squeeze the bottom lines of companies that generate energy from wind, solar, biomass, coal and nuclear energy, which have seen their electricity prices rise as Europe suffers an energy crunch, the Financial Times wrote, referencing the Chancellor’s remarks. The logic behind the tax is to provide German households with an ample amount of electricity at reduced prices, Scholz said. The package — the third of its kind since February — brings the total of Germany’s aid programmes to EUR 95 bn.


YOU’RE READING ENTERPRISE CLIMATE, the essential regional publication for senior execs who care about the world’s most important industry. Enterprise Climate covers everything from finance and tech to regulation, products and policy across the Middle East and North Africa. In a nod to the growing geographical ambitions of companies in our corner of the world, we also include an overview of the big trends and data points in nearby countries, including Africa and southern Europe.

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Egypt will announce its new green hydrogen regs at the COP27 summit, Egyptian Electricity Ministry spokesperson Ayman Hamza told Enterprise, keeping tight-lipped about what the government has in store. The local press had reported over the weekend that Egyptera, the country’s renewables regulator, could announce a new regulatory framework governing investments in green hydrogen projects next month. Officials have held talks with an unnamed foreign advisory firm to help draft regs and model contracts that would be signed with prospective investors.

THE DANGER ZONE- Tunisian droughts are so bad, dates aren’t even growing: Prolonged droughts, rising energy costs and constant power cuts in the Kebali Oasis in southern Tunisia are gradually transforming the date-planting oasis into a barren wasteland, activists and farmers from the region tell Reuters. Exacerbating the problem is an infestation of a new pest that thrives in dry weather. “Bunches of dates are wrapped in the webbing spun by mites as they feed. It is a new pest that we have not seen before, and its cause is drought,” a local farmer told the newswire.

CLIMATE DIPLOMACY- Oman and South Korea discuss green hydrogen: Oman’s and South Korea’s energy ministers discussed cooperation in hydrogen projects yesterday, a South Korea’s Industry and Trade Ministry said in a statement yesterday. Talks revolved around green hydrogen and the participation of Korean companies in Oman’s energy infrastructure projects.


US climate envoy John Kerry will be in Egypt this week for the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF), which runs 7-9 September at Almasa Convention Center in the new administrative capital. The three-day event will bring together global policymakers, ministers, development partners and other participants ahead of COP27 to discuss climate action and green transition, food security, and others with a focus on Africa. Check the full agenda here (pdf).

The 2022 Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference will take place in Riyadh on Wednesday, 7 September. Besides discussing Saudi Arabia’s economy in the context of the global macro-outlook, it will also host a workshop on ESG and climate change.

PSA #1- You have until 23 September to apply for the annual UNFCCC’s capacity building hub at COP27. You can apply here.

PSA #2- If you’re in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine or Tunisia, you could be in line for a EUR 50-200k grant: Brussels-based King Baudouin Foundation will offer grants to support “viable, entrepreneurial business initiatives with a strong social impact,” the foundation said in a statement. Priority will be given to organizations that partner with private sector companies, civil society organizations, or state agencies, the statement noted. Applications are due by 31 January 2023 here.

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

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