National Bank of Egypt wants to boost SME financing by 20% this year

Egypt’s biggest lender, the state-owned National Bank of Egypt is seeking to increase funding for the country’s small and medium-sized businesses to reach 36 billion Egyptian pounds ($2 billion) at the end of financial year 2017/2018.

Earlier, the bank’s financing for these small businesses had reached 30 billion pounds at the end of financial year 2016/2017.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are crucial drivers of economic activity in Egypt, however their role in the economic development of the country is limited despite the government’s increasing attention towards them.

In January 2016, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the SME initiative, saying that Egypt’s banks would inject 200 billion Egyptian pounds into supporting businesses over the next four years. Accordingly, the country’s central bank issued guidelines on how it will incentivise banks to participate in a “comprehensive programme” to help finance SMEs in a bid to create jobs and support its battered economy.

NBE wants to play a greater role in the Egyptian central bank’s small business initiative, deputy chairman Yehia Aboul Fotouh told Amwal Al Ghad, adding that his bank pumped so far between 9 billion and 10 billion pounds to the initiative.

The bank aims to make its SME funding seize 20 percent of its total funding as pursuant to the central bank’s initiative in the coming three years, Aboul Fotouh said.