Suez Canal Bank targets 400 mln pounds in SME financing at year-end

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Egypt’s Suez Canal Bank is seeking to increase funding for the country’s small and medium-sized businesses to reach 400 million Egyptian pounds ($22.7 million) at the end of 2017.

The bank’s SME funding portfolio were doubled in the first eight months of the year to 300 million pounds at the end of August 2017, from 140 million pounds at the end of December 2016, said chairman Hussein Refaie on Sunday.

Suez Canal Bank has recently established a specialized division dedicated for financing small- and medium-sized enterprises as it seeks to implement the Central Bank of Egypt requirements, Refaie further told Amwal Al Ghad.

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.