On Sunday 23rd of September 2018, Banque Misr signed a Cooperation Agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide banking services to support women entrepreneurs. Cooperation Agreement has been signed by Chairman of Banque Misr – Mr. Mohamed El-Etreby and the IFC Regional Director of the Middle East & North Africa – Mr. Mouayed Makhlouf. Also each of; Dr. Lobna Helal the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, Ms. Nermine El-Tahri the Assistant Sub-Governor (Deputation) Banking Reform Sector and Mr. Akef Maghraby Banque Misr Vice Chairman, have witnessed the signature of the Cooperation Agreement in addition to a number of the public figures and banking leaders. Such agreement is considered the first of its kind in Egypt, in which it targets the wide spreading of banking services provided to women in Egypt; the agreement aims at increasing the number of companies leaded by women within the context of the banking services provided to SMEs, such target will be reached through the cooperation with the IFC that focuses on enabling the provision of banking services to all the women entrepreneurs all over the countries.
Taking into consideration that, Banque Misr, through this Protocol of Cooperation, seeks to be the leading Bank in the field of banking services provided to women; whereas the cooperation agreement is mainly based upon conducting studies on the Egyptian Market by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in which such studies include tackling the needs of women entrepreneurs besides providing the best global practices, this in addition to preparing and implementing a sustainable business model for women's banking services program and helping the informal Micro Enterprises, which are mostly leaded or owned by women, to transform from the informal sector to the formal one for the sake of supporting the financial inclusion efforts.
"Women Entrepreneurs constitute significant part of Small Enterprises in Egypt, however they find difficulty in obtaining the required finance and support to manage and improve their business. And as for the banks, women entrepreneurs represent an untapped business opportunity; and thus, through this cooperation with the International Finance Corporation we aim at expanding our scope to reach this category of the society and to support the companies in Egypt to provide them help to grow and to offer them employment opportunities as well as to accelerate the economic growth" El-Etreby clarified.
It is worth noting that, SMEs contribute with 38% of the total employment opportunities and 33% of the total GDP in Egypt, but unfortunately Small and Medium Enterprises face some constrains to obtain the requisite finance. Also, the amount of credit requested by the SMEs owned by women is estimated to reach nearly 238 million dollar having potential deposits with the amount 246 million dollar.
Moreover, Mr. Mouayed Makhlouf the Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation states that "Women Entrepreneurs contribute to changing the Global Economy, where they help in ensuring a continued job creation; however the percentage of women entrepreneurs receiving the capital they need constitutes one in every ten female entrepreneurs". Makhlouf has further added that "the International Finance Corporation seeks to address such gape in Egypt through the cooperation and partnership with the Financial Organizations such as Banque Misr for the purpose of adopting the strategies needed by such organizations for the sake of serving such category of the Egyptian Market".
Furthermore, such project will be implemented in the framework of the Program "Champions of Women's Banking Services" introduced by the International Finance Corporation in the MENA region and one of the funding authorities supported by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland as well as the Global Women's Banking Services program that belongs to the IFC. Therefore being one of the most important pillars of the National Economy, Banque Misr strictly believes in the significance of financial inclusion as it became a necessity not a choice for its role in improving the economic growth rates and in the safety of banking and financial stability as well as social development. Banque Misr as well practices different activities that ensure the achievement of financial inclusion; such as, participating in many initiatives and protocols that will serve the members of society by creating job opportunities, employing citizens and driving the economy forward, which will be, consequently, reflected on the growth of the economic development. Noting that, since the establishment of Banque Misr its main duty has been portrayed in the provision of banking services to every Egyptian in the country, as a national financial instrument that is based on the implementation and support of national and strategic development in various social and economic fields.