Khaled Bassiouny, general director of the Financial Inclusion Unit at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), said that the objective of establishing this unit and its subordination to the CBE governor in person is to support and enhance the financial inclusion in Egypt.
The CBE recently set up a financial inclusion unit and appointed Khaled Bassiouny as its general manager. Bassiouny was the former general manager of the business development department at the Egyptian Banking Institute.
Bassiouny told Daily News Egypt in his first statement after taking over his new position that the CBE is currently preparing a study on banking and financial services supply in the market, as well as the demand on these services, in order to find the gap between them.
The study will help in determining the quality of the new services needed by the market and in identifying the legislation or regulations that are needed to facilitate the process of financial inclusion.
He explained that the study is carried out in cooperation with all financial institutions in Egypt, including banks and post offices, as well as the public. He expected the preparation of this study to be completed by the end of the current year.
In response to a question about the results of the Financial Inclusion Week witnessed by Egypt during the period from 27 April to 4 May, Bassiouny said that the CBE already received data from the banks on the results of this week, but it is not counted yet.
He added that there are 4,000 branches that participated in the week, and some banks worked outside their headquarters and spread throughout the republic—even in the “House of the Mayor”. This week was an opportunity for bankers themselves to know the meaning of financial inclusion.
“The whole country, in a very limited time, was talking about financial inclusion, and this was important; and, more importantly, we are starting to create a conscious financial culture so that citizens face no problems because of their lack of financial culture,” Bassiouny said.
The Egyptian banks with their human resources and technological capabilities are capable of achieving financial inclusion, and what happened in the Financial Inclusion Week is the best evidence of this, according to Bassiouny. He pointed out that this week was just a good start, and the rest comes later.
Bassiouny expected that the entry to the national strategy for financial education will be activated very soon.
In 2013, the Egyptian Banking Institute established a national committee for the development of this strategy, which includes regulators, ministries, financial institutions, government institutions, educational and training institutions, and donors.
The institute has already prepared the initial draft of the strategy and submitted it to the CBE for review and determining how to activate it.
The aim of the strategy is to spread and increase financial awareness among Egyptians, especially those who are financially marginalised, to raise their standards of living, and to enhance the ability of better understanding of thefinancial products and services.
It also aims to increase the financial inclusion ratio through official financial channels, in addition to preparing and formulating curricula for education and financial education suitable for each age and social segment. It also includes preparing banking and financial cadres capable of meeting the needs of individuals and institutions.
According to Bassiouny, there is a dire need of such a strategy, as the financial concepts of many citizens need to be corrected.