The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has injected EGP 18.6bn to finance 17,800 small projects during the first two years of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)’s initiative launched in January 2016 to support these projects, according to Dalia Al-Baz, vice president of the bank.
She explained that the bank’s funding for small projects contributed to boosting its SMEs portfolio to EGP 39.8bn by the end of December 2017. These funds were granted to more than 57,400 projects.
According to Al-Baz, 73% of the small projects that were financed received loans amounting to EGP 15.5bn in order to expand their existing activities, representing 83% of the total funding granted, while 27% of the projects was newly established.
The bank managed to finance 13,700 new customers with EGP 12.4bn, representing 77% of the total number of beneficiary projects and 67% of the value of the funds granted. This means attracting new segments that have not dealt with banks before. This benefits the principle of financial inclusion and ensures the entry of projects to work under the umbrella of the official sector, Al-Baz said.
As for the geographical distribution of the small projects that received funding from the bank, Al-Baz said that 85% of them are located outside Greater Cairo, as the share of governorates of Upper Egypt stood at 41% of the number of customers and 22% of the value of funding. Lower Egypt governorates accounted for 21% of the number of projects and 22% of the value of funding. The governorates of the Suez Canal region accounted for 14% of the total number of projects and 12% of the funding value.
“The activities of small projects financed by the NBE in the framework of the CBE’s initiative have varied between industrial, agricultural, service, and commercial activities,” Al-Baz said.
She pointed out that the bank has invested in the success it has achieved since the inception of the initiative and has developed its financing mechanisms in accordance with the rules, regulations, and tariffs approved by the initiative.
The new methodology has been developed and updated. They also specified the roles of each party, which led to the smoother flow of work and quick decision-making.
“In the implementation of this methodology, the bank has relied on work teams of high levels of professionalism, supported by more than 1,500 marketers who are among best-trained personnel, and 73 specialised centres that have been established to serve these types of projects in Greater Cairo and Alexandria,” Al-Baz said.
Al-Baz affirmed that the bank places SMEs lending activity at the top of its priorities and is keen to support these projects, being the appropriate means of creating new job opportunities that contribute to reducing the problem of unemployment and helping to improve the living standards of citizens.
She also pointed out the role played by these projects in providing local goods of high quality and suitable prices to meet the needs of the market, limiting imports of similar goods, reducing the demand for foreign currencies, and achieving the targeted economic development.