The Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI), an affiliate of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), launched on Monday its sixth annual conference under the title of “Towards Banking Sustainability: Principles and Roadmap”, to discuss a variety of issues, challenges and opportunities facing the banking sector.
Attendees of the conference, which include national and international bankers, CEOs of companies, academics and economists, gathered to review the future vision of banks in Egypt and how they can adopt more sustainable practices, said Research and Awareness Director of EBI Ola El-Khawaga, during the conference’s welcome session.
During her speech, Executive Director of EBI Mona El-Baradei said that sustainable banking helps banks to adopt long-term “management strategies seeking profits for shareholders, long term relationship with customers, good working conditions for the employees, with regard to social and environmental issues.”
El-Baradei noted that banks’ investment plans should focus on projects that encourage sustainable economic growth and take into account the “rights of future generations”.
Discussing methods of achieving sustainable banking, Deputy Governor of CBE Gamal Negm said banks should inclusively finance the market through searching for less funded sectors, such as mortgage finance and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Negm added that banks have a social responsibility that lies in funding labour-intensive, environmental and slum-development projects.
Francis Malige, Financial Institutions Director for the Mediterranean in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) stressed that Egypt’s government should focus on reforms that guarantee a better economic performance, such as restructuring the energy subsidies programme.
The EBRD has invested $250m in Egypt since it had started operating in the county, according to Malige.
EBI’s conference is comprised of three sessions tackling green banking and sustainable lending, inclusive governance and corporate social responsibility and building long-term customer relations.
In the closing session, Egyptian banks’ chairmen discussed with El-Baradei their vision of sustainable banking, its benefits and possible challenges.