Banks put women’s economic, social empowerment at top of priorities 

Hossam Mounir
8 Min Read

The Egyptian banking sector, led by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), is increasingly interested in Egyptian women and empowering them economically and socially through various initiatives and financing programs of their own.

On Sunday, the CBE launched a women’s programme, in cooperation with the National Council for Women to qualify women cadres for the leadership of various sectors of the state through a practical approach of elite leaders. This came as part of the state’s keenness to empower Egyptian women.

Nevertheless, President of the National Council for Women Maya Morsi said that launching this programme “is an important positive step in shaping a serious future that will enhance the role of women and their effective contribution to raising the country’s development indicators. The programme will also enable them to achieve concrete goals at the local and international levels.”

She added that the programme aims to prove women’s ability to work in groups and bring out new generations of women leaders in various fields, pointing out that Egyptian women have already proven their ability to change the reality.

Meanwhile Deputy Governor of the CBE Lobna Hilal said that Egyptian women have the ability to give positive hope to the bank during this period. She pointed out that the CBE is seeking to double the number of women in leading positions in various banking institutions.

Hilal stressed that the governor of the CBE does not hesitate to grant opportunities to women to reach positions of leadership in banking institutions, which represents an opportunity to for a generation of second and third female actors to emerge in the banking sector.

She pointed out that her intention during the coming period is to instruct local banks to prepare lists of the percentage of women who are active in the boards of directors, noting that 25% of women occupy important positions in the boards of banks, about 30% of women are in leadership positions within banking institutions, which represents a real achievement for the banking sector in the escalation of women to various positions and give them full opportunities in promotion.

According to Nevine El-Messeery, CEO and managing director of Ahli United Bank Egypt (AUB), the bank has been keen to provide care and support to the “Women in the Future” programme, in its belief in the firm role women play in establishing society.

El-Meseery stressed that Egyptian women presented many models in various fields of work and sought to participate in development and push forward progress in the country. She also pointed to the success of Egyptian women in representing Egypt in international forums, as well as the main role played by women in family formation.

In a related context, the “People and Banks” conference, held on Monday and Tuesday, held a full session on the economic empowerment of women.

During the conference, Nermeen El-Tahry, deputy governor of the CBE’s Banking Development Sector, revealed that 70% of the microfinance loan portfolio is directed at women, confirming the economic empowerment of this group in society.

El-Tahry added that women have recently managed to take over leadership positions in many financial and economic institutions.

El-Tahry pointed out that the CBE launched two initiatives to empower youth and women economically. The first initiative is the initiative of the Nile pioneers in cooperation with 11 banks, the SME and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to help these sectors develop projects. Financial, and access to financial and banking services to as many women as possible.

Tarek El-Khouly, deputy governor of the CBE, pointed out that women are more committed than men, pointing out that enhancing the financial inclusion of women is very important.

For his part, chairperson of the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE), El Sayed El Kosayer, revealed that women account for 30% of the bank’s micro-financing.

El Kosayar pointed out that the ABE will soon launch the Women’s Aid programme, in cooperation with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), pointing out that this programme is the first of its kind to be launched by the banking sector.

According to Dalia El-Baz, vice president of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), 40% of credit cards issued in the Egyptian market are dominated by women, pointing out that the rate of stumbling in women is much lower than that of men.

El-Baz added that women are now an active member of the economic community through the executive management of the various institutions.

The head of the SMEs sector at Banque Misr said that 37% of the bank’s portfolio of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are women. He pointed out that the rate of women’s stumbling is very limited, indicating the commitment of women to pay loan instalments.

Omayma Farahat, head of corporate banking at Ahli United Bank, said the bank is empowering women in society and supports all means of empowerment, whether through financing or working within the bank.

She pointed out that the women’s representation in the bank is 50%, which confirms the bank’s interest in enhancing the empowerment of women in society. She further added noting that women have succeeded in overcoming all the social pressures they face, which led them to many leadership positions in society, both politically and economically.

“Ahli United Bank is working to study the industries in which women have a large percentage, enabling the bank to provide the necessary information to introduce banking programmes that meet the needs of financing women to ensure the growth of their projects,” said Farhat

For his part, Magdy Moussa, executive director of the Alexandria Businessmen Association, said that the association has 350,000 active clients in the field of microfinance, pointing out that the number of women is up to 171,000.

According to Nevine Badr El-Din, head of the central sector of microfinance in SMEDA, 20% of women in Egypt participate in the economy.

Badr El-Din explained that the authority launched a project together under the slogan “Start and Develop” your project, targetting 10,000 pioneers to establish projects in the coming period, noting that the project has already been implemented in seven provinces.

She pointed out that the microfinance portfolio of the project amounted to EGP 5.5bn and that the number of customers was 2 million, pointing out that 70% of the customers are women and 42% of them are from the portfolio.

For his part, Yehia Aboul Fotouh, vice president of the NBE and the secretary-general of the “People and Banks” conference, stressed the need to increase the economic empowerment of women by integrating them into a large number of projects, whether through companies or banks.

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