CBE launches 23 initiatives to support Egyptian economy during COVID-19 crisis: FEB chief

Hossam Mounir
6 Min Read

Mohamed El-Etreby, Chairperson of the Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) and Banque Misr, said that the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) was supportive of the Egyptian state in facing the coronavirus crisis by launching 23 initiatives that contributed to overcoming the repercussions of the pandemic.

Mohamed El-Etreby, Chairperson of the FEB and Chairperson of Banque Misr
Mohamed El-Etreby

He made this statement during the People and Banks Conference held on Tuesday to discuss the role of the banking sector in supporting sustainable development.

El-Etreby added that these initiatives boosted the gross domestic product, recording a growth rate of more than 3.5%, at a time when the majority of countries achieved negative growth.

He pointed out that CBE supports industry and exports, through initiatives at a distinguished interest rate, in addition to the real estate financing initiative with a return of 3% for low and middle-income people. International institutions have praised the Egyptian economy, which supported the coverage of the Egyptian bond offering in international markets 10 times.

He pointed to the developments in the performance indicators of the Egyptian economy, as the total loans granted by the banking sector increased to EGP 2.8trn, compared to EGP 580m in 2014, and the deposits of the banking system increased to EGP 5.8trn, compared to EGP 1.4trn in 2014.

He continued: “the capital adequacy ratio also increased to 19.1%, compared to 18.9%, and the bad debt ratio reached 3.5%, compared to 8.5% in 2014. Cash reserves also increased to $40.7bn, compared to $16.7bn in 2014.

Mohamed El-Etreby said that six banks represented in the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Banque Du Caire, Banque Misr, CIB, QNB Alahli, and the Arab African International Bank offered VACSERA EGP 170m to produce the coronavirus vaccine.

He added that work is underway to vaccinate all banking sector employees and their families, pointing out that Banque Misr vaccinates more than 1,500 of its employees and their families weekly.

He explained that the banking sector donated EGP 750m to daily workers affected by the crisis, in addition to EGP 500m to provide the vaccine.

He explained that FEB launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of electronic payments, noting that the cost of that campaign amounted to about EGP 51m, pointing out that the Federation will launch an initiative within a week to educate individuals about fraud and its methods, to protect customers.

He added that CBE played an important role during the pandemic, as it launched 24 important initiatives during the crisis. CBE would adopt digital transformation initiatives and provide a low return for real estate financing initiatives and small enterprises.

He added that Egypt is one of the countries that achieved a GDP growth rate of 3.5% despite the Corona crisis, while many economies in global countries suffered from the pandemic, noting that loans in the banking sector rose from EGP 580bn in 2014 to EGP 2.8tn, and deposits rose from EGP 1.4tn to EGP 5.8tn currently.

The capital efficiency rate has also increased from 13.9% to 19% now, and the bad debt ratio has decreased from 8.5% to 3.5%.”

For his part, Yehia Aboul Fotouh, Vice Chairperson of NBE, stressed that the Egyptian government plays a pivotal role in supporting sustainable development goals and the transition towards a green economy.

He explained that Egypt launched strategic criteria for sustainable development and the transformation of the green economy, pointing out that 30% of the funds go to the green economy. This percentage is scheduled to reach 50% by 2024.

He pointed out that Egypt had issued green bonds in the international markets, which received great demand from investors in Europe and the Middle East.

He stressed that the banking sector played a tangible role in supporting digital transformation, which contributed to facing the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. He noted that the coronavirus pandemic caused a supply chain crisis and resulted in global inflationary pressures, which in turn affected the poor, and therefore the countries of the world were keen on developing policies to confront this. Egypt was one of the first countries to put in place a plan for sustainable development and a program of structural reforms in April 2020, noting that the “Decent Life” initiative and developing 4,500 villages promote sustainable development.

The value of payments in the total of cards in NBE amounted to EGP 388bn for about 14.6 million cards, and operations through prepaid cards amounted to EGP 21.3bn for 2.7 million cards.

He explained that the volume of operations through debit cards recorded EGP 290bn through 2.6 million cards, and transactions through credit cards recorded about EGP 27bn through 1.3 million credit cards.

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