The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) and UN Women Egypt signed a letter of agreement at the headquarters of the FRA to outline the terms of an extended partnership between the two parties to promote women’s empowerment, advance new financing mechanisms related to social aspects, and encourage companies operating in non-banking financial activities to achieve gender equality and unleash financing opportunities offered by sustainable financing tools within the national economy.
The letter of agreement was signed by Mohamed Omran — the Chairperson of the FRA — and Christine Arab — UN Women Egypt’s Country Representative — in the presence of their teams and the leaders of the authority.
During the meeting, Omran and Arab agreed that UN Women Egypt would provide technical support to enhance capacities within the non-banking financial sector and cooperate in setting necessary standards to implement investment principles related to social aspects, in addition to pushing companies operating in non-banking financial activities to sign the ‘Women’s Empowerment Principles’ (WEPs), which was launched globally by UN Women in cooperation with the United Nations Global Compact to emphasise support for achieving gender equality and empowering women in the workplace.
Omran highlighted that the letter of agreement included the development of an action plan for the areas of collaboration with UN Women Egypt, provided that the first annual work plan includes conducting a series of extensive meetings and dialogues on investment strategies in new financing tools related to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and cooperation in implementing the WEPs in the authority and encouraging the WEPs application in the non-banking financial sector in line with the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women and Egypt’s 2030 Vision.
On behalf of UN Women, Arab commended the FRA for its continued high-level commitment to advancing gender lens investing principles among its stakeholders and within the FRA itself. She also expressed her organisation’s keenness to work with the FRA in their commitment to strengthen women’s job opportunities and advancement in the non-banking financial sector, as well as the FRA’s on-going work in standard setting around innovative financing in support of realising the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
It is worth noting that last year, the FRA proposed a legislative amendment to the provisions of bonds, securitisation bonds, and instruments in the executive regulations of the capital market law and the inclusion of four new financing tools in the capital market, including social bonds; sustainability bonds; bonds related to environmental, social, and governance aspects; and bonds related to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The authority decided in early 2021 that companies and non-banking financial bodies whose engagement rate with women — whether as an individual or legal person — reaches 25% or more would be granted a reduction in development or service fees by 50%.