Egypt’s new Central Bank Governor has 3 important files to address

Hossam Mounir
7 Min Read

Hassan Abdalla, the newly appointed acting governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), has met with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who asked him to develop the country’s monetary policies so as to keep pace with global economic changes, work on providing various sources of foreign exchange, and create an appropriate climate for investment.

Abdalla will also deal with a lot of other urgent files, on top of which are the coordination between the fiscal and monetary policies, the exchange rate of the local currency against the US dollar, interest rates, and controlling inflation.

Other files are completing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, reaching quick solutions to the importation crisQAis, meeting the needs of factories for production requirements, and maintaining foreign exchange reserves.

President Al-Sisi decided last Thursday to appoint Hassan Abdalla as the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, to succeed Tarek Amer, who resigned and was appointed as an advisor to President Al-Sisi.

In his first meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Hassan Abdalla confirmed that there will be full cooperation and coordination with the government in a number of joint files, pointing out that the relationship between the two sides will be characterized by harmony to achieve the goals and plans of sustainable development for the Egyptian state.

Abdalla said: “Our goal is one and the same, which is the interest of the Egyptian state in light of these global challenges.”

According to Tarek Metwally, former Vice President of BLOM Bank Egypt, it was natural for President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to direct the Acting Governor of the Central Bank to focus on developing monetary policies, providing various sources of foreign exchange and creating the appropriate climate for investment because of the direct and rapid impact of these files on the business community and the state as a whole, stressing the importance of those files that the Central Bank has been working on since the first moments of Hassan Abdalla’s assumption of responsibility.

Metwally indicated that besides these three files, there are other important files before the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, on top of which is maintaining the banking sector and creating strong and competitive entities, at least in the Middle East if not globally, pointing out that there must be a comprehensive view of the situation of the Egyptian banking sector over the next ten years at least.

He explained that in order for this sector, which is considered the backbone of the Egyptian economy, to continue, a process of financial and administrative restructuring and development must take place in a large number of banks, mergers and acquisitions, and the entry of new players into the market.

Metwally stressed the importance of the Central Bank, under its new leadership, using all its tools to direct the banks towards pumping more investments and money into the arteries of the economy, and achieving actual profits resulting from real activities of banks, away from employment in government debt instruments.

According to Metwally, there is another file that is no less important, which is financial inclusion, which he believes has not taken its right on the ground sufficiently so far, and needs more work and effort, pointing out the importance of this file in changing the lives of citizens, and serving banks and the economy as well.

Metwally also stressed the importance of integrating monetary policy with financial and commercial policies and other policies that govern the work of economic activity so that one policy does not affect the other and cause a conflict between them that ultimately leads to the failure of the state’s goals to be achieved.

It is noteworthy that Hassan Abdalla was the president of the United Media Services, and before that he was the CEO and Vice President of the Arab African International Bank (AAIB).

Abdalla, born in August 1960, has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the American University in 1982, and a Master of Business Administration in 1992 from the same university.

He started his career at the AAIB in 1982, the first multinational bank in Egypt, and worked in several sectors, including money and futures markets.

In 1988, Abdalla moved to the AAIB’s branch in New York City to manage the treasury portfolio and hedging policies for a year, before returning to Cairo. In 1994, he was promoted to Assistant General Manager.

Abdalla worked as the General Manager of the AAIB from 1999 to 2002. Then, he was appointed as Vice Chairperson and Managing Director of the bank. During this period, the entire banking sector witnessed great financial suffering and difficulties due to bad debts and weak infrastructure, after which the banking reform plan was launched in 2003.

He played a major role in the process of merging Misr America International Bank with the Arab African Bank in a deal valued at about EGP 240m, which was announced in May 2005 to be the first experience of its kind in the private sector in Egypt. It contributed to the strengthening of the AAIB and its spread in the local banking market.

After the 10-year acquisition, Abdalla succeeded in leading the bank to acquire the Canadian Bank of Nova Scotia portfolio in Egypt in 2015.

Abdalla has served as board member of several entities, including the Institute of International Finance, the Emerging Markets Advisory Council (EMAC), the Central Bank of Egypt, the Egyptian Exchange, Ghabbour Auto, Coca-Cola, Endeavor Egypt, Telecom Egypt, and Orascom Construction.

He also served as a faculty member at the American University in Cairo (AUC), and a member of the Strategic Advisory Board at the College of Business Administration at the AUC.


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