The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has received international recognition for its exceptional efforts in promoting financial inclusion and supporting economic empowerment for individuals and businesses. The CBE has been honored with two out of five AFI Global Alliance for Financial Inclusion Awards, namely the Global Youth Financial Inclusion Award and the Technical Leadership Award in the Arab region. Additionally, the CBE was recognized for its commitment to financial inclusion by reaching the final stage of the Maya Declaration Commitments Award.
During the 13th annual conference of AFI held in the Philippines in September 2023, a delegation from the CBE was present to receive the awards. AFI comprises over 86 financial institutions, central banks, and supervisory authorities from 82 countries.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that the CBE has been recognized for its achievements, which can be attributed to the strong support provided by various state institutions involved in financial inclusion. Collaboration with stakeholders at both international and local levels has played a significant role in achieving these results, highlighting the efforts made to support Egypt’s Vision 2030. Particularly noteworthy is the provision of digital financial and banking services to all segments of society, which will have a positive impact on financial inclusion rates.
The first award, the “Global Youth Financial Inclusion Award,” acknowledges the CBE’s accomplishments in promoting financial inclusion among the youth, who constitute over 50% of the target population in Egypt. The CBE has supported numerous projects and initiatives targeting youth, in addition to implementing a regulatory framework that facilitates youth financial inclusion. This framework includes allowing individuals to open bank accounts from the age of 16, simplified Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations, the facilitation of opening “Economic Activity Accounts” for businesses without a commercial registry or tax card, as well as the launch of electronic financial products and financial literacy campaigns in educational institutions. The CBE has also provided non-financial services and support for entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, the CBE received the “Technical Leadership Award” at the regional level for the outstanding technical expertise contributed by Khaled Bassiouny, the General Manager of the Financial Inclusion Department at the Central Bank of Egypt. This recognition is a result of his contributions to various Alliance events, including conferences, workshops, and training sessions involving member countries. Bassiouny has delivered case studies on specialized technical topics related to financial inclusion, such as financial inclusion for women, youth, and residents in rural areas. He has also actively participated in technical working groups, including the “Financial Inclusion Strategies and Peer Learning” working group.
The CBE also reached the final stage alongside five other nominated countries for the “Maya Declaration Commitment Award.” This award acknowledges the fulfillment of commitments in the fields of financial inclusion and poverty alleviation. AFI members annually make moral pledges and regularly update the progress of their implementation towards achieving these pledges. The commitments include reducing the gender gap in providing financial services, increasing financial inclusion for youth, and promoting financial literacy, among others. The award is named after the city of Maya in Mexico, where the initiative was launched.
The CBE became a member of AFI in 2013, which was established in 2008. The Alliance aims to develop tools for promoting financial inclusion, facilitate the exchange of technical and practical experiences between countries, and support the formulation and implementation of financial inclusion policies and strategies.