Our strategy is to continue being the leading international bank in Egypt: HSBC Egypt CEO

Hossam Mounir
12 Min Read

Todd Wilcox, HSBC Egypt Deputy Chairperson and CEO, said that Egypt is one of HSBC’s most dynamic markets worldwide in an interview with Daily News Egypt. He added that HSBC aims to remain the go-to bank for multinationals operating in this market and that it has led key projects with corporations and the public sector, aligning with the objectives of the government and regulators.

What are your thoughts on the current economic challenges facing Egypt?

Egypt is facing similar challenges as the rest of the world due to the impact of global events, such as the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, on the domestic economy.

We have witnessed an increase in commodity prices and a tightening of the global financial conditions, which have added further pressure on capital flows and pushed interest rates and inflationary pressures upwards.

However, we expect that some of these pressures will start to ease with the expected FX policy adjustment, which is being delivered in close collaboration with the IMF, and against a backdrop of asset sales and effective primary fiscal management.

Egypt has a strong track record of delivering on its commitments, such as the economic reform programme that started in 2016. The government’s programme that aims to double the private sector’s share in the economy over the next four years while attracting billions of dollars in investment is indicative of the country’s continued ambitions for growth and development.

With the right policies and investments in place, Egypt can become a more attractive destination for foreign investment and a hub for regional trade and commerce.

What are the current strengths of the Egyptian economy?

One of the clear strengths of the Egyptian economy is its good diversification. The key sectors are tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, transport, real estate, infrastructure and renewable energy.

Another major advantage is Egypt’s location. Egypt has been a global gateway for trade for thousands of years, connecting the business corridors that run between Asia and Europe, via the Middle East and Africa, to the rest of the world.

The role Egypt is playing as a major partner for China is also an area of strength and differentiation. Egypt can be a ‘pivot’ for Chinese trade and investment, acting as the main conduit between Asia and Europe. We have already seen this in Egypt’s ports, railways, energy, power, and automotive sectors.

The large consumer market of Egypt and the country’s youthful demographic profile are also major considerations for investors making strategic investment decisions in the country.

The numerous national projects, such as the Suez Canal Economic Zone, are stimulating investment and the creation of new jobs.

Egypt is also home to some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the region. The exponential growth of venture capital funding to this market reflects the quality of local talent and the magnitude of the opportunity, which is why we have developed a dedicated lending initiative for technology entrepreneurs. All these fundamentals underpin our belief in Egypt’s long-term potential.

What role do you see HSBC playing in supporting the growth of the Egyptian economy?

HSBC has been present in Egypt for more than four decades, supporting the economic development of the country by leveraging our bank’s global network and deep roots in the MENAT region. We connect our Egyptian customers to opportunities around the world, and we connect global investors to the significant potential that exists in Egypt. HSBC is pleased to be a key enabler for the Government of Egypt’s drive to attract inward investment.

We have led key projects with corporates and the public sector, aligning with the objectives of the government and regulators. These include arranging and financing large deals that meet urgent strategic business needs, as well as supporting investments made by large and mid-range companies in various sectors.

We have seen several successes as a result of this strategy, which has allowed us to build on our reputation as the “go-to” bank for international companies in the market. We have also created partnerships to support the development of Egypt.

One example of this was the international business roadshows that HSBC organised last year in Hong Kong and Singapore. These roadshows involved the CEOs and senior leaders from across our business in the region and facilitated introductions and discussions on the business opportunities emerging in trade and investment that flow between Asia and the Middle East.

We also organised another mission with the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) to Singapore and Beijing, which underscored how highly investors regard the opportunities that exist for them in Egypt.

The conversations I had with colleagues and potential customers during these roadshows underscored how important it is to give an in-person presentation on Egypt’s economic outlook and to showcase the different investment opportunities in mega projects and infrastructure in the country, especially within the sustainable, green development arena.

As a result of this successful mission, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GAFI this month to support the Authority’s strategy of attracting foreign direct investment to Egypt.

Egypt is one of HSBC’s most dynamic markets worldwide and is a business built on many decades of support to our customers here.

What are the key growth areas for the bank in the coming years, and how do you plan to tap into these opportunities?

Our strategy is clear: to be the leading international bank in Egypt for corporate clients who value our international network, with a strong proposition focused on transactional banking, financing, and markets. This is complemented by a targeted wealth and personal banking business.

Our results year after year demonstrate the strength and the resilience of our Egypt business. Our Profit before Tax (PBT) for the year 2022 grew by 55% compared with 2021, and we are seeing further growth this year.

We aim to remain the go-to bank for multinationals operating in this market and to continue providing our corporate clients with innovative solutions from around the world. We will continue to support our clients in growing their business activities, especially through our leadership in Liquidity and Cash Management, Global Trade Finance, Credit, and Lending, and wider Global Markets specialisms.

Digitisation is fundamental to Egyptian economic growth and we have an unmatched digital offering that enables both retail and corporate clients to conduct a wide range of transactions. We seek to strengthen such an offering in the coming years.

We are committed to growing our SME proposition and supporting internationally aspirant businesses with access to trade finance and international expertise. HSBC is in a unique position to capitalize on the Group’s advanced technology platforms to support this critical part of the economy, bringing truly global solutions to our local SMEs here in Egypt.

We launched Afaq, a dedicated proposition for SMEs that focuses on supporting Trade, Technology, and Sustainability, as these three sectors are the pillars of the new economy.

Sustainable Finance is a great opportunity. HSBC is committed to playing a leading role in mobilizing the transition to a global net-zero economy. We aim to achieve net zero in our operations and supply chain by 2030 and in our financing portfolio by 2050.

We recognise and fully support the importance of the sustainability agenda and Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030.

We helped the Egyptian Government in structuring and launching its first $750m sovereign Green Bond – the first of its kind in the Middle East. I believe we have a vital role to play in supporting the country’s sustainable development and helping businesses in their journey to lower carbon emissions.

HSBC Egypt is one of the partners of the government’s Nexus for Water, Food, and Energy Programme (NWFE). This is alongside the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and several multilateral development banks, international agencies, and governments. We are working together with the government on the country’s green transition, with our particular focus on the Energy Pillar of NWFE. We are well placed to support this because many of the parties engaged are already our clients.

On the retail side, we are well placed to support the growing needs of our customers and we aim to provide a seamless banking experience wherever and whenever they want, with a special focus on customer segments whose needs and aspirations are best met through our international offerings. Offering a market-leading level of service is at the core of our strategy and we continue to invest in this area.

We also have one of the Group Global Service Centers (GSCs) here in Egypt, which forms an integral part of HSBC’s Global Operations. The Center was established in 2010 with just 85 employees. We currently have over 2,000 employees with continuous growth plans. GSC Cairo started with servicing the MENAT region and has expanded to cover several other markets across Europe and the world, becoming a comprehensive business services unit that supports HSBC customers and businesses across more than 40 different countries.

We are also keen on investing in the development of our people to inspire a dynamic culture where the best want to work and also help colleagues develop future-ready skills. We have recently completed the largest refurbishment project in the history of the building and included a complete overhaul of the building while fully optimizing the interior space. The upgraded office space includes the introduction of a state-of-the-art design that improves both our workplace standards and the building’s environmental efficiency.

As the leading global bank, we are well-positioned to support the growing needs of our customers and help them realize their ambitions.

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