Hisham Ezz El Arab, chairman of Commercial International Bank (CIB), recently launched the CIB Foundation, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative dedicated to enhancing health and nutrition services for underprivileged children in Egypt.
Nesma Farahat, manager of the CIB Foundation, told Daily News Egypt that the board of trustees chose children’s health and nutrition as the area of intervention, since it is crucial to creating a healthy, productive population for the future.
The fund has focused on partnerships with hospitals and NGOs with which the bank has previously conducted business, she said.
According to a statement, an ongoing allocation of 1 percent of the bank’s annual net profit will be channeled to the foundation to support its activities in an attempt to improve access to healthcare and nutrition services across Egypt
“It is through the combined efforts of our shareholders and stakeholders that we can work together to make positive, life-changing differences in our communities,” said Ezz El Arab.
The new foundation would continue and consolidate all CSR initiatives previously conducted by the bank, according to Farahat.
Ezz El Arab said LE 17 million in profits were available for CSR activities last year, of which LE 11 million are already committed to projects.
“We are expecting this figure to increase as the bank maintains its steady increase in profits,” he added.
These include financing the renovation of the Abou El Reesh El Mounira Children’s Hospital Outpatient Ward in Oct. 2009, towards which CIB donated LE 1 million to upgrade the clinic’s infrastructure.
In Aswan, through the Magdi Yacoub Foundation, CIB funded 50 children’s open heart surgeries with an LE 3 million donation. An LE 2.8 million donation was made to the pediatric ward of the Faculty of Oral and Dental Medicine at Cairo University, which is expected to open in Nov. 2010. CIB also donated LE 1 million to the Pediatric Surgery Unit at Ain Shams University Hospital.
The fund is exclusive to CIB stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, suppliers, affiliates and employees. The bank says that donations can be made in one of two ways: either through the direct donation — by cash or by check — to the 2010 account in any CIB branch in Egypt, or through money transfer to the 2010 account via CIB’s electronic banking system.
“It is limited to our stakeholders for now, but it will expand when we have proven our success,” Ezz El Arab said. “The bank’s focus will be on Egypt for the next five years. Not international [and] not regional, as we believe that [there] are unlimited opportunities here.”
“Also, since all our profits are from here, we feel we have to give back.”
Health and nutrition in Egypt will not be remedied by a “quick fix,” Ezz El Arab said.
“We are trying to have a long term effect,” he added.