By Shaimaa Elise
Due to the banking sector’s belief in corporate social responsibility (CSR), one of the sector’s biggest goals is investment in Egyptian society, according to Barclays’ Director of Retail and Branches Sector, Hazem Hegazy.
This forms a part of the core business values and practices of the banking sector.
Hegazy told Daily News Egypt that any bank has business objectives, mainly focused on profit. This does not deny, however, that the banks also have social dimensions and projects to raise the standard of living in Egypt.
Hegazy added that Barclays Bank is currently working on the stability of the Egyptian labour, whether in the industrial or commercial area.
“Without a social role and ensuring adequate standard of living for individuals, the banks’ profits will be affected badly,” said Hegazy.
Finance Director of Barclays Egypt Mohamed Sherif said the bank’s board allocated over EGP 6m for CSR projects and donations. EGP 3m were allocated to develop the slums (informal areas) in Egypt under the initiative of Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB).
Chairman of National Bank of Egypt (NBE) Hesham Okasha said that banks in Egypt launch activities and programmes aimed at giving back to the community. The NBE has allocated EGP115m as donations in the 2013/2014 budget targeting the therapeutic and medical field, especially university hospitals.
CIB chairman and chairman of Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) Hesham Ezz El-Arab said that CSR plays a fundamental role in operations at CIB.
“CIB’s unique approach to CSR, which is based on seven key areas like sponsoring talent,” act as “an activity that works to raise student leadership, communication skills and entrepreneurship, community health and environmental awareness,” added Ezz Al-Arab.
Banque Misr recently established a CSR foundation, entitled the “Banque Misr Foundation for Community Development and Welfare”, as a separate legal entity managed by a Board of Trustees to address in-depth social development.
Funding for the foundation is provided by Banque Misr and is allocated on an annual basis as a contribution from its net profits. Donations are also accepted from individuals and external parties.
The foundation works on supporting civil society to carry out community and environmental developmental projects, in addition to offering scholarships to outstanding students, besides, initiating projects, which could achieve social solidarity nationwide.
Deputy Director-General of Communications at Banque du Caire, Heidi Al-Nahas, said that CSR is one of Banque du Caire’s priorities in the current period. This comes especially in light of the role played by the banking sector to service and support the national economy.
Banque du Caire has participated in a number of CSR initiatives like donating to the “Long Live Egypt” fund to support the national economy, as well as donating to El-Orman Organization, and the Ministry of Education to support the excellent maths and science major students. These donations come in addition to donations to support slums in Cairo and donation to cancer research.
FEB Chairman Hesham Ezz El-Arab said that the banks’ contributions respond to the needs of citizens in different areas, such as health, education and fighting poverty. He explained that banks set aside 2% of their profits to develop the slums with amounts reaching EGP 300m.
“Banks in Egypt are committed to a share of up to 7% of the profits to CSR, at a time when the rate in foreign banks is about 1.5%,” added Ezz Al-Arab.