Ashraf Elkady, chairperson of the United Bank of Egypt, and Ahmed Darwish, chairperson of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, signed a partnership protocol to provide banking services, and financial and technical consulting for Egyptian and foreign investors willing to invest in the Suez Canal Area Development Project.
According to Elkady, the bank will also participate in financing major projects as well as navigation and port sector projects. They will also provide credit facilities for investors, especially in the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector. The United Bank will also review feasibility studies for the projects, which will be held in the area.
He added that the bank is fully aware of the logistical importance of the Suez Canal Economic Zone and its impact on the national economy. The bank inaugurated its branch in Ain Sokhna five years ago, and plans to open another branch in Suez in the first quarter of 2017.
These two branches will provide a package of banking services for both large corporations and SMEs, including retail banking, smart banking services, world trade services, and government e-payment services such as customs, taxes, and insurance, according to Elkady.
He predicted that the Suez Canal Economic Zone will witness an industrial revolution, led by feeder industries, tourism, construction, technology, petrochemicals, shipbuilding, and energy.
Darwish said that his authority’s partnership with the United Bank reflects the cooperation between the public and private sectors to achieve economic development and stimulate investment in all economic and social fields.
He added that the Suez Canal Area Development Project is the best promoter of investment in Egypt, as a significant part of world trade passes through the Suez Canal, especially container trade. He pointed out that the authority has already succeeded in attracting foreign investments worth more than $10bn.
The development in this area will take several stages, including the industries themselves and the surrounding provinces. It is expected that the development in Ain Sokhna and East Port Said will contribute to development in the north and south area of the Suez Canal, according to Darwish.