Banque du Caire participated in the traditional crafts and local industries initiative, a new initiative that aims to support small and micro enterprises in Upper Egypt, according to Mounier El-Zahed, chairperson and CEO of the bank.
El-Zahed said in press statements that the initiative targets to direct all efforts to craftsmen, encourage rural and Bedouin women, as well as women who are the sole earners in their homes to establish micro enterprises, and encourage youth to work in crafts and vocational industries and establish their own projects, which is in line with the policy of the state and the Central Bank of Egypt with regards to supporting economic and social development projects.
He added that adopting the initiative in cooperation with the Egypt Future Institution comes as a continuation of the plan Banque du Caire is following in the field of small, medium, and micro enterprises, which aims to enable all segments of society establish their projects and create thousands of jobs, reducing unemployment, spreading the culture of financial inclusion, and widening the base of those who deal with banks, which contributes to pushing economic growth forward.
The participation of Banque du Caire in the initiative is meant to enable all local communities that are involved in small enterprises and crafts or vocational industries, in order to provide a sustainable income for them, open new marketing channels for handmade products, and establish training centres in rural and Bedouin areas in Upper Egypt and the Red Sea, according to El-Zahed.
He also said that the extensive experience Banque du Caire has in the field of financing small, medium, and micro enterprises qualifies it to take the lead among other banks in serving that sector. The bank can do so by offering credit facilities and loans to these projects with repayment periods suiting the customers’ needs, setting mechanisms that contribute to speeding up procedures, and simplifying the procedures needed to grant the financings, and solving the financing obstacles that face the customers, according to El-Zahed.
El-Zahed added that the new initiative includes establishing a number of specialised workshops for those who work in the field of traditional crafts, and organising field visits to the places in which those people are concentrated in the governorates of Qena, Sohag, Luxor, Aswan, New Valley, Red Sea, Halayeb, and Shalateen.
He added that the initiative also includes offering training to develop production quality and marketing skills, such as presentation, packaging, and sales. The initiative also offers training on the latest marketing techniques, training those who want to establish small- and medium-sized enterprises on how to recognise market needs, in addition to monitoring product quality.
In the same context, El-Zahed said that 2016 was a success for Banque du Caire in the field of small, medium, and micro enterprises, as it succeeded to increase the size of its portfolio to about EGP 3bn.
He added that the bank achieved these results by taking a number of measures, most prominent of which were introducing a specialised department at the bank to serve small- and medium-sized enterprises, offering various products covering all industrial, commercial, and service activities to meet the customers’ needs, and developing the performance of those who work in that field in order to offer the highest quality in banking services.
With regards to financing micro enterprises, El-Zahed said that the bank has a special product for these enterprises. The bank was able to acquire a market share of about 60% of the direct financing the banking sector granted the owners of these enterprises. He added that the bank granted over 1.5m loans to micro enterprise owners with a total value of about EGP 11bn and succeeded to create many jobs for young people.