The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has provided a $100m loan to the Arab African International Bank (AAIB), to help the bank scale up its lending operations to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and build its sustainable energy finance portfolio in response to increased energy bills for many companies and SMEs.
About $50m will be allocated to SMEs to support the bank’s strategy to increase its lending to the smaller businesses. The remaining $50m will be allocated to introducing credit lines that support energy efficiency, helping businesses that need to make capital investments renovate their existing operations to reduce energy costs.
“This loan will help a strong bank increase its reach to smaller businesses and encourage other financial institutions to follow suit, while also helping to boost energy efficiency in Egypt,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. He added that micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) continue to play a dominant and continuously increasing role in creating jobs in Egypt; however, access to finance remains a significant challenge for many.
“Small and medium enterprises are at the heart of driving economic growth. We are delighted to be able to continue to expand our lending to these businesses,” said Hassan Abdalla, CEO and vice chairperson of AAIB.
“We are also looking forward to expanding our services by offering new products to help our clients reduce energy costs, improve their competitiveness, and help mitigate climate change,” Abdalla added.
The SME sector represents nearly 25% of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP), and about 75% of total private sector employment. However, a significant number of SMEs remain outside formal channels, with SME loans representing only around 5-10% of total lending.