The United Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the European Bank for Reform and Development (EBRD) to qualify small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Under this cooperation, the United Bank will act as a mediator with SME clients wishing to develop and improve their performance in general—their administrative, financial, and technical performance in particular—on one hand and with the EBRD on the other.
For its part, the EBRD will provide an international expert who will conduct an extensive study to identify the most important difficulties facing the project, find suitable solutions for them, prepare an ambitious work plan for development, and upgrade its efficiency, all of which will increase the volume of investments and maximise production.
According to Nivin Keshmiri, the assistant managing director of corporate finance and marketing at the United Bank, the bank has adopted a strategy that aims at promoting the “Made in Egypt” slogan out of a genuine belief in the importance of SMEs and their ability to contribute to creating new job opportunities in the current period.
Kashmiri pointed out that this sector is one of the most important pillars of the economic development plan adopted by Egypt for 2030. It relies on the philosophy of maximising production by producing the largest quantity of goods and providing the largest employment opportunities for a larger segment of citizens in the SME sector, contributing to achieve social justice.
She added that the EBRD currently conducts meetings and workshops for all employees of the SME sector in the United Bank and its 51 branches nationwide. It aims to analyse their strengths and weaknesses and to adopt an intensive training plan to improve the efficiency of the human element and maximise its contribution to meet the needs of this sector, whether in agricultural, commercial, industrial, or service fields.
Kashmiri pointed out that the presidential initiative, activated last year by offering EGP 200bn by the CBE for SMEs, contributed significantly to the growth of banks’ portfolios to finance this sector to EGP 101bn in 2016, compared to EGP 73bn in 2015.
The banks were committed to the CBE’s instructions to allocate 20% of the total credit portfolio to SMEs by 2019, she added.
According to Keshmiri, women have a large role in the strategy of the United Bank, pointing out that the goal of this strategy is to support the stance of Egyptian women and enhance their participation in all economic areas that reflect on the development of society and the growth in political, economic, and social life.
The EBRD is a multi-lateral development bank established in 1991 with a strong experience in the Egyptian market. It has provided services to several development projects, including 600 SMEs since 2012. The bank’s objectives include supporting the SME sector, especially with regard to providing different project consultations, to identify and rehabilitate the most important problems facing the project.