HSBC Bank Egypt and Reefy Microfinance Enterprise Services, CI Capital Holding for Financial Investments’ microfinance subsidiary, have signed a collaborative agreement to provide EGP 150m to microbusinesses in Egypt.
A total of one-third of the funding will be allocated to women-led small- and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs).
As part of the agreement, microbusinesses will have access to long-term financing at a competitive interest rate.
The agreement provides additional support to initiatives unveiled by the Egyptian Government and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to boost the micro, small and medium sized enterprise (MSME) sector. The sector is widely regarded as the backbone of the country’s economy.
The CBE classifies WSMEs as SMEs that are 51% or more owned by women, or SMEs that are 20% or more owned by a woman, with at least one woman holding a senior executive role.
Helmy Ghazi, Managing Director and Head of Global Banking at HSBC Egypt, said, “We are proud to partner with Reefy on this powerful initiative to empower female entrepreneurs, and combine our experience with that of Reefy’s to deliver innovative financing solutions for microbusinesses in the local market.”
“Enabling creative and diverse entrepreneurship is integral to building back better following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” he added, “This agreement demonstrates our commitment to Egyptian microbusiness and SMEs as well as our ability to deliver the right mix of products, quality of service and international reach.”
Ghazi said that this aims to support microbusinesses seeking to grow their operations through easy access to finance.
Nadeem Habib, Head of Financial Institutions and Public Sector at HSBC Egypt, said, “This agreement comes at a critical time and will help women-led businesses, which were among the most impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, emerge stronger and more resilient for the future.”
Habib noted that access to finance is cited as one of the biggest challenges faced by microbusinesses, particularly for women.
He said that the bank is looking forward to addressing this problem by helping more businesses access the financing they need to grow.