Statements from Amer and the AFI on Financial Inclusion
And as for the main event: More Egyptians than previously thought have access to a bank account. That news came as Amer discussed Egypt’s strategy and initiatives on financial inclusion at the press conference we attended yesterday. He was joined AFI Executive Director Alfred Hannig, and by Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, chair of the AFI Gender and Women’s Financial Inclusion Committee and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Zambia. Key takeaways:
- 32% of Egypt’s adults are banked, with total deposits growing EGP 200 bn. Amer signalled that we should be on the lookout for new legislation and policies to drive inclusion. The 32% inclusion rate is important — it’s substantially higher than the “one in 10” number usually bandied about, and we understand the CBE is taking steps to come up with an even more accurate estimate of total participation in the banking sector.
- The National Payments Council has tasked the Finance Ministry to conduct a sweeping survey of the informal economy, which Amer described as one of the biggest obstacles to financial inclusion.
- The CBE is working with the AFI on a number of policies which will be announced during the Forum. These will likely be the Sharm El Sheikh Accord on financial inclusion and the Financial Inclusion in the Arab Region Initiative (FIARI) regional policy.
- These strategies will work hand in hand with current CBE policies, including the CBE Microfinance initiative, which aims to provide EGP 30 bn in financing to around 10 mn beneficiaries, and the SME initiative, which is making some EGP 19 bn in subsidized financing available to small businesses.