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Monday, 8 April 2019

CIB Chairman Hisham Ezz Al Arab on economic reform, financial inclusion

Egypt’s economic reform program is finally beginning to bear fruit as confidence and investment levels increase, our friend CIB Chairman Hisham Ezz Al Arab told The Banker. “Confidence is growing, as reflected in the IMF’s and rating agencies’ positive economic outlooks,” he says. “Perhaps most significantly, lowered interest rates have signalled the return of investment, which will clearly accelerate the positive momentum.”

Giving incentives to businesses to go legit is crucial: “The importance of financial inclusion to a sustainable Egyptian economy cannot be overstated it is clearly the government’s highest priority,” Al Arab says in a separate article in the FT’s monthly publication. The best way to achieve this is through new technology, he says. “This is why we have invested heavily in digital platforms, versus traditional channels, which has led to the launch of many significant products such as the smart wallet, internet banking and the CIB mobile banking app.”

Egypt’s banking sector a role model for progressive workplaces? A third piece in this month’s edition looks at the ways in which the Egyptian banking sector is working to stamp out workplace gender discrimination and hiring bias. The Egyptian government and the central bank “are actively committed to promoting fair opportunities for all,” Pakinam Essam, CIB’s chief risk officer, tells The Banker. Because of the highly competitive nature of the sector, “it is normal that the top candidates in the workplace, which happen to be overwhelmingly females, find their way into the banking industry,” she says.

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