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Thursday, 3 March 2022

My Morning Routine: Yasmine El Hini, Country Officer and Acting Country Manager, IFC Egypt

Yasmine El Hini, country officer and acting country manager, IFC Egypt: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun.

Speaking to us this week is Yasmine El Hini (LinkedIn), Country Officer and Acting Country Manager at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Egypt. Last year, the IFC invested in solar irrigation systems for Egyptian farmers, signed an agreement with the International Cooperation Ministry and the National Council for Women (NCW) to improve women’s economic engagement and participated in Egypt’s first (and only) corporate green bond issuance last year with CIB, making it one of the biggest contributors to private sector financing in Egypt last year, with investments of USD 720 mn over the last two fiscal years. Edited excerpts from our conversation follow:

My name is Yasmine El Hini and I am the Country Officer for IFC in Egypt and I’m also currently Acting Country Manager. I started my career in management consulting with booz & co., which is now called Strategy&. I joined IFC in 2012 and spent five years there. I started in their advisory practice and then moved to the infrastructure investment team. Then I went to Dubai where I joined Majid Al Futtaim Holding and rejoined IFC in 2019 in my current role.

My role is to develop IFC’s strategy in Egypt across the different businesses and themes. And we’re also responsible for driving the strategy implementation of IFC by working with the different teams, and for managing the relationships with the government and with key stakeholders in the country. So you can think of it as we develop the strategy and then we partner with the different stakeholders to make sure that it’s implemented and to make sure that we are growing IFC’s business and having the impact that we want to have in the country. We want to make sure that we bring the best of IFC’s global experience to Egypt.

I wake up at 7am and I make my coffee and start with a quiet reflection of the day before mapping out my priorities for the day. I start working at around 9am. The first part of my day is usually blocked for high priority, strategic projects, and then I connect with my team and different stakeholders, and start to engage with the day-to-day. In between the reflection and the strategic projects, I read Enterprise.

I do two things to stay focused and organized. I regularly have sessions with my team where we map out our own strategies and focus areas for the next few months. So we have quarterly sessions where we look at our role as a country office in the IFC’s strategy. Then we take that and translate it into a day-to-day work plan that we follow throughout the week, recalibrating as we go along. We hold ourselves accountable to that. It's very important to block that time that can help you stay focused and strategic.

IFC is the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, so our focus is on creating jobs through the private sector, promoting businesses that are sustainable and inclusive and to create jobs and support the sustainable development agenda by supporting the private sector. Our core is to invest in the private sector through debt or equity and give them advisory support to build their capabilities through corporate governance and ESG advisory, financial management, healthcare quality, etc. And we work with the government to help them create an attractive investment environment to attract private investment from Egypt and global investors.

We’ve invested around USD 1 bn on climate in Egypt since 2016. At first it was very focused on renewable energy, and then it shifted to financial institutions. But for it to be more scalable and sustainable, it has to shift across all the different sectors, so now we’re working more with the manufacturing sector on climate-related projects focused on resources and water.

We have a very strong gender program at IFC and it’s also diverse. We have a program where we work to help banks create products and services that cater to females to help them grow their own portfolio. We also have the Egypt women's employment program, which is focused on creating workplaces that are inclusive to women.

After inclusion and climate, our third priority is healthcare. There are a lot of investment opportunities and we’ve made a number of important investments in the healthcare sector, and we’re looking to do a lot more investments in healthcare services and pharma. We are also working with healthcare providers on the quality side. We did a deep dive into the sector and what is needed to bring more private sector into it and we will make some of the outcomes of that public.

I spend a lot of time with my family and friends to relax. I like to travel as frequently as I can. I’m most at ease when I’m by the sea. I’m also a foodie and I love to experience food from different cultures whenever I travel. And I also love performing arts, opera, ballet, musicals. Whenever I travel, I like to check out their local performing arts scene.

I love fiction, especially Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s short stories. If I were to add something that allows me to relax, it’s reading fiction, because it allows me to disconnect from the real world and go to a different reality where I can experience other people’s lives. Also, I love the series The Crown. It makes you realize that there is such a common factor in the human experience, which is very humbling. But I also like watching the Queen’s personal leadership journey.

One of my mentors introduced me to the idea that life is a marathon, not a sprint, and it resonated with me, because it helped me to stay strategic and focus on what matters. It also helps me remember not to sweat the small stuff.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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