IFC today announced a partnership with Banque Misr, Egypt’s second largest public sector bank, to increase access to finance for privately-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including women-owned MSMEs, in the country. The partnership will help create jobs, boost economic growth, and reduce the gender financing gap.
IFC’s $234 million loan to Banque Misr will catalyze job creation in Egypt through its focus on providing financing to micro and small businesses, which employ the vast majority a of Egypt’s private sector workforce and are the most important source of job creation in the country.
IFC and Banque Misr announced the partnership at the World Bank Group – International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Marrakech.
Half of IFC’s loan is earmarked specifically for women-owned MSMEs, helping address the large financing gap that these businesses experience. IFC’s investment builds on its support for Banque Misr’s ZAAT program, which provides women with advice and mentorship to expand their businesses. Over the last year, Banque Misr introduced banking services to more than 55,000 women.
The loan marks IFC’s first gender-lens investment in a public sector bank in Egypt. It will comprise $190.7 million from IFC and $43.3 million from IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP) One Planet. The project will also benefit from concessional funding made accessible by IFC’s Global SME Finance Facility.
“Our partnership with IFC will help expand the number of women-led businesses in our SME banking portfolio and boost financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs across the country,” said Mr. Mohamed El Etreby, Chairman of Banque Misr. “It will assist the bank in transitioning informal micro-businesses, many of which are owned or led by women, into the formal sector. We expanded our outreach to this segment, support businesses in Egypt to grow, create jobs, and drive economic growth.”
“Increasing access to finance for MSMEs and women-owned businesses can help to create jobs, boost economic growth, and reduce poverty,” said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for Africa during the partnership signing ceremony. “This investment is further proof of IFC’s commitment to enabling the Egyptian government to support its private sector and promote gender equality.”
The investment aligns with the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Framework for Egypt, which seeks to support more and better private sector jobs in the country, among other objectives.
IFC has an investment portfolio in Egypt amounting to nearly $1.7 billion and an active advisory portfolio of $32 million. IFC supports Egypt’s private sector in key areas such as access to finance, fintech, climate finance, manufacturing, infrastructure and renewable energy, healthcare, and gender inclusion.