Cairo, Egypt, March 16, 2022— Banque Misr, one of Egypt's leading banks, launched a new program today to support the country's entrepreneurs, particularly women entrepreneurs, with access to finance, mentorship, and the advice they need to help them grow and create jobs.
The Banque Misr program, named ZAAT, aims to support entrepreneurs in their business transactions and provide financing solutions, advice, and training to help them develop their businesses. IFC has provided advisory services to help shape the program.
The program was conceptualized in 2018 through a partnership with Banque Misr and IFC aimed at supporting women entrepreneurs. The two institutions conducted market research into the needs of women in business; provided access to global best practices; and developed and implemented a sustainable business model for their women in banking program.
ZAAT, which comprises lending programs of up to EGP 6 million and a loan repayment grace period of up to 60 months as well as non-financial services, includes features and payment exemptions tailored for women, such as a three-month maternity grace period.
"Entrepreneurs form a huge part of Egypt's economy, but they face difficulties in accessing finance and support to develop their businesses. Through the launch of this program, and supported by our partnership with IFC, we aim to expand our reach to this segment, particularly women, and support their growth, which in return will provide job opportunities and push forward the wheel of economic growth," said Mohamed El-Etreby, Banque Misr's chairman.
"Today, IFC and Banque Misr bear the fruits of their three-year-partnership with an innovative program to boost the development of Egypt's entrepreneurship ecosystem, with a focus on women," said Yasmine El-Hini, IFC Egypt Country Officer and Acting Country Manager for Egypt and Libya. "Our aim is to help level the playing field and provide all entrepreneurs with the solutions they need to create successful businesses."
IFC's partnership with Banque Misr is supported by Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and IFC's Global Banking on Women program.
"The launch of women-tailored financial products is imperative to women's financial inclusion and their economic empowerment. Switzerland is proud to have supported Banque Misr's pioneering endeavour to do so and launch it on the Egyptian Women's Day," said Dr. Valérie Liechti, Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in Egypt.
Supporting women's economic empowerment is part of IFC's regional strategy. Among other initiatives, in 2020, IFC launched a three-year advisory program to help private sector companies in Egypt tap into the country's large, underutilized female workforce. In 2021, IFC signed an agreement with Egypt's National Council for Women to help increase women's economic participation by boosting their access to bank lending, promoting equal pay, and providing more flexible work options.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.