Al Baraka Bank Egypt has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt, including women-owned businesses, helping catalyse economic activity and job creation in the country.
Despite the important contribution that SMEs make to Egypt’s economic development, many face challenges accessing finance in the country, where the lending gap is estimated at $71 billion, hindering the sector’s growth.
IFC’s $50 million Murabaha finance to Al Baraka Bank Egypt will allow the bank to increase financing to thousands of SMEs in the country across sectors including tech, transport, communications and healthcare.
Al Baraka Bank Egypt said at least 25% of the facility is earmarked for women-owned SMEs, which often struggle to access financing.
“We are committed to supporting our customers to address environmental and social issues, in line with international best practices,” said Hazem Hegazy, Al Baraka Bank Egypt’s Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman.
“This program is in line with Al Baraka Bank Egypt’s board direction to develop and implement environmental and social management systems through Sharia-compliant financing solutions.”
IFC will also provide support to help Al Baraka Bank Egypt develop and implement an environmental and social management system, enabling it to apply E&S requirements to its portfolio. This includes screening transactions against environmental and other legal and social regulations.
IFC has an investment portfolio in Egypt amounting to nearly $1.7 billion and an active advisory portfolio of $32 million. The multilateral bank 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.