(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt)
Attijariwafa Bank Egypt launched its first business development centre at the bank's branches, on Thursday, as part of its participation in the Nile Pioneers Initiative, sponsored by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and implemented in cooperation with various local and international entities.
The initiative aims to support entrepreneurs and encourage emerging companies in the targeted economic sectors and provide technical and administrative support, in constant coordination with all concerned partners in the economic system to support local products and increase their competitiveness.
The opening of this branch comes within the framework of Attijariwafa Bank Egypt's plan to actively contribute to the Nile Pioneers Initiative by establishing business development centres within the bank's branches.
These centres provide a range of non-financial services to improve the work environment of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as communicate with young people and entrepreneurs to choose promising ideas, contribute to raising awareness of various banking services, and serve as a link between companies, entrepreneurs, supply chains, and support the growth of the Egyptian economy.
The Nile Pioneers Initiative is in line with the state's efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth based on SMEs and entrepreneurs, with the participation and integration of all relevant parties, while providing a comprehensive and effective infrastructure to support the work environment of these projects.
Deputy CBE Governor, Lobna Helal, said that the CBE's sponsorship of the Nile Pioneers Initiative is complementary to the bank's financing initiatives to promote the economy and develop the community.
She added that the opening of this centre confirms the effective contribution of the banking sector toward supporting the government and the CBE's efforts to encourage SMEs and support entrepreneurship, mechanisation, and technological transformation, thus increasing the competitiveness of local products and encouraging exports.
Moreover, the CBE's Assistant Sub-Governor (Deputation) of the Banking Reform Sector, Nermine El Tahri, praised the active participation of Attijariwafa Bank in the Nile Pioneers Initiative.
She affirmed that the opening of the Business Development Centre at the branches of the bank provides a model to encourage banks operating in the Egyptian market to offer more non-financial services and overcome the challenges facing SMEs such as feasibility studies, product design, marketing, and the administrative structure.
Hala Sakr, a candidate for the chairperson of Attijariwafa Bank Egypt, said: "Since the launch of the bank's operations in Egypt, we have been keen on developing an integrated strategy that addresses the needs of all social and economic groups and we seek to achieve tangible economic growth with a sustainable impact."
As part of its efforts to support the SMEs sector, the Attijariwafa Bank Egypt launched in May the Africa Development Club in Egypt as a gateway for customers and club members to Africa. The club is opening its doors for SMEs in Egypt to enter the African market.
Managing Director of Attijariwafa Bank Egypt, Hicham Seffa, said that the initiative is one of the most important steps in line with the group's strategy to support the SMEs sector.
Seffa praised the services provided by the development centres through a strategic plan that meets the needs of the targeted customer segments and supports emerging entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, the Retail & Business Banking Director at Attijariwafa Bank Egypt, Abdelrafie El Hachimi, said that since its inception, the bank has been exerting considerable efforts to enable the SMEs sector through a set of protocols designed to finance and support these projects.
He explained that the opening of the Business Development Centre aims to provide many services, which include sponsoring project ideas and establishing new projects and guiding the customer to the steps, procedures, and documents required to register the activity and help in preparing an integrated feasibility study for the project.
El Hachimi pointed out that the bank has been exerting great efforts since the start of its presence in the Egyptian market to enable the SMEs sector by planning to launch eight new branches in Cairo and abroad during the current year in order to expand the financing of the sector in addition to launching two dedicated business centres for SMEs In Abbas Akkad in Cairo and Azarita in Alexandria.
Furthermore, these centres will have all the qualifications and competencies for SMEs, and will be fully equipped within 3 to 4 months, he explained.
Moreover, he elaborated that first the experiment will be evaluated first and then the bank will then seek to develop a future plan to build several centres to support the SMEs sector.
On another issue, he said that a new product in the field of e-services is currently being developed, and that is Online Trade, which enables customers to open lines of credit in a matter of hours, in addition to reaching a swift code in the shortest time possible. The product will be introduced within the coming months.