The banking sector is defining the priorities of banks, in line with the country’s development strategy, as well as coordinating efforts and disturbing roles to organize community work and achieve positive results in various fields.
Lamis Negm, Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank for Social Responsibility and Head of the Sustainability Committee of the Federation of Banks of Egypt, explains through the following points the purpose and plan of the banking sector to organize community work,
Determining the budgets of community programs and aspects of disbursement, and notifying the Central Bank of the most prominent proposed mechanisms:
Lamis Negm told Humans Investment that a meeting was held with officials of social responsibility departments several days ago to discuss proposals and identify mechanisms for organizing community work for the banking sector in various sectors to deliver support to those who deserve it.
We stress the importance of completely separating the societal role of banks from the marketing of brands
Negm pointed out that during the meeting, it was called for the necessity of completely separating the social initiatives undertaken by banks and marketing operations, distributing community and development efforts in all sectors and regions that need support, and coordinating efforts so as not to focus on a specific sector of all.
She added that the Central Bank is keen to measure the impact of the community and development initiatives of the banking sector on a regular basis and to exchange experiences between banks to achieve the best results.
We seek to hold a periodic meeting of banks in the presence of the authorities concerned with protection files to discuss ways of cooperation
She explained that among the proposals that were put forward during the meeting with the leaders of the social responsibility and sustainability units in banks, is to hold a periodic meeting so that there is permanent communication between all banks and to ensure that the ministers concerned with the file of social, environmental and economic protection are invited over the course of the upcoming meetings to discuss the challenges and requirements that must be available to serve the most deserving groups.
He pointed out that all banks were required to determine social responsibility budgets and aspects of spending in terms of sectors and agencies that are supported, the amounts allocated for each initiative and the time periods for it, and everything related to programs and initiatives implemented by banks and notifying the Central Bank of them, starting from the 2023 budget.
Lamis Negm: 1.1 billion pounds total allocations for the development work sector at the end of last September
Negm added that the Central Bank is preparing a quarterly report that monitors the contributions of community banks and the efforts made in all sectors, as banks’ allocations from the beginning of January of the current year until the end of last September, according to the latest report issued by the Central Bank, amounted to about EGP 1.1 billion.
She explained that these contributions are divided into 725.03 million pounds for the health sector, 91.013 million pounds for education, 78.146 million pounds for community care, 14.126 million pounds for development projects in governorates and the development of slums, 33,041 for people with special needs, and 4,321 for women’s empowerment projects.
Also, 20.189 million pounds were directed to support entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises, in addition to 625 thousand pounds for environmental projects, 32.276 million pounds for projects in the sports, arts, and culture sector, 80.541 million pounds for conferences and awareness seminars, and 7.800 million pounds for bank contributions to the Decent Life initiative for participation. In national initiatives, and 6,840 for other projects that serve all segments of society.
We cooperate with various ministries and concerned authorities to support the state to support the most deserving groups
She pointed out the Central Bank’s keenness to ensure that the initiatives and efforts of the community banking sector affect the lives of citizens and deserving groups, by directing support for basic needs such as education, health, decent housing, awareness initiatives, and contributing to economic empowerment initiatives and others.
She referred to the role of the banking sector, under the umbrella of the Federation of Banks of Egypt initiative, in developing slums in Helwan through the “Eid and Identity” initiative to provide a human life for the residents of those areas.
She said that the banking sector is a primary and main supporter of community initiatives in various sectors, and cooperates with various ministries and concerned authorities to support the state’s efforts to support the most deserving groups in various governorates.
She pointed out the importance of supporting technical education to provide the requirements of the Egyptian market for skilled labor, which will reflect positively on the economy and the national product of Egypt.
She explained that it was agreed during the meeting to exchange the required information about the initiatives implemented by any bank for those who need it from the banking sector to exchange experiences and information in this field so that the efforts made by the banking sector are complementary to each other.
She continued: “Each bank is also able to complete the process by launching new initiatives according to a clear study with specific priorities and requirements to avoid repeating efforts for the same region and groups that received support before and to expand the circle of beneficiaries.
She pointed out the importance of being present in all community and development events and initiatives to know the needs required to contribute positively.
She stated that banks do not support individuals, but rather deal with agencies and institutions concerned with providing support to these individuals, such as the Ministry of Health, Education, Kasr Al-Aini Hospital, Abu Al-Rish, and others.
Invitation to the Minister of Environment to attend the next meeting to discuss means of cooperation
She said that an invitation will be sent to the Minister of Environment to attend the next meeting to discuss the ministry’s strategy and work on its compatibility with the banking sector’s initiatives and to identify the most prominent needs to hold more partnerships between the banking sector and the government to achieve the desired development.
She pointed out the cooperation of the Central Bank with the Ministry of Health and Population in providing 500 mobile clinic vehicles at a cost of EGP 775 million to provide alternative services to hospitals that are to be upgraded in the governorates and to provide health services to remote places.
The banking sector, along with the Ministry of Health, contributed to the initiative to eliminate waiting lists by providing financial support to conduct operations in several different specialties, as the total support of the sector in this initiative exceeded 1.950 billion pounds, and about 320,000 operations were performed.
She explained that the meeting touched on the importance of distributing roles in the societal field. For example, in the health system, all support in this sector should not be directed to the purchase of medical supplies and devices only.
She continued: Rather, work must be done to rehabilitate and develop the system as a whole in terms of training hospital workers, including nursing staff and doctors, and providing medicines to patients and others, in coordination with the competent authorities.
She pointed out that the meeting also called for the importance of supporting community initiatives related to the sports sector, because they have a great role in improving the health and behavior of citizens, especially in unsafe and random areas.
She referred to the efforts made by some banks in this field, which contributed to the rehabilitation and development of a number of youth centers in various governorates, as well as the efforts of the Federation of Egyptian Banks to develop and rehabilitate a five-a-side stadium in Kafr El Elou in Helwan under the initiative of Aisha and Identity.
Integrating environmental risks and offering green financial products among the priorities of the sector’s strategy
She said that integrating environmental risks, climate change, setting up risk management systems, and introducing green financial products are among the banks’ priorities during their plans for 2023.
She pointed out that there is a tendency to expand investments in green economy projects, which contributes to achieving sustainable development, and the Central Bank and the Federation of Egyptian Banks have a major role in supporting projects of an environmental nature.
The Central Bank recently launched an initiative to replace vehicles with dual-fuel fuel. With the aim of supporting the state’s approach to achieving sustainable development goals, which include taking into account the environmental and social elements, he also issued directives to banks that banks should finance projects that take into account the environmental dimension.
The sector’s contributions to the presidential initiative “A Decent Life” amounted to 7.8 million pounds.
The advisor to the governor of the Central Bank confirmed that the banking sector participates in the presidential initiative, a decent life, which aims to rehabilitate and develop homes, supply the most deserving families with water and electricity connections, and develop schools and hospitals with about 7.8 million pounds until the end of last September.
She pointed out that the “Decent Life” Initiative is the largest development project that includes all national projects in the education and health sectors, supporting women’s empowerment and providing job opportunities.
She pointed out that the banks made great efforts to develop the most deserving villages individually several years ago before launching the “Decent Life” Initiative until previous efforts were integrated into the state development plan under the umbrella of the Ministry of Planning to integrate efforts.
The participation of banks in the “Decent Life” initiative under the auspices of the Central Bank is represented in several activities that are implemented in these villages to achieve the main objectives of the initiative, by achieving geographical spread by deploying ATMs to provide withdrawal and deposit services and publishing points of sale for merchants to stimulate electronic payment and spread digital services.
As well as providing financing for small, medium and micro projects in these villages, and supporting the empowerment of women by providing small projects suitable for empowering women economically, improving their status and living conditions, including them in care and protection, and organizing awareness programs to preserve their reproductive health and family planning. In addition to providing banks with awareness and financial education activities for citizens, in addition to the participation of banks with civil society institutions by making interventions in the targeted villages in accordance with the 2030 Sustainable Development Plan.