MENA SME Banking Conference: Summary


SME Banking Club together with local partner Big Time International Company (Egypt) organized MENA SME Banking Conference, which took place on 08th December in the Hotel Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah and gathered 100 SME and Business Bankers, financial regulators and government from offices related to SME, NGOs, and financial non-banking institutions.

The purpose of the Conference was to exchange the best practice and successful banking strategies, to picture banking and non-banking financial institutions as an integrated commercial offer to SME companies rather than competitors, and to promote awareness of such financial tools as leasing, factoring, and insurance within SME clients and SME community.

The conference was supported by General Sponsor – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and bronze Sponsor – Elsewedy Electric. Strategic partners of the Conference were Egyptian Banking Institute and the Federation of Egyptian Banks.

Hayder Al-Bagdadi, Head of GIZ projects MFMR & PAFSME projects, as a partner of the Conference, did an introduction to the event and presented GIZ projects.

Representatives of Central Bank of Egypt, Egyptian Banking Institute and Federation of Egyptian Banks actively participated in the discussion of SME Banking development.

Nermine El Tahri, General Manager of Banking Reform Division from Central Bank of Egypt, talked about CBE’s vision and Strategy for SME Banking in Egypt. On December 2015, CBE introduced SME segment definition to the market and was requiring from commercial banks to establish SME specialized department in each bank and to constitute 20% of its total loan portfolio to SMEs within four years. In January 2016, CBE launched a program to finance 350000 SMEs with EGP 200bn over the next four years with an annual interest rate of 5%.

Mohamed Refaat, Managing Director at I-Score – first established Credit Bureau in Egypt, talked about challenges in SME segment and their solutions for it, clarified the present sme market size and trends.

Ola El Khawaga, Director of Research & Awareness Department at Egyptian Banking Institute presented EBI’s input to SME Banking development.  SME Unit was established in 2009, which offers a wide range of capacity building services to SME units in all banks and enhances awareness of entrepreneurs about access to finance.

Mohamed Antably, Head of SME Banking and Microfinance Division at QNB AA Bank, talked about building SME Banking strategy in a bank and importance of SME segment.

The delegates had exchanged their international and regional experience during the second session.

Andrey Gidulyan, CEO of SME Banking Club, made a presentation about global trends and case studies in innovations in SME Banking. You can find full presentation here.

Yuriy Voychak, CEO at SME finance company from Ukraine, shared his experience in building SME lending projects in China as a case study in foreign markets.

Reem El Saady, Principal Manager ASB SME Finance & Development Group at EBRD presented EBRD programs of SME support in Egypt.

Mohamed Amiri, Head of Business Development at SAIbank, talked about financial leasing facilities as an alternative financing mechanism for SMEs.

Bassam Azab, Business Risk Services from UAE, had shared his view on factoring transactions in Middle East region and why and how factoring works for SMEs.

During last session the speakers had shared with their view on non-banking financial services development and the ways how it can be done.

Shaninaz Rashad, Executive Director at Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, told about EFSA’s regulations supporting SMEs. EFSA regulates and supervises non-banking financial services in Egypt,  namely leasing,  factoring,  insurance,  capital market and Microfinance.  In Egypt currently exists 22 active market players in the financial leasing market, 7 active players in factoring,  32 active players in life and non-life insurance.

Finally, it was also important to hear the voice of SME customers. Daker Abdella, Board member at the Egyptian Union for Construction Contractors and Alaa El Sakty, Chairman of Association of SME Investors, presented customer voice at the Conference. Customer voice identified their needs by priority, and what are their needs from banks.

Please find all photo stream from the event here.


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise, which supports German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development, engaged in international education work around the globe. Among other activities GIZ help to promote access to financial services for SMEs, awareness of banking and financial tools such as leasing, factoring, and insurance to SME clients and SME community.

Elsewedy Electric is a well-established group with extensive holdings, both locally and beyond borders in several other Middle Eastern & African countries as well as some European & Asian countries. With the goal of providing our customers a one-stop solution in terms of designing, engineering, procurement and construction.

Strategic partners of the Conference were Egyptian Banking Institute and the Federation of Egyptian Banks.