Source: Japan International Cooperation Agency
The Ceremony held at Banque Misr (Banque Misr, SMBC, JICA, and Ambassador of Japan to Egypt (Center))
BM Chairman and Chief Representative of JICA Egypt Office
On March 30, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with an Egyptian bank, Banque Misr S.A.E., to fund micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through the Private Sector Investment and Finance (PSIF). The loan is co-financed with the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). This is JICA’s first PSIF project in the Middle East and Europe region co-financed with a Japanese private financial institution after PSIF was relaunched.
MSMEs play a crucial role in the Egyptian economy, accounting for 25 percent of the gross domestic product and 75 percent of the employment (employing 11 million people). However, their access to finance is limited; especially, very few women-owned MSMEs (WMMSMEs) are able to finance their businesses.
Established in 1920, Banque Misr is the second largest bank in Egypt, and was nationalized by the Egyptian government in 1960. Currently, Banque Misr has 687 branches all over the country, and it is still opening up new branches and hiring more employees to reach out to MSME, including WMMSME clients.
The loan from JICA will help Banque Misr expand lending to MSMEs, including WMMSMEs, thus contributing to Egypt’s sustainable economic growth. This is also aligned with SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) 5, 8, 9, and 17.
On March 30, 2021, JICA and SMBC launched the “SMBC-JICA Sustainable Finance Framework” which aims at improving borrowers’ sustainable businesses and the above-mentioned loan agreement is the first project under this Framework. The Framework will utilize JICA’s experience as a development finance institution to identify development challenges, project monitoring, and project impact evaluation. This Framework will adopt the common impact evaluation and monitoring majors for the co-finance project, and share and manage the results together. With such elements in the Framework, it will align with internationally recognized guidelines and principles to target the achievement of SDGs (**) and receive third party reviews of the Framework to confirm its alignment. Through the Framework, JICA will further collaborate with SMBC, mobilize more private funds to developing countries, and contribute to the socio-economic development of developing economies.
(*) Sustainable Finance refers to the utilization of financial services integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into investment decisions, leading to sustainable economic and social resolutions.
(**) The Green Bond Principles, Social Bond Principles, and Sustainability Bond Guidelines of the International Capital Market Association, and the Green Loan Principles and Sustainability Linked Loan Principles of the Loan Market Association.