On March 5th, the Central Bank of Egypt has ordered all banks to establish financial inclusion departments and to submit their strategies by May 2020.
The decision was sent to the banks instructing them to establish independent financial inclusion bodies to develop their internal financial inclusion strategies. Every financial inclusion department is expected to coordinate between all internal departments within the bank, as well as with the CBE.
“Financial inclusion is an integral part of achieving economic sustainability, growth and development. The decision aims to remove all barriers to financial inclusion to offer financial services to all groups of society, especially those who cannot access financial services.”Central Bank of Egypt
Financial Inclusion Strategy
In the letter, the CBE asked banks to prepare a 3 – 5 year financial inclusion strategy that includes their plans to expand to governorates and remote areas. As well as, plans to develop their financial products and services to make them more accessible to women and youths, two segments of society who face difficulties in accessing financial services. Moreover, the CBE asked banks to submit their digital expansion plans, which include strategies for digital wallets, and pre-paid cards.
The Central Bank of Egypt also asked the banks to submit plans to work with and empower entrepreneurs. The strategy should also include the bank’s plans to spread financial knowledge and literacy. Finally, the strategy should give indicate a clear roadmap and internal communication plans, as well as success metrics and reporting mechanisms.
The decision comes after a pervious decree by the CBE, on February 19th, for banks to spread financial literacy and knowledge amongst their clients.
Financial Inclusion in Egypt
According to Global Findex Data (World Bank, 2017), only 33% of adults in Egypt have bank accounts. The gap between women and men who own bank accounts is 12%, while the gap between high net worth individuals and low net worth individuals is 21%.