Despite Egyptian banks’ dedication to expanding operations in overseas markets, they are still significantly unconcerned with the rest of Africa, whether northern or southern countries.
The National Bank of Sudan was established by National Bank of Egypt as well as two representative offices of NBE in South Africa and Ethiopia.
Suez Canal Bank has a representative office in Libya while Banque du Caire has a branch in Uganda called Cairo International Bank in Kampala.
The Housing and Development Bank agreed with Trade and Development Bank of Libya to provide joint banking services and establish a number of joint companies in Libya, but the political turmoil in Libya halted this partnership.
HDB also signed a partnership agreement with Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur to utilize the widespread branches of the bank in Africa, as well as financing Moroccan real estate projects in Africa.
According to board member of the Suez Canal and the Arab-Sudanese Bank Mohamed Abdel Aal, there is a severe absence of Egyptian banks in both northern and southern Africa.
He attributed the absence of Egyptian banks in Africa to several reasons, mostly the late foreign colonialism in many African countries, political instability, and the differences between economic and banking systems in Egypt and other African countries.
Most African countries suffer a severe shortage of foreign currency and most of the banks’ operations are based on foreign trade financing. Such business operations do not achieve high revenues and do not attract Egyptian banks to work in these countries. Abdel Aal ruled out that this situation could be changed in the future.
Opening branches of Egyptian banks in African countries or vice-versa depends on the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and these countries, which is very weak.
He said Egyptian banks rely on their corresponding banks to implement their business operations in Africa. The presence of Egyptian banks is not as important as supporting political and economic relations between Egypt and those countries.
Opening branches of Egyptian banks in Africa should follow the boost of economic and trade relations between Egypt and those countries.
Former governor of Central Bank of Egypt, Hisham Ramez, said before leaving office that the upcoming period will witness the expansion of Egyptian banks in all African countries to promote trade exchange between Egypt and Africa, as well as facilitating the movement of joint investments with African countries.
Under the guidance of CBE Egyptian, banks will open branches in African countries to help businessmen increase trade operations and benefit from the Free Trade Agreement with African economic blocs, Ramez said.
Ezz El-Din Hassanein, a banking expert and general manager of an Arab banks operating in the Egyptian market, believes the Egyptian banking presence in Africa is limited and weak. While many countries are racing to enter Africa because of its economic constituents, Egypt is still not taking advantage of its presence on the continent.
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