Egypt’s transformation into one of the emerging economic powerhouses of the twenty-first century has been powered by a combination of smart, reformist economic policies and the hard work and innovation of the private sector. To business leaders here, success is about more than just profits.
Egypt needs to create over 700,000 new jobs every single year, which will require average economic growth of 7% per annum,” says Hassan Abdalla, vice chairman and managing director of Arab African International Bank (AAIB), one of the nation’s leading private-sector financial institutions.
iven the depth of the Egyptian market, he stresses the need to broaden the financial system beyond banking to include other forms of financing such as private equity funds, consumer finance companies, especially mortgage finance, leasing and venture capital. Empowering SMEs is another crucial area for invigorating the financial system. To a considerable extent, these developments are in the process, but they need to have the proper regulations to have them work effectively. This is perceived as increasingly the role to be played by the private sector and NGOs with the government role tilting towards becoming the regulator.
Arab African International Bank is well-equipped to lead change in the Egyptian financial market. Abdalla is the CEO who leveraged the bank to become a forerunner in the Egyptian market in a record time. A visionary banker with a piercing insight partly attributed to his long experience in international financial markets in Europe and the U.S, a deep feel of the potentials of the local market and the inherent competitiveness of AAIB. “It is our deep knowledge of the market, our ability to move fast, our ability to face less risk in innovative ways, and to serve our clients with deep understanding of their needs”, he says.
Established as the first private sector bank in Egypt in 1964, AAIB has placed itself at the centre of an exciting emerging economy through a long, successful history that has combined innovation and trusted partnerships with its customers – from individual account holders to industrial conglomerates. AAIB has posted the industry’s top growth figures for five years running as the Egyptian economy liberalizes and expands. From being the first bank to introduce a foreign currency trading desk in the 1960s to the introduction of credit cards in the 1980s and smart cards in 2003, AAIB has always ensured that its clients enjoy innovative services from a trusted local partner. The bank’s status as the leading private-sector player in Egypt has been affirmed by awards from international observers including Euromoney (“Best Bank in Egypt” for 2007) and the Financial Times, whose banking publication The Banker named AAIB Egypt’s “Bank of the Year” in 2006. International ratings agency Moody’s, in recognizing the bank’s solid prospects moving forward, upgraded its credit rating for the bank in 2006, moving it from an “A” with a positive outlook to “A+” with a stable outlook.