BEBA organized a webinar on “Export Credit Agencies: Empowering International Trade & Supporting Businesses in Challenging Times”, on Tuesday October 17, with special guest speakers Yasmine El Hosseiny, Strategic Planning Director, Export Development bank of Egypt (Ebank) and Mohamed Saad Country Head, UK Export Finance. The session was moderated by Nadeem Habib, Director, and Head of FIG & public sector & Gov.
Yasmine El Hosseiny, representing Ebank, outlined the organization’s comprehensive mandate to boost Egyptian exports. Ebank has been actively involved in the market for nearly four decades, enjoying a 10% share in trade finance, particularly in export finance. Their market share has been on an upward trajectory, growing from 8% in 2019 to 10% in 2022. Ebank also plays a role in disbursing export subsidies, holding a substantial 30% market share in this domain, benefiting around 500 exporters in recent years. They offer a suite of services, including trade credit insurance, invoice collection, and contract frustration insurance. Additionally, Ebank provides financial institution-related insurance, such as leasing, factoring, microfinance, and consumer finance insurance, contributing significantly to the growth of non-oil exports in Egypt. In addition to financial services, Ebank aims to provide services that go beyond banking. These include matchmaking services, support for trade shows and exhibitions, and assistance throughout the export journey. Furthermore, Ebank offers essential non-financial services such as country risk assessment and claims and collections to mitigate risks for exporters. They presented their range of services and highlighted potential areas of collaboration.
Mohamed Saad, representing UK Export Finance, introduced the role and mission of UKFinance. Being a governmental British department with over a century of experience, their mission is to ensure no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance. They work closely with commercial banks and private sector insurers to support UK exporters and overseas buyers. The UK Export Finance is well-known for its flexibility and innovation. They offer short-term financing, working capital, and insurance for UK exporters. In addition, they provide long-term financing with competitive interest rates for projects with a minimum of 20% UK content, which can offer a competitive advantage for UK supply chain companies. This guarantee is issued directly by the UK government, enabling banks to replace project risks with UK government risk, making it possible to provide competitive interest rates and long tenures. This financial organization aligns with the UK government’s strategic priorities in sectors such as water, energy (particularly renewable and green hydrogen), and transportation, in line with Egypt’s priorities. In 2021, UK Export Finance supported the Cairo Monorail project with £1.7 billion, the most significant overseas infrastructure project they have ever supported, showcasing their commitment to projects in Egypt.
The discussants mentioned the significance of sustainability in their lending activities. UK Export Finance is known for its leadership in embedding ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) policies in its lending practices. As the first major economy to commit to net zero by 2050, the UK government has passed domestic laws requiring net-zero emissions. UK Export Finance aims to achieve net zero across its portfolio and operations by 2050. They provided £3.6 billion of support to sustainable projects in 2021 and aim to support more in the future, with a focus on green projects and clean growth. In this context, the Cairo Monorail project was highlighted as an example of a green project.
As the discussion shifted towards practical steps for Egyptian EPC contractors looking to access UK Export Finance support, Mohamed Saad said that they are committed to helping projects in Egypt. They offer various financing structures, including corporate finance, sovereign finance, and project finance. The requirement for 20% UK content is considered a minimum, and they can work with project sponsors to help identify potential UK suppliers and support projects in Egypt.
Regarding Ebank’s future plans, Yasmine highlighted that they are currently in the process of being fully acquired by the Central Bank of Egypt. This acquisition is expected to strengthen their support and expand their role in the export landscape, offering more comprehensive services and opportunities for Egyptian exporters. She also discussed their focus on facilitating the entire process of exporters, from the initiation of a transaction to closure and collection, thereby providing full-spectrum support for exporters.
Both Ebank and UK Export Finance agreed to work and collaborate, hence an MOU will be signed to further develop and boost trade relations between Egypt and the UK. Finally, BEBA will organize a follow up seminar after the signing the MOU.
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