Middle East and Africa: Best Local Bank in the Region for BRI 2020
What an interesting financial institution Banque Misr is. Under the leadership of its chairman, Mohamed El-Etreby, the Egyptian lender has long been a clear regional leader in corporate and social responsibility. But in recent years it has spotted the benefits of being a localized power player on the Belt and Road scene, and has taken steps to put itself at the heart of the project.
If it has a unique selling proposition here, it is surely its ability to do the simple stuff – the nuts and bolts of banking – really well. Over the course of the awards period, it issued more than 2,000 letters of credit, enabling the flow of goods worth $2.5 billion, between China and regional BRI countries in the Middle East and Africa.
It also issued more than 500 guarantees and counter-guarantees for Asian counterparties, with a total value of $1.5 billion; Chinese firms accounted for $1 billion of the total.
Banque Misr has adapted its strategy to offer more sophisticated services to local and mainland firms. In March 2019, it began to quote in renminbi for the first time, helping boost its trade finance activities with China.
Its labours are bearing fruit. It won a series of financing mandates in Egypt over the last year, including with China State Construction Engineering (to build 20 towers in the New Administrative Capital near Cairo), with China Railways Group (to build a high-speed rail line linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea) and with telecommunications firm Huawei (to upgrade local telecoms services).
And in April 2020, the bank signed a memorandum of understanding with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to strengthen cooperation on the BRI at the commercial and interbank level.