IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a loan of up to US$100mn to Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt’s largest private bank, to help the bank increase support to clients and companies whose cash flows have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The loan is IFC’s first in the Middle East and North Africa through its COVID-19 fast-track financing facility. The funding will help CIB, a longstanding partner of IFC in Egypt, provide short-term loans to both corporations and businesses, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facing liquidity challenges.
Hussein Abaza, CEO of CIB, said: “IFC has been a strong partner for us for more than 20 years. We are further expanding our existing cooperation in this challenging and unprecedented period. IFC’s funding will help us strengthen our offer to our clients across all sectors and contribute to economic recovery and growth in Egypt.”
IFC’s loan to CIB is part of an US$8bn global fast-track financing facility, announced in March, to support businesses and preserve jobs in the face of COVID-19. Close to 300 clients have requested support globally through the program. Economic growth in Egypt is expected to be undermined by COVID-19. Key sectors, such as tourism and natural gas, have experienced a slowdown due to restricted international travel and the crash in oil prices.
“Access to finance for thousands of smaller enterprises in Egypt is crucial during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Walid Labadi, IFC’s country manager for Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. “IFC’s support for CIB, Egypt’s largest private bank, will help ensure a continuous flow of financing and will support a quicker recovery for businesses.”
Egypt is a priority country for IFC in the Middle East and North Africa. IFC’s commitments in Egypt since 2005 total $4 billion, including financing mobilized from other investors. IFC also has an active portfolio of 15 advisory projects.