Tuesday 04, April 2017 by Matthew Amlôt

Egypt’s recent economic reforms top the agenda at the SWIFT Business Forum Egypt

SWIFT, a global provider of secure financial messaging services, brought together almost 200 representatives from the Egyptian banking and financial sector in Cairo, Egypt for the SWIFT Business Forum Egypt to discuss the pressing challenges of cyber threats, de-risking and compliance.

Tarek Fayed, Sub-Governor, Central Bank of Egypt, gave the keynote speech and stressed that recent reforms implemented by the Egyptian Government and Central Bank of Egypt are steering Egypt onto a better economic path.

“The Egyptian reform plan, which was supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has set the Egyptian economy on the right course and led to extraordinary results. We have restored confidence from international investors, which has meant that we have covered the Egyptian bond issuance three times and the Egyptian stock market has increased by around 50 per cent. Furthermore, banks’ foreign currency resources have reached a record of around $15 billion since the flotation regime, meaning that we have met all imports requirements totalling around $23 billion during same period,” said Mr Fayed.

Also speaking at the conference, Akram Youssef Tinawi, Managing Director & CEO of Bank ABC Egypt, and Member of the Federation of Egyptian Banks, said, “In November 2016, the Central bank of Egypt decided to liberalise the exchange rate according to mechanisms of supply and demand. The country’s financial system illustrated its strength in the months thereafter by absorbing the impact of the flotation and still creating EGP56 billion in profits since November 2016.”

The latest SWIFT traffic data, released today, corroborates these positive trends. Data shows that SWIFT traffic volumes increased 12.6 per cent in 2016, ahead of global growth for SWIFT of 6.4 per cent. In the year to date, traffic volumes are up 5.8 per cent. This growth is underpinned by a significant increase in treasury volumes specifically of 42.7 per cent.

The SWIFT Index, a methodology for anticipating GDP growth by combining global payments data with actual quarterly GDP growth figures, demonstrates that SWIFT data is closely correlated to economic activity. Rising SWIFT traffic volumes are therefore an indicator of economic growth. The data released today could therefore indicate the beginning of continued economic growth for Egypt and the success of liberalising the exchange rate.

Khaled Moharem, Head of Middle East & North Africa, SWIFT said, “Egypt’s economy is back on track after several years of challenging economic conditions. The latest data from SWIFT reflects this. The SWIFT Business Forum provided an ideal opportunity for the Egyptian financial community to come together and discuss how to take Egypt’s financial sector to the next level.”

With the theme “Building a stronger future”, the event examined the future of banking in an ever-changing regulatory environment and technology developments in the new digital economy.

Sessions focused on financial crime compliance, and the challenge of de-risking in the region, the future of correspondent banking and overcoming the ever increasing cyber risk.

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