INTERVIEW- Egypt a highly diversified economy with strong growth prospects: Standard Chartered Egypt CEO

Doaa A.Moneim , Wednesday 31 Jan 2024

Standard Chartered Egypt CEO Mohammed Gad revealed exclusively to Ahram Online (AO) the bank’s plans for the Egyptian market and how it perceives Egypt’s economic climate in general and the banking sector system in particular.

CEO of Standard Chartered Egypt Mohamed Gad
CEO of Standard Chartered Egypt Mohamed Gad


The UK-based multinational Standard Chartered Bank officially launched its banking operations in Egypt on Tuesday through a full-fledged office in the country.

Gad affirmed that the launch of the bank’s operations is a further testament to this commitment and to supporting the country’s economic progress in line with the bank’s mission of driving sustainable growth in emerging nations.

Ahram Online: What are the key drivers behind opening a full-fledged office for Standard Chartered Bank in Egypt?

Mohammed Gad: Egypt is an important market with vast potential, and we are always on the lookout for opportunities to explore investment and trade opportunities, in line with our regional strategy to support the sustainable growth of emerging markets. We believe Egypt is a highly diversified economy with strong growth prospects. It recently joined the BRICS group of emerging nations, opening up new investment and trade opportunities. It is the most populous Arab country with a population of 104 million and a median age of 25 years. The country has the third largest GDP in the bank’s Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan footprint. Given our global network, an expanded presence allows us to better serve our Egypt-based clients and our global clients with an interest in the republic in a broader commercial banking capacity, extending beyond our representative office. The launch of the Egypt branch also fills a long-standing gap in the bank’s network and further solidifies our commitment to Egypt and the region more generally.

Until recently, Standard Chartered operated in Egypt through a representative office, which was established in 2008. We recently received a fully-fledged banking license, enabling us to operate a branch in the country. Headquartered in Cairo Festival City, our operations here are geared towards providing banking services to sovereign and government-related entities, large corporates, financial institutions, and multinational companies operating in Egypt.

AO: How does the bank perceive the economic atmosphere in the country? And what is your outlook for Egypt in 2024?

MG: We believe the potential here is vast. Like all economies globally, Egypt is facing headwinds; however, we remain committed to the country, and this launch is a further testament to that. We are committed to supporting the country’s economic progress, underlining our commitment to driving sustainable growth in emerging nations.

Our economists have recently published their latest outlook for the region, and specifically for Egypt, maintaining a 3.8 percent growth forecast for FY2023/2024 (ending in June 2024). Over the medium to long term, our team remains constructive on fundamentals for several reasons. Egypt has the largest population in MENA and the 14th largest globally; it is the region’s third-largest economy, with a diverse range of sectors – including gas, trade, tourism, industry, and minerals – and significant planned investment in renewable energy.

AO: What are the expected products and services the bank plans to introduce in 2024?

MG: In the Egyptian market, the bank's full license includes retail and wholesale banking services. However, we are focusing on our Commercial, Corporate, and Institutional Banking (CCIB) business at the moment, targeting government entities, financial institutions, corporate government-related entities, and local corporations.

AO: How has the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) supported the bank’s registration, development, and operations in the Egyptian market?

MG: The CBE plays a crucial role in supporting Standard Chartered’s developments and operations within the Egyptian market. The regulatory framework set by the CBE ensures stability and compliance, allowing Standard Chartered to conduct operations effectively. In our experience, the CBE takes on a collaborative approach, which allows us to efficiently and effectively operate in the Egyptian market.

AO: Are there any collaborations with the Egyptian government/private sector in the pipeline?

MG: In any market we operate in, we are constantly exploring collaboration with local stakeholders. And wherever we do business, we work to promote economic inclusion, delivering community programmes aimed at tackling inequality and promoting social and economic development. One programme that we have rolled out in the Middle East and has been highly successful is the “Women in Tech” programme, which offers women tech entrepreneurs a unique platform to unleash their potential, overcome barriers, and accelerate their business ventures. We hope to be able to work with stakeholders in Egypt to bring this or another impactful community programme to life here.

AO: What is the bank’s plan for the local market throughout 2024?

MG: With the recently obtained full banking license in Egypt, we do not doubt that we will be kept busy in 2024 serving local clients, as well as regional and global clients with interest in the Egyptian market. In line with our commitment to the Egyptian market, we are actively building a team with a heavy emphasis on leveraging the deep talent pool available in Egypt. As of now, our team is 36 employees strong on the ground, and there are plans to grow the team to 75 employees over time. We see this as an opportunity not only to serve the local market effectively but also to potentially export talent to its wider network.

Short link: