Microfinance Now: Ashraf Gamal El Din
“Regardless of your affiliation, whether you are within a political party, Islamic group or whatever, the key word is the youth, you have to be thinking about what you do for them,” says Ashraf Gamal El Din, CEO of Egypt Post, in this short interview about youth financial services.
Youth are the majority of the population in Egypt, some 65% of the Egyptian people, and following the Arab revolution “it’s getting more and more serious that you have to listen to the youth and you have to be following their footstep if you like.” One of the key challenges is educating young people, preparing them for the job market, and helping them establish businesses. Access to appropriate financial services is a key part of what young people need, as well as equipping them with the ability to manage their money and interact effectively with banks and the financial system, says Gamal.
In addition to providing access to appropriate services, Gamal argues that it’s critical to make the business case to banks so that they see the young people as a viable business opportunity. When banks look at finance for young people, they tend to view it as part of their corporate social responsibility, says Gamal. But if it is to scale up, it is critical that banks see young people as a profitable market segment. He argues that the business case for the banks is best made by looking to examples in developed countries where statistics on customers’ persistence in sticking with the bank where they got their first savings or checking account are very high, showing that youth are a good long-term investment for the banks.
Camera Peter Cairns. Produced by Jeanette Thomas.