he National Bank of Egypt (NBE) announced the inauguration of its subsidiary in South Sudan, NBE-Juba PLC, on Friday.
The bank was granted the required licenses from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and the Bank of South Sudan (BSS) to take the necessary actions to maintain its presence and conduct business in South Sudan.
James Wani Igga — Vice President of South Sudan for Economic Cluster — highlighted the deep strategic relations between Egypt and South Sudan, describing them as historic.
He also noted that the efforts of the first round of the Egyptian-South Sudanese Joint High Committee that was held in Cairo in July 2021 resulted in several memoranda of understanding (MoU) in various fields, such as electricity, water, agriculture, higher education, and more.
Igga also welcomed the holding of the second round in the capital, Juba, this year. He asserted that the NBE-Juba PLC crowns the special relations between the two countries, especially in economic terms.
According to the VP, such a bank — equipped with distinguished capabilities — will give an impetus to banking in South Sudan with the aim to enhance development and investment efforts over the coming years.
For his part, Egypt’s Ambassador to Juba Moataz Mostafa Abdel Kader affirmed that the NBE-Juba PLC branch was inaugurated according to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s instructions, as Egypt firmly believes in the importance of strengthening ties with South Sudan, fostering the country’s endeavors for stability and peace in all areas, including the economy.
Such financial activity will significantly strengthen the economic ties between Egypt and South Sudan, given the anticipated opportunities in the developing South Sudan market under the strategy adopted by Egypt to promote cooperation with African countries.
Over many decades, Egypt has bolstered its economic partnership with all African countries at the bilateral and regional levels. It has introduced several mechanisms to develop interrelations to enhance African cooperation and integration. Egypt has also joined numerous African economic blocs. In economic terms, the country has been focusing on increasing the value of Africa’s natural resources and expanding intra-African trade.
The ambassador stated that numerous Egyptian investments are present in various fields in South Sudan, including road construction and solar power on the periphery of the capital, generating 20 MW. Moreover, Egyptian contracting companies are operating in South Sudan, along other companies engaged in pharmaceuticals, oil, river transport, and furniture.
Moses Makur Deng — Governor of the BSS — was proud of the NBE’s presence in Juba, considering its unparalleled weight in the Egyptian market.
He said that atop the efforts to enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries, comes the expansion of the banking sector, especially with broad prospects for collaboration in agriculture, irrigation, infrastructure, new and renewable energy, and power generation, as well as joint projects to protect the Nile and improve its resources.
Furthermore, the two countries seek to strengthen cooperation in training, qualification, and capacity-building programmes in South Sudan in several areas, thereby accelerating the path of integration among the countries of Africa.
He also praised the CBE’s achievements, as it has an extensive presence in Africa and set up its first ever sector for African cooperation. Additionally, the CBE directly supervises the implementation of several training programmes for African central and commercial banks in monetary policies and cash reserve management.
Commenting on the occasion, Hisham Okasha — Chairperson of the NBE — thanked the relevant authorities in South Sudan for streamlining procedures throughout various stages to ultimately obtain the necessary licenses to operate the subsidiary. This attests to South Sudan’s keenness for NBE’s presence as a subsidiary to represent Egypt’s banking sector.
As the largest bank in Egypt, the NBE’s strategic presence in South Sudan will strongly promote economic relations and investments between the two nations, considering the anticipated opportunities in the promising market of South Sudan, especially that Egypt has presided over the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), bolstering the presence of Egyptian exports in these promising markets by opening bank representative offices, branches, or subsidiaries, especially in the Nile Basin’s countries, with an eye to furthering the common interests and promoting intra-African trade to best serve the common interests, Okasha added.
The NBE also maintains a leading presence in Africa, as it established a representative office in Johannesburg in South Africa in 1993, then another one in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, followed by the subsidiary NBE Khartoum in Sudan in 2012, as well as the inauguration of NBE-Juba PLC today. All are considered the first presence for the Egyptian banking sector in these countries, Okasha noted.
Furthermore, the NBE has always worked on fostering its relationship with Africa and its development banks, including Afreximbank and the African Development Bank, Okasha emphasised. The aim is to facilitate and promote trade among African countries, particularly those witnessing active intra-African trade and investments. This would bolster the partnership between the two countries.
The bank also targets offering different banking services to companies looking to invest in Africa in various areas and economic sectors. This will help transfer Egyptian industrial technology to the South Sudanese market and boost cooperation by sharing Egypt’s experience and providing technical assistance to participate in building the capacities of homegrown professionals in Africa.
Finally, Okasha assured that the NBE applied cutting-edge technology in its banking activities in NBE-Juba PLC, adding that the bank has carefully recruited highly professional and qualified staff members from the labour market in South Sudan to ensure top-notch services are offered, while maintaining the NBE’s long-standing corporate identity in all the subsidiary’s designs and integrating the common cultures of Egypt and South Sudan within the work environment.