Egypt issues first microfinance law

Egypt has issued the country's first law regulating microfinance services, the Egyptian Supervisory Authority said late on Thursday.

The law regulates microfinance funding by non-bank sources including companies and non-governmental organisations and puts them under the authority of the financial regulator, known as EFSA. Banks will continue to be regulated by the central bank.

The law, approved by the country's interim cabinet in May, was issued by decree by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after approval by the State Council.

In the absence of a parliament, Sisi has been using his legislative authority to introduce economic reforms, which have been welcomed by investors, whilst also curtailing political freedoms.

The government consulted the World Bank and other institutions when drawing up the law, EFSA said. The rules for microfinance, the provision of extremely small loans, could help to create jobs by giving individual entrepreneurs a start.

Executives from U.S. companies visiting Egypt this week said the country needed to promote the growth of small companies to develop its economy. 

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