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FMF-E aims to promote economic empowerment and financial inclusion in Cairo and Upper Egypt by providing a diverse range of financial and non-financial products and services to support income-generating economic activities and micro, small and medium enterprise (SME) development.

The First MicroFinance Foundation Egypt (FMF-E) was established in 2005 by the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance. From its inception in the historic district of Darb Al-Ahmar in Cairo, FMF-E has expanded to serve rural populations across Upper Egypt. FMF-E is committed to alleviating poverty by supporting individuals in becoming self-reliant and in improving their quality of life. FMF-E currently operates six branches across Cairo, Aswan and Qena Governorates. Majority of the clients reside in rural areas and a large proportion of all clients are female.

While the Cairo branches’ disbursed most of its loans for trading and commerce purposes, Upper Egypt branches’ focus on livestock and fishing loans that constitute almost 50% of FMF-E’s total loan portfolio. Majority of FMF loans are targeted towards micro-enterprises with approximately 40% micro loan clients in 2016 earning less than 2.5$/day. Access to credit is critical for microenterprise growth.

However, as micro-enterprises expand they confront numerous barriers to obtaining loans which are large enough to meet their investment and expansion needs. Microenterprises may need credit beyond a micro-loan but lack the collateral required to receive a loan from a commercial bank.

FMF-E’s new strategy aims to address this “missing middle” by providing SME loans and helping these enterprises grow and eventually enter the commercial banking system. FMF-E’s SME portfolio has been growing steadily and is now approximately a quarter of its outstanding portfolio. As a part of its new strategy, FMF-E also plans to leverage technology and various digital channels to increase its outreach while offering loans at greater conveniences and lower costs across its network.