Lending a hand
Angy Essam finds out what bank loans can do
"Our new small loans campaign doesn't target just providing a profitable product but is considered a national service tailored to assist youth,'' said an official source in the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and one of those responsible for the small loans campaign. The source told Al-Ahram Weekly that financing small projects is risky and does not generate high profit. However, the NBE insisted on launching the campaign to help youth realise their career dream, and which might even support the Egyptian economy. The source added that if any youth who is proficient in a certain profession or craft gets the chance and the needed finance he or she will succeed and help other youths to get their own job opportunities.
The source said there are plenty of young people who applied for a loan. ''We will finance the applicants who are serious, efficient, have obvious goals, have drawn up accurate feasibility studies and have a complete vision of a successful project that meets their qualifications.''
The source explained that the loan committee must feel that young people are ready to exert the effort to establish the project and have the skill to run it. If they meet all the requirements, the bank will finance the project and will give from between two to five years to repay the loan depending on each case. In addition the source said that the bank will help the applicant get the documents he must present to take out the loan.
Hisham Mahmoud, a 30-year-old mechanical engineer, has only one dream in life: to open his own car maintenance workshop. "I already have the place; all what I need is the money to buy the equipment," Mahmoud said, adding that he applied for a small loan from the NBE to finance his project. Mahmoud, who works in a car maintenance centre, added that he conducted a detailed feasibility study of his project and is quite sure of its success. "I can see from now the machines working and even hear their sound running," said Mahmoud, smiling.
The main goal in life of Karim Sherif, 32, a plastic factory owner, is to expand his factory by buying new machines to increase production and export his products abroad. Sherif said he has already asked for a loan and gave the bank all the needed papers like the factory licence and the commercial registry. "My main target is to distribute my high quality products abroad to compete strongly with European products," said Sherif.
"'I have a dream' is my quote but Martin Luther King stole it from me,'' joked Akram Sobhi, a 27-year-old painter. Sobhi admitted that his dream is the most difficult and the simplest at the same time. A member of the Nebny (Build) Foundation, he said he and his colleagues are from the young generation who participated in the revolution. "The revolution did not stop at taking down the old regime. It will succeed only when Egypt becomes the leading developing country in the world," said Sobhi of his dream. He added he was working in Nebny to realise his dream by promoting, educating, enabling and empowering youth to actively participate in shaping Egypt's economy "since this post-revolution moment belongs to the nation's young people".
Mohamed Hosni, 29, had just enough time to say he wanted to open a coffee shop. "This is my small dream. The biggest is to meet Angelina Jolie if only once."