Egypt launched a new scheme on Monday to encourage millions of Egyptians living abroad to pour their dollar savings into special certificates, as it tries to ease an acute shortage of foreign currency that has hit the economy.
The dollar-denominated “Belady” certificate will be offered to Egyptian expatriates by the country’s three largest state-owned banks, Immigration Minister Nabila Makram Ebeid told a news conference.
“These certificates come to answer the request of Egyptians abroad to use their savings to help their country’s economy,” said Makram Ebeid.
Import-dependent Egypt has been suffering from a shortage of foreign currency since the 2011 uprising scared off foreign investors and tourists — major sources of foreign exchange.
Egypt is hoping the scheme will help it tap the resources of almost 5 million Egyptians who live outside the country.
The National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque Du Caire will offer maturities of one, three and five years, with yields of 3.5 percent, 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.
The Central Bank of Egypt will guarantee the right of investors to repatriate the yields they earn as well as their capital on maturity, in dollars to banks abroad, she said.
The certificates will be available from Tuesday and are being offered at higher yields than typical market equivalents to encourage expatriate Egyptians to invest.
Remittances from expatriates are an important source of foreign currency for Egypt, which has seen its trade and manufacturing sectors hit by central bank restrictions on the deposit and transfer of foreign currency.