The World Bank has announced a new $200 million project for Egypt, aimed at helping young people and women launch businesses.
The project will focus on "expanding the amount and access to credit for small and medium enterprises, which have proven to be a major source of growth and job creation," the bank said in a Thursday statement.
The project will offer $145 million mainly to non-bank financial institutions offering loans to small businesses, with lending targets including women and youth-led businesses, first-time borrowers, and small businesses in underdeveloped parts of Egypt, the bank said.
The bank will allocate another $50 million to privately managed risk capital intermediaries in Egypt to "build up the early-stage investment ecosystem." These include angel funds, accelerators, VC funds, and investment companies.
"Egypt has shown strong commitment to reforming its economy,” said Marina Wes, World Bank country director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti.
“While the reforms are beginning to bear fruit, enabling the private sector to create jobs is integral for achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.”
The project, titled Catalyzing Entrepreneurship for Job Creation, will also offer training opportunities for new businesses, to help beneficiaries develop necessary skills to become successful entrepreneurs.
"This is an investment that offers many opportunities to improve the livelihoods of Egyptians through job creation and contributing a solid foundation for the country’s economy," Egypt's Investment Minister Sahar Nasr was quoted in the statement as saying.
The bank says a five-year, $300 million project it launched in mid-2014 has to date created 300,000 jobs by improving access to finance for micro and small enterprises.
The World Bank currently has 16 projects in Egypt, worth a total of $6.69 billion.