The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) marked on Thursday its first investment in the Egyptian financial sector after signing a $50 million credit line with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The credit line is part of a $100 million finance package with the National Bank of Egypt. The package also includes a $50 million trade finance line in support of international trade, which is expected to be signed soon, a statement by the European bank read.
“Strengthening the SME sector in Egypt is one of our main priorities in the country and the EBRD is pleased to be partnering with NBE to help us deliver on this key operational priority,” EBRD’s managing director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, Hildegard Gacek, was quoted as saying.
“The SME sector is expected to provide strong impetus to economic development and to provide much-needed job opportunities,” she added.
In 2012, Tariq Amer, the former chairperson of the NBE, told Ahram Online that Egypt could see its first bank specialising in loans to SMEs within six years. The bank would have capital of LE50 billion ($8.3 billion), he added.
The NBE is Egypt's largest concentration of wealth, serving over 6 million customers and managing some LE300 billion ($43.4 billion) in assets.
In 2013, the EBRD invested $160 million in four projects in Egypt in various sectors, and the bank has initiated technical assistance support programmes to approximately 73 Egyptian SMEs.