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Sunday, 16 December 2018

World Bank announces new $1 billion programme to support Egypt's private sector

The World Bank currently has 16 projects in Egypt worth a total of $6.69 billion

Ahram Online, Wednesday 5 Dec 2018
World Bank (Reuters)
(Reuters)
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The World Bank announced Wednesday it is loaning Egypt $1 billion to support the country’s private sector and create new jobs.

The new programme will build on a series of annual loans totaling $3.15 billion that the bank issued from 2015 to 2017 to support Egypt’s economic reforms.

The new financing programme is designed to encourage small businesses, Egypt’s biggest source of jobs, while improving government performance and promoting local development, the Bank said in a statement published on its official website.

“Egypt has undertaken historical economic reforms over last four years and the priority now is to create jobs for all Egyptians during this next critical phase of the reform programme,” said Samia Msadek, acting World Bank country director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti.

“The focus on improving the availability of finance, developing entrepreneurship and transparency in tax filings and government procurement would help small and unconnected businesses thrive and create jobs.”

Egypt has pushed ahead with a series of economic reforms tied to a $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan programme aimed at reviving the economy and plugging a budget deficit, which included value-added tax and subsidy cuts.

Egypt’s Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr said the new financing programme is especially targeting young people and women in less developed areas.

"Our aim is to create more and better opportunities for Egyptians, and our partnership with the World Bank has helped us make steady progress toward that goal," Nasr, who also represents Egypt on the World Bank’s board of governors, said.

Egypt’s economy has grown by 5.3 percent in the 2017-18 fiscal year ending in June from 4.2 percent in the year before, the highest rate in a decade.

Last month, Egypt agreed a new $3 billion financing deal with the World Bank which the investment ministry said would help secure economic growth.

The World Bank currently has 16 projects in Egypt worth a total of $6.69 billion. 

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