Egypt to sign €500 mln agreement with EIB in October for SMEs: Ministry

Ahram Online , Sunday 11 Sep 2016

Sahar Nasr
The Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr in a meeting with the Heinz Olbers, director of the European Investment Bank (EIB) along with the director of Egypt's EIB office Christophe Lucet in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday Sept. 11, 2016. (Photo Courtesy of International Cooperation Ministry)

Egypt will sign a 500 million euro agreement to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with the European Investment Bank (EIB) among a number of financing agreements in the second half of October, the Ministry of International Cooperation announced Sunday on its website.

The statement came after Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr met with EIB director Heinz Olbers during his Cairo visit as well as the director of the bank's Egypt office Christophe Lucet.

The meeting saw a discussion on the current portfolio of financial cooperation as well as areas of cooperation between Egypt and the bank for 2017.

Egypt will also sign a 75 million euro agreement for the financing of 13 trains for the new line of Cairo’s underground metro system.

Last December, Egypt signed a $600 million loan deal with the EIB to finance a new power plant in Beheira governorate.

Nasr stressed in Sunday’s statement on the importance of the funds reaching SME owners, adding that Egypt's House of Representatives formed a committee to provide all the necessary support for this sector.

In April, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development provided Europack with €1.78 million to launch its SME financing programme in Egypt.

Egypt has been focused on encouraging SMEs as a way to boost the economy and create jobs in a country with an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent as of the second quarter of 2016.

In January, Egypt’s central bank announced the launching of a four-year programme to increase financing of SMEs nationwide, as these businesses are key contributors to the state’s investment and production sectors.

The cabinet approved in August a draft law allowing individuals to launch single-person companies without the need for more employees, as part of its efforts to support SMEs.

In August, Egypt reached an initial agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $12 billion fund facility over three years.

Egypt's economy, which relies heavily on imports, particularly of foodstuffs, has been struggling due to a sharp drop in tourism and foreign investments in the wake of political and security unrest that followed the 2011 uprising.

Short link: