Egypt to sign $560 mln agreement with EIB for SMEs

The loan is among a number of ongoing financing agreements undertaken by Cairo in recent months

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt will receive support as part of a $560 million agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB), reports Ahram Online.

According to the Ministry of International Cooperation announcement on Sunday on its website, the loan is among a number of ongoing financing agreements undertaken by Cairo in recent months.

It came after Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, met with EIB director Heinz Olbers during his Cairo visit along with 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.

A $85 million agreement for the financing of 13 trains for the new line of Cairo’s underground metro system will also be signed.

Egypt’s House of Representatives had formed a panel to support for the SME sector and Nasr said that it was important that the funds reach SME owners.

Focusing on SMEs is important for Egypt to strengthen its economy as well as to create more jobs, with the joblessness rate touched 12.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2016.

In January, Egypt’s central bank announced a four-year program to boost financing of SMEs across the country, identifying these businesses as key contributors to the state’s investment and production sectors.

The cabinet also 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.

Earlier in April, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has provided Europack with $2 million to launch its SME financing program.

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