The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) aims to focus on financing renewable energy projects in Egypt in the coming period, according to Philip ter Woort, Director of EBRD Egypt.
Ter Woort explained that the bank has received funding requests from about 67 private companies operating in the field of renewable energy in Egypt, and EBRD has allocated hundreds of millions of euros for this purpose.
The director was speaking to journalists following the signing of a contract agreement with the National Bank of Kuwait – Egypt (NBK), to grant NBK $50m from EBRD.
According to Ter Woort, the cooperation with NBK, along with other banks operating in Egypt, is towards supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt, which is an important pillar of the EBRD’s strategy in Egypt.
He explained that the sector is suffering from a lack of funding, although these projects and companies account for about 90% of the total companies operating in Egypt, and employs the vast majority of the workforce in the country.
The Egyptian government pays particular attention to the support and development of the SMEs sector and it is on top of its priorities, according to the director, so that it becomes a strong economic sector and solve the unemployment crisis.
According Ter Woort, EBRD investments, since it began operations in Egypt in 2012, have amounted to about €1.1bn, in 28 projects within various sectors – financial, agri-business, manufacturing, services, electricity, water and sanitation, and transport.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is an international financial institution founded in 1991. As a multilateral developmental investment bank, the EBRD uses investment as a tool to build market economies. It is owned by 64 countries and two EU institutions. Egypt is a founding member of the bank.
According to the director of the bank’s office in Egypt, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development does not intend to finance major projects in countries where it operates, as it focuses more on participating with banks operating in these countries to provide the necessary funding for SMEs.
He added that the bank aims to provide all aspects of assistance to these projects, and to develop the skills of their owners.
EBRD has been cooperating with a number of banks operating in the Egyptian market, including the National Bank of Egypt, Commercial International Bank – Egypt (CIB), and Barclays – Egypt, to provide financing for SMEs in Egypt. The bank is also currently negotiating with a number of other banks for the same purpose, according to Ter Woort.
He said that, in 2014, EBRD has provided funds to entrepreneurs from the private sector in Egypt worth approximately €600m, and the value is expected to increase this year.
He added that the size of allocations to the private sector in Egypt depends on the number of applications that the bank receives from company owners, which in turn depends on the size of the state’s economic growth.