A programme to finance and develop projects by businesswomen in Egypt was launched on Monday in the presence of numerous officials representing international financial institutions and banks operating in Egypt, as well as unions of chambers of commerce and industries and Egypt’s foreign trade missions.
The programme is part of an agreement between the National Bank of Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for a loan of $20m to finance various types of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for women with credit facilities. The enterprises must have less than 249 employees.
The launch ceremony reviewed the financial and non-financial service packages that will be provided to projects headed by Egyptian businesswomen. Those packages provide the necessary financing for development, as well as the technical training needed for businesswomen in the SMEs sector in Egypt in order to improve the performance of these projects.
Cooperation between the National Bank of Egypt and EBRD witnessed remarkable growth due to previous successes by the national bank in employing the loans it obtains for this important sector of the economy. Those previous loans came in packages of a total of $160m, of which $80m were allocated for the financing of SMEs, and $50m for the financing of foreign trade, in addition to another $30m to finance energy efficiency projects. Moreover, further negotiations are currently underway to obtain more loans.
Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Egypt, Mahmoud Montasser, said that the national bank and EBRD designed the programme with help from the largest consulting firms and Frankfurt School. as well as the Small Business Support Team – Egypt at EBRD.
He added that the national bank is in charge of preparing financing studies, while the Small Business Support Team at ERBD is in charge of the technical aspect, in cooperation with Frankfurt School. Collectively, he added, they will be able to provide integrated packages of technical and administrative training for businesswomen for their projects.
Director of EBRD Egypt, Philip ter Woort, said that the programme aims to promote businesswomen projects in the private sector, as well as to overcome the difficulties women face in obtaining the necessary financing.