Ibrahim Al-Arabi, President of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), has announced the start of a programme to establish centres for entrepreneurship at the federation’s chambers.
The move comes as part of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) programme to support micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Al-Arabi said that this programme is the first of its kind in the Arab region. He added that all actors in economic life, from governmental agencies and international organisations to the private sector, have launched and implemented a unified programme to support these types of projects.
He said that the initiative will be implemented under the umbrella of the Egyptian Cabinet and the Arab League. It will take place in cooperation with: UNIDO; the Union of Arab Chambers; the Union of Arab Banks (UAB); the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD); and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT).
Al-Arabi added that the Egyptian government’s economic reform programme, adopted between 2016 and 2019, has been successful, and that the domestic market enjoys the appropriate economic environment.
It is on this basis that UNIDO chose Egypt as the first country in the region to launch an initiative. It aims to support and train young people, as well as trainers, to start MSMEs.
He said that, during the past three months, the FEDCOC has consulted and coordinated with the Egyptian Cabinet and the Ministries of Planning, and Trade and Industry, as well as the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprise Development Agency (MSMEDA).
This took place to determine the most important economic sectors and governorates that the state targets for the development of small enterprises. The point is to make this programme fully compatible with the country’s development strategy as part of the Egypt Vision 2030.
Al-Arabi explained that those discussions resulted in choosing the governorates of Beheira, Minya, and Sohag as the first governorates in which the programme will be launched. They will serve as a model and launch pad on which future stages will take place, particularly relating to chambers of commerce in other governorates.
He also said that FEDCOC has developed an integrated strategy this year to support this important type of project, with the programme’s launch the first actual step for this strategy.
Al-Arabi added that the union undertook several initiatives in 2020 to develop MSMEs, which contributed to reducing unemployment among Egypt’s youth. The last of those initiatives was the signing of a set of cooperation protocols with Egyptian banks to create an easy financing mechanism for youth.
Al-Arabi said that global experiences during the past 20 years have proven that the fastest and most important way to provide new job opportunities that can accommodate the steadily increasing population in emerging economies is to develop and support MSMEs.
This is given the flexibility of these types of projects, and the fact that they rarely need significant financing. Furthermore, these projects rarely need large financing, and their diversity and rapid growth enable them to achieve an economic boom for many countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Al-Arabi stressed that the coming stage will witness a wider participation of the Egyptian private sector in supporting and developing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through all available economic mechanisms.