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  • Thursday, 22 February 2024

The Minister of International Cooperation, Discusses with World Bank Officials Promoting Joint Cooperation in the Field of Small and Medium Enterprises and Empowering the Private Sector

The Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the World Bank Group (WBG), H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, met with Stephane Guimbert, the Bank’s Regional Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti, and Mr. Mark Ahern, Chief Economist at the World Bank’s Country Office in Egypt, in the presence of the Ministry’s work team and the World Bank team.

The meeting aimed to discuss efforts to enhance technical cooperation between the Egyptian government and the World Bank to enhance the private sector's role and support the competitiveness of Egyptian exports by supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in line with national priorities and strategies.

At the beginning of the meeting, Al-Mashat welcomed World Bank officials, stressing the importance that the government attaches to MSMEs in light of the job opportunities they provide for youth, and their ability to drive comprehensive and sustainable growth, enhance the competitiveness of the Egyptian economy, spread entrepreneurship thought, and empower the private sector.

Al-Mashat pointed out the importance of the projects and efforts made with the World Bank and its affiliated institutions, whether the International Finance Corporation (IFC) or the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), in order to enhance the participation of the private sector through concessional development financing, technical support programs, and supporting government efforts in the government proposal program and other areas of cooperation.

Al-Mashat explained that empowering the private sector and increasing and improving job opportunities is one of the most important pillars of the new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the WBG  for the period from 2023-2027, as the first pillar of that partnership aims to stimulate the role of the private sector in development to create more job opportunities and create investment environment, increasing investment in human capital, and enhancing climate action, to achieve comprehensive recovery and sustainable growth.

Within the framework of joint cooperation with the World Bank, many joint projects have been implemented to develop small and medium enterprises, including the project to stimulate entrepreneurship in order to create job opportunities, which was announced in 2019 and is being implemented in cooperation with the relevant national authorities. The project aims to support reforms and provide more opportunities for youth and women in Egypt, through three components: the first is to increase the volume of credit available to small and medium enterprises, enhance their access to credit, bridge the financing gap for these projects, and enhance an environment that enables the private sector to participate more in the small and medium enterprises sector. The second part is to increase the seed capital, early-stage capital, and risk capital available for innovative start-ups that face higher risks and new SMEs that have great potential for growth and job creation. The third component is developing business and capabilities and enhancing training and guidance services to develop MSMEs through technical assistance. It is implemented in partnership with many national bodies, including the MSMEDA.

It is worth noting that the CPF was launched in May 2023, after joint work and continuous discussions with all relevant parties from the national entities as well as the private sector, and based on the studies that were prepared on the Egyptian economy as well as the private sector, as well as the Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR)  that was launched.

At COP27, opportunities, challenges, policies, and investment opportunities that can be implemented within five years were identified to increase the efficiency of using and allocating natural resources, reduce the effects of climate change on citizens and businesses, and enhance Egypt’s ability to compete.