The board of directors of the Social Fund for Development (SFD) has approved a budget of EGP 3bn for 2014 to finance development programmes of small enterprises and labor-intensive projects in the fields of infrastructure and community-based ventures, according to a statement from the cabinet’s official page.
This decision came in a Monday meeting of the board, which is headed by interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, who is also the chairman of SFD.
According to Article 2 of Law No. 141, issued in 2004, the government is committed to support the Social Fund for Development through working with firms with small enterprises, Hany Saleh Spokesperson of the cabinet stated.
The organisation has allotted a total EGP 1.4bn to develop around twelve-thousand small projects throughout Egypt from January to November of this year; meanwhile, the fund directed to infrastructure and community-based projects in the same period amounted to EGP 79m, the statement said.
“Throughout 2013, SFD has helped project owners market their products through holding 41 exhibitions in different governorates,” Saleh said, adding that, as a result of these showcases, 923 projects have achieved sales totalling EGP 39.4m.
The SFD was established in 1991 to “combat unemployment, alleviate poverty, improve living conditions and assist in socio-economic development”. The board of directors of the organisation includes Egypt’s ministers of Planning, International Cooperation, Industry and Foreign Trade, Finance and Local Development.
Earlier in December, the European Union (EU) contributed a grant of € 70m towards financing SFD’s Emergency Labour-Intensive Investment Project. Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa El-Din, EU ambassador to Egypt James Moran and SFD Managing Director Ghada Waly oversaw the signing of this agreement.
The agreement sought to create short-term employment opportunities for unskilled and semi-skilled labour and to alleviate poverty through carrying out labour-intensive projects in cooperation with all governorates.