In coordination with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Industrial Modernisation Centre (IMC) will take over a project to develop small and medium industrial entities, Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Investment Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour announced on Monday.
Adopted by the Arab-African Network for Industrial Facilities, the project aims at developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and connecting them to both their Arab and African counterparts, a statement from the ministry said.
The Arab-African network, which includes Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sudan, Morocco, Nigeria, Cameroon and other countries as members, has been founded in April with the aim of helping small and medium industries to increase their efficiency.
Executive chairman of IMC Ahmed Taha said that the new project would allow SMEs to enter new markets, use technological innovations, improve their competitive ability and boost their economic growth.
Taha pointed out that the IMC, in cooperation with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), is currently communicating with many SMEs throughout Egypt in order to define and meet their needs and provide them with technical assistance.
According to Taha, the main problems facing SMEs are a low financial and marketing ability and lack of trained workers, adding that his entity has agreed with the NBE to study the possibility of offering SMEs concessional loans to meet their needs, allowing them a six-month grace period to repay their debt.
The European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched in March the Small Business Support (SBS) initiative to assist SMEs in Alexandria. The EU is contributing €2.4m to the programme.
In February, chairman of the Egyptian stock market (EGX) has urged international financial institutions to seek ownership stakes in Egypt’s SMEs.
Meanwhile, with the aim of helping businesses boost employment rates in the Arab world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has organised a conference this week, which will be attended by Minister of Finance Hany Kadry Dimian and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, to discuss employment and economic challenges.
Dimian said during the conference that Egypt seeks to reduce its budget deficit, which would consequently lessen the governmental authorities’ debt to banks. This, in turn, will allow greater funds for the private sector, a Monday statement from finance ministry said.