Under the auspice of interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, the two-day conference aims to provide private sector businesses in the Mediterranean region with a total funding of $22m from international development agencies in the form of grants, technical assistance and credit lines.
Representatives from donor agencies such as the World Bank, European Union, European Investment Bank (EIB), European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and African Development Bank (AfDB) attended the conference.
The event is a step towards revitalising the economy, boosting investments and increasing exports, Head of Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Ahmed El-Wakil said during his speech in the opening ceremony. He asserted that the conference comes as a part of the federation’s programme to increase awareness in the private sector regarding available opportunities.
Earlier in January, President of the Federation of Egyptian Industries Mohamed El-Sewedy described the MEDA Finance conference as a “communication channel” that connects businesses and entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean region with international donors and developmental agencies.
El-Sewedy explained in a statement that access to funding poses a major obstacle for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and new investors.
Minister of Investment Osama Saleh noted in his speech that the economy has witnessed “positive developments” recently, such as the upgrade of Egypt’s economic outlook to stable in January by credit rating agency Fitch.
Saleh added that implementing the political roadmap, imposed after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July, will positively affect the economy.
The conference will conclude with a speech from Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby and European Union Ambassador to Egypt James Moran on Monday.
The three conference sessions will be held on Monday; in the first session, non-banking financing mechanisms, such as financial leases, venture capital funds and other mechanisms that have contributed to positive economic growth in developing countries, will be discussed.
The second session will tackle concessional loans provided by banks and international funding agencies, and the third and final session will showcase available grants and technical assistance.