The Social Fund for Development (SFD) is planning to grant more loans to small- and medium-sized projects in Egypt’s poorer governorates, according to SFD Managing Director, Soha Soliman.
Solaiman added that the total amount of loans granted by the SFD by last September was EGP 2.3bn.
Talking to Daily News Egypt, Soliman said the fund granted small- and medium-sized projects loans worth EGP 2bn, while funding for social development amounted to EGP 300m.
According to Soliman, the SFD will expand training programmes for workers soon and create a map for further investments in the poorest governorates, particularly in Upper Egypt.
The SFD was founded in 1992 and has until now granted EGP 23bn in loans, of which EGP 19bn was allocated to small- and medium-sized projects and EGP 4bn to social development.
Soliman said: “We signed several agreements with international funding organisations in order to grant more loans and expand our training programmes and projects in Egypt.”
According to an agreement made with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, the SFD was granted a loan worth $200m and another worth £80m from the French Development Agency.
Soliman affirmed that SFD’s role in the upcoming period will be to provide loans and conduct feasibility studies for investor projects or providing technical and financial support and training programmes.
According to Minister of Manpower and Immigration Nahed Al-Ashry, the ministry is working on lowering the rates of unemployment soon and that it is planning to provide 100,000 more job opportunities on an annual basis.
Al-Ashry said in a press conference that unemployment rates declined during the first quarter (Q1) of fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015 in accordance with growth rates.
The Ministry of Planning said that in Q1 of FY 2014/2015, unemployment rates were recorded at 13.1%. The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) put Egypt’s labour force at 27 million, growing at a rate of 6.8% during Q1 of FY 2014/2015.
According to Al-Ashry, efforts to achieve integration between the ministry and Egyptians abroad is in progress through electronic communication.
The Ministry of Manpower and Immigration is communicating with Egyptians in the Jordanian labour market and is working on doing the same in Saudi Arabia in the near future. Meanwhile, unrest in Libya forms an obstacle to establishing connections with workers there.
According to the minister, the number of Egyptians abroad accounts for 7 million individuals, who make $18bn in remittances through bank transfers every year.
Data from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) confirms that bank transfers from Egyptians working abroad form the biggest source of income in Egypt, followed by the tourism sector and the Suez Canal.