Whether or not Egypt receives the World Bank loan is contingent upon the parliament’s approval of the Value Added Tax (VAT), an official source at the Ministry of International Cooperation told Daily News Egypt on Sunday at a conference for entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) in Egypt.
The ministry announced last year that the World Bank agreed to provide Egypt with a $3bn loan within three years to support the state budget.
At the conference, the government announced plans to finance five small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said Sunday that lack of skills, experience, and funding are the main obstacles facing SMEs in Egypt.
“The ministry is keen for MSMEs to contribute to newly contracted projects,” Nasr added.
The ministry seeks to work in cooperation with civil society and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) as well as international funds to facilitate and support MSMEs.
“The ministry has a shared role with other entities to support MSMEs. These projects will be funded by loans with 5% decreasing interest rates which will encourage young people to direct their own projects, thus lowering the unemployment rate,” Nasr explained.
The ministry is working with the ministries of local development and industry to establish industrial zones in Upper Egypt. There are also plans to hold conventions with China, India and South American countries, to promote mutual economic cooperation.
Nasr announced last April that negotiations are ongoing with the World Bank for a $500m loan to develop Upper Egypt and provide job opportunities.