Investment minister discusses increasing IFC finances

Hisham Salah
3 Min Read

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr Sunday met with the vice president for new business of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Dimitris Tsitsiragos, during her visit to Washington, according to a press release. Nasr is in the US to participate in the World Bank’s spring meetings.

Both sides discussed supporting the partnership between the government and the private sector in Egypt, aiming at accelerating the economy’s development process and reducing poverty by creating more job opportunities.

According to a press statement issued on Sunday, Egypt used $700m of its $2bn loans at the IFC between 2015 and April 2017, which is part of Egypt’s $8bn portfolio at the World Bank. The portfolio is allocated for the period between 2015 and 2019.

Nasr emphasised that it is important to increase cooperation between the IFC and Egypt in order to strengthen the role of the private sector in improving the economy, while also attracting more foreign investments and increasing the finances for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

However, the minister agreed with the chairperson of the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund, (EAEF) James A. Harmon, to establish a new advisory council for providing more support to Egyptian women who want to start a new enterprise.

Nasr and Harmon discussed how to deepen the partnership between Egypt and the United States, especially after the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Furthermore, Harmon stated that he wants to increase investments in Egypt. He added that the finances provided by the EAEF—overall $300m—are primarily allocated for SMEs, explaining that the fund is financed by the USAID programme to Egypt.

Both sides discussed how the EAEF could support the private sector.

Harmon explained to the Egyptian side the current investments of EAEF in Egypt , such as Fawry, worth $20m; Tharwa Capital, which is worth $56.1m; Smart Care, worth $1.2m; Tanmeyah Micro Enterprise Services, worth $10m; and Algebra Ventures, which is worth $10m.

He stated that the fund is working on investing in bodies that support SMEs in Egypt, which guarantees the sustainability of financing for SMEs.

However, Nasr invited the EAEF to allocate more finances for female Egyptian entrepreneurs, as the president announced 2017 is the Year of the Egyptian Woman.

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