Egypt signed a partnership agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, on Thursday, aiming to support entrepreneurs and emerging companies in Africa, promote innovation and drive economic growth, according to a ministerial statement.
Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, and Mouyyad Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa at the IFC signed the agreement.
Under the agreement, the MIIC and the IFC will select 100 promising entrepreneurs from across Africa to connect them with business leaders, international investors, financial institutions and decision-makers at the 2018 Africa Conference under the patronage of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Sharm El Sheikh in December.
“This initiative will strengthen Egypt’s position as a regional hub to attract innovative entrepreneurs and create a favourable enabling environment for those companies across Africa, which will help them grow, raise capital and maximize global reach,” mentioned Nasr.
Over the past two years, the IFC has provided nearly $65m in financing to technology companies and start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa, along with leading companies in business accelerators and funds such as Wamda, Flat 6 Labs and Algebra Ventures, noted the statement.
“Small businesses, including emerging ones, are the cornerstone of most economies in Africa and the Middle East,” said Mouyyad Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Governments across the continent can help create jobs and opportunities for their people by providing them with access to capital and guidance,” added Makhlouf.
Makhlouf pointed out that the IFC has invested in Egypt this year $1.2bn, which is the highest investment rate in the Middle East, especially after taking several measures to improve the investment environment.
Today’s agreement is the best opportunity to create jobs and remove obstacles that may face entrepreneurs and young people, added Makhlouf, noting that the growth rate in Egypt has reached 5.8%, and the removal of obstacles to small investors and increased employment opportunities would lead to an increase in growth rate.