The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has signed a cooperation protocol with the Egyptian Countryside Development Company (ECDC) to finance investors benefiting from the national project to reclaim, cultivate, and develop 1.5 million feddan.
The land is located in many areas, including: Al-Moghra; West Minya; West Minya Extension; Old Farafra; Toshka Wells; and Al-Tur, among others.
The signing was attended by NBE Chairperson Hisham Okasha, ECDC Chairperson Amr Abdel-Wahab, and Yahia Aboul-Fotouh, Vice Chairperson of the NBE.
Okasha said that the protocol is a reflection of the NBE’s interest to support and develop small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those involved in agricultural activities.
The protocol aims to provide an integrated system of financial and technical solutions with specific roles for all parties, through which the necessary funding is provided to the owners of agricultural lands. These owners will be taking part in the national project for reclamation, cultivation, and development of 1.5 million feddan, with all areas of agricultural activity financing covered.
This includes the implementation of modern irrigation networks or agricultural mechanisation, as well as financing the agricultural process itself. It will take place in a way that ensures the speed of implementing these projects due to the added value they represent to the national economy.
For his part, Aboul-Fotouh said that the NBE takes into account the special nature of these projects, with financing made available through simple procedures. These are commensurate with the reality of the projects and in a way that guarantees the quality of service and speed of decision-making through all credit centres and bank branches.
This is in addition to the bank’s strategic orientation to pay attention to agricultural activity through the provision of a group of facilitated financing programmes dedicated to the nature of these activities and that meet the needs of agricultural projects and related activities.
Abdel-Wahab said that the protocol comes as part of implementing the state’s strategy and Egypt’s Vision 2030 towards developing the agricultural sector. This is particularly with regard to the development of projects that provide the basic needs of citizens for food products, and in particular projects to expand the agricultural area by providing technical and financing services for these projects.
This falls in line with Egypt’s agricultural development plan to achieve self-sufficiency to bridge the food gap of some strategic needs in a way that reduces the burden of the import bill.
Abdel-Wahab pointed out that the company is in the process of adding new land that will be annexed in a number of areas, including land located in: South Quotah; Wadi Al-Assiuti; West Luxor; Wadi Al-Sa’idah; West Kom Ombo; West Minya; West Follotus; and Qusiya.
Mamdouh Afia, head of the Small and Medium Enterprises Group at the NBE, said that the bank pays special attention to agricultural projects. This is reflected in the growth rates in the bank’s facilities portfolio directed to these projects, which has achieved a growth rate of about 33% compared to the previous year.
This indicates that the financing available from the NBE for agricultural activity projects and related activities amounted to about EGP 14.6bn for 34,000 projects.
Afia stressed that the bank’s portfolio of small and medium direct and indirect loans amounted to about EGP 96.3bn for about 89,000 projects.