Nevine Gamea, Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry, and Executive Director of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (MSMEDA), has received a United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) high-level delegation in Cairo.
The UNDP delegation was led by UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States, Khalida Bouzar.
A high-level meeting between both sides was held on Thursday, in the presence of Director of the Department of International Cooperation for Development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lamiaa Mekhemar.
The meeting discussed ways of enhancing developmental cooperation between MSMEDA and UNDP on supporting micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises and transfer of international expertise in this field.
The visiting delegation comprises UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt Randa Aboul Hosn, and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Sylvan Merlen, together with many officials representing UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On the sidelines of the meeting, a new cooperation agreement has been signed to bolster MSMEDA activities through the UNDP in the presence of MSMEDA Deputy Executive Director Tarek Shash.
Gamea said the UNDP is a major donor agency supporting MSMEDA and cooperation binding the UNDP with MSMEDA dates back more than 20 years. Such cooperation has resulted in the financial and technical support of thousands of micro and small enterprises applying the best developmental practices as stipulated by international standards.
Gamea added that through this cooperation, huge numbers of diversified infrastructure and community development projects have been launched in Egypt’s governorates. They have largely contributed to the creation of employment opportunities for casual workers and the provision of a better environment for small enterprises to grow and prosper in all the governorates of Egypt.
Gamea concluded that UNDP-MSMEDA cooperation aligns with the vision of the Egyptian leadership to upgrade the small enterprise sector and maximize its productive and operational capacities.
The Minister of Trade and Industry reiterated that cooperation with the UNDP complements existing cooperation between MSMEDA and numerous international donor agencies – a situation that reflects the confidence of these agencies in the competence of the Egyptian development institutions and organs, especially in light of the stability and economic growth Egypt has recently attained.
Gamea stressed that this new cooperation agreement will certainly contribute to serving the objectives of the UNDP and MSMEDA as well with great focus on implementing Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the UN sustainable development objectives.
“This is a new cooperation agreement that comes in exceptional circumstances small enterprise sector in Egypt witnesses as a result of COVID 19 pandemic and its repercussions mainly restrictions on trade movement and provision of raw materials. This has necessitated upgrading services and giving training to MSMEDA cadres to be able to better carry out the assigned tasks and activities and meet the increasing requirements of the small enterprise sector,” Gamea concluded.
“This agreement aims at consolidating MSMEDA’s efforts to satisfy the increasing demand of small enterprises in Egypt, generate more than 3 million job opportunities and present more than 100,000 non-financial services,” Bouzar stated.
“Micro, small and medium enterprises, especially those owned and led by women and youth are a major engine for economic growth,” Bouzar added.
The UN Assistant Secretary General stressed the necessity of unleashing the potential of these enterprises in the construction phase of post-COVID-19 to limit the pandemic repercussions on the micro, small and medium enterprise sector.
“We are in need of more of these enterprises in the Arab region to achieve the sustainable development objectives and build a future supporting the sustainable green economy so as not to let anyone lag behind the development path,” Bouzar stated.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Mekhemar thanked the UNDP for its permanent response to support Egypt’s development priorities and expressed content with this project that agrees with the presidential orientations pertaining to the neediest groups, youth and women empowerment, and comes as a response to the additional burdens COVID-19 crisis imposed on small investors.
Within this context, Shash said the UNDP has cooperated with MSMEDA on implementing the national survey on COVID-19’s effects on the small enterprise sector and added that appropriate recommendations have been proposed to counter them.
“This new agreement will contribute to developing MSMEDA’s institutional and operational capacities so that it will be empowered to carry out the new services granted by the new Law for small enterprises and its Executive regulations to the small enterprise sector. More importantly, this will upgrade the efficiency of financial and technical services MSMEDA provides, boost its outreach and targeting potential via the digitalization of certain services,” Shash added.
“UNDP forges strategic partnership with MSMEDA to move forward the economy, accelerate the sustainable development efforts, create jobs and further mitigate the adverse socio-economic impacts of COVID 19 on the enterprise sector,” Aboul Hosn said.
The UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt added the UNDP will keep on supporting MSMEDA being the main entity engaged in activating cooperation and coordination with the small enterprise sector in order to ensure an efficient general policy and effective action plans for micro, small and medium enterprises and boost as well entrepreneurship within all the sectors of the economy.