Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy said that the National Programme for Community, Human, and Local Development, ‘Mashrou’ak’ (‘Your Project’) established 1,500 SMEs across the country in January 2022.
The programme was funded with loans amounting to about EGP 300m and contributed to providing 15,000 jobs opportunities for young people.
Shaarawy stressed that the ministry’s interest in SMEs and maximising the role of youths in these projects, as they are the most active of all segments of society, with tremendous economic power, and society must exploit it in comprehensive development in all different fields to ensure success, progress, and economic prosperity.
This comes in light of the political leadership’s interest in supporting the SME industry, given its great importance in achieving growth and economic development, by launching initiatives aiming to provide financial support or provide marketing, logistical, and technological services, as well as training to qualify working human cadres in SMEs.
Shaarawy explained that it is possible to benefit from the electronic application ‘Your Opportunity in Your Village’, which was launched by the ministry in coordination with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
He highlighted the importance of informing citizens in centres, cities, neighbourhoods, and villages about this application and its importance in terms of providing sustainable job opportunities to confront unemployment in various governorates.
Shaarawy pointed out that since its launch, Your Project has provided 1.3m jobs for young people in various governorates through the implementation of 189,000 projects, with total loans amounting to EGP 22.4bn.
He stressed that small and medium projects often support large projects and facilitate marketing in addition to achieving self-sufficiency and meeting the basic needs of citizens.
The minister also said that community development in its comprehensive concept can only be achieved with the participation and help of all segments of society — especially young people — in all developmental, economic, social, and cultural fields to provide a decent life.
He explained that SMEs are characterised by their ability to employ semi-skilled and unskilled labour. They also provide an opportunity for on-the-job training to enhance capabilities and skills. Additionally, they have a lower risk rate compared to major projects and also contribute to improving productivity and generating and increasing income.
Furthermore, Shaarawy pointed out that Minya has the highest number of projects implemented in Upper Egypt. The projects implemented there exceed 21,400 with EGP 2.5bn of loans, providing 136,000 jobs.
The second governorate with the highest number of projects is Sohag, with 20,000 projects and loans amounting to EGP 2.5bn, which generated 122,000 jobs. Beheira comes third with 18,000 projects worth EGP 1.5bn in loans and 91,000 jobs.
The report Shaarawy received also indicated that Daqahleya implemented 16,000 projects with loans amounting to EGP 1.7bn and generating about 92,000 jobs. Sharqeya also saw more than 15,000 projects implemented with loans of EGP 2.3bn, providing over 120,000 jobs. Lastly, Beni Suef implemented 14,500 projects with loans of EGP 1.5bn and provided 80,000 jobs.
The minister stated that the units of ‘Your Project’ across the country provide all facilities to applicants applying for loans to implement SMEs and provide technical and administrative training for them to help them benefit from all the advantages of the project, especially feasibility studies and temporary licenses for projects until the permanent license is obtained.
He also called for raising awareness of youths to further promote the culture of self-employment and reduce unemployment as well as raise rates of economic development in the entire country.