The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a financing agreement worth €375m with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) to support SMEs in the region.
The agreement is expected to sustain over 20,000 jobs in Egyptian firms and comes under the EIB’s economic resilience initiative, which aims to enhance the prospects for more resilient and inclusive growth in Egypt.
The bank’s funding will be channelled by NBE to support the investment needs of businesses in Egypt with a percentage of the financing targeting firms owned or run by women.
Since 2009, the EIB has provided €1.3bn to businesses in Egypt, most of which has been in the manufacturing sector.
“The new agreement will help to provide the finance needed for private sector development in most governorates of Egypt,” said Flavia Palanza, director of EU neighbouring countries at the EIB.
“It will also seek to empower women and improve their access to finance.
“As the bank of the European Union, our aim is to contribute to building a stronger and more resilient economy in Egypt, as well as in the region; that creates more opportunities resulting in additional jobs and increased prosperity for the population.”
Hisham Okasha, chairman at NBE, said the agreement was testament to the EIB’s confidence in the bank as well as the Egyptian economy.
“NBE’s policy continues to be geared towards supporting the private sector with special focus placed on the growing SME sector, where our portfolio has reached a high of approximately EGP44bn (approximately €916m) as of June 2018.
“This loan will assist in creating new job opportunities in the private sector as well as contribute to greater inclusion – both are among NBE’s key priorities.”
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