By OFID via Reuters
Image Attribute: Tamam Company is manufacturing firm, which produces tin cans. The owner received a LE 350,000 loan under the Egypt Enhancing Access to Finance for Micro and Small Enterprises Project. The company employs 25 workers. / Source: The World Bank
Vienna - The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Mr Suleiman J Al-Herbish and the Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Her Excellency Dr Sahar Nasr have signed a US$40m loan agreement to support small enterprises amongst marginalized groups in the country.
The OFID loan will finance a second phase of the Social Development Fund (SFD) lending program. SFD Phase I was approved by OFID in 2009 and its success has led to this second project. The SFD Phase II loan will furnish valuable financing opportunities to those most in need: enabling entrepreneurial enterprise and employment. It is expected to create more than 23,000 jobs across all 27 governorates of the country.
The SFD project is in line with the Government's overall strategic objectives to increase employment opportunities and promote economic growth in the country. SFD Phase II will focus on sectors that are most likely to provide employment such as industry and manufacturing, and stipulates that a percentage of funding is directed to women and young graduates.
Speaking at the loan signature, Mr Al-Herbish emphasized the pivotal role economic growth plays in poverty reduction. He expects the project "will contribute to improving the socio-economic conditions of local communities by increasing the income of poor households throughout the country."
Egypt's rapidly growing population is largely aged between 15-64 years old and youth unemployment rates are very high (42 per cent in 2014). Therefore, targeting youth employment is a priority. Within this context, the Government has requested donor community support to finance job creation projects and assist the country in promoting rapid economic growth and increasing incomes for the poor. OFID is one of many donors responding to this appeal.
Al-Herbish reassured Minister Nasr that OFID would "continue to support efforts toward socio-economic development to achieve unprecedented levels of growth and prosperity in Egypt".
In her own statement, Dr Sahar Nasr thanked OFID for its longstanding support to the people of Egypt. She explained that the present loan would help improve living standards and promote sustained economic growth for the country.
OFID's cooperation with Egypt dates back to 1977. Since then, OFID has provided the country with close to US$1 billion in development financing, covering the agriculture, education, energy, health, national development bank sectors, as well as those of a multi-sectoral nature.
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is the development finance institution established by the Member States of OPEC in 1976 as a collective channel of aid to the developing countries.
OFID works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international donor community to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged regions of the world. It does this by providing financing to build essential infrastructure that meets basic needs-such as food, energy, clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education-and working to promote productivity, competitiveness and trade.
OFID Press Contact: Ms Reem Aljarbou
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)
P.O. Box 995 A-1011 Vienna, Austria