The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) continues to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt, providing a US$ 30 million to Bank Audi SAE Egypt for on-lending to SMEs.
Although SMEs represent the majority of active private enterprises in Egypt and contribute 75 per cent of total employment, access to finance remains a key concern for the sector and resolving this issue has become a top priority for the authorities, according to EBRD.
The EBRD credit line loan will help increase the availability of finance to small enterprises and will enable Bank Audi SAE Egypt to expand its SME lending activities in the country.
Philip ter Woort, EBRD Director for Egypt, said: “The EBRD considers SMEs to be the backbone of the economy and we focus on strengthening them across all our countries of operations. We are pleased to partner with Bank Audi SAE Egypt to provide more finance to smaller enterprises and to help increase job opportunities.”
Hatem A. Sadek, Chairman and Managing Director of Bank Audi SAE Egypt, commented: “Since the start of our operations in Egypt, Bank Audi SAE has been fully aware of the significance of SMEs to the Egyptian economy and society, leading us to establish a new strategic model serving this sector. Partnering with the EBRD will further enhance our growth strategy, especially in the SME segments.”
Mohamed A. Fayed, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Bank Audi SAE Egypt, said: “SME growth is one of Bank Audi’s strategic objectives, for which we are building a full business model. This will enable us to properly approach and finance this segment which will affect and reflect positively on the Egyptian economy and accordingly support GDP growth, improve the employment ratio and build new business.”
Mohamed Latif, General Manager of the Financial Institutions of Bank Audi SAE, Egypt, highlighted that this agreement is just the beginning of a long-term partnership in many aspects between the two institutions and that there are various aspects for further cooperation with EBRD.
To date, the EBRD has invested more than €1.7 billion in Egypt in 33 projects (including regional ones) since it started working in the country at the end of 2012. The Bank’s investments include the natural resources sector, the financial sector, agribusiness, manufacturing and services as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater and contributions to the upgrade of transport services.