Saudi Arabia, Egypt sign deals to support microfinance projects

Saudi Arabia, Egypt sign deals to support microfinance projects

CAIRO (Rahnuma) : Saudi Arabia has signed a triple agreement to finance a range of industrial development projects in Egypt, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) is to pump 125 million Egyptian pounds (SR28.2 million) into renewable energy, agriculture and livestock projects in the African nation.

Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr said the funding would provide vital support to small- and medium-sized projects and encourage young investors to play a greater role in economic development.

“The agreements reflect the great interest in the diversity of sources of funding, according to the youths’ demand to be able to rely on something other than the banks, where procedures would be easier and would not require too many guarantees,” she said.

The signing ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, in Cairo, in the presence of Nasr, Egypt’s transport minister, Lt. Gen. Kamel Al-Waziri, and the Saudi ambassador to Egypt and the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the Arab League, Osama Nuqali.

The agreements were inked by Hasan Al-Attas, director general of operations and head of the SFD’s grant management committee, and the director general of projects and studies at the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY).

EFG Hermes for Leasing, a subsidiary of EFG Hermes Finance, will receive 75 million Egyptian pounds, while UE Finance, a microfinance company, and Global Lease Co. both get 25 million. The funding will be directed toward micro and industrial projects outside greater Cairo and Alexandria, in addition to financing new and renewable energy projects and the agricultural and livestock sector.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nuqali said the development grants would benefit microfinance projects in Egyptian provinces and reflected the strong bilateral relations between the two countries built up with the support of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Nasr said that the ministry would continue to cooperate with the fund with a view to gaining further backing for the private sector and investors through initiatives that would benefit both countries.

Al-Attas said the latest agreements formed part of the Saudi fund’s continued support for small and emerging firms in Egypt, and the grant would contribute to creating job opportunities and supporting companies and projects especially in rural areas and industry sector-deprived regions.

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