Abu Dhabi's Khalifa fund interested in Egypt's small businesses
Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Fund for Enterprise development has signed an agreement to provide $200 million to Egypt’s Social Fund for Development (SFD) to support the development of small enterprises. SDF was established in 1991 by the Egyptian government with a mandate to reduce poverty and has disbursed around $2.5 billion to fund community development projects till date. According to the agreement Khalifa Fund will provide both financial and non-financial support to small and micro ventures through SFD. The partnership between the two funds will enable them to offer social funding programmes for women and youth in Egypt, which could result in income generation and employment opportunities. “The agreement constitutes an important step towards further cooperation with our brothers in the UAE through the Khalifa Fund, which is a pioneering institution on the Arab and regional levels in the field of diffusion and promotion of entrepreneurship, and the creation of an enabling environment for the small and medium enterprises sector,” said Ghada Fathy Waly, managing director of SFD. Khalifa Fund’s CEO Ibrahim Ahmed Al Mansouri called the agreement “an important step towards building strategic relations with SFD as it seeks to reduce poverty and unemployment.” He described the agreement as an opportunity to learn more about Egypt’s numerous promising industries and sectors that may benefit from the joint venture. “This agreement reflects the UAE’s vision to boost sustainable development and foster Egypt’s human capital; focusing specifically on women and youth,” said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE minister of state. “We are confident that these segments of society will be able to launch their own unique projects and businesses, which will contribute to income generation and poverty reduction.” Ravaged by corruption and political instability, the Egyptian economy is in dire need of private capital. Foreign direct investment fell to $3 billion in June compared with more than $10 billion a few years ago. The UAE has been showing keen investor interest in Egypt. Al Jaber said sectors under discussion for potential investment include agriculture, oil, gas and renewable energy, according to a Reuters report.