IFC logo- Photo courtesy of IFC website
CAIRO – 24 September 2018: The International Finance Cooperation (IFC) signed an agreement Sunday with Banque Misr to support female entrepreneurs.
IFC clarified in a statement that this agreement aims to help expand the number of women-led businesses in its SME banking portfolio, as part of IFC’s wider efforts to boost financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs in Egypt.
“IFC will work with Banque Misr to conduct market research on the needs of women in business, provide access to global best practice, and develop and implement a sustainable business model for its women banking program,” IFC's statement read.
The statement added that IFC will support the bank in helping informal micro businesses, often owned or led by women, move to the formal sector.
According to the statement, this cooperation aims to turn Banque Misr, into the country’s leading bank for women in business.
“Women entrepreneurs are changing the face of the global economy and helping sustain job creation, but only about 1 in 10 have access to the capital they need,” IFC Regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa Mouayed Makhlouf said.
“IFC is working to address this gap in Egypt by partnering with financial institutions like Banque Misr to develop the strategies they need to serve this key untapped market segment,” he added.
IFC invested in Egypt $1.2 billion during the current year, which is the highest investment rate in the Middle East, especially after taking a lot of measures to improve the investment environment, Makhlouf noted earlier.
In August, Egypt signed a partnership agreement with IFC to support entrepreneurs and start-ups in Africa, boost innovation and drive economic growth.
As per this agreement, the Ministry of Investment and IFC will select 100 promising entrepreneurs from all over Africa to connect them with international businessmen, investors, financial institutions and decision-makers at the 2018 Africa Conference during December in Sharm El-Sheikh, under the patronage of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
IFC clarified that during the last two years, it provided around $65 million to technology companies and startups in the Middle East and North Africa, along with leading companies in business accelerators and funds such as Wamda and Flat 6 Labs and Algebra Fentures.
IFC Vice President for the Middle East and Africa Sergio Pimenta said earlier that entrepreneurship is essential to create jobs, drive growth and foster innovation, adding that “overcoming the obstacles facing emerging companies will enable us to help Africa unleash its economic potential."
During 2018/2019, IFC plans to maintain its strategic focus on creating new markets across MENA by supporting the region’s fast-growing renewable energy sector and helping young entrepreneurs deliver innovations, as well as working to expand access to finance for small and medium sized businesses and helping empower women.
CEO of IFC Philippe Le Houerou said previously that it is committed to fund the Egyptian private sector with $2 billion by 2019, a value that can be increased for entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises.
Houerou explained that his organization is keen to support the participation of the private sector in the field of renewable energy in Egypt, and to provide technical support on the implementation of public-private partnership in this sector.