EIB, NBE sign €375 mln financing deal for Egyptian SMEs

The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed throughout the weekend a €375 million ($438 million) financing agreement with Egypt’s biggest state-owned lender, National Bank of Egypt (NBE).

The agreement, signed by NBE chairman Hisham Okasha and EIB’s director of EU neighbouring countries Flavia Palanza in Cairo, is expected to sustain over 20,000 jobs in Egyptian firms.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps in Egypt will get the EU bank’s new funding, according to a statement by the EIB on Friday.

The financing agreement comes under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative, which aims at enhancing the prospects for more resilient and inclusive growth in Egypt through financial inclusion and the creation of sustainable employment opportunities, particularly for women and in less-developed areas.

The EIB’s finance, which comes with support from the European Union, will be channelled by NBE to finance the investment needs of enterprises in Egypt.

“A percentage of the financing will target firms owned or run by women (“women in business”) as well as enterprises located in less-developed areas of Egypt.” the statement read.

The finance is in line with “the priorities of the Egyptian Central Bank and the European Union’s cooperation with Egypt.”

“The new agreement will help to provide the finance needed for private sector development in most governorates of Egypt. It will also seek to empower women and improve their access to finance.” Flavia Palanza, Director of EU Neighbouring Countries at the EIB, said.

Since 2009, EIB, the European Union’s not-for-profit long term investment arm, has provided financing of €1.3 billion for a number of loans for SMEs and mid-caps in Egypt. Around 56 percent of the EIB financing is in the manufacturing sector.

“This loan will assist in creating new job opportunities in the private sector as well as contribute to greater inclusion – both are among NBE’s key priorities.” Hisham Okasha, NBE’s chairman, said.

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