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Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund aims to boost small businesses in Egypt

Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund aims to boost small businesses in Egypt

Protecting the business you’ve built up over the years through sufficient levels of personal and commercial insurance is a vital aspect of any venture nowadays – more so if the future appears as uncertain as it does in countries such as Egypt. No, don’t laugh. For decades and much longer, Egypt has been a fertile hunting ground for eager entrepreneurs from all over the world, including many from the United States itself.

In fact, the US involvement with the people of Egypt goes back a long way indeed. And despite what’s been happening in the political arena since the January 2011 revolution and the overthrow of the Mubarak regime – and also because of it – Americans continue to rally to help this important country overcome its present economic difficulties.

A good example of that is the recent launch of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund. The public-private partnership scheme, with some $60 million in its coffers at present, aims to target small and medium-sized (SME) Egyptian businesses in a bid to help them survive and to flourish. Long the backbone of the Egyptian economy, encourage and grow the number of SMEs in the country and the increase in domestic and international trade, jobs and higher standards of living will eventually lead to political stability. At least that’s some of the thinking behind the creation of the scheme.

The purposes of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund are:

to promote the private sector in Egypt, while considering the development impact of investments and profitability of those investments, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises, and joint ventures with participants from the United States and Egypt;

to promote policies and practices conducive to strengthening the private sector in Egypt through measures including loans, micro loans, equity investments, insurance, guarantees, grants, feasibility studies, technical assistance, training for businesses receiving investment capital, and other measures;

to promote good corporate governance and transparency in Egypt, foster competition, catalyse productivity improvements in existing businesses, and strengthen local capital markets; and

to promote security through job creation in the private sector in Egypt and to further the creation of a middle class in Egypt.

It certainly appears an excellent scheme and is expected to attract additional funding from countries across Africa and Asia. Within three years, it is hoped funding will have reached some $300 million, rising to $1 billion or more when the scheme is scheduled to end in 2021.

American non-military assistance to Egypt has contributed to many of the country’s development gains over the last three decades, says the US State Department, adding, “For example, US assistance has expanded access to clean drinking water and sanitation to more than 20 million Egyptians where no such service was previously available. US assistance has helped to achieve Egypt’s dramatic decrease in infant mortality – in 1979, 130 out of every 1,000 infants died after childbirth; today, that rate has fallen to 25 out of 1,000.

“The United States invested in 13 power sector projects that account, directly and indirectly, for roughly one-third of Egypt’s present power capacity. Since 2005, we have sent more than 2,200 Egyptians to the United States for university degrees and training. Since 1993, the United States has contributed to the protection of Egypt’s vast cultural heritage through more than 70 conservation, restoration, and training projects in partnership with the Egyptian antiquities sector, including crucial efforts such as groundwater-lowering at the Giza Plateau and Luxor.”

Find out more about the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund here.

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