EBRD supports urban development in Egypt

By Nibal Zgheib

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a loan of US$ 60 million to support a benchmark project in 6th of October City, a satellite city in the wider Cairo area. The Bank’s loan will be complemented by a US$ 60 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and an additional US$ 20 million loan from local Egyptian banks.

The funds will be used to complete the first phase of a large urban development in 6th of October City. The centrepiece of this plan is the completion of a retail and entertainment centre, Mall of Arabia.

Claudia Pendred, Director for Property and Tourism at the EBRD said: “This project is important for Egypt, it will provide much needed training and employment opportunities especially for women and youth. It will also strengthen market standards in Egypt.”

“IFC is committed to helping Egypt achieve sustainable growth and expand job opportunities through the development of the private sector. This project will not only create jobs, in particular, for the young people who need them most, but will also help improve demand for local goods and services, and boost the urban development and retail infrastructure of the area,”  Nada Shousha, IFC Country Manager, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, said.  

Muhanad Awad, CEO of the financial and investment arm of Fawaz AlHokair Group said: “EBRD’s contribution is very important not only for the completion of the mall which will help attracting more visitors but also for providing the know-how for the sustainability and training elements of the project. The partnership between the two institutions is bringing synergies to the Egyptian market both in terms of retail and training know-how and innovation”.

The project will establish the first “skills shop” in Egypt that will provide job brokerage combined with on-site training opportunities in retail and hospitality combined. Technical cooperation funding has been provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea for the development of the inclusion model.

In line with the EBRD’s policy on inclusion, special emphasis will be given to efforts to tackle youth unemployment, one of Egypt’s key challenges: the project will create viable progression routes from training into employment for young labour market entrants, particularly young women.

To date, the EBRD has invested €464 million in 11 projects in Egypt across various sectors. The Bank has also initiated technical assistance support programmes for the benefit of approximately 140 small and medium-sized Egyptian enterprises. In the southern and eastern Mediterranean region EBRD investments to date stand at approximately €1 billion for 35 investments.