EBRD and EU support young entrepreneurs in Egypt

By Nibal Zgheib

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  • EBRD provides a US$ 20 million loan to QNB ALAHLI for on-lending to youth-led MSMEs in Egypt
  • EU to provide additional investment incentives
  • EBRD and EU will also support green investments by local businesses

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a loan of up to US$ 20 million to Qatar National Bank (QNB) ALAHLI to support youth entrepreneurship in Egypt.

The new EBRD financing falls under the EBRD Youth in Business programme in Egypt, and it will be extended as sub-loans by QNB ALAHLI to private micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) led or owned by local entrepreneurs under the age of 35.  

A comprehensive technical cooperation package, focused on staff training and skills development to help QNB ALAHLI employees better understand and serve the financial needs of young entrepreneurs, will support QNB ALAHLI in deploying the programme.  

In addition, capacity-building and advisory services will be provided directly to MSMEs to support the development of youth entrepreneurs and to share technical expertise and know-how.  

The programme will also focus on supporting QNB ALAHLI in identifying gender financing gaps and developing new products, processes and corporate practices to help address lending constraints. The bank’s staff will be provided with training to promote gender-responsive lending practices and contribute to the creation of a more inclusive workplace.  

The EBRD package will be complemented by investment incentives provided by the European Union’s Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP) Egypt Micro and Small Financial Inclusion Programme. The incentives will support MSMEs that have been hit by increased costs and business disruptions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The signing ceremony took place in the presence of EBRD First Vice President Jürgen Rigterink and QNB ALAHLI Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Bedeir at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.  

At the event, the EBRD and QNB ALAHLI also signed a new agreement under the EBRD Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF), supported by the EU. QNB ALAHLI will extend EBRD financing to private sub-borrowers, including companies and MSMEs, for green investments, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. With this new financing, the cooperation between the two partners will reach US$ 185 million in funds to be on-lent for green projects. 

The EBRD’s Youth in Business programme enables young entrepreneurs to access critically needed financing and technical assistance to grow their small businesses through dedicated credit lines to banks and microfinance institutions for on-lending to MSMEs run by young entrepreneurs. The credit lines are complemented by technical assistance for partner banks to strengthen their lending capacity. 

Cumulatively to date, the EBRD’s cooperation with QNB ALAHLI on various projects has been worth more than US$ 750 million.  

Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD. Since the start of its operations there in 2012, the Bank has invested more than €10.3 billion in 154 projects across the country.  

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