EGYPT – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced that it is providing up to US$100m loan to the National Bank of Kuwait – Egypt (NBK Egypt). 

The loans will be used for on-lending to private businesses in Egypt, to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is Egypt’s second loan under the EBRD’s coronavirus solidarity package, which was set up to meet the immediate short-term financing needs of existing clients. 

The NBK Egypt will provide loans to firms with a special focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are experiencing a decrease in activities and turnover. 

The EBRD said in a press statement that small businesses form an important segment of the Egyptian economy and supporting them in these challenging times remains a priority for the EBRD. 

Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat stressed the importance of Egypt’s partnership with the EBRD. The minister indicated that its role was not restricted to supporting development projects, but also extended to private sector assistance. 

The partnership also responds to liquidity needs for SMEs and corporates experiencing a slowdown and delay in reaping financial inflows, or increased capacity needs. 

The minister revealed that the financing was among other loans provided to banks operating in Egypt by various development cooperation partners, engaging in effective public-private partnerships. 

This step is also an outcome of the virtual roundtable held by the Ministry of International Cooperation in April. It gathered over 100 representatives from international financial institutions and private sector businesses to address the overall impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The agreement is in line with the ministry’s Global Partnerships Narrative that redefines the value of development efforts between Egypt’s multilateral and bilateral partners and public-private partnerships in place that accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” Minister Al-Mashat added. 

Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD, which has, since the start of its operations in Egypt in 2012, invested close to €6.5bn (US$7.32bn) in 115 projects nationwide. The private sector’s share of these projects represents about 56% of the total investments. 

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