World Bank’s IFC, Egypt sign deal to support Africa start-ups

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The World Bank’s private sector arm has signed on Thursday an agreement with Egyptian government aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs and start-ups in Africa to drive innovation and economic growth.

Mouayed Makhlouf, International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) director for the Middle East and North Africa, has signed the agreement with Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Sahar Nasr in Cairo.

Upon the agreement, IFC and MIIC will select up to 100 promising entrepreneurs from Africa and connect them with business leaders, international investors, financial institutions, and policymakers during the Africa Summit 2018. The summit will be held under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Sharm El-Sheikh in December.

“Like many African countries, Egypt is full of promising young entrepreneurs who need access to knowledge, the right mentors, and a network of potential investors,” said Minister Nasr.

“This initiative will help position Egypt as a hub and create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups across Africa, helping them to grow, raise capital and maximise their global outreach.”

Egypt is on track to becoming a leading regional hub for entrepreneurs, tapping the immense potential for innovation and growth the region has to offer.

To boost the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the Egyptian Ministry of Investment launched Fekretak Sherketak in partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in 2017 a comprehensive platform offering key tools including funding, mentorship, and training to entrepreneurs.

To further support the ecosystem, the Egyptian ministry also established leading venture firms and accelerators such as Egypt Ventures, Falak Start-ups, and EFG-EV Fintech, through joint investments with the private sector and international financial institutions.

“Small businesses, including start-ups, are the backbone of most economies in Africa and MENA,” said IFC’s Makhlouf.

“By providing these firms with access to capital and advice, governments across the continent can help create jobs and opportunity for their people.”

Start-ups often struggle to access the advice and financing they need to thrive. Over the last two years, IFC has provided close to $65 million in funding to technology companies and start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa, while working alongside leading accelerators and venture funds like Wamda, Flat6Labs, and Algebra Ventures.

The initiative is part of an IFC effort to support entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa by helping start-ups access financing, receive advice, and break into new markets.

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