Cairo, Egypt, August 23, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), are helping Egypt implement business-friendly regulations to encourage economic growth and create jobs.
SECO has committed $3.2 million to a three-year IFC Advisory Services program that will work with the government and the private sector to improve Egypt’s business environment by addressing key regulatory bottlenecks in areas such as the issuance of business permits, and access to finance. The initiative is designed to tackle the unemployment and lack of opportunity that are challenging countries across the Middle East and North Africa.
“Switzerland supports IFC’s continued efforts in Egypt to build a better business environment because we know how important the private sector can be to a nation’s economic and social development,” said Stefano Toscano, Chargé d’affaires at the Swiss Embassy in Cairo. “Progress has been made in recent years to make doing business in the country easier, and we look forward to further improvements in the coming years with a view to creating an even more diversified and inclusive economy.”
“ Youth unemployment is a major challenge in the region. So efforts to encourage job growth, entrepreneurship and new investment are now more important than ever,” said Luke Haggarty, IFC Regional Head of Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa.
IFC and SECO have worked together extensively in Egypt. In the past, they spearheaded a program to simplify business start-ups, and SECO funded an IFC-run alternative dispute resolution project.
Intensified efforts to improve Egypt’s investment climate are just one aspect of IFC’s response to recent events in the country and region. IFC also helped launch an education for employment initiative to develop skills tailored to the job market, and a financing facility to support construction of needed infrastructure in the region. IFC is also ramping up efforts to enhance access to finance for currently underserved groups. Owners of micro, small and medium enterprises particularly need access to finance to grow and create jobs.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit