Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, a UAE-based SME investment fund, has agreed to provide up to $200 million loan for small businesses in Egypt.

The loan agreement which was signed with the Egyptian government in Cairo is expected to support about 100,000 projects and also create at least 120,000 jobs by 2020.

70 percent of projects funded through the loan will be from rural areas and 25 percent of the loan will be allocated to finance women-led enterprises.

“The loan will be directed towards microfinance development in remote and disadvantaged areas and pockets of poverty throughout Egypt,” Khalifa Fund’s chairman, Hussain al Nowais said.

The fund will be disbursed as a soft loan with lenient terms and conditions over a 15-year tenure with a six-year grace period.

The UAE government has been a strong investor in Egypt since the birth of a new government, following  three years of political and socio-economic turmoil.

Minister of State, Dr Sultan Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, at the signing of the agreement, said UAE sees promoting development in Egypt as very important. In view of this, the country is supporting entrepreneurship, combating poverty in underdeveloped areas, and empowering women and young people in the country.

“The microenterprise sector acquires great importance in the development efforts as it aids job creation and enhances the livelihood of low-income families,” he said.

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