The European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA) visit Wednesday three projects of the second phase of the Community Development Programme, launched in June 2020 together with the Ministry of International Cooperation (MOIC).
The visit took place in Port Said governorate, one out of the six that the programme is covering.
Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt, together with Mr. Alfredo Abad, Regional Representative for the Near East of the EIB, led the visit to the projects accompanied by MSMEDA representatives; Head of Community and Development Sector Eng. Medhat Masoud and Wael Hamed, Manager of Port Said Office. Port Said Governor General Adel El Ghadban received the delegation.
Minister of Trade and Industry and MSMEDA Executive Director, Nevine Gamea, commented on the visit: “The visit underlines the close cooperation between MSMEDA and the EU – a key long standing development partner that supported MSMEDA activities and plans through numerous agreements and programmes over the past decade.
Gamea stressed that MSMEDA also cooperates with a large number of international agencies atop of which comes the EIB, a very important partner in a number of development projects in Egypt’s governorates.
“From July 2014 till February 2021, MSMEDA mobilised EGP322.6 million for Port Said in loans and grants; loans amounted to EGP 304.1 million and financed the establishment of around 9,000 small and micro enterprises and therefore created about 16,000 job opportunities,” Ms. Gamea said.
“Grants totalling L.E. 18.5 million were earmarked for infrastructure, human and community development projects and resulted in the generation of around 44,000 daily jobs for youth in Port Said governorate,” she added.
For his part, Berger highlighted that this programme helps improve the well-being and the livelihood of communities and is key part of the broader framework of cooperation between the European Union and Egypt, which to date amount to more than EUR 1.2 billion in grants.
The joint programme is a “Team Europe” action, combining resources from different European partners, and is being implemented in close cooperation with the Egyptian institutions, like governorates. Ambassador Berger stressed that community development in urban areas is a priority of EU-Egypt cooperation with focus on sustainable development at the local level through community-based solutions and involving the local residents from design to implementation.
This now particularly relevant as a response to the Corona Virus repercussions and its related health, safety and economic challenges.
“European Investment Bank (EIB) Regional Representative for the Near East Mr. Alfredo Abad explained that the visit falls within the context of the Agreement signed with MSMEDA and cofunded by the EU to be implemented in 6 targeted governorates including Port Said.
EIB is closely cooperating with MSMEDA throughout long years with the objective of accelerating socio-economic development in the governorates of Egypt and create an enabling environment for youth entrepreneurship,” Mr. Abad added.”
Port Said Governor General Adel El Ghadban accentuated that MSMEDA is keen on launching initiatives and agreements in coordination with numerous donor agencies to serve development objectives in Egypt.
These agreements, he explained, establish projects on all areas of human and community development and generate thousands of decent permanent and temporary jobs on one hand, and respond to the basic services the inhabitants need on the other.
The delegation visited the three projects, funded jointly by the EU and EIB namely: a wastewater network renovation project, rehabilitating 11.9 km pipes, currently under implementation, with a budget of EGP30 million; El kabooty Youth Centre renovation and maintenance project, already completed, with a budget of EGP4 million; and the Ismail El kabany School rehabilitation project, still under implementation, with a budget of EGP2 million.
These projects have created more than 12,000 daily jobs for unemployed workers from the community.
Medhat Maosud, Head of Community and Development Sector indicated that The Community Development Programme is funded by a EUR 15 million grant from the European Union under the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) and is accompanied by a EUR 45 million loan at preferential rates by the EIB.
The EU grant aims at improving local infrastructures and services in selected urban communities, employing local workers, while the EIB loan will offer new credit lines to small and medium enterprises. The Programme address multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure, and Sustainable Cities and Communities.
He added that under phase two of the Programme, MSMEDA signed framework agreements totalling EGP 111 million with six governorates (Alexandria, Port Said, Giza, Assiut, Menufia and Sharqia) to support the provision and enhancement of community facilities, including drinking water networks, sewage networks, paving side roads with interlocking paving, schools, health clinics, and youth centres.