Egypt became the single largest recipient of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) investment in 2018 with the provision of €1.15bn through 19 projects, covering all sectors of the economy, according to a statement of the EBRD on Thursday.
The statement noted that 44 % of the bank’s investments in Egypt were in the green economy.
Supporting the country’s infrastructure, the EBRD investments included a €205m loan to the Cairo metro for urgent works on the underground, a major means of public transport in the Egyptian capital used by 500 million customers per year.
Another major project was a €148m loan to reduce extreme pollution levels for the six million people living in the Kitchener Drain area of the Nile Delta.
To improve competitiveness and establish stronger value chains of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt, the bank supported El Roda Company for Agricultural Development, an Egyptian producer and exporter of fruits and vegetables that specialises in grapes.
The bank also promoted the Egyptian dairy sector through a $7m loan to support the expansion plan and exports of Obour Land, a leading Egyptian dairy producer.
Continuing to support the financial sector, the EBRD extended its trade finance lines to Banque Misr and to the Arab African International Bank.
The EBRD has offices in Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt and works on the development of the private sector through support for small businesses via finance and advisory services as well as through direct investment in companies in the agribusiness and industry sectors.
Since 2012, the bank has invested over €4.7bn in 92 projects in Egypt, while over 800 small businesses have benefitted from the bank’s advisory services, 187 of which were in 2018 alone.
In the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, the bank invested €2bn in more than 50 projects in 2018, bringing the total to €9bn since the beginning of its operations in 2012.
The year 2018 marked the first investments by the bank in Lebanon and in the West Bank and Gaza. In Lebanon, the EBRD acquired a stake in Bank Audi, the country’s largest commercial lender, and extended a $20m financial package for the BUTEC Utility Services S.A.L. to address Lebanon’s urgent energy supply crisis by improving the reliability and efficiency of the distribution grid.
In the West Bank and Gaza, the EBRD provided finance to support small businesses, helped capacity building at the Palestinian Monetary Authority, and the development of commercial links with support from the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme.
Meanwhile, in Jordan, the bank supported the country in its next important step to boost the role of renewables in the energy mix by providing a $265m long-term loan to the National Electric Power Company.
Launching the Women in Business programme in Morocco, the EBRD extended funds to the BMCE Bank of Africa and BMCI to strengthen the country’s economy by unleashing the potential of women entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, in Tunisia, the bank approved a new country strategy for the next five years and provided €75m to the national sanitation utility ONAS in order to upgrade the water infrastructure in 33 small municipalities, and alleviate environmental pollution and health risks.
In support of small businesses in the SEMED region, the bank also provided advisory support to 586 small enterprises in 2018.