On 21 June 2017, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr signed an agreement with Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ms. Randa Abu Al-Hosn to establish the first National Impact Investment Fund in Egypt, in presence of Director of the Operational Unit for Development Assistance (OUDA) Dr. Tamer Naeem and Chief of the United Nations Social Impact Fund (UNSIF) Mr. David Galipeau.
The Minister stated that the Fund would be co-financed by the UNDP and Egypt’s Entrepreneurship Company recently established by MIIC, noting that the establishment of an entrepreneurship incubator to support emerging development projects, encourage investments that contribute to achieving development goals such as eliminating poverty, and provide job opportunities and renewable energy would be among the fund’s first activities.
UNDP would provide capacity-building and advisory services to the entrepreneurship incubator, besides providing technical assistance relating to entrepreneurship in Egypt, including promotion proposals, training and conferences, the Minister mentioned.
Dr. Sahar Nasr indicated that the growth of startups would be spurred through offering competitive market incentives, supporting small investors via partnerships, and providing investors with technical trainings and with access to the foreign market and advanced technology. H.E noted that the Fund aimed to increase support to the private sector to participate in the development process, explaining that it connected development goals with investments that have social and environmental dimensions with a view to provide better services to citizens at lower costs.
The Minister emphasized that, through her membership at the High-Level Advisory Board, affiliated to the UN Social Impact Fund (UNSIF), she would work on supporting the achievement of Egypt’s SDGs and the establishment of partnerships with various UN institutions to contribute to attracting investments.
In response to journalists’ inquiries, the Minister pointed out that the Fund would bear risks with small investors and would support them to expand their projects, noting that focus was given to the quality of investment and its impact on citizens as well as on ensuring that those who need support have access to it.
As stated by the Minister, the UN was considered an umbrella for all development partners, which would facilitate Egypt’s securing of funds to support the National Impact Investment Fund during the upcoming period.
“We are ready to facilitate funds that are in line with SDGs,” Said Director of the UNDP, while noting that the Fund was considered the first initiative of its kind in the Middle East and Africa, which would, in turn, render Egypt a leading country in the field of innovative and sustainable financing for development.
“To this end, we hope to further strengthen our partnership with the government and the private sector,” added Ms. Abu Al-Hosn, pointing out that, two weeks earlier, Dr. Nasr became the first woman on the UNSIF’s High-Level Advisory Board.
She explained that the UNDP’s role was to support Egypt so as to improve its social impact economy, noting that UNDP would also support small investors and startups and that its capital was targeted to reach up to USD 50 million (equivalent to EGP 1 billion).