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Khalifa Fund and Egypt's Social Fund for Development sign $200m pact.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Egypt-GCC Investment Forum, which started in Cairo on Wednesday.

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (Khalifa Fund) and Egypt's Social Fund for Development (SFD) signed a framework agreement on Wednesday, outlining joint efforts to boost development and opportunities for small and micro sized enterprises in Egypt. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Egypt-GCC Investment Forum, which started in Cairo on Wednesday.

Ibrahim Ahmed Al Mansouri, Khalifa Fund's Chief Operations Officer, and Ghada Wali, SFD's Managing Director, signed the agreement in the presence of Egyptian Prime Minister Dr Hazem El Beblawi, UAE Minister of State Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Egypt's Deputy Prime Minister for the Economic Affairs and Minister of International Cooperation Dr Ziad Bah Eldin and the UAE's Ambassador to Egypt Mohammed bin Nukheira Al Daheri.

The framework agreement stipulates that the UAE will provide US $200 million (Dh736 million), via the Khalifa Fund, to the SFD in order to catalyse the start-up of small and micro sized enterprises with the overarching goal for these businesses to achieve significant socio-economic impact throughout Egypt.

The agreement aims to establish a mutually-beneficial framework for future cooperation between both entities through investments in projects which will contribute to the development of impoverished areas throughout the country, with a focus on expanding social funding programmes for women and youth with an objective of increasing employment opportunities and income generation.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: "The wise leadership of the UAE has asked us to identify development opportunities for Egyptian citizens in various sectors. We are pleased to sign this agreement during the Egypt/GCC Investment Forum, a platform that demonstrates our willingness to further the cooperation between Gulf countries and Egypt. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and Egypt's Social Fund for Development for their efforts in creating this agreement, which sets the structural framework for the launch of many innovative projects centred around sustainability and empowerment."

He added: "This agreement reflects the UAE's vision to boost sustainable development and foster Egypt's human capital; focusing specifically on women and youth. We are confident that these segments of society will be able to launch their own unique projects and businesses, which will contribute to income generation and poverty reduction."

He concluded by saying that the strength of the relationship between both countries will continually ensure that the UAE will stand by the people of Egypt during challenging times as it regains its regional leadership position. Dr Al Jaber also stressed that economic stability is the foundation of national security as well as political and social stability.

Al Jaber emphasised that this agreement aims to foster a new and innovative entrepreneurial culture that hopes to instil optimism and positive mindsets.

Dr Ziad Bah Eldin said the UAE is a sister country to the Arab Republic of Egypt and cooperation between the two countries in the field of small enterprises seeks to implement a strategic partnership for investment in the Egyptian economy, and the promotion of an entrepreneurial culture through more production, innovation, and development.

Khalifa Fund's Chief Operations Officer Al Mansouri called the agreement "an important step towards building strategic relations with the SFD as it seeks to reduce poverty and unemployment."

Furthermore, he described the agreement as an opportunity to work closely with its new partners at the SFD and learn more about Egypt's numerous promising industries and sectors that may benefit from the joint venture through capacity building efforts to become sources of creative job opportunities.

According to the framework agreement, the Khalifa Fund will provide financial and non-financial support for small and micro ventures through the Social Fund for Development. The agreement also stipulates new levels of cooperation between both parties and the necessity of data sharing to ensure the success of the mission and achieve the framework's objectives.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Dec 5, 2013
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