Mahlab meets with World Bank delegation to boost cooperation
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7 (Archive)
By AHMED ABU SHADY

CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab met Monday with a delegation from the World Bank to discuss developing Egyptian banks and restructuring the Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit in order to overcome its current crisis, support farmers and boost its investments according to the Cabinet’s Facebook page.

Also, the MENA state news agency reported that Minister of Planning Ashraf al-Arabi has signed a $300 million deal with the World Bank to develop Egypt’s infrastructure and to boost small and mid-cap enterprises. Sixty percent of the $300 million will be a grant, while the remaining 40 percent will be paid back in 27 years.

Arabi praised the mutual cooperation between Egypt and the World Bank and said the organization had invested $4.5 billion in Egypt for developing infrastructure and supporting small and mid-cap enterprises. MENA reported that more than 130,000 small businesses would benefit from the loan, 37 percent of which are owned by women.

During its meeting with the prime minister, the World Bank delegation expressed its willingness to support the agricultural bank in order to supply farmers, achieve inclusive and sustainable growth and to fund agricultural developments, MENA reported. A World Bank delegation is also set to visit Cairo later this month to discuss continued cooperation.

The meetings come as The Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit continues to suffer from a 3.5 billion EGP ($500 million) loss last fiscal year, mainly due to its clients’ inability to pay debts, the 25Revolution News Gate reported.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, The Ministry of Agriculture headed by Ayman Farid Abu Hadid seeks to provide the needed finance for the bank and wants it to implement a three-year repayment strategy in order to collect its debts. The bank has 1,225 regular branches, along with 20 Islamic branches that serve around 1.3 million farmers.

The World Bank delegation also praised the May 2 social housing program law, and expressed their willingness to boost cooperation and opportunities for infrastructure growth. The law obliges the Ministry of Housing to plan, impose and execute a national housing program to provide adequate dwellings for low-income Egyptians and land for middle-income Egyptians, Al-Shorouq News reported.

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