IDA works to promote SMEs and handicrafts nationwide
The World Bank headquarters - AP/Lawrence Jackson

CAIRO: A number of organizations are working to establish regular gatherings in the governorates for  Medium Enterprise and crafts industries in governorates across Egypt.

The  Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is working with the ministries of Industry and Housing, the Federation of Egyptian Industries, the World Bank and the National Bank of Egypt,  Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted  Ismail Gaber, head of IDA, as saying late Wednesday.

Establishing such a gathering came within the government’s new strategy for establishing handicraft and SME gatherings in all governorates to boost the sector, along with creating new job opportunities.

“The IDA is set to provide cash and technical support for the investors (especially SME owners) along with facilitating their industrial licenses,” said Gaber. “Supplying SMEs and handicrafts especially, as they cover a large part of Egyptian citizens, ensures probable income for citizens in poor areas and will boost Egypt’s revenue.”

Head of the Federation of Economic Development Associations Fouad Thabet told The Cairo Post in a phone interview Friday that “establishing the SMEs industrial zone is not the ideal solution for revitalizing the sector, but it could help.”

Thabet said before establishing industrial regions, the government should draft a “comprehensive plan for SMEs and handicrafts and their distribution in the governorates,” meaning the government should establish an industrial region for fish manufacturing in the costal governorates and agricultural regions in the rural governorates.

Besides distributing SMEs and handicrafts throughout the governorates, the government should find marketing solutions for the products and new horizons for exports to ensure revitalization of the sector and increase its participation in the national economy, he added.

SMEs represent 90 percent of the total companies in Egypt and provide between 70-80 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 75 percent of job opportunities and serve major industries.
Egypt’s exports of handicraft products edged up to $583 million during 2013.

Minister of Housing Mustafa Madbouli announced also on July 18 that the Ministry of Housing is set to establish the First Cooperative Handicraft and SMEs Gathering in Beheira governorate in September, Masrawy reported on July 18. The strategy will be applied all over the governorates, he added.

During the first half of 2014, 166 industrial institutions received industrial licenses costing 2.9 billion EGP collectively and providing 8,706 job opportunities.

The 166 industrial institutions’ output values are scheduled to hit 5.3 billion EGP annually, he said, pointing out that most of the industrial licenses will be focused in Small and Medium-Size Enterprises.

During the first week of the second half of 2014, 1,560 investors applied for industrial licenses for 1,272 industrial ventures, said Madbouli, adding that the 1,272 industrial ventures were offered by the IDA.

“The offered ventures will include Small and Medium-Size Enterprises, development projects and large projects,” he said, revealing that the IDA has offered the needed pieces of land fo4 these projects in new cities,” Gaber told Al Hayat News Gate Thursday.

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