Sisi calls for support for new small, medium enterprises for youth
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi speaksduring Conference of Egypt's Vision 2013 at al-Galaa Theater in Cairo, on Feb. 24, 2016 - (YOUM7/ Sami Wahib)

CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called Wednesday for building industrial entities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the youth, blaming the government for the delay of establishing furniture industry city in Damietta.

The government has allocated 200 billion EGP ($25.5 billion) for youth development, Sisi announced in opening remarks of the Egypt’s Vision 2030 conference.

The President called on the government to provide  youth “all they need” for establishing their projects via financing and  coordinating with foreign companies to import the required machines for the industrial projects.

“If there are not places for the youth in industry, there could be, as I fear, a state of chaos for the small industries plan,” Sisi said.

Sisi chided the government of its lack of performance in establishing furniture industry city in Damietta he had ordered 1.5 years ago.

The Delta city of Damietta, where the Nile River meets the Mediterranean Sea, holds a near monopoly on the Egyptian furniture industry; most of the male labor force in Damietta makes furniture, with most of the rest of the population working in the textile industry.

“If you established the city 1.5 years ago, the youth would have had received [their workshops] now,” Sisi said, calling for establishing industrial cities of carpet and tanning.

“I will keep building it [Egypt] until my death or the end of my tenure,” Sisi continued.

Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) governor Tareq Amer said the bank’s financing strategy has been changed to be directed towards the youth and small and medium enterprises.

He said during previewing the bank strategy over 15 years that the state-owned banks have assets estimated at 600 billion EGP ($76.6 billion,) and they instructed to focus on financing the small and medium enterprises. Amer noted that 90 percent of Gross Domestic product (GDP) comes from SMEs.

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