Press Releases

IFC and Swiss Government Help Egypt Simplify Its Business Procedures

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +202 24 619 140
Fax: +202 24 619 145

Cairo, Egypt, September 14, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs are helping the Egyptian government simplify business start-up regulations and develop more integrated and transparent procedures to increase investments and job opportunities.

IFC partnered with SECO in 2008 to implement the Business Start-up Simplification Project, which entails working with Egypt’s General Authority for Investment and Free Zones, the Industrial Development Authority, and the Agency for the Technical Inspection of Buildings. The project, financed by a $505,000 grant from the Swiss government, aims to reduce by one third the total time needed for business registration, industrial licensing, and building permits.

IFC and the Egyptian government are working to reduce industrial land allocation and project approval procedures by 40 percent by end of 2009. The project also is implementing streamlined building permit procedures that recently became law.

“We are glad the project has yielded positive results and supports Egypt’s economic growth, and we are optimistic that it will aid decentralization procedures at a national level,” said Dennis Knobel Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of Switzerland

Frank Sader, IFC Senior Operations Manager, said, “The project is helping create an environment where consolidated, simplified processes can be applied throughout the country, thus strengthening the investment climate and generating more job opportunities.”

Since 2006, IFC has been working with the Egyptian government and private sector to identify and resolve issues that hinder obtaining licenses and permits. Last April, the government abolished the minimum capital required to start a business.

IFC also has supported the Alexandria Business Association in launching the first Egyptian business index developed by the private sector. The index, named “Islah,” which means reform, was released in May 2009. It is meant to promote a sustained government-private sector dialogue on business environment reforms.

The Egyptian government’s ongoing commitment to business simplification was reflected in Egypt’s rating among the top-ten reformers in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business reports over the past few years.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping play a prominent role in addressing the financial crisis. For more information, visit