Press Releases

IFC Helps Streamline Business Start-ups in Egypt

In Cairo
Riham Mustafa

Phone: +20 (2) 461 9150, ext. 314


In Cairo

Egidio Germanetti

Phone: +20 (2) 461 9150, ext. 314


Cairo, May 7, 2007 — IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today opened an Industrial Development Authority decentralization center in Alexandria, Egypt. The pilot program will help reduce the time and cost of obtaining licenses for industrial projects, which previously could only be obtained in Cairo.  The new center will be more accessible to investors, merge land allocation with the industrial project approval process, and merge industrial registration with the necessary procedures to obtain an operating license.

This initiative is part of the Business Start-up Simplification Project in Alexandria, a partnership between IFC, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones, the Industrial Development Authority, and the Governorate of Alexandria. The project, which is managed by IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa – PEP-MENA, is building on reform efforts underway in Egypt. The project supports GAFI’s One-Stop Shops in Egypt and the World Bank’s Alexandria Growth Pole Project to create simpler and more transparent processes for investors.  This will encourage local and foreign investment in Alexandria by improving the regulatory environment for businesses. The plan is to replicate this project throughout Egypt.

“The simplification of business start-up procedures will increase private investments in more productive and competitive firms,” said Frank Sader, IFC PEP-MENA’s chief strategist. “The cooperation between IFC and the Egyptian government will strengthen economic growth, generating more employment and income opportunities.”

GAFI is leading a phased approach to open more independent one-stop shops throughout Egypt, which have  adequate resources and comply with international best practices. The initial phase is to work with all partners to streamline procedures and reduce the amount of time to register a business by at least 50 percent.  In following stages, more drastic simplifications will be implemented based on international best practices.

Last month, the World Bank Group and the U.S. Agency for International Development honored Egypt’s Minister of Investment, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieedin, for leading reforms in the country that cut new business registration fees by 40 percent and implemented a flat 20 percent corporate income tax rate. In 2007, the minimum capital requirement was reduced from 50,000 to 1,000 pounds and the time to start a business was reduced by 12 days.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business-enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit


IFC PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for advisory services that supports private sector development across Middle East and North Africa. IFC PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatization and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, IFC PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.