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IFC Provides Management Training to Maximize Growth of Small Businesses in Egypt


In Washington:
Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone: +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:     +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org

In Cairo:

Antoine Courcelle-Labrousse

Phone: + 20 (2) 579-5812/5912

Fax:     +20 (2) 579-6447

Email:
Acourcelle@ifc.org


CAIRO/WASHINGTON, D.C., June, 21, 2004— The North Africa Enterprise Development (NAED), a regional small and medium enterprise business development facility managed by the International Finance Corporation, convened a half-day forum today in Cairo, Egypt, “Practical Solutions to Effective SME Management.” Some 200 representatives of small and medium enterprises, training and consulting firms, business associations, nongovernmental organizations, representatives of the Egyptian government, and donors organizations attended the forum.

The event, held under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Ali Fahmy El-Saiedi, the minister of industry and technological development, heralds the launch of "Business Edge," the global management training product range of IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. The Business Edge forum in Cairo focused on raising awareness among small and medium enterprises about developing management skills to boost productivity, growth and profitability.


Most Egyptian management training firms target large companies. They have relatively little interest in servicing smaller businesses, which they perceive as financially weak and cynical about the benefits of management training. But surveys show that small enterprises are indeed interested in management training - provided it is practical in terms of cost, location, and timing and gives concrete solutions to their management problems.


The Business Edge forum introduced the flexible learning concept as a solution to overcoming some of the constraints faced by small Egyptian firms in accessing management training resources. NAED’s training partners in the forum deployed innovative programs, using business products designed specifically for small enterprises, while the forum also highlighted successful business cases in management training that included live testimonials from local SMEs.


H.E. Dr. Ali Fahmy El-Saiedi said, "I am very pleased with NAED's initiative because it will have an impact on developing a sustainable SME training market by building the capacity of local providers of training to help them serve SMEs better. Developing the management skills of SMEs is key to increasing their productivity, growth, and profitability, which, in turn, bolsters private wealth and job creation in the country.”


Sami Haddad, IFC Director for Middle East and North Africa, added, “This Arabized and localized version of the Business Edge line of products is proving to be a very effective and popular SME management training tool in Egypt. IFC is currently considering rolling it out to other countries in the region.”


NAED (
www.ifc.org/sme) is the first small business development facility in the Middle East and North Africa region and is managed from IFC’s headquarters in Cairo, with IFC offices in Algiers and Rabat as well. It is a five-year $20 million technical assistance program for small businesses, cofunded by IFC and donor countries, including Belgium, France, Italy, and Switzerland. NAED’s key objective is to foster job creation in Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco by supporting the development of small businesses -the bedrock of all those countries’ economies.

The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.