New York, May 10, 2006 – The Siwa
Sustainable Development Initiative, a project based in Egypt’s Siwa oasis
and backed by the International Finance Corporation in 2005 with a $880,000
loan and a $468,000 technical assistance grant, won today a World Business
Award for best practice in alleviating poverty. The Siwa project is managed
by Environmental Quality International (EQI), which has designed and implemented
a number of sustainable commercial ventures in the oasis such as women
“This award recognizes the importance of the Siwa initiative,” said Jesper
Kjaer, General Manager of IFC’s Private Enterprise Partnership for the
Middle East and North Africa. “Not only is Siwa a success in itself –
by enabling the people to create economic opportunities for themselves
while restoring the physical environment and by promoting gender equity
– it is also an example replicable in other parts of the country and the
The Siwa project seeks to bring social and economic benefits to the indigenous
community while preserving the delicate environmental and cultural balance
of the Siwa ecosystem. It empowers the indigenous population, fosters entrepreneurship,
and markets the area’s unique biodiversity, historical, and cultural heritage
to the outside world.
The World Business Awards are organized by the Internal Chamber of Commerce,
in association with the United National Development Programme and The Prince
of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. The awards recognize
10 businesses, large and small, that have deployed breakthrough productive
methods to promote sustainable development. This year’s award recipients
included business-sponsored projects that provide low-income house in Mexico,
comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment in Botswana, and venture capital for small
businesses in India.
Founded in 1981, EQI is a partnership company incorporated in Egypt, with
affiliate companies in the United States and United Kingdom. It has about
200 employees and has implemented major projects across the Middle East
and North Africa. EQI specializes in providing services in environment
and natural resources, governance, and enterprise development.
The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the
World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates
its activities with the institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally
and financially independent. Its 178 member countries provide its share
capital and collectively determine its policies.
The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve
people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments, helps clients
improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical
assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding
in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its funds
and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing
countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion
for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org.