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IFC Signs Six Partnership Agreements with Training Providers to Deliver Business Edge Management Training to SMEs in Egypt


In Cairo:                                
Nada Abdelnour

Phone: + 20 2 2461 9140, ext. 352

E-mail:
nabdelnour@ifc.org

Egidio Germanetti & Riham Mustafa
Telephone: + 20 2 2461 9140, ext. 314/306

E-mails:
egermanetti@ifc.org/rmustafa@ifc.org


Cairo, June 21, 2007 — IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed agreements with six new training providers in Egypt to deliver the IFC Business Edge training for small and medium enterprises. Through the program, IFC aims to provide high-quality management training that is tailored to the local environment, helping improve the performance of smaller businesses. The program will also enhance the performance of training providers through capacity-building workshops, in addition to promoting awareness of management training.

In Egypt, small and medium enterprises constitute more than 90 percent of all nonagricultural private enterprises and are responsible for generating nearly three-quarters of new employment. They must become increasingly competitive to create the 200,000 jobs needed each year to reduce the country’s unemployment rate.


The new training providers are AB and Associates, the American Chamber of Commerce, Cospe, EAAC Group, Hands-On, and Integrated Management Consultancy. Their partnerships with IFC Business Edge will be reviewed yearly and renewed only if they meet business-plan targets.
Khaled Khallaf, Business Development Manager of the EAAC Group, said, “Our partnership with IFC’s Business Edge program has contributed to giving us a competitive edge, since it is the only management training product on the Arab market that provides practical solutions to SME management. Business Edge has many strong points, including train-the-trainer courses, localized workbooks, and a monitoring and evaluation framework that ensures the quality and effectiveness of the training. Moreover, the capacity-building tools that the program offers have helped strengthen our company and increase its growth and profitability.”


Ahmed Badr, Director of AB & Associates, added, “IFC Business Edge came to us at a time when we were looking for a well-developed, simple, localized, and SME-oriented set of training courses. Our clients and trainers appreciate the practicality of Business Edge products and their user-friendly content.”


Michel Botzung, IFC Business Edge Program Manager, said, “Egypt is our largest market. However, only 5 percent of all SMEs can access business support services—an IFC survey revealed that most of them do not have access to management training. Through our partners, we hope to provide these smaller businesses with practical and applicable training tools to enhance their performance. To date, our partners have sold about 5,900 training seats to SME owners and managers, and we expect to continue building on this success.”


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
www.ifc.org.

About IFC PEP-MENA

IFC PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for advisory services that support private sector development across the 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.


About IFC Business Edge

IFC Business Edge is the brand name for the Corporation’s international range of management training products for small and medium enterprises that has been adapted for the Middle East and North Africa region. It is a comprehensive training program that includes 36 management courses in five topics: marketing, human resources, production and operations, finance and accounting, and personal productivity skills. To ensure sustainability and the widest possible coverage, IFC Business Edge enters into agreement with local training providers and builds their capacity by giving them access to relevant management training content, including self-study workbooks and manuals for trainers. It trains them on applying flexible learning methods, while improving their marketing and business planning skills. Training providers deliver the courses to business owners and managers in their markets. The program is available in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, the West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. To date, about 26,600 training seats
have been sold through Business Edge’s network of 19 certified training providers. In addition, 273 trainers have been trained across the region. The program is managed by IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa-PEP-MENA.