Cairo, October 17th, 2003 – North Africa
Enterprise Development (NAED), a small and medium enterprise (SME) technical
assistance facility managed by IFC, and SEKEM, an Egyptian producer of
organic agricultural products, have signed an agreement whereby NAED will
help strengthen SEKEM’s supply chain linkages with its farm suppliers,
a vast majority of which are SMEs.
Under the agreement, NAED will assist SEKEM in implementing a supply chain
management solution that would enhance SEKEM’s communication and collaboration
with over 200 SME farm suppliers. The solution is expected
to result in an improvement in efficiency throughout SEKEM’s supply chain,
with an increase in production forecast accuracy and in realized sales
revenue for the SME farmers.
“Due to this cooperation, the first Arabized agriculture ERP system will
be implemented in Egypt. Enterprise
Resource Planning is a software system that helps companies better manage
relationships with their suppliers. Without
NAED’s support, this project would not have been possible at this time,”
said Helmy Abouleish, SEKEM’s managing director.
NAED’s support to SEKEM will complement IFC’s existing financial support.
In January 2003, IFC committed a $5 million loan to SEKEM to expand
its production of organically produced pharmaceutical products, fruits,
vegetables, and textiles.
“SEKEM is an important client for IFC and is a leader in sustainable and
socially responsible business in Egypt. We are pleased to have SEKEM
as a partner in our efforts to improve the business opportunities for SMEs
in the critical agricultural sector” said Sami Haddad, director of IFC’s
Middle East and North Africa department.
“IFC and NAED are committed to strengthening linkages between SMEs and
larger corporations. SEKEM is a positive role model for businesses
in Egypt that deal with SMEs as business partners, and I am delighted that
we can support SEKEM in this regard,” said Harold Rosen, director of IFC’s
On August 21, 2003, the Schwab Foundation announced its selection
of Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, the founder and chairman of the SEKEM Group,
as one of the world’s “Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs”. SEKEM,
as the Foundation states in its press release, was selected because it
“is establishing the blueprint for the healthy corporation of the 21st
century”. In addition, in October 2003, SEKEM was selected by the
Jury of Right Livelihood Foundation for the “Alternative Nobel Prize”
due to its effort in sustainable development.
Launched in April 2003, NAED is a regional technical assistance program
operating in Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt, co-funded by IFC and donor countries,
including Belgium, France, Italy and Switzerland. The focus of the facility
in Egypt includes: improving SME access to finance; supporting intermediary
organizations (consulting firms, training institutions, and business associations);
linkages between SMEs and large firms; and improving the business enabling
environment for SMEs.
The mission of IFC 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 FY02 was
$16.7 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants
in loan syndications.