Press Releases

IFC to Help Egypt’s Ministry of Housing Create Business-friendly Regulations

In Cairo
Riham Mustafa
Phone: + (20) 2 461 9150

Cairo, 1 March 2007 —  IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and Egypt’s Ministry of Housing have agreed to collaborate in streamlining the process of obtaining building licenses and permits and in reducing the cost and time involved in business start-up procedures. This work will be part of the Business Start-Up Simplification Project in Alexandria, a partnership between IFC, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones, and the Governorate of Alexandria.

Managed by IFC PEP-MENA, IFC’s advisory services facility in the Middle East and North Africa, the project will involve the government and the private sector in identifying key issues that hinder the process of obtaining licenses and permits. All parties will recommend measures, which, if viable, will be included in the executive articles of the draft building law. In addition, the project will provide quantitative targets for reducing the number of procedures and the time they require, merging procedures, further delegating authority, and increasing transparency.

According to IFC and the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2007, it takes over 200 days and 30 procedures to obtain business licenses in Egypt. Said Frank Sader, IFC’s Senior Operations Manager, “Creating business-friendly regulations means new enterprises and jobs that will benefit Egypt’s development. This project underpins the effective reforms undertaken by the government, because it will address high requirements for licensing, one of the greatest obstacles to business.”

The project will build on reforms underway in Egypt.  It supports One-Stop Shops set up by the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones and the World Bank’s Alexandria Growth Pole Project to create simpler and more transparent processes for investors.  The objective is to improve the regulatory environment for businesses and encourage local and foreign investments. There are plans to replicate this pilot throughout Egypt.

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 technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. 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 technical assistance and 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.