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IFC Invests $5 Million in Egypt's Agriculture Sector


Elika Trifonova                
Phone:  (202) 458-8357        

Fax:  (202) 974-4384        

E-mail:  
etrifonova@ifc.org        


Cairo, Egypt, January 29, 2003—The International Finance Corporation will lend up to US$5 million to the SEKEM Group of the Arab Republic of Egypt to expand the production of organically produced pharmaceutical products, fruits, vegetables, and textiles.

The $14.5 million project, which is located at Belbeis, 60 km north of Cairo, will have a strong developmental impact. It will create up to 200 jobs and help establish 120 family-owned farms that will supply the plant. It will also result in the transfer of technology and organic farming methods to these farms and provide a strong demonstration effect to investors in the biodynamic sector.


Mr. Sami Haddad, Director of IFC's Middle East and North Africa Department, said: "We expect SEKEM to become a catalytic force in organic agriculture catering not only to the domestic market but also to the international market. It will help elevate Egypt’s profile as an exporter, especially in the European markets, and contribute to foreign exchange earnings - one of the government’s top development priorities."


Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Chairman of the SEKEM Group, expressed the importance of this long-term loan for the development of the SEKEM Group of Companies. “This long-term investment of the SEKEM Group is aiming to increase production capacity and efficiency and will create new jobs and give more farmers a secure marketing possibility; on the other hand, it will increase our ability to compete in international markets and therefore increase our export revenues.”


The investment in SEKEM fits with IFC's Egypt strategy, which includes providing support to medium-sized enterprises and the promotion of internationally competitive ventures.


IFC's mission 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, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding in 1956 through the close of the last fiscal year on June 30, 2002, IFC committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's committed portfolio as of FY02 was $15.1 billion for its own account and $6.5 billion for participants in loan syndications.

Sekem Holdings