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