US Strengthens Egyptian Private Sector on Several Fronts

The United States of America is working to strengthen the Egyptian private sector on several fronts.

At the “USTDA Egypt: Forward Forum,” Assistant Secretary Jose W. Fernandez of Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs said Egypt is now indeed open for business.

“We have all seen the Arab Spring take flight. But now we must help the Arab Spring take root. The United States is working to ensure the revolution delivers on its promise, and we stand ready to support Egypt as it liberalizes not only its political system, but its economy as well.” -Mr. Fernandez

Mr. Fernandez said Egypt has the challenge to undertake reforms to shed the legacies of the past that have stunted private sector growth – including making it easier to start a business, to invest, to settle disputes, and even to just be an employee.

“As the dust settles on the streets of Egypt, fears and old mindsets still linger, but a new private sector is emerging – one fueled by young entrepreneurs as well as large corporations.” -Mr. Fernandez.

He emphasized that the U.S. government is working to strengthen Egyptian private sector on the following fronts:

  • The Overseas Private Investment Corporation plans to create a 10-year loan guarantee facility in Egypt which could provide up to $700 million in loans to small and medium sized enterprises and support over 50,000 Egyptian jobs.
  • USAID plans to leverage existing partner microfinance networks, expertise, and infrastructure to help start up new businesses and increase the volume of trade among current enterprises.
  • The State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program is planning to help create angel investor networks by providing seed funding and technical support.
  • And, to engage multilateral partners in Egypt’s private sector development, Treasury and State are working to support Egypt’s request to reorient the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

    Mr. Fernandez pointed out that the private sector cannot do it alone. He said it is vital that the Egyptian government play its part in ensuring that Egypt’s business climate is welcoming and empowering for business.

    “Developing and strengthening the private sector is a principal component of our economic strategy for Egypt. A prosperous Egypt, supported by economic growth and a strong private sector, will be an anchor of stability for the region.” -Mr. Fernandez

    He said Egypt’s economic story did not begin on January 25. He added that over the last 50 years, Egypt has made great strides towards opening up its economy.

    Mr. Fernandez stressed what has changed in Egypt is the awakening of its population of men, women, and youth to drive Egypt’s growth, and reap its benefits. He pointed out that the government of Egypt and the international community must not underestimate the value of human resource – a people that not only stand ready to work hard and innovate to grow their country, but who in fact demand the right to do it.

  • Mina Fabulous

    Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.