Egypt - Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy revealed that the Local Development Fund has financed 2,337 small- and micro-sized projects since July 2021 with investments estimated at more than EGP 27m.
He also pointed out that these projects provided direct job opportunities in the fields of animal and poultry production; food outlets; clothing and furniture; and selling feed, fertilisers, grains, white meat, environmental and household industries, dairy products, and honey and its products.
Furthermore, Shaarawy noted that the Local Development Fund grants two types of loans, including short-term loans to be repaid within two years and medium-term loans to be repaid within four years at an interest of 6% annually, reduced to 4% for those with disabilities, are illiterate, or are obtaining new loans to raise the productive capacity of their projects after their commitment to pay the loan instalments on the specified dates.
He explained that the fund introduced a new method in the work mechanisms that helped shorten the time period from the date of submitting the loan application until the date of disbursal.
Additionally, he said that the Ministry of Local Development has exerted a lot of efforts recently in order to enhance the economic role of the fund in supporting small and micro enterprises in all governorates, raising the degree of their contribution to the domestic product, creating the necessary climate to encourage them, and making rural villages an essential partner in development by allowing them to support the national industry and reduce unemployment.
The minister explained that the Local Development Fund promotes the economic empowerment of women, as the number of female beneficiaries of the projects it financed during that period amounted to about 1,463 projects — comprising 67.7% of all projects.
He also noted that the fund is one of the ministry’s important tools to support women in the governorates, especially female breadwinner, as it helps them to implement small and micro projects, which generates a stable income that guarantees them a decent life with an interest that does not exceed 6%.
This is in addition to benefiting from the materials found in the local environment and converting them into new usable products such as food and craft industries projects.
According to Shaarawy, Minya ranks first in terms of the number of projects financed by the fund during that period, with 502 projects funded with total investments of more than EGP 4m, followed by Daqahleya with 331 projects with total investments of EGP 4m, Sohag with 192 projects with investments of EGP 1.8m, Beni Suef with 185 projects with investments of EGP 3m, and Sharqeya with 168 projects with investments of EGP 2.4m.
Furthermore, the minister directed the fund’s administrators to focus on financing micro and small projects in the neediest areas targeted by the Decent Life Presidential Initiative, enhancing the productivity of these projects and pushing them to continue operation and create more job opportunities, noting that this is reflected in improving the quality of life of citizens in those areas and achieving development.
He also indicated that his ministry is developing the necessary programmes for permanent development in the Local Development Fund to play an important role in promoting this sector of projects through the implementation of the Local Development Training Centre in Saqqara.
These programmes are designed to develop the capabilities and skills of human resources working in the fund, link and integrate these projects with supply chains, develop skills in the field of marketing inside and outside the country, and raise awareness of the beneficiaries of the fund’s projects about the Ayyadi Masr Platform and its role in marketing their products, especially handicrafts.
Shaarawy added that the procedures followed by those wishing to obtain loans from the Local Development Fund have been simplified.
Applicants must be 21 to 55 years of age to be eligible for a loan and must provide a location commensurate with the nature of their project’s activity.
The fund then conducts a feasibility study for free and offers the borrower a grace period equivalent to a complete production or operating cycle of the project.
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