The government has laid out a strategy to improve people’s quality of life in cities and the countryside based on introducing unorthodox mechanisms to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Medhat Massoud, head of the Central Sector for Community and Human Development at the Egyptian Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA), has told Al-Ahram Weekly.
“State projects to make infrastructure such as drinking water, sewerage networks, and paved roads available in impoverished areas are meant to provide young people with the opportunity to set up or expand small enterprises,” Massoud said.
The infrastructure projects can generate thousands of job opportunities for casual workers, being often carried out using labour-intensive methods that rely on unskilled and semi-skilled workers instead of machines and equipment.
Between 2014 and 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation and international donor agencies also coordinated to deliver funds to support SMEs. The World Bank and European Union provided $200 million and 70 million euros, respectively, to finance projects in 20 governorates identified according to Egypt’s poverty map and focusing on Upper Egypt.