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Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have signed an agreement to support young entrepreneurs and start-ups in Africa to drive innovation and economic growth.

The IFC and MIIC will select up to 100 promising entrepreneurs from the African continent and connect them with business leaders, international investors, financial institutions, and policymakers during the Africa Summit 2018, which will be held under the auspices of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Sharm El-Sheikh in December.

“Like many African countries, Egypt is full of promising young entrepreneurs who need access to knowledge, the right mentors and a network of potential investors,” said Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation.

“This initiative will help position Egypt as a hub and create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups across Africa, helping them to grow, raise capital and maximise their global outreach.”

A regional hub for entrepreneurs

According to IFC, Egypt is on track to becoming a leading regional hub for entrepreneurs, while tapping the immense potential for innovation and growth the region has to offer.

To boost the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, MIIC launched Fekretak Sherketak in partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in 2017 a comprehensive platform offering key tools including funding, mentorship, and training to entrepreneurs. Read more: B-BBEE transformation, a driver of job creation

To further support the ecosystem, MIIC also established leading venture firms and accelerators such as Egypt Ventures, Falak Start-ups and EFG-EV Fintech, through joint investments with the private sector and international financial institutions.

“Small businesses, including start-ups, are the backbone of most economies in Africa and MENA,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Makhlouf added: “By providing these firms with access to capital and advice, governments across the continent can help create jobs and opportunity for their people.”