14 November 2012
ITIDA and United Bank Sign a 150 Million EGP Cooperation Protocol to Fund SMEs

Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and the United Bank have signed a cooperation protocol worth EGP 150 million, the total value of credit facilities provided by the bank to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) working in the field of ICT and are registered in ITIDA’s data base.

The protocol was signed by the Industry Capacity Building Director, Mr. Ahmed Yahiya Amin Darwish delegated by ITIDA CEO, Mr. Yasser El- Kady, and the Director General of SMEs credit, Mr Mamdouh Naeem Ali Hindi delegated by the Federation of Egypt Banks (FEB) Board Member and Chairman & Managing Director of the United Bank, Mr Mohamed Ashmawy.

Among the attendees was the Managing Director of Egypt's Social Fund for Development (SFD), Ms Ghada Waly along with a number of representatives of civil society organizations, the Chamber of Information Technology and Communication Industry and officials of ICT companies.

Under the cooperation protocol, necessary funding for ICT SMEs, registered in ITIDA data base, should be provided. Besides, the protocol is to help small companies to merge into larger entities and finance operations associated with achieving integration.

Additionally, the protocol involves collaboration to develop training programs and workshops, hence motivating banking institutions to expand in providing fund and non-fund based services for ICT SMEs.

According to the agreement, ITIDA receives applications from companies wishing to obtain funds, selects eligible ones and notifies the bank whether the company is registered in its database, as a prerequisite to acquire loans.

Furthermore, ITIDA is to hold meetings for corporate officers with officials and experts of the United Bank to introduce them to the available banking services under the agreement. ITIDA will also provide support for the winner companies, which get the funding, in accordance with its rules, regulations and decisions of the Board of Directors.

For its part, the United Bank commits to studying and offering financing needs for ICT companies registered in ITIDA database, primarily valued at EGP 50 million annually for three years according to the bank regulations in the field of funding SMEs, with a low interest of 5.5 %
In addition, United Bank will determine necessary documents and timing to provide access to finance for firms wishing to obtain loans.

In this context, Mohamed Ashmawy, the Federation of Egypt Banks (FEB) Board Member and Chairman & Managing Director of the United Bank confirms that the bank is a State-owned entity that was established by the acquisition of three former financial institutions.

He adds that United Bank is presently seeking to acquire market shares being lost by the State, out of the strong belief to support SMEs and intra-regional trade.

Currently, the banking sector is based on the required technology for supporting bank transfers, follow-up, analysis and measuring the rate of risk. The United Bank has an integrated network of branches to serve its clients across the country and it is sincere in its call for cooperation with IT sector to create a generalized model for various banks to adopt, Mr Ashmawy says.

He underlines the necessity to hold seminars to educate banks on issues related to ICT sector, various work fields and funding requirements for each work area.

Ms Ghada Waly, the Managing Director of Egypt's Social Fund for Development states that the mission of SFD is to provide necessary funding for various sectors through either direct lending or via the banking sector.

This offers companies, in this area, the opportunity to grow and acquire expertise through collaboration with risk-taking banks, as well as investing in a variety of projects, she adds.
Ms Waly explains that through the agreement with ITIDA, SFD has provided EGP 27 million loans during the past years for 23 small and medium projects. SFD strives to provide a model that opens new horizons of trust and collaboration among firms and banks, Ms Waly explains.

The success of the agreement with the National Bank and the United Bank allows diverse banking services, thus contributing to the improvement of business environment in general, developing new legislations and polices to support SMEs and upgrading training services, Ms Waly continues.

Mr Yasser El-Kady, ITIDA CEO is pleased to have sealed the partnership and cooperation deal with the United Bank. He considers it a culmination of hard work exerted by officials in ITIDA, the United Bank and SFD.

These efforts grant ICT SMEs the care they deserve from financial institutions represented in loans, contributing to the improvement of their performance in the market, Mr El-Kady says.

Through a protocol signed between ITIDA and SFD, IT companies have obtained loans worth 40 million Egyptian pounds. The signing of partnership agreements with banking institutions is an extension of the signed agreement with SFD, which took place at the crucial period immediately following the revolution, he adds.

Mr El-Kady states that the value of the loan is subject to increase if employing these loans is positively reflected on banks revenues and the state of the economy in general.

Mr Ahmed Yahiya Darwish, the Industry Capacity Building Director at ITIDA says that credit facilities provided by the United Bank create and design funding programs that suit the needs of ICT companies in its various sizes and areas of work.

These programs, for instance take into account the differing needs of call center companies from other firms working in the sector, Mr Darwish concludes.

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