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AFD is making a EUR 30m credit line available to the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) for the development of lending activity to SMEs (mesofinance) and to build the bank’s skills in this business segment.

SMEs have the least access to credit facilities: 13.7% of SMEs specialized in the production of goods have credit facilities and 10.2% of SMEs in the construction industry. Less than 4% of SMEs specialized in the other sectors (services, tourism, health, education, trade) have credit facilities. Egyptian SMEs in the health and education sectors are among the least integrated into the financial circuit. According to IFC, 65% of SMEs in the health sector and 62% of SMEs in the education sector have a bank account, behind commercial SMEs (78%) and service SMEs (74%).

NBE has set the objective of developing financing for major infrastructure in the country and promoting the emergence of SMEs. Through this strategy, NBE is fully playing its role as a public bank by financing SMEs in new sectors which make a major contribution to the balanced development of society.


The credit line offered to NBE refinances credits with a maturity of over 24 months for small and medium-sized enterprises with a turnover of between EGP 1m and EGP 4m (i.e. between EUR 0.12m and EUR 5m). A quarter of the total amount of loans has been allocated to private schools and health structures. Another quarter has been allocated outside Cairo and Alexandria.

The financing is combined with support to NBE for the implementation of an ambitious in-house training program for staff in charge of the SME activity, assistance for conducting a market study on Egyptian SMEs in order to assess the needs of SMEs and identify the market potential by region and business sector, and a capacity building program for SMEs. This financing tool has provided new development resources and created over 4,200 jobs in 62 Egyptian SMEs in high-potential sectors.

  • Easier access to credit for some 500 SMEs and increase in the average maturity of the loans allocated.
  • Contribution to strengthening the SME fabric in order to promote growth, employment and, indirectly, fight against poverty.
  • Improvement in the level of skills of 1,000 people (NBE’s SME staff and small-scale entrepreneurs).
Project start date
30 000 000
Financing amount
National Bank of Egypt