Egyptian government launches $1.4bn startup incubator

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The Egyptian government has announced a public-private partnership partnership (PPP) to launch the EGP10 billion (US$1.4 billion) Ayady for Investment and Development, an incubator designed to support entrepreneurs in order to promote economic growth in the country.

Ayady for Investment and Development will be 80 per cent owned by the private sector and 20 per cent state-owned, and aims to provide training, funding and partnership opportunities to startups.

Planning minister Ashraf El-Araby said the incubator would have an on-the-ground presence in all of Egypt’s 27 governorates, and would take 25-40 per cent stakes in the projects in which it invests. It aims to create 500,000 job opportunities for Egyptian youth.

Egypt’s economy has seen fragile growth in 2014, while the fiscal deficit is unsustainably high and public debt is in excess of 100 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Against a backdrop of political unrest and insecurity, the government has attempted to implement expansionary macroeconomic policies using aid from the Gulf countries, but the unemployment rate continues to rise, especially among young people.

Egyptian prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab attended the launch yesterday, saying as there are no jobs in the public sector for young people small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were going to be crucial in future.

He said the project was an economic tool that he  expected to produce positive changes in the country.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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