Khalifa Fund signs $100 million deal supporting SMEs in Ethiopia - GulfToday

Khalifa Fund signs $100 million deal supporting SMEs in Ethiopia


Top officials at the signing ceremony.

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has announced the signing of a $100 million (Dhs368 million) agreement with the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance in Addis Ababa.

The agreement follows the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It aims at supporting and financing micro, small, and medium-sized projects in Ethiopia.

The agreement was signed by Hussain Jasim Al Nowais, Chairman of the Khalifa Fund, and Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance in Ethiopia. The signing was attended by Admasu Nebebe, State Minister at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation of Ethiopia; Mohamed Salem Al Rashdi, Ambassador of the UAE to Ethiopia; Talal Abdulla Al Azeezi, Head of the African Union Section at the UAE Embassy to Ethiopia; alongside a variety of officials from both sides.

The Chairman of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Jasim Al Nowais, commented, “This agreement, which is a continuation of the MoU we signed last July, comes under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, to strengthen cooperation, deepen relations, and build strategic partnerships with different countries across the world. Under the terms of this agreement, we hope to help the Ethiopian economy to sustainably grow and benefit the welfare of its citizens.

“This agreement implements a stringent financial and technical framework that creates new employment opportunities, alongside empowering women to grow their role in the Ethiopian economic agenda. The funding shall also be invested in areas with higher indices of poverty to help in their economic development. This loan is expected to finance about 37,000 projects over the next four years and create over 200,000 job opportunities for young people,” added Al Nowais.

“At least 30% of the projects which receive this funding will be led by women, whilst the rest of the funding will be equally distributed between male-led and female-led projects. This agreement aims to promote innovation, support entrepreneurship, and empower women, alongside developing Ethiopia’s entrepreneurial sector.

“Additionally, it seeks to create greater job opportunities for Ethiopians, and build local entrepreneurial capability, using specified targeting mechanisms to provide funding to those who need it the most.” Concluding, Al Nowais said, “Khalifa Fund is committed to supporting these projects, and we are seeking to collaborate further to empower young and female entrepreneurs, helping to contribute to the national economy of Ethiopia.” Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance in Ethiopia, said, “I commend the efforts of both the UAE and of Khalifa Fund in ensuring the national economic development of Ethiopia, and supporting the growth of both our national entrepreneurial culture, as well as assisting other countries across the globe.

“This agreement not only helps to strengthening Ethiopia’s national economic development, but will also benefit Ethiopian citizens, providing more jobs, more skills, and more specialties, helping those in poverty in Ethiopia,” he concluded.

Established 13 years ago in Abu Dhabi, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development is a leading institution in its promotion of a culture of entrepreneurship. Khalifa Fund provides comprehensive support to SMEs in the UAE, funding over 1,700 projects nationally. The Fund has expanded its model of entrepreneurial development to over 22 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe through providing bespoke financing programmes.

Meanwhile, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has recently signed a partnership agreement with Facebook, the leading social networking and technology company, bringing training for women entrepreneurs and businesses in the UAE. The collaboration will see Khalifa Fund supporting Facebook’s worldwide initiative titled ‘She Means Business’ in the UAE.

Under this initiative, a series of courses will be delivered across the Emirates. The training will be managed and conducted by Khalifa Fund and will be provided to female entrepreneurs who are either seeking to, or have, set up their own start-up enterprise in the UAE. The one-day training, which will be provided to participants free of charge, will offer training on sourcing business ideas, growing internationally, and using social media to leverage commercial opportunities. One thousand female entrepreneurs will be trained under this initiative.

Speaking on the signing of the partnership agreement, Mouza Al Nasri, CEO of Khalifa Fund, commented: “According to the Global Entrepreneur Monitor, about 80% of women in UAE believe that entrepreneurship is a positive career choice, demonstrating a keen appetite for entrepreneurship amongst females in the UAE. This partnership which we have signed with Facebook reflects Khalifa Fund’s continued aim of increasing access to training, financing and support for those women who are aspiring to start and grow their early-stage start-ups into successful businesses.”

Over the course of its history, Khalifa Fund has worked with 455 female entrepreneurs, investing a total of Dhs 316.4 million in start-ups and SMEs, which have been founded or led by women. Since the creation of Khalifa Fund in 2007, the number of female entrepreneurs in the UAE has increased by 29.9%.


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