US-Egypt Enterprise Fund takes shape

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo by: William Ng / U.S. State Department

A high-level delegation of American businesses will be coming to Cairo in September to explore investment and trade opportunities.

This was announced by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to the country over the weekend. Clinton met with military chief Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and President Mohammed Morsi, among others.

Along with the delegation’s trip to Cairo is the creation of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, a not-for-profit, privately managed corporation whose aim is to spur economic growth through financial investments and technical assistance to small and midsize enterprises. The fund is part of the “massive” economic aid package Clinton unveiled last year.

The fund will formally take shape “next month” with the $60 million initial capital available for investment by September, Egyptian news organization Ahram Online quotes from a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. The United States will be investing additional capital into the fund over the “next few years,” a senior State Department official said in a press briefing.

A board comprising American and Egyptian directors will manage the fund, with James Harmon, head of investment advisory firm Caravel Management, as the chairman.

During her visit, Clinton also announced a $250 million loan guarantee to Egyptian SMEs. The money will come from the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and is expected to increase trade, encourage entrepreneurship and create jobs in Egypt. But access to the fund will require several “steps” from the Egyptian government, the State Department official said.

Clinton also said the terms of the $1 billion debt relief package U.S. President Barack Obama announced last year could be negotiated, but only after Morsi forms his Cabinet, Voice of America reports.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.