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The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with MobiNil, the leading Egyptian telecommunications operator, to implement a programme supporting the development of small and medium enterprises in Egypt.

The programme will provide training for up to 300 owners and managers of smaller enterprises on key business management skills. It will target MobiNil’s clients with seminars in six cities across Egypt and will introduce Business Edge, IFC’s unique suite of training products and services.

Participants will learn essential management concepts to help them expand their businesses. The events will be conducted by IFC’s network of training partners in Egypt, who have refined and adapted Business Edge to the local market.

“This agreement will open the door to quality management training for many business owners and managers who are clients of MobilNil,” says Jesper Kjaer, general manager of IFC’s Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa (PEP-MENA). “We believe this is an excellent way of working with a larger company to reach small and medium enterprises, a sector that has tremendous potential for growth.”

As part of its mission to support private sector development in the region, IFC’s PEP-MENA has begun rolling out its Business Edge programme in 18 countries across the Middle East and North Africa. Since launching the programme in 2004, IFC has signed agreements with 18 training providers in Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen, and has trained 113 instructors in the region. This capacity-building effort has allowed IFC’s partners to train about 1,500 managers and workers thus far.

The Business Edge training materials, which have been translated into Arabic and adapted to Eqypt’s business culture, focus on core skills of financial, operational, and marketing management as well as the skills needed for effective human resources management and sound business leadership.

MobiNil was established in 1998 as the first GSM operator in Egypt, and it has maintained its leadership position. The company is part of Orascom Telecom Holding, which has grown to become the largest and most diversified GSM network operator in the Middle East and Africa. In addition to Egypt, Orascom has licenses in Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Iraq, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe.

Covering an area stretching from Morocco to Pakistan, PEP-MENA was formed in 2004 to provide technical assistance for developing small and medium enterprises, strengthening financial markets, improving business enabling and regulatory environments, and helping privatization and public-private partnership initiatives across the region.