Cairo, Egypt, May 21 2015: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $10 million in a venture capital fund that supports promising technology companies, part of an effort to drive job creation across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The investment will help Wamda Capital advise entrepreneurs and provide seed funding to tech firms in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and other countries. Such support is considered vital in a region where smaller businesses often struggle to tap into expertise and secure the financing they need to grow.
"The tech sector is being fuelled by rising demand and has the potential to drive development and innovation across the region," said Fadi Ghandour, founder of Wamda Capital. “We believe MENA could produce the next Silicon Valley if entrepreneurs are given the right support to help them grow and expand."
Wamda Capital, which is aiming to raise up to $75 million, will provide long-term funding for early-stage ICT firms that have the potential to grow quickly. It aims to invest in five to seven companies a year.
"Tech start-ups are on the rise in MENA," said Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Vice President for Global Services. “We see an increasing trend in this area, which we believe will continue to develop. Supporting these start-ups and encouraging others to start their own businesses will drive growth and help create much-needed jobs for the region’s unemployed youth.”
The investment is part of a wider effort by IFC to foster economic growth in MENA. During 2014, IFC committed $2.2 billion to the region, helping to reduce bureaucracy, support fragile and conflict-affected states, combat climate change, bolster infrastructure, and promote intra-regional investment.
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