India, Egypt ink pact for cooperation in micro, small enterprises

India and Egypt on Wednesday signed seven agreements, including one for cooperation in micro and small enterprises, to facilitate sharing of information, meetings between enterprises, technology transfers and to provide consultation services to enhance the abilities of business enterprises of both countries.

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Social Fund for Development (SFD), Egypt and the World Bank, according to which, SIDBI would not only help in income generation and employment creation in Egypt, but also provide boost to strengthen the ties between India and Egypt

SIDBI's initiative would also facilitate transfer of technology from India, as also enable Indian entrepreneurs to expand their business to Egypt and other countries in the region.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Mohamed Morsi, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who is on an official visit to India and India's commerce and industries minister Anand Sharma

"I will urge Indian companies to look at Egypt more seriously and invest in various sectors. Indian companies can also partner with Egyptian firms in sectors like infrastructure, biotechnology, energy and pharmaceuticals," said Anand Sharma at the event. 

Egypt President Mohamed Morsi invited Indian investments in the country, and said it also proposes to establish a free economic zone for Indian companies.

Morsi is heading a high-level delegation of ministers and business leaders on a four-day visit to India which began March 18.

"There is also a proposal to establish a free economic zone for the Indian side and to invite the Indian companies to set up their industrial bases in Egypt, promote their products whether in the Egyptian domestic market or the neighboring markets and to take advantage of the commercial arrangements and frames Egypt has with those large markets," he said.

Morsi said Egypt's location as a bridge between Asia and Africa together with its skilled human resources makes it an attractive business destination for India.

Morsi also told the India-Egypt Economic Forum that Egypt aims to double its trade with India in the next few years. "The trade surge between India and Egypt pushes us to set up more ambitious goal of doubling this volume within the coming few years," Morsi said.

India-Egypt bilateral trade currently hovers around the $5 billion mark.

Around 50 Indian companies, including the Sanmar group, Dabur and Kirloskar, are operating in Egypt with a combined investment of roughly $2.5 billion.