>@EIB/To be defined

The European Investment Bank (EIB) today announced that it will invest up to USD 15 million in a new private equity fund based in Cairo called the MENA Joint Investment Fund. The fund’s activity will be to invest in private companies, mainly in Egypt but also in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The EIB’s commitment was announced today in Cairo by Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive, in the presence of Ahmed Heikal, chairman and founder of Citadel Capital.

The fund was set up by Citadel Capital, a leading private equity firm based in Cairo. The initial capital is USD 150 million and is expected to be raised to up to USD 500 million by 2010. The co-investors include international financial institutions such as the EIB, the International Finance Corporation and AfDB as well private investors.

The core activity of the fund will be to provide equity to a variety of companies in diverse industries such as packaging, waste management and recycling, textiles, agribusiness, and renewable energy. It aims to create regional market leaders by helping companies expand beyond their local markets.

The fund is expected to create up to 12 000 jobs through its portfolio of investee companies. Citadel Capital’s approach to investment is fully in line with the aims of the EIB, the bank of the European Union, which seeks to promote private companies and in turn foster employment and economic growth in the region, in accordance with the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Background information:

About the European Investment Bank

The EIB is the EU’s bank. Its arm dedicated to the Mediterranean region is called FEMIP – the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership. FEMIP’s remit is to promote the development of nine countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Gaza/West Bank. Its two investment priorities are: support for the private sector, the driving force behind sustainable growth, and the creation of an investment-friendly environment by means of efficient infrastructure and appropriate banking systems. FEMIP has established itself as the main financial partner of the Mediterranean region, with more than EUR 8.5 billion invested since 2002. It also encourages dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean, at the institutional level but also with the representatives of the private sector and civil society.