Abu Dhabi, 25 May 2019: H.E. Hussain Jasim Al Nowais, Chairman of Khalifa Fund Enterprise Development (KFED) has received a delegation from the Republic of Mali headed by H.E Dr. Boubou Cisse, Prime Minister of Mali at the Khalifa Fund headquarters in Abu Dhabi to explore and learn more about the Fund's experiences in initiating the culture of leadership among UAE citizens and developing the SME sector in the country.
The Mali delegation, who visited the UAE this week, discussed with the Fund the opportunity to share the success of the model and how it can be replicated to support the economy in Mali. KFED has recently finalized its agreement with the Mali Government on the operational framework of the USD 25 million financing agreement signed between the Fund and Mali government in January this year. The two parties signed the operational framework of the agreement on Monday (20 May 2019), in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
H.E. Al Nowais shared that the agreement provides the financing and technical framework needed to support the efforts of the Mali Government to enhance and promote a culture of entrepreneurship and empower SMEs and micro enterprises in Mali. He added that these facilities will significantly increase awareness about entrepreneurship and innovation; equip the youth with training and support; create new job opportunities; improve the role of women in the economic sector and enhance their role in supporting and promoting the development efforts within the poorest regions in Mali.
Al Nowais noted that the loan seeks to promote social and economic stability for the larger parts of the Mali society as it provides support to the government's efforts to improve the standard of living in remote and rural areas. He also emphasized that the agreement further supports the role of women in sustainable development by empowering them with entrepreneurial skills that will help them realize their ambitions to establish their own businesses, and thereby contribute to the growth of the national economy.
“The operational framework of the agreement states that the loan will be provided to aid in the development of remote and poverty-stricken areas across various cities in Mali, which is expected to contribute in the creation of more than 4,300 projects over the next four years and opening around 10,000 job opportunities for young people,” he added.
With regards to the importance of the vital and economic role of women, which is considered to be the nucleus of main society, Al Nowais revealed that the loan aims to channel funding to women, with the proportion of 40 per cent of the projects directed to them as funded by the agreement.
He emphasized that specific guidelines and standards will be maintained in the observance of the agreement, which will leave great impact in achieving the desired development and reach out to the neediest groups.
Moreover, Al Nowais stressed on the Fund's commitment to take all necessary measures to ensure the implementation of the backed projects. He took note of the importance of concerted efforts between the two parties to provide opportunities for young people and women in achieving their ambition through the creation of private projects that contribute to the national economy in Mali and the development of its rural and poor areas.
He stated: “Khalifa Fund is ready to work closely with relevant authorities in Mali to help develop the latter's SME sector. We have a successful and rich experience in this field, and we are prepared to give our full support to the country.”
During the meeting, which was attended by Mouza Al Nasri, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Khalifa Fund, and several officials from both sides, H.E. Al Nowais shared the Fund's accomplishments done in a short period of time such as several awareness initiatives for young Emiratis which were rolled out to increase their interest in entrepreneurship and encourage them to innovate and be creative. As such, the Fund has effectively contributed to the creation of a suitable environment where the country's SMEs can grow and develop.
Al Nasri took the opportunity to present and explain Khalifa Fund's objectives and programs that meet the needs of the country's entrepreneurs as they seek to invest or increase their business activities in the UAE. The Fund's programs include training and capacity development, vocational rehabilitation, data and advisory services, and development of marketing initiatives.
Al Nasri also discussed the Fund's key responsibilities, financing programs, and procedures. She explained that the Fund has various financing solutions for projects with positive economic impact, including Khotwa, Bedaya and Zeyada, Tasnee and other programs for SMEs.
H.E. Dr. Boubou Cisse, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali, hailed the strong ties between the UAE and the Republic of Mali and expressed the continuing need to reinforce fruitful cooperation.
In addition, Dr. Cisse noted that the agreement represents an important step towards further cooperation with the UAE through the KFED, which has been leading in promoting and enhancing the culture of entrepreneurship and the creation of an environment conducive to the growth of SMEs.
The delegation further commended Khalifa Fund's successful model, experiences and achievements, which have revealed the balance between social and economic development through KFED's programs to meet entrepreneurs' needs.
The KFED was established 11 years ago in Abu Dhabi and has now evolved to being one of the prominent institutions that promotes a culture of entrepreneurship and provides support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE. More than 20,000 Emirati entrepreneurs have been benefited by the Fund's different services within the country while it has successfully shared the success of the model to more than 20 partner countries in Asia, Africa and Europe through funding programs and technical support.