Cash for Microfinance (CMF) is the first microfinance service company with headquarters in Upper Egypt. Our financial products and solutions help micro-businesses grow and simultaneously contribute to the socio-economic development of underprivileged communities. To help fight the unemployment of youth in Egypt, we present the Under Privileged Entrepreneurs Reach Project.
Egypt has a very young population with the median age of 24.6. In 2015, youth of working age accounted for an estimated 37.5% of the total population. While the country has witnessed a big population growth, employment opportunities have not been able to keep pace with this growth. The unemployment of youth in 2019 was estimated to be 32.4% compared to 12.8% in 2015.
Besides this, many young Egyptians are not in formal employment, education, or training (NEET). This is making it hard for them to participate in the formal labour market, since they are not developing the skills to join it now or in the future.
Women face additional barriers, which causes 44% of young women to be NEET. Young Egyptian women are constrained when looking for formal and decent employment by several reasons. If they live in remote areas, it is hard to travel alone so work must be brought to villages. Besides that, there are cultural norms which discourage, and sometimes prohibit women from working. The traditional role of the women is seen as nurturing and child-rearing, particularly in Upper Egypt and the Delta region.
Many young women establish home-based projects but struggle to raise the initial capital that is needed for that project. This is where we want to help.
With our Under Privileged Entrepreneurs Reach Project, we have two main objectives. The first objective is to create employment opportunities for new entrepreneurs and improve the business prospects for existing ones. The second objective is to influence the recruitment norms in the microfinance industry in Egypt by training and empowering more young women to join our industry.
In objective one, we will create a total of 1500 jobs, and improve a total of 600 jobs, 75% of which will be targeting women in Upper Egypt. We will do this by customizing mobile trucks, accompanied by female loan agents that will act as mobile branches to provide loans to home-based projects enabling women to stay in their villages while at the same time able to generate income for their household.
For objective two, we will train and offer employment and improve the working conditions of 353 young Egyptians, of which 50% will be young women. We will do this by setting up a training academy to upskill the youth and enable them to join the microfinance industry.
Finally, we want to reach (young) entrepreneurs in their villages and homes, even in remote areas and we want to provide entrepreneurs with local support and fast access to finance. To reach this goal, we have an action plan which consist of:
- Making mobile branches available that will rotate different villages.
- Employ female loan officers that will be equipped with dedicated digital tools.
- Offer a commission to loan officers for every first-time entrepreneur loan.
In sum, we aim to create long term change with our project by influencing recruitment norms, we want to support micro-businesses and help them grow, and finally we want to help fight the unemployment problem in Egypt.
It is likely that with CFYE support, the project will be better designed, proceed more quickly, or reach more young people than it otherwise would have.
With the help of CFYE we are able to focus on geographical expansion while simultaneously targeting first time entrepreneurs. The support is also allowing us to speed up the recruitment process, by setting up the loan agent training academy and enabling us to create decent employment for young Egyptians, especially for young women.