Egypt Sovereign Fund, Al-Ahly CIRA To Build 4 International Universities

July 9, 2024


Egypt’s Sovereign Fund for Education Development, part of The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE), has finalized a shareholders’ agreement with Al Ahly CIRA for Educational Services to launch a new company to develop four new international university models in Egypt.

The agreement includes launching branches of international universities and technological institutions in Egypt, starting 2025, in collaboration with partners from Canada, Switzerland, Germany, and the United States.

Al Ahly CIRA for Educational Services is a joint venture between CIRA Education, Al Ahly Capital Holdings (ACH), the National Bank of Egypt’s private equity arm, and the Education Support and Development Authority.

“This partnership exemplifies our dedication to creating impactful public-private collaborations that enrich the educational journey of Egyptians. By partnering with Al Ahly CIRA, we are bringing world-class education to our national campuses, ensuring accessibility and affordability,” said Ayman Soliman, CEO of TSFE in the statement.

The joint venture was formalized by Hala El-Said, former chairperson of the TSFE’s Board of Directors; Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ayman Ashour; Hisham Okasha, Chairman of the National Bank of Egypt’s Board; and Hassan El-Kalla, Chairman of CIRA Education Company.

“By joining forces with world-renowned universities and combining our resources and expertise, we are poised to create academic institutions that meet the highest global standards while addressing the diverse needs of our students and communities,” said  El Kalla.

The agreement was signed a few days before the recent Cabinet reshuffle which took place last week. El-Said has departed from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, and as a result, resigned from her position as the chairman of the TSFE. El-Said currently serves as the Egyptian President’s Advisor for Economic Affairs for Economic Affairs.

Investment incentives

Upon signing the agreement, El-Said emphasized that this initiative is in line with the government’s social and economic development plan for the fiscal year 2024/2025, commencing on July 1. The plan aims to enhance Egypt’s higher education sector’s competitiveness by offering investment incentives to the private sector.

“The plan aims not only to improve the quality and international competitiveness of public universities but also to foster the establishment of technological universities in partnership with the private sector to boost exports of educational services,” El-Said elaborated.

El-Said underscored that the strategy is deeply rooted in Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the National Structural Reform Program, which prioritizes enhancing labor market efficiency, flexibility, and aligning with the technology-driven nature of contemporary job markets.

In her capacity as the representative of the state’s investment arm, TSFE, El-Said emphasized their full engagement alongside partners to optimize returns from transferred assets, thereby reinforcing Egypt’s stature as a center of excellence in higher education.

Elaborating further, El-Said highlighted that the National Structural Reform Program focuses on key pillars, particularly the enhancement of labor market efficiency and flexibility, crucial in adapting to the dynamic, technology-centric nature of modern employment trends.

Economic reforms

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) supports Egypt’s second wave of economic and structural reforms through a $8 billion loan program spanning 46 months, which commenced in December 2022. The upcoming third review of the program is scheduled for discussion by the Fund’s Executive Board on Wednesday.

El-Said stressed the importance of aligning educational outputs with the evolving labor market to strike a balance between supply and demand. Consequently, there has been a concerted effort to focus on technical and technological education.

El-Said further highlighted that the Sovereign Fund, acting as the state’s investment arm, collaborates fully with partners from both the Egyptian and foreign private sectors, as well as investment funds. Their collective aim is to maximize returns from transferred assets, with a primary objective of creating opportunities and establishing partnerships with national and international investors, while safeguarding the rights of future generations.