Khalifa Fund establishes ‘Mohamed bin Zayed Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ in Republic of Senegal
Under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and the instructions of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Senegal, represented by its Ministry of Economy, Planning and International Cooperation, for the creation and establishment of the Mohamed bin Zayed Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which will be located at the Senegalese capital of Dakar and aimed towards promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among local businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Under the terms of the agreement, the new centre will have a capital of USD 20 million (AED 73.6 million) to help fund a series of special programs and initiatives aimed towards promoting innovation and SME development in Senegal and the rest of the West African region.
Present during the signing of the agreement were H.E. Hussain Jasim Al Nowais, Chairman, KFED; H.E. Amadou Hott, Senegalese Minister of Economy, Planning and International Cooperation and H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shamsi, Charge d’Affaires at the UAE Embassy in Dakar, along with representatives from the KFED and the General Delegation of Rapid Entrepreneurship for Women and Youth.
The KFED Chairman Al Nowais said, “The creation and establishment of the new Mohamed bin Zayed Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship demonstrates the UAE’s keenness towards providing key support and assistance to least developed countries, which in turn, will enable them to enhance their economic performance to drive in growth and stability, reflecting positively on the global economy.”
He explained that the centre is aimed towards supporting innovative projects and creating job opportunities for Senegal and neighbouring West African countries. In addition, the new centre will support innovative value-added projects in technology intended for regional and international markets. It is also expected to contribute in building the capacities of entrepreneurs and local entities in Senegal and the region.
Al Nowais revealed that the centre will also place strong focus on helping empower women and the youth, developing their entrepreneurial skills and capabilities to contribute in the development of the Senegalese and African economies, and social welfare and empowerment in West African States.
He shared that the KFED will provide the much-needed technical support in the implementation of plans and strategies that will serve the objectives and goals of Senegal. He also expressed confidence in the newly formed partnership’s efforts to promote a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation among women and the youth, citing the UAE’s experience in helping achieve success in these fields.
H.E. Amadou Hott, Senegalese Minister of Economy, Planning and International Cooperation, lauded the UAE’s move to establish the Mohamed bin Zayed Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which will provide services to Senegal and its neighbouring West African countries. The Minister noted that initiatives like this play a significant role in the promotion and empowerment of the economies of countries like Senegal, especially in the efforts to achieve economic growth and stability.
“The KFED is one of the region’s leading institutions in promoting entrepreneurship and creating an ideal environment for the micro, small, and medium enterprises sector. The Senegalese government will work closely with Khalifa Fund to launch the Mohamed bin Zayed Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and help achieve its desired goals and objectives,” concluded Hott.
Established 12 years ago, the KFED has become one of the leading institutions tasked to promote a culture of entrepreneurship in the UAE. It has funded more than 1,600 projects within the UAE, while transferring its successful experience to more than 20 friendly countries in Asia, Africa and Europe through pioneering financing programs.