Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1126, 13 - 19 December 2012
Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Issue 1126, 13 - 19 December 2012

Ahram Weekly

Briefs

Al-Ahram Weekly

For the unemployed
A GOVERNMENT committee is set to be formed with the aim of creating 750,000 jobs by supporting small businesses with the support of the Social Fund for Development (SFD). The committee’s goal is to focus on drafting policies and legislation that help create jobs, thereby tackling unemployment, Prime Minister Hisham Kandil recently told a conference entitled “Youth Employment: Building the Future of Egypt” organised by the African Development Bank (ADB) in collaboration with the SFD. The conference brought together stakeholders to find innovative ways of promoting employment initiatives that target Egypt’s youth.
The prime minister also pointed out that the government has formed a ministerial committee for training and employment that aims to launch specific short-term programmes with a focus on governorates with high poverty rates. This committee will establish the policies required to activate the labour market and track progress in implementing programmes as well as allocating funds.
Kandil also announced that the Egyptian government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cedar Bridge, a private Arab investment fund, to initiate a joint project that would train and employ one million Egyptians in a span of seven years, with a total capital of 100 million Euros. Also that the ADB has approved a $2.5 billion loan that will be given to Egypt throughout the next two years. The loan will be used for funding investment initiatives such as expanding Sharm El-Sheikh’s airport, and establishing renewable energy projects.
The unemployment rate is on the rise and might exceed 13 per cent by the end of this year, said Sibry Tapsoba, representative of the ADB in Egypt. He added that unemployment increases drastically among educated Egyptian youths, with 90 per cent of the total unemployed between 15 to 29 years old. According to an ADB report released during the second quarter of 2012, around 3.4 million Egyptians are jobless.

Missing equality
AMAL and Karim are two Egyptian children born into very different families. Amal was born in a rural area to uneducated parents working in agriculture. Karim was born in Cairo to parents with university degrees. Do they have an equal chance at becoming successful college graduates and professionals? The answer is most probably no.
This was an example drawn by Lire Ersado, World Bank senior economist, to demonstrate that how people perform in life is most of the time defined very early in life.
Ersado was addressing a workshop entitled “Human Development Challenges and Social Safety Nets in Egypt,” organised this week in Cairo by the World Bank in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Niveen Wahish listened in. The workshop discussed the means by which Egypt could develop a more efficient and sustainable social safety net that would foster social justice and equity.
Ersado said that Egypt has so far made a lot of progress towards this end, but challenges remain. “A large number of Egyptian children from a disadvantaged background do not have the resources they need to get a good education and a fair shot at success in life,” he said. According to him, parental characteristics and location are the main determinants of inequality of opportunity in the labour market, for both boys and girls. He also said that inequality of opportunity increases over time. Furthermore, he underlined that inequality of opportunity in the youth labour market is substantial.
“Circumstances at birth will vary greatly, but they should not condemn children like Amal to poor development,” said Ersado, recommending that “interventions to equalise opportunity early in life are far more cost effective than those later in life in breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty and inequality.”
Sherine El-Shawarby, a senior economist with the World Bank, told workshop participants about inequality on the regional level in Egypt. While economic activity is concentrated in the Delta, poverty is in many other places. She suggested that to achieve inclusive development there is a need for policies to promote higher income in lagging regions and that since these policies take time the government has to start immediately.
El-Shawarby recommended that more inclusive development, with fewer disparities across regions, requires a policy focussed less on creating industrial parks and more on facilitating the mobility of labour and capital across Egypt, and spreading out opportunities in access to basic public services.

Green in need
A TRAINING programme designed for specialists in the Egyptian hotel and tourism sector has recently been launched by the German Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GACIC) and Global Project Partners (GPP), to help the sector’s facilities become more efficient in the use of energy, water and waste.
“Applying energy efficiency to the tourism sector will have additional benefits, such as cost reduction,” said Rainer Herret, CEO of GACIC, adding that tourists — especially the Germans — prefer green and eco-friendly tourism facilities.
The training programme, he added, is part of the “Tourism Project”, a two-year initiative funded by the German Foreign Ministry, which concentrates on sharing the German experience and aims to promote the tourism sector in Egypt.  
Egypt is beautiful and is one of the top destinations for tourists worldwide, said Peter von Wesendonk, head of the economic department of the German Embassy in Cairo, during a workshop held last week by GACIC and GPP to highlight the benefits of the Tourism Project to Egypt and share the German experience in green tourism. He added, however, that the Egyptian tourism industry has to become competitive in green tourism practices.
The training programme, according to Wesendonk, focuses on coaching facility managers, engineers and technical managers in charge of energy related issues at hotels, in order to equip them with tools to serve energy efficiency. Topics of the training include effective irrigation systems, wastewater solutions, solar technology, lighting and geothermal energy.
Mahmoud Al-Kaissouni, environmental advisor to Egypt’s minister of tourism, stated that the government created a unit two months ago specialised in making hotels and resorts shift to intelligent lighting, solar heating of water and using sun cells as a source of energy. “There are now 49 hotels on the Red Sea that have earned the green star rating,” he said.
This unit, Al-Kaissouni added, aims to make sure that all hotels in Egypt become eco-friendly by 2020.

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