The Deputy Head of the EU Delegation in Egypt Tobias Krause during the online event on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Al-Ahram
The European Union (EU) delegation in Egypt organised a webinar on Wednesday to discuss the outcomes of the EU-funded Inclusive Economic Growth Program (IEGP) implemented in Egypt.
The programme has contributed to promoting Egypt’s economic recovery by leveraging micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) development and cultural heritage over the past four years.
The total value of the IEGP is valued at €50 million ($61 million) over 14 projects, and was implemented in line with Egypt’s strategy for sustainable development, the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation in Egypt Tobias Krause noted during the event.
He said that MSMEs are the backbone of the Egyptian economy, adding that eight of the IEGP's projects have an economic dimension and focus on building the capacity of MSME stakeholders in the country. This capacity-building includes fostering entrepreneurship and facilitating MSME access to business development services in sectors with strong potential for growth.
Krause also noted that the other six projects, which have a social and cultural dimension, are directed towards capacity-building linked to tourism and cultural heritage. This includes the preservation of monuments and archaeological sites, which are a driver for the socio-economic development of the communities living in the vicinity of these sites.
Meanwhile, the Head of the EU Delegation in Egypt Christian Berger visited Qena and Luxor governorates in Upper Egypt on Wednesday to witness the sustained impact of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) project Enhancing Access to Education and Fighting Child Labour.
The €60 million ($73 million) project, implemented from 2014-2019 by WFP in partnership with the Egyptian government and funded by the EU, supported rural communities in 16 of the most vulnerable governorates in Egypt.
The project has enhanced access to and use of educational platforms, empowered teachers through continued trainings, improved child nutrition through school feeding, supported women’s economic empowerment and improved communal awareness on key areas such as nutrition, agriculture, child labour and risks of irregular migration, the EU said.
The WFP, in partnership with Egypt’s Ministry of Education and Technical Education, worked with one-classroom schools, equipping them with technological tools and internet connectivity that allows them to serve as “community hubs” and service delivery platforms for students, teachers, parents and the community at large.
“It is great to see the impressive outcome of our joint cooperation with WFP in this project that has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children and women across Egypt. The EU supports 16 governorates including Luxor and Qena ... to help children, especially girls, to go to community schools instead of going to work,” said Berger.
Berger also met with women who have started their own income-generating projects allowing them to increase their household’s incomes, build their self-confidence and support their children’s education and nutrition. More than 50,000 women received entrepreneurial and vocational trainings under the EU-WFP joint project, of which 10,000 have launched and are currently sustaining their own income-generating projects through an ongoing revolving loan mechanism managed by partner non-governmental organisations.
Currently, the government of Egypt and WFP are scaling up their joint support to vulnerable communities to reach a total of 500 villages by 2023, aligning with the Presidential Decent Life Initiative, which aims to support a total of 1,500 villages in Egypt.
“I am very proud of the strong partnership we have built over the years with the EU, the results of which we have continued to foster and are still able to witness to this day. Together we have worked on changing the lives of many vulnerable families in Egypt through two key elements: empowerment and sustainability,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Egypt Menghestab Haile.
“Today more than ever, as the entire world struggles to deal with the negative impact of the pandemic, I believe that we must all join hands to [alleviate] some of the burdens that COVID-19 has had on millions of people by implementing a household-centered rural development approach”, she added.
the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Egypt Christian Berger during his visit to Qena and Luxor governorates in Upper Egypt on Wednesda, May, 26, 2021. Al-Ahram