Are we prepared for the future?

Hatem Y Ezz Eldin
Friday 20 Dec 2019

Human development is urgently needed in Egypt if sustainable growth is to be attained

Egypt has been recently organising several forums and conferences aimed at encouraging the emerging economy and empowering youth and women. Such forums and conferences, held in different cities from Sharm El-Sheikh to Aswan, have proved a success and have achieved outstanding results that exceeded expectations.

The country was able to attract billions of dollars in investment projects and important agreements with global and regional firms were signed to serve a number of vital sectors in different parts of the country. Windows of hope were opened at last for Egyptian youth. Earlier this week, the third edition of the World Youth Forum kicked off in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. Nearly 7,000 youths representing different countries attended the four-day forum which addressed political and economic challenges.

The fruitful discussions and outcomes of such forums, in addition to serious reform plans the government implements, have opened many opportunities for work and cooperation and thus driven unemployment in the country to one of its lowest levels in decades (7.8 per cent in 2019).

Currently there are a large number of ongoing mega projects in Egypt. New cities, roads, economic zones and ports are currently being built from scratch. Housing and service projects are increasing every day.

The nature of these projects is more related to technology and modern sciences. There is a continuous need for Egyptian skilled labour that can successfully handle the operation of such projects. We need an ambitious and skilled generation that can easily absorb and serve concepts like the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, blockchains, cloud computing, data engineering and mining, artificial intelligence, and others. We need to think more out of the box concerning management, production, operation and maintenance.

My proposal to the Egyptian presidency is to call for holding an international forum in Sharm El-Sheikh dedicated to human development in Egypt, where senior lecturers, trainers and human resource officials in the world’s most powerful companies in energy, transportation and housing can address Egyptian youth and transfer part of their knowledge and expertise to them.

My idea is based on four fundamental reasons. The first is that we already have ongoing large and diverse projects aimed stimulating the economy. These projects need qualified and trained Egyptian personnel, especially in modern sciences and applications, who help achieve the desired goals. The second reason is the apparent lack of experience and qualification of human resources in Egypt, especially in important sectors such as energy, petroleum and telecommunications. The migration, for different reasons, of many specialised scientists to Western countries in recent years led to a clear lack of management, control and operation competencies.

The third reason is the high cost of bringing in foreign expertise to manage such a volume of projects in light of the country’s orientation towards controlling and rationalising spending. The fourth reason is to stimulate the abilities of young Egyptians by refining their experiences, qualifying them and strengthening their loyalty to the homeland, something President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi expressed firmly on more than one occasion.

I suggest the forum be accompanied by speeches of top executives of global and regional companies detailing the latest methods and applications of management, training, rehabilitation, informatics and communication.

I suggest holding lectures, seminars, workshops and training courses during the forum on human development and the latest applications and contributions of technological advancements and modern sciences. I suggest holding an employment fair during the forum to recruit qualified Egyptian youth who may not have an opportunity to access ongoing national initiatives and projects. I also recommend the participation of national, global and regional investment firms that recently signed contracts or MoU’s with Egypt.

I suggest that there should be a strong marketing campaign through the media and through a website dedicated to this event, through which the forum is well-introduced to Egyptian workers and jobseekers. Users can therefore communicate and send their resumes for those companies wishing to hire or serve projects in which the government and the private sector operate.

I hope that this proposal could be a starting point for the completion and management of major projects in Egypt in a more efficient, accurate and speedy manner. As long as we desire a bright future, we should be fully prepared for its necessities.

*The writer is an economist and political analyst based in Riyadh.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 19 December, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly. 

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