18 Organizations, Figures Win Saudi’s Most Prestigious Award for Best Voluntary Work

Eighteen Arab and international organizations and figures have won the fourth edition of Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd International Foundation insignia for best Voluntary Work. In this fourth edition, there was a total value of $90,000 in six areas: health, environment, education, culture, economic empowerment, and food security.

Ambassador Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General and Head of Social Affairs Sector of the Arab League, stated in a speech delivered on her behalf by Khamis Al Busaidi, Supervisor of the Administration of Civil Society Organizations, that the Arab League’s sponsorship of the Foundation’s insignia for the fourth year in a row is proof of the special attention the trans-Arab body pays to civil society organizations carrying out voluntary work and working on realizing the 2030 development goals.

The winners received the awards during a ceremony hosted by the Arab League and organized by Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd International Foundation in partnership with the Arab League’s Department of Civil Society Organizations of the Social Affairs Sector, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Volunteers program, the Arab Planning Institute, and the Union for the Mediterranean.

Foreign Minister Demands Political Solution to Russian-Ukrainian Crisis

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called for a political solution to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, which seriously impacted the development of countries, including Egypt.

As per the Ministry’s spokesman, Shoukry’s request came during his meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

Talks between Shoukry and Patrushev tackled means of fostering Egyptian-Russian relations and strengthening cooperation in implementing major projects in Egypt, namely the Daba’a nuclear plant and the Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE).

The spokesman noted that Patrushev briefed Shoukry on the developments of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

In this context, the pair showed interest in organizing celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties between Egypt and Russia in August 2023.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides agreed to continue consultations via different bilateral channels to exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Authorities Raise “Women’s Rights and Narrowing Gender Gap” Slogan

The economic and social development plan for the current fiscal year 2022/2023 continues efforts to promote women’s rights and reduce the existing qualitative gap by raising their participation in the labor market, economic empowerment, and improving health care indicators and social empowerment.

In this regard, the government adopts several incentive mechanisms as follows:

  • Making room for many job opportunities for women, especially women in rural areas and breadwinners.
  • Providing soft loans to small and micro enterprises, thus increasing the percentage of women’s participation in the labor market from 16% in 19/20 to over 25% this year.
  • Continuing the application of integrated developmental, legislative, and religious interventions for the development of the Egyptian family, and in support of women’s rights, including the activation of legislation that criminalizes acts of violence against women, female circumcision, child labor, and early marriage, with community awareness of women’s rights.
  • Expansion of health care projects for women within the framework of the presidential initiative (100 Million Health Lives) and the sub-initiatives emanating from it.
  • Follow up on the effective implementation of the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030.
  • Resume monitoring the development of Egypt’s international indicators, such as the gender gap indicators issued by the World Economic Forum, the health indicators by the World Health Organization, and the labor market indicators of the International Labor

UBI Global Celebrates AUC V-Lab as MENA’s Top Challenger

UBI Global, a Swedish-based innovation intelligence company and community specializing in assessing and mapping business incubators and accelerators, has released the list of the top challengers evaluated by its World Benchmark Study of 2021-2022.

The Venture Lab, also known as V-Lab, the university-based accelerator of The American University in Cairo (AUC), has been recognized as MENA’s Top Challenger by UBI Global World Rankings 2021-2022 of business incubators and accelerators.

The regional Top Challenger Award is often granted to incubators and accelerators that stand out among respective regional peers and offer exceptional value for their startups and the local ecosystem.

Joshuah Sowah, head of research at UBI Global, said: Following a rigorous data-driven approach, we assessed and benchmarked incubation organizations across the world.

He added: Our study is in tune with the multiple facets of the international incubation ecosystem and illustrates critical challenges and opportunities the participating organizations face.

Ayman Ismail, founding director of AUC Venture Lab, and Abdul Latif Jameel, Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at AUC School of Business, shared: At AUC Venture Lab, we work hard to offer our entrepreneurs a world-class experience during and after the program.

The MENA’s Top Challenger Award marks the eighth international recognition for the V-Lab and the fifth from UBI Global. The first university-based accelerator in Egypt also celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

Since its founding in 2013, AUC V-Lab has been committed to helping entrepreneurs launch, grow and scale their innovative startups while providing a platform for the AUC community to engage with entrepreneurs.

To date, the V-Lab has supported thousands of founders to turn their business solutions into viable, scalable, investment-ready tech startups. The incubator graduated more than 300 startups from its flagship accelerators that created 12K+ job opportunities and raised more than 5 Billion EGP in funding across fintech, logistics, ed-tech, F&B, e-commerce, mobility, green economy, health-tech, and more.

Arab Voluntary Union Visits Misr El-Kheir Foundation

CEO of Misr El Kheir Foundation, Dr. Mohamed Rifai, welcomed a high-level delegation from the Arab Voluntary Union, headed by Hassan Bu Hazaa, President of the Federation, accompanied by Anwar Saleh Bu Hassan, Secretary General of the Arab Volunteer Federation, Eng. Imad Musallam Al-Saudi, Director of Media and Public Relations at the Federation at the Foundation’s headquarters last Monday.

The meeting began with an exchange of welcome by the CEO of the Foundation with the official delegation from the Arab Volunteering Union. The President of the Union expressed his happiness at being in Misr El Kheir Foundation to work on supporting joint cooperation between the two sides, stressing the importance of this partnership at the present time, especially within the framework of the Arab Youth Year 2023.

Rifai went over the Foundation’s strategy during the coming period and the importance of partnership at the Arab level, as well as instilling volunteering in the hearts of the rising generation.

He also reviewed the role, activities, and programs of the Foundation in that period in terms of the Foundation’s vision in building personality and human development.

On the other hand, Eng. Ahmed Ali dealt with various sectors of the institution and the role of each sector.

The meeting concluded with Dr. Mohamed Rifai gifting the foundation shield as an expression of his appreciation to the President of the Federation and his accompanying delegation.

Dubai Announced the First “GCC” conference in Cooperation with the Saudi Group of Women’s Heart

The Emirates Cardiac Society announces the launch of the first of its kind conference in the GCC, “Cardiovascular Disease in Women Conference” in cooperation with the Saudi Group of Women Heart (Saudi Heart Association), by a group of experts and specialists to discuss the latest developments and research related to women’s heart diseases.

The conference comes with the participation of specialists from the GCC: UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, and Oman, and Dr. Alaide Chieffo from Italy.

The two days event will take place at the Conrad Hotel on 3-4 February, the same time as International Women’s Heart Disease Awareness Day which is held globally on the 3rd of February 2023.

Banque du Caire to Get a US$ 100 million

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and British International Investment (BII) are providing a US$ 100 million subordinated loan to Banque du Caire (BDC), one of Egypt’s largest banks, strengthening BDC’s Tier II capital.

This facility will support the growth plans of Banque du Caire and optimize its capital structure.

Providing long-term, Tier II funding will accelerate BDC’s ambitious growth plans, increasing its capital and guaranteeing the availability of much-needed funds to enhance BDC’s growth within various sectors of the market. With one of Egypt’s largest branch networks (248 branches nationwide), a market-leading position in microfinance, and a strategic push towards digital distribution channels, BDC is well-placed to serve market segments that are critical for advancing financial inclusion in the country.

As part of the cooperation, the EBRD will support BDC in implementing a corporate climate governance action plan (CCGAP), helping to integrate climate change considerations into the bank’s corporate practices, in accordance with the principles of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

Alongside this support, BII will play an integral role in shaping BDC’s strategy and organizational culture by providing guidance on the management of environmental and social (E&S) risk, aiming to support BDC in managing such risks in its business operations. This will help enhance the bank’s reputation and improve its prospects of accessing more foreign capital to support sustained growth.

Banque du Caire’s Chairman and CEO Tarek Fayed commented: “The bank spares no effort to accelerate the pace of transformation towards a green economy and to achieve Egypt’s 2030 vision. We are proud of the strategic partnership with the EBRD and BII, reflecting the confidence of multilateral financial institutions in Banque du Caire’s vision for the future.”

Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD. Since the start of its operations there in 2012 the Bank has invested more than €10 billion in 163 projects in the country.

Yasmine Fouad: Launching GEFF Stimulates Private Funding for Climate Projects

Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad said launching the Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) encourages the private sector to engage in funding climate projects.

Fouad’s remarks came during a speech she delivered on Tuesday, Jan. 31, on the occasion of initiating the (GEFF EGYPT II), by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Green Climate Fund.

 International Cooperation Minister Rania el-Mashat and EU Ambassador in Cairo Christian Berger attended the event.

The environment minister underlined the importance of restructuring the banking sector in Egypt to become more understanding of climate financing, as this issue faces challenges that are related to several sectors, particularly the energy sector, which is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, as well as enhancing banks’ contribution to executing climate adaptation projects.

She stated Egypt seeks to support green transformation, by developing an integrated strategy for its waste management, along with providing incentives for investment into waste management, such as setting a tariff for converting waste into energy, as well as transforming the informal sector of waste management into an official one.

Fouad noted that Egypt introduced a package of green incentives for the priority sector, including renewable energy, green hydrogen, and waste management, in addition to finding alternatives to single-use plastic bags.

She stressed her ministry’s keenness to establish the green investment and climate unit to present new ideas and mechanisms for promoting green investments in Egypt, in cooperation with development partners and the banking sector, to execute the national strategies and plans on confronting the effects of climate change. 

Mostafa Kamel Honors First Female Egyptian Maestro

Tariq Mortada, Musicians Syndicate Spokesman, announced that artist Mustafa Kamel, Head of the Musicians Syndicate, will hold a ceremony honoring Dr. Eman Heneidy, the first female maestro in Egypt, at the syndicate’s headquarters.

In addition, Kamel announced his recent contract regarding a group of concerts that will take place soon for the benefit of the Pensions and Subsidies Fund of the Syndicate of Musical Professions. The singer confirmed the news on his personal account on Facebook.

He wrote: Thank God, we signed with a large and distinguished company to hold huge concerts under the auspices of the Syndicate, to provide the necessary resources to help colleagues unable to keep up with difficult life circumstances.

Irrigation Minister Praises Practical Coordination with Germany

Irrigation Minister Hany Suweilam commended the constructive cooperation between Egypt and Germany over the past years.

During a meeting with German Ambassador in Cairo, Frank Hartmann, earlier last Monday, Suweilam stated that Egypt has implemented many water projects in collaboration with Germany over the past years.

The meeting discussed means of boosting bilateral cooperation, especially in light of a deal signed between the two countries in November to rehabilitate canals and waterways in the Delta city of Behaira using environment-friendly techniques.

The minister indicated that Cairo and Berlin have agreed to outline technical studies about advanced irrigation systems that should replace flood irrigation in Egypt. These studies should consider environmental, economic, and social aspects of such transition.

Suweilam and Hartmann also tackled the role Germany could play in supporting top-priority water projects, thus contributing to achieving optimal use of water and food security, especially in most vulnerable areas.

He stressed the importance of allocating finances for the process of adaptation and alleviating the impact of climate change.

According to Suweilam, eleven water ventures have already been implemented as part of the cooperation between Egypt and Germany. One such project is the New Assiut Barrages and their hydropower plant.

For his part, the Ambassador unveiled German efforts to get the UN to appoint a special envoy for water, a move that was much welcomed by the irrigation minister.

The minister shared that he wished Germany would support this important initiative, which would undoubtedly help handle the negative effects of climate change in developing countries, especially in Africa.

Moreover, Suweilam touched upon an international adaptation initiative launched by Egypt and several world partners, believing it could serve as a starting point toward implementing projects on the ground.

He noted that Cairo is sharing its expertise in the field of water management with other African nations through its regional training center affiliated with the Irrigation Ministry.

Egypt could very well act as an African center for training and building capabilities where adaptation is concerned, Suweilam suggested.