By Nojeed Gandour, Correspondent Egypt
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Switzerland solidified their fruitful partnership with Egypt earlier this month when Ambassador Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Patricia Danzi Head of the Economic Cooperation and Development Division in the Directorate of External Economic Affairs of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Ambassador Dominique Paravicini, and Regional Director and UNIDO Representative of the Regional Hub Office in Egypt, Bassel El Khatib visited the Inclusive Green Growth in Egypt (IGGE) project’s counterparts and beneficiaries in the Luxor and Qena governorates in Upper Egypt.
The IGGE project promotes green growth and circular economy practices to support a more efficient use of resources, and the valorization of underutilized and wasted ones, fostering the creation of new markets, jobs and higher added-value, while safeguarding the environment.
The Governor of Qena, Major General Ashraf Daoudi, and the Governor of Luxor, Counselor Mostafa Alham, praised the joint UNIDO-Switzerland efforts to support a just transition to a more inclusive, green and circular economy, by, as General Ashraf Daoudi, said, “promoting numerous business opportunities for the valorization of agricultural residues, renewable energy applications like solar power and biogas, sustainable food production in key agro-industrial clusters,” and, as Counselor Mostafa Alham said, “in turn supporting entrepreneurs and youth and contributing to increased economic returns for the governorate.”
Ambassador Danzi reaffirmed Switzerland’s eagerness to support Egypt’s efforts to preserve the environment and transform the waste management sector into an attractive sector for investment that provides new employment opportunities for young women and men, in line with the Decent Life (Hayah Karima in Arabic) Presidential initiative.
The IGGE project promotes market system changes to create a more favourable environment for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and the workforce in the green economy. Waste management, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and food production are among the sectors considered capable of facilitating the transition to an inclusive, green and circular economy.
During the visit to the waste management facility in Luxor managed by Bedaya, a local firm providing energy-intensive industries in Qena with alternative fuel (refuse-derived fuel) produced from municipal solid waste and agricultural residues, UNIDO’s El Khatib emphasized that “MSMEs like Bedaya play a crucial role in valorizing resources that are traditionally underutilized or wasted and providing local communities with higher added-value products, sustainable inputs for industrial processes, and sustainable sources of energy.”
In the course of the project, more than 100 start-ups and MSMEs piloting innovative green products, services, processes, and business models in the Luxor and Qena governorates will receive technical and business support; institutions providing financial and non-financial services to green MSMEs will be strengthened; and green growth and circular economy approaches will be mainstreamed into the government’s policies and strategies.