Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the German Corporation for International Cooperation, works closely with Egyptian ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector, to deliver flexible and effective solutions for underprivileged communities, youth, women, and the wider Egyptian society, according to Andreas Kuck, country director of the GIZ Egypt.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Kuck about the GIZ’s development projects in Egypt, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:
What are the main development projects that the GIZ is committed to in Egypt?
The GIZ is currently implementing 18 projects in Egypt on behalf of its commissioning parties, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ), and the European Union (EU). Our projects aim to support our Egyptian partners in achieving sustainable development in the fields of energy, water, and waste management, as wells as in improving employment, and urban social development. We work closely with Egyptian ministries, NGOs, and the private sector, to deliver flexible, and effective solutions for underprivileged communities, youth, women, and the wider Egyptian society.
What sectors are you interested in?
The sectors in which we implement projects are decided upon jointly by the Egyptian and German governments and are, naturally, areas which pose a challenge to Egypt. One of the most important priority areas is water, so several of our activities focus on the water sector. We work closely with the Ministry of Housing to enable access to safe water, sanitation, and waste disposal for better health. In cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture we have also established farming field schools to improve the irrigation system, reduce water waste, and improve agricultural production. Another important area of cooperation is the energy sector, where we have partnered with the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, to sensitise the industry, as well as ensure that private households use energy efficiently.
Since Egypt is characterised by high unemployment rates among the youth, the fields of employment and sustainable economic development are also high on our priorities. Along with our partners and commissioning parties, we create prospects for youth, by offering career guidance in vocational schools, conducting employment fairs, and providing training for young individuals on how to plan their careers, and enter the job market. At the same time, we support the Ministry of Education in the roll-out of the dual system in vocational education nationwide. We are very happy that since 2011, we have created jobs for almost 14,300 young men and women all over Egypt.
Another area that we focus on is urban development. Here we work towards improving the living conditions for inhabitants of informal urban areas in Cairo, Giza, and Qalyubia, by providing the necessary infrastructure, health services, housing, and green spaces.
What are your new fields of cooperation?
Our current fields of work have been wisely chosen by the Egyptian and German governments, and were just recently confirmed. Therefore, we will continue to work in these areas for the next years, but at the same time we are constantly working to expand the scope of our work to reach a larger segment of Egyptian society. For example, besides the already established centres in the Sixth of October City and Sadat City, we recently opened another National Employment Centre in Alexandria to serve young individuals.
Waste management is also an area that is gaining momentum in Egypt. In this field, we are currently assisting the Egyptian government in passing the waste framework law. We have also supported four waste management units in Asyut, Gharbeya, Kafr El-Sheikh, and Qena which recycle household waste, and offer primary waste collection services. And in the energy sector, we are helping our Egyptian partners improve energy efficiency, as well as increase the country’s supply of renewable energy. Our latest efforts in that regard are solar panels which are installed in October, atop the Egyptian Parliament building—a very exciting project!
What is the value of the funds allocated towards these projects in Egypt?
The total budget for projects implemented with our Egyptian partners in 2018 is about €39m. An important note is that the GIZ does not fund projects itself, but is rather implementing projects on behalf of the BMZ and the EU, which have been agreed upon beforehand with the Egyptian government.
Do you plan to increase the fund for next year? If yes, what is the amount or percentage of the increase?
Yes, the total project budget is expected to reach €45m in 2019, a significant increase of around 15%.
What are the GIZ’s efforts in promoting entrepreneurs and women?
The GIZ is very interested in supporting entrepreneurs and women as the contributions of these two segments have proven a very positive impact on the country’s economic and social development. For example, one of our projects encourages women—which are a huge untapped potential in the Egyptian workforce—to actively participate in the labour market. We also collaborate with private sector companies to enhance gender diversity, by introducing women-friendly recruitment, and promotion policies.
In addition, the success of small and medium-sized (SMEs) enterprises will promote the economic progress of the country by offering jobs opportunities and this is why we, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, focus on providing technical support to start-ups in Cairo, Upper Egypt, as well as in the Nile Delta, to enable them to grow based on enhanced innovation capacities.