The Embassy of Switzerland signed Thursday an agreement with Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to promote the recycling of electronic waste among Egyptian small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).
The Swiss-Egyptian agreement—entitled the “Sustainable Recycling Industries in Egypt” agreement—is valued at CHF 1.17m and is expected to contribute to the Green Information and Communication Technology national strategy of Egypt. The strategy is the basis for e-waste related initiatives in Egypt and is overseen by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment.
“The E-waste sustainable recycling industries is one of the new industries in Egypt that fulfils the five standards of the sustainability framework (Economy, Environment, Equity, Efficiency, and Effectiveness),” said Engineer Khaled Lotfy El Attar, the director of the information technology infrastructure sector at Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
The agreement has three goals: to contribute to the promotion of policies and standards for the sustainable management of secondary resources; to bulid local capacity for sustainable recycling industries; to provide cities across Egypt and other countries with access to experiences developed under the project.
“The ‘Sustainable Recycling Industries’ project will turn electronic waste into job and income opportunities. Through financial, administrative, legal and technical support, the project encourages small and medium-sized Egyptian companies to develop a viable business by recycling electronic waste in a safe and environmentally friendly way,” said Markus Leitner, the Swiss ambassador to Egypt.
In 2011, the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), with the support of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Sciences and Technologies (Empa), and with consultation from the stakeholders related to Egypt’s Green ICT initiative, executed a needs assessment of the E-Waste Sector in Egypt. Based on this assessment, the “Sustainable Recycling Industries in Egypt” project was developed.
The project is expected to be completed by December 2017. It comes within the framework of Switzerland’s wider partnership with Egypt. Switzerland provides more than CHF 20m to development projects across Egypt in three domains: economic development and employment; democratic transition and human rights; and migration and protection.
E-waste is one of the fastest-growing types of waste worldwide and includes discarded electrical equipment such as defunct televisions, mobile phones and batteries. E-waste also includes toxic substances such as lead that can cause pollution and health problems if improperly disposed of through methods like incineration.