Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that the unemployment rate is around 13-24% amongst youth, adding that women’s participation in small and medium enterprises is only at 24%, while the ratio goes up to 90% in micro projects.
Nasr explained that the private sector prefers, in a number of jobs, to rely on males over females, considering their obligations to family. She called for equal opportunities for women to contribute to the economy of the country and to provide a developmental role in addition to her family role.
This came during a ministerial discussion session on the main efforts in dealing with the issue of youth employment, on the sidelines of the Youth and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa conference on Sunday.
Nasr pointed out that in all grants, development partners now require a contribution rate of 50% of women, adding that there is a follow-up unit from the ministry to revise that.
The minister said that in cooperation with the National Council for Women, the ministry is working on ending the procedures for setting up an office to facilitate the work of businesswomen.
Moreover, she said that entrepreneurship is a key focus in overcoming youth unemployment, as it works to improve the livelihoods and economic empowerment of young people. She explained that the government has already taken major steps in promoting entrepreneurship among young people by promoting sound competition; creating a favorable regulatory environment, such as the issuance of the Microfinance Act; the providing specialised financial products, such as leasing, factoring, venture capital, and Islamic finance; and promulgating corporate governance rules to enhance transparency and governance.
Furthermore, she said that, in Egypt, according to empirical evidence, small enterprises are the main source of new jobs, creating micro and small enterprises, which are more than 98% of projects, hence accounting for 85% of jobs in non-agricultural private sectors and 40% of total employment.
Nasr explained that there will be no comprehensive development without the development of integrated solutions from the government, the private sector, civil society, and representatives of youth and women, pointing to the importance of entering into a partnership with young people to ensure success of projects, considering that many youth fear failure and loss of funds.
She stressed that there is a priority to support infrastructure in the most needy governorates so as to be supportive of attracting investments, expressing the happiness that this conference not only covers Egypt, but also the Middle East and North Africa.
Minister of Youth and Sports Khalid Abdul Aziz said that people can feel the movements of the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation in issuing the investment law and its bylaws.
The minister pointed out that there is cooperation with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation in providing employment opportunities for young people, adding that without government efforts to provide employment opportunities, the unemployment rate would have hiked much over 13%.