Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, a German development agency, is planning to provide employment and training opportunities, together with infrastructural improvements in disadvantaged urban areas. Daily News Egypt interviewed Andreas Kuck, country director of the GIZ Egypt, about the GIZ’s development projects in the country.
What are the main development projects that the GIZ is committed to in Egypt?
We are currently implementing 16 projects on behalf of the German government and the European Union. We work in these projects in close partnership with Egyptian ministries and other state institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector.
What sectors are you interested in?
The Egyptian and German governments jointly decide on the priority sectors in Egypt. We are active in the fields of energy, water, waste management, sustainable economic development for employment, governance, and urban development. All of our projects in these sectors are closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030.
What are your new fields of cooperation?
We are starting a new project in the field of agricultural innovation, which will help small farmers in Upper Egypt increase their income. We are also planning to provide employment and training opportunities, together with infrastructural improvements in disadvantaged urban areas.
What is the value of the funds allocated towards these projects in Egypt? Do you plan to increase these funds for next year?
The total value of our current projects is around €200m (approx. EGP 3.5bn), which are provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation and the European Union. Future funding of GIZ’s activities in Egypt is likely and depends on the signing of further agreements between the Egyptian and German Government.
What are the GIZ’s efforts in promoting entrepreneurs and women?
The GIZ has been very active during the last years in supporting Egyptian entrepreneurs. We support startups during different stages of their development. For new entrepreneurs in certain sectors, the GIZ offers boot camps, for example in the agribusiness in Upper Egypt, especially in Sohag. The GIZ also offers incubation programmes to help startup teams enter the market, such as for creative industries in the Delta region. Furthermore, we provide acceleration programmes across the country to help small and medium enterprises grow. For all these activities, the GIZ works with market leaders and other partners to ensure that this support is sustainable in the long term.
In line with the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, we put a special focus on women. Jointly with Egyptian companies, we ease the access for women into jobs, help improve their working conditions and provide professional orientation for schoolgirls to be well-equipped for the labour market.
Please tell us more about your contribution to establishing a comprehensive financial inclusion database in Egypt?
On behalf of the EU and the German government, we support the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to establish a comprehensive study about the current situation of financial inclusion in Egypt. We also advise the CBE on how to improve financial inclusion, especially for women.
How do you see Egypt’s fintech and digitalisation efforts? What are the challenges that the sector faces?
The conditions for digitalisation in Egypt are very promising. It has a very young population that is familiar with the digital world and Egypt’s ICT industry is developing at a very fast pace.
As elsewhere, Fintech – next generation digital banking and financial services – has a lot of potential in Egypt, especially for including youth, women, and people living in rural areas. To fully realise this potential, it is crucial to establish enabling an environment with regulations to ensure fair prices, transparency, and data privacy, as well as to create the needed digital infrastructure.
The digital transformation also provides great opportunities for the public administration in Egypt to make processes more efficient and provide better services to citizens. Therefore, the GIZ actively supports the digitalisation of public services, so that citizens can apply and pay online for services on Egypt’s Government Services Portal and receive the required documents electronically in the future. We, moreover, help build the needed digital literacy among public employees to prepare them for this transformation.
Moreover, do you plan to launch any projects in cooperation with the Egyptian government to support the digitalisation sector?
For sure, based on the demand from our Egyptian partners, we plan to further expand and deepen our cooperation in the field of digitalisation. This includes particular solutions for e-government and digital public services as well as promoting innovation in the private sector with the aim of creating more job opportunities especially for young people.