Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat has taken part in the official launch event of the UN Development Program (UNDP) Egypt accelerator lab.
With under 10 years left to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world is set on reimagining development. It looks to tap into collective intelligence to pave the way for the green, resilient, and inclusive future.
Minister Al-Mashat joined the UNDP Egypt Accelerator Lab official launch event, titled “The Future is Calling, We are Answering”, to discuss shifting mindsets and adopting reform plans.
The event sets a great momentum for a glocal network for creativity to pave the way for a better future. Innovation and resilience are essential to cope with the fast-paced changes in technology, calibrating people’s skills and businesses to fit in the dynamic economic sphere.
“To reach a sustainable future, we must keep pushing towards scientific research, global collaboration, and the pursuit of sustainable targets,” the minister said, “Collective intelligence is key to reimagine the world we live in.”
In opening remarks, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt Randa Aboul-Hosn said, “We are approaching complexity in the world with learning.”
Aboul-Hosn also proudly explained that the Egypt Accelerator lab is led by women, adding, “As part of a global network, we are asking how to find solutions, and how to tackle challenges to move forward, and to be able to adapt in the face of challenges, collective action is needed, alongside innovation and learning.”
The UNDP Egypt Accelerator Lab is part of a global network of 91 accelerators across 115 countries, and serves as a platform for innovation.
It also aims to support decision-makers and development partners to explore and experiment solutions that can address global challenges.
“The Accelerator Lab is part of the UNDP’s drive to be an incubator for the future and to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs,” said Aboul-Hosn.
Gina Lucarelli, Team Leader of the Accelerator Lab Network, pointed out how the world has witnessed a boost in creativity during the pandemic across several fields.
Minister Al-Mashat elaborated that one of Egypt’s creative stories weathering the pandemic’s socio-economic challenges was the story of Kemama.
While putting people at the core, Kemama, a community-based initiative in partnership with the UNDP and the El Nidaa Foundation, engaged Egyptian women from Upper Egypt to produce medical face masks. This helped provide them with a source of income during the dire times of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The minister added that the Accelerator Lab is integral for efficient cooperation, as it explores various areas of development, in experimenting with the UNDP, and in mapping successful innovations.
Minister Al-Mashat emphasised that innovation plays an important role in filling the development financing gap “by suggesting new ideas that are more cost and time efficient, and have a higher impact on the economy and society”.
The creativity-led development framework is in alignment with Egypt’s tactics of education modernisation, digital transformation, and private sector engagement in the national agenda.
“Together with the Egyptian Government, private sector, civil society as well as youth and actors in the innovation ecosystem, the UNDP Egypt’s Accelerator Lab acts as a fast-learning network on sustainable development challenges and catalysts for change,” Aboul-Hosn said, “It provides partners with new approaches to address development problems unleashing the power of local innovations, collective intelligence and experimentation.”.
Minister Al-Mashat added that Egypt is the leading regional startup hub.
“The startup scene has boomed during the pandemic showing an innovative generation of creators and trendsetters who are able to adapt to a challenging business and economic environment,” she added, “Through the UNDP Accelerator Lab, we are able to encourage their dynamic force further and allow more people not just to succeed, but also to explore new fields of potential growth.”
The launch also saw a panel discussion among members from the Accelerator Lab network representing countries across the region, including Iraq, Lebanon and Sudan. This took place in the form of a discussion around development challenges and experiences in leading Accelerator Labs’ within their country offices.