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Sisi’s initiatives crown march towards SDGs
Egypt has been exerting outstanding efforts to attain the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and this is what prompted the launch of Egypt Vision 2030. These efforts have been manifested in major presidential initiatives serving this end.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi – who has been leading the march of development of Egypt – spearheaded several initiatives to serve the sustainable development goals which aimed at ending poverty, promoting health services, supporting youths, creating jobs, empowering women, enhancing small and medium sized enterprises, stepping up efforts to contain climate change and adopt eco-friendly measures.
Decent Life Initiative under SDG 1 on No Poverty:
President Sisi launched “Decent Life Initiative” in January 2019 with an aim to secure a decent life for vulnerable people nationwide in line with the United Nations SDG 1 on No Poverty.
The initiative is meant to support most needy villages nationwide depending on the data available on the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
The State allocated EGP 103 billion for the initiative, according to Egypt’s Projects Map.
Pursuing SDGs, the initiative also aims at promoting health and educational services, upgrading utilities, generating jobs, promoting small and medium sized enterprises.
The first stage of the initiative targeted 377 of most needy villages where poverty rate exceeds 70 percent. This stage is meant to support 756,000 families (3 million individuals) in these villages in 11 governorates.
The second stage targets 375 rural communities in 14 governorates where poverty rates range between 50 to 70 percent.
The third stage of the initiative targets villages where poverty rates are below 50 percent.
Takaful and Karama Program under SDG 1 on No Poverty:
Being keen to mark a breakthrough in supporting needy people in accordance with the SDG 1 on No Poverty, the president has given the go ahead of the Takaful and Karama (or ‘’Solidarity and Dignity’’) program which is the largest social protection network in Egypt.
Takaful and Karama conditional and unconditional cash transfer program is one of Egypt’s largest investments in human capital development. It was launched in 2015 with the support of a $400 million World Bank program.
Takaful and Karama program is implemented by the Ministry of Social Solidarity and has covered to date 2.26 million households which amount to approximately 9.4 million individuals, or approximately 10 percent of Egypt’s population.
The program provides conditional family income support aimed at increasing food consumption, reducing poverty, while encouraging families to keep children at school and providing them with needed health care.
Along with ensuring vulnerable families receive basic nutrition, the program aims to build the human capital of the next generation and give them a path out of poverty.
It also seeks to protect Egypt’s poor elderly citizens above 65 years of age and citizens with severe disabilities and diseases as well as orphans.
Presidential fund for irregular workers:
These efforts to end poverty have been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic which caused many people worldwide to lose their jobs; therefore the president was interested in taking steps to bolster efforts to attain SDG 1 on No Poverty.
Sisi launched a presidential fund for supporting irregular workers during emergency economic conditions or pandemics.
The fund is meant to make up for irregular workers’ loss of their income. It also aims to back those who could not get support from the Takaful and Karama program whose regulations are not applicable to them.
The sectors where irregular employment is more common include contracting, seasonal agriculture, fishing, bakeries, restaurants and cafes, and entertainment.
The irregular workers sector contributes about 40 percent of the national economy.
The fund will also support mothers, who have no more than three children, for three months after birth.
“We are All One Initiative” under SDG 2 on Zero Hunger:
The efforts to support poor people went further to ensure their access to food in accordance with the SDG 2 on Zero Hunger. Therefore, the president gave directives to the Ministry of Interior to launch “We are All One Initiative” on June 30, 2018.
The initiative was triggered in collaboration with major retail chains so as to provide high-quality basic and food commodities at affordable prices. Notably, retail chains sell basic items at lower prices compared to counterparts. Reductions range between 20 percent to 30 percent.
The Initiative’s main purpose is to control price hikes in local markets, end monopoly, and regulate markets so as to mitigate burdens in favor of citizens.
In September 2020, the initiative spearheaded its 14th stage for one month with an aim to secure school supplies at low price.
Health Initiatives under SDG 3 on Good Health and Well-being:
The president then moved to serve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 on Good Health and Well-being by launching three initiatives; namely the 100 Million Healthy Lives, Egyptian Women’s Health Initiative, and Noor Hayat Initiative.
100 Million Healthy Lives:
President Sisi launched the 100 Million Healthy Lives Initiative in October 2018 for the early detection of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity – for more than 50 million Egyptian citizens nationwide. The Initiative follows up on patients and provides treatment via treatment centers.
The Initiative’s main goal is to rid Egypt of C virus by 2020 and to contribute to reducing non-communicable disease-induced deaths. About 70 percent of deaths in Egypt are NCD-induced.
The State channeled EGP 7 billion into the seven-month initiative which contributed to helping thousands of Egyptians to recover.
Egyptian Women’s Health Initiative:
President Sisi also spearheaded in July 2019 the Egyptian Women’s Health Initiative to promote the health of Egyptian women within the framework of the state’s keenness on maintaining healthy households and society at large.
Women were targeted in particular as a bracket in dire need of health education and care.The World Health Organization statistics alarmingly revealed in 2018 the high incidence of breast cancer among Egyptian women, which constitutes 35 percent of all women cancer cases.
The initiative is designed to screen carcinoma of the breast at an early stage for 28 million women nationwide; pursue clinical examination; and provide free-of-charge treatment.
The initiative also focuses on reproductive health, family planning, healthy lifestyles in addition to detection of non-communicable diseases; such as diabetes, blood pressure and obesity. Risk factors of non-communicable diseases and breast self-exam are further considered.
Noor Hayat Initiative:
President Sisi also gave the green light to the Noor Hayat Initiative in January 2019 to combat visual impairment and blindness via early diagnosis and treatment.
The president provisioned EGP 1 billion from “Tahya Misr” Fund for this three-year initiative.
A plan was developed to screen 5 million students at the primary stage and 2 million of the most-vulnerable citizens. Within the same context, 1 million eyeglasses were provided and 250,000 eye-surgeries were conducted.
Next Technology Leaders Initiative under SDG 9 on innovation:
President Sisi went further to promote innovation and technology through launching the Next Technology Leaders (NTL) Initiative to provide trainings for young Egyptian cadres on the latest fields of technology, namely, telecommunications, information technology and electronics sectors.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology works on implementing this initiative through the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) at the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).
The Initiative provides a high-quality applied educational system based on the partnership of the prestigious universities and leading companies worldwide. It depends on distinguished e-learning platforms.
Since the Initiative is integrated, it also provides supporting study groups, evaluation and follow-up review networks.
Pursuing the SDG 9 on promoting innovation, the Initiative aims mainly to promote the values of knowledge and creativity; create job opportunities for graduates; and prepare a generation of young people capable of employing ICT sector-wide to further development, productivity and competitiveness.
Presidential Leadership Program (PLP) under SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth:
President Sisi also spearheaded the Presidential Leadership Program in September 2015 with an aims to establish a strong and vibrant base of youth competencies to qualify for political, administrative and community work. This is achieved through training on theories of management and scientific and practical planning, and enhancing capabilities to apply modern methods in addressing problems inherent in the Egyptian state.
The program seeks to develop and create an enabled, enlightened and capable caliber of young leaders well aware of the homeland challenges and opportunities. With that new blood would be injected in the government sector to contribute to developing a robust national economy and competent civil servants in the state’s administrative sector.
The program is an autonomous entity affiliated to the Presidency. Several state bodies, institutions and civil society organizations are geared up to execute the program. The program applies experience-based learning; where students receive lectures and then shift to practical exercises via multiple simulations. In the course of learning students meet with several prominent figures to further their knowledge.
The PLP is meant to serve the Sustainable Development Goal no 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Inclusion, Empowerment, Participation Initiative under SDG 9 on reducing inequalities:
The president also sought to support people with disabilities (PwDs) by launching the Inclusion, Empowerment and Participation initiative.
Sisi aims at creating a friendly environment for persons with disabilities and give them access to their rights within the framework of the SDG 9 on reducing inequalities.
The initiative includes several programs, topped by the 3,000 schools for special education; and a training program for 300,000 special education teachers to tap assistive technology in the learning process.
Within this context, 200 integrated community centers will be rehabilitated, 300 government premises will be made PwDs friendly furnished likewise with assistive technologies. About 300 software and applications will undergo development to be at hand to help PwDs.
Notably, 100 telemedicine units will be accommodated to serve PwDs and others in vulnerable and marginalized areas.
The initiative targets tapping ICT to provide education and health services for PwDs; supporting them in engaging into the labor market; finding decent jobs via proper training and rehabilitation; and establishing PwDs-friendly government buildings. The universal objective is to turn Egypt into an Arabic version ICT hub and empowering PwDs.
In this regard, a competition, “Tamkeen”, is held to motivate innovators and startups to develop software, mobile applications and assistive technology in Arabic for people with disabilities.
Go Green Initiative under Goal 13 on climate change:
The president was also keen to join the world’s drive to curb climate change and adopt eco-friendly practices; therefore the “Go Green Initiative” was launched under the patronage of President Sisi within the framework of the National Sustainable Development Strategy “Egypt 2030”.
The three-year initiative aims to change behaviors, spread environmental awareness and urge citizens -young people in particular – to protect the environment, natural resources, natural protectorates, and marine life to maintain sustainability.
The initiative launched by the Ministry of Environment also raises awareness on significance of afforestation, waste recycling, food and energy rationalization, air pollution reduction and plastic use abatement.
Egyptian Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad spearheaded the initiative – under the patronage of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi -during the 2020 celebrations of the national environment day.
The initiative was first mooted in 2019 and was launched after preparing needed strategy for implementing it.
The initiative aims to incentivize youths to protect the environment and natural resources, especially curbing air pollution in order to attain Egypt’s strategic goal to reduce air pollution caused by solid particles by 50 percent in 2030.
The initiative also aims at promoting the Egyptian economy, boosting competitiveness and creating jobs in addition to supporting Egypt to fulfill its regional and international undertakings under international conventions in order to achieve sustainability in using natural resources.
The initiative started with planting trees in Triumph district in Cairo’s Heliopolis with the participation of a number of non-governmental organizations.
The Environment Ministry signed a cooperation protocol with the Higher Education Ministry to amalgamate the environmental issues into the educational curricula.
As the world moved to attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for better life for humanity, the president has galvanized efforts to achieve these goals and propped up state projects on the same track, topped by the Benban Solar Park which will be largest solar plant in the world, thus catering for the SDG 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy.
The president has pledged to exert more efforts to ensure the attainment of all SDGs under Egypt Vision 2030.