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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Supporting youth and women in Egypt’s vulnerable rural communities

CAIRO, 30 April 2013 – An agreement for a new joint United Nations programme on human security to benefit vulnerable rural communities in Upper Egypt has been signed this week with the Egyptian authorities. 

Five UN agencies, under the leadership of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), will strengthen the local economies of several villages in the Minya Governorate by creating more and better employment opportunities, while helping to mitigate threats to environmental, personal, community and food security. The project will work through local government, civil society partners and community structures to help at least 18,000 beneficiaries become more economically active and self-sufficient, and to support targeted communities as they strive to become more inclusive and gender-responsive. 

Following the political turmoil in 2011/2012, the Egyptian economy contracted sharply due to diminishing revenues from tourism and the service sector, reduced foreign direct investments, and rising inflation and unemployment. Poverty is on the increase, particularly in rural areas, where it affects 65 per cent of those who work in agriculture. Rural communities in Upper Egypt are the most affected by the sudden deceleration of the economy, with the most vulnerable groups (youth and women especially) being pushed deeper into poverty and exclusion. 

“Human security is a concept that addresses the protection of well-being of vulnerable communities,” said Giovanna Ceglie, UNIDO Representative in Egypt. “When external shocks such as economic downturns hit, there is a risk that many will fall into structural poverty. A combination of training, technology transfer and targeted awareness campaigns will enable the poor to better cope with risks, and prompt them to recover faster. UNIDO is keen to promote this approach with other development partners and is ready to further assist Egypt in this field.” 

The five different UN agencies (UNIDO, ILO, IOM, UN-Habitat and UN Women) will cooperate on this initiative as the country strives to improve its capacity to both empower and protect the weakest segments of its population. Funded by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security and the Swiss Development Cooperation, the programme will be implemented in cooperation with Egypt’s Ministry of Local Development. 

For more information on the project please contact:

Matteo Valenza
Programme Officer, UNIDO Regional Office in Egypt
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