Africa must 'open the door' to sustainable industrial development – UN official. UNIDO. UNIDO Director General Li Yong - Courtesy of UN
CAIRO – 16 December 2018: During his three-day visit to Egypt, the director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) held dozens of discussions with officials, statesmen, economists and related figures.
Li Yong, the UNIDO director general, has turned into a big fan of the Egyptian leadership that he described as a “wise” one; he hailed the economic reforms that Egypt has been undergoing and described his meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as a “fruitful talk”.
“After meeting with President Sisi, I realized that Egypt is at safe hands as the leadership is wise and fully-aware of economic and industrial challenges,” Yong told Egypt Today in exclusive remarks on Dec. 13.
“I believe that everyone has to keep learning from every step that he takes and I learnt a lot from the discussion I had with Sisi,” said Yong while he was drinking his special Chinese tea.
Sisi and Yong met on Dec. 12 and tackled ways to boost cooperation with UNIDO.
The president noted the significance of the organization's developmental projects and programs in executing the state's strategy that aims at realizing sustainable industrial development in Egypt.
Furthermore, Sisi lauded the UNIDO for including Egypt in its programme for country partnership and affirmed keenness to increase the programs and projects the organization is implementing in Egypt across various development fields. This comes in light of modernizing infrastructure in Egypt to attract investment, localize industry and provide the necessary energy sources and within the modern legislative framework and mega national projects mainly the Suez Canal Area Development Project.
For his part, Yong expressed his appreciation to be in Cairo to discuss prospects for cooperation between Egypt and the UNIDO and to support Egypt's efforts to realize the sustainable development goals by encouraging comprehensive manufacturing.
In response to a question about the UNIDO’s activity, the director general reviewed the organization's activity to implement "The Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa" initiative, which seeks to directly and effectively assist industrial development in the continent and place Africa on the right track towards achieving comprehensive and sustainable development.
“The UNIDO looks forward to Egypt's support for the initiative's activities, in light of its chairmanship of the African Union in 2019, which shall provide high-level political support and assistance in helping projects that will be implemented under the initiative's umbrella succeed,” Yong added.
“Encouraging the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) topped my talks with the Egyptian statesmen,” Yong noted.
In a related context, Yong manifested that encouraging and developing SMEs will create more job opportunities for youth and women and will attract more investments which spontaneously will contribute to building new factories and opening new industries.
He stressed that UNIDO will assist Egypt to enhance its economic and industrial position like what it did with China in the 1960s.
Yong noted that UNIDO helps youth get prepared for occupying jobs. “More than 5000 youth completed their training courses given by UNIDO professionals and they are ready now to run and lead small and medium projects.”
Over 2017 -2018, the UNIDO portfolio in Egypt comprised 11 main projects with a total budget of over $30 million implemented with the generous support of nine primary donors. UNIDO team in Egypt comprises about 60 professionals based in Cairo, Alexandria and Egypt’s Delta, Luxor, Sohag and Minya.