Public awareness seen as key for sustainable development
A side of the Sustainable Development exhibition on April 4, 2016. Photo taken by Nourhan Magdi for The Cairo Post.
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CAIRO: Achieving sustainable development will require coordination between the private and local sectors, as well as awareness of its economic benefits, according a number of industries and government officials.

On Monday, the Sustainable Developments Exhibition and Conference (SDEC) kicked off in Cairo for two days, during which several companies are able to share their expertise and challenges facing sustainability in Egypt.

“I believe Egypt is a fertile ground for sustainable development,” said Ayman el-Sheheimy, Segment Manager of Grundfos Egypt, a multinational manufacturer of pumps and water application systems, adding that challenges include “primitive feasibility studies.”

He noted that the government focuses on the initial cost, and might turn away if it is too high, in addition to shunning modern and complicated technologies due to “lack of trained labor” on their maintenance.

Yassir Nagi, the manager director of Wilo Egypt Company that is specialized in manufacturing of water pumps, told The Cairo Post both “knowledge and awareness” are the two major challenges facing Egypt regarding sustainability.

“We need to bridge the gap between the information that we are getting from multinational companies and try to foster it into our society,” Nagi said, adding that raising awareness of the economic benefit of sustainability will push citizens to “really jump into [the field,] and make use of it as much as possible.”

Nagi also stressed coordination between the government and the private sector as a “must” to achieve a win-win situation, noting that “the private sector has the knowledge but cannot win alone.”

On the sidelines of the conference, Assistant Minister of Environment for sustainable development Yasmine Fouad told The Cairo Post that implementing real sustainability requires engaging the private sector and civil society into the process.

Arjan Calis, global business development manager for the Wilo’s headquarters in Germany, also explained that to perceive a better understanding of sustainable development, a longer term should be considered rather than a shorter term, no matter how much the initial cost is, he stated to The Cairo Post.

Other companies spotlighted the importance of empowering youth to take part in the implementation of the government’s goals to achieve sustainability.

Khaled Abdel Rahman, the CEO of Elite Environment Energy, a company proposing solutions to manage waste, told The Cairo Post that youths can play a very essential role if employed by the government to do the collection and recycling of waste.

Abdel Rahman said that his company has proposed a project to place certain machines at supply offices, which estimated at 27,000 bureaus across the country, in which citizens put their excess plastics, cans and oil, and in return they could gain “points” through which they take subsidized items.

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