Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Path to a Green Egypt
Reem Fatteh El Bab and Yossra M. Hamouda

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    Egyptian young entrepreneurs disagreed on the government’s role in environmental sustainability Sunday, Nov. 9.
  This lecture was the third lecture of Seminar Series called "RISE Seminar" organized by Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment at the American University in Cairo. The lecture was moderated by Rachel Diniega, a Virginia University graduate with a double major in global development studies and environmental sciences and a minor in Middle Eastern studies. The lecture’s objective was to present some of the successful start ups initiated by young entrepreneurs in the greater Cairo region.
      Amr Bassiouny, the founder of Egyptian Hydrofarms said that the government acts as an obstacle to organic food industry; and that he wished the government eliminated its intervention.
      While Yaseen Abd El Ghaffar, the founder of Solarize Egypt along with Rana Alaa, said  that they find the government contributing with mega-scale projects to the solar energy field in Egypt.
      The three speakers continued explaining more about their projects. Bassyiouny said that the general public’s belief in organic food in Egypt declines because of the dishonesty of the farmers with the consumers; while on the other hand, the niche market of organic food was increasing. The farms sometimes sold food that is not organic claiming that it is.
       Abd El Ghaffar and Alaa said that their company’s target is to solve the problem of electricity in Egypt and its social impact through solar energy. Abd El Ghaffar added: “Calculating opportunity and exporting costs reveal that fossil fuels are more expensive than solar energy.”
     “Projects like these are what really gives us hope. The lecture was really beneficial, and I might consider pursuing this as my career after I graduate,” said Amina El Gammal, one of the lecture attendees. She further explained that she attended the lecture because she found the title interesting, and that she had always thought that the lack of environmental sustainability was one of the largest problems Egypt is facing.

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