Cairo - "Bridging the Mediterranean“, facilitating trade between Europe and Egypt - this is the aim of the Confederation of Egyptian European Business Association (CEEBA) and likewise this was the motivation behind a Business Dinner the Confederation had invited for on the 16th of September.
Hazem Hassan and Dr. Nader Riad addressed the ca. 200 dinner guests jointly since the meeting coincides with the handover from the British to the German presidency of CEEBA. The high-ranking guest list promised fruitful talks. Besides the 27 European Union member state’s Ambassadors, decision-makers from Egyptian leading business organizations, donor and development agencies had been invited.
Information about Egypt’s current economic situation, future projects and initiatives came at first hand since keynote speeches included that of Osama Saleh, Minister of Investment, Dr. Ashraf El Araby, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, spoken by 1st undersecretary Mohamed Saeed, of Mohamed Farid Khamis, Chairman of the Federation of Investor's Associations, the speech of Ahmed El Wakil, Chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and that of EU Ambassador James Moran.
"Bridging“ was a motif underlying the entire evening. As a consequence speakers emphasized the necessity of the creation of a free market economy wherein technology, knowhow and human resources could easily be exchanged. Both the private sector and the governmental site assured to contribute respectively towards this goal. While the private sector provides skilled labour, investment and technology, the governmental site announced to generate the necessary legal framework to promote European-Egyptian business activities.
On the one hand "bridging“ stands for connecting businesses and the exchange of resources. On the other hand, as Mohamed Farid Khamis pointed out, building bridges is necessary to mend the gaps yet dividing North and South due to different technology standards, funding or human resource development. This kind of inequality could only be evened out by mutual learning and exchange. Thus, educational programmes like the Technical and Vocational Education and Training „TEVT“-Reform, or most recently the Tempus and Erasmus Mundus-Programmes with an award of ca. €25 million, are essential for the success of the Mediterranean project.
The next step towards a better coordination of European politics destined for the Mediterranean will be a joint conference of the Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council with the Transnational Cooperation Programme MED and the Neighborhood Cross-border Cooperation Programme in the Mediterranean Sea Basin ENPI MED from the 24th to the 25th of October in Cyprus.