Published on Arab Voices

Calling young Egyptians: What YOU THINK matters

When I last wrote, we were launching a round of consultations out of our World Bank office in Cairo to hear from Egyptian voices on how best we support this great country in the historic transition now underway. Thanks to those of you who joined us in the great wide world of the virtual cafe.

In our actual offices (and with real tea and coffee) we had meetings with political parties including the Freedom and Justice Party, the Al-Nour Party, Al-Wafd and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.

Kim Eun Yeul | 2011Over the past year, we also met with representatives of civil society, academia, youth and some private sector people across a wide range of meetings and presentations. I’m going to list these so we have an open picture of who we’ve been listening to. But before I do that, I want to urge you again to participate. Through our blog and MENA Facebook Page we can reach so many more voices than we could ever crowd into our offices – especially young voices and quick-typing fingers which never stop on their mobile devices. We are doing this in Arabic and English. Take a look if you haven’t already at the outline of a strategy document that will guide our engagement with Egypt over the short-term (18 months) because we want your views about it, particularly:

We’ve had long and exciting conversations about this strategy face to face with CSOs involved in education, health, transport, energy, economic management, social protection, labor, and all of them concerned with social justice and equality of opportunity. And we need wider conversations than we can organize physically so please meet us here virtually.

As promised, here’s what we’ve done so far, in addition to meeting the political parties listed above.  A quick roundup of face-to-face meetings include:

  • May 2011: Discussion on Conflict, Security and Development. This was a big World Bank report and we brought experts from South Africa, Chile and Georgia.
  • May 2011: We shared the World Bank’s new Social Protection and Labor Sector Strategy to hear what different people think.
  • June 2011: A presentation of the World Bank’s updated Access to Information Policy which makes our institution the most transparent international body with unprecedented reach into our documentation.
  • August 2011: We met a group of young Egyptian bloggers and tweeps; we want to hear different voices too, not the same old, same old.
  • October 2011: The Egypt Water Hackathon we held with partners also brought many young people together exploring how to best harness technology for development.
  • October 2011: Young entrepreneurs gathered around a table where we learned what is going on at a grassroots level in job creation.
  • October 2011: Our Vice President Inger Andersen met an array of civil society voices to discuss water issues, microfinance, ICT, renewable energy, job creation and entrepreneurship.
  • November 2011: Government, civil society, youth, academia and international bodies discussed how to work together to overcome Egypt’s poverty of opportunity; what can be done to get a foot on the ladder for ordinary Egyptians.

    I’m going to share some of the observations from our face-to-face strategy consultations in my next blog. We’ve been discussing education, health, energy, transport, economics and so forth and with CSOs, politicians and current officials. But we’d like to hear more from the virtual cafe. What matters in Egypt today is that what YOU THINK matters. Tell us. The World Bank certainly does not have a huge role in Egypt but we have some good knowledge from all over the world and we know how to make some things work better and more accountably. Let us hear from you.

  • Authors

    David Craig

    Former Country Director, Egypt

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