Cairo—Monday 12th of October, 2020. The British University in Egypt (BUE) hosted and organized the Online Kickoff Event & Awareness Workshop for “Affordable Resources for Egypt’s Industrial Growth,” bringing together industry leaders with researchers across the nation. Attending the event was Mr. Ibrahim Laafi, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Egypt.
Affordable Resources for Egypt’s Industrial Growth (RIndustry) is an EU-funded project implemented by BUE in partnership with the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), the Regional Center of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), the Central Metallurgical Research and Development Institute (CMRDI), and ISIS for Food Industries. The objective of RIndustry is to change the culture of resource utilization in Egypt’s industry for enhanced economics and competition. Energy production, water extraction and/or recycling, and energy efficiency are targeted for this mission, where R&D- based, innovative and sustainable solutions are employed.
“What I want to present today is an overview of the project we are launching, Affordable Resources for Egypt’s Industrial Growth, code name RIndustry, which is sponsored by the European Union within its Facility for Inclusive Growth and Job Creation. We acknowledge that and appreciate the funding,” stated Prof. Yehia Bahei-El-Din, Vice President for Research and Postgraduate Studies at BUE and lead investigator of the RIndustry project.
“Our objective is to improve Egyptian MSMEs’ competitiveness and productivity and to promote financing innovations. What we are working on is to improve energy consumption, resource utilization, and production efficiency. We put together a team of national experts and we are happy to have as partners NREA, CMRDI, RCREEE and ISIS,” Bahei-El-Din stated in his keynote presentation, noting that the aim of the initiative is to “change the culture of resource utilization in industry in Egypt. We want to work with the industry to enhance economy and competitiveness and provide what we have developed over the years to make this happen. The way we propose to do that is to use innovative R&D methodologies and provide sustainable solutions that will last and go beyond the project’s lifetime and make the industry realize the benefits. We are focusing on energy and water in particular, based on the experience of the team in other projects funded by the EU and other funding agencies.”
BUE President Prof. Ahmed Hamad gave the welcome speech at the Opening Ceremony, where he highlighted Egypt’s focus on small and medium enterprises as per the government’s 2030 sustainability policies. “The industrial and agricultural sectors represent a substantial percentage of Egypt’s GDP and are a significant source of foreign currency. Despite this, these two sectors are also the principal consumers of water and energy resources, and while preserving resources was not a priority for these sectors in the past, today, exorbitant costs are forcing them to pay more attention to conserving resources,” Prof. Hamad stated, adding, “Saving resources will not only ensure competitiveness among enterprises, it will also enable them to compete in regional and international markets. This is in addition to preserving the environment and having a positive impact on workers and the general population.”
The BUE President went on to note BUE’s efforts in the fields of energy and water conservation. “Over the past decade BUE has partnered with numerous research and industry institutions to develop technologies addressing water and energy consumption. Our goal at BUE is to become a hub for innovative solutions based on scientific research, as well as to raise awareness and capacity building to use these tools in Egypt’s industrial sector. I thank the EU for its support in funding this project.”
In his keynote speech, Dr. Mohamed El-Khayat, Chair, New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) spoke of the role of resources and the importance of providing affordable energy to industries in order to raise their competitiveness.
Entitled “Energy and Resource Saving in Egyptian Industries,” the first keynote presentation was given by Dr. Maged Mahmoud, Acting Executive Director, RCREEE. Presenting “RENERGY – Knowledge & Technology Alliance in Renewable Energy Industrialization for Egypt’s Sustainable Development” was Prof. Yehia Bahei-El-Din, Vice President (Research) at BUE and Prof. Mostafa Shazly, Director of the Center for Advanced materials at BUE.
The keynote presentations were followed by a series of panel discussions addressing Egypt’s efforts in conserving energy in the industry, an overview of the challenges facing Egypt’s agro-food and metallurgical industries, and promoting resource efficiency across micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Challenges & Opportunities for Agro-food & Metallurgical Industries” panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Taha Mattar, Chair, Tabbin Institute for Metallurgical Studies, and Dr. Amr Abdel Kader from BUE. Panelists included Dr. Mohamed Mousa Omran, Former Deputy Minister for Electricity and Renewable Energy; Eng. Mohamed Hanafy, General Manager, Chamber of Metal Works at FEI; Mr. Helmy Abouleish, CEO, SEKEM Holding Co.; Prof. Hossam Shawki, Director, Water Desalination Center, DRC; Prof. Abass Mabrouk, DRC; Eng. Omar Abdel-Aziz, General Manager, Egypt Casting; and Eng. Ashraf Fawzi, Director of Energy Efficiency and Environment, Industrial Modernization Center, IMC.
The final panel, “RIndustry Awareness Session: Promoting Resources Efficiency in MSMEs highlights on Resources Efficiency in Industrial MSMEs in Egypt and Introduction of Project Survey Questionnaire,” was moderated by Eng. Sara Ibrahim Elhag, Head of Projects’ Implementation and Private Investment Promotion Unit, RCREEE. The panel was followed by a moderated discussion with audience from MSMEs.
Emphasizing that RIndustry will work with young entrepreneurs, Prof. Bahei-El-Din noted that, “RIndustry will create startups to support its mission, and I believe we have the resources and expertise to do that. We hope that our work with pilot companies will be seen as beneficial, helpful, saving money, raising the competitive edge, and that this will be spread out throughout Egypt in many of the remote areas and in many of the industries across the nation.”