World Bank’s Youth Essay Competition in Egypt
February 13-April 20, 2017Egypt

In partnership with the Economic Research Forum (ERF), we are pleased to announce the second round of the Youth Essay Competition, and the launch of the Call for Essays titled ‘Entrepreneurship: Tackling Social Challenges’. The Essay Competition is implemented as part of the World Bank’s Youth Engagement Technical Assistance, which aims to promote and mainstream youth inclusion in Egypt through the World Bank portfolio. The goal of this Competition is to give young Egyptians the opportunity to develop constructive and innovative solutions to address existing development challenges in their country.

Launched through the World Bank office in Cairo, this competition aims to support voice and agency of young Egyptians, whilst leveraging the ideas and innovations led by young people in tackling the social challenges in Egypt. The competition is open to all Egyptians up to the age 30, and invites youth to submit a 2,500 word solution-based essay (in Arabic or English) presenting innovative solutions to promote (social) entrepreneurship and tackle social challenges in their communities. 

Finalists will be present their essays at an Award Ceremony in Cairo to an audience of policy makers, sector specialists and other stakeholders. The winners will be selected during the event. The five winning essays will receive a financial reward and essays will be published on the World Bank and ERF websites.

Deadline for submission is the 20th of April, 2017

A dynamic Private Sector and Entrepreneurship are vital for growth, economic development, and job creation. In the current socioeconomic context, social entrepreneurship can play an important factor in the growth recovery for Egypt. Social entrepreneurship builds on solutions that are driven by individuals, rather than the state. It responds to market demand and addresses the needs of people, thereby creating a social benefit.

Against this backdrop, the Economic Research Forum and the World Bank are pleased to announce the second round of the “Youth Essay Competition”. In this round, young Egyptians are invited to submit essays presenting innovative solutions to promote (social) entrepreneurship and tackle social challenges in their communities. Deadline for submission is April 20, 2017.

Problem Statement: International comparison, the rate of new start-ups per year is very low in Egypt and recent data shows that Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity is stagnating at a very low 7% between 2010 to 2015 (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Survey).

Participants are encouraged to present solutions to promote entrepreneurship ideas with social impact. Ideas can address a range of topics, and should fall in one or several of the below categories:

  • Fin-Tech: For example, new solutions for E-Payment, E-Banking, Finance and Micro-Finance
  • Energy Efficiency: For example, how can a social enterprise help reduce the energy needs for providing goods and services? How can innovative techniques be applied to transform waste into a sustainable energy source?
  • Infrastructure: For example, solutions that can help Egypt’s largest cities transition towards becoming smart cities. How can social enterprises connect and improve access to basic infrastructure and public services for marginalized citizens?

Q1. Who can apply?

Any Egyptian under 30 years old.

Q2. Are there requirements for Language, Format and Length?

The essay can be written in Arabic or English, and must be under 2,500 words. A separate abstract of up to 250 words is required. The essay needs to contain: (a) title; (b) abstract with a concise summary of key messages/solutions; (c) simple structure with introduction, solution, and conclusion; (d) clear list of recommendations; and (e) bibliography. Please acknowledge all references and add a complete bibliography, which is not part of the word count.

Q3. How will the Essay be evaluated?

The Essay will be reviewed by a panel of independent experts in two stages.

Stage 1: The panel will be evaluating all submissions according to three criteria: (1) the relevance and originality of your solutions; (2) the soundness of your argument, and whether your essay is well substantiated by the existing literature or experience; and (3) the feasibility and practicality of your recommendations.

Stage 2: The finalists will be invited to present their essays at an Award Ceremony in Cairo, where the winners will be selected. The final selection of the winners, will be based on the quality of their essay and clarity of their presentation during the Award Ceremony.  

Q4. What is the timeline?

An electronic copy of your individually written essay needs to be submitted online at by April 20 2017. The finalists will be notified by early May. All the finalists will be invited to present their essay at the Award Ceremony in Cairo in early May 2017. 

Q5. Are there prizes?

The essay competition offers recognition and financial awards. In addition to a certificate of achievement to all finalists, you will be able to present your idea to an audience of policy makers, sector specialists and other stakeholders. The best five essays will be published online by the World Bank and by the Economic Research Forum on their websites. The author of the best essay will receive 20,000 Egyptian pounds. The second, third, fourth and fifth place winners will be awarded 15,000; 10,000; 7,000 and 4,000 Egyptian pounds, respectively.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the top five winners:

  • 1st and Winner of the People’s Choice Award: Imane Helmy
  • 2nd Nour Al Wassimy
  • 3rd May Nagy
  • 4th Radwa Hassan
  • 5th Ahmed Khalil

Winning Essays

This paper argues that increasing job creation is a necessary but not sufficient condition to solve youth unemployment in Egypt as many employers reported having difficulty filling current job vacancies due to skills shortage. Therefore, there is a need to refocus Active Labor Market Policies on building a skilled labor force to support the reintegration of the unemployed into the labor market. 

This paper aims to identify the roots of unemployment in Egypt, which stem from the increased supply of unqualified labor, mostly working in the informal sector, and the unavailability of formal jobs to absorb this supply. Although there is no magic formula to deal with youth unemployment that is fit for all economic contexts, Egypt can still gain valuable insights, from the experiences of similarly developing economies combating unemployment like India, Mexico, Kenya, and Malaysia. 

As the state is overwhelmed with many local and regional matters, this paper explores how the private sector, given the right conditions, can provide a solution. It looks at Egypt’s poorest segment (called the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid, BOP) and explores ways that this always-neglected segment can be transformed and engaged in the formal economy. 

To work on decreasing unemployment rates, the emphasis has been placed on searching for labor-intensive investment opportunities, which fit for university and post-graduation degree holders. As a result of the research, an opportunity has been identified for Egypt to expand in outsourcing, as Egypt enjoys several investment-friendly advantages in this field, since it was ranked high among the countries providing outsourcing services, owing to the low living standards therein. By Radwa Hassan

In its introduction, the essay quickly explains the risks of the unemployment crisis and its impact on both the developing and developed countries. The essay then addresses the scope of the crisis in Egypt from a historical perspective, then highlights the current economic developments, and then moves to the most important part of the essay, which constitutes more than 80% of it, which is proposing suggestions for employment of young people in Egypt and eradication of unemployment on a gradual basis.

Round I: Call for Essays

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2017