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

In partnership with the Economic Research Forum (ERF), the World Bank in Cairo launched two successful Youth Essay Competitions. This activity was 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 these Competitions was to give young Egyptians the opportunity to develop constructive and innovative solutions to address existing development challenges in their country.

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

Winning Essays

In light of Egypt’s entrepreneurial stagnation in recent years & the overwhelming economic literature linking entrepreneurship to growth, it is necessary to stimulate entrepreneurial activity to rehabilitate the Egyptian economy. In this paper, I rely on Landier & Audretsch’s economic models to identify the ideal equilibrium most conducive to growth. This is known as the experimental equilibrium where good entrepreneurs are more likely to start again until they make it big. This is most efficient in innovative sectors as there is a greater chance of creating high-value firms with higher growth rates. Building on this economic foundation, I present a nationwide project to point Egypt in the direction of achieving this equilibrium. Based on the sheer size of the public educational institutions in Egypt, I propose implementing an accelerator in each and every university in the country to make use of this massive entrepreneurial potential. I then explain the main principles for the accelerator model and the keys to success which include: entrepreneurship education, increased venture capital financing, legislative reforms & women empowerment. Furthermore, I provide a list of policy recommendations to ensure each factor of success is achieved. I conclude by reaffirming my optimism on the state of Egypt’s entrepreneurial sector so long as immediate action is taken to encourage the creation of new & innovative ventures.

This article discusses the importance of entrepreneurs’ and their new enterprises, especially those having social return and positive impact on growth and development. It focuses on Egypt given the socio-economic crises that it has undergone since 2011, i.e. increase of rates of unemployment and poverty spawned by declining rates of economic growth and investments. Therefore, it is necessary to promote social entrepreneurship in Egypt despite the challenges such enterprises have to grapple with. Then, the article highlights the key challenges standing in the way of establishment of entrepreneurial enterprises and the focus shifts to the most critical social problem Egypt faces which is informal settlements. Such areas have spawned in both the rural and urban areas and their dwellers suffer from squalor, unemployment and poor health, educational, environmental services. Therefore, the focus of proposals of social entrepreneurship is on the projects that can provide solutions to problems faced by the dwellers of these areas and improve their environment. This article reviews three main enterprises: re-use and conversion of organic wastes into biogas; reuse of rice straw as fuel source; and reuse of grey water. It concludes with a set of recommendations for promoting the environment for entrepreneurship and encouraging entrepreneurs to set up entrepreneurial enterprises having social returns for community as a whole.

The article reviews a number of different approaches and recommendations on facilitating recycling of wastes through five consecutive steps organizing  that include collection of different wastes, conversion of organic wastes into a source of energy and recycling of solid wastes. This idea will have different impacts in respect of improving behavioral patterns of people, alleviating environmental burdens and helping in solving the problem of energy and wastes as related to infrastructure. The idea of the project is designed on a small scale in one of the neighborhoods in Giza Governorate. To note, Egypt is suffering from the blight of wastes and  is in urgent need for recycling. It is known that social entrepreneurship often succeeds in solving crises and problems that governments and institutions fail to address. Overall, entrepreneurship and startups in Egypt are currently suffering from severe stagnation. Perhaps, the proposed project may solve the blight of wastes and issues of entrepreneurship through some proposed recommendations that should be implemented through a number of steps which can be summed up in full cooperation between government entities and decision makers on one hand with social entrepreneurs on the other hand. This article puts forward a process of actions geared to help solve the chronic issues faced by the Egyptian society, which will have a positive impact on citizens, the private and public sector as well as entrepreneurs.

Egypt has been lagging behind when it comes to proving itself in the entrepreneurship arena, and speculations about the reasons have been numerous. The entrepreneurial education at schools in Egypt is not up to standards; with the Egyptian youth graduating from schools not knowing anything about how to formulate a business plan, or even write a funding proposal to submit in order to finance their potential projects. Hence, the complicated conventional financing options are not meeting the needs of the Egyptian society. Thereby, Fin-tech could offer a feasible solution to this problem. Instruments such as online Crowd-funding and Micro-finance can be the right way to go. However, for such online Fin-tech websites to be applicable in Egypt, some modifications might be inevitable. For instance, Egypt is a cash-based society where the online payments required by these websites might cast a problem. Hence, utilizing pre-paid cards and establishing trust in the website are two of the main ingredients for the success of such websites. Further efforts would be needed to educate entrepreneurs, inform them about the website, and most importantly giving them internet accessibility that will allow them to do all that.

Despite the dire economic conditions in Egypt, given the declining growth levels and the high unemployment levels, entrepreneurship is stagnating in the country. Policymakers should focus on promoting entrepreneurship in Egypt to help push the economy forward, and in particular social entrepreneurship. This paper tries to focus on promoting entrepreneurship in the fintech sector in particular, given the low level of financial inclusion in the Egyptian society, and the potential in the field both for the society and for investors. It proposes a framework for an ecosystem that works on promoting fintech, through the collaboration between the government, financial institutions, investors, start-ups, universities and research centers.

Round II: Call for Essays