Agriculture is a major component of the Egyptian economy, contributing 11.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The agricultural sector accounts for 28 percent of all jobs, and over 55 percent of employment in Upper Egypt is agriculture-related. However, Egypt’s agriculture sector is dominated by small farms using traditional practices, that do not meet international standards. In this country, as at the global level, improvements in agricultural productivity have been made to satisfy the increasing food demand, but progress has often come with social and environmental costs, including water scarcity, soil degradation, ecosystem stress, biodiversity loss, decreasing fish stocks and forest cover, and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

E4Impact, in partnership with El Sewedy Education and ALEXBANK, wants to change the situation providing an opportunity for Egyptian entrepreneurs in agriculture and agri-tech fields to start up or scale-up their businesses by introducing innovations that make them able to combine economic profitability and social and environmental impact.

For this reason, on Monday, October 24th, the three parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the premises of the Italian Embassy in Cairo, to launch the Agri-Entrepreneurship Program. The ceremony was held in the presence of H.E Michele Quaroni, Italy’s Ambassador to Egypt, H.E Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, the Minister of International Cooperation, H.E Dr. Ali Meselhy, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Dr. Ziad Bahaa Eldin, Chairman of ALEXBANK, Mr. Dante Campioni, Managing Director and CEO of ALEXBANK, Eng. Ahmed ElSewedy, Chairman of El Sewedy Education, Mr. Ihab Salama, CEO of El Sewedy Education, and Dr. Frank Cinque, General Manager of E4Impact Foundation.

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Program intends to support innovative entrepreneurship and to stress on the need of innovation for agribusiness startups in order to satisfy new and more urgent market needs, to comply with ever-growing expectations of low environmental impact and raise awareness about the importance of the agricultural sector and its development to combat the climate change.

ALEXBANK is funding the program as part of its efforts to achieve sustainable development and support entrepreneurship, while the formation will be delivered by E4Impact Foundation and El Sewedy Education, an Egyptian education investment and management company. This business was established with the purpose of offering quality learning experiences and, through its Innovation Hub initiative that synergises and connects the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, it fosters startups’ growth and connects them with the right investors that will enable them to scale. During the MoU signing ceremony, Eng. Ahmed El Sewedy, Founder and Chairman of El Sewedy Education stated that: “The initiative follows El Sewedy Education’s broader strategy to promote entrepreneurship and apply the latest technologies and best practices targeting activities impacting the main economic pillars of the country and its sustainable development following Egypt’s 2030 vision”.

In Addition, Ihab Salam, CEO of El Sewedy Education assured that signing this agreement comes as a role of implementing the Egyptian government’s directives for major investors to support entrepreneurs and their ideas, noting that it provides all training solutions in agriculture technology for entrepreneurs, supporting entrepreneurship in Egypt and contributing to supporting youth. He underlined that the project will work on spread the start-ups among students and youth in Egypt, and support them with all possible means, in order to implement and promote their ideas and ensure their success. This will allow Egyptian companies to have a strong position in Middle East and North Africa Region.

Mr. Dante Campioni, Managing Director and CEO of ALEX BANK added: “This MoU emphasizes our efforts in supporting the development of this sector with a holistic approach, affirmed through several strategic alliances entered during the years with major public and private sector entities. Providing technical and financial support to the Agri-Entrepreneurship Program, complement our strategy to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt to achieve in the longer term a thriving, robust and self-sufficient agricultural sector

On this occasion, the Italian Ambassador to Egypt, Michele Quaroni, intervened underlining the importance of a partnership that brings together leading institutions, from Italy and Egypt, in the field of Education and Finance, and emphasized the contribution the program will give to the sustainability of the agricultural sector in Egypt. This falls in line with the international efforts to promote the UN Sustainable development goals and the discussions that will be held at the COP27 in Sharm el Sheik.

As the prime connection between people and the planet, food and agriculture can help achieve multiple SDGs: sustainable food and agriculture have great potential to revitalize the rural landscape, deliver inclusive growth to countries and drive positive change right across the 2030 Agenda. E4Impact is proud to take part in the Agri-Entrepreneurship Program initiative that will contribute to the achievement of these important objectives in Egypt. Our General Manager, Mr. Frank Cinque, representative of E4Impact at this event, expressed his pride and satisfaction: “We are proud to start collaborating with relevant institutions such as Alex Bank and El Sewedy Education in support of entrepreneurs. We really hope that this partnership will generate the same significant impact in Egypt as in the other 19 countries where E4Impact Foundation operates.”